Featured THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED Artist: grey doolin

In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: SELF DEFINED? 

I am directing two pieces: What Is Owed by Nikolas Martell and Misgendered, by a Friend, June 21st by Oliver Schminkey. The wonderful Logan Gilbert-Guy is performing What is Owed and the fabulous Oliver is performing their own piece.

Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I?

In a world filled with normative narratives, it’s really important that queer and trans folks see themselves reflected as much as possible. It’s also important for our narratives to take up space in the world.

What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I?

Even though I didn’t write a piece for the show, both of the pieces I’m directing resonate with my experiences as a trans- and queer-identified person. What is Owed is a powerful piece about the complexities of identity and the shortcoming of labels, language, and others’ ideas about what it means to be [insert identity here]. Misgendered is a beautiful and poignant reflection on that moment when someone close to you misgenders you—how a seemingly small thing is actually a big fucking deal.

Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? 

In terms of theatre experience, I was part of a small group of queers in Madison, WI who wrote and produced a play comprised of a series of monologues—similar to The Naked I but smaller in scale and reach. I’m a writer and musician and photographer and creator of things.

What other artists or shows have inspired you?

I feel inspired by most people who have heart and show up in an authentic way.

What is your favorite hangout spot and why?

Right now? My bed or bathtub. No explanation needed.

When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? 

I just started a queer writing group in Minneapolis: Twin Cities Queer Writers (find us on Facebook!). I spend my time creating, meditating, honing my spiritual practice, working part-time jobs, and hanging out with people.

Tell us about your pets, real or imaginary

I am a resident of Catlandia, population: 4 (soon to be 5! Another human, thank goodness). My three cats let me squat in their apartment, which is very generous of them. They keep me around to feed them, open doors, and provide the occasional pat.

What other projects are you working on or hope to work on? 

Other than the writing group, right now I’m working on starting a service-based business for queer and trans folks. TBC.

Featured THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED Artist: Zealot Hamm

In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED?

I am the writer of “My Dearest Selene” and I am performing in “Thank You Zombie Lady”

Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I?

It is important for the marginalized members of the LGBT community to have an avenue to be seen and heard. Everyone has a different view of gender & sexuality and it is important for people to know that it is fluid and however they identify, it’s important to show that it is okay. The Naked I is good at showing that struggle, giving it a face, and making it relatable.

What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I?

My gender fluidity and its mysticism.

Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production?

I have been fortunate to have been in all four Naked I productions and each time I have learned so much about pacing and mood and how to express that and connect with the audience. Each time I start again, I pour that through my acting and writing. I also went to college for animation where I learned acting through pictures and the importance of timing. So when I did start to act, in terms of merging those skills, it was perfect.

What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work?

I am really interested in how race, gender, and social equality play out in our lives. These are fundamental ties to one’s worth. I met a seven year old trans girl and I was touched by her story. Until she was able to express herself she wanted to die. I was struck at how someone, at such a young age, didn’t feel like they had a place in the world. I want to change that and create stories that boost self worth.

What other artists or shows have inspired you?

Oh gosh, so many!  My Naked I family; local artist and Star Goddess, Andrea Jenkins; Shimmer Quin Villagomez; Kevin Aviance, for the way they bend their drag; & Janet Mock.  I also like artists who modify their bodies  I really like sideshow performers like Little Bear, The Bearded Woman; Erik Sprague, aka The Lizard Man; and “Vampire Woman” Maria Jose Cristerna. I am really inspired by all things anime.

What is your favorite hangout spot and why?

I like to hang out in my head. It is the only place where I am not chased out of towns with fire and pitchforks – LOL!

When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies?

I spend my time reading a lot of different metaphysics books, philosophy, and comics, and one of my hobbies is role playing games.

Tell us about your pets, real or imaginary.

My little gray familiar is a funny cat. She is the size of a kitten, even at her 10 plus years of existence. She perches on cabinets and high places like a little gray gargoyle.  Her little eyes see through to your very soul! My dragon on the other hand, Equinox, is very talkative and if you call him imaginary, he will bite you! Despite his lofty title as Dragon of the Thirty Six Flames, he enjoys Netflix and warm bonfires. Oh, and yes, the rumors are true, he really is good at baking bread.

What other projects are you working on or hope to work on?

I would love to do a power metal musical! I really like that subgenre of heavy metal and I really think it could handle my wild sensibility! Practically, I would love to create an exercise machine that would strengthen the thighs for half the price!

Featured THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED Artist: Rehema Mertinez

In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED? 

I am acting in a performance piece called “My Dearest Selene;” I play a character who exhibits a lot of fear. Toward the end of the piece I get to transform into a goddess-like character.

Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I?

These stories and creative pieces are important because they focus on actual things that face the GLBTQ community; these stories also bring awareness to certain important issues.

What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I?

I am a trans woman of color. I want to portray a beautiful powerful black trans goddess as my character who I want to connect with in my everyday life.

Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? 

I have been doing theatre arts since I was a kid. I went to a high school for the performing arts, as well as being a part of several theatre companies. I have always had a passion for theatre.

What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work?

Trans and racial equality issues are very important to me because I am a trans women of color and I believe that absolutely nobody should be treated as less than. I try to make sure that I incorporate these issues in my work by being involved in the community and doing what I can to make a difference.

What is your favorite hangout spot and why?

I love to hang out at home (I know boring!) but I get to cook and get creative when I get to make a wig or something.

 

Tell us about your pets, real or imaginary.

I have a Chihuahua named Biko and a fat chubby cat name Maltese. Biko and Maltese get along very well; they like to play fight but then the next minute they are grooming each other. They are my babies and I love them very much.

What other projects are you working on or hope to work on?

I hope to continue performing and going to auditions. I hope to be in another fantastic play soon.

Featured THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED Artist: Cherri Borey

In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED?

I am performing in “My Dearest Selene.”

Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I?

Empowerment through education. My hope is that these bravely told stories and shared experiences will empower those who are still questioning and encourage compassion in would-be allies. Enlightenment through art.

Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production?

My acting background is mainly within comedy–plays, sketch comedy, and stand-up. Although I’ve been on artistic hiatus for a while, I’m excited to be able to return to acting in such an awesome show.

What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work?

My gender non-conformity and queerness attracted me to this production, but I think what really informs my performance is the commonality of human experience in its deeply held desire to be treated with dignity and respect.

When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy reading, listening to music , writing fiction, and playing video games.

What other projects are you working on or hope to work on?

I am currently a trombone player for the MN Freedom Band, as well as working on a novel I began during 2015’s National Novel Writing Month.

Featured THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED Artist: Shalee Coleman

In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED

I am excited to return to THE NAKED I to direct Do No Harm by Eddy Samara and to choreograph a dance narrative number to Cat Hammond’s catchy and triumphant song, Pretty Boy.

Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I?

I believe wholeheartedly that representation is the solution to oppression. Representation in art, media, government, you name it. When people see themselves represented on stage, they no longer feel so isolated. When people see people other than themselves represented on stage honestly, accurately, and vulnerably, empathy and understanding becomes a natural reaction. THE NAKED I gives transgender artists and non-binary/ gender non-conforming folks the chance to speak their stories in their own words. Audiences create and form a bond with people all over the spectrum of queer and trans identities. And anyone in the audience who may be questioning the identity they were assigned at birth can put language to those feelings and relate to a story they see on stage. That is unspeakably radical. I have seen people’s entire perspective change in the span of a ten minute NAKED I piece.

For example, there was a moment in Oliver Schminkey’s piece two years ago when they said that in Spanish everything and everyone is referred to in the masculine (El -o) or feminine (La -a) with no ability to refer to anyone in gender neutral terms. Oliver then said that in the love language of Spanish, “they” basically did not exist. During this section I was sitting with my partner’s mother, a Spanish language medical interpreter. She works with Spanish speakers every day to advocate for them to get the best care possible. I heard her epiphany in a sigh/gasp. I watched her realize the inherent problem with that in the moment, and try to process solutions. In that moment, I saw the power of THE NAKED I.

Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? 

I acted all throughout college and was pretty content to be on stage performing. It was not until I studied away at the National Theater Institute in Waterford, Connecticut, that I was assigned a scene to direct. That experience sparked my love of directing. I discovered a desire to guide actors toward great performances rather than be up there myself. My first opportunity to professionally direct was with THE NAKED I: Insides Out, and I owe every professional directing opportunity I received since then to 20% and the amazing relationships I formed during this incredible show.

What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work?

Social issues that I am most passionate about are women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, the rights of transgender people to exist and receive medical treatment and the intersections between all of these issues. I have garnered a bit of a reputation for indulging in the “hard” conversations: brawling on Facebook and calling out people for misogyny/racism/transphobia in the moment. I was the person at Christmas breakfast who asked “So, who are we all voting for?” This is a reputation that I fought hard to achieve and that I am extremely proud of. To me it is more important to let people who have faced oppression (visibly or invisibly) know that there is someone to defend them than it is to make people in power more comfortable. This streams into my work as a lot of my art has a social justice bent. More than that though, it means that my rehearsals are designed to be safe spaces. You can only ask people to perform boldly through vulnerability if you make it clear that you are there to catch them if they fall. People make mistakes sometimes; I do too, societal programming can be difficult to decode. But if you work hard to let people know that you will fight for them, you empower them to correct you when you make those mistakes. My hope is that any performer or friend of mine would feel comfortable bringing that to me. The correction, while uncomfortable, has only ever made me a more whole and empathetic human being.

