A catch-up post: Recently I’ve been hunting footage for my minidoc on puppetry, which I’ll hopefully be submitting to a festival, working on my thesis project, which involves interviewing public school educators about #bullying, directing Dearly Departed, which opens June 13 at High Springs Playhouse, planning Red Soul Days, a multimedia anti-violence event in August, and producing Work is Cheap, an applied theatre and “rapidtheatre” project, which has a public play reading on May 17 8pm at Broken Shelves Books and Art in downtown Gainesville. It’s bound to be a thrilling summer!
Audition for “Work is Cheap,” satire about retail, 4M 3W 4NG, Apr 28 5pm, Turlington Hall 2319 on UF Campus. Show is 5/17 at Broken Shelves.
Red Soul Days, a passionate, homegrown multimedia event to raise awareness about inequality, violence, and abuse based on sex and gender issues. So named for the color of an aura that’s deeply in love, aroused, angry, and survivalist. So named for the
CerridwenWorks is building a fantastic and huge feminist multimedia event for August. We’d like the launch event to be a topical play addressing gender, sex, and/or LGBT issues. To heighten creativity and celebrate Gainesville’s abundance of talent, we’d like 2-3 writers to work together to produce a play that can be staged with the capacity for audience interaction. Humor encouraged! Email me at filmafic06[at]gmail[dot]com for details.
Other events include bands, burlesque, empowerment speakers, open discussion, and comedy. Feminist activism, in applied anthropology, means building dialogue in cultural ways, and digging down to find the root causes of inequality and structural violence and instrumental violence. This event aims to do so by targeting all audiences, not just the affected populations, and using the creative input of all concerned people, whatever their sex, gender, or orientation, to build a dialogue. During Red Soul Days, as we should all year, we’ll celebrate a multitude of positionalities and a complexity of expressive content.
Friday was an incredible night. I have run a combined variety/art show and an interactive art show at the Civic Media Center in the past year. I was striving for a perfect blend of art showing, performances, interaction, and donation. I wanted to give artists an opportunity to show their work in a rich environment. I named this event The MageArt Experience, in acknowledgement of the real magic that art provides, both in its production and perception.
I finally got the right formula for this show, and brewed up a delicious artistic blend. We benefited from Gainesville’s Artwalk crowd, and our participating artists brought incredible energy and beauty. We had guests contributing to the collaborative canvas, purchasing art, and watching the performers with full attention.
With this show under my belt, I think that CerridwenWorks is well on its way to nonprofit status.
Accomplishments so far:
The Peppermint King at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre: My true producer debut. I’ve been building viral and visual promotional strategies for this innovative new show at the ART. I ran a moderately successful IndieGogo campaign to boost the production budget for this show and provide compensation for our designers, and developed the viral marketing strategy incorporated in our posters and the Gainesville Sun’s preview article (see the lead).
What’s happening this year:
Dearly Departed at High Springs Community Theatre. This darkly comical family funeral show promises to deliver on homestyle, heartstring-pulling humor.
VFest 2014 at the Tabernacle: a feminist / LGBT-friendly variety show of the Tom Miller Show ilk at 1982 Bar. Feb. 10.
The MageArt Experience 2014: an interactive show on February 28 at the Civic Media Center. Feb. 28. In the vein of TigerMonkey Extravaganza but with a greater emphasis of performance.
The Irreverent Comedy Show: a safe house for all things culturally offensive yet comically brilliant. TBA.
Movie Burlesque: combining film buffitude (is that a word?) with the reemerging art form of burlesque. TBA.
Another audience member:
Exciting news: My semantic analysis of news articles on bullying, that I presented at the IASESP conference in April, was accepted for publication in the Journal of Contemporary Anthropology Vol. 4! The title of the article, “The Social Construction of Bullying in U.S. News Media,” describes my contextualizing research for my upcoming documentary. I am thrilled to have this validation and exposure for an anthropological approach to bullying, and the boost it will give to the future stages of my research.
Some highlights from the reviews:
The author has provided a thought-provoking and well-written paper on the topic of bullying and the application of folklore and media studies methodologies in the study and prevention of the phenomenon. I think that the paper adds much to the discipline with respect to its multidisciplinary scope. The author does an excellent job of backing up the use of the folklore/media studies approach. The paper is also an important addition to applied anthropology and can serve as a catalyst for further studies related to bullying and other social phenomena.
This article discusses an interesting topic relevant to our contemporary society, cleverly set
against the backdrop of folklore studies and media culture. Overall the article has a strong potential and
displays a good understanding of related theoretical and contextual framework.
I selected a name for my applied art and theatre production agency, discussed here. The namesake is the Celtic deity of creation and education, Cerridwen. I find the name appropriate because Cerridwen, like all Celtic deities, defies the dichotomous associations of light and dark that shape the Judeo-Christian tradition. Elements of light and dark, birth and death, pain and joy, are needed for the act of creation. These collaging processes have always been appealing to me, as you might have guessed by the work of a set decorator and collage artist. Moreover, the very illusion of theatre and its deception to tell the truth has important educational qualities, which are all the more apparent to me the more I learn about the processes of enculturation and socialization.
So, the best solution for someone who loves art, theatre, film, and anthropology is to combine them all in a swirly goodness akin to the magic brewing in Cerridwen’s cauldron. I’ve participated in some events that blurred these lines, such as Galileo of Gainesville at the ART and Tom Miller’s Tabernacle of Hedonism. What I long for is an event with an explicitly activist and educational purpose, and thus, considering the success of the first event, I re-brewed TigerMonkey Extravaganza.
