CMS Speaker Series
The CMS Speaker Series is dedicated to advancing discourse and learning around contemporary issues in communication and media studies across disciplinary boundaries.
The CMS program brings a diverse roster of speakers to campus to spark intellectual curiosity and engage the campus and Chestertown community in contemporary debate around a wide variety of issues.
For a list of past speakers, student seminars, and public lectures please click here.
The series is overseen and curated by Prof. Kozma with the assistance of Prof. Grosse. Past speakers have been generously supported by the William James Forum Fund, the Business Management Department, and the program in Black Studies.
2019-2020 Speakers & Events
FALL 2019 | September 20th & 21st
The Diva Saga: The Legend of the Worst Drag Queen
A multi-channel video installation and live performance piece, The Diva Saga: The Legend of the Worst Drag Queen, questions constructions of sexuality, gender, and identity in a digital age and examines how Veronica Bleaus became the self-proclaimed ‘worst drag queen.’ Lampooning normative and restrictive constructions of sex, artistic judgment, and popular culture, The Diva Saga draws heavily from numerous visual and aural storytelling mediums like comic books, Japanese anime, video games, music videos, and high fantasy.
A series of campy confrontations between a live Veronica and the avatars of drag—digital identities projected on stage (also played by Veronica)—the live and digital Veronicas clash in their respective interpretations, battling each other in a fantastic, campy visual and sonic narrative. A Drag Saga uses live and digital performance to gesture to and capture the importance of camp and divas in queer processes of self-making and alternative identity construction.
Performed by John Musser as Veronica Bleaus | Produced by Scott Andrew
John Musser is a performance artist and scholar originally from Pittsburgh, PA. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he investigated the queerness of diva performance and the way that divas shape queer culture. John is presently curating an exhibit at the Spurlock Museum in Urbana, IL on drag costuming, titled In Her Closet – How to Make a Drag Queen. His alter ego, Veronica Bleaus, has been performing in drag and collaborating with visual artists since 2005. In 2009, Veronica developed a public performance series, Drive By Drag, with visual and performance artist Dani Lamorte, and in 2015 was featured in Sasha Velour’s Vym magazine (now Velour magazine). Most recently, in 2017, Veronica staged and directed Monster Love, an outré variety show which showcased the goopy and goofy aspects of queer monstrosity. Veronica believes that drag should always benefit local communities, and she frequently performs in fundraisers for community-based organizations. Learn more about Veronica here.
Scott Andrew, MFA, is a multimedia artist, working in video, installation, performance, and new media. He creates speculative fantasies that peer into otherworldly portals and voids. Scott has most notably exhibited with the Institute for New Feeling at MoMA’s PopRally (NYC), Recess (NYC), Ballroom Marfa (Marfa, TX), Whitechapel Gallery (London), Black Cube (Denver, CO), the Hammer Museum (LA), the J. Paul Getty Museum (LA), as well as many regional, national, and international venues.
Scott is an educator, advising and teaching animation, video, and performance courses as an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University, The University of Pittsburgh, and with the CMU Pre-college program. Scott has taught at Youngstown State University, Seaton Hill University, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, and has conducted workshops at the Warhol Museum, Mattress Factory, and Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.
Scott is also a curator of TQ Live!, an annual LGBTQIA variety performance at the Andy Warhol Museum. Along with Angela Washko, Scott has started a new curatorial performance series called Fail-Safe at the Glitterbox Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA. Other previous curatorial projects include the drift and the Institute for New Feeling’s Felt Book. Learn more about Scott’s work here.