Jonathan Olivares

Dear Lover/Dear Habibi

Performance, All Ages
Advocate & Gochis Galleries at the Los Angeles LGBT Center

1125 N McCadden Pl
Los Angeles, 90038

Thousands of miles away from our homelands, several generations removed from our ancestors, culturally dissonant and disconnected from our contemporaries, the question that bears asking is: How much of our queer histories have we already lost in the oceans and deserts and mountains between here and the place of our queer ancestors? Dear Lover/Dear Habibi is an attempt to answer these questions and to capture a piece of our queer stories and preserve our histories.

Join us for an evening of live storytelling featuring seven local LGBTQ+ artists/storytellers from the Southwest Asian/North African (SWANA) diaspora performing and reciting original letters, poems, songs, and stories of love and loss, light and shadow, heartbreak and healing, exaltation and despair, decay and renewal.

Doors open at 6:30 PM. Performance begins at 7:00 PM.

Performers include Bianca Nozaki-Nasser, Hannah Said, Mohammed Tayyeb, Mona Ghannoum, Ramy El-Etreby, Habibah Layla Nour, and Randa Jarrar.

Participant Bios

Ramy El-Etreby is a writer, performer, storyteller and educator based in Los Angeles. Ramy’s writing appears in the anthologies New Moons: Contemporary Writings by North American Muslims (2021), Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy (2014) and Graffiti (2019). Ramy has performed his solo theatre show The Ride in New York and Los Angeles. He holds an MA in Applied Theatre from the CUNY School of Professional Studies and is a VONA/Voices writing fellow. IG: @dramarams

Randa Jarrar is a writer, memoirist, and comedian sharing her experience as a Muslim American born of Egyptian and Palestinian parents. Randa Jarrar is an American writer and translator. His first novel, the coming-of-age story A Map of Home, won him the Hopwood Award, and an Arab American Book Award. Since then he has published short stories, essays, the collection, Him, Me, Muhammad Ali, and the memoir, Love Is an Ex-Country. IG: @rajarrar

Mohammad Tayyeb is a Palestinian Jordanian artist based in Los Angeles since 2018. He has written, produced, and performed five solo works: Leaving Is Forever, Cell Project Space, London; MY MUSK, MY WAIST (is burning) at The Box, Los Angeles (2019); The Liminal Space and I, REDCAT, Los Angeles (2018) and Daret el Funun, Amman; Awakening, Al-Balad Theatre, Amman (2015). Other works have been presented at Human Resources, Los Angeles; Ordet, Milan; and the National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman. He owns and operates the LA-based queer clothing brand, LOS ANDROGYNOUS. IG: @oktayyeb and @losandrogynous

Bianca Nozaki-Nasser (she/they) is an artist, designer, strategist, and educator based in Los Angeles. She works with visual and interactive media to understand, critique, and reimagine social systems of power. Born to a Syrian-Lebanese father and Japanese American mother, her creative practice and research often investigate transnational culture, material language, and the politics of artifacts. IG: @withbianca_

Mona Ghannoum (they/She/he/surprise me) grew up in Los Angeles and navigates this world as a queer non-binary, Muslim, Arab-American (and the eldest daughter in an immigrant family). Embodying the epitome of being a third culture kid from LA, they carry a passion for mental health advocacy, social activism, and finding the coolest underground art shows and concerts. IG: @monaxthemoon

Hannah Said is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practitioner and community organizer. She has an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion that is fueled by her passion for social justice, art, and authentic community building. She uses creativity and humor to bring diverse people together, to create inclusive spaces, and talk about social justice and intersectionality. Her drive for equity comes from her lived experience of being a biracial, queer, Muslim, woman.  She has a Queer and Middle Eastern mobile coffee shop called Saffron Cowboy Coffee. IG: @saffroncowboycoffee; @hannahlsaid. Catch her at the next pop up!

Habibah Layla Nour (she/her) is a Syrian trans woman who’s path of migration and exile has carried her to the unceded Tongva land (Los Angeles), her current home. Habibah was born and raised in Damascus Syria, where the Barada river, jasmine bushes, strong roses, palm leafs, and rooftops of ancient houses of worship were her first spiritual guides. Healing has always been the common center between her art making, poetry recitations, musical performances, community organizing, and spiritual offerings. Habibah works with healing as a medium that is as difficult as it is fluid and as divine as it is playful, always in transition. She labors as a Levantine spiritual and cultural inheritor to excavate the ancient truth of transfeminism as an original spiritual force, which has been greatly erased from written history, but survives through oral and embodied herstories. Her work has been presented at venues, community spaces, and spiritual homes, in Damascus, Aleppo, Paris, Montreal, Chicago, Mexico City, and Los Angeles. IG: @habibah.l.n

This program is organized by Ramy El-Etreby as part of the 2023 Circa: Queer Histories Festival, presented by One Institute. This performance is co-presented with the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

  • The Los Angeles LGBT Center is a safe and welcoming place where the LGBTQ+ community finds help, hope, and support when it is needed the most.