QueerWise Members

Artistic Director

Michael Kearns
photo by Jim Cox

Michael Kearns, Artistic Director

For the past four decades, Michael Kearns has been a fixture in the world of art and politics: writer, teacher, actor, activist, director, solo performer, producer, fundraiser, dramaturg, and artistic director. His artistic outpourings have been compared to the English writer John Osborne, the German expressionist George Grosz and the American icon Ruth Draper.

His local career caught fire when he starred in Tom Eyen’s The Dirtiest Show In Town in 1972 and has not stopped stirring controversy, asking questions, and sometimes finding answers.

His work illuminating issues around HIV/AIDS is encyclopedic and likely unparalleled, crisscrossing all media—motion pictures, television, theater worldwide, several books and hundreds of magazine articles. His landmark solo theater piece, intimacies, gained international attention throughout the Nineties with appearances in almost every major city in America as well as tours in England, Germany, and Australia. He appeared on screen in And The Band Played On and wrote several theatre books, many focusing on AIDS (T-Cells & Sympathy and The Drama of AIDS among them). His autobiography, The Truth Is Bad Enough tells all.

The notion of docudrama, presenting real life stories in a theatrical setting, began with AIDS/US, a revolutionary piece of theatre in the mid-Eighties that presented a group of individuals (not actors) who were affected by or infected by the virus. That theatre piece led to sequels: AIDS US II and AIDS US/WOMEN.

In the mid-Nineties, Kearns employed the same paradigm, working with the Downtown Women’s Center on L.A.’s Skid Row for a decade, founding the DIVAS (Dames Invested In Very Authentic Storytelling) and presenting more than a dozen Spoken Word performances throughout the city, including yearly appearances at the West Hollywood Book Fair.

Kearns’ prodigious body of work is largely defined by solo performance which he has created, directed, and performed throughout his career—from L. A. to Off Broadway.  Most recently, he directed the highly lauded Wrap Your Heart Around It with LynnMarie Rink at the Falcon Theater and has teamed with the prolific David Trudell for three solo pieces, including his most recent, Queer And Now.

Kearns works closely, in various capacities, with the Skylight Theatre, Spoken Interludes Next, and Housing Works.


Members

Jane Cantillon photo by Kelvin Jones

Jane Cantillon

Jane is a 57 year-old Los Angeles based writer/performer, Emmy nominated producer and documentary filmmaker; because of her film, The Other Side, she is considered a Los Angeles gay historian.

“Among other illustrious things, I find QueerWise to be my silvery muse.”


Dolores DeLuce
photo by Kelvin Jones

Dolores DeLuce

Dolores is a 68 year old performer/ actor/ author, escaped her home of Paterson, New Jersey, as a tender teen and is keeping her youthful free spirit alive in all her creative works.

“QueerWise has given me back a sense of the community I lost to the AIDS crisis and a platform to tell my stories and our collective history.”

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Dolores DeLuce perform
"Love and Sex in the Ruins"

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Vimeo link "Sense Memory"Click to watch
Dolores DeLuce perform
"Sense Memory"

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Vimeo link "Ralph and Alice"Click to watch
Dolores DeLuce perform
"Ralph and Alice"

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Margo Edwards
photo by Kelvin Jones

Margo Edwards

Born in her grandmother’s home in Brawley, California, Margo is active in several community organizations including Gays and Lesbians Initiating Dialog for Equality (GLIDE). In a professional capacity, she develops and facilitates workshops for drug and alcohol counselors.

“I only just found my legitimate voice as a writer since becoming part of  QueerWise. I wrote poetry sporadically from age seven to sixty-four, never considering myself a serious writer.”

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Margo Edwards perform
"Only Connect"

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Margo Edwards perform
"I Do Not Believe In Marriage"

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Margo Edwards perform
"Autumn Tripped Me"

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David Parke Epstein
photo by Kelvin Jones

David Parke Epstein

David is a 64 year-old native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, who enjoyed a career as an editor/writer for magazines.

"Thanks, QueerWise. You got me writing again."


Brian Frank
photo by Kelvin Jones

Brian Frank

Brian, 58, born in Baltimore, Maryland. In the last year, he quit his “life-sucking day job” and has become a music therapist for seniors suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia.

“Being exposed to my fellow QueerWisers for three years has allowed me to take a hard look at my past and made me look quite differently at my future."


Deanie Hochman
photo by Kelvin Jones

Deanie Hochman

Deanie burst onto the streets of New York sixty eight years ago. She loves outrageously stomping down the avenue struttin' her stuff.

“Michael Kearns has a compassionate generosity of spirit that has made his QueerWise creation a safe place to develop as a writer and a person.”


Bonnilee Kaufman
photo by Kelvin Jones

Bonnilee Kaufman

Born in Brooklyn, reared to be a teacher, Bonnilee fell in love with raven haired Robin G. In the first grade. She was butch then. Now at 59, she feels blessed to be alive and is very femme.

“QueerWise embraced me from the moment I stepped in. It is a creative writing class with a political bent by virtue of us all being aging queers with intense herstories/histories that we are willing to document and share.”