What other artists or shows have inspired you?

I find myself most inspired by writers. Letting your imagination run wild is a skill that we learn to stifle while sitting in 7th grade home room. The people who hold steadfast to that skill inspire me and I could not do what I do without them. That is why most of the directing I do is new work. I relish the opportunity to pick writers brains, reaffirm them, invite them to rehearsal, and allow them agency in shaping the final product. Just another reason working on THE NAKED I is a real treat for me.

What is your favorite hangout spot and why?

I love having friends over at my place when it is clean. My apartment feels like a little hideaway complete with Hulu/Netflix, tons of books/graphic novels, and two fuzzy cats. I prefer to fill my home with friends though, because at my core I am a social being and adore sharing my space with people who love to play video games and yell at the TV during political debates.

When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? 

I am a TV junkie. That feels like an unpopular thing to say, but I am a sucker for developed characters, intriguing plot, and voracious writing. If you get me talking I will recommend at least 5 shows you SHOULD be watching along with the various internet mediums where you can procure them. Just Finished: Fargo. Currently watching: Master of None. Looking ahead to: Jessica Jones (Season TWO y’all).

Other than that I enjoy playing video, card, and board games with large groups of people or simply catching up with friends. Did you know that we are in the golden age of board games? I’m serious, games nowadays are way more fun than Monopoly. My favorites include Escape, Resistance, and Sushi Go!

Tell us about your pets, real or imaginary.

Ok, but just remember, you were the one who asked. You started this. I cannot be held responsible for monologuing about my cats when you opened the flood gates.

I am the proud co-parent to two adorable and quirky felines. The first we adopted is named Tetra after the pirate in the Zelda game Wind Waker. She is all grey with darker grey stripes and bright green eyes. She is extremely dignified and a queen. She is not a big cuddler, which makes her cuddles rare and magical. Her circadian rhythm wakes her up at about 4-5 a.m., which would be fine if she didn’t think it was really fun to pounce on my partner and my feet underneath the covers. Alas, she makes a decent alarm clock. My favorite quirk about her is when she sees prey, she makes a small guttural noise that sounds like clicking. For what reason? No idea, but I am convinced it intimidates the hell out of the ladybugs that are practically glued to our ceiling in fear.

The second cat is Clementine, who is named after the protagonist in Telltale Games’s Walking Dead series (play it, it’s so good). She also happens to be a striped ginger tabby cat, but she was named after the video game character, not the small orange, promise. Clementine has an insane amount of energy and loves face scratches and snuggling in bed at night. This is a cat who spends the majority of her time in blankets. If you are under a blanket, she is on top of you.

We got two cats because when we only had Tetra, we could tell that she would get lonely during the day when we were at work. When we got home after a long day, she would cry and cry and follow us around. A need for companionship is a trait animals and humans share. No one likes to be alone. Although Tetra and Clementine don’t snuggle up together and are often tumbling and swatting at each other, they appreciate each other’s company. Having someone that speaks your language and fundamentally gets you because they are going through the same thing is infinitely and vitally important to our survival. Tetra doesn’t cry when we come home anymore.

What other projects are you working on or hope to work on?

Currently I am open to the universe. I have a couple irons in the fire for the Fringe Festival, I’m in talks with artists for a few other projects, and have some applications out. Above all, I hope to continue to be trusted by artists to stage their stories in a way that does them justice.

Featured THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED Artist: Oliver Schminkey

In what way/s are you involved with THE NAKED I: SELF DEFINED? 

I’m the writer and performer of the piece “Misgendered, by a Friend, June 21st.”  I was also an intern this past summer for 20%, so I was responsible for creating the promo materials for the call for submissions and really getting the word out there about this show.

Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I?

It’s vital to tell the stories in THE NAKED I because trans and queer people are so often denied the fundamental act of telling our own stories and creating our own representations for ourselves, especially along lines of intersecting marginalized identities.  It’s important that we have spaces for us, by us, and about us; trans justice can only happen when trans people are in control of our movements, our art, and our representations.

What aspects of your identity do you hope to express through your involvement with THE NAKED I?

For this piece, I tried really hard to focus on a really small moment, that of being misgendered.  I think there’s a tendency to feel pressured to talk about murder and homelessness and other “big” issues whenever we talk about oppression facing trans people; and I think all of those things are vitally important.  They need to be said, and I’ve said them many, many times.  However, it was my challenge to myself this time to write a piece that focused on the small things that tend to grind us down, like microaggressions and misgendering, which work in tandem with the same systems of oppression that target and police trans bodies.  This isn’t to say that microaggressions operate on the same scale as hate crimes which disproportionately harm trans women of color; it’s just to say that there are a million moments, small and large, that make up the varied lived experiences of trans people.

Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? 

I’m a nationally touring slam poet, and I’ve competed and performed in over 15 states.  I’m also a musician and a visual artist, with numerous years of theatre experience under my belt as well.

What social issues are important to you and how do they inform your work?

This is a huge question.  I’m dedicated to putting out ethical work; this means constantly questioning the ways in which I, as a white person, have a stake in white supremacy (and actively trying to dismantle white supremacist ideology in both myself and others), although I don’t perform much work written explicitly about race.  Like I said before, I believe in letting people tell their own stories, and I would never want to take up space/take space away from people of color in order to whitesplain about race.  I’m also hugely dedicated to trans justice and queer justice, as well as disability justice.  I’m not interested in assimilationist politics; rather, I try to envision and work toward radical spaces in which we can find authenticity.  In shorter, less pretentious words, I don’t care much about “gay” marriage, but I do care about systematic reform that supports those most affected in our communities, largely disabled, working-class trans and queer people of color.  This means that my politics can never be separated from having conversations about interwoven relationships between colonialism, white supremacy, and the gender binary—even as I look toward a world in which non-binary people like myself can live sustainably. This informs my work so much because it informs my life—although I definitely don’t always succeed, in my work and my life, I try to actively fight against oppression.

What other artists or shows have inspired you?

DarkMatter, Venus DeMars, Cam Awkward-Rich, Rosanonymous, Jane Doe and the Misery Loves Co, Danez Smith, Patrick’s Cabaret, The Exchange (and everything they do), Miss Major ❤ ❤  the list goes on and on.

What’s your favorite hangout spot and why?

The Fox Egg Gallery! A ton of great events are held there, and it’s such a phenomenal 3rd space for me.

What other projects are you working on or hope to work on? 

I’m very busy!!

Right now I’m the guest curator at the Fox Egg; in addition to the show that’s going up in mid-January featuring the Tantrum Art Collective, I’m also curating a show called “Stare Back: Queer and Trans Artists Reclaim the Gayze,” which will open for submissions shortly.  The show is going to be a space for radical redefinition as all types of queer and trans artists represent ourselves visually, fighting against the ways in which largely cis, white, gay people are the face of queer communities in mainstream media.

I’m also finishing up my first full-length book, which will include both my poetry and my visual art.  It’s called “Spoiler: The Trans Kid Dies,” and it’s about my experiences as a specifically non-binary transgender sexual assault survivor.

In addition to those things, I founded and run a weekly poetry workshop on Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. at the Fox Egg Gallery called Well-Placed Commas.  WPC is a 16+ space for writers of all levels to come write together and build community.  We just produced our first chapbook, which is available for purchase on my Etsy page, OllieSchminks.

I also co-host the Twin Cities finest queer open mic, OUTspoken! with my lovely friends Nik Martell and Paul Canada, which happens every second Wednesday at the Fox Egg Gallery.

As one of my other loves, I run the Macalester Poetry Slam and tour nationally with my poetry at colleges and other venues.  You can check out all of this and more at my website.

Featured THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED Artist: Logan Gilbert-Guy

Lucy Gilbert-GuyIn what ways are you involved with THE NAKED I: SELF-DEFINED?

I am performing “What Is Owed” by Nikolas Martell.

Why is it important to tell the stories in THE NAKED I?

I believe it is important because no one has the same story or experiences – in the queer or trans community, or any community – but everyone deserves to be recognized.

Talk about your background as an artist. What sort of artistic experience are you bringing to this production? 

I’ve been doing shows for as long as I can remember; I’ve always been the “theatre kid”, and while I love doing tech, I tend to act.

What other artists or shows have inspired you?

It may sound cheesy but last year I went to see The Naked I: Insides Out on tour up in Duluth, and that show inspired me to be who I am and show it more.

When not involved in this production, how do you spend your time? What are some of your hobbies? 

I draw a bunch when I’m in shows or not, and if I’m free enough I like doing circus.

What other projects are you working on or hope to work on? 

I just finished up Kiss of Death through my school for J-term, and I hope to wiggle my way into a few more shows after this.