Thursday, June 30, 2011

PEX Summer Festival, The Summer Dragon, and the Russian Roulette Variety Show!

Took a little break from painting this past month to focus on some other projects, including helping my husband create a 21+ foot long performance "Chinese" inspired dragon, which I am in the middle of working on as I type. (I'm the textile manager, design consultant, and slave labor.)

His psychedelic beast will debut tomorrow evening at the opening ceremony at PEX Summer Festival 2011.

I'll also be performing with The Russian Roulette Variety Show with The Penny Treats and Lux Arati, my bellydance and fire troupe. Here are some photos from our dress rehearsal, courtesy of the fabulous Will Connelly.

A shot of Lux Arati from the first dress rehearsal of Russian Roulette Variety Show.
Photo by Will Connelly.

Anyway, we are closing in on 24 hours away from our debut performance at PEX Summer Fest, and I've spent the past two weeks crafting costumes, rehearsing & practicing my butt off, helping Alex develop his dragon and a whole slew of other related crap. Lux Arati is also hosting 2 bellydance related workshops, one on how to craft your own bellydance bra, and the other an Intro to Bellydance class. I proposed the workshop idea - specifically the bellydance bra crafting one, because I have no qualifications to teach a dance class, but I sure can make costumes.

This is my third year (and the third year of) PEX Summer Fest, and I'm always blown away by the art, music, installations and performances - it's a shit ton of creative minds coming together to make a really amazing event. (Changed some of my friends lives - for real!)

I'll leave you with a stellar video of PEX Summer Festival from 2010 that my dear friend Bill Kennedy put together from camera stills. I'm in it, near the end, you'll see me crawling all over the HoneyTrap sculpture. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Kristin and I posing for the camera during our show.
(Photo by Will Connelly Photography, 2011)

It was Monday morning after "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" that I woke up realizing that even though it was all DONE - I had little to no sense of relief.

Yes, the show looked beautiful. Yes, the event was awesome. I got a ton of great feedback about what a fun night it was, what a great party it was, how beautiful the show was, our pieces looked great together, our collaborative painting was successful - even the vibe of the entire party was praised. (There was a very small moment of weird drama, but I'm over that already. Not worth mentioning.) It was, hands down, the most ridiculous thing I've had to work that hard to organize in awhile (possibly ever?) and even though I woke up Monday morning feeling great about that - it was quite difficult to let those positive feelings linger for very long. I had a dress rehearsal I wasn't prepared for in a week, the season for my theater bartending job was coming to an end, I was still totally dirt poor (didn't sell any paintings off the wall, though I did have some folks interested in prints - unfortunately "interest" doesn't equal immediate payment, since I definitely still have to work for it) and a jagged, pointy wave of stress and worry had monsoon-ed out my happy art parade.


And then of course, a few days later I get my letter of rejection from the Mural Arts Program - for a lousy summer internship, for Christ's sake. I attempted to apply to be one of their artists back in January, and despite filling out and thinking I submitted the form twice online, it managed to never go through. Since they review their artist applications only once a year (in mid-January, and of course didn't respond to my "Did that go through?" email until mid-February), I was for some reason convinced that the internship would be no problem. Of course I'll get it, I thought. Why wouldn't I?

Welcome to the real world, Xtina!

So I've felt like a complete idiot a couple times in the past few weeks. Between letters of employment rejection based on the one talent and skill I know I possess and then working my ass off for this show that was completely unprofitable - it's been a little difficult to look on the bright side. "Midnight..." was still an amazing night - and I will have a bunch of pictures soon to share with you - but damn, it was a little disappointing. I felt like I was putting in all this effort, and trying SO hard to make this happen - and I did it, and it happened, and it was like a slowly deflating balloon instead of a piƱata full of candy. (Funny, I wasn't the only one to feel like this, either.) I have since sucked it up and moved on, and I will no doubt continue to paint and continue to promote myself as an artist, and try and make this art thing work. Besides performing, which I am relatively new at, so to speak - this is the only freaking thing I know I can do well. And maybe it's NOT a full time job, although with the right market and the right product it sure as fucking well can be - but yea. I got a bit of a slap in the face that Monday morning, and as of today (crossing fingers everything continues to go well) I now have another low paying service industry job. Good-ie.

But you know what? These moments of weakness are not going to destroy me. There are things in my brain that I see and experience in a visual, tactile way - an interpretation of a dream world, my dream world - that need to be expressed somehow. On a canvas, still images or moving picture, limbs poised oh-so-perfectly from a body, a carefully crafted (or duct-taped) costume for a performance. It's beyond me, it's something pulsing in my veins, something running through my neurological wiring. This is all I can do. This is what I do.

Aww. Hugs. <3
(Photo by Will Connelly Photography, 2011)

I'll post more pictures from the fabulous Will Connelly as soon as I get them on a disk. Thank you Will, Joe Zang, Kristin, and all the musicians and performers that came out for Midnight and helped make it happen. Even though this blog entry was all about *me* and *my feelings* (tough shit- it's my blog, bitches) - the show itself was really about everyone that was involved. We all came together and put forth amazing efforts, and created a really fun night with a great vibe, great art, and great talent of all kinds. These are my friends, and I love them. So more pictures of that event soon.

In the meantime, please enjoy this shot of my friend Sarah's new tattoo, which I helped design. Another friend of mine was responsible for the actual tattoo and reworking the design slightly to better fit her body. Besides my own, this is (I believe) the first artwork of my own that is now a tattoo on someone's skin. Enjoy!

New ink on Sarah G. Designed by me! Who's next??