Voices in Action offers a vision of the world we want to live in, celebrating joyful performance, vibrant community, and radically true storytelling. Join us at 6pm for drinks, hors d'oeuvres, light fare, music, and mingling. The main event will start promptly at 7pm.
Laganja Estranja will receive the 2023 Voices in Action award in honor of her groundbreaking work as a drag performer and trans activist. The award will be presented by Celeste Lecesne, co-founder of The Trevor Project and 2018 Voices in Action honoree.
TMI Project will honor local artists and activists for their contributions to the Hudson Valley culture and community. The evening will showcase three TMI Project storytellers, all of whom crafted their narratives in TMI Project online storytelling workshops during the pandemic, and have yet to perform for an in person audience. See the full line up below!
4 N Front St,
Kingston, NY 12401
September 28, 2023, 6pm
Festive and Fabulous!
Free, RSVP required
(donations and sponsorships are welcomed and appreciated)
Laganja Estranja (Jay Jackson) (she/her) - Performer and Honoree
Laganja Estranja (Jay Jackson) is a world renowned LGBTQIA+ icon most known for her music, choreography, and cannabis advocacy.
A U.S. Presidential Scholar in The Arts, Jackson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance and choreography from the California Institute of the Arts and launched to stardom after being selected to compete on RuPaul's Drag Race. Since then, Laganja has performed her original music across the world, spanning sixteen countries and six continents. She had performed on numerous television shows and for artists such as Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, and Christina Aguilera. In 2019, New York Magazine named Laganja as one of the “Most Powerful Drag Queens in America,” and Dope Magazine featured her on their cover, making her the first LGBTQIA+ entertainer to appear on the cover of a cannabis magazine.
Laganja has also served as the face of many advertising campaigns including but not limited to Samsung, Jack Daniels, Paramount Plus, and Sally Hanson.
Celeste Lecesne (he/they) - Presenter
Celeste Lecesne is the current Artistic Director & Co-Founder of The Future Perfect Project. They wrote the short film 'TREVOR,' which won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. Celeste is also the co-founder of The Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24-hour suicide prevention and crisis intervention Lifeline for LGBT and Questioning youth. They have written three novels for young adults and created 'The Letter Q,' a collection of letters by queer writers written to their younger selves. Lecesne was the executive producer of 'After The Storm,' a documentary film that tells the story of 12 young people living in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. An actor as well as a writer, Celeste has created several award-winning solo shows including 'The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,' 'Word of Mouth,' and 'One Man Band.' celestelecesne.com
Mariel Fiori (she/her) - Honoree
Mariel Fiori, MBA is a journalist, translator, entrepreneur and recipient of the Humanitarian Award of the NAACP and Woman of the Year award of the AAUW. Named Hartman Journalist in Residence by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Fiori is co-founder and managing editor of the award-winning La Voz magazine, a monthly Spanish language publication housed at Bard College, which has been serving the Mid-Hudson Valley and the Catskill region since 2004. Mariel is the host and executive producer of the daily Spanish language news show La Voz con Mariel Fiori on Radio Kingston, M-F 10-11am.
Perla Ayora (she/her/ella) - Presenter
Perla was born in Merida Yucatan and moved to the United States in 2010. The experience of living as a Mexican immigrant made her reflect on social issues and question her own ideologies. She turned to art to express her feelings of confusion and anger, so she began to write poems, theater scripts, illustrate and sculpt ceramics - but her favorite artistic medium is dark comedy. She currently resides in Mexico, and spends her days making ceramics, writing comedy for podcasts, and working for the TMI project. She is the mother of two children whom she loves and from whom she learns every day.
Jessieca McNabb (she/her) - Honoree
Jessieca McNabb was born in Alabama and raised in Ulster County, NY. A sought-after entertainer, comedian, and emcee, Jessieca got her comedy career started at the Laughing Wolf Comedy Club in New Paltz, NY in the nineties. Other performance credits include Rosendale Theatre, Ole Savannah, The Bearsville Theatre, The Colony, Woodstock Pub, and her monthly gig at The Lodge. Since 2019, Jessieca has served as the emcee for multiple nonprofit organizations and charity events, including Black History Month Kingston, Kingston African American Festival, Harambee, and for TMI Project’s annual Voices in Action Showcase.
Micah (he/him) - Presenter
Micah (he/him) is of mixed race (black and white) and mixed religion, and grew up in two different socio-economic homes. He is a cisgendered, working/middle class parent of two living on Munsee/Lenape land in the Mahicantuck Valley, commonly referred today as Kingston, NY, working to prove possibility and to liberate the imagination in order to see a Just Transition. He is a Worker-Trustee at Good Work Institute as well as host of Hip Hop 101 and co-host of The Breathing Room on Radio Kingston.
