Friday, September 25, 2009

The Lady Doth Protest

In an 11th hour addition to the Pennsylvannia state budget, elected officials in Harrisburg decided to extend the state sales tax to cultural performances and venues. This means a 6% sales tax on every ticket sold for theater, museums, ballet, the zoo... but they chose not to tax smokeless tobacco, movie tickets, or sporting events. Naturally this has our whole community up in arms- our funding has already been severely cut, and now we are being taxed on top of that. Not to mention that most of the organizations being taxed are NOT FOR PROFIT, which of course cannot be said about movie tickets, tobacco or sporting events.

Great article about the whole debacle here, including a quote from my boss, Bernard Havard, at the very end of the article threatening to go to jail over this measure!

A call to action was sent out. We will have a protest! So today at twelve noon hundreds of arts & culture professionals and students assembled at the corner of Broad and Walnut Streets, carrying signs and chanting "Save our arts!" and "This tax is wack!" and "Don't tax behind our back!"

We even had a few senators show up! (l-r: State Senator Daylin Leach, State Senator Larry Farnese, State Senator Mike Stack)

People had some pretty great signs:

I met up with Julia and Rachel, and we tried to look really tough about the whole thing:

My favorite sign of the afternoon:

The protest marched south on Broad Street to the Arts Bank, and then back north, ending in City Hall. People frequently crossed the street to wave signs on the islands of Broad Street:

It was a wonderful, peaceful and very powerful performance! The police did show up, but merely directed traffic around us. Motorists honked in solidarity:
I knew it was time to leave when, in the middle of City Hall, a young woman screamed out "Art is my LIFE! We should put on a performance right here! SOMEONE GIVE ME A BEAT!"

Ah, kids. I left them to perform their protest piece, happy that there were young people so inspired to fight for my art, my livelihood, my life.

Other favorite quotes heard from the young gays during the march:

"This is just like that scene from Hairspray!"
"I hope we get arrested. That would be fun. Plus handcuffs are HOT!"

A huge thank-you to everyone who showed their support today!

UPDATE: Press coverage of today's protest here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Last of the Fringe

I said good-bye to the 2009 Philadelphia Live Arts & Fringe festival last week with sadness. I had a wonderful time working on my own show, and although I was quite poor this year and didn't get to see all of the shows I wanted, I still managed to pack my Fringe season with good shows and good fun at the Festival Bar.

(Side note: prices are getting absolutely ridiculous! This is supposed to be a theater festival-- how are artists supposed to see any shows at all if they are priced at $25-$30?!)

Anyway, I digress. Tuesday night was the A.W.A.R.D. Show!

The show pitted 12 Philadelphia dance companies against each other, competing for a $10,000 prize for the best 10 minute presentation of their work. The audience chose their favorites! I went to support my good buddy Jenn Rose and her amazing contemporary tap company, Loose Screws. The concept of a dance popularity contest is a little odd to me, but it was great to see all different types of dance and try to discern what made the choreographer's work unique and challenging. Plus there was free cheese afterwards! Jenn won the preliminary round, and went on to compete in the finals, ultimately losing the big prize to Nicole Canuso. A huge congratulations to Nicole (who's work I didn't see, but I hear she's fabulous) and to Jenn, who presented an absolutely beautiful piece.

Next Melanie and I pedaled our way up the hills of University City to see small metal objects. This show was an Australian import with a fascinating concept. The audience sat on risers facing a busy street. We all got headphones. The actors wore microphones, and at first you couldn't tell who was merely a passing pedestrian and who was a character in this piece. It was amazing to observe the reactions of people on the street not involved in the show-- I'm sure more than one of them wondered why a whole crowd was sitting together, wearing headphones and staring at them!

After the show, Melanie and I made it to Festival Bar for the very last night:

We were soon joined by all of our homies! (l-r: Melanie, Alison, me)

And they were passing out glow-sticks-- how 1996 is THAT?! (Arizona and Alison)

Friends are just the bestest... (Melanie and Amanda)

So happy to be here! (me and Melanie)
We were assured by the bartenders that the party would go all night long, but at about 2am the trailer bathrooms began to leak out of the bottom, letting loose a steady pour of shitty water all over the pavement. The bar was quickly shut down.

