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Film Screening and Discussion: The Nita & Zita Project

Wed, April 24th at 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

The documentary The Nita & Zita Project tells the story of two legendary New Orleans dancers. The film shows their rise to stardom in the 1920s, their eventual retirement in New Orleans, and the thousands of costumes they created.

Following a screening in NOMA’s Lapis Center for the Arts, Marci Darling (writer, director, and producer) and Sharon Gillen (producer) will speak about the film. Guests are also invited to view the costumes of Nita & Zita from 5–5:30 pm.

This event is free and open to the public.

About the Film

The Nita & Zita Project tells the story of legendary 1920s New Orleans dancers Nita and Zita, two Jewish Hungarian sisters who immigrated to the United States to blaze their own trail as contortionist acrobatic performers. They rose to international stardom and danced around the world as glittering globetrotters, through multiple wars, before retiring to New Orleans, where they became recluses and painted their Creole cottage top-to-bottom with flowers, dots, and vibrant patterns.

After their passing, their neighbor found thousands of costumes in their home, which she then sold in a yard sale that lasted five years. Their story of resilience and ecstatic creativity as artists has inspired countless artists, who have created award-winning plays, dance tributes, paintings, and poetry based on the extraordinary story of these sisters.

About the Speakers

Marci Darling

Marci Darling has been a storyteller for decades. Darling has written five bestselling books and her writing has appeared in such esteemed publications as the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and Louisiana Homes and Gardens. She worked as a professional belly dancer, circus acrobat, contortionist–illusionist, and burlesque dancer for ten years, dancing on tour with The Go-Go’s, the B-52’s, Paul McCartney, and many others. She is Adjunct Faculty at Endicott College, where she instructs educators on integrating the arts into teaching strategies. Darling also holds a Master’s of Education from Harvard University, a bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a certificate in writing from Stanford Univerisity. The Nita & Zita Project is her first film and serves as a tribute to her dance partner and soulmate Kim Murphy, who passed away in 2018.

Sharon Gillen

Dr. Sharon Gillen is a self-described “perfectly imperfect human who finds great joy in approaching life as an opportunity for learning.” Gillen is a medical doctor and was drawn to the profession as a way to help heal people. More recently, she has realized the power of healing through storytelling and feels called to honor her ancestors by connecting more deeply to the divine feminine and her Jewish heritage. She is a descendant of persecuted Jews from the Baia Mare area in Romania, the same area as Nita & Zita. She is a lover of all things film and has served on the board of the New Orleans Film Society.

Trixie Minx

Burlesque performer, producer, and educator Trixie Minx is a leader in the preservation and innovation of the Art of Tease. Known for her classic yet playful style of dance, she is also recognized as a premiere burlesque producer with multiple New Orleans-based shows in addition to several custom-created productions for special events through her company Trixie Minx Productions. Recently Minx opened Trixie’s Burlesque Boutique & Studio, which offers custom products by performing artists and dance classes to the public. Beyond the stage, Minx also volunteers her time as an advocate for affordable performer healthcare with the New Orleans Musicians Clinic.


Wed, April 24th
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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