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Bonnilee Kaufman perform
"The Truth Version 1"

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Bonnilee Kaufman perform
"I Am Queer"

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Bonnilee Kaufman perform
"Jonesing"

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Bonnilee Kaufman perform
"Slippage"

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Bonnilee Kaufman perform
"The Letter"

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Joseph A. Levy
photo by Kelvin Jones

Joseph A. Levy

Joe was born on Flag Day, 1929, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to a middle-class Jewish family that ate first, then talked; stage-struck Joe wrote living-room entertainments for his younger sister and him; burst into the business world as a law-firm office boy; ushered at the New York Paramount; sold Pioneer Suspenders, Jerks Socks and R.H. Macy’s roller skates; served as Special Services NCO for 7th Army in Germany; taught, performed and choreographed ballroom dancing; was adman for various agencies in the Big Apple and the Big Orange; coordinated volunteers for Shriners Hospitals for Children-LA and is currently unemployed.

“From the moment I sharpened a No. 2 pencil, I loved writing and feel fortunate, indeed, to be a member of QueerWise, where I relish the process as well as bask in the joy of my mates’ creativity and warm familial camaraderie.”

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Joe Levy perform
"What's Love Got To Do With It"

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Joe Levy perform
"Rants in my Pants"

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Joe Levy perform
"Good Times and Bad Times"

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Joe Levy perform
"Something's Afoot"

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Tim Mack
photo by Kelvin Jones

Tim Mack

Tim is 62 years old, born in Santa Monica, California. Teacher , writer, pineapple salesman.

“My voice is the voice of the longing, empowered by QueerWise.”


Ariana Manov
photo by Kelvin Jones

Ariana Manov

Age 67, born in Berkeley, California, Ariana has worked fifty years as a grassroots activist/alchemist with the dregs of humanity. She’s putting in thirty plus years as a radical radio broadcastjournalist/producer and host. 

"I love my QueerWise family because it's astonishingly full of deliciously quirky personalities, challenges and transformations --and it gives me political and artistic visibility as a fat, old, disabled dyke."


Trevor Norris
photo by Kelvin Jones

Trevor Norris

Trevor is 64 years of age.  At age 27, he moved to California from London to go to graduate school at UCSB to study art. He is interested in all aspects of language: the multifaceted appearances, meanings and sounds (music) of words.  I teach art, curate art and design art installations. I make art and now I also write.

“QueerWise has taught me to articulate my story and shown me how to stand up in front of friends and strangers alike to perform my own words without stuttering.”

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Trevor Norris perform
"Bugs Bunny Hero"

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Trevor Norris perform
"No Turning Back"

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Trevor Norris perform
"There Is No God"

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Trevor Norris perform
"He Hasn't Learned Why"

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Jennie OConnor
photo by Kelvin Jones

Jennie OConnor

Born in St. Louis over 50 years ago, Jennie has been a professional student, a teacher, an unsuccessful wife but grateful mother of a cool son, a theatrical director, a playwright, an Imagineer with Disney and, after finally coming out, a lesbian writer and storyteller.

“Joining QueerWise was a lifesaver, allowing me to explore and expand my creative voice as a Lesbian in the company of a warm, inviting and safe group of like-minded writers and under the guidance of an inspiring leader, Michael Kearns.” 


Ric Parish
photo by Kelvin Jones

Ric Parish

Born in 1960,Los Angeles, Ric is a proud Angelino and recovering Catholic turned Nichiren Buddhist, he will always be a child of three worlds: Filipino, African-American, Queer.

QueerWise provides a safe space where our stories, our history, our herstory and our collective consciousness crescendo into one harmonic rainbow of culture and spirit.”

Vimeo linkClick to watch
Ric Parish perform
"Connections"

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Ric Parish perform
"Connections 2: Time"

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Ric Parish perform
"Goodbye Jesus"

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Ric Parish perform
"Ricky Nelson"

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Jim Pentecost
photo by Kelvin Jones

Jim Pentecost

Sixty-three years young, Jim was born in New York , worked in the theater and movie biz, now teaching Drama to inner city   High School students and love the process of discovering their stories.

“QueerWise has provided a place to create the many, many stories I have longed to tell. I have a lot to say and writing them and speaking them is a huge thrill.”


 

Robin Podolsky

Robin is Los Angeles born and made; flak, squint, scribe; working class by birth; scholar by inclination; street activist; suit-wearing functionary; ordained Rabbi; teacher; queer.  

QueerWise is like meeting a dozen friends in a coffee house to write together, friends who hear each other’s truths and hold tight in hard times and who get each other’s jokes.”

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Robin Podolsky perform
"Nothing but a Party"

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Robin Podolsky perform
"Homo for the Holidays"

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Robin Podolsky perform
"Sisters Give Rides To Sisters"

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Bradley C. Rader

Brad is 54 years of angst and ambivalence; having conquered (or, at least, managing to survive) in the fields of TV animation and comic books, he is now branching out into the realm of writing and performance.

“Ambivalent as I am, QueerWise is an opportunity to dip my toe into the literary waters, so to speak, and see if this is an area I want to pursue further.”


 

Cass Sowa

A Manhattan born and bred professional and dedicated left-brain being, Cass looks out over her 77 years as a wondrous and rich vista of experience, knowledge and passion to be shared with all.

“And along came QueerWise in the spring of my 76th year, seeping, flowing, flooding, into my life, opening new pathways for creativity and passion.”