Trashy event benefits Southern forests

by Amy Kingsley

Litter from the Tate Street Festival earlier that day still filled the gutters in front of the Space on Sept. 30 as performers, musicians and spectators gathered for a performance extolling the aesthetic benefits of recycling.

Inside the storefront gallery, the message was all about transforming such trash into art. For those not as artistically inclined, the show pointed out the benefits of reusing and recycling. The musical act, a junk band called the Disposables, played instruments constructed from industrial refuge including a PVC pipe didgeridoo, paint bucket toms and oil drum percussion.

They fiddled with their instruments briefly before an introductory performance by burlesque queen Zelda Foxworthy. Foxworthy schooled her audience on the joys of Dumpster diving by handing out the spoils of a trip to a Dumpster behind and unnamed Baptist Church.

“A friend once told me that ‘erotic’ is what the Catholics disapprove of,” Foxworthy said, “and kinky is what the Baptists do and lie about.”

Foxworthy pulled X-rated DVD’s she claimed to have gotten from her excursion out of a black plastic bag. Then, as she stripped from a mauve party dress to black lingerie, she passed out lollipops in the shape of genitalia – at which point a family in the front row got up and left.

Then the Embrellas took the stage, behind newspaper sheets painted with the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – as the Divine Dumpster Divas. Christine Geiger, a member of the trio and organizer of the event, performed between fire dancer Patika Starr and belly shaker Micha Merrick.

Geiger, who organized the event, said the idea came from a recent trip to Transformas, a communal gathering in the Southeast modeled after Burning Man. There, they met someone involved with the conservation group Dogwood Alliance.

“For a long time the Emberellas have wanted to do something for the environment,” Geiger said. “Because that’s something that’s really in our heart.”

Audience members deposited a five-dollar cover charge as they entered the Space and all the money went to the Dogwood Alliance, a grassroots organization devoted to ending unsustainable logging practices in the Southeastern United States. Geiger and company also posted information about the City of Greensboro’s recycling guidelines.

The Emberellas proudly displayed their own recycling practices with costumes knit from beer tabs, bottle caps, tin can labels and plastic shopping bags. Starr, who specializes in fire dancing, modified her usual act for indoor safety by affixing colorful plastic streamers to the ball ends of the chains she whirs around herself.

Meanwhile, one of the Disposables constituted a didgeridoo out of PVC he had been using as percussion. He affixed a wok lid to the end to serve as a bell and piped out dancing music.

Then, while Merrick wrapped up a graceful performance involving tea lights, she grabbed members of the audience who rose from their seats and joined the dancing.

Geiger reflected on the evening with a few words.

“I think it went pretty well,” she said. “I think we might try to do another one but not until a year or so out.”

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