This time last year wasn’t what I