There's a veritable wellspring of weird creativity that flows from a group of folks who meet for lunch every Monday at Creation restaurant in Plaza-Midwood. Over the years it's evolved into a great platform for folks to share ideas and promote interesting and alternative ventures. The group's all about self-expression, art and innovation, and contributes to some of the area's coolest and most unusual events, including Carnevil, the Queen City's biggest Halloween bash, and Transformus, an annual music and art festival held in Deerfield, N.C.
One of the unofficial ringleaders of the group is Charlotte photographer Jim McGuire, who in 2001 helped create the theme camp Big Puffy Yellow. BPY is basically a collection of artists, techies and other creative types from Charlotte and elsewhere who travel and party together at Transformus and Burning Man, a much larger version of the N.C. festival that attracts over 30,000 people to the middle of the Nevada desert. The group always brings a unique artistic flair to these events, including a 12-by-12 foot portable bedroom, complete with bed, two chairs and nightstands to the 2005 Transformus. It should be noted that a few of the Charlotte folks involved with Transformus are pretty averse to the media, convinced they just don't get it and will inevitably pollute and misrepresent the festivals. So, for the record, Transformus is not a drunken orgy in the woods populated by frat boys and rednecks. Rather, in the words of the organizers, it's about "sharing ourselves and who we each are, including our inherent arts, gifts and talents, and celebrating the moment, this thing called life, together." For more details check out www.transformus.com
Another project being spearheaded by one of the group's members is a new and innovative theater group. Joseph Allan Curry, formerly of the Moving Poets, helped create and is artistic director of Charlotte Total Theatre, a multimedia, multi-disciplinary performing arts organization. The theater group is scheduled to present its debut show called Artzilla at the Hart Witzen gallery in NoDa March 30 and 31. Artzilla will bring together an eclectic line-up of artists from around the area, including dancers, visual artists, filmmakers, singer/songwriters, alternative bands and hip-hop/spoken word artists. Curry says his aim with the new organization is to help alternative, community-based theater continue to thrive in Charlotte.
"We are a creative community with something to say and not always with a pulpit in which to say it. This premise is one of the reasons that moved me to create Charlotte Total Theatre and ARTZILLA -- to open doors for our artists in our community," says Curry. "If we want to fully grasp the magnitude of what Charlotte has to offer culturally and artistically, we have to look beyond Uptown. We have to shine light on those creating without the benefits offered to the established organizations." If you'd like to get involved, call 704-392-7368 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presenting visual art of a different sort is Big Mamma D, the head honcho of Big Mammas House of Burlesque. Big Mamma and her cast of performers, including exotic dancers, magicians, comedians, fetish performers, fire eaters and various other freaks, perform regularly at Charlotte-area clubs. Big Mama guarantees a show that will astound, amaze, entrance, entice, challenge, treat and tease. She's also looking for other performers to join her burlesque troupe, so if you think you've got what it takes, check out the Web site at www.bigmammasproductions.com.
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