Pageant Play and the Pyrate Punx
Carpe damn! Longtime readers know that, of all of the art subjects Arts DEVO tries to cover in this column, he is most committed to shining a light on local artists bringing something new to the scene. It’s priority No. 1. So, with that in mind, I was stoked to learn recently that Alyssa Larson and Autumn Jay—who quietly put on a much-talked-about production of the twisted Mr. Marmalade at Lost on Main last year—are returning to the nightclub (and its now much-bigger, better-lighted stage) to put on another bit of theater wildness, Pageant Play (Aug. 14-17 & 21-22, 7 p.m.). Between the two of them, Larson and Jay have likely worked with every theater outlet in the area, and for this comedy they’ve cast a mighty local pair—Erika Soerensen and Samantha Perry—as their leads, two beauty-pageant mothers battling for the tiara.
When I asked Larson via email why she and Jay were opting to produce shows independently (as opposed to hooking up with an established local community theater), her three-part response was a pretty kick-ass illustration of what I’m always going on about (Larson’s italic answers are followed by my plain summations):
There were several reasons. The first was that in all—or at least most—of the theaters we’d worked in, there was such an established status quo .… We wanted to break from that and make our own culture from scratch.
Independent-minded, original artists …
The second was that the sorts of shows we wanted to produce—dark, offbeat, unusual pieces for an adult audience—didn’t have a place to call home in Chico at that time. The Cabaret had just closed, there was no place for us at the Blue Room, and things like Uncle Dad[’s Art Collective] didn’t exist yet.
… bringing something fresh into the world …
The third reason we wanted to go it alone, honestly, was that we were pretty sure we could, and a lot of people were telling us we couldn’t. And that made us want to do it.
… not waiting for permission to take the stage.
Any young’uns just rolling into Chico with creative thoughts running through your heads, heed those words. Your time spent in college will be better for it. Chico will be better for it. Heck, your life will be richer and more fulfilling and the world more interesting for it.
Still making things happen Speaking of local fun makers, the punk-rock collective that has kept the scene hot at Monstros Pizza for the past decade is changing its name—from Chico Area Pyrate Punx to simply Chico Area Punks. The deletion of the “Pyrate” from the name actually returns the local volunteer group back to its original moniker, as the members have decided to cut formal ties with the loosely connected worldwide network of punk-rock promoters.
In a statement on their new Facebook page—www.facebook.com/chicoareapunks —the local Punks give props to the efforts of the Pyrate Punx to support music and thanks for the experience and memories during their association. But recently, it’s become hard to reconcile the fact that the behavior of people in some of the Pyrate chapters ran counter to the Chico group’s long-held core values: “Keeping racism, sexism, homophobia or any other form of intolerance out of our scene, while encouraging creativity, cooperation and mutual respect.”
The Punks close their statement by saying, “This will not change what we do or how we do it, and we continue to have love and respect for all our Pyrate brothers and sisters, but this change is necessary for us to continue to be true to ourselves.” Right on!
Next up for the Punks at Monstros: Tonight (Aug. 14), Lemon Grove’s PSO, plus locals Badger, Criminal Wave and Gorilla X Monsoon.