Photos: Mangos With Chilli, Used With Permission.

Mangos with Chili had just returned from what they called “Splendor & Grit: The Stunning South Tour,” and I was trying to wrap my head around this upcoming — for lack of a better word — event that sounded so fascinating. So I asked Mangos co-founder Ms. Cherry Galette to describe Beloved: A Requiem for Our Dead.

“A multi-genre evening of performance spectacle spectacular,” she replies. “A voyage to the crossroads for a night of conjuring, memory, mourning, celebration, and resistance. A love letter to those we’ve lost, and a prayer that we’ll be remembered in both our living and our dying.”

She also calls it their “heaviest and most somber-themed production to date.”

Galette, who along with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, co-founded Mangos with Chili back in 2006, is just one of the performers featured this weekend in the group’s newest production.

Beloved, Galette says, has conceptually been in process for nearly a year. “We wanted to create a production that would specifically speak to loss and the many forms of violence faced by queer and trans people of color in our day to day lives,” she said, “as well as the realities of navigating inherited legacies of violence (slavery, imperialism, war, and genocide). During the summer months and throughout early fall, artists met for a series of discussions around these themes, and to share their new artistic work in development that arose from these conversations.”

And, Galette adds, Beloved “promises to be a fantastic, fun, unique and memorable evening of multi-genre and inter-disciplinary performance featuring the talents of a stellar and gifted cast of emerging and established queer and trans people of color artists.”

Beloved will feature:

  • renowned speculative fiction storycrafter Nalo Hopkinson
  • multimedia invocation performance art heart wrench by playwright and poet Nico Dacumos
  • In Memoriam, a new collaborative dance theater work by Charlston Chu and Cherry Galette
  • ancestral prayer/spoken love letter by writer and theater artist Rose E. Sims
  • a mixed media jazz dance cabaret extravaganza by Charleston Chu
  • an autobiographical musical journey traversing the Middle East and African Diaspora by virtuoso trio SoliRose
  • the powerful truth renderings of spoken word wonder Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
  • the premiere of Moorish Salt, a dance theater/ritual performance art piece by aforementioned fusion dance artist, burlesque dancer, and theater-maker Cherry Galette.

And, I ask, what if people on the fence about attending?

“I would let them know that we are all just really, amazingly, jaw droppingly hot. :)”

What: Beloved: A Requiem for Our Dead
When: Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7
Where: The LAB, 2948 16th Street, San Francisco (1/2 a block from 16th St. BART)
Cost: $12-16 sliding scale, but no one turned away for lack of fees

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