Known for her insightful commentary and armed with her "healing with humor" philosophy, Karen Williams is a modern-day alchemist and motivational humorist. The legendary Canadian Comedy Award–winning, Second City vet Elvira Kurt never fails to slay us. Always keeping us on our toes is the politically adept Dana Goldberg, who uses her voice to bridge communities through her side-splitting humor and poignant, timely comedy. Sandra Valls is a gifted comedian, musician, and actor, who has been featured in countless comedy specials as well as Off Broadway in NYC with the smash hit play, “Latina Christmas Special” which she co-wrote and co-starred in. On stage, singer-songwriter Be Steadwell uses looping, vocal layering and beat boxing to create the blend of soul, acapella, R&B and folk she calls “Queer Pop.” DJ Rockaway, an Olivia favorite keeps her dance floor full by playing a blend of hip-hop, R&B, house, club, and retro. Our resident Yogini Richelle Donigan will help you greet the day with alignment and mindfulness through her daily Yoga sessions and meditation offerings.
COMIC, EMCEE, HOST, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, HUMOR EDUCATOR & DIVERSITY TRAINER
Karen Williams is the Founder and CEO of the International Institute of Humor and Healing Arts, affectionately known as HaHA Institute.
The mission of HaHA Institute is to encourage the fullest and highest activation of human potential for compassion, wisdom, and life force through the daily use of humor and healing arts, which includes stress management, nutrition, exercise, massage and healing touch, and spiritual practices.
Karen Williams has the unique distinction of being the nation's first openly lesbian black comic to include specifically lesbian material in her act. Her solo comedy special "I Need a Snack" filmed live in Hollywood and produced by Andrea Meyerson of All Out Films is a LOGO TV favorite and available on DVD.
The feature-length, award-winning comedy-documentary "Laughing Matters" showcases Karen's star quality and includes interview clips that highlight her social activism. Other credits include the film "We’re Funny That Way" of HBO fame, and comedy writer and host for the TV show "In the Life" out of New York City.
Karen Williams is a featured comic performer with Olivia Travel, and has been since 1990. She’s been a ghostwriter at Columbia Pictures, and her humor writings appear in numerous anthologies, including Joke Stew (Andrews McMeel Publishing), Revolutionary Laughter (Crossing Press), Out in All Directions (Warner Brothers), and Out, Loud & Laughing (Random House).
Most recently, Karen was Artist-in-Residence at Winona State University in Minnesota, coaching classes as diverse as Political Science, Health Management,Theatre and Dance, and Communications. Karen also earned kudos as a highly-praised diversity trainer for Kent State University's Institute of Excellence staff and alumni at KSU, Ohio.
SPEAKUP! SPEAK OUT! LAUGH OFTEN!
Elvira Kurt, comedy legend, gay icon and trail-blazing national treasure has won all the accolades—locally, as a Toronto Fringe Festival Patron’s Pick & NOW Magazine Top 5, nationally, winning both a Canadian Screen Award & Canadian Comedy Award and, internationally, with a Cannes Film Festival Award for ‘Women Seen’ and the Gold Prize at the World Film Fest for 'Big Girl Now'—to name a few. Now in her fourth decade of the showbiz, Elvira broke new ground again with a featured role in the first openly gay storyline on the Treehouse Network in the Emmy Award winning kid’s show, Miss Persona. During the Covid19 pandemic, Elvira was the first stand-up comic to receive a National Arts Center grant for an hour long set online as part of #CanadaPerforms, hosted ‘Queer Pride Inside’ for CBC Gem and appeared in the virtual variety show that is Vancouver’s revolutionary TRANSFORM Cabaret Festival. Though she’s a teacup butch in size, Elvira is a stand-up comedy heavyweight with sold-out solo shows such as Viva Elvira!, Funny AF, Fearless, Homosexual Panic and Fired Up. A Second City alumnus, Elvira’s credits as star, host, guest, writer, and/or talent director are simply far too many to mention…well, except for these: Baroness Von Sketch Show, Canada's Drag Race, The Tonight Show, CBC's The Debaters, Wall of Chefs, The Great Canadian Baking Show, SpinOff, Master Chef Canada, Junior Chef Showdown, Iron Chef Canada, NickMom Night Out NYC, Degrassi, YTV’s The Game, George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, Cook’d, Popcultured with Elvira Kurt, Four Weddings Canada, The Gayest Show Ever, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Ellen DeGeneres’ HBO special, 'Born Again', live and taped TV specials at the Just For Laughs, Winnipeg, Halifax, Sydney and Melbourne Comedy Festivals and, of course, Elvira’s unforgettable stint on both iterations of CBC Radio’s hit show, ‘Q’ and, ‘q’.
