THE LADIES TAKE OVER
In 2010, Greensboro’s Stephanie Lindley came to the realization that the only friends she was spending time with were males. In hopes of boosting her psychological health, Lindley, an actress, musician and director, got online and reached out to her female friends, almost all of whom are local artists. She added the women into a Facebook group she created called the Female Artist Collective with hopes that they could use it to network and promote each other’s events.
“I love it when I get to bring multiple worlds together,” Lindley said.
The Female Artist Collective has gradually grown in both size and ambition over the past three years, a mobilization process that culminates this week. On Friday, in celebration of International Women’s Day, the group will hold the first annual Female Artist Takeover, a series of events across Greensboro featuring the work and performances of an array of local female talents.
“We are trying to get every venue in Greensboro to feature a female artist,” Lindley said.
At least 23 different venues will participate in the Female Artist Takeover.
The planning of the takeover was set into motion last Fall, when Lindley, 43, rekindled her friendship with photographer and graphic artist Bonnie Stanley, a lifelong Greensboro resident. The two, both former directors of the now-defunct Open Space Café Theatre, caught up over lunch, brainstorming ideas on how to bring the showcase to fruition.
“We share a lot of similar ideas as far as supporting female artists and empowering them to continue in their artistic endeavors,” Stanley said.
To promote the organization, Stanley, 48, developed a website, Twitter account and public Facebook page for the Female Artist Collective, which now consists of more than 170 members.
Over time, the role of the collective has grown from a social network to an aspiring agent of change.
“There are a lot of artists in this town, but no one’s getting honored and there aren’t job opportunities,” Lindley said. “I’m sick of having to create a commodity out of our work in order for it to be considered valuable or marketable, when art is intrinsically valuable.”
Lindley and Stanley are now co-directors of the collective. They’ve been essential in the planning and organization of Friday’s event, but they haven’t done it alone. In some cases, they found a venue willing to participate and then enlisted a friend or fellow artist to book an evening of entertainment appropriate for the setting.
One such friend is local entertainment promoter Atiba Berkley, owner of Higher Underground Productions. Responsible for booking artists for the Flatiron, Sessions and CFBG, Berkley is one of the rare men involved in organizing the event.
“It’s great being able to work with Bonnie and Stephanie,” Berkley said. “I feel privileged to be one of the few men involved in the planning process.”
Along with the wide variety of artists being featured on Friday, the two co-directors will both hone their own crafts during the events.
Stanley, who often captures live performance art in her work, will be photographing burlesque dancers at the Castaway Cabaret show at the Blind Tiger.
“I love photographing people in their element, creating art,” Stanley said. “All people are at their most beautiful when they’re living authentically.”
Lindley will sing during a segment of the variety show Misbehavin’ Women!, set at Elsewhere. Although certainly cognizant that the takeover is a landmark occasion for the Female Artist Collective, she still views Friday’s event as a catalyst for bigger and better things to come.
“I look at it as Step 1 for us,” Lindley said. “I want this to be a call to action in a sense, so we start to mobilize the entire arts community.”
The Female Artist Collective will begin releasing a quarterly publication in June and they hope Friday’s event will be the precursor to a larger, more close-knit event for International Women’s Day in 2014.
“We hope to use a convention center, give all of the female artists a year to prepare all of their work, and just take over the place for Saturday, March 8, 2014,” Lindley explained. The planned title of the event is “Womanstock.”
The success of the takeover will be crucial in turning Womanstock into a reality. The organizers stressed the diverse forms of art on display at the event, the intended impact of which extends beyond female artists.
“I really want to emphasize the variety of what people can seek out, and help support not only female artists, but the arts community as a whole,” Stanley noted.
“It’s not about women complaining for women, it’s about women getting together to work for the rights of all artists,” Lindley said. “We really want people to know that.”
These sentiments are likely to resonate with many male patrons. They certainly did with Atiba Berkley.
“I appreciate that they have that perspective,” Berkley said. “It’s not about alienating men, it’s about uniting women.” — AA
Some would have you believe that the blues is a man’s world. “Well,” says Shiela Klinefelter, “they like to think so.” In more than 20 years playing the bass for bands in the North Carolian blues compendium, Klinefelter has discovered that the blues is not gender specific.
“I think what gives a man the blues can be a little different, but it’s universal: love, money… the human struggle. We give men the blues and vice versa. It all comes out in the music.”
She’ll likely be the only woman on stage Friday night at Southern Roots in Jamestown, playing with her regular outfit Big Bump & the Stun Guns. It should be noted that Big Bump is her husband, AKA Bubba Klinefelter.
