Urbana, IL -- everywhere I look there's Abe Lincoln's image. Apparently, he was a lawyer here in Urbana. Or is Champaign. They're twin cities. College town, Urbana. Champaign is a little more peppy, apparently. The UP Center was started in 2009 as a resource center and has become a very successful LGBT Center in the area. They're gearing up for their sixth Pride Festival in September (when it's warmer and the students are back to University). The folks from the UP Center, Heath and Sarah were super hospitable and helpful. They bought us Thai food for dinner. One of the first warm meals we've had this trip. Awesome. (To be fair, I did ask for subs/sandwiches at the other venues, so it's my fault we're eating subs all the time. - We're putting the kaibosh on that immediately.)
The Independent Media Center is a huge building that houses all sorts of arts organizations. It was such a creative space and had a huge playing area for the show - a stage and everything. Normally, I don't like performing on stages because
I feel too far from the audience, but this stage was just the right height and the chairs were set up just close enough so that I felt I could still connect, which was really great.
The show went really well- I was a bit nervous after my opening piece to look out over the audience and see that they looked kind of scared. :-) Or maybe overwhelmed, the opening is pretty intense - I pull an Agnes Angst (from Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner's Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe) at the beginning of the show and go all intensely performance arty.
That's me being performance arty at the left. And on the right is me giving out the boxes to the audience. Ok, so the boxes are the metaphor for the gift of self-discovery and they're taped up with different kinds of tape and the audience is usually like, "Uh..thank you?" when I give them out and then I explain that self discovery is scary, so I could open my box...and THEN I get to the point where I have so much self-love that I'm able to open the box and not be afraid of what's inside and I invite the audience to open the box along with me... And they do. You'll have to come to my show to find out what's inside the box! Teaser!!!
The audience gets to take home the boxes (most do) as free take-away metaphors from me to you. My therapist still has her box from when I did this during my first show Fear Junkie back in 2003.
UP Center, THANK YOU!