Tiskettasket

by Wanda Lough

Frank Wo/Men Collective has a new show coming up for 1 weekend only, Tiskettasket. If you are not familiar with Frank Wo/Men Collective [FWMC], TL:DR they are an absurdly funny physical theatre company and it’s a must see for art enthusiasts.

Tiskettasket is a vignette style performance about food. It’s the raw, YOLO physical theatre experience mashed up with audience participation. We know each audience member will receive a basket of food upon entering and can participate in the scenes if they feel the impulse to.

Food, in our past as Americans, and still so in other cultures,
has been a gathering place to share stories and enjoy life.
[It feels like] we’re pretty far from that culturally.
Perhaps this is a format to rewire some of how
we as people look at
and consider food.
— Derek Kolluri, Co-Director & Performer in Tiskettasket

HUMAN INFLUENCE sat down with Kelsey Oliver (Co-Director and Performer in Tiskettasket) for some cold brew coffee and she spilled the beans on their creative process and some behind the scenes details.

Who is in the Frank Wo_Men Collective?

Oliver told me in our conversation that Frank Wo_Men Collective (FWMC) is a revolving company of multidisciplinary performers, but specifically Tiskettasket will be exercising one opera singer, one comedian, four dancers, sugar-free lighting, organic improv, some film work, live music, and unprocessed interactive theater. It started from a seed, she said - “How could we get the audience to throw food at us?” - and grew into a more artistically, challenging idea: “How interactive can we be while the audience is still in their seats?"

Since FWMC lacks resources, mainly money, the company must rehearse within a few times - then showtime! Tiskettasket formed from a purely collaborative process. According to Oliver, everyone works well under this pressure because they feel supported by this collaboration structure.

I enjoy the serendipity, the unplanned moments upon exploring a certain concept or idea, acting upon impulse and from there, running with it and creating something that can resonate with and entertain people.
— Alexa Capareda, PR Marketing Director and Co-Producer of Frank Wo/Men Collective, Performer and Artistic Collaborator in Tiskettasket

Oliver said the artistic directors called each performers interested in the idea and asked them "'What excites you the most about this show? What do you want to see?'". From there, they experimented with the ingredients. They exercise some structure as far creating a spine of prompts for the performers to digest. But when they come together, they go with what makes them laugh and ponder the most.

 

From the Frank Wo/men Collective show Loose Gravel

From the Frank Wo/men Collective show Loose Gravel

HI: What distinguishes Frank Wo_Men Collective’s body of work compared to other theatre groups?

Oliver: The Franks find much assemblage through our shared interest in quick-witted humor, unpredictability, and ridiculousness. There is a strong undercurrent of comedic impulse to our work that is founded upon mutual respect and the act of questioning. We find connectivity through shared laughter and the ability to develop an idea to jubilation through the compiling layers of running with each others’ whims.

Minimalism vs Maximalism

In specific terms, the collaborative process offers a maximalism style as opposed to a minimalist one, a point that Oliver noted. You can find similar uses of the contrast in the books of post-modern authors like David Foster Wallace and Thomas Pynchon and Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, whose DIGRESSIONs, EXCEssIVE DEsCRIPTIONs, redundancy overkill, add excess on top of excess usually in an ostentatious manner; simply, the art is in the DETAILs.

Why maximalism?

Oliver believes a maximalism style offers a lot of access points for the audience. Access points meaning, many ways to enter a scene and get meaning behind the movement. And one person’s perspective will be entirely different than the person next to them. This style allows the characters to have a strange, candid self awareness about the audience. Yet, never dissolve the boundary that it is a show.


WHAT

Tiskettasket: an interactive physical theater show centered around multi-purposing

food. In a series of overlapping vignettes, this performance channels absurdity in many forms,

allowing the audience to engage head-deep in fruitful, full-bodied episodes of goof.

WHEN: July 28-30 at 8pm

WHERE: 4902 Gladeview Dr., Austin, TX

 


Wanda Lough: Autodidactic. Reads a lot. New to Austin area. From New Jersey and Arizona. No college degree. Art enthusiast and a professional admirer. Favorite album of 2016 was Wildflower.

