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Meredith Alexander, News Service (650) 725-0224; e-mail

Award-winning lesbian performer to visit Stanford May 9-10

Award-winning performance artist Peggy Shaw is coming to Stanford, and she has a lot to talk about. Stanford's Feminist Studies Program and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center are bringing the New York-based performer to campus for a special show and workshop.

Shaw has spent more than 20 years working in lesbian theater. A Boston native, Shaw only began performing at age 31. In an interview with New York's Village Voice newspaper, she explains how she tumbled into theater by becoming a set designer in the early 1970s. She toured Europe with the Hot Peaches troupe and began to appear on stage in lesbian roles. Back in New York in 1978, she was asked to join the feminist Spiderwoman Theater.

In 1980 with her partner Lois Weaver, she formed Split Britches, a New York theater company with a pioneering focus on work by lesbians.

Shaw is now considered one of the grandes dames of lesbian performance.

At Stanford, she will share her most recent creation: Menopausal Gentleman, a solo performance that explores what it is like to be a middle-aged woman who dresses as a man. Shaw wears a tailored suit and describes her experience of menopause, alternately speaking, singing, lip-synching and dancing on stage.

The show has garnered rave reviews during its tour of the United States and Britain. Shaw "turns in an amazing gender-bending performance," said the Boston Globe, "and she does it in a way that gets past gender wars or political correctness. [Menopausal Gentleman is] a real ready-for-prime-time spellbinder."

The San Francisco Bay Guardian also lauded her work, calling Shaw "a riveting performer with extraordinary comic timing."

Shaw will give a lecture along with the performance on May 9 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium. A reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

On May 10, Shaw will conduct an afternoon workshop on performance technique. For more information, contact Ben Davidson at



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