As part of our ongoing 30-year anniversary celebration, we're going to post content from our archives via Facebook over the entire month of April. This retrospective series is produced by Mike Curran and Ari Newman.
Patrick's Cabaret will remain artist-driven. This week is a special time for us to remember the artists who've rolled through the Firehouse. Shout-out to Darrius Strong who performed earlier this month at Circulation: Connecting Through Embodying Rhythm (Guest Curator: Erinn Liebhard).In addition to performing at the cabaret, his creative work has been chosen for the Walker Art Center Choreographers Evening, Rhythmically Speaking, The American College Dance Festival, The University of MN Dance Theater and was featured in the New Griots Festival at the Phoenix theater, Minneapolis. Follow him and hear what's next at STRONGmovement.
Anything but English
Begun in the early 2000s as "Everything Except English," Scott Artley revived and reworked the concept into "Anything But English" showcasing artists whose first language is anything but English to present works about mother tongues, global appetites, and the ways we are lost (and found) in translation.
The Great Renovation of 2006
Voices of Guantanamo
From Kinetic Kitchen to the Somewhat Sci-fi Variety Show and Voices of Guantánamo, 2008 was another year full of experimentation. Check out the show programs below!
Movies in the Park-ing Lot at Dusk
"To be sitting outside, looking up and seeing the stars and looking around and seeing your neighbors." If you can build community in a parking lot, you can build it anywhere, yeah? In 2007 we started the Movies in the Park-ing Lot at Dusk series.
***Stay tuned for a programming announcement on an upcoming screening in May***
The Great Renovation of 2006
In 2006, we renovated the 3010 Minnehaha Firehouse. It's amazing what a little paint and a giant marlin can do!
SASE: Women of Color Reading Series
In 2005 we waved goodbye to executive director Sarah Harris who left for San Fransisco. "Under Sarah's direction, those huge doors [of the cabaret] opened even wider. Women artists of color now have a safe place that we all can call home," wrote Carolyn Holbrook from SASE: The Write Place.
The SASE: Women of Color Reading Series — a collaboration between the cabaret and MN Women's Press — was an important part of building that space.
Sarah Harris moved into the cabaret as the executive director in 2002. The biggest part of her plan? "Of course the cabarets are open to all, but we definitely reach out to the GLBT community, communities of color, and people with disabilities."
In November, 2004, "Our Voices" was a two-week long workshop for female-identifying artists from historically marginalized backgrounds, culminating in a multi-form performance.
One week later, Quiana Perkins (aka Princess Wanna-be-a-Queen) performed her signature spoken word and drag as part of "Q &: Queer Artists, Many Identities", where artists "had the chance to express the ways in which their identities are more than just gender and sexual orientation."
Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio
Patrick's Cabaret has always blurred the line between activism and art. So has Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio. Internationally known for giving a human face to workers and human rights struggles, he also made some posters for us in 2002. He continues his work in Minneapolis.
The Mayday Parade
We owe a lot of our success over the past 16 years to our Lake St. community -- one of the most eclectic, creative, inspiring places out there. Alongside our Lake St. arts cabaret, the annual MayDay festival put on by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre just down the street best encapsulates the activism and passion surrounding the firehouse. Thank you, Lake Street!
Check out part of the MayDay 2002 program below!
The Nudity Complaint
2001: The Story of the Police arriving at Patrick’s Cabaret during the Bleeding Edge Show in August, as told by Patrick’s Scully. “Center stage he begins to twist his pelvis back and forth, causing his penis to thwap thwap thwap…”
Tired Mexican Woman - A Letter
In 1999, Patrick's Cabaret received a letter from Anita White with drawing of “The Tired Mexico Woman” on the front. Anita’s show is called “Musings from the Belly of a Mermaid.” It was the last performance in Patrick’s “old space”
The Cabaret Formula
The cornerstone of our programming is the "Cabaret" formula Patrick Scully started 30 years ago: multiple artists under a shared bill presenting new and experimental work. Each show, typically consisting of six acts by independent artists, is designed to offer a mix of artistic disciplines, experience levels, and creative viewpoints.
Here's a bite of what those diverse lineups looked like in 200. Check the names to find some of your old favorites, or discover someone new!
Patrick Scully Opens a New Play
In 1997, Patrick Scully’s new play "Protease Inhibited" opens at Patrick’s and runs one weekend.
"Scully didn't really make up the play; he eavesdropped on a conversation among four imaginary characters he discovered in his head and channeled their words on paper."
"The characters in Protease Inhibited are four gay men, three of them HIV positive as is Scully. The fourth man refuses to be tested and is called HIV mysterious. Each of the men has his own attitude about the potent antiviral drug, the protease inhibitor. At one point, they all decide...to go out for an evening of fun..."
Performance Poet April Andrews
"'What do you mean / I'm erotic / exotic?' she intones from the back of the stage, pointing a flashlight into the eyes of the onlookers. 'You don't even own me / you sold me,' she continues, turning the beam on herself."
