Watch out for WIDE LOAD at the Montreal Fringe!

4 05 2010

Fat is a real hot button for a lot of people. Big Moves knows this. That’s why we’re pushing that button as hard as we can with Wide Load, a dance musical vaudeville that’s running at the St- Ambroise Montréal Fringe Festival June 10 through 20, with six shows scheduled at the Mission Santa Cruz, 60 Rachel O, Montréal. Show times are as follows:

Friday June 11 * 10:45pm
Sunday June 13 * 3:45pm
Monday June 14 * 7:45pm
Wednesday June 16 * 6:15pm
Thursday June 17 * 10:15pm
Saturday June 19 * 6:30pm

Advance tickets? Why, yes! Get ’em at the Montreal Fringe website.

Wide Load (“full-frontal junk in the trunk”) is a high-energy, in-your-face, two-person carnival of fat-assery, with full-out dance moves, blasts of song, fast and furious semi-autobiographical comic sketches, blistering rants, and random slingshots of tasty snacks into the crowd. Written and performed by Big Moves founder Marina Wolf Ahmad and veteran Colette Gagnon, Wide Load is different from our previous Fringe offerings, which tended to have way more cast members and (slightly) less overt politics. But it brings the same sense of fun, the same commitment to excellent entertainment, and the same utter disregard for plus-size costuming dos and don’ts.

Pancake Breakfast!

In addition to the full run of Wide Load, Big Moves is bringing back the community pancake breakfast on Sunday, June 13, from noon to 2 at the Beer Tent (okay, so it’s more brunch). We’re frying up the pancakes until the batter runs out, along with pounds of bacon, vats of coffee, and live entertainment and competitions taking place on stage all afternoon. Hey, why not? Food is love, performance is awesome, and we’ve always been a civic-minded Fringe group, even before taking home the Spirit of the Fringe award in 2007.

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Marina: “The REAL Fat Camp”

16 06 2009

In a lot of ways, Fat Camp was a pretty typical Big Moves Boston production: sexy, upbeat, rah-rah-go-fattie in as many ways as we could jam in the show. There was so much of that energy that it tended to spill over the top and mix up into the rest of our lives.

The show ran for two weekends in the Boston area, and one jam-packed weekend in Philly, and every day of the run felt a little to me like Fat Camp: in-jokes, shared snacks, generalized lechery. On tech night the cast sat down and hand-colored the covers of 300 program booklets (very art cabin!). One evening before call, we all sat out in Harvard Common and put our heads on one another’s laps and nommed down sushi and bubble tea. Add onto that the whole story arc of Fat Camp, four weeks in the life of a body-positive summer camp, and then, I mean, we’d been working together for three and a half months, so yeah, very realistic feel of collective effort and fun.

But I didn’t know how much that came through until one of the dancers, Colette, shared a conversation she had with an audience member in Philly. It was at intermission, and Colette was mingling in the audience (she was playing a camp counselor, so that was an important part of the role). This guy came up to her and said, “So, is Fat Camp for kids, or adults too?” Colette was, like, wait, you already saw the first act, you don’t know? But she said, “Oh, we’re playing adults, you know, it’s like summer camp for adults.” And he said, “No, I mean the real Fat Camp.”

Excuse me. I just got teary-eyed all over again.

I mean, it’s not like we don’t have enough going on. Even the thought of adding a summer camp program to our offerings gives me speed-induced vertigo. But the fact that someone in our audience believed so much in the world that we created that they wanted to join us, well… actually… that’s the whole point.

In a lot of ways, Fat Camp was a pretty typical Big Moves Boston production: sexy, upbeat, rah-rah-go-fattie in as many ways as we could jam in the show. There was so much of that energy that it tended to spill over the top and mix up into the rest of our lives.

The show ran for two weekends in the Boston area, and one jam-packed weekend in Philly, and every day of the run felt a little to me like Fat Camp: in-jokes, shared snacks, generalized lechery. On tech night the cast sat down and hand-colored the covers of 300 program booklets (very art cabin!). One evening before call, we all sat out in Harvard Common and put our heads on one another’s laps and nommed down sushi and bubble tea. Add onto that the whole story arc of Fat Camp, four weeks in the life of a body-positive summer camp, and then, I mean, we’d been working together for three and a half months, so yeah, very realistic feel of collective effort and fun.

But I didn’t know how much that came through until one of the dancers, Colette, shared a conversation she had with an audience member in Philly. It was at intermission, and Colette was mingling in the audience (she was playing a camp counselor, so that was an important part of the role). This guy came up to her and said, “So, is Fat Camp for kids, or adults too?” Colette was, like, wait, you already saw the first act, you don’t know? But she said, “Oh, we’re playing adults, you know, it’s like summer camp for adults.” And he said, “No, I mean the _real_ Fat Camp.”

Excuse me. I just got teary-eyed all over again.

I mean, it’s not like we don’t have enough going on. Even the thought of adding a summer camp program to our offerings gives me speed-induced vertigo. But the fact that someone in our audience _believed_ so much in the world that we created that they wanted to join us, well… actually… that’s the whole point.





Marina: “CAKE!”

