The Solstice Spectacle was a 10-day artistic residency that culminated in a series of outdoor theater performances, poetic readings and farm-fresh meals for our local community as well as guests near and far. View a brief & beautiful capture of the Spectacle below and read on for the original preview text of the event.
ARRIVAL & UPRISING
hosted by nicole garneau
Arrive on site at Clear Creek by 5 p.m. for an opening ceremony by Performing Revolutionary: Art, Action, Activism author and long-time Clear Creek artist-in-residence Nicole Garneau. Nicole will serve as our guide to introduce each of the evening performances and create an "UPRISING" experience out of the entire Solstice Spectacle.
Nicole defines UPRISINGS as "collaboratively-created public demonstrations of revolutionary practices" and her book Performing Revolutionary is part utopian instruction manual, part artistic memoir, and part love letter to the sacred work of making radical change. In it, she shares her experience of creating 60 UPRISINGS in the U.S and abroad over a 5-year period, including three hosted here on Clear Creek. We're excited for her to join us as part of her book tour to share in the manifestation of another UPRISING!
EZELL: BALLAD OF A LAND MAN
Clear Creek creative
Our first Solstice performance each evening will be Ezell: Ballad of a Land Man, a devised solo performance by Robert Martin that investigates domination behavior and the complex legacy of the extractive resource industry in post-coal Kentucky through the lens of one man reconnecting with the people and land of his raising. Ezell is forced to grapple with his identity and (his) nature when faced with the opportunity to buy mineral rights as a "land man" for the oil & gas industry in anticipation of the deep-well hydro-fracking boom moving into eastern Kentucky.
The character of Ezell has been inspired by interaction and interviews with white Appalachian men over many years and the true threat to Clear Creek and surrounding communities of fracking expansion into the mountains of East Kentucky. Ezell first appeared as a character in the Clear Creek Creative ensemble-devised Land, Water, Food Story performances and Where's That Power Gonna Come From? Directed by Nick Slie (Mondo Bizarro) and produced by Carrie Brunk (Clear Creek Creative), this solo performance will be presented during the Solstice Spectacle as a 45-minute work-in-progress. Ezell has been supported by Alternate ROOTS and through an artist residency at Double Edge Theater (Ashfield, MA).
Open Flame Theater
Our second Solstice performance each evening will be The Wastelands, a traveling, surrealist folk opera inspired by Robert and Shana Parkeharrison's The Architecht's Brother and Dante Aligheri's Purgatorio. Guided by a queer, skeletal Virgil, The Wastelands takes audiences on a journey through a netherworld of seven terraces based on the seven stages of grief. The Wastelands explores how to survive in a world which no longer provides, and ultimately asks the question: how do we find hope in despair?
The Wastelands is conceived, composed and directed by Walken Schweigert, a 2017 Clear Creek artist-in-residence, who will be joined on Clear Creek by performers Katie Burgess, Sea Thomas and Matthew Ryan Surline with documentation and additional direction by Erica Fladeland and associate set design by Lisa Winter. The Wastelands ensemble will be accompanied by local Clear Creek musicians and chorus Bethany Cook, Jacob Graber, Robert Rorrer, Rainbow Star and Leah Van Winkle. The exchange between Clear Creek Creative and Open Flame Theater is supported by the Network of Ensemble Theaters.
The Way at Midnight
Our final Solstice performance each evening will be The Way at Midnight, a humorous and incisive performance questioning the role cartography has played in colonization, and the way that legacies live in our bodies and affect our lives. Two actors become seven characters on an interconnected journey to reckon with -- and maybe even reimagine -- their inheritance and ancestry.
The Way at Midnight is directed by Joanna Russo, produced by Dan Pruksarnukul and performed by Hannah Pepper-Cunningham and Nick Slie, artists who have been in residence, sharing their art and building community with Clear Creek since 2010. The exchange with Mondo Bizarro is supported by the National Performance Network.
Multi-course Farm-Fresh Meal
curated by clear creek creative
At Clear Creek we are blessed to have abundant gardens, farms, and woodlands that provide a bounty of fresh, organic local food. Throughout the Solstice Spectacle, we'll offer courses served gradually over the evening prior to each performance and inspired by what's available locally in the early summer solstice time.
All offerings will be vegetarian with gluten-free options. A variety of beverages will be available for cash donation as well as all the free-flowing cool mountain spring water you can drink.
The menu will be curated by Carrie Brunk and prepared with support from Joana Amorim, Leah Van Winkle, Michael Beck and other good people in the outdoor community kitchen and earthen cob oven at Clear Creek. Local sources for the meal include Lazy Eight Stock Farm, Salamander Springs Farm, the Berea College Farms as well as our own and neighboring gardens and woodlands.
Eco-Feminist Homesteading Tour
Led by Timi Reedy
Our home and community gathering place at Clear Creek is just one among many homesteads in the area where people are doing their best to live in harmony with the land. On Saturday, June 23rd from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., our beloved neighbor, self-taught mycologist and geodesic-dome builder Timi Reedy will guide a tour of five local homesteads that will include her own home as well as stops at an organic permaculture farm and several natural-building locations that showcase strawbale, earthen cob, salvaged-materials and other forms of vernacular and sustainable construction.
To meet Timi for the tour, arrive in the Clear Creek parking field by 9:15 a.m. (find directions here). The tour will leave site by 9:30 a.m. and return by 3 p.m. with an afternoon break prior to the Spectacle opening at 5 p.m. Please be sure to reserve a place for the tour when you purchase your Spectacle tickets -- the small fee is for a garden-fresh lunch which will be provided on one of the tour stops.
Post-Spectacle Listening Party :: sunday, June 24 @ 6 p.m.
Alleged Lesbian Activities is a denim-clad, glitter-crusted, power-ballad performance devised from oral histories collected through Last Call: New Orleans Dyke Bar History Project, a multiracial collective of queer artists, activists, and archivists. Alleged Lesbian Activities co-creators and co-directors indee mitchell and Bonnie Gabel will be in residence at Clear Creek during the Solstice weekend, meeting with local community to collect oral histories and learn about the history of dyke bars and queer culture in Kentucky.
On Sunday, June 24 at 6 p.m. we will be hosting a Listening Party where indee and Bonnie will share excerpts from Alleged Lesbian Activites and explore the relevance of Last Call's work for rural Appalachia and Kentucky. Track the details for the Clear Creek Listening Party and watch for cross-promotion of a Last Call sharing in Whitesburg via Clear Creek Creative social media lovingly hosted and maintained by Nicole Garneau. The exchange between Last Call and Clear Creek has been supported by the National Performance Network.
The Solstice Spectacle will begin each evening at 5 p.m. and complete by 10:30 p.m. Please remember to reserve your tickets! If you're coming from afar and would like to camp on site or have other questions, please get in touch at the link below. You can find directions to the site here along with suggestions of nearby places to stay overnight.
Banner photo at page header by Erica Fladeland.