Details

Biography
Topics
Art & Politics
Body Image
Comedy
Internalized Oppression
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer
Performance
Poetry/Spoken Word
Storytelling
Violence Against Women
Women & Feminism

Kimberly Dark is a writer, sociologist, and raconteur, working to reveal the hidden architecture of everyday life one clever essay, poem, and story at a time. She uses humor, surprise, and intimacy to help audiences discover their influences, and reclaim their power as social creators.

Kimberly has written award-winning plays, facilitated and performed for a wide range of audiences in various countries over the past two decades. Her essays appear in popular online publications such as Everyday Feminism and Ravishly. Her poetry and prose are available in various literary and academic publications.

The storytelling performances and interactive lectures make big, complex ideas relatable at campuses, conferences, companies and anywhere people seek startling revelations and positive change. Beloved by diverse audiences, Kimberly crosses boundaries to show how we must engage all the wisdom and verve we have to create the most compassionate, fair and inclusive world we can.

Kimberly also teaches in the graduate program in Sociological Practice at Cal State San Marcos.

 

 

Testimonials

"Kimberly Dark has an uncanny way of making you think hard when you think you are only being entertained. Her keen insights seep into your questioning mind as you laugh, are captivated by stories, and are wowed by the intimacy she creates with her to-the-bone honesty.  
— Carol Plummer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Hawaii, Manoa

 

"Your shows reach students with messages that promote healthy sexuality, gender roles and body image, and contribute to creating an inclusive climate on campus where these difficult issues can be discussed in a comfortable, educational atmosphere...you made every member of the audience--no matter what their gender or sexual orientation--feel comfortable and valued as a participant in the discussion." 

— Abby Ferber, Director of Women's Studies & the Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

"I thought this [Gender, Race and Money] was a fantastic event. What I most appreciated was how you made this all observable for students through activities and participation. In particular, the the exercise with the couple, which demonstrated the gendered dynamics surrounding reproductive labor within a heterosexual couple was fantastic. I also genuinely appreciated the discussion on income inequality, especially when you asked the crowd if people could name a TV show that focuses on a family from that income bracket... I saw that students were really engaged and learning a lot through your use of exercises and participation.”

— Dr. Cesar Rodriguez, Cal State San Marcos

"Kimberly Dark is a superior story teller... She expertly blends teaching with entertaining and takes the audience into her story circle where we are welcomed and challenged!"

— William J. Doan, PhD, Penn State University

"Our students absolutely loved Kimberly's Dark lecture on "Gender, Race and Money." Our audience ranged from students who had studied this issue in depth to others who were hearing this information for the first time, and they all came away with a deeper understanding of the implications of race and gender on people's income and wealth. They particularly appreciated the interactive nature of the presentation. If your university is looking for someone who will go beyond simply explaining graphs and throwing out overwhelming statistics, then consider Dark. She makes the material real and relatable to students, and she keeps them engaged with a series of interactive activities." 

— Melissa Ooten, Associate Director, WILL Program, University of Richmond VA

 

 "...an innovative and highly original approach to a host of potentially contentious social issues, which are rarely addressed outside the college classroom. Seamlessly blending comedy and high seriousness, Dark immediately puts her audience ease and thereby engages them in a profound and honest conversation..."

— Dr. Andrea Herrera, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs Ethnic Studies Department

"The magic...lies in Dark's ability to send her pithy insights, enveloped as they are in gentle humor, straight to our hearts, the place where hope resides."

— Dr. Linda Shaw, California State University, San Marcos

"Dark is an exquisite tour guide for this heartfelt journey into the construction of the self. Through performance poetry, this soul searching and sometimes comical journey leads the audience through the blurred distinctions of gender identity which are precariously balanced between clearly drawn cultural stereotypes."

— Theatermania, Chicago

 

"Dark's powerful feminine stage presence and poetic style held the audience transfixed from start to finish as she spoke on gender..." 
— Nouveau Queer Montreal

"Dark doesn't shy away from provocative, incendiary statements, but don't expect a rant. Her shows, leavened with humor, are more likely to explore how small everyday moments can inform the arc of our lives."
— The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City UT
 

“Dark’s skill as a storyteller gets to your heart by exposing hers.”
High Plains Reader, Fargo ND

Speeches

Kimberly brings decades of experience of as a facilitator, performer/storyteller and teacher entertaining people with complex yet accessible messages about the human experience, about the body in culture and about the ways we co-create our culture.  Many of these themes are handled in Kimberly's popular and funny stage-performances. And, if you're interested in a keynote presentation or lecture, she can modify and incorporate entertaining storytelling to fit the venue and time-frame. Half-day or full-day workshops are available on any of these themes.