11 03 2009

Big Moves Boston is barreling straight ahead into Tea & Strumpets 3 (the Copywrong Edition) on Saturday, March 21, and folks…if you’re in the Boston area, or can get here, you WANT to be there. First of all: BURLESQUE. Secondly: CAKE.

The other reason that you might want to be there is that hey, it’s our big fundraising event for the year. Your buying a ticket and throwing down a bunch of raffle tickets is going to help us keep doing what we do best: in-your-face, size-diverse dance and performance art!

You like that, baby? You like it in your face? Well, then buy a ticket at http://www.bigmoves.org/calendar (click on the listing on 3/21) and get your sweet butt there! And if you can’t make there, but you’re feeling generous to us artistic, sweaty fatties and fatlets, you can make a donation instead… details are up in the “donate & advertise” tab.

poster-r4-300-ppi-copy-23





Marina: “How to Dance as Much as You Want, Tip #18: Stop Dancing for a Bit, and Do Something Else”

15 12 2008

When I first started taking dance classes, I took ALL the dance classes. I was 28, and had never really learned to dance, so these classes were like crack and a nice, long drink of water, all at once. I wallowed in the abundance of dance, I frolicked like a mermaid through the unending sea of it. I mean, DANCE, right?

But about a year and a half into it, as I was preparing for my first recital at school, I became aware of the need to come up for air. Also, I was getting shin splints.

I learned the hard way that what seems like a paradox really works: by strategically not dancing, you can keep on dancing! Don’t let preventable injury, overwork, or stress sideline you. Take time off when you need, for different reasons:

– Dance is exercise, and like all forms of exercise, you can overwork. Even the hardest-core performers should take at least a couple days away from it each week. If you must move some every day, try mixing it up with different forms of movement: yoga, or volleyball, or yo-yos.

– Dance is mental, and like all forms of, um, mental, you can get obsessive and stressed from concentrating too hard. If you are in the middle of a class or rehearsal and you feel yourself going to a Bad Bad Place because you are getting lost or confused, yes, you can bulldozer through. Or you can STOP, just for a moment, just for a drink of water or a wipe of the sweaty brow.

– Dance is art, and like all forms of art, it benefits from hybridization. Keep that dance alive with non-dance things: paintings and garage sales and cooking and kids’ music and learning a new language. You did that stuff before you started dancing, right? And enjoyed it? Well, keep it up. Because frankly, your inner artiste needs to get out more.

– Dance is spiritual, and like all forms of spirituality, it can be pushed to fanatical extremes. Give it a rest, get into your body in some other way, gardening or walking or swimming or building sand castles. Not everything, or even most things, need to express the Deep Hidden Truths of the Soul. Even if they actually do.





Marina: “How to Dance as Much as You Want, Tip #84 – EAT WHAT YOU WANT”

21 11 2008

Okay, that may seem like a non sequitur to some, but the connection is hot on my mind, because it’s coming up on the winter holidays, a time when our collective efforts to negotiate that tenuous line between consume/refrain come to a frenzied, holly-jolly climax. This split is particularly perilous when it comes to food. You see it in the ramped-up diet ads, the recipes for guilt-free gravy, the covers of the women’s magazines urging us to make decadent cakes for the family, but lose 20 pounds by the holidays.

The very language that most people use when talking about food consumed–“I’ve been bad” or “oh, you’ve been so good”–tells us that the naughty/nice metaphor has long ago ceased to be only a sorting device for Santa to plan his trip, and has thoroughly sunk into our own minds.

And I’m here to tell you that it is a waste of your time.

When you are busy fretting about calories, applying willpower to every party appearance, worrying about the difference between fat-free and full-fat eggnog, that is THAT MUCH EXTRA psychic energy that you no longer have available to pick that perfect mix for a holiday party, to look up a bellydance class in the paper, to go to the Nutcracker (or the Slutcracker, here in Boston), to get out to a reggae night and slow-grind your way to heaven. When you worry about food, you are letting it consume you, instead of the other way around.

I’m going to spare you any lecture about intuitive eating. Google it and see for yourself the benefits you can get from just, you know, eating. (And yes, there are intuitive eating resources out there for people with eating disorders, too.) Me? I just know that eating what feels good to me feeds ALL of me, my dancing feet and my whack-ass mind, too.

So this holiday season, I propose that you save your energy for the good stuff, and don’t fret about naughty or nice. Make it “tasty” or “nasty”, make it “whatever I can afford that is delicious”, make it “what I want to share with friends”. Eat it. Love it. Then get out there and dance. Your body will thank you. For all of it.





Marina: “Auditions, fatties. Auditions.”

19 11 2008

You’ve seen us on stage. You’ve taken body shots off of us in bars. You’ve sighed and said to yourself, “DAMN. I want to be on stage with them.” Well, now’s your chance, because Big Moves Boston is holding auditions!

Auditions for the spring 2009 performance season are coming up in early January, for ensemble positions in a wide variety of performances, including…

– Yarrr! A Pirate Cabaret (March 21 in Boston)
– Fat Camp (late April in Boston, and May 8-9 in Philadelphia)
– repertory performances at regional colleges
– additional appearances at Tea & Strumpets 3, the Fetish Fair Masquerade Ball, and other area showcases.

