Last night was by far the best variety show we've hosted thus far. We had a packed lineup of artists who were excited to showcase new work on our theme of "New Year, Old You". Our inspiration was dancing into the new year, drawing from our histories, calling on our past, dredging up what we want to carry forward and honoring what we are ready and wiling to leave behind.
We enjoyed an opening invocation by Reema Zaman, musical performances from Joni Renee Whitworth, Maiah Wynne, Layla Laubach, and Whisper Hiss, live oil painting by Jasmine Co, spoken word by Julia Laxer, Nastashia Minto, Tucker Garcia, Kalong Wong, and Meron Medhanie, an inspirational lecture by Natalie Rose Baldwin, and a beautiful burlesque dance by Evelyn R-w.
This was the first show we've held that was sold out. That meant that we were able to compensate our artists much more than we usually can. In our industry it is rare to be fairly paid, perhaps rarest of all for poets. We are pleased to be paying emerging and under-represented artists because we believe art is important to the health and happiness of a community. Thank you for your support as we continue to learn and grow.
Our September Variety Show was held at Blanc Space, a queer art gallery and community gathering space that regularly hosts poetry readings, photo shoots, and art shows.
Musician Maiah Wynne was back for another rousing set; this time she played a mixture of covers and original songs, and she even tested out some new material with our audience.
Poet Joni Renee shared a poem from her new book "Self Defense".
Artist Jaleesa Johnston shared a new visual poem with elements of performance and dance, and everyone in the audience got to take home a copy of her work.
Artist Amy Subach shared some new music she's been working on, including hilarious songs about raising her children.
Musician Molly Kate shared songs from her new album, St. Rosie.
China scholar Frances Hanna shared her research on the modern cultural changes within queer and trans communities in Shanghai.
Travel Portland came to take pictures for an upcoming article about art in Portland.
Our second variety show was bigger and (arguably) even better than our first! We kicked off the evening with another great set from musician Maiah Wynne.
Filmmaker Anna Weltner showed a moving new short film about a local textile artist who designs erotic quilts to heal herself from trauma.
Dancer Nicole and her troupe of dancing ladies performed a jazz dance number.
Comedian Laura Anne Whitley gave a set of hilarious jokes that had the audience cracking up.
Healer Clara Parnell gave a lecture on how to care for your spine, and she demonstrated exercises and stretches to do to avoid back pain.
Illustrator Mali Fischer showcased the prints, shirts, stickers, and mugs she's been drawing recently.
Poet Ariel Kusby read a few new poems from her upcoming collection.
Personal trainer Beck Beverage gave a lecture about embodiment, movement, and how to feel at home in your own body.
Eco-friendly living coach Chloe Lepeltier gave a lecture about how to reduce waste in your home, create less trash, and use less plastic.
Chef Margaux Muller did a mini live cooking show where she taught everyone how to make raw vegan desserts for the summer. We ate all of her treats, and they were pretty delicious. We might have squabbled over leftovers.
Our first Rose City Variety Show was a big hit. We were blessed to be welcomed with open arms by the art and music communities in Portland. Our beautiful, light-filled variety show features the queer and multi-disciplinary artists of Future Prairie. The show is inspired by the chautauquas of the 19th and early 20th centuries, where people from all walks of life came together to experience education, entertainment, and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, and entertainers. We have a rotating cast of artists, dancers, teachers, painters, singers, poets, and more. Since 1995, the City of Roses has been known as an artistic hotspot full of feminist activism, innovative community development, and audacious art making. We can't wait to get this series started and introduce you to our city's artists and all they have to offer.
Our first artist of the evening was Daisy Dee, who did live drawing of the show's performers but also the audience members.
Musician Maiah Wynne then shared a set of songs she's been polishing at shows all around town and even got to showcase recently by playing with the Portland Cello Project!
Poet Anna Suarez then shared two new pieces from a series about queer femininity and body positivity.
Singer Joni Renee then sang a cover of "5748 km" by Lisa LeBlanc, accompanied by Sean Cummings on the guitar.
Artist Andi Bixel gave a lecture about her artistic and entrepreneurial journey.
Artist Shen Telles gave a live, You Tube-style makeup tutorial that featured a surprising twist ending!
We closed out the evening with two short films from local screenwriter and director Anna Weltner.