– Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine
‘revelatory and inspirational … Jenkinson is a must-see because of her technical excellence, ability to create beauty, and rare personable flair for drama.’
- Johnny Ray Huston, SF Bay Guardian
‘amazingly skillful performance’
- Leah Garchik, SF Chronicle
‘campy, intellectual juxtaposition of pop culture and high art’
– Evan James, San Francisco Magazine
‘Uncompromised vision, inner tension, and an adoring public: These are the ingredients of greatness.’
Hiya Swanhauser, SF Weekly
San Francisco Magazine: ‘True & Faux‘
Dance Anthropologist: Review of ‘Drag Movement Study’ in the Movement Research Festival, NYC
7×7 Magazine: ‘Hot 20 Under 40‘
Monique in Bust Magazine
Monique Jenkinson is a multifaceted artist whose work places itself in the gaps between dance, theater, drag and performance art. She has created and performed internationally and locally at ODC Theater, CounterPULSE, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the de Young Museum, and Trannyshack in San Francisco; the New Museum, Judson Church, Danspace Project, Howl Festival and the legendary Stonewall in New York; the Met Theatre in Los Angeles; the New Orleans Fringe Festival; the Coachella Festival; and in Reykjavik, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and London.
Monique’s drag queen alter ego, Fauxnique, a prolific fixture on the experimental performance scene, made history as the first woman to win San Francisco’s infamous Miss Trannyshack Pageant and was named ‘Best Drag Act’ (2009) in the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay Readers’ Poll. She also appears in the documentary Filthy Gorgeous: the Trannyshack Story and the April/May ’08 issue of Bust magazine.
Notable projects and accolades include: a de Young Museum Irvine Fellowship for 2012, two successful solo shows (Faux Real, which played in New York and London after a sold-out San Francisco run, and Luxury Items, which culminated to acclaim at CounterPULSE after a sold out premiere at ODC Theater), playing the DIRT (a role originated by Justin Bond) in Taylor Mac’s Lily’s Revenge at the Magic Theater and originating the eponymous role in Silver for Gold: the Odyssey of Edie Sedgwick by David J. (of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets fame), visual art exhibitions Scores (Lawrimore Project, Seattle) and Presence (Torrance Art Museum), Truly Madly Deeply at the Movement Research Festival in New York, vocals and video for the club dance track ‘Lipstique,’ a Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery (GOLDIE) Award for Performance, SF Weekly’s ‘Best Performance Artist 2010,’ and 7X7 Magazine’s ‘Hot 20.’
Monique spent five years as co-director (with actor Kevin Clarke) of the performance duo Hagen & Simone, is a past artist-in-residence at ODC Theater and CounterPULSE, and a 2007 recipient (with mentor Keith Hennessey) of the CHIME Grant. Her solo and collaborative work has also received support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission and Theatre Bay Area. She has a B.A. in Dance and Literature from Bennington College.
Monique Jenkinson is a performer and maker of performance. Though her work moves outside and between recognizable genres, she maintains deep roots in dance. She presents her work in theaters, nightclubs and museums, and seeks to explore connections and tensions between art and entertainment, between contrivance and ‘the moment,’ and between freedom and limitation. Her work explores femininity, glamour, physicality, difficulty, and process. “I approach choreography as image making, and dance as an opportunity to revel in the visceral. I use the face as an integral part of the dancing body and delight in exposing the labor of dancing. ”
Though her early training was in ballet, her subsequent education and art practice reach toward the interdisciplinary and unclassifiable. “I have not ‘fallen into’ the spaces between disciplines, but have intentionally placed myself there – drawing on physicality (classical ballet and post-modern improvisation), theatricality (camp, the ridiculous and the absurd), and theory (queer and feminist). From this position, I strive to create specific, pointed works.”
Jenkinson emerged out of a feminist, postmodern, improvisational dance and choreographic lineage at Bennington College (Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer), but grew toward a tradition of radical queer performance (Jack Smith, John Kelly, Leigh Bowery) that uses glamour, excess, and drag to entertain, transcend and horrify. “Yvonne Rainer said ‘no to spectacle’ so that I could say yes to sequins.” Rather than reject the traditional trappings of performance and the performance of femininity, Jenkinson embraces them. Her practice of feminism celebrates glamorous women as masters of artifice, and her intimacy with both the oppressive and empowering effects of feminine tropes allows her to create a zone of play, from which she makes her particular critique.
Since 2003 Jenkinson has been deeply engaged in an ongoing performance project, Fauxnique, her drag queen persona. Fauxnique is a lens through which Jenkinson magnifies her artistic concerns. Born out of the scene at Trannyshack, the San Francisco nightclub institution, Fauxnique typifies and expands a particular evolution of drag-based performance (the Cockettes, General Idea, Bowery) that is dirty and smart, abject and transcendent, going beyond camp show-tunes into the realms of punk rock, horror, high drama, and total gender subversion. In this realm, the definition of ‘drag queen’ expands from ‘man as woman’ into another kind of mutable creature, allowing Jenkinson to embody Fauxnique as a clown, monster or diva, but always with an exaggerated sense of glamour and femininity.
Through Fauxnique, Jenkinson explores classical rigor by approaching the established tradition of the drag lip synch as a dance in its own right, with its own set of strict technical demands. She carefully choreographs her drag ‘numbers’ so they are not only theoretically, but literally, dance works. Seen in their nightclub context, but read as dance, these short, sharp and entertaining pieces show the specificity of her movement exploration and transcend their pop form. They involve popular music, and make references not only to popular culture, but also to art, history and politics, dovetailing with her theatrical works.
Jenkinson engages in constant, critical examination of the intersections and differences between her nightclub-going and theater/dance-based audiences. She sees her relationship with them as a realm of ‘outness.’ ‘In all of my work, I strive to invite, reveal and communicate: to acknowledge the shared experience between performer and observer.’