Things I Learned from Fat People on a Plane
This new show is about living fully in a world that hates fat. It’s about movement of all kinds – travel, exercise, romance and how fat folks are often expected to stay so still they disappear. In this performance, Kimberly Dark asks, “What’s a fat, sexy middle-aged babe have to do to get a ticket on the Respect Express (with a seatbelt big enough for safety)?”

Becoming the Subject of Your Own Story - Rather Than the Object of Another's Gaze
This spoken word performance uses humor and first-person storytelling to uncover the various ways that women (and men) cheat the world of their fabulous human potential by focusing too often on appearance, sweetness and popularity, rather than living full lives. The show does not preach or instruct. Rather audience members discover their own empowerment through Kimberly's funny and personal tales. Dark also offers five suggestions that can help anyone develop greater personal sovereignty and start becoming a more vibrant participant in life.

Complicated Courtesies
Have you learned to embrace your own complexities? We all have them: aspects of our personalities that we don't bring out in every kind of company. Do you handle your various "selves" with panache and profundity? Or do you try to pretend you're only what you show a certain audience? Come explore how to become a courteous chimera — the kind of multi-faceted, fantastical creature that has many fearsome and fantastic features and yet, remains friendly to all. Who knows, if we learn to embrace our inner diversity — maybe loving the diversity in others won't be so hard

The Gayness: Love and Hate in America
This is an entertaining and thought-provoking program that helps students sort out why things get so tense when we start discussing gender and sexuality in modern America. Using engaging stories and audience interaction, Dark models how we can have more productive dialogue on gender privilege, discrimination and sexual orientation in everyday settings. “The Gayness” is not just about just being gay or straight – it’s about how we define and love ourselves and others – and through these topics, we can reclaim a sense of power to create positive social interactions – on the small scale in our communities.

"Is that a Dude?" Lesbian Gendering: There's More To It Than You Think!
Have you ever stared, trying to figure out if someone is male or female? Have you ever wondered why we care so much? This lecture/performance explores "lesbian gender" in the context of cultural misogyny and systems of oppression and discrimination. In the process, she also explores the bigger picture of privilege and oppression (based on race, class, gender, etc.) As engaging for primarily heterosexual audiences as for queer audiences, Kimberly Dark argues against the reign of duality in American culture. Yes, the "gender freakout" can be humorous — and tragic, but above all, instructive as we work to create richer, fuller lives and more inclusive social systems.

Spoken Word Performances
In addition to performing her own work, KImberly can also emcee a poetry slam or evening of performance poetry for your community or campus. The event can include a preparatory workshop if you choose, or have a specific focus (women's lives, queer issues, disability, etc.). This type of event allows for locals to be exposed to and learn the skills of performance/slam poetry so that they can create future events. And, with issue-specific slams, locals have the opportunity to be the performers of their own lives, while providing an entertaining and thought-provoking event for a broader audience.

Gender, Race and Money
The gap between rich and poor in the United has been widening and this is particularly pronounced in communities of color and for women. During this engaging and interactive lecture, Dark teaches participants about trends in the distribution of wealth in America and how those trends affect all Americans. We can no longer afford to ignore the history of privilege and poverty, if we hope to create a world in which that American dream of fairness and prosperity can become a reality. In this hugely participatory event, Dark leads participants through exercises to help them understand their own wealth, how it is influenced by the privilege of birth and circumstances and how those who lack wealth may not be as personally deficient as some believe. The content of this lecture is applicable to each person who uses money - and participants will leave with the tools for making connections with others to work toward a more just economy.

OTHER WORKSHOPS (additional costs may apply):

  • Courage In Creative Writing: Exploring the First Person Narrative
  • Getting Started With the Writing Life
  • Minding the Artist's Business
  • Observation and Perception: Tools for Creating Life
  • Writing For Performance/Performance Poetry 

 

Media
Kimberly Dark Introduction
Gender, Race & Money
Things I Learned From Fat People on the Plane