“There are a lot more men [in the business], absolutely, but I’ve never felt any kind of problem or issue,” she says. “If you’re a musician, you’re a musician and it’s all about how you play.”
And this summer, she will be the lone female musician as she tours through Europe with “Smokin’” Joe Kubek and Benois King. But you won’t hear her complaining about it.
“You never know where following your joy would bring you,” she says. “I never though that playing bass would bring me the world… but it has.” — BC
7 p.m.; Southern Roots; 119 E. Main St., Jamestown; 336.882.5570; southernrootsfoods.com; FREE
The last time Crystal Bright and her band the Silverhands backed a burlesque show at the Blind Tiger, the event featured an aerial performance, hooping and, of course, an array of scantily clad performers who mined the genre for comedy, drama and titillation.
The next time will be on Friday night, when she takes the stage with another burlesque troupe for the Female Artist Takeover at the Blind Tiger.
“It’ll be like that,” she says, “but there’s gonna be some more performers, some different ones. There’ll be some lyra — that’s like a hoop trapeze — and some pole dancing, bellydancing, tap dancing and acrobats.”
Behind it all will be Bright’s unique blend of gypsy rock, carnivalesque groove, gothic world-beat, steampunk soul… many have tried, but few have been able to accurately classify Bright’s music. Onstage, she switches between keyboard, accordion, vihuela and even the saw to sate her muse. She tests the boundaries of her degree in ethnomusicology with every note.
“There is that kind of carnival, circus vibe to the music that lends itself well to the performances,” she says. “It is also ethereal and kind of emotional.”
The Greensboro-based Bright tours throughout the Southeast in support of her albums, the eponymous debut and her newest, Muses and Bones, but her local shows often have this theatrical element.
“My music goes well with performance because [the songs] are not all about similar things,” she says. “They’re not all love stories or all about whatever — my dog dying. They’re all about completely different things.
“I love it,” she adds. “It gives me another perspective on the songs, because when they do the choreography the put their creativity and soul into what the songs are about. That’s really interesting to me, and it’s also really cool to see the movement and action and imagery added to my music. It brings it to life.” — BC
9 p.m.; the Blind Tiger; 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro; 336.272.9888; crystalbrightandthesilverhands.com; castawaycabaret.com; $12
LailaNur brings her guitar to the interview, a well traveled acoustic bereft of guitar case but festooned with a few stickers and some handwriting on the body. She’s thinking about doing some busking in downtown Greensboro when we’re through in advance of a gig this evening — she’s got a panhandling permit from the city, which she believes will cover her in case she gets shaken down by the cops.
She knows the score here in Greensboro — she’s been here since 2008, after leaving Brooklyn, NY and her family there in a bit of haste.
“I was raised Sunni Muslim,” she says. “Then I came out, and it was like the end of the world. That’s actually what brought me here: I came out of the closet. It went over like the storm of the century. It wasn’t the most pleasant weather.”
Nur got in on the ground floor of the Female Artist Collective putting on this week’s event. It was a post she put on the collective’s Facebook wall suggesting a big show that catalyzed the idea.
“I take no credit for putting it together,” she says, “but it did all snowball from there.” The idea — for the collective and the night’s festivities — appeals to her on many levels. Most of them having to do with being a gay woman with Muslim roots.
“Islam is very beautiful,” she says. “But growing up female in the way Islam was presented to me by my father, I was never happy to be a female in that way.
“I lived in Virginia for a while,” she continues. “I was the first black Muslim in my high school. I was constantly feeling like an outsider — like, I’m not supposed to be here. Finding music was instant community for me. Then coming across this female artists collective, it was just like this ladder up. The idea — it’s like one of those dreams you don’t know you had until it happens.”
On Friday night she’ll headline the Glenwood Coffee & Books stage with six other women: poets, performers and a dancer.
“One happens to be a 15-year-old poet who performed at my old venue, the Blue Door, and blew my mind,” she says. “One of the poets is from Bosnia; some of her act is about surviving the war. And then there’s gonna be a performance artist — few things move me like music, but her dancing moves me.”
That all the performers are strong women, she says, is a form of redundancy. “When people think of strong women, they don’t think of women in general, they think of this special group, like these strong women,” she says. “But all women are strong. They’re all beautiful. I know nothing but strong women. They’re not some special group — they’re all strong; they’re all beautiful. And they’re everywhere.” — BC
GLENWOOD COFFEE & BOOKS; 7 P.M.; 1310 GLENWOOD AVE., GREENSBORO; 336.525.1646; $3-$5; WHOISLAILANUR.COM
She started out with covers of the songs she loved, the greatest hits of the last 50 years. Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix… Janine Clarke digs the classics. “We really like ‘60s and ‘70s rock. It’s kind of a hippie vibe—at least that’s what we’re going for,” Clarke says. While most of the band’s tracks are covers, J9 Acoustics has two original songs, “Fly” and “Pete,” available on iTunes.
