Thursday, December 2, 2021

The Yard Theater show “No Man’s Land” talks about women

In February 2020, the sorceress Christine Lambert walked backstage at Brookled follies – an intimate, invitation-only variety show hidden behind the mansion in Hancock Park, Los Angeles, where she performed that night. Then she spotted Pam Severns, a pop art colleague known for her unorthodox take on classic puppetry and who works with Jim Henson Co. act at that time. Intrigued to learn more about puppetry, she walked over to Severns and greeted him. The two became loyal friends, and Severns shared puppet resources and advice with Lambert.

Soon, the conversation turned to the lack of support and representation of pop artists who are not men. “We lamented that many of these entertaining shows, comedy shows – of course magic shows – were dominated by cis heterosexuals, straight men, white men,” Lambert says. While there are many LA performers in these industries who identify as women, “they rarely get the time on stage they deserve,” adds Lambert.

For example, looking at upcoming performances at Magic Castle does not instill confidence that diversity and inclusion are top priorities for everyone. At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any women of color there, and the only magician commissioned to perform is a woman, Kayla Drescher from Los Angeles. The Magic Castle, one of the most famous places of magic and variety arts in the city, is in the throes of retribution. a 2020 Times investigation detailing the allegations that institution staff, management, academy members and perpetrators perpetuated abuses, including sexual violence and discrimination based on race or gender. (General manager Joseph Furlow resigned immediately after the controversy.) The article also cites a 2019 study that found less than 12% of the organization was female, and members said the vast majority of the magicians in the Castle academy itself were white.

Tired of watching establishments verbally talk about increased line-ups, and inspired by the immense creativity merging in Los Angeles, Lambert and Severns decided to create a new variety show called No Man’s Land, debut at the Yard Theater. Wednesday, November 10th. Lambert describes it as “a more modern take on more traditional pop art,” featuring performers such as juggler Tristan Cunningham, ventriloquist Hannah Leskoski, circus artist Dallis Newton and comedian Kara Connors – all women. identification of talents.

Actor and magician Tristan Cunningham.

(Charlie Kane)

The goal of No Man’s Land, as Severns put it, is “to normalize female-dominated shows.” While Severns notes that awareness of the issue is spreading, she still does not see major steps being taken to truly diversify a range of industries that have historically been dominated by white men. “I still see male-only rosters in Magic Castle. … It’s hard to say, but it doesn’t look like anything has changed much, ”adds Severns. Members of the comedy community have tried to shed light on this issue, “but comedy is a bigger industry than juggling or ventriloquism,” Lambert says. “So, in some of the less popular forms of pop art, there are many more issues to cover.”

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Women have been inseparable from pop art ever since humans first discovered the awe that accompanies sleight of hand or pulling a rabbit out of a top hat. But they are rarely seen in his history. Over the generations, most women in magic have been objectified or confined to secondary roles. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, many talented women in magic worked in vaudeville, some as assistants.

As told by the historian of magic Margaret Steele pointed outthe assistants were experienced magicians who played an important role in making the action possible at all. “It’s built into the art, the way the mage and the helper interact,” Steele told History, adding, “The helper’s powerlessness. [is] just a gimmick really, ”a gambit that enhances the power of smoke and mirrors. Magician Adelaide Herrmann – known as the “Queen of Magic” – enthralled audiences all over the world in the late 1800s and early 1900s with feats such as shooting herself with a cannon and the one in which she was locked in a coffin wrapped in a sheet covered with a film. alcohol then caught fire.

Even now, well-known magicians like Herrmann are rarely mentioned at the same time as Harry Houdini or Penn & Teller. In addition to the struggle for recognition, women in the stage are constantly faced with disrespect and disbelief that they can command the stage. Once, setting up his performance, Lambert recalls that the manager of the establishment immediately assumed that Lambert’s boyfriend was a magician, and she was an assistant – in fact, everything was the other way around. “This is an inhospitable environment that we are trying to fight,” says Lambert.

A woman is holding a lit match.

Magician Christine Lambert.

(Mike Commons)

Severns and Lambert will be presenting the show on Wednesday, and they hope to continue No Man’s Land every month. The organizers say the December show featuring gifted comedians and other celebrities is currently approved – and has everything you need for a magical evening.

“No Man’s Land: An Evening of Comedy, Magic and Variety”

Wednesday 10 November

The Yard Theater, 4319 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles

Tickets: 15 $

theyardtheater.com

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