So goes this Q Monthly article featuring the performance poet April Andrews in her 1998 show, Velvet Chiltin'. Andrews' work speaks to the depth of local talent the cabaret has featured over the years. Read on for more about her work.
The Day the Ketchup Turned Blue
In 1995, Dan Hurlin’s “The Day the Ketchup Turned Blue” allowed only 15 people in the Patrick's Cabaret theater per show.
"This nine-sentence playlet was written by playwright John C. Russell at the age of eight. The Day The Ketchup Turned Blue is a toy theater piece whose set, a faux Wedgwood proscenium, a candle, Wedgwood dishes and a hamburger, was inspired by the English tradition of dining room table top puppet shows popular in the 19th Century. Through a system of strings and pulleys, teacups and saucers represent the Little family pursued in diminishing perspective by an evil hammer, Mr. Bigg. Russell’s text is projected onto the stage’s back wall during the 12-minute performance. At the end, it is revealed that the author died of AIDS at the age of 31. At that moment, in the words of Alissa Solomon of the Village Voice, “The play shifts … from a charming elaboration on childlike fantasy to a tender lament for imaginations lost.”
Important Programming at Patrick's Cabaret
This springtime 20 years ago, Patrick's was putting on some pretty important programming and asking some big questions.
The May 10th/11th show featured Brent Michael Davids, a composer and Quartz Crystal Flute player from the Mohican Nation who blended indigenous music with some of the country's best ensembles.
The Queer Art: Who Cares? forum discussed some essential questions: "Do you feel like your work isn't considered art?" // "Are you tired of seeing White faces at Queer events?" // "Do you worry that your work will never see the light of day?"
Exposure Artist Photos - 1999
Patrick’s Cabaret Exposure Artist photos by Anna Marsden, featuring Sarah Fox and Larry Havluck from Aug 21 - Sept 5 1999
Ron Athey Performs
Presented by the Walker Art Center in 1994, Ron Athey performs "Four Scenes in a Harsh Life," at Patrick's Cabaret. According to the Star Tribune,
"Athey, who is HIV-positive, cut incisions into the back of another artist, daubed paper towels with his blood and clipped the towels to lines circling above the audiences’ heads. The scene was meant to evoke a “human printing press.”
Learn more about the "Culture War" that erupted in the 1990s here: http://www.startribune.com/how-a-mpls-show-helped-spark-mid-1990s-culture-wars/297028951/
In 1998, Patrick's Moves to the Firehouse
We moved into the firehouse in 1998, which we've now called home for the past 18 years. Before we came into the space, the Firehouse Theater made it's home at 3010 Minnehaha, and became one of the most important alternative art spaces in the Twin Cities during the 1960s.
According to Philip Bither, the then curator of performing arts at the Walker, our move was an "extremely exciting" way to promote and develop our dedication to emerging artists.
Patrick's Moves to a New Temporary Home
As part of the long journey from St. Stephen's school to the firehouse, we arrived at the three-story building that is now Open Eye Figure Theatre. Check out some images from the performances we had at the space, and the big blueprint we had to convert the building to our temporary home.
Focus Point, November 1996: "Closed down by the city fire marshall this year [in June], the little-cabaret-that-could presents an evening with queer artists of color exploring new issues and fighting the powers that be. Joining ringmaster Patrick Scully in exile is an eclectic group of performers...
In 2016, nearly 20 years later, we are still the little-cabaret-that-could. We survived through exile, and we will survive the changes ahead.
Behind the Velvet: Sweet LillyBee
We're excited to release the inaugural episode of Behind the Velvet today. The audio series gets to know artists off the stage. This week we're featuring Sweet LillyBee (aka Madame Butch). Her work can’t be fit into a box — she works in burlesque, drag, fire arts, fetish arts, ritual performance, and embraces the cross-pollination between all of the above. We sat down with her to talk body emancipation, the importance of self-care, and the balance of motherhood and artistry.
In 1989, Patrick Embraces Experimental Work
We emerged at a time where cabarets weren't seen as "legitimate" theater. Patrick embraced this label, reflected in his commitment to feature experimental work and emerging artists.
As he explains in the attached 1989 City Pages article, "By offering artists like me the opportunity to even put up pieces of work — 10 to 20 minutes worth, finished or not — I am able to help their work progress, to address their need for feedback and for valuable performance experience ... without their having to spend their entire savings self-producing a show that may or may not be reviewed, that may or may not influence area grantmakers or be noticed by arts patrons."
In 1988, we received our first grant to pay artists.
Since then, we've always taken this responsibility seriously. Today, 100% of the box office goes to the artists for all cabaret-produced events.
(The below collage is made up of pictures from 1998 programming.)
A 1986 feature in City Pages covering the cabaret's beginnings in St. Stevens school.
"While an inner-city Catholic school gymnasium may not immediately call up a Berlin cabaret, Scully, who hosts and organizes the performances, 'always had a dream of being an impresario of a cabaret' even if the entertainment has to take place in a room fitted with basketball hoops and where the predominant color is mustard."