Shannon Funchess is an iconic figure in the underground music scene as the founder, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist of the dark, electronic band Light Asylum. Funchess developed her powerful contralto singing in a Southern Baptist church choir as a child, adding Joy Division and Bauhaus to her list of influences as a teen. She moved to Seattle in the late 1980s, performing in indie rock bands, before moving to New York in 2001. Funchess’s vocal prowess has been sought after for many collaborations with acts such as TV on the Radio, The Knife, and LCD Soundsystem. In 2015, she participated in a Knight Foundation residency in Detroit, spearheaded by the electronic duo ADULT. Funchess, now residing in Portland, Oregon, is currently enlivening a twenty-year DJ career, performing new solo material under the moniker Healing Crisis and producing the sophomore follow-up album to Light Asylum’s 2012 self-titled debut LP released on Mexican Summer Records.
John Kelly is a New York City downtown legend whose works dealing with queer identity and the AIDS crisis have been performed at The Kitchen, Lincoln Center, the Warhol Museum, the Whitney Biennial, PS 122, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, and London’s Tate Modern. Kelly has received two Bessie Awards; two Obie Awards; two NEA American Masterpiece Awards; CalArts/ Alpert Award in Dance/Performance; a Visual AIDS Vanguard Award; and the 2010 Ethyl Eichelberger Award. As a singer he has collaborated with composers David Del Tredici, Laurie Anderson, and The Jazz Passengers. Acting credits include The Clerk’s Tale (Spencer Reese), a film by James Franco. His musical gender-crossing performance as Joni Mitchell, brought Mitchell herself to tears, with the singer calling his portrayal “uncanny.” He recently released his first solo recording “Beauty Kills Me” (2016) and is currently completing his first graphic novel.
Viva Ruiz is the daughter of Ecuadoran immigrants and an artist. As a musician Ruiz has collaborated with artist Desi Santiago in their Latin art-house duo Escandalo, with Gavin Rayna Russom in the disco mystic commune The Crystal Ark, and has been a contributing vocalist for electronic music producers including The Carry Nation, Lauren Flax, and BEARCAT. As a dancer/choregrapher Viva has worked with Theo Kogan, Debbie Harry, and Danzig, as well as being a core member of the street troupe The Dazzle Dancers. Ruiz’s original telenovelas have been shown at festivals and art spaces such as Mix NYC, Outfest LA, Deitch Projects, PS1 Moma, and Futura in Prague. She is an actor and performance artist working in the past with audio visual assault pioneers the Big Art Group and most recently starred in Bruce La Bruce’s latest feature The Misandrists. Ruiz is currently creating wearable graphics and a body of music around her abortion de-stigmatization project Thank God For Abortion. A self titled show was mounted in June 2017, as a weeklong shop, installation symposium, and prayer campaign at Larrie, NYC. Ruiz’s multimedia solo show Pro-Abortion Shakira is slated for Participant Gallery Spring 2019.