Welcome to the A.WAKE blog! This is our first official blog post following our very first event – which was a total success. In the coming months, this will be the place to find detailed downloads of all the goings on within A.WAKE as well as information on our performers and profiles of our artists. Hopefully this blog will inspire connections and conversations. After all, community is what we’re after. Take a peek below for a review of our kick-off night and be sure to follow us so you can stay updated as we continue to gain momentum…
“A small black box theater can be turned into anything really. Because it’s just, well, a black box. Four walls, a ceiling, a door, and whatever else you want to put in it. I’ve been to plays that consisted of nothing but actors and I’ve been to plays that consisted of a giant pool of water serving as the stage. I’ve been to weddings, pop-up nightclubs, election rallies, sleepovers, garage sales, and theatre classes all of which happened inside a black box theater. On July 13th, I found myself once again inside its very modest walls for an event I can only describe as transformational and something I have never seen before. Which, given the above, is saying something.
The theater was decorated and arranged, surprisingly, with the audience in mind. Couches and lush pillows, glass bottles housing tiny candles hanging from the ceiling, a by-donation bar. The stage was simple. A back drop designed by Alva Glass featuring a collage of vintage record covers contrasted beside a collage of cassette tapes. A microphone, a DJ. Already it was vibe I had never quite found upon walking into a theater to see, what was I seeing? I play? A show?
It was actually the first event produced and loving facilitated by Abby Wake titled, cleverly and appropriately, A.WAKE. An evening of performances by women artists ranging from singer/songwriters, slam poets, dancers, actors, and everything in between. It was, in every sense, an evening celebrating women in art. This does not happen in LA. The celebrating of women nor of the artist. This is not say that LA is not busting at the seams with beautiful women, beautiful artists, or amazing underground theater. But LA is the home of movies and as such, almost everything that happens, happens with a very specific endgame: get famous. Which is why Abby decided it’s time things changed.
The night began with a lively, visceral poem written and performed by Siana-aiti Moirae. A celebration of being woman, and all the power, grace and fear that comes with it. A perfect show opener. She was followed by singer/songwriter and guitar-toting Jessie Payo, tiny girl with a big voice offering a soulful sample of her original music, surprising us all with her flair for country. A monologue followed, by Liz Femi Wilson, who literally transformed before our eyes into a 9-year-old Nigerian girl – a character she has written for her one-woman show. Abby herself took the stage along with Moirae for a self-choreographed duet. They were followed Jessica Cornejo, and her fierce, fiery poem Gamechanger, a message to every man about how loving a good woman works. It was the perfect piece to transition into Abby Wake’s 8 Things, a piece inspired and dedicated to being in love. To wrap up the experience, a performance by jazz singer Honey La Rochelle who, in her sequined-dress and Jeffrey Campbells, can only be described as divine. By the end of the night, I left feeling changed and in awe; of the women, of the courage, and of the movement which will inevitably follow.
When asked why she quit her day job to dedicate her time to A.WAKE her response is pretty clear. “Being a woman in L.A is hard. We are constantly in competition with each other and never celebrating each other’s beauty and talents. I want to change that.” And so, she has begun. Over the next six months Abby will be producing and hosting events that feature LA’s female artists at various theaters and venues throughout the city with a specific goal in mind: to create her own venue, a sanctuary, dedicated to women artists. If that’s not a cause to get behind, I don’t what is…”