TigerMonkey Extravaganza 2.0, at the Civic Media Center on Oct. 4 from 6 to 10pm, will be focused on the intellectual, artistic, and social exchange among artists and guests. Experience the beautiful work of gifted visual and performance artists and share via open mic.
Both our guests and the participating artists have the opportunity to share their artistic experiences via open mic. Participants and guests are encouraged to share their stories about art, beauty, and inspiration, respond to an artwork in the show, or perform spoken word. Too often is there a gap between the art and the appreciator, whether it is anonymity, unfamiliarity, or the distance between the stage and the audience. In Gainesville’s thriving artistic community, the gap is small, but can still be bridged by allowing guests and artists to switch roles in an artistic dialogue. Moreover, all participants and guests work together on the “collaborative canvas.” Acrylics, pastels, crayons, charcoal, and pencils will be available at the event so that all may contribute to the development of a large, unique work of art.
I’m very excited about this event. Most of CerridwenWorks’ events and outreach will not be of this nature, but I expect all its fundraisers to be. I’m still working on the full business plan for tax filing purposes, but I expect to register as a Sole Proprietor until the agency expands to include its core staff, at which point we will reapply as a 501c3.
This summer was a particularly fertile one for theatre in Gainesville, and proved to be a major portfolio boost.
On May 24, 25, and 26, the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre hosted the new Gainesville Shaw Society‘s production of George Bernard Shaw’s Geneva. My friend Krsnaa Fitch loves Shaw’s works and asked me to be her stage manager. The particular demands of the piece—even an abridged form, as we did—included furniture and costumes appropriate to the late 1930s and an approximation of three major political leaders of the era: Adolf Hitler (fictionalized as Battler), Francisco Franco (fictionalized as Flanco), Benito Mussolini (fictionalized as Bombardone), and Neville Chamberlain (fictionalized as Sir Orpheus). We partnered with the Hippodrome Theatre again and also enlisted the talents of Gainesville costume Jason Bendure to develop the costumes. Ken Brown of the Hipp worked on our set, and under short notice.
Once again, I found myself on stage as well as managing the show. In a delightfully meta twist, I assumed the role of the Secretary to the League of Nations, who is revealed to have conned the assembled dictators and plaintiffs in the final act. Calling the shots in the plot and backstage!
The most important aspect of the Geneva experience was that it revealed my capability as a production manager (and my ability to do a Swiss-French accent), especially under a short deadline. I am an excellent stage manager, but sometimes, due to a busy calendar, it’s better for me to coordinate a production team than to record rehearsals or be on-book. And I have increasingly more professional connections to get the supplies, loans, and donations that the designers need.
As such, my initial role on the Acrosstown board as Design Manager (aka master of the Props/Costume dungeon that no one else braves) was combined with this new role, as Production Manager. I also was encouraged to take on the role of Board Secretary, since I instinctively take copious notes.
Perhaps the most important role is the development of ARTiS, which I will discuss in a post to come.
Then, I partnered with George Steven O’Brien to develop the set for A.R. Gurney’s A Perfect Party, which played June 14-30. The set, a den-turned-family-room-turned-study, as described in the set, required a specific combination of swank, comfort, disillusionment, education, and artifice. You can see photos of the work here. As the theatre’s Production Manager, I agreed to serve as Production Stage Manager, but ended up getting more than I bargained for when one of our actors had to take medical leave and your trusty stage manager, the eternal understudy, had to take the stage! Now I’m experiencing a resurgence of the acting bug, and will appear in adaptations of W.W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw ” and Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” as part of the ART’s Fright Night play festival.
It has long been my dream to run an agency that combines the production & distribution of documentary films and socially activist plays with the development of workshops and curricula that use audiovisual media. This idea first germinated when I was considering career options and asked myself what my ideal job was. When my keyword searches ceased to generate results, my collage mind saw the potential in such an agency, and I began developing its model and mission statement.
However, I had never produced a show or handled any business aspects of a production. As fortune would have it, Mr. O’Brien’s company, TigerMonkey Creations, needed a boost, and I had met many talented people who I believed to deserve exposure. With the help of the Alachua County Rapscallions, I organized 14 performers and 5 artists for a multimedia variety and art show, with a silent auction and raffle, to benefit TigerMonkey Creations. Along the way, I adopted Dragon*Con’s model of providing short parody skits to entertain the audience as performers set up; to do this, I, with four other people, created SketchyYeti, an improv and sketchy comedy troupe that parodied infomercials, drug commercials, and reality shows. We also performed a couple of live skits.
The show was a relative success, although I had stretched myself too thin. The show launched SketchyYeti and gave Gainesville poet Charles Ely an opportunity to demonstrate his choreography (with yours truly). It raised about $270 for TigerMonkey Creations. I was thrilled with the outcome and realized I had successfully organized over two dozen people (including organizers and staff) to create a socially engaging multimedia event! I was a producer, and I could make the agency happen.
Costumes and Makeup
And finally, I returned to the Hippodrome for their production of Avenue Q, as wardrobe manager. Needless to say, it was an unusual experience to be dressing both puppets and humans. The show is a particularly ripe combination of satire of American society, parody of children’s edutainment, and musical delights, and was a joy to work on. The songs, however, were quite infectious.
To bring the design work full circle, I did skull makeup on the lead singer of Braineaters A-Go Go, a Misfits tribute band, for their debut performance at the 1982 Bar in Gainesville. Considering the aesthetic of Teatro de los Muertos, this seemed a good sign of things to come.