In Richmond, VA, starting Sept 22 and continuing every Thursday night until November 3, a group of about 30 women will be presenting a series of performances on issues pertaining to women. I decided to organize this series when I realized that most of the fabulous women who’ve modeled for me (I’m a figurative painter working on a life-size series of female nudes of all races, ages, sizes, and shapes) are performers/writers/advocates in their own right and would do well to have a forum set up to strut their stuff. Thus “Beyond Barbie” was born.
The response has been tremendous so far. I sense that women are excited to have an opportunity to share their “gifts, griefs, and glories” with the community. The topics we’re covering aren’t all easy. We’ll be talking about eating disorders and spousal abuse, for example, in a very authentic way that isn’t normally done in public outside of support groups. We plan to have support folks there to answer questions and to offer concrete support immediately if necessary.
Our hope is that this series will be the beginning of a new type of “reality” show, one with real women dealing with real topics in authentic ways that can actually affect change and help all women. If you’ll be in the Richmond area, please come see us. For more info, check out my website, www.susansinger.com, or read the descriptions of the evenings below.
Thursday, September 22nd
Strength in Motion: Dancing our Sacred Bodies is an inspired evening of dance and discussion. Joining us will be leaders in different styles of dance including Frances Wessells of Virginia Commonwealth University, Peggy O’Neill, Dawn Flores, and Khalima of Illumination Dance Studio. From bellydance to hoop dance to improvisation, we will explore the ways women have moved across the ages to present times, and how dance can serve not only as a performance art, but as a healing, spiritual, and strengthening modality.
Thursday, September 29th
Body of work: Piercing and Painting our Personal Masterpiece is an event designed to take a serious look at the world of women and body modification, and the many ways that women intentionally modify the bodies that they are in, through body art, adornment, and other methods. We will be discussing personal growth and expression versus self-harm. We will be joined by Rachel Easter of Onetribe, professional body piercer Kim Sikorsky, and others who will share their experiences with body modification.
Thursday, October 6th, 2011
The Blues: Liberation, Empowerment, and Joy! is an evening celebrating the life-changing power of music. Opening the evening with song will be Ana Rivera-Poland followed by a headlining performance from Gaye Adegbalola, singer, composer, storyteller and activist. By maintaining the blues legacy, Gaye sees herself as a contemporary griot – keeping the history alive, delivering messages of empowerment, ministering to the heartbroken, and finding joy in the mundane.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Through the Fire: Reclaiming Lost Power After Trauma & Abuse
When one woman on the planet is beaten, raped or otherwise abused, we all suffer. Our compassion for each other breaks all barriers of class and ethnic separation. That is why these stories are difficult to hear; but for healing to occur, they need to be spoken. In a safe and sacred space, award-winning storytellers Linda Goodmanand Megan Hickslead a cast of artists in opening a window into a world where few of us would go willingly. Through the transformative power of art, these women show us how to process, rise above and glean wisdom from life’s most unwanted and painful lessons. The evening’s performance will be followed by a question and answer period with the artists, who will be joined by experts from the community in offering resources, information and advice.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Caught in a Funhouse Mirror: Distorted Reflections and Eating Disorders
Kathleen MacDonald, a nationally known speaker and Capitol Hill lobbyist on behalf of people with eating disorders will be the expert speaking this night. She will give an informative, gripping, and thoroughly personal account of her own struggle with eating disorders. She will also provide listeners with hope, local and national resources, and practical advice. In addition to Ms. MacDonald’s talk, there will also be a panel of local experts and survivors who will address questions audience members may have. Whether you, a friend, or family member has been personally affected or you simply want to hear women talk about their lives in a way that is true and real, this will be a moving performance to attend.
Thursday, October 27th
Listening and Observing: The Power of Birth in Story
Childbirth may be one of the most powerful events that women experience in life. The sharing of women’s personal experiences of giving birth provides an opportunity for greater understanding about how birth shapes and is shaped by our self-perceptions, our culture, and the trajectory of our lives. This evening will provide a safe space to experience the art of listening as we share our personal stories of birth in a way that honors the unique experience of each storyteller.
Thursday, November 3
Life in the First Person: Women’s Stories Uncovered will serve as the grand finale in the event series, Beyond Barbie. Seven renowned Richmond writers will join forces to create a night of mixed-genre storytelling, reading, and performance art via poetry and prose. Come out to hear Life in the First Person with Gigi Amateau, novelist; Denise Bennett, storyteller; Tarfia Faizullah, poet; Julie Geen, freelance writer; Shelia Gray, performance artist; Valley Haggard, creative nonfiction writer and Alexandra Iwashyna, blogger.