Wed, March 5: Spring Back: A Cabaret on Resilience

Spring Back: A Cabaret on Resilience

Wednesday, March 5, 7pm
Whole Music Club, Coffman Union, 300 Washington Ave SE

KFAI is a proud co-sponsor of the 8th annual Transgender Commission Celebration at Coffman Union, Spring Back: A Cabaret on Resilience. In conjunction with the University of Minnesota's Transgender Commission, and the GLBTA Programs Office, it is part of KFAI's What's in the Mix series. The event features performances and a panel discussion by local artists and activists, including CeCe McDonald, Venessa Fuentes, James DeWitt, Kenneth Williams, Margot Bassett, and Molly Van Avery; as well as emcee Sol Raz Asanti and moderator Jason Jackson.

The University of Minnesota's Transgender Commission is a coalition of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members working for equity, access, and liberation for people of all gender identities and expressions, led by trans*, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming people across the U of M and local Twin Cities community.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally (GLBTA) Programs Office is dedicated to improving campus climate for all University of Minnesota constituents by developing and supporting more inclusive understandings of gender and sexuality.

What’s in the Mix is made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. It will be recorded and edited for later broadcast on MinneCulture, KFAI's weekly arts and culture program.

Artist bios:

CeCe McDonald
CeCe McDonald was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where she repeatedly faced discrimination and violence. She moved to Minnesota to (try) to change her life and further her transition. After more than seven years she has completely turned her life around. In June of 2011, CeCe and some friends became involved in a verbal and physical altercation with a group of white, cis/hetero people who used homo/transphobic and racially charged language. This led to a group melee in which one of CeCe's attackers was killed. She was charged with second-degree murder, which she later pled to second-degree manslaughter in self-defense. CeCe received a prison sentence of 41 months. These events and CeCe’s community activism have brought attention to the ongoing issue of violence and hate crimes against the GLBTQI community, particularly African American (trans) women.

Venessa Fuentes
Venessa Fuentes writes, dreams, and believes in poems. She holds an undergraduate degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a SASE/Jerome Award recipient and some of her poems appear in two anthologies dedicated to Latino voices. Venessa is the Assistant Editor for the online journal The Acentos Review, which showcases Latino writing and visual art. In January she began a three-year fellowship created by the Minnesota Council on Foundations and the Bush Foundation that is designed to develop emerging philanthropic leaders of color. Venessa lives in south Minneapolis with her partner, their son, and their dog.

James DeWitt
An occasional drag performer and dancer, James DeWitt is also a research assistant at the University of Minnesota in the Program in Human Sexuality. Having recently acquired a Bachelor Degree in Health Arts and Sciences at Goddard College in Montpelier, Vermont, James is spending the winter making zines and comics, nannying for cute babies, and spending time with their dog Gordon. He’s also completing a sex educator certificate program through Planned Parenthood of the Greater Northwest. Sex education is one of their passions, informing the volunteer work they do with Family Tree Clinic in St Paul, Minnesota, RECLAIM LGBT counseling center in Minneapolis, the Gaia Democratic Free School in Minneapolis, and Queer Rock Camp in Olympia, Washington.

Kenneth Williams
Kenneth (aka Ken Ken) Revlon is a performer trained in multiple dance styles. He is also a member of the "Infamous T" group, featured in director Melissa Koch’s documentary film, "The Infamous T". Kenneth focuses on jazz, hip hop, and contemporary dance, entertaining audiences through creative and intricate movement.

Margot Bassett
Margot Bassett (Karyn) is a vocalist and performance-maker who recently relocated to Minnesota after five years in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University, and has studied at the Juilliard School and the European American Musical Alliance in Paris.

Molly Van Avery
Molly Van Avery (Sharyn) is a queer performance artist, poet, organizer, and arts advocate. Her work has been shown in venues throughout the Twin Cities, including Bedlam Theatre, the Walker Art Center, and Open Eye Figure Theatre. Molly's creative work is built around the belief that the deeply personal territory of our lives is essential for making evocative, transformational art. She is an Artist Organizer for Springboard for the Arts, Director of Naked Stages at Pillsbury House Theatre, and Instructor with HECUA.

MC - Sol Raz Assanti
Native Minnesotan Sol Raz Assanti is a community organizer and spoken word artist. She works with transgender, straight, and gender nonconforming people discussing race, gender, sexual justice, African spirituality, sexual liberation, and art.

Panel Moderator – Jason Jackson
Jason Jackson serves as the assistant Director for the GLBTA Programs Office at the University of Minnesota. Jason received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and is currently a graduate student in Higher Education. Jason co-founded Tongues Untied, a program for LGBT People of Color at the U of M, and was formerly active in The Twin Cities Ball Scene & Twin Cities Black Pride. Jason is a recipient of the Breaking the Silence Award and PFund's Haynes-Hettinga African American Award.


  • Queer Student Cultural Center (QSCC)
  • Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE)
  • College of Education & Human Development (CEHD) Student Services
  • Boynton Health Service
  • College of Food, Agriculture & Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) Office for Diversity & Inclusion
  • The Women's Center
  • The Aurora Center
  • Chicano Studies
  • Housing & Residential Life
  • Council on Graduate Students (COGS)
  • Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
  • American Studies
Filed in: