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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

H2M and The Greek.

EMPAC was my first residency and I don't think I was prepared for that type of immersion. 15+ hour days? Yipes! But in the end the tech was there and the script and structure was there (big ups to Sarah Gancher!). Honestly, though, by the end, there wasn't much of my mind there. Let's just say I'm glad to be home and resting peacefully.

One of my favorite (and harrowing) moments was our brief showing for invited guests and fellow resident, Dimitris Papaioannou, who was working on his new piece, Primal Matters. Papaioannou is a Greek avant-garde choreography who choreographed the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. He had some amazing input for our show and talked to us about the use of the "ridiculous" in our piece. Such a gracious and insightful man. We were all lucky enough to see his work and help him in return with our comments. Something that was very moving for me was to hear his own frustration with his work and where he felt it was failing. To see such a well established artist have doubts about his work put me at ease with the doubts that I have about my own work with Hand2Mouth. It help me recognize what it means to be an artist and what comes with the territory, that we will always have those moments of doubt and they are what push us forward. I am thankful to EMPAC for creating an environment where an exchange like this could occur. 

On a side note, the perfect storm that created EMPAC's coffee shortage while we were there was having a Greek choreographer and a Portland, OR performance troupe at the same residency. See you in NYC!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I am still reeling a bit from our experience at EMPAC, which was exhilarating and focused and intense and giddy and grueling all at the same time. I think the show took like 999 quantum leaps forward but I also think I might have dreamed the whole thing.

Speaking of dreams, probably the weirdest aspect of spending 15+ hours a day immersed in a creative project is the fact that in the hours when you're not working, you're dreaming about working. One night Jonathan's snoring woke me up, but not before I started dreaming that his snoring was the beat of the song we'd been working on for hours earlier that day. When I did wake up, I gently shook him so he'd stop snoring, and he started muttering, "Chekhov! Chekhov!"


Here are some pictures:



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On our way to EMPAC

A few years ago we started hearing about this pretty magical place in Troy, NY: The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. Word on the street was the theater spaces were filled with the most amazing technology available and they were inviting artists of the highest caliber to create and finish work with resources never before imaginable.
EMPAC: that's 220,000 sq ft of theater magic waiting to happen.
And now, in the year 2012, Hand2Mouth is honored to be one of those select artists. After more than a year of work on Something's Got Ahold of My Heart we are so excited to tech it out and spend long, focused hours readying the show for premiere. We also do not mind that our names are listed alongside folks like, oh say, Laurie Anderson. Yeah, that does seem pretty nice.

In addition to a two week residency (November 26 - December 9), EMPAC is also giving us a cool $5,000. The cost, as you can imagine, of bringing 10 artists (from three states!) to Troy for two weeks is well in excess of $5,000. So we created a Kickstarter campaign are turning to all our friends, family, peers and more to help us raise another $5,000 and make this whole thing real.

If you can, please support this campaign by giving or sharing our video. We know it will take the support from our whole community to make this happen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Press Rolls In

One weekend down, two to go for My Mind Is Like An Open Meadow at 59R59 Theaters in NYC. True to form, the press is rolling in (or arriving on our computer screens) and the news is good. Here's a mini round-up with more to come soon.

NY Post: "In a culture obsessed with youth and the shiny next big thing, “My Mind” — with its kind but unflinching look at aging — is an oddity to be treasured."

TheaterMania: "a sophisticated 65-minute show that uses just about every theatrical tool at Leddy's disposal from music to dance to imaginative sound design."
BlogCritics: "Erin Leddy's cleverly conceived, deeply felt, occasionally mystifying My Mind is Like an Open Meadow is a one-woman show starring two women." 
And, check out this video clip on the New York Times website! 

Tickets and more details here.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Join our Team

In case you missed the posting or announcement elsewhere, Hand2Mouth is hiring a part-time Managing Director who will oversee company and project management and resource development. Application materials are due August 17 and a full job description can be found on our website here:


Thursday, July 12, 2012

One Month Ago

On June 11 we drove home from an amazing weekend in Seattle, performing a mini version of Something's Got Ahold of My Heart at one of my all time favorite venues: On the Boards. We're still waiting to get all the shots from that weekend, but one month later, here are a few as a trip down (recent) memory lane.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Heading to B'way

It is amazing - you plan, you dream, you rehearse, you buy a plane ticket - and none of it feels real until you see it in (digi)print:

"MY MIND IS LIKE AN OPEN MEADOW to Make NY Premiere at 59E59 Theaters, 8/1"

So, Thanks BroadwayWorld.com making it real. NYC peeps! Hope to see you at the show.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

R/R Wrap Up

Thanks to everyone for making this year's Risk/Reward Festival such a success and such a good weekend. Most of the out-of-town artists have flown, driven, or trained it home, the gear has made its way back to storage, and the kegs of beer are (nearly) empty.

We should have pictures and video in a few weeks, but until then, you can compare and contrast your festival experience with this wrap-up from Portland Monthly's Anne Adams.
Last weekend, Hand2Mouth Theatre presented its fifth—and most ambitious—Risk/Reward performance art showcase. In case you missed it, here’s the play-by-play, from Shmooquan’s prosthetic parts, to H2M’s hold on our heart.
Click the quote for the whole acticle.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All Hail the Queen

This was an incredibly strong year for Risk/Reward applications, and it was difficult to pick just seven artists to be in the lineup -- if we could have, we would have picked at least 15. And as Barry Johnson of Oregon Arts Watch noted yesterday, those of us who were on the panel to select this year's artists "disagreed. A lot." But as Barry also notes, despite our various tastes -- whether we favored theater or dance or performance art or some unholy combination thereof -- "we were all won over by Seattle’s Queen Shmooquan.”

I know I was. I watched her work sample and I was like, WHO IS THIS MAD GENIUS?
Have you been to her website to watch some of her videos? 

Culturephile says in their writeup about the festival ""What will she do this weekend? Who knows?"

I can't wait to find out!

California Dancing

One of the highlights of this year's Risk/Reward is the festival's geographic expansion up (Cat Main & Jamie Nesbitt from Vancouver, B.C.) and down (Pappas & Dancers from L.A.) the West Coast. To say that Pappas is from L.A. is, in a way, to short-change the range of the company's collaborators. Joining choreographer Rebecca Pappas are CA-based dancers Genevieve Carson and Jesse Saler, plus MN composer / musician Christopher Danforth and NY lighting designer Christopher Kuhl (who's work you ought to know from just about every Hand2Mouth show over the last 5 years).
 Plans, trains, and cars aside, this weekend Portland has put out the "Welcome North" sign for CA dancers. Randy Paufve, from Oakland, is in residence at Conduit and will be performing "So I Married Abraham Lincoln" June 21-23. Keith Hennessey, up from San Francisco, is subject of a weekend-long symposium of talks, performances, and meals hosted by PICA. He's presenting Crotch for your pre-R/R arts fix. And lest you feel that all the watching isn't enough, or if all the dancing inspires you to get up and move, join Rebecca Pappas back at Conduit on July 7 teaching a master class called "Remaking the World."

So, what about the movement? Here's a little taste from the Pappas' last show to get you hyped.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Risk/Reward: Tracy Broyles

Sometimes in a festival one very excellent promo photo turns one artist into the face of the fest. This year's group of pictures were so good that we've been using them all, but Tracy Broyles' arms-to-the-sky shot really brings it home for me. It feels like possibility and calling and a big "yes!" to the universe. 
I first saw Tracy's work at the old old Disjecta (Russell St) in 2004. The piece, ...He Was Costuming Angles, was one of my early forays into Portland's contemporary dance scene, and today I can still feel the sharp intake of breath and quick pace of the red-dress wearing dancer. A glance at the program told me that this dress wearer was not Tracy, but she wore her choreography well.

Portland dance artists have a history of presenting works choreographed by famed artist Deborah Hay, but it's been many many years (2006!) since Portland audiences were graced with the lovely results of Hay's Solo Performance Commissioning Project dances (Tahni Holt and Linda Austin with Room at TBA) and a many years (2008!) since we saw the results of Hay's work with Mike Barber and Cydney Wilkes (Found Music).

So now, eight years on and having seen Tracy's work in who knows how many other venues (including the now current Disjecta), I am so excited to see her Deborah Hay SPCP piece Art & Life. Built from a 2010 trip to Findhorn, Scotland to learn / make the piece and the contractual year of daily work following, this solo dance will take audiences outside the theatre, perhaps into that elusive place where Art and Life become indistinguishable, each one living the other. I hope to see you there too.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Risk/Reward: Cat Main & Jamie Nesbitt

Jonathan and I saw Cat Main perform part of this show in Vancouver BC this February, when we were up there for the PuSh Festival (side note: if you find yourself at the Canadian border and they ask you what the purpose of your visit is, for heaven's sake don't tell them it's a performing arts festival -- even if it is one as highly regarded as PuSh, they will still pull you over and question you within an inch of your life). (Ok, maybe not an inch of your LIFE but an inch of your peace of mind).

ANYWAY. Point is, we ended up seeing this show in Vancouver, and I was so taken with its combination of simplicity, precision and personal history.

I talked to Cat afterwards and encouraged her to apply for Risk/Reward, and she did, and now she's bringing the show here! Which is awesome for many reasons, one of which is, it's our first time hosting a Canadian artist. (By the way, Cat and Jamie: might I encourage you to read my note above and act accordingly when it comes to crossing the US border...)

I've thought about this show many times, and I'm so glad it's coming to Portland so I can see it again. You can read more about it here.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Risk/Reward: Corrie Befort

We were honored to share the stage with many fine artists this past weekend at NW New Works, but we were especially excited to see the work of Corrie Befort, a badass Seattle dancer who is also performing in Risk/Reward. 

I don't want to give anything away but I will tell you I effing LOVED her piece. And so did a bunch of people on the On the Boards blog. And so did this guy writing for SunBreak, who said it used "dreamily intermittent lighting to create that sense of attractive dread when an image feels, in a Freudian way, somehow obscene, though you can’t say why precisely." 

I'm really curious to see how the show translates to the space at Artists Rep for Risk/Reward, which is quite different from the On the Boards studio space.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Risk/Reward: The DECEPTiCONS

Dudes: I cannot tell you how excited I am to see what the hell happens when the DECEPTiCONS take the stage at Risk/Reward.

Check this out -- Kaj-anne Pepper and Carla Rossi pose for a family portrait with their WRQ* consultant David Eckard:


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Videos + Audios

For the fourth time in six years we're heading up to Seattle with Something's Got Ahold of My Heart for one our favorite summer kick-offs: On the Boards' NW New Works Festival. We've been working on this piece for so long that it has been quite a journey to pare our material down to a mere 20 minutes, but we're getting close and heck, we still have a week to go.

In the meantime, check out this great co-interview with H2M's Artistic Director Jonathan Walters and Seattle artist Sara Edwards (of Sara Edwards & The People's Grand Opera).

Then click over here to see the NW New Works Festival video trailer.

And then, and especially if you are in Portland, click over here to get your Risk/Reward Festival tickets at the hot low price of $14 (no fees!). Prices go up on June 1...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

7 artists + 5 years = 2012

Risk/Reward turns 5 this year! Amazing. The festival has grown from a few wild nights in the Someday Lounge (on what I remember as the hottest weekend of the summer) to a beautiful few days in the beautiful Artists Repertory Theater.

In case you haven't seen it, the 2012 line-up is on our site here. This year we have SEVEN artist from THREE states and ONE Canadian province. That pretty much covers the west coast. Who knows, maybe next year we'll head inland and host someone from Idaho....

Also you can now browse line-ups from festivals past. Check them out: 2008 2009 2010 and 2011.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On the Road + At Home

It's been a few weeks, but My Mind Is Like An Open Meadow is gearing up to once again hit the open road. If you happen to be in the Salem area on Monday May 14, join Erin for an evening performance at Western Oregon University.

Monday, May 14
7:30pm: Rice Auditorium Studio Theatre (at the corner of Knox St & Powell St)
Tickets: $5 at the door
Western Oregon Univsersity
Monmouth, OR

And on Tuesday, after you wow yourself at the Big Art Group lecture at PICA, sneak over to Valentines for a fancy cocktail and a little entertainment from us (and others). The event is called International Waters and it's all coming together to kick off the Portland Passport Project. Many thanks to the hosts, Portland's own Research Club.

Tuesday, May 15
7pm - late: Valentines (232 SW Ankeny St, Portland, OR)
$5 at the door

Songs + Stories + More from Hand2Mouth on the late side of the evening.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Holy Raffle Town

Hand2Mouth has been on the mini-raffle bandwagon for many a year now (a favorite memory of mine involves some dear friends winning the raffle gift of New Deal Vodka during a performance of Repeat After Me, way back in 2007! Let's just say, the bottle was near empty at the end of the show and yes, they liked both the performance and the drink).

As we get ready for our upcoming showings of Something's Got Ahold of My Heart we are also gathering goodies for more-than-mini April raffle of excellent items. There will of course be H2M swag (Sea Unicorn t-shirts!), sips from Widmer Bros Brewing, yoga class cards from The Peoples Yoga and Heart Fire Yoga, mugs and tees from our favorite coffee people Ristretto Roasters, and gift certificates from fabulous Kenton businesses including the Home Brew Exhange and Po'Shines (double double yum). All this plus more to come.

