Kelly is CEO of the YWCA Southern Arizona, part of the oldest civil rights and social justice organization in the nation. She is a founding board member and teacher in the Eller Social Innovation program at the University of Arizona, and previously served as Asst. Professor of Leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She led turnaround congregations as a Lutheran pastor and is known nationally as an author and public speaker. As owner and CEO of A Renewal Enterprise, Kelly offered strategic visioning and leadership training, helping hundreds of organizations and thousands of leaders across the U.S. and Canada learn to do what matters. During the 2012 election cycle, Kelly served as Executive Director of Arizona List, and helped 39 women get elected to state and local office. At the heart of everything she has ever done is this: People come first.
Kelly and her wife, Tana, live in Tucson and Bisbee. They have three grown children and a granddaughter.
Long time feminist and LGBTQI activist. Tucson has been home since 1972. I have a colorful and dynamic story to tell about Tucson’s lesbian community, domestic violence advocacy, and the LGBTQ community including older people. I am a retired massage therapist having practiced for 35 years. I currently volunteer as chair of Southern Arizona Senior Pride and am committed to keeping a spotlight on the issues that older LGBTQI people are facing in our day to day lives.
Tucson Native and local Arizonan DJ, Tierra Owens, a.k.a Mother Tierra, has been making you move and feel the rhythm in Tucson's hottest bars. For 9 years, she has performed her sets all over downtown and Fourth Ave at venues such as Playground, Highwire Lounge, Bison Witches and R-Bar. Mother Tierra will also be performing a set at this years Dusk Music Festival in Armory Park in Tucson, Arizona along with our Treat Yo' Self Free Haircuts for LGBTQ+ and Homeless Youth Event.
Jillian is a classically trained violinist that puts a folk infusion in with her style. She grew up listening to Irish and bluegrass violin pieces, while traveling through Europe performing with the Phoenix Youth Symphony. She will be accompanied tonight by guitarist, Michael Celi as they bring a "raging water ship-vibe" to the stage. When Jillian is not performing she spends her time working as a Substance Abuse Therapist for a Tucson non-profit, and playing with her pups. Jillian also likes to explore the Tucson wilderness by taking hikes through Mt. Lemon and the surrounding mountain ranges. Nature, music, and dogs sum up most of her days here in Tucson.
Nancy Stanley took up comedy seven years ago at the age of 56. She is the founder of The Estrogen Hour, a local and regional comedy show that provides development opportunities for women comics and raises funds for charity. She was twice a semifinalist in the Arizona’s Funniest Comedian Contest and a Wild Woman of Comedy at the Laughlin Laff-Fest, and performs frequently in Tucson.
As a songwriter, singer and guitarist, Kathleen s career spans almost five decades and around the world. She began with folk and rock bands in her native New York City as a teenager. In 1974, she moved to Jerome, Arizona, where she began performing solo as well as in an intermittent duos with her renowned mentors, Americana artist Katie Lee and jazz guitar legend Joe Wolverton. In 1978, she won the prestigious Westport’s Cailean Deas Singing Pub Competition for her balladeering in Ireland. By the early 80s, Kathleen was one of Northern and Central Arizona’s most popular solo performing artists, delighting audiences with her energetic performances and unique musical diversity. She moved to Tucson in 1986 where she obtained doctoral degrees in law and anthropology. She is a popular fixture in the Tucson music and political scenes and collaborated extensively with renown blues diva Lisa Otey as well as composing scores for two of Joanna Frueh’s recent art performances. Currently, Kathleen favors an “amafessional” musical life, with house concerts, benefits, and small local restaurants as her favorite venues, and just jamming with friends. She has another CD written and ready to record. On Sundays, you can catch her with the gospel choir at Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson.
kRISTEN E. NELSON
Kristen E. Nelson is a queer writer and performer, literary activist, LGBTQ+ activist, and community builder. She is the author of the length of this gap (Damaged Goods, August 2018) and two chapbooks: sometimes I gets lost and is grateful for noises in the dark (Dancing Girl, 2017) and Write, Dad (Unthinkable Creatures, 2012). Kristen’s poem “After the Crotalus atrox” was anthologized in The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide and nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize by University of Arizona Press. She has published work in Bombay Gin, Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Tarpaulin Sky Journal, Trickhouse, and Everyday Genius, among others. Kristen shares her work frequently at venues across the United States as a featured performer for events such as the Trickhouse JournalLaunch at New York’s Bowery Poetry Club, as an opening act for singer/songwriter Dar Williams at Tucson’s Rialto Theater, and as a keynote performer at LA’s Open Press Conference.
