Leonie Bell’s theater project was born in 2020 and named after a woman she saw on television who was identified simply as “Local Grandma. This LOCAL GRANDMA, located in Brooklyn, is a “theater project devoted to rigorous play, communal care-taking, and causing a ruckus. LOCAL GRANDMA produces live performances and seeks out genre-, medium-, and culture-bending collaborations.”
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Marcus Henderson is a new father with all of the attendant responsibilities, hopes, and dreams for his family. He wants to take care of his family, make sure that they get the right kinds of opportunities, and do his part to honor those that came before him. A few months ago, Henderson stepped up to take the role of the New York City Father of the House of LaBeija, which has over fifty members across generations. The House of LaBeija is a ballroom house full of queer, BIPOC members who compete in balls in competitions like voguing, share their lives together, and support one another when they face challenges.
It’s hard for emerging, ambitious, experimental artists to book their first shows in a competitive arts environment like New York City. The founders of Brooklyn-based Exponential Festival have been working since 2016 to change that. Founder and Artistic Director Theresa Buchheister and Producing Director Nic Adams, along with the rest of the Exponential Festival team, are gearing up for an ambitious multi-venue, multi-artist extravaganza in January with a crowdfunding campaign that ends on November 3.
One of the biggest challenges for sex workers and adult content creators today, in addition to the threat of violence on the job (including from law enforcement) is that the online platforms where they work could kick them off at any time. Online adult content is a massive industry worth $800 million. The workers who generate that content are at the whim of companies and platforms who both extract profit from their work and then make decisions about their operating terms that often harm the sex workers who have created the value for them in the first place.
We believe that artists need to be able to connect with one another to share information and resources, to collaborate with one another, and to inspire each other. It’s great to be able to connect with your local community, but physical proximity isn’t a possibility for some artists depending on geographical location, physical ability, or discipline. You might be the only harpist in your town, or unable to physically attend meetings or classes in your area.
We’ve all seen beloved brick and mortar arts and culture spaces disappear. Record stores and bookstores have closed, nightclubs and theaters have shuttered, and indie movie theaters have folded. When these physical spaces close, we lose community centers and places to truly nerd out about what we love. We lose places to discover niche media and art and to connect with one another. That’s why when beloved Baltimore video store Video Americain was closing down, Kevin Coelho, Greg Golinski, and Eric Hatch tried to save it. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to. So instead, they built something else.
We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming about fundraising best practices, challenges that artists face, and musings about organizational design. It’s a hard world out there and our brains are collectively pretty fried these days, especially as we continue to navigate the art world together. Something that brings a lot of joy to some members of the Fractured Atlas staff (myself included!) are memes. Specifically, we love niche memes about art and the art world.
For over 40 years, Split Britches has been creating art that is both lesbian and feminist. Split Britches projects span theater, solo performance, live art, workshops, digital media, models for public conversation, and written work. Founded by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw, Split Britches “is about a community of outsiders, queers, eccentrics – feminist because it encourages the imaginative potential in everyone, and lesbian because it takes the presence of a lesbian on stage as a given.”
At times, creative practices - the work of research, ideating, building, and crafting artwork - can feel at odds with the flow of capitalism that dictates that you always do more, go faster, and think about yourself in isolation. In this world of speed, money, and individualism at the forefront, what does it mean to slow down and think intentionally about where artists and the economic ecosystem generated by the arts industry fit in within the greater world? “Solidarity Not Charity - Arts & Culture Grantmaking in the Solidarity Economy: A Rapid Report” written by Nati Linares and Caroline Woolard presents one answer to this inquiry. This report covers how artists and culture bearers fit into the larger solidarity economy that is growing; organizations, individuals, and collectives who are transforming how we think about funding and wealth building; and numerous actions we can take to educate ourselves and enact change.