Paul Festa

Credit: Adam Moco

Paul Festa's impressive array of roles, performances, creations and occupations defies any attempt at a clear definition and can be relied upon to trigger something of the unexpected. His movies include his first film Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), in which he captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen and his award-winning second film-production The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy that features Festa performing the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes.

He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco. His video performance installation Night of a Thousand Agneses premiered at MIX NYC 2014 and was nominated for the 2015 Berlin Arts Prize.

Performances as violinist and actor took place at the Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, TheatreFIRST, Stephen Pelton Dance Theater, and North Bay Shakespeare. Premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano Paul Festa performed in Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress, on the "Betts" Stradivarius).  

Paul Festa is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and The Inversions, a novel in progress and his essays appear in numerous publications and anthologies, including the New York Times Book Review.

He studied at Yale and Juilliard and had residencies at Yaddo (including the 2014 Newman’s Own Residency), MacDowell, ODC Theater, and Centre des Récollets.