She sees the Female Artist Takeover as a chance to break out into the community and establish a wider listenership in Greensboro, and Clarke said she is excited about the band’s appearance at Sessions.
Before the show, Clarke will be at CFBG from 6-8 p.m. showcasing some of her nature photography and jewelry as part of the takeover. — KM
SESSIONS, 1820 SPRING GARDEN STREET; 336.617.3960; 9-10 PM, FREE
Jessica Mashburn is not a T-shirt and jeans kind of girl. Her stage attire ranges from the superlatively funky — think a feminine, sexier Dr. John — to the truly outrageous vein mined before her by the likes of Madonna and Lady Gaga.
That’s why she’s stipulating that attendees of her Female Artist Takeover show at Potent Potables in Jamestown come in costume.
“It’s always fun, when you celebrate something, to be festive, just like Mardi Gras,” she says. “People love the dress-up element. It’s a way people can get more involved.”
She wants everyone at her performance to dress up as their favorite influential female — everyone.
“The men can do it, too,” she says. “It’s a fun way to get everybody to celebrate the day. It’s not Columbus Day, you know. There’s a little more glitter involved.”
She’s not yet sure what she’ll be wearing for the gig.
“I’m probably doing a fusion of people,” she says, “a little bit ’70s disco singer, maybe some Donna Summer meets Madonna with some Lady Gaga in there. It’s coming together.” — BC
7 P.M.; POTENT POTABLES; 115 E. MAIN ST., JAMESTOWN; 336.882.9463; JAZZGIRLJESS.COM; FREE
WOMEN ARTISTS MAKING HISTORY
Dubbing herself a “strong, devoted feminist” since the early ‘80s, Creative Center Executive Director Susan Sassman is just the woman you would expect to see supporting the Female Artist Takeover.
“I think that women’s work is often overlooked,” she said, adding that in her opinion, women are the glue of society.
The exhibit is an all-female art show open for the month of March and showcasing eight artists’ work. Opening Friday, the show will display a variety of mediums such as watercolor, impressionism, oils and pastels. The featured artists are Maggie Fickett, Connie Logan, Deb Covington, Jo Smith, Helen Farson, Helen Shaw, Chris Seiler and Judy Lomax. The exhibit claims to represent female artists that are making history, and the Female Artist Takeover is certain to make that true. — KM
THE CREATIVE CENTER, 900 16TH ST, 336.617.3328; 9 A.M.-5 P.M.
Joe Scott, Greensboro’s biggest film geek and proprietor of Geeksboro, Greensboro’s only coffeehouse cinema, believes that Girl Rising is a perfect complement to the Female Artist Takeover.
“It’s a documentary that chronicles the struggles, hopes and eventual triumph of nine girls living across the world,” he says. “It deals with the issues of child slavery, arranged marriages and other heartbreaking tragedies. The girls find victory by finding access to education — that’s what the film argues. Instead of trying to fight terrorism by militaristic methods, perhaps we should use education instead.
“One of the greatest threats to a militant Islamic state would be an educated woman.”
Watch the trailer at youtube.com/ watch?v=BJsvklXhYaE. — BC
NOON, 2 P.M., 4 P.M., 7 P.M., 10 P.M.; GEEKSBORO COFFEEHOUSE CINEMA; 2143 LAWNDALE DRIVE; 336.355.7180; $5 DAY, $7 EVENING
ELENA DEANGELIS AND AMY SCURRIA; SELECTIONS FROM THE OPERA PEARL
In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the puritan townsfolk of 17th century Boston punished Hester Prynne for conceiving a child out of wedlock by forcing her to wear a scarlet letter A on her garments and exiling her to the outskirts of the city. She swore never to reveal the father of the child — Spoiler alert: It was the Rev. Dimmesdale — and wore the letter like a badge.
The child, Pearl, is the main character in the opera Pearl, adapted by composer Amy Scurria from the stage play. Though the opera is not quite finished, Greensboro soprano Elena deAngelis will be performing selections from the work with Scurria accompanying on piano for the Female Artist Takeover.
“[Pearl] is all grown up, and she becomes a writer,” DeAngelis says. “Her daughter has a birthday, the same birthday when the dramatic plot points happen to [Pearl] in The Scarlet Letter.
“It ties in beautifully with the theme of the night,” she continues. “Hester Prynne was a very strong woman, and her daughter grows up to become equally as strong. It’s not a hityou-over-the-head women’s lib thing, but it ties in nicely.”
