MC Coble

© Things Change Anyway, artist book by MC Coble and Louise Wolthers, 2023.

USA / Sweden

Embracing unpredictability, messiness and failure MC Coble has worked with performance art for over 20 years, through this time aiming to manifest problems of bodily, societal and symbolic navigation particularly focusing on issues of injustice and normative boundaries. Recurrent themes in Coble’s work revolve around queer politics evolve around the intersection of queer politics and activism.

Coble‚Äôs work, which has been included in exhibitions such as Queer Objectivity at The Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland (Baltimore, USA); The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics at theSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, USA); Lost and Found: Queerying the Archive at the Nikolaj Center of Contemporary Art (Copenhagen, Denmark); and in the internationally traveling archive re.act.feminism #2‚Äďa performing archive.

Coble has performed live as part of 13 Festivalen, Festival of Performance Art (Gothenburg, Sweden), Rapid Pulse Performance Festival (Chicago, USA), MADE Festival (Umea, Sweden); in Commitment Issues presented by FADO Performance Art Centre (Toronto, Canada), Global Feminisms, Brooklyn Museum of Art (NY, USA) and in Performa 05 at Artists Space (NYC, USA).

Coble is a Senior Lecturer in the Fine Art Unit, MFA Programs at Valand Academy of Art, Gothenburg University, Sweden.

Dana Michel


Dana Michel is a mover. Her training scales tip towards athletics. Before tossing herself into dance at the age of twenty- five, she was competitively involved in track and touch football ‚Äď pivotal in her constructions. Her work has been presented extensively since 2005 including on Mange ta Ville – a program on ARTV (RadioCanada), at DanceOff! PS122 – New York, at The Proving Ground ‚Äď Salt Lake City and at The Festival of Choreographic Miniatures – Belgrade, Serbia. Her award-winning solo,¬†the greater the weight¬†was adapted to film by Mouvement Perpetuel and has been touring internationally since 2007.

Recently, Dana performed at the Festival Particules in Geneva (Switzerland) where she presented the first remix performance of her ambitious 1976 / International Musical Chairs project. A relative newcomer to contemporary dance, Dana has already been recognized for her achievements, winning the Studio 303 Best Dance Production prize at the Montreal Fringe Festival and the Montreal Hour’s Best in Dance in 2005. In 2006, she was named Best Emerging Choreographer by the Globe & Mail. By popular vote, she‚Äôs been twice listed in the Mirror’s Best of Montreal (2008 and 2009) top ten choreographers. Most recently, the film version of the greater the weight won the jury prize for the best performance at the International Festival of Video Dance and Performance in Lisbon.

Dominic Johnson


Dominic Johnson is a Lecturer in the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary, University of London. He has performed at festivals in London at SPILL Festival of Performance, National Portrait Gallery (as part of Gay Icons) and Chelsea Theatre; and also at Fierce! (Birmingham), National Review of Live Art (Glasgow) and Sensitive Skin (Nottingham). He has performed internationally in Austria, Croatia, Denmark, France, Slovenia, and the US. Other performance work has also been shown at clubs including Torture Garden (UK, Italy and France), Duckie, Gay Shame, and elsewhere. In collaboration with Ron Athey, Incorruptible Flesh (Perpetual Wound) was presented at various performance festivals in 2006-2007. He received a Grant for the Arts from Arts Council England to develop Departure (An Experiment in Human Salvage), a touring performance using live tattooing, with Alex Binnie; it premiered at Fierce Festival in Birmingham in April 2011. Johnson is the editor of Franko B: Blinded by Love (2006), and Manuel Vason: Encounters (Performance, Photography, Collaboration) (2007), and publishes widely on performance and visual culture. His forthcoming books include Glorious Catastrophe on the work of Jack Smith (Manchester University Press) and Theatre & the Visual (Palgrave Macmillan).

Alicia Grant


Alicia Grant is a choreographer and dancer working in various constellations with other makers in Toronto and Berlin. After earning a BFA from York University, her work in performance, video, and sound design has been presented in Canada, USA, and Europe from stages to swimming pools to abandoned factories to galleries. She is one half of WITCHTITS along with Zinzi Buchanan, and has worked alongside Zoja Smutny, Andrea Spaziani, Ellen Furey, Anna Fitoussi, Ivan Björn Ekemark, Jacinte Armstrong, and Inky Lee, amongst others. She has shared why-am-i-alive dance practices at Studio 303 in Montreal, Love-In in Toronto, Ponderosa in Stolzenhagen and TanzFabrik in Berlin. Interested in power dynamics, transformation, and intimacy, Alicia is currently working on saxophone solos and a fantasy travel noise album.