Raised by a wild pack of Jews, otherwise known as her mother and two siblings, veteran comedian Dana Goldberg is a force of nature on stage. With performances at the San Francisco International Comedy Competition, The Comedy Festival produced by TBS and HBO, and the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, Goldberg’s quick wit and playful stage presence have earned her loyal fans across the country and abroad.
A crowd favorite, she has become a triple threat, combining her comedy, hosting, and writing talents to become one of the most sought-after entertainers on the circuit. Deeming her one of the top five funniest lesbians in America, Curve magazine raved, “Goldberg is one of the brightest lights in a stellar comedy landscape,” and Advocate.com named Goldberg one of the top three LGBT comedians in the nation.
In addition to headlining clubs, theaters, and festivals around the country, Goldberg has performed at and emceed dozens of high profile events and has shared the national stage with luminaries such as President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, President Bill Clinton, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Lopez, John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Jennifer Hudson, Sir Elton John, Mariah Carey, Shonda Rhimes, and many more. Combining her gift of humor with humanitarian efforts, Goldberg has helped to raise over thirty million dollars for nonprofits around the country in the fight for marriage equality, LGBT rights, women’s rights, and HIV and AIDS education and prevention.
“Talented and Hilarious” – Los Angeles Times
“Comedic Gold!” – Latina Magazine
“A Knock Out” – My San Antonio
"She brings to light issues that impact the women of color community!" - QWOC Media
"Valls is as true to her ethnicity as she is to her sexuality; knocking TV audiences on their behinds!" Curve Magazine
Sandra Valls is a comic, actor, singer, writer, and badass. She is best known for her powerful stand-up comedy performances in Showtime’s, The Latin Divas of Comedy (nominated for an Alma Award) and Pride:LGBT Comedy Slam, hosted by Bruce Vilanch. Her unique mix of physical comedy and brilliant story telling make it easy to see why the Los Angeles Times calls Sandra “Talented and Hilarious”, as well as being included in Curve’s 2017 Power Listas One of the Most Influential Queer Women in the Country.Latina Magazine voted Sandra One of the Top 33 Bad Ass Comics with Latin Roots. Curve Magazine calls her One of the Top 10 Funniest Lesbian Comics and Go Magazine has named Sandra One of the Top 100 Women We Love.
Sandra starred and co-wrote the smash hit play, THE LATINA CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, which sold out 22 shows at the Los Angeles Theatre Center and received “Critic’s Choice” by The Los Angeles Times three years in a row (2015-2017). More recently, she recently shared the stage with Melissa Etheridge at the Lesbian Political Action Committee (LPAC) event in New York City honoring Billy Jean King
Her other television credits include but are not limited to Outlaugh Festival, One Night Stand Up(LOGO), Comic’s Unleashed with Byron Allen (ABC), Habla! (HBO), Que Locos (Galavision), Funny is Funny, Latino 101 (Sitv), BET’s Comic View, NickMom Night Out (Nickelodeon), and countless other TV spots including MTV3’s Quiero Mis Quince, Wanna be Latinos and Top Tr3ce, Mun2 Comedy Documentary and I love Jenny!