A fitting end, perhaps, to a crazybutwonderfulbutmessy festival. And as we hopped on our bikes and headed home in the crisp and cold night, I couldn't help but feel that despite what the calendar says, the end of the Festival was really the end of summer.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bath Day

Much to our furry family's chagrin, Deb and I got fed up with the fur-balls and the constant grooming and decided it was time for both Betty and Hyde to have a bath.

Betty we got in the sink... she used to be so passive about baths. Not any more. I still have stinging claw marks from this vicious beast:

Hyde had to go into the tub. Like, be forcibly lifted in. Not such an easy thing to do to an 80 pound, awkward, freaked-out greyhound. Once in, though, he submitted to his fate with a weary resignation only designed to make us feel really, really guilty.

I just can't believe you did this to me:

My dignity is totally destroyed:

And so was Deb's shirt (from Betty's nails):
Exhausted and thoroughly soaked, we sat back to enjoy our beers and our wet, miserably clean-smelling pets.

And that was Bath Day at the May-Holloway household! I have lots to post about the end of the Fringe Festival, but I'll have to get to that at a later date....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


My third year working for keila cordova dances at the Fringe Festival was another wonderful experience. I love the company of dancers Keila works with, and I love the way her shows come together in a beautiful combination of dance, song and spoken word.

This year we did three pieces: Happy Inside (exploring life's simple pleasures), Meteorologica (exploring weather patterns and the meteorologist's relationships to them) and GOLD (exploring the image of the "gold digger", from 1930's MGM movies to modern day video girls). Full descriptions of each piece here.

Tuesday night is pizza night
Happy Inside: (Anna Sweeney and Kate Abernethy)

Turkey Tower
Meteorologica: (Kate Abernethy)

GOLDen girls: (l-r: Anna Sweeney, Kathy Kerner, Zoe, Kate Abernethy, Karmen Fails, Cristin Van Horn, Melissa Rodis)

Tip-toe through the tulips: (Cristin Van Horn, Kate Abernethy, Melissa Rodis, Karmen Fails)

I need a sponsor: (Zoe)

Ladies and gentlemen.... the GOLD diggers! (Karmen Fails, Kate Abernethy, Zoe, Anna Sweeney, Cristin Van Horn)

Plenty of money and you: (Karmen Fails, Anna Sweeney, Kate Abernethy)
It was a truly magical experience, and I'm already looking forward to next year! A huge thank-you to Keila, Andrew, Melissa and all of the sweet and beautiful dancers for making this another great year.

And of course I've been spending a lot of nights dancing and generally getting into trouble at Festival Bar with my partner-in-crime Amanda:

So although I've been too poor to see a lot of the shows this year, I'm still filling myself up with a very Fringe-y experience.

All dance photos were taken by Bill Hebert and the Festival Bar picture was taken by Kevin Monko.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In Rememberance

I spent a lot of yesterday thinking about that fateful day 8 years ago, when our world stood still.

Some time has passed, and although I really appreciate Obama's legislation making September 11th a Day of Service (as opposed to a national holiday) I really do feel that the visceral memory is starting to slip from our consciousness.

I'm not trying to condemn anyone, but checking my friend's facebook statuses, I had a hard time finding any mention of the events of 8 years ago. This struck me as sad.

Now I consider myself very fortunate. I did not know any of the victims of this attack personally. I was not in the city that day. But I could have been, and I was only 20 minutes away.

I never want to forget any of the terrible details of that day. I never want to forget turning on the television before class that morning, which for some reason didn't have any sound, but just a picture of the first tower, smoking. And then I watched the second plane hit. And then our campus shut down. We were so close to the city. We watched on television as people started jumping out of the towers. And then we watched the towers fall. Our cell phones didn't work, because one of the major cell towers was located on top of the Twin Towers. We couldn't call our family or our friends, even from landlines, to let them know we were okay. We heard there were attacks on the Pentagon and somewhere in Pennsylvania, another plane crashed.

I remember going to the D/T office and watching Dan wheel a television into the hallway. The friend I was with started crying, and Dan gave her a big hug. I'd never seen him hug anyone before.

