Saturday, February 28, 2015

Circus Et Cetera at The Rogue Festival

Circus Et Cetera  will be performing live at this year’s Rogue Festival, starting this week. They will be bringing the astounding variety you've come to expect. 

Each showing is unique! Fire! Dance! Aerial! Sideshow! Strength! 
$10 per night!

Full Circle Brewing Co.  620 F Street, Fresno, CA 93706

Feb 28th at 10:30pm ~Bearded Lady Pageant Night!~
March 6th at 9:00pm
March 7th at 10:00pm

I asked Derrick Vermin about the group and what to expect at this year’s festival…

Tell us about Circus Et Cetera...when was it born and what's the concept?

Circus Et Cetera was founded in 2012. Through years of previous experience in and around performance art, we accumulated a variety of performance tastes as well as a variety of contacts. We saw performers put their heart into an act but still be limited to a demographic, or only be able to perform a few times a year. We wanted a stage that all kinds of performers would be able to share together, for everyone to see. With such a diverse group of people, there was nothing else to call it but a circus!

What do you look for in your performers?

We look for performers that are not just skilled, but are unique performers. The ones that may have felt trapped inside the box of where they began, or where they currently perform. The kind of people that have the crazy dreams and ideas that they are shy to even bring up to others. There’s not really any rules in the circus, so we’re looking for people that are looking for us!

Where can people see your performances?

We started out by spontaneously showing up during ArtHop, but have since been hired for events, shows, festivals, private parties. We’ve performed at venues like Fulton 55, Fresno Brewing Company, Peeve’s, Pacific Southwest Building’s Ballroom, and Fulton Mall for numerous city events. Also quite a few parades! But we really love to host our own shows such as the Rogue Show. Full Circle Brewing has been a kind of home to us. But really, there’s no telling where we’ll perform next; you’ll have to follow us on Facebook to see which shows come up next!

What's the most exciting development you've seen in Circus Et Cetera since it's inception?

At first we were only a collective of existing performances. Tuning into our imaginations have resulted in new types of acts not seen locally, or sometimes anywhere. Working together with the Fresno Ideaworks, we’ve been able to build what our dreams showed us. From a device that turns musical sound waves into fire, to giant air bazookas that shoot rings of smoke. What began as a collective is now a foundation for creative minds to conjure up fresh and new combined ideas.

What's your favorite moment so far?

Our special event- "Circus Et Cetera's Night of Nights". It was a four hour long non-stop performance, plus a band and DJ's, an oddities booth, vendors, and just... craziness. Over 500 people in attendance, and they were all told to dress up, and wow they did. It was like our very own circus Halloween/costume party where everybody was IN the circus for one night. 

What can people expect from you at The Rogue Festival this year?

Some old faces, some new faces. Expect to be wowed! Other shows you might have to sit quietly through them, but ours will give you something to cheer and scream about during our acts!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Q & A With Jennifer Davis

Jennifer Davis is a housewife and an activist/agitator currently residing in Lakewood, WA.  When she isn't baking, gardening or reading, she tries to cause as much as trouble as possible around social justice issues, focusing on full, federal, LGBTQ equality & trying to ensure intersectionality within the LGBTQ movement… and she occasionally, as cliche as it may be, does her best to piss off the religious “right.”

How long have you lived in the Central Valley?

I was born & raised in Bakersfield, and moved back as an adult to Visalia for about 5 ½ yrs.  My wife, Joan, and I moved to Lakewood, WA about 8 months ago.

Married/Single/Relationship Status?

Married… Joan & I have been together over 10 years, married for a little over 1.
When did you come out to the first person in your life or are you a straight ally?
I came out in 1992-ish, I was 22 or 23.

Something you like about yourself?

I make a wickedly delicious vegetarian lasagna…

Something you dislike about yourself?

I smoke – it is a dirty, disgusting, expensive addiction, and it is literally killing me.

Character trait in others that you most admire?

Desire to learn, ask questions, expand their world, their perspective… I find people who want to/search out opportunities to be better informed, to be more open-minded… not only do I admire it, I find it sexy!

Character trait in others that you most dislike?

Being dismissive of others perspectives, experiences, stories, etc.  I would rather have someone question a perspective, argue a point of view, have an opinion, but just dismissing someone because it is “different” than their frame of reference, I find that offensive.

What is your biggest regret?

Starting smoking/not quitting smoking

What are you most passionate about?

Social justice issues, with my focus, at this point, being full LGBTQ equality… very few things get me fired up (good & bad) like injustice.

Favorite thing to do in your free time?

Read, bake, garden… oh & organize a direct action against injustice… boots on the ground & fist in the air – that is how change, real change, is won!

What aggravates you the most?

Not having real ½ & ½ for my coffee – and that powdered shit has got to go… and BTW, fat-free ½ & ½ -- what joke – by definition that is skim milk people, gross!!!

What makes you the happiest?

Sharing a meal with people I love.

What are you, quite frankly, over?

Whispers!!!  If it needs to be whispered or said as an-aside – check yourself, maybe you shouldn't be saying it!  If it needs to be said, say it out loud, even if it is just to yourself or a select person(s)… I believe we NEED to say more OUT LOUD – we need to talk about suicide, addiction, mental health, trans-phobia , privilege, heteronormativity, racism, classism, sexism, domestic violence, our rape culture, etc…. and not as a whisper but with our voices, our most powerful tool & weapon!

What is your biggest challenge?

