SPILL YER TEA BY DRIP LIVERPOOL
@ CONSTELLATIONS, 20 NOVEMBER 2019
FIRST things first - this is late! We were lucky enough to be invited to SPILL YER TEA by Drip Liverpool on 20th November and I just wanna say I'm sorry it's taken so long for our write up to go up! Been a very hectic couple of weeks, and we've been busy launching the zine and planning our December life drawing class and our very busy new year. But enough about us, here's the tea (omg I'm defo not cool enough to use that phrase)...
Drip Liverpool is a bit of an inspiration for us as an accessible and inclusive artist-led platform & 'safer space'- the fiver entry fee is waived if you are in financial hardship, the venue was open and accessible and the ppl running the show genuinely lovely & thoughtful. SPILL YER TEA is a platform for emerging artists to showcase some of their performance work in a supportive & safe environment. Along with a schedule of several performances from 7pm to 11pm, they gave everyone a feedback booklet where you can anonymously (or not) give your crit of each performance to be given back to the artists as feedback. Even from our own recent open meeting ppl responded really positively when we told them about this - mentioning that going into artist crits often puts ppl off because it can be v intimidating/feel more personal. So we rlly love this idea of ensuring artists get feedback to improve their work without being put in a position where it can easily feel as if they're being personally judged.
Hosted @ beloved Constellations, their backroom is a perfect performance space. I have to say, each performance seemed to get better and better - leaving us in fits of laughter, but also with a bit of anger (but the good kind - the kind that motivates). Charlotte Blackburn invited us all to get ready for a night out with her, sharing out vodka cokes and playing drinking games with the audience. We watched her try on a few outfit options and give us a commentary on each - a process many of us go through on a Friday and Saturday night. It honestly did feel like we were with her and about to go *out out* - her way of interacting with the audience was so inviting and casual. So, when she got to her favourite outfit, only to tell us that she couldn't wear it because this is the dress that she has been groped in, we all felt a surge of protectiveness and rage. Rach & I looked at each other knowingly - what womxn hasn't experienced this in one way or another? Some dude thinking it's "banter" to sexually assault/harass you and then get on with their own night like they'd just grabbed hold of a lampost or some other negligible object. But that night/event/week/month is ruined for the person they've harassed and stays with them in so many ways - in dreams, angry fits @ our loved ones, or in never being able to wear our fave dress again because some stranger has tainted all the positive memories we had associated with it. Charlotte's performance was brave and hard-hitting.
Ending what was a night so full I can't possibly include it all here in a way that'd do it justice, was the beautiful & hilarious Connor Coxx, aka Marlene Dietrich, performing Orig(anal) Sin. Taking the infamous Westboro Baptist Church (yes, Louis Theroux's most hated family) to church (lol), this performance outrageously parodied the rampant homophobia of the group/cult by embodying the mother, Shirley, who raised her 11 children in her warm, fuzzy bosom of hate. The cabaret was full of rainbow 'God Hates You' signs, a nice bit of fellatio with a crucifix (that would have made my grandparents cry blood and made me worry about splinters), and the cancan. Honestly, it was so funny. It really is an art to take something as horrifying as the beliefs of this church and make it into something thoroughly enjoyable, getting all the audience involved and leaving everyone smiling. Connor played out to us recordings of the Westboro Baptist Church's hate speech and lip-syncs along, encouraging us to join in mocking the people whose picketing of army funerals with anti-gay hate speech is just one among a large portfolio of hate campaigns against Muslims, Jews, Catholics, atheists.... After all, what better way to undermine bigotry than to laugh at it? I encourage you all to laugh in the face of bigots. Though we all can't be as talented and daring as Connor, we can defo all have a good larf at our Most Respected bigot & PM Boris Johnson.
So, those were a couple of my highlights - sorry to not include all artists! Other highlights included Sylvain Soulkaye's slightly surreal silent enactment of the death of a pet - a downwards spiral taking us through varying extremes of emotion and grief. As in, literally taking some of us with him (and chasing others out). William Lang's dance performance - that was rlly mesmerizing with the shadows of him joining the real his as he danced and hovered in the semi-circle of the audience. And yet, it was somehow also funny...William's personality was injected throughout this piece, which was largely silent bar the music, but his comments as he ran circles (literally) around the audience drew laughs through his ability to laugh at himself and at art & its limitations more broadly - something we wish artists did more rather than being so serious all the time. As for the performance by Teatro Pomodo - man, I'm not going panto this year because last year's one in Stratford (east LDN, not Shakespeare-ville) was too bad even by my family's standards, but if it was like this I would go every day of Christmas and the year because boy do they make you giddy & merry with laughter. But if you were there and have anything to add/respond to/or a different perspective, why don't you get in touch here and we'll put up what you have to say...We're always open to discussion. All in all, we cannot wait for the next SPILL YER TEA and rlly hope to see some of you there coz it's honestly such a fun night!
If you are able to, why don't you 'pay forward' at their next event? i.e. buy a ticket for someone who would otherwise not be able to afford it.