Admiration for Sport: Why Seeing is Believing

by Wanda Lough

You have to watch the video first. It is only 4 minutes long.

There are several things I admire about this story. First, the platform it's published on. NOWNESS releases wonderfully artistic, profound videos on the human experience. It's a special place on the internet where there are no adds and no set way to explore the site. Platforms like NOWNESS and Vimeo Staff Picks are where I see the future of TV - decentralized, abstract, amateur, and artistic.

Then I admire the pieces of this story. I admire the director, David Leon for respecting the duality of the champion, Ruqsana Begum. Leon understood her. He juxtaposed images of her praying against images of her fighting. This outlined her own humility with this trial which she sees as a religious experience.

Another piece I admire is her coach's perspective. Success stories like this show that you need people in order to thrive - but a certain type of person.
In other interviews, she said she could never give him excuses. That's the best kind of person. As he says, "a person shouldn't be judged in what they achieve in life but the obstacles they overcome to achieve that."

So often we see the achievements and nothing else.

Of course, the untraditional, powerful Ruqsana Begum gives me strength. I watch this, then immediately feel sensitive to her pain of feeling split - she has to be one person or the other - and wanting nothing else than to overcome deeply instilled fears.

Like I said, so often we only see trophies. And in times where anxiety and depression are rampant, even now called diseases, and get-rich-quick books are on the same shelf as low self-esteem books, we need honest success stories. Stories around athletic achievements are so honest because all bodies are made of the same stuff; it's egalitarian. Admiration for sport allows one to viscerally comprehend what they can accomplish. It's cathartic to witness.

It weakens emotional turmoils. Simply by reducing all attention down to the physical limitations. The concise phrase "Just do it" evokes a primal intuition to complete an objective. Physical feats remind us we complete difficult tasks with small steps and much humility like Ruqsana did.
   
You're female, you can't do this. I CAN.

You're Muslim, you can't do this.  I CAN.  

Our modern society has given up on the traditions of
pilgrimages - the physical journey of change.  We need to change. We need ways to prove to others of our strengths and that our change is real. Sport does this for us.

We don't have this usage in English, so I need to borrow a word from another language to explain this thought. In Spanish,
the verb PODER conveys power, ability, and probability. As a noun, you can use it to describes a person's strength and capability, or use it broader sense like the power one has or a larger body of people has (government, company, org..etc). As a verb, it means "I can”, “you can”, “she can” etc. However, as a verb in the future tense, it relays potential by meaning "I could be", "you could be" to express future desires.

When thinking about our physical and mental challenges, we need to think of ourselves with the power, ability, the potential to overcome our trials. When searching for honest success stories and heroes, we need to see someone find these within themselves. 

And say, 

SÍ PUEDO

TENGO PODER

PODRÍA


Wanda Lough: Autodidactic. Reads a lot. New to Austin area. From New Jersey and Arizona. No college degree. Art enthusiast and a professional admirer. Favorite album of 2016 was Wildflower.

DJ Khaled: Grateful Album Review

by Joseph Bonney

Grateful is the 10th studio album from arguably the most popular DJ in the world: Khaled.  Since his separation from Cash Money, he’s linked up with Sony and got a major Jay-Z cosign that brought his career to new heights (starting from Snapchat fame).  This album has to be his most ambitious to date and more deserving than anything else he’s dropped.

The theme is obviously grateful, something that Khaled has acknowledged greatly since gaining hip-hop respect, and the birth of his son Asahd, the poster child for the album.  Beyonce and Jay-Z introduce the album with their brand of sophisticated bragging.  Khaled also managed to pull an Alicia Keyes feature on the song "Nobody" with Nicki Minaj, another symbol of the height of this album.  

Khaled does well to blend the new school with the old school, but you can tell he’s clearly favoring the new kids on the block.  If you’re not a fan of the mumble rap/autotune/trap sound, this album is littered with it.  "I’m the One", the album's fifth track, introduces that, while the rest of the album reflects the vibe of that song.  Travis Scott is the go to guy on this album, with name credit on four tracks.  His hooks are hyped like you’d expect, but his hook on "It’s Secured" with Nas seems slightly forced.  Though Nas is on the song and he does what he’s best at: narrating the world around him.