Get your art and your raffle on: April 20 & 21, 8pm at Disjecta. Wheeee!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


In making some recent website updates I was overwhelmed by how many people, foundations, and organizations we already have to be thankful for on this long journey of creating Something's Got Ahold of My Heart. It feels apropos, given the subject matter of this piece, to feel a heart-swell of gratitude towards all these people and all of their investment -- be it time, money, energy, or some great mix --in this process of art making.

So, from the very bottom of my heart, thanks. And I hope to see you, and thank you in person, at our next showing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Our thoughts on process...now on video!

We made a little video statement for our installation at Portland2012.... click ahead about 30 seconds to skip the logo, or scoot over to Disjecta and watch it projected on the big wall.

H2M Artist Statement - Disjecta - Portland Biennial 2012 from Hand2Mouth Theatre on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sleeve Face

We've started playing with records more and more in rehearsals and it's really fun to see how older forms --boxing and lip synching without lips -- can join forces with this completely ridiculous one. Of course, we are not the first to do this, but we may be the first theater company to push this to the limit.
Hopefully we'll have some of our own pics to add soon...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wild Combination

I can't recall what year it was that my love affair with Operative began, but I remember seeing them play in The Artistery, the now defunct house/venue that once graced Portland with it's many wonderful house-party like shows, and that it was raining.

Yes, I love drums. Yes, I love lots of electronics. Yes, Operative offers both in good measure with some seriously dance-able energy.

So, I am super stoked that Hand2Mouth will be sharing a bill with Operative and the amazing Goodnight Billygoat (animation!!!) at Holocene hosted by Research Club. I have been wanting to brunch it up with these folks for years, but our Sunday rehearsal schedule is less than forgiving. Instead we will dance it up late into the night.

It's been a few years since Hand2Mouth has done a performance at Holocene (Undine in 2009, Repeat After Me in 2007) and it is always so good to leave the confines of the theatre and take it to the club. So much of the work for Something's Got Ahold Of My Heart, or at least the Concert section of the show, is about creating a place that is extra-theater, or outside of the typical theater space while remaining highly performative. There is a difference between the audience expectations, and consequent responses, when entering a venue for a theater show vs a music show. I think we often want the energy of the latter, and this will be a little moment to play in this environment. I can't wait to see what we make!

Oh yeah, the night is named for the Arthur Russell song.

Friday, January 20, 2012

We Made a Video

The h2m crack team of Marc & Alex did some beautiful work with rehearsal footage and an iPhone camera to make this little gem. It makes me want to see the show, and then I remember: oh yeah, I'm in the show!

Monday, January 16, 2012


So, yes, we are deep in the creation process for our new show, Something's Got Ahold of My Heart.

We're putting together a rough order for the showing we're doing at the mOuth Jan 27-29 as part of Fertile Ground. It's especially complicated since we've divided the show into four parts. Each part is stylistically and thematically distinct, but the throughline, the theme that haunts each part of the show is LOVE. Which, despite what this Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty duet would have you believe, is NOT so easy.

And who better to turn to for inspiration on this theme than Fleetwood Mac? 

If you're me you can spend HOURS going down a youtube rabbit hole, watching them perform "Silver Spring" over the years, always staged the same, and usually ending with Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham facing each other, singing/shouting with varying degrees of intensity. As you can see from this relatively staid version from 1997, or this crazy one that culminates in Lindsey chasing Stevie into a corner, or this one from 2004 with less drama (though they still end the song screaming at each other), or this one from 2009.

What's amazing to me is -- one, how palpable it is in each case, but also how calculated. They are playing it up and performing their drama, milking it, maybe sometimes faking it -- and yet they also seem to get caught up in it every time. It's fascinating.

One more inspiration!

I was doing the dishes yesterday and suddenly "What About Love" by Heart popped into my head. God, isn't that a great song? Such a great shouting rock anthem, and yet it's basically a plea to not let something delicate slip away: "What about love? Don't you want someone to care about you?" Such a plaintive question, and yet when it's screamed alongside wailing guitars and shooting FLAMES and fog and chains and ... hey guys, you know what, I never realized that Ann and Nancy Wilson were drag queens!

So now seems like a good time to give the DISCLAIMER: our January showing will NOT involve shooting flames, or live tigers, or an army of backup dancers (or hair stylists).

That's because we're trying our ideas out while they're fresh, before we spend our hard earned cash on leather corsets. And we will continue to test out our ideas through the spring and summer before we premiere the show for real next fall. We do this with all our shows. We never know which ideas are working and which aren't until we try them out on an audience.

But what this means is, if you play your cards right, I think we can work some shooting flames into the show somewhere down the line. If every single person who comes to the showings says the one thing the show needs is SHOOTING FLAMES, what choice do we have?!