ALTER//ALTAR: A Playlist of Longing by Dena Igusti

Today is the release of my book, Cut Woman. The book not only touches on what it means to be an Indonesian Muslim survivor of FGM but also my personal documentation of the ongoing list of those I’ve lost.

In Cut Woman alone, there are over 230,483 deaths mentioned directly or indirectly. 15 documented (emphasis on documented) deaths of Muslims in the U.S. since 2001 (again emphasis on documented. I know more have been lost). 230,000 from the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia that was parodied into a song. Over 563 from the earthquake in Lombok in 2018 that was undermined due to western media’s attention towards white tourists. A version of me that could have been. A version of my father that could have been. My grandmother. My friends, family members, and even my first boyfriend.

During the writing of the first draft of Cut Woman, three people I loved died. During the time between the acceptance of my book until its release, four more perished. Cut Woman is my requiem for all of them, including myself. I don’t know how long I’ll sing for them but I’ll do it anyway.

The following songs are of my love and mourning, how my love is always a form of mourning, and in turn, my mourning is a form of love.


You can purchase a copy of Dena Igusti’s Cut Woman here.




Lexie Bean is back again for another reading! This time, they will be reading from their debut middle grade novel, THE SHIP WE BUILT.

You can get your copy signed here or get a copy if you can’t afford one here! If you are able to donate to Lexie’s Venmo, 50% of profits go towards giving free books to people who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise and the rest will go towards supporting Lexie! Just Venmo @Alexandria-Bean with subject line “Ship Donation”


Reading via ZOOM:

Meeting ID: 741 9195 8719

VENMO: @Alexandria-Bean

Lexie Bean is a queer and trans multimedia artist from the Midwest whose work revolves around themes of bodies, homes, cyclical violence, and LGBTQIA+ identity. Lexie’s writing has been featured in Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, The Feminist Wire, Ms. Magazine, Bitch Magazine, Them, Logo’s New Now Next, Bust Magazine, Autostraddle, and more. They have also performed, curated, and facilitated around the world. Their most recent anthology, “Written on the Body,” with/for fellow trans and non-binary survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence was nominated for a 2019 Lambda Literary Award. Their debut middle grade novel, “The Ship We Built,” is out now with Dial Books for Young Readers at Penguin Random House.

BLUR: Short Line’s Newest Series on NYC-Raised, Not Based Artists

Short Line Review is releasing its latest project, BLUR, in June 2020 about NYC artists that tackle the elitism in the NYC arts scene.

BLUR is an ongoing digital series about NYC-raised artists/creatives and how they navigate their work alongside NYC’s current issues. With gentrification, socio-economic disparity, segregation, and art institutions prioritizing generational wealth and out of state artists, and more, what does it mean for actual New Yorkers to be an NYC “based” artist? 

“NYC- ‘based’ doesn’t mean you’re actually from this city anymore.” says Short Line Review founder and BLUR curator Dena Igusti. “I’m tired of people claiming stake to a place they’ve never actually lived in, while those of us who do face the repercussions. Even with this current pandemic, the people NYC prioritized all left. Us New Yorkers have to stay here, because this is where we’re from, and all of us have to survive or organize to help our own survive. Yet, we’re barely supported, especially in the arts in our own city. I wanted to hone in on these issues and highlight the artists I hold near and dear to me.”

BLUR will release its first interview in June, featuring interviews with musicians, writers, artists, photographers, producers, and more.


SHARUM Completes First Show Week

SHARUM wraps up the first week of its NYC debut at The Players Theatre, with two weeks left under its Self Production Residency. 

SHARUM, written by Mohammad Murtaza and Dena Igusti, is a documentary theatre piece that follows a Muslim family based in Queens, New York. The story follows the wedding of the oldest daughter, Mariam. Throughout the events of the wedding, all 4 of the siblings are forced to come face to face with the reality of their identities, battling the stigmas around mental health, arranged marriages, drug addiction, and queerness. In the midst of this ceremony, these secrets get exposed to each other and the community around them. SHARUM recalls true events in these scenarios that capture the responses of their parents, and the ways it permanently affects their family dynamic. 

The Muslim-written production had its first run in late 2018 at Hunter College, and is now having its first Off-Broadway run directed by Ray Jordan Achan and co-produced by UNCOMMON;YOU and Eat At The Table Theater Company at The Players Theatre till July 27th. 

“Sharum is an experience that needed to be staged in order to represent the everyday internal and external struggles that Muslims fight through behind closed doors” says Mohammad Murtaza in SHARUM’s end notes. “This play is my love letter to my community – a story for and by Muslim Americans. It’s also my fight with my community –  a shout at the uncles and aunties, and mulvis, and imaams, and ammis and abus, who don’t recognize their children for who they are; a mix of two cultures.”

“This production is a love letter to every haram auntie, uncle, sibling, cousin, and family friend who stops showing up to the mosque during Eid.” says Dena Igusti. “Shame manifests in ways beyond the jeering eyes of gossiping folks at the mosque. It can be internal, external, presented as protection, concern, and sometimes love. Muslims are constantly forced to navigate life and identity though shame from both Islamophobia as well as community stigma that comes with their other intersecting identities. SHARUM not only addresses various perspectives of what it means to be Muslim, but how there isn’t a ‘right’ way to do right by those around you.”

“So often in our theater cannon do we not see stories of Muslim Americans depicted. This production offers a perspective into the conflicts that arise as generations and cultural values clash. It is a story about love and family and the lessons we learn from them.” writes Ray Jordan Achan at the end of SHARUM’s program. 

SHARUM will continue its run till July 27th at The Players Theatre. For tickets and discounts, click here.