Like I stated earlier the new school dominates this album.  Migos has a solo track - "Major Bag Alert" - an absolute banger, and they also feature on "Iced Out My Arms" with 21 Savage (who has been quiet as of late but recently dropped a new single).  Kodak Black hops on a couple tracks. His verse on "Down for Life" is his first verse that I’ve generally enjoyed. PARTYNEXTDOOR does a solid chorus with Travis Scott.  I’m not a huge fan of some of their sounds, specifically Kodak’s chorus on "Pull a Caper", 21 Savages verse, and future leaves some forgettable verses and hooks.  In the end, they all bang.

Raekwon blesses "Billy Ocean" - an old throwback about working the block - with a strong verse alongside Fat Joe.  Then Pusha T and Jadakiss flow on a lovely sample over a trap beat with "Good Man".  Jadakiss has the standout verse on this album; he feels like a father figure when he starts, and then he absolutely murks his verse and sons anyone else who tries to think they can out rap him.

This album has everything thing for the new kids and the old heads. DJ Khaled tries to show the current sound of hip-hop while breaking barriers.  He wants the youngins to know the old days, and the new veteran listeners of hip-hop to join the new wave sound.  This album brings everything that Khaled has worked for and he puts it in a powerful project.  “Wild Thoughts” is the perfect example of that with the “Maria Maria” sample.  This album gets a stamp of approval on being a contender for album of the year


Joseph Bonney is a writer, artist, hip-hop enthusiast, and gamer currently living in San Marcos,Texas.  A recent English graduate with an Art/Design minor, when he's not working, he's usually doing 1 of the 4, or eating.  You can find his Instagram page here.

Assumptions

Assumptions

I had been having trouble concentrating at work this past month cus our damn phones keep telling us a nonstop stream of news from back home, seeing our friends in civil disobedience, getting gassed & locked up by the National Guard, but when we were in that studio, nothing else existed

Read More

3 Reasons Why I Travel

by Brandon Boone

Besides people asking me “how do you afford to travel so much?” I often get asked, “why do you travel so much?” I usually give a generic answer like “because I want to see the world” or “because it frees my mind.” Although both of those statements are true, there is also a deeper explanation.

I travel because it opens my mind to new experiences, gives me the opportunity to learn about new cultures, and connects me to humans that I never dreamed of meeting and connecting with. These are the three influential reasons on why I travel. I also believe you will find great influence in my reasoning as well. Let’s take a closer look.

Opens my mind to new experiences

The joy that traveling brings is endless. You create memories that will last a lifetime. You will also step outside your comfort zone, I can almost guarantee it. The more you travel, the more your mind opens up. I know I may sound like a character from Doctor Strange, but it's the truth.

Since I started traveling, I'm doing things I never thought I would do. Horseback riding in foreign countries, swimming in dark caves, or riding a cable car 10,341 feet up a mountain in Colombia are just a few activities I never dreamed of doing. But look at me now. Even my appetite changed since I have been traveling. I use to only eat American food like hamburgers and pizza, but now I'll try just about anything.

Learn new cultures

Experiencing different cultures first hand will definitely change a person and make them more diverse. We live in one of the more diverse countries in the world, yet many of us are not very diverse individuals. Growing up in Louisiana was like binge watching the same season over and over again. I love Louisiana to death, but I didn't understand the true meaning of diversity until I moved to Austin and started traveling.

Diversity is also the key to creativity. As stated by Jeffrey Baumgartner, “Living in a new culture, learning new ways of doing things and, in short, diversifying your life makes you more creative.” Believe it or not, creativity is very important to the human life. Boosting your confidence or giving you new ways to express yourself are just a couple of ways on why creativity is so essential.

Connecting to humans

This is absolutely one of my favorite aspects of traveling. Connecting to humans across the globe is life changing. It provides growth and maturity. It changes the way you see the world. Connecting with a human you never met before who grew up completely different from you will turn you into a better person.

