LRS loads in to the Defibrillator!

Tonight we put in a little elbow grease as got settled into our digs for the week. Bit by bit it’s coming together. We’re looking forward to sharing this intimate work with audiences this Thursday Aug 4 through Saturday Aug 6. We hope you’ll come check us out!

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Ladies Ring Shout featured on WHPK

Check out Felicia Holman’s great interview with Mario & Gary on  WHPK about the Ladies Ring Shout.  Tune in about 42:40!  (Listen to the whole show too cuz it’s great).

News From the Service Entrance (WHPK): July 28 2011

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Profile: LRS Design Collaborator, Lindsay Obermeyer

I’ve been stitching, sewing, knitting and otherwise making for longer than I can remember. Both parents were what you might call crafty individuals, but it was my grandmothers who encouraged and indulged my passion for all things textile.

In my work, I employ the history and metaphors surrounding textile practices to study issues as diverse as environmentalism, medical ethics, nanotechnology and gender.  My art has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally at venues including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MA), the Milwaukee Art Museum (WI), the Museum of Arts and Design (NY), and Centro Colombo Americano (Columbia).  I created the community art piece The Red Thread Project® which has involved the participation of thousands knitters to date and is coming to Chicago this fall.

Designing and making the costumes for Ladies Ring Shout has been a true pleasure.  Though I worked as a crafts technician for several ballet companies, I’ve never had the honor of being both the designer and maker.  The collaborative process has been inspiring and is sure to inform my own practice in the future.

—Lindsay Obermeyer

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Profile: LRS Design Collaborator, Chris Nightengale

Chris Nightengale was born and raised in Norfolk, Nebraska (Johnny Carson’s hometown).

He transferred to Chicago to attend Columbia College for Photography in Fall of 1999, working as an Arts Professional and taking photos on the side.

This collaboration came together via Jeanne Medina to set down the camera and pick up the video to create vignettes to visually stimulate for the LRS production.

Constructing set props made from reclaimed materials was conceived to embrace the audience in the intimate setting.

This project has presented itself as a truly artistic endeavour—– to take a concept on paper and bring it to life…a wonderful experience.

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Profile: LRS Design Collaborator, Jeanne Medina


Born in 1979, I am a second-generation mestiza, Filipina-American.  I live and work in my birthplace–Chicago–and travel internationally investigating constructions of personal and cultural identity. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, my sensibility was shaped by the physicality of the Midwestern landscape as well as the experience of being “ambiguously ethnic”, or “other”.  The sweeping agricultural and wooded expanses, the textures of dilapidated industrial corridors and train yards that flank the highway between my town and the slick, twinkling monoliths of the city are ingrained in my memory and evoked in my work.

Through interdisciplinary, deconstructive exploration, I am interested in the bidirectional relationship of experience and expression– in my artistic gestures and as I see it function between the physical, clothing, shelter, and body, and the intangible, memory and identity.  My additive and reductive mark making gestures, ritualized in meditative action, simultaneously create symbolic motifs evoking ceremonial object or ethnographic specimen in the resulting work.  I ask:  What mark does a memory make?  Is it like a stain that has sublimated a fabric’s fibers, a scratch that disrupts the surface, or a hole that subverts the substrate?  On a garment, the body leaves stains and scent, and deterioration from friction and stress. Textiles, while worn against the skin, are an experience as well as signify an outward self-expression.  They are also protection and shelter—home.

I am interested in location-specific identity formation and study nomadic, ritual, and ethnographic dress as relics of experience, memory, survival, and expression.  The “other” and psychological affects of absence, displacement, and disconnection intrigue me.  I nod to the psychoanalytic theories of Jacques Lacan and Joseph Campbell’s “Imprints of Experience”, and the Deconstructionist philosophy of Jacques Derrida. Employing an intuitive, process-based approach, I incorporate painting, sculpture, performance, video, photography, fashion, and fiber disciplines to create experimental and experiential work.

—Jeanne Medina


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Come Together

Though it’s been almost a full month since I’ve written a journal entry, we are now 2 weeks away from the world premiere of The Ladies Ring Shout (Aug 4-6, 2011) and I am moved to write about my reflections of this collaborative process.

As a co-founder of both ThickRoutes Performance Collage (TRPC) & Ladies Ring Shout (LRS), I have had the privilege to collaborate/create/perform with amazingly talented women. Over the last 10 years, Abra Johnson & Meida McNeal have been my “stage sisters” as fellow co-founders of both TRPC & LRS. Together, we have conceived & staged several evocative and acclaimed performances of varying lengths; the best way I can describe our creative process is ‘organic systemization’. However with Ladies Ring Shout, we not only crafted a feature-length performance from a quilt of workshop-generated material, we have fostered a community!

For LRS, we’ve been blessed to enlist the design talents of Lindsay Obermeyer, Jeanne Medina and Chris Nightengale. The costume/set/environmental designs of these three artists contribute enormously to the look & feel of The Ladies Ring Shout. The seeds of this design collaboration were planted (appropriately enough) at Jeanne Medina’s New Year’s Eve 2010 dinner party. While catching each other up on our respective goings-on, I told Jeanne about LRS & our Oct 2010 residency at U of NC. In turn, she shared the impetus of her then-newly completed student project at the School of The Art Institute (SAIC). Until that dinner, we hadn’t really known much about each other’s art but we were both energized by the works’ respective parallels and vowed to find an entry point for collaboration. Fast forward a few months to early Spring 2011….

Jeanne attends one of our weekend rehearsals to see a dry run of the show (all 3 acts) & spur set design ideas. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Meida had also consulted with a designer whom she worked with at Chicago Artist Resource (CAR)— enter Lindsay Obermeyer as LRS costume designer. Then during a subsequent rehearsal where both Jeanne & Lindsay were present, we were treated to reunion—-Lindsay had been Jeanne’s first fiber/textile instructor at SAIC & a huge influence in Jeanne’s approach to the medium! 🙂 Shortly thereafter, Jeanne’s LRS design vision required further collaboration— enter graphic/video artist Chris Nightengale, who’d done previous work with Jeanne.  By incorporating found/re-purposed materials in both the costumes & sets, our LRS design team has beautifully aligned their vision with the show’s DIY/’make a way out of no way’ ethos. I am so proud of all of us, coming together how we have, and anxiously await opening night!

—Felicia Holman

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The Ladies Ring Shout premieres August 2011!

The Ladies Ring Shout 
*World Premiere*
Co-devised by Felicia Holman, Abra Johnson & Meida McNeal
Costume Design by Lindsay Obermeyer
Set & Environmental Design by Jeanne Medina & Chris Nightengale

Using a combination of spoken word, movement, and an original soundtrack, The Ladies Ring Shout journeys through contemporary women of color’s experiences. The multimedia work meditates on four frames integrated into our lived realities – the statistics and sociological condition of women of color, our mundane everyday acts, the codes and rules we are disciplined into, and the myths we conjure to imagine our future possibilities.

August 4-6 2011 / 8p at Defibrillator, 1136 N. Milwaukee
$10 online | $15 at the door

Buy tickets!

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Keep checking back with us. We’ll be posting updates in July as we prepare to debut this labor of love. We are excited to share this work with you!

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