Big Moves is not just a grassroots dance and performance company, it’s also a passionate community AND a serious artistic effort aimed at shifting existing prejudices about size and weight in the dance community and in society as a whole. We ask a lot of our performers and our crew, and the first thing we ask is that you really be on-board with the kind of work that we do.

MORE ABOUT BIG MOVES

WE HAVE MANY GENRES IN BIG MOVES. Jazz, musical theater, hip hop, bellydance, burlesque, lyrical and modern and post-modern, just to name a few. Some of our numbers are one genre, some are hybrids. Performers sometimes have one genre they are strongest in, but we ask our performers to work in different numbers that may be different from their primary focus (it’s good for you!).

ALMOST ALL OF OUR PERFORMERS DANCE.  Occasionally we will take guest artists who are only singers or jugglers or whatever, but in general for inclusion in the regular cast, you’ve gotta dance. We are looking for performers who can dance at an advanced beginner level, at least, or else you must be a quick learner (as will be tested in the movement audition). Dancers with higher skill levels may be invited to create and rehearse solo or small-group works for shows.

ALL OF OUR DANCERS DO OTHER THINGS, TOO. Acting and singing are the obvious talents we need, in addition to dance, but we have costumers and writers and props people and acrobats and instructors in the cast as well. We’re a pretty multitalented, crafty bunch, and we need to be to do the amazing art that we do.

BIG MOVES PERFORMERS WORK HARD. Big Movers rehearse 3 to 12 hours a week, depending on level of involvement and what shows are coming up, and participate in Big Moves’ profit-share program. Most rehearsals are on Sunday afternoons, and Monday and/or Tuesday evenings.

BIG MOVES PERFORMERS SELL THEIR OWN SHOWS. Our dancers are active in going out to promotional appearances, selling tickets to shows, and selling Big Moves merchandise and events in their own personal network.

BIG MOVES IS GETTING BIGGER AND BROADER. We encourage people of color,  super-sized people, and men or butch-identified woman to audition. Big Moves is proudly queer- and trans-friendly, and we are SIZE-DIVERSE (that is, we are thin and average-sized, as well as different sizes and shapes of fat). We want performers of any and all sizes, who want to move forward as artists AND help us push out the boundaries of body acceptance in our dance community and in society.

BIG MOVES IS A COMMUNITY, NOT JUST A COMPANY. Big Moves has been in operation in the Boston area since 2005. We are looking for people who are interested in joining a circle of likeminded, body-loving freaks, not just doing a gig.

Questions? Visit us online first…

www.bigmoves.org
on myspace
on facebook

and then send email to marina@bigmoves.org





Marina: “And Now for Something Completely Different”

18 11 2008

Well, we hope you got a chance to see us in Hot Buffet. Wow, right? I mean, even WE are still reeling. We’re not likely to plummet that deep into tragic awesomeness any time again soon, but we had to do it once, just to say we went there.

We are bouncing right back into our normal high-energy fun fest with the spring show, Fat Camp, and yes, you’re going to get more info about that soon. But right now, we need your help sending Big Moves for another run at the Montreal Fringe Festival, a wild celebration of alternative theater and performance taking place June 11-21.

This year marks Big Moves Boston’s FOURTH trip to the Fringe. We’ve been doing our large-scale musicals there for the past two years (Gargantua and Lard). This year, we’re stripping it down and loading up a single car for a fast-paced, in-your-face, two-person carnival of fun and fat-assery, something we’re calling WIDE LOAD: breaking the stage and taking names. Full-out dance moves, fast and furious semi-autobiographical sketch comedy, blistering rants, and random slingshots of tasty snacks make Wide Load the fringe show that people are going to want to see.

Veteran Big Mover Colette and I are again hosting an outdoor breakfast for the Fringe community–or everyone who gets there before the pancake batter runs out. We’ll be roaming Montreal streets in skirts up to Here and fattitude out to There. Two people can’t flood the Fringe with fabulous the way 12 people can, but damn it if we’re not going to try.

Hey, and Wide Load will be running for one night only in Boston, too! We’re planning a special launch party for late May! But we need your help to get this show up and running.

We’re already had a few donors from around the country, and one generous contributor from Chicago, but we need more support. Our goal is $1000 in the next 12 days. That money will help pay our entry fees ($640) and print the postcards and posters that will bring more Fringe attendees in to see the Big Moves vision of a size-diverse world. If you haven’t yet donated to Big Moves this year, consider making now the time to start. If you’ve already donated, you know we put on great shows with grassroots budgets, and you know that your added contribution at this time is going to really make a difference.

Send email to marina@bigmoves.org and let me know how much you can pledge. I will send you a paypal money request and we can do it online (we are revamping our online donation process, and that’ll be up to speed by December 1, too late for us to use for this push, though).

All donations of $35 or more will receive a Wide Load tour bumper sticker, plus a Wide Load poster signed by Colette and me. You know the work we do, you know the changes we’re trying to make. We rely on individual donors to help move us forward. More specifically, we rely on you.