The best part about it is that the connection does not always produce the best outcome. That makes the experience even more valuable. Call me crazy, but you'll understand it once you experience it. For example, my friends and I got hustled out in Cuba. Were we upset? Yes. Was Cuba one of our best experiences yet? Yes! We gained so much insight into Cuba’s culture and learned so much from that experience.

So why do I travel so much?

By now, you should know the answer to that question. Traveling has evolved me and made me into the person I am today. I can only continue to elevate. There are so many more places to see and humans to connect with. The possibilities of growth are endless!


Bio: Brandon Boone is a digital marketer, blogger, creative, travel hacker, community organizer, donut lover, and a University of Louisiana-Monroe Graduate C’12. He is also the founder of the lifestyle brand, The Great Ones. Brandon strives to inspire millennials to become greater people through his website, community outreach, and service projects.

 

 

 

 

Lil Yachty: Teenage Emotions Album Review

by Joseph Bonney

 The King of the Teens has dropped his long awaited Teenage Emotions Album.  Lil Boat is known for making fun party tracks as well as the poster child for the new wave of mumble rap.  I tried my best to go into this album without a biased view.  Listening to this album is like taking a glimpse into Yachty’s soul.

The project opens up with an intro from an uncle of Yachty’s to welcome you to this album.  But after a while he comes in with the usual auto-tuned whaling he is known for.  The “DN freestyle” takes an unexpected turn into a rapid incoherent rap.  He doesn’t let rhymes dictate his thought process, it’s a burst of thoughts  spilling onto a song.  “Peek A Boo” is the first track that feels planned, if that makes sense.  It follows the traditional chorus, verse, chorus that you hear on the radio.  The “Blow my dick like a cello” line, which Yachty has addressed, as ridiculous as it sounds doesn’t take away too much considering the track is a euphemism for playing with female genitalia (though not one of Yachty’s people recognizing that a cello isn’t blown is quite disturbing).

The next stand out track of the album “All Around Me”, is something I can see none Yachty fans listening to.  It’s catchy, fun and not as absurd as his other tracks.  Kamaiyah and YG’s addition to the track also give the track direction and the radio flare we’re looking for.  The following four tracks center around his newfound fame at a young age:  “Say My Name” wants people to chant for him while in the next track Yachty asks about the lack of attention he gets.  After that, the next songs are about living life to the fullest, enjoying oneself, and being free. He dips into a dancehall vibe with “Better”, reminiscent of Drake’s recent sound.

“Running with a Ghost” is the song that hit me the strongest out of the whole album because it’s a generic pop rap track, which isn’t bad at all.  I’m not sure how receptive the masses will be to the tune, but this song has heavy potential to blow up.  Grace sultry vocals serenading the hook on a bubblegum trap beat with Yachty at the forefront is an algorithm for a hit.  Tracks like ”Lady in the Yellow” and “X Men” are straight to the point but they take different directions.  Lady in the Yellow is Yachty crooning about a woman he loves, while “X Men” is the the cliche money, cars, clothes, women track.  It’s a confident entertaining track.

The last two tracks are a decrescendo to this album.  “Made of Glass” discusses unrequited love and being seen through or non existent to his love one.  The outro is the closure of his world with the assistance of his mother, who lists how much she loves her son. A sweet touch.  It ties up the raw emotion and angst that Yachty feels, as if to say, all over the place.  But you’ve done a lot and everything will be okay.    

This album isn’t going to convert you into a Yachty fan.  This album is like Flo-Rida or Pitbull when they drop an album.  It has the radio songs that do what they’re suppose to do; generate a song that people will play at almost every club or house party.  But at the end of the day, most are not fiending for this album.  You won’t see facebook statuses from your friends claiming how excited or ‘fire’ the album is.  Which is fine.  This album represents a moment in time, a phase our society is at right now.  Boat will gain momentum off this album, but it will really take his future music to decide how to feel about him.  Otherwise don’t go into this album expecting to be swayed.  Yachty’s entire persona is the basis of this album, what you see is what you get.

 

Joseph Bonney is a writer, artist, hip-hop enthusiast, and gamer currently living in San Marcos,Texas.  A recent English graduate with an Art/Design minor, when he's not working, he's usually doing 1 of the 4, or eating.  You can find his Instagram page here.