The Pole Club


For 8 months in 2010, Kitty Neptune taught a group of 4 students how to pole dance. Her students, an unlikely bunch to be so taken with the pole, were speedy studies. They took on the challenge of learning a craft that is part acrobatics and part exhibitionism with dazzling results. The Pole Club had their first “Class Recital” in front of 150 of their friends. The crowd went wild and an annual event was born. Pole Club now operates as more of a collective. Each student, having found their own style and strength, strives to learn “new tricks” from each other. As well as surfing online for what the champions are doing and spurring each other on to try more difficult moves. The Pole Club is Kitty Neptune, Charissa Wilcox, Axle Blows, Shanna Miller, and Shane MacKinnon.


Canada / USA

Cassils use their hyper muscular body to undermine and interrogate systems of power and control. They view their body as a conceptual sculpture, a critique of the social pressure we feel to make our bodies conform to an aesthetic, gendered and cultural ideal. Their method is multidisciplinary and crosses a spectrum of performance, film, drawing, video, and photography, often employing many of the same strategies used by FLUXUS and guerrilla theatre.

Cassils has exhibited in London, Germany, at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwigin Vienna, Austria, at Center for Performance Research and Art in General in NYC, at the Yurba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, at USC Center for Feminist Research in Los Angeles and at Art Basel Miami Beach in Florida. They are a founding member of the Los Angeles based performance group The Toxic Titties with whom they have been working with for the past ten years. Recently, Cassils embarked on a series of solo physical performances (Hard Times¬†and Tiresias) informed by Los Angeles body building culture, Greek mythology and experimental film. These performances animate the frozen look of a film still creating an effect that is not theatrical, but cinematic. The audience has the experience of being on set, witnessing a ‚Äútake.‚ÄĚ All aspects of production are present, which reveals how the image is constructed: lighting, special effects, choreography, sound, and highly trained and manicured body.

Jess Dobkin

USA / Canada

Jess Dobkin has been a working artist, curator, community activist, mentor and teacher for more than 25 years, creating and producing intimate solo theatre performances, large-scale public happenings, socially engaged interventions and performance art workshops and lectures. Her practice extends across black boxes and white cubes, art fairs and subway stations, international festivals, and single bathroom stalls. She creates intimate solo theatre performances, large-scale public happenings, playful subversive interventions and engaging performance art workshops and lectures.

Her creative endeavours have received wide support and recognition, including repeated funding from the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art and the Astraea Foundation, and awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council. Her work has toured North America, and has been presented at renowned avant-garde venues in New York, including P.S.122, The Kitchen, LaMama, Dixon Place, Judson Memorial Church, and the WOW Cafe. In Toronto, her work has been presented at the Rhubarb! Festival, SPIN Gallery, the Inside/Out Festival, the Hysteria Festival, and other venues. Jess is currently (2022) Curator of the Performing Archives stream of a multi-year SSHRC Partnership Grant entitled, Hemispheric Encounters: Developing Transborder Research-Creation Practices.

© Jess Dobkin, How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb? (For Martha Wilson), 2015. Photo by Tania Anderson.

Commitment Issues curated by Jess Dobkin

Commitment Issues presents the work of five artists and one collective who use their bodies as primary source material to investigate qualities and dimensions of commitment‚ÄĒto ideas, to performance, to audience and to the artists themselves. Through play, risk, intimacy and sexuality, these artists transcend fixed social, psychological, physical and spiritual notions of commitment.

Further confounding the interplay of fixed notions of commitment, the venue for Commitment Issues is Oasis Aqualounge, home to Toronto’s preeminent swinger’s club. Performance sites will include the outdoor heated swimming pool, steam room, hot tub and locker room. Audiences are invited to stay late and enjoy all of Oasis Aqualounge’s amenities that also include a sauna, two bars and multiple lounges. Locker and towel service provided. Bring your bathing suit or birthday suit. Admission restricted to patrons 19+ years of age.

Cassils (Montréal / USA)
MC Coble (USA / Sweden)
Alicia Grant (Toronto)
Dominic Johnson (UK)
Dana Michel (Montréal)
The Pole Club (Toronto)

Processing: Artist’ Panel & Reception
Studio Theatre, Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse, 4 Glen Morris Street
November 17, 2011 @ 7:30pm

The panel is co-sponsored by the Graduate Centre for Study of Drama at the University of Toronto and the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto.

Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer