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Hey friends & fam!…Honey Pot Performance has just launched our 1st crowdsourcing campaign on IndieGoGo.com! A 30-day fundraiser for our 2013/2014 season called “Stick With Honey Pot!” There are 6 contributor levels and awesome perks to choose from, so give what you can & spread the word WIDELY! Thanks for the continued love & support….stick with Honey Pot! 🙂
Wow! What an amazing run we had at Sketchbook 13 last month! After 10 shows on Collaboraction’s Pentagon stage, we performed our closing matinee of ‘Price Point’ in front of a FULL house and received a standing ovation! Here’s a sample of the feedback from our wonderfully engaged Sketchbook 13 audience:
“Great performance! These amazing artists are terrific, straight forward and touching at the same time. Lots of times I have felt misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misheard when I speak up about life in general (success, economics, work, and even spiritual life) working so hard to obtain the BEST sacrificing many valuable things as family, mind, spirit, soul, and even compromising one’s health. When the performance finished I had a sweet & sour after taste!!! I love their work, very well done. Good sense of humor in some parts (why not laugh about our reality for a little bit?). I totally recommend… It’s a Must!”
“If you have not witnessed these ladies illustrate,testify to that which is happening right before our eyes everyday (the rude awakening of the “American Dream”), you are doing yourself a disservice!”
“This is compelling stuff . . . breaks the boundaries of academic postulation on these matters, even as you use the language of the sector, to get at the reality. Many thanks for sharing.”
“Price Point is an extraordinary blend of poetic monologue, humor, music, movement and digital media that speaks to our current economic crisis and experience as working folk. Price Point creatively weaves in riveting facts regarding the disparities between the upper and lower classes by including interviews, news clippings, quotes, and narration. Price Point not only takes us through the past and present, but gives us hope that collectively we can determine our future. The dialogue is powerful enough to invoke change and inspiration in our union as the majority. Words are not enough, videos are not enough, you MUST see this live to receive the full experience. Every man, woman, and child should be forced to see this show; once they have, they’ll thank their enforcer immediately. SIX STARS for an AWESOME Performance. So glad I didn’t miss this!”
As our HPP mission states, “everyday popular and/or folk forms of cultural performance are valuable sites of knowledge production and cultural capital for subjectivities that often exist outside of mainstream communities”. Performance is our therapy, our catharsis, our way to community. Performance is the haven that welcomes us to rediscover our own value and worth. Performance and expression bring our dormant, unsaid emotions to the surface and urge us to work them out within a community that not only bears witness, but also empathizes through experience. For us, ‘Price Point’ serves as a hybrid of art and public service—-an economic ‘ring shout’! The live Price Point experience offers a proverbial safe space to both witness and testify to the dynamic endeavor of surviving in a devalued labor market. A safe space to create new answers to the question “What is today’s social contract?”
Our shared vision and experiences of alternative/DIY economic mobility have empowered us to build coalition as both artists and concerned citizens. Since closing at Sketchbook 13 on June 30th, we have been approached by several independent artists/curators/educators and activists to remount ‘Price Point’ and/or collaborate on ‘Price Point’-related projects such as performances, workshops and panel discussions. We are eternally grateful for the support of our live and online audiences, our Sketchbook 13 producers (Collaboraction) and our creative community of fellow artists and art lovers…in Chicago and abroad!
We are eager to keep the ‘Price Point’ conversation going, so follow this blog or ‘like’ the Honey Pot Performance Facebook page for updates on our 2013/2014 season….Stick with Honey Pot Performance!
*Photo credits: Ania Sodziak
An excerpt from Price Point/Scene 3 (“The Impossible Cycle”). Here, we gather at the site of many intense economic decisions—the kitchen table—and build a polyrhythm loaded with frustration & catharsis.
As we prepare for the 2nd weekend of ‘Price Point’ in the SKETCHBOOK 13 performance festival, here’s some audience feedback we received from last weekend:
“That was wonderful. You were like one breath, different registers…Excellent.”
–Khadijah Kysia;Wellness Practitioner
“Ohhh My Goodness, I went to church at 12pm today. Church was the Honey Pot Performance, PRICE POINT. The poesy of real talk and the energy of the pieces were honest and accessible! The poignancy of the pieces and the timing were also refreshing. The topics were current and reflected Black womyn….and the movement was intentional and completed their words. The acknowledgment of the informal economy, working poor, interpersonal violence, bills and order, bills and negotiation, clinics that dont listen, mental health….whew! it was all good and didnt beat me over the head. The only thing is that I wanted it to be an audience full of sistas for the sake of ritual and to offer reassurance and understanding to the performers. The audience was too quiet as they sat and held their breaths on the parts they did get. There was a need for call and response, “girl yes…” “Ashe” “preach” etc etc etc. so, if I can find the time to round up some sista-friends imma try to make it back to see it again in the company of familiarity.”
—Veronica Precious Bohannon;writer, visual artist, mental health services activist
“This is compelling stuff. . .[Price Point] breaks the boundaries of academic postulation on these matters, even as you use the language of the sector, to get at the reality.”
—Bayo Olayinka Ojikutu;award-winning novelist (’47th Street Black’, ‘Free Burning’)
Come see how we mix it up & serve economic realness, starting this Friday (June 14th) at 8p. Use discount code “FHOLM” to save $5 at http://www.Collaboraction.org!
