by Juleana Enright
In anticipation of voting against the MN Marriage Amendment this November, sitings of little orange “VOTE NO” yard signs, bumper stickers and t-shirts have been ubiquitous. Some local chefs have even been spotted in a Twitter spread campaign dubbed #chefs4voteno addressing their position on the Marriage Amendment.
In the art scene, the staff and board of local veteran theater, Patrick’s Cabaret believe that marriage is a fundamental freedom that shouldn’t be denied to anyone. This Saturday, to broadcast their stand, Patrick’s hosts an eclectic, politically-charged showcase of supreme talent. The “Vote NO” Show will include performances from poet Lynette Reini-Grandell, improv artist/storyteller Howard Lieberman, Ho-Chunk Nation native playwright and performer, Kohl Miner, dancer Renee Copeland, video splicing from MPLS Television Network Executive Director Pam Colby, a collaborative drama from April Sellers, Marc Debauch and Eduardo Parra and a live set from GLBT jug jam band People’s Revolutionary Jug Band. The show will also feature a guest representative from Minnesota United for All Families, open for audience Q&A, and guest MC Patrick’s Cabaret founder, Patrick Scully. The evening’s entertainment is set to be a wide variety of artistic genres and backgrounds, some politics and controversy, and a lot of heart.
I caught up with Executive/Artistic Director of Patrick’s Cabaret, Amy Hero Jones for details on the “Vote NO” show, what audience members can expect from this power-packing line-up and why the theater taking an unequivocal, open stance against the amendment was simply natural.
l’étoile: Tell us a little about some of the featured performers and why they were selected.
Hero Jones: We have an incredible lineup of artists for this show – it is hard to know where to begin! I really worked hard to put together a group of artists that, while they all have the same belief in marriage equality, come from different places and project their beliefs through their art in different ways. True to any Cabaret evening, this is an eclectic mix of genres and artistic diversity. Each performer brings their unique perspective to this show. Marc DeBautch and Eduardo Parra have been in a committed relationship for 22 years. In The “Vote NO” Show, they work with local dance great April Sellers to create a piece about being in a same-sex marriage and raising a child. But don’t be fooled – this piece is more of a spoof of gay parenting! Lynette Reini-Grandell will give a monologue titled “Life on Earth between Venus and Mars: Musings on My Big Fat 29-Year Queer Marriage”, in which she talks about her relationship with her husband Venus, a transgender artist and musician. The People’s Revolutionary Jug Band, a new performer at Patrick’s Cabaret, is performing what they simply call “The GLBT Jug Band Jam!” This show is meant to bring awareness to the issue of marriage equality, while maintaining our vision and voice as an organization.
l’étoile: Obviously this is a poignant time to show support for equality and gay rights. Patrick’s Cabaret, however, has long been a supporter of GLBT/queer-identified artists. A commitment to diverse artists and performers is even highlighted in the theater’s mission statement. How does this set you apart from other theaters?
Hero Jones: We are known for being inclusive and accepting of all people at Patrick’s Cabaret. We do not deny participation in our shows to anyone, and all artists are paid for the work they create on our stage. We embrace what every artist brings, we do not censor, and we do not require auditions. These points, coupled with our mission to serve underserved communities, including reaching out to artists of color, GLBT/Queer-identified artists and artists with disabilities, is what sets us apart.
l’étoile: Why do you think it’s important for local art venues and the art community to openly show their stances on this issue?
Hero Jones: I cannot speak for other art venues or the art community as a whole, but I can tell you that it is important for Patrick’s Cabaret to show our stance on this issue because it is a part of who we are as an organization. We have always been advocates of GLBT equality – it is part of why Founder Patrick Scully created Patrick’s Cabaret 27 years ago. Patrick himself has long been the face of GLBT advocacy in the Twin Cities, and as the new Artistic Director, I need to emphasize to the community that what Patrick built here remains as strong as ever. It is only natural for us to take a stance.
Patrick’s Cabaret presents The “Vote NO” Show takes place Saturday, September 15th from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at Patrick’s Cabaret, 3010 Minnehaha Avenue S in Minneapolis. Admission is $10. For more info, visit the Facebook invite HERE.