Sharing the stage for a duet will be one of her vocal students, 11-year-old McKenzie Hall, who is well on her way to becoming a strong woman in her own right. — BC
8 P.M.; GREENSBORO CULTURAL ARTS CENTER; 200 N. DAVIE ST., GREENSBORO; $10-$12 DONATIONS ACCEPTED; AMYSCURRIA.COM
A NIGHT OF ROCKIN’ WOMEN
The Flatiron will feature an eclectic night of music Friday night, with three local bands scheduled to perform.
Songs of Susan is a folk-leaning band fronted by singer-songwriter Susan Boyoung Bailey, a member of the Female Artist Collective. The band also features a female drummer, Nicole Landress.
Winston-Salem’s Vel Indica has a darker folk sound, and also has female drummer.
Suitcase is a three-piece pop band featuring piano, bass and drums. They are the only band without a female member, but don’t hold that against them. — AA
THE FLATIRON; 221 SUMMIT AVE.; 336.272.7774; 9 P.M; $5
Those who are curious to learn about the inner workings of a theatrical production will have that chance early Friday afternoon at an open house at Triad Stage’s production facility, located a block away from the Greensboro Coliseum.
Visitors will have the chance to meet and ask questions to production staff including those in charge of props, costumes and lighting. They’ll be able to tour both the prop shop and the costume shop, which contains thousands of costumes and is divided into two separate areas of the facility.
“It’ll give people a chance to see what we do every day,” said Costume Shop Manager Christina Santarelli. “People would be surprised at how long it takes to make a single costume.”
The Triad Stage staff is currently preparing for their production of My Fair Lady, which opens April 12.
“We’re in the thick of building 10 different costumes for My Fair Lady,” Santarelli said.
“Everything that Eliza wears on stage, people will be able to see being made.”
“We’ll be happy to show people around and answer any questions they have,” Santarelli said. — AA
TRIAD STAGE – SCENE SHOP; 1724 HOLBROOK STREET; 336.272.0160; 12 P.M.; FREE
Misbehavin’ Women! is an hour-long variety show featuring theater, music and poetry, among other art forms. The show consists of many short segments, most of which revolve around the theme of bold women.
“It’s a variety show where we express ourselves, but our primary goal is to entertain,” said creator Shelley Segal.
While a showcase for all types of female artists, the evening is also somewhat of family affair for Segal, a playwright/actor. In addition to performing a monologue from one of her plays, Segal will sing a song with her daughter, Jordan, who made her stage debut just last week.
Stephanie Lindley, founder of the Female Artist Collective, will sing.
“We’re going to put on a very packed, concentrated, energetic show, but in a laid-back environment,” Segal
said. “I think Elsewhere is a perfect venue because it lends itself to creativity and it’s kind of quirky.”
Segal created the show with the goal to include many of the various types of art featured in the event.
“Everyone’s voices need to be heard,” Segal said. — AA
ELSEWHERE; 606 S. ELM ST.; 336.549.5555; 8-9 P.M.; $10-12 DONATION ENCOURAGED
Fans of rocker chicks, look no further than Somewhere Else Tavern for your Friday night entertainment.
Five female-fronted, rock-based bands will perform, with Greensboro’s Dreamkiller, a theatrical band with storylines and characters, headlining the evening. The band’s frontwoman, Christy Johnson, is responsible for booking the night’s lineup.
Similar to the formation of the Female Artist Collective, Johnson created a Facebook group for female-fronted bands of the Carolinas. She picked the four bands that will precede Dreamkiller from the group.
The other acts performing include veteran band Ethereal, Forever Chained, Cold Hit Ruby and Screaming By Me, whose sound Johnson calls the “heaviest on the lineup.”
“I wanted to bring in some new bands to the venue,” Johnson said. “I think they will mesh well together.” — AA
SOMEWHERE ELSE TAVERN; 5713 W. FRIENDLY AVE.; 336.833.4034; 7 P.M.; $5 – ALL AGES
The folks at 205 Collaborative, an art gallery and studio in downtown Greensboro, have not organized a special event per se for the Female Artist Takeover, but they will still be featuring the work of more than a dozen talented women.
“We have a variety of female artists,” said painter Kelly Taylor, who spearheaded the recent renovations to the collaborative.
More than 100 of Taylor’s abstract-expressionistic oil paintings will be on display, as will an array of sculptures, illustrations and pieces of pottery and jewelry made by local female artists.
“What’s special about 205 is that both the galleries and studios are open to the public, so when you come, you can look at finished work in the gallery, meander through people’s studios and see artists at work,” Taylor said. — AA
205 Lyndon St.; 336.554.4045; 4 p.m.; FREE