“Price Point is aptly named- the price that you pay for the point of the production is a relative measure of your own understanding and experience of economy and society against the show’s melodically intertwined stories, monologues, poems, media and all points in between. The show is punctuated by definitions of economic terms that become open portals through which the explorations of our financial and cultural climate take place. You can’t pin down the attitudes or emotions here just as a forecast can no longer accurately predict how money actually makes any of us feel. Price Point is a gorgeous, honest and wide-reaching account of the effects of living in a contemporary capitalist state. In short, it’s on point!”
—Laura Goldstein, Co-curator of the Red Rover Reading Series
Promo for SKETCHBOOK 13 performance festival (June 5-30, 2013; Chicago, IL). Here, Felicia Holman discusses ‘Price Point’ with festival director Anthony Moseley.
SKETCHBOOK is Collaboraction at its best: breaking down the walls that divide theater, music, visual art, video, and the internet. Selected from hundreds of submissions, SKETCHBOOK once again brings together the collective talents of more than 150 pioneering directors, designers, actors, musicians and artists from Chicago and around the country for a jaw-dropping evening of creativity, experimentation, and celebration!
**This Behind-The-Scenes post was originally Published on Collaboration.ORG For THE 13TH ANNUAL SKETCHBOOK performance festival.**
A third statement in the series comes from Felicia Holman, the co-founder of Honey Pot Performance who devised “Price Point” which is the sole destination on our Green line in this years’ festival. Here we get an inside look as Felicia muses about the importance of “Price Point”. DOORS CLOSING…next stop Price Point!
Extended Crisis Mode–The Making of ‘Price Point’
Let me begin with this: We women of Honey Pot Performance are uberexcited to be performing in Sketchbook again! For our first Sketchbook appearance (2011), we debuted a 9-minute humorous rapid-fire sketch called ‘Suspect Politic’, for which we received critical and popular acclaim (shouts out to our loyal fans who still ask the question “what the fuck is mild sauce?!”). For this year’s festival, we submit a 70-minute interdisciplinary/multimedia feature titled ‘Price Point’. See the ‘Price Point’ project description below:
“Price Point explores notions of fairness and balance, or the lack thereof, in today’s economic landscape through a mixture of the tragic and comic. The work combines movement, theater, song and image to examine the state of the American Dream.”
—Sketchbook 13 Press Release
Absolutely accurate, no doubt! However, since I have this whole blog post to myself, I want to dig a little deeper. I want to share some of the nitty-gritty behind this show’s creative process and our “why” with you, our wonderfully inquisitive Sketchbook audience!
First and foremost, Honey Pot Performance (HPP) is a woman-focused collaborative creative community committed to chronicling and interrogating Afro-diasporic feminist and unconventional subjectivities amidst the pressures of contemporary global life. HPP is Felicia Holman (author of this post), Abra Johnson, Aisha Jean-Baptiste and Meida McNeal.
HPP draws upon the central notion that everyday popular and/or folk forms of cultural performance are valuable sites of knowledge production and cultural capital for subjectivities that often exist outside of mainstream communities. Most importantly, HPP enlists modes of creative expressivity to examine the nuances of human relationships including the ways we negotiate identity, belonging and difference in our everyday lives and cultural memberships. Performance is our way to community, our catharsis. Performance is the haven that welcomes us to rediscover our own value and worth.
It is in this spirit—of showcasing the stories of the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the disillusioned and damn-near-invisible Working Class—that “Price Point” was originally conceived about a year and a half ago. The central questions (or conundrums) we grapple with in Price Point are the same questions central to our contemporary lives: In this New Economy, what is the value of living/the value of work? What does the concept of the Social Contract look like today?
An excerpt of a monologue from Scene 2 (“Extended Crisis Mode”) conveys our shared aspirations and frustrations while grappling with these notions:
“Waiting for a windfall to wipe the slate clean, to get on the good foot, to be in the black, to have time to think and relax, to experience leisure, to take a vacation, to find pleasure instead of anxiety, to breathe without panic, without worry, without fear…I desire peace.
Pushing to make things happen, to rebuild broken links, to evolve to abundance, to break the cycle of lack, to enhance all of our capital because as I do for me I construct a stronger foundation for you too, of more than just a little piece of mercy, of magic, of more than this…..We demand peace. We demand a piece.”
In Price Point, the thesis we offer is that such DIY/Punk/Collective ethics as cooperation, resilience and resourcefulness are the penultimate tools of both social & economic mobility.
Staying true to those values, our fundamental HPP generative process is organically collaborative. I say “organically collaborative” because not only have we been creating and performing works together for over 10 years, but we’ve been close friends for much longer! I believe its the friendship factor which empowers us to open up to and trust each other and disagree and keep loving and learning about each other and working together to create such highly personal yet universally evocative shows.
As usual, our process for ‘Price Point’ primarily involved journaling, archiving data/research, conversation, observation, experimentation and creative expressivity (“play” with words, movement, music, etc), followed by a sharing of individual insights and perspectives gleaned from reviewing the conversations, observations, data, etc. Basically, we do a lot of workshopping and editing to coherently juxtapose our individual/micro stories with the macro topics/notions we explore through embodied storytelling. We strive to take our audience with us as we navigate the highs/lows of contemporary urban life on stage. With Price Point, as with all our work, we aim to open up space in this world for more consideration, empathy and humanity.
I want to close with a big “Thank You” to Anthony Moseley, Sarah Moeller and the entire Collaboraction family for including us once again in this venerable event and supporting our ‘Price Point’ vision.
Looking forward to seeing/meeting/talking with you all at the Flat Iron in a couple of weeks, starting June 5th!