Kristen is the founder of Casa Libre en la Solana, a non-profit writing center in Tucson, Arizona, where she worked as the Executive Director for 14 years. She now writes full-time and works part-time at The University of Arizona in Gender and Women’s Studies. She Earned her MFA in Creative Writing in 2011 from Goddard College, and her BA in English Literature with minors in Marine Science and Biology in 2000 from The University of Tampa. Kristen has been a creative writing instructor since 2010 at Naropa University, UA Poetry Center, STEP College Prep Program, Pima Community College, and The Central School Project. She specializes in teaching Personal Narrative Essay Writing, Text/Image Collaborations, and Divinatory Poetics.
Classical violinist gone rogue, Samantha Bounkeua is the founding member & songwriter of Tucson's newest local indie-blues-rock band, Half-Broke Town. She is currently an active member in other musical projects including Tucson ChamberLab, Jimmy Carr & the Awkward Moments, Two-Door Hatchback and Church of Beethoven and has appeared at almost all Tucson's biggest venues including Rialto, Fox Theatre & Hotel Congress. Samantha graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has appeared as a concerto soloist with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and frequently tours as a guest section leader of the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra.
The Drop Ladies
The Drop ladies are three passionate women (Monique "MOE" Arvizu, Anjelica "Snookie" Escarcega, and Allison Dubose), who strive to encourage strength, represent diversity, and embody powerful feminine energy through dance. Utilizing whacking, vogue, and house dance we create exciting performances to connect to our audiences, dance and non-dancer alike. We started off as staff/team members of the Drop Dance Studio and have now come together to represent our Drop Family, our dance community, and powerful women all around the world.
I grew up in the small town of Sierra Vista, AZ where I graduated from Buena Highschool in 2004. During my senior year of Highschool I was involved with volunteer work and was a recipient of the Presidential Freedom Scholarship Award for the number of hours put into volunteering. I moved to Tucson in 2010 where I graduated from Pima Community College earning an AA with an emphasis in Psychology. I currently work for the State of AZ within DES at the Family Assistance Administration as an Eligibility Interviewer for SNAP, Medicaid, and TANF. I am a drag performer whose stage name is Justin Deeper and I hold a state title as AZ Entertainer of the Year King 2018. In my spare time I partake in photography, spray paint art, and baking.
Ima Peepers is your all local hyper femme drag queen, the life of every party, and serving looks that will knock you dead. Performing and traveling for over a year and a half, Ima looks within her real life for inspiration to create numbers that are reflections from struggles as real LIVE woman, as well as pop culture, and interpretation of everyday interactions. Ima enjoys outfit reveals, long walks over gravel, cobblestone, or sand in a stylish peep toe heal, and the occasional blonde joke. But, don't let the deep sultry voice, and five o'clock shadow fool you, Ima = all woman.
Tyana Able, new found local bio queen, is originally from Ajo, AZ. Being a theatrical kid, she instantly fell in love with the art of Drag while in high school. Tyana loved performing as long as she could remember, whether it was for my grandparents or on stage for school productions. Her inspiration for drag comes in from bits and pieces from both local and international drag icons. After being captivated by local drag performers such as H.O.K., Janee Star, Diva, China Collins, Raul St. James and Rexx Pilot, She was captivated and inspired. Glad to have found an art that not only lets her perform and entertain, she see's drag as an opportunity to be able to also use it as a way to help her community.
In just 2 years, contemporary folk/Americana singer-songwriter Joyce Luna has become one of Tucson's most sought-after performers. Joyce blends beautiful soulful singing with poetic, smart & thought-provoking songwriting that’s both intimate & universal. Her acoustic guitar work alternates from intricate finger-picking to rhythmic strumming that gets her audience moving to the music & singing along!
Joyce's romantic streak is balanced by a deep understanding of the pains & joys of modern society, an ability to chronicle the vagaries of love, an unwillingness to be silent about injustice, & a belief that music can (& must) change the world--all laced with humor & positivity.
Her debut solo album Every Road We Take (co-produced by Ryan David Green of Ryanhood!!) was released in May 2018 & has been on the Folk DJ Chart of Top Albums (ranked by frequency of airplay) in both May & June. An album review in June's No Depression Magazine says:
"Raw, heartful music will never lose its style like it'll never lose its sense of self. Joyce Luna's 'Every Road We Take' is an underrated form of cool, embracing a form of sincerity and clarity that seems to evade many in our current songwriting landscape." -Jonathan Frahm
And Lahri Bond writes "... [Joyce] possesses exactly what the throngs of angst-mad modern folk singers only crave: originality, wit & style."