Classes were cancelled for a week. We couldn't leave campus. We sat in groups in front of CNN, watching in horror as rescue workers tried to douse the fires and find survivors. We cleaned out our cabinets, donating all of our canned goods and some of our tools. We listened to theories and conspiracies and often would hear wailing in the night, as classmates learned that a loved one had died. We watched fine ash from the towers, carried by the wind, settle on our campus. Some people even found papers from the Towers, caught in tree branches.

I wondered if television would ever show anything but news again, as every channel was news, 24 hours a day. I wondered if we would ever laugh again, ever feel safe again.

And of course we did. We began to pick ourselves up, go back to class and even laugh again.

My experience doesn't even touch the level of grief and fear that people closer to the attacks had. But for those people and for the people who's lives were taken in this senseless and cowardly attack, I want to remember.

So I hope this day continues to be a day of reflection and memory, of service and gratitude for the brave souls whose lives were taken so senseless eight years ago.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Health Care Reform Now

President Obama's speech last night on the issue of health care reform was moving and inspiring. I hope both sides of the aisle take heed of his bi-partison proposals. The ridiculous posturing and shouting is getting nothing done. It's time to work together for reform. People are dying.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Philadelphia. Naked. Bike. Ride.

This Sunday 800 brave souls participated in the first ever Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride. Other cities have beat us to the punch with this one, riding naked (or as naked as they felt comfortable) to promote awareness for bike safety in our city streets.

I was all geared up to participate myself, but on my way to rehearsal Sunday morning the chain on my bike broke and I couldn't find a suitable replacement. So sad! Instead I helped my good buddies Amanda and Arizona get into their liquid latex body paint, cheered them on, and partied with them afterwards.

They decided to do superhero-esque face masks-- here I (very carefully) paint Amanda's on:

Arizona went with turquoise and yellow:

And I painted my own face in solidarity:

Amanda is the Naked Bike Avenger!

Our friend Dalice participated as well, dressing up as a Never Nude. (l-r: Dalice, Arizona, me, Amanda)

On the ride! Amanda and Arizona look so happy! (Don't you just love Arizona's little panda bear nose??)

After the ride, Amanda and Arizona got re-clothed and we met up to celebrate:

The after-party took place at the Fringe Festival Bar, a place we've partied before! (It's a bar set up just for the Philly Fringe Festival, and it's super duper fun!) We danced until our feet hurt and enjoyed all of the art installations at the bar:

We knew it was time to call it a night when the latex started to peel off:

Although I'm super bummed that I didn't get to actually ride, I had an absolutely WONDERFUL time. Next year I am determined to ride-- with lots of latex, of course!
My thanks to Arizona for all of these pictures.

Check out the news coverage (plus a slide show!) of the Philly Naked Bike Ride here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hand of Fate

I attended my first Fringe show Tuesday night-- New Paradise Laboratories' production of fatebook.

It was a final dress rehearsal, which I adore. I love seeing a slightly raw product, the actor's nerves informing the story, the overall new-ness of a piece that gives that jittery, alive feeling to a performance. And I must say, this was one of the most polished final dress rehearsals I've seen in a very long time. Plus, you know, it was free.

fatebook is an interactive piece that takes place in real time and in cyberspace, and the audience is encouraged to explore each character's journey as they spend a night dealing with many different things before they all come together for a party.

It was really great. I had a blast immersing myself in this world, and I don't want to say too much more about it except-- go see it! I went with Melanie and Amanda, and although we stuck together at first, we soon split up and experienced three very different shows. A great piece of theater!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy September!

As much as I complain about winter, fall has a certain enchantment. We've had a taste of those beautiful, crisp, clear days this week-- gorgeous and sunny, but with that certain chill in the air that means fall is just around the corner.

And my favorite thing about September so far? Ben & Jerry's ice cream has renamed their delicious Chubby Hubby flavor to Hubby Hubby in support of marriage equality for all. Full story here.
Thanks Ben & Jerry's!

Interested in showing your support for marriage equality? Start by wearing a white knot and telling all of your friends what it stands for. Information about White Knots here. Write your congressman and tell them you want marriage equality for all. Participate in the National Equality March on October 11th in Washington DC. Together we can make this happen!