Remembering that not every fight is mine… it is okay if I concentrate on one part, on one aspect, on one perspective & then trust that others can lead and move other aspects so that we all reach the same goal.  I can be a strong ally, a strong supporter without taking on the “whole” issue.

What was your favorite decade so far?

This one!

Who is your favorite person to talk to?

My Mom, who, unfortunately, completed suicide 3 weeks ago… we talked about everything, and I am still trying to figure out how to fill that void.

Name a person you know personally who has had the biggest impact on you?

If she reads this, I am sure she is going to give me hell for it, hee, hee… Melissa McMurrey… She says I taught her so much & we gave her so much – to that I call “bullshit”… I think she forgets how much she taught me, how much she gave to us.  I am forever grateful she came into my life through a shared, drunk ride home from Reel Pride & then history was made for all of us… and there are so many others… Slade Childers, Robin McGeHee, Cheryl & Sandy Waymack, Jim Reeves, Joan & Steve Palmer, Patrick & Dawn Finney, Erica Keppler, Joan Davis, William VanLandingham, Myndi Hargrave – I could go on for days, literally…

Name a person you don’t know who has had the biggest impact on you?

Alice Walker – for me, the embodiment of intersectionality, and positive, peaceful activism and a role model for the power of Voice!

The most important lesson you've learned so far?

I am never 100% “right.”

Besides a phone, what piece of technology can you not live without?

What superpower would you most like to have?

Dangerous question!!! Invisibility would be awesome, but if I am honest, the Aries in me comes out, mind control… hee, hee!

Who would you like to play you in a movie about your life?

Jodie Foster, but first I would want her to end her dysfunctional relationship with crazy boy Mel Gibson…

What is the best part of your day?

Snuggling into bed with my wife!  She was active duty Navy for about 7 years of our relationship, and we had months and months and months and months apart… so I am grateful, every night, when we can be together.

What is your proudest moment?

I am proud of a lot of things I have done, but really… I don’t think I have reached my proudest moment yet… at least I hope not…

What have you overcome?

Grief… my brother, who was gay as well… Eric James… my mother – I have had three very close family members complete suicide, plus the loss of so many friends and family members to other causes… and it is hard, so hard to be on the other side of it… and I don’t know if I have “overcome” it or am working through it/scraping by, by the skin of my teeth/using it to drive me to make the world a somewhat better place for them and people like them… but right now, today, I will NOT let grief define me nor silence me…

Where is your ideal place to live?

Exactly where I am – I love my life, my family, my home, my community… but… if I win the lottery… I will seriously consider a little cottage/villa outside of Paris…

What words do you live by?

“Do one thing every day that scares you” – E. Roosevelt

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Beer Bust at The Phoenix!

Rogue Festival: Parts and Poems of the Body

Richard Light will be bringing his one man show, "Parts and Poems of the Body”, to Fresno for The Rogue Festival  starting this week. In the show, Light plays 5 different characters, all massage therapists, including a Latino gay man, a French lesbian, a Chinese grandma, and a Kiwi redneck.
The piece takes place in the break room of a spa and runs 45 minutes.

Performances will take place at the Spectrum Art Gallery  at 608 East Olive Drive. Performance dates are Saturday, February 28th at 12:30PM, Sunday March 1st at 5:45PM, Friday March 6th at 6:30PM and Saturday March 7th at 4:15PM. GET TICKETS HERE

I asked Richard some questions to give us some insight into his process…

Give us some background...How did you get involved in theater?

I have always loved performing.  I took ballet as a kid and was Fritz and a bon-bon in a local SF production of the Nutcracker.  Then as an adult I've studied theater and dance in San Francisco and NYC with Studio ACT, The Martha Graham School, Mark Morris, and Alonzo King.  Last year I started exploring solo theater with Dave Ford at the Marsh SF.
What motivated you to create "Parts and Poems of the Body"?

To perform in front of an audience is always a motivation, a rush, and a high, but I also wanted the artistic challenge of creating and playing multiple characters in one piece without a narrator.   Also, "Parts and Poems of the Body" is a line from Walt Whitman's "I Sing the Body Electric" and I wanted to write a piece, like that poem, which celebrated the body, sex, and libido. 

Why the setting of a spa?

Having not written much in my life, I heard somewhere that you should write what you know.   For the last 7 years I've worked as a massage therapist at a spa in San Francisco, so I definitely know about that.  Specifically, it's set in the break room of a spa, so I hope that even if someone who has never been to a spa, or had a professional massage will still relate to the common "work/office" setting of the piece.

Did you base your characters on specific people?

Two of the characters, the gay Latino man and the Chinese grandma were based on specific people at work.  The Kiwi redneck was based on 2 people at work and my brother. The other two female characters are less specific.  All the characters are ultimately an amalgam of people I've known including myself.

What's your process for creating your characters?

I created the Chinese grandma and the Latino gay guy by thinking and being inspired by them and wondering what they would do in the circumstances of the play. The Kiwi redneck and French lesbian started with their voices, their accents and then I'd project personalities onto them.  I love working on accents and dialects and this piece gave me an opportunity to do that.  The American girl was the hardest for me, because at first no one really liked her, including me, but I'm happy with her now.   She's just a mish-mash of women I've known and worked with.     The characters were then all tweaked and changed to serve the story and dialogue as I came up with it.

Who's your favorite character in the piece and why?

My favorite character is probably Stewart, the Kiwi redneck.  I like his hedonism combined with sensitivity.   I also just love Kiwi and Australian accents.  Recently I've been spending time with my Chinese-Australian relatives and it's such a hoot to listen to them!