Kayla Lakeberg is a Vocalist, former band member, Arizona transplant and local Karaoke Champion. Originally from Anaheim, CA, Lakeberg moved to Tucson at the age of 3. Her passion for singing began at the age of 5, while singing at her local church. Now, at age 29, She continues her passion for singing. Lakeberg's history includes back up vocals for a local band, winning 1st place multiple times in local karaoke competitions, and is hosting karaoke Margarita Bay. She currently is competing to be “The One”, a singing competition, at Charlie’s in phoenix.
Elliot Jones is the Music Director of the Arizona Repertory Singers, Director of Music at the Episcopal Church of the Apostles, and hosts Downtown Tucson’s Piano Bar each Thursday evening at Old Town Artisans/La Cocina. He holds degrees from New York University, Indiana University, and the University of Arizona. Dr. Jones has served on the music faculty at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Wesley College, Culver-Stockton College, The Music School of Delaware, and Saint Andrew's School. His students have been accepted to All-State and All-Eastern choruses, and have appeared with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the Tucson Symphony, Shreveport Opera, and Opera Delaware. He was the founding Artistic Director of the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware, the first GALA Choir in the state. His work with singers was recently featured on National Public Radio/Arizona Public Media.
Artist and Authors
Amber Doe has exhibited work professionally for over six years. Her work has been exhibited in unique and exciting venues like the luxury hotel The Thief, in Oslo, Norway, K supermarket in Hämeenkyrö, Finland, Gabriel Rolt Gallery in Amsterdam, La Ira De Dios Gallery in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Scottsdale Public Library, Scottsdale, AZ, Can Serrat Residency and Gallery in El Bruc, Spain and Biblioteca Communale Como in Lake Como, Italy. She has received numerous grants and support from the Lyman Fund, as well as successful independent fundraising campaigns to support her work in Finland, Spain, Italy, Argentina and Norway. Doe has also published poetry and prose in Finnish journal, Hesa Inprint. Most recently, Doe has published “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers” in the African American Horror anthology Sycorax’s Daughter, a finalist for the Horror Writer Associations Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in an Anthology (2017).
Doe received a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in sculpture and filmmaking in 2002. She was raised on an Indian reservation outside Charlotte, NC and Philadelphia, PA. After living in New York City for over twelve years she is currently based in Tucson, AZ.
Iris Escalante has been painting, jewelry making, traditional Native American loom and dream catcher making for over 35 years. She studied at the University of Arizona and learned traditional Native American craft on a reservation in North Carolina. She has exhibited in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and North Carolina. A passionate appreciator of animals, nature and art she would love to visit South America, Spain and France.
Chip Travers is a local legend for his artistic contributions for local Tucson businesses, churches and community organizations . Recently a featured artist-in-residence at De Grazia’s Gallery of the Sun, Chip infuses his drawings of Sonoran desert animals, Western cowboy romance and whimsical Day of the Dead creations with an ability to capture their intrinsic flavor as only an acute observer and experienced artist can depict.
Previously Chip was an art director and marketing director designing a ton of award winning pieces for the Food and Beverage and Sport Promotion Industries in and around the Old Pueblo.
Linda D. Addison is the award-winning author of four collections, including How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend, and the first African-American recipient of the HWA Bram Stoker Award®. In 2018 she received the HWA Lifetime Achievement Award. She has published over 300 poems, stories and articles and is one of the editors of Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove Publishing), an anthology of horror fiction/poetry by African-American women. Catch her latest work in anthologies Cosmic Underground (Cedar Grove Publishing), and Scary Out There (Simon Schuster). Her site: www.lindaaddisonpoet.com.
Mrs. Deanna Chavez has a degree in Social Services specializing in Substance Abuse. She is also licensed by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. Deanna graduated with honors and is a member of PHI THETA KAPPA. She earned a distinction of being named The National Dean’s List an honor bestowed only on the top one percent of college students. In addition, Mrs. Chavez attained her ordination credentials and is now an independent Christian Minister. She was invited by Church Board Members to participate in Water Of Life “Leading With Love Program” for her leadership and skills. Deanna has facilitated groups for youth and adults. She has volunteered at Parenting Arizona and Pima County’s Victim Witness Program. Mrs. Chavez loves to help heal others in our community.
Kathleen Glasgow is the author of the New York Times best-selling novel, Girl in Pieces. Girl in Pieces, chosen by teen readers at numerous high schools as a favorite read, has been named to best of lists by The New York Public Library, Amazon, TAYSHA, Goop, TeenVogue, BN Teen, Refinery29, EW.com, TeenReads, and more.
Girl in Pieces has been long listed for the Waterstones Book Prize and the CILIP Carnegie Medal, along with being a finalist for the Amelia Walden Book Award. Her second young adult novel, How to Make Friends With the Dark, will be published by Random House/Delacorte in June, 2019.