Meridith Robb (she/her) - Honoree
Meridith Robb serves as the Director of Administration and Media Management at Kingston based arts organization the Center for Creative Education. The mission of the Center for Creative Education (CCE) is to enrich the social and cultural awareness of our youth and community through arts, wellness and education.
Inspired by both her own musical experiences as well as her daughter’s interest in dance, Meridith witnessed the transformative power of CCE’s programs firsthand. She is a gifted teaching artist, imparting her knowledge and skills to dance enthusiasts.
Eva Tenuto (she/her) - Presenter
Eva Tenuto is the co-founder and executive director of TMI Project. Since 2010, she has brought TMI Project from her living room to a host of performance spaces, schools, detention centers, mental health facilities and the United Nations. Eva is the editor and director of multiple solo shows, one of which was awarded Best Comedic Script of 2014 in the United Solo Festival. In 2018, her directorial film debut, Vicarious Resilience, a docu short, celebrated its world premiere at The Woodstock Film Festival. Eva’s own true stories have been published on Longreads.com and in numerous anthologies including Drinking Diaries, Goodbye to All That and others. Eva studied acting at American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She received a BA in Fine Art and Women’s Studies and an MA in Elementary Education, both from Hunter College. More at www.evatenuto.com.
HUDSY - Honoree
HUDSY is an accessible, diverse and inclusive community organization that provides a platform both online on HUDSY TV (www.hudsy.tv), in-person at community screenings and events, as well as through their apprentice program and community content fund in order to celebrate, elevate and share the culture of New York’s Hudson Valley for those that live, work and play here. HUDSY strengthens, engages, and connects with their community through the power of film and storytelling with the goal of highlighting and elevating the incredible diverse voices of their region.
Blake Pfeil (he/him) - Presenter
Blake Pfeil is a multidisciplinary musician, writer, and performance artist. In addition to serving as the Operations & Programs Manager at TMI Project, he co-founded the folk fusion band Macabre Americana and hosts "The Pfeil File" on Radio Kingston. His current project is All-American Ruins, a multimedia travelogue in which he recounts his experiences exploring abandoned spaces across the United States and reimagines them via multimodal storytelling. MA, Arts Entrepreneurship, Purchase College; BFA, Musical Theatre, Emerson College, Audio Podcast Fellow, SUNY Stony Brook.
KT Kennedy (they/them) - Storyteller
KT Kennedy (they/them) is a Black queer non-binary multidisciplinary digital artist, educator, and youth program coordinator based in Brooklyn, NY, committed to resource sharing, artistic expression, and youth art programming as tools for liberation. KT is the founder and director of both BTGNC (Black Trans & GNC) Resource and Black Education Matters (BEM), and recently received their Masters in Art Education and Community Practice from NYU in 2021. KT's unique artistic practice transcends and translates to various communities, gatherings, mediums, and teachings, and they currently work as the Youth & Community Organizer for Recess Art. KT has been a part of the TMI community two+ years participating as a writer and performer for both, “Black Trans Stories Matter” Series, and ‘Stories for Choice” series.
Gabriel Perez (he/him) - Storyteller
Gabriel is a failed business owner turned comedian. He is the son of two Broadway dancers and, while never formally trained, can still cut a rug. He cannot paint. His hobbies include brewing kombucha and foraging mushrooms. Not those kinds of mushrooms. He has strong opinions on cheese that he tries to keep to himself but simply cannot. Muenster is best for grilled cheeses.
Terri Weagant (she/her) - Storyteller
Terri is an award-winning actor, writer, director, producer and documentary filmmaker. This spring, you may have seen her as a guest on the Dr Phil Show. Yes, that Dr Phil. It’s a long story, so you should just see the documentary film “Above the Bamboo Room” when it comes out later this year. It’ll all make sense. As an actor, she has performed in many parts of the US, Canada, Australia and the Czech Republic. In 2018, she came up to the Hudson Valley to perform in the solo show “Every Brilliant Thing” at the Denizen Theatre, where she met and fell in love with Eva Tenuto, Blake Pfeil and Julie Novak. Please keep that last part in the bio. And this part too. Make it weird. On screen, she was featured in an episode of "Mozart in the Jungle" where she had one line, and she said it with feeling. Terri is also a speech and accent teacher and has taught at Cornish College of the Arts and NYU’s Playwrights Horizons Theater School. She says this to sound important. She currently is a barker at a tattoo shop in Brooklyn, and has three cats and one husband. www.terriweagant.com
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