NO CRUISING: Pistil

Artist Sebastian Hernandez (HYPANTHIUM, REDCAT) debuts Pistil – a new experimental work commissioned by NAVEL around the queer mythology of 1959’s Cooper Donuts riot. A group of performers embody complex and ever-evolving legacies in the fight to exist, parsing decades of sociocultural shift to ask: where are we now?

With Nareg Nikolay Karamyan, Miguel Reyna and Chen Di Xuan.

NOTE THAT THIS PERFORMANCE INCLUDES NUDITY, LASERS AND STROBES.

With delicious vegan donuts provided by Donut Farm LA

Pistil is part of our NO CRUISING program, at NAVEL from May 16–18. A portion of this event’s proceeds will be donated to the California Coalition for Women Prisoners’s #MeTooBehindBars initiative.


Sebastian Hernandez is an LA native and multi-disciplinary artist who received a B.A. in both Art Practice and Dance and Performance Studies from the University of California Berkeley in 2016. They make art that ranges from drawings to paintings and performance art works. Hernandez employs a feminist theoretical analysis, gender identity, queer theory, browness and notions of collectivity as modes of thinking and generating works that shift and complicate Mexican and Chicano narratives in the contemporaneous social imagination. Their art making is influenced by an embedded connection to their indigenous Aztec/Mexica heritage and the history of the brown body in relation to the U.S.-Mexico borderland. Sebastian’s movement based practice is informed by their long standing practice of danza Azteca, Vogue and the more recent wide range of modern dance techniques they acquired at Cal. Sebastian’s work inherently challenges traditional notions of space as they deal with their work’s interdisciplinary nature within both art and dance contexts.

Chen Di Xuan: My limbs shake uncontrollably as sensuality pumps through my veins.
The sensation can only be described as the numbness and tingles one feels on their lips when eating boiled fish loaded with Sichuan peppercorns. A light as bright as the rising sun beams through my body and a woman resembling my mother bursts through my skin.
I can still hear the people marching on in agonizing ecstasy, as their flesh and blood become stones, sand, and bricks.

Nareg Nikolay Karamyan (@nikotheikon) is a director, photographer and performer from Los Angeles. His video anthology “Caught Feelings,” a collaboration with artist Tierney Finster, has been exhibited across the United States and Europe, and his photography has appeared in publications such as Vogue and Dazed and Confused. Most recently, Karamyan has acted as a pop star doppelgänger in the SSION videos “Comeback” and “Inherit” and as an Italian fashion designer in the FX series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” Karamyan’s multimedia work often explores pleasure, identity and a disruption of social convention.

Miguel Reyna is Mexican/Salvadorean multimedia creative born and raised in Los Ángeles. At a very young age, being trained as a competitive track & field runner, learned structure and form and awareness of body movement. After gaining awareness of self through the years in that environment it became apparent that the competitive sporting world was no place for a young queer soul, so chose to be completely separated at early adulthood. Leaving a past life behind, they went searching for refuge within the city, followed their instincts and flowed with the winds that led them through many dreams and obstacles, finding love and acceptance within the late night club scene and art community, freeing themselves through dance. Never being committed to any institution of education, found knowledge through amazing people and opportunities in life. From managing logistics at an electronic component distributing company (Master Electronics), to being a brand ambassador for Herradura/El Jimador tequila. Now Miguel currently serves as creative director for Bloom & Plume (Maurice Harris), a luxurious queer operated floral design studio in Echo Park. Implementing floral, set, and event design, photography, large scale installations, etc. Miguel has finally found a home where they can play creatively and freely but the desire to spread love and light is never ending, and will continue to work toward pushing the boundaries of acceptance through their body and mind.