Sandra is also a favorite onstage as an emcee. Her hosting credits include TEDX Women, Women in Medicine: Lesbian Health Fund Conference, San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce Coming Out Day, Equality San Antonio – Spirit of Texas Brunch, Latino Institute at Creating Change, La Femme Film Awards (11 years in a row), Power UP 10 Amazing Gay Women and Men Gala, and GLAAD Awards and London Lesbian Film Festival…to name a few.
Always an human rights activist, Sandra was also honored in her hometown of Laredo, Texas with the 2013 International Woman’s Day Award for being a trailblazer and empowering women and was chosen by Unidos-The National Latino LGBT Human Rights Organization to be part of their prestigious list for Project VISIBLE Latinos LGBT in the USA and Puerto Rico: Out in Leadership. GLAAD has honored Sandra’s work at Mun2 with a Special Recognition Award for her groundbreaking achievements in production for promoting fair and accurate representation of the LGBTQI community in English-speaking Latino television.
Furthermore, The California Senate presented Sandra with a Certificate of Recognition for her relentless support of people in recovery in the LGBTQI community as exemplified by her leadership in producing “One Gay at a Time", a comedy show that celebrates people in recovery.
Sandra is also an actor, singer, and a published author (Out on the Edge: America’s Rebel Comics)
Be Steadwell is a musician, filmmaker, and storyteller from Washington DC. In her live performances, she utilizes looping, vocal layering, and beat boxing to compose her songs on stage. Be's original music features earnest lyricism, and Affirming LGBTQ content.
After receiving a BA at Oberlin College, Be completed her MFA in film at Howard University in 2014. Her film Vow of Silence featured in film festivals around the world, including Black Star, HBO's OutFest, The Schomburg Center, Inside Out Toronto, and Fringe Fest UK. In 2017, Issa Rae Featured Vow of Silence on her Short Film Sundays Series.
Be has shared stages with fellow artist Activists Big Freedia, Nona Hendryx, Nikky Finney, and Gina Yashere. In 2017, Be sang at The Women's March on the National Mall behind Maxwell and Janelle Monae in Toshi Reagon's Big Lovely Band. In May 2018, Be released her newest album Queer Love Songs. This year, Be composed the music for The Alvin Ailey dance company's production of "the gone". In her latest work, A Letter to My Ex, the musical, Be tells stories of love, loss, and intimacy through a collage of music, movement and film—narrating one character’s journey through the year following a breakup.
Born and raised in Queens, DJ Rockaway has been bringing her passion and love for music to US and international dance floors for nearly two decades. Although she is true New Yorker (just listen to her talk!), she is a regular on both the East and West coasts. You’ll find her spinning at nightclubs, weddings and other private events, and galas for national nonprofits, such as NCLR, HRC, and Equality California, to name a few—and she is also a regular DJ on Olivia cruise and resort vacations.
The executive producer of the San Francisco Women’s Stage and the founder of PLAY San Francisco and PLAY San Jose, monthly events for women who love to dance, DJ Rockaway has created a unique mix of music styles—dance, hip-hop, R&B, house, club, retro—that allows her to play for all who love to dance and feel the music. In her spare time, you can find her behind a camera lens, playing with her drone, or filming and editing music videos. For DJ Rockaway, music is more than a blend of sounds, music is an experience… she wants you to feel it, live it, escape into it.
Richelle Evelyn Donigan is a masterful Yoga Instructor, Life Coach, Author, and Speaker. She has been in the work and study of transformation for more than 40 years. Richelle has an extraordinary gift for creating safe empowering spaces for beginners and communities that have been traditionally underserved. She has created and led numerous retreats and workshops focusing on LGBTQ Communities. Her Butch Yoga workshops allow Butch Identified women to come as they are, listen and be heard by other Butches and support one another as they share and practice together. Richelle’s Vision Workshops are life changing. You will walk out with powerful clarity and strategies to create a life that you absolutely LOVE. A consummate teacher, Richelle embodies wellness and is dedicated to uplifting community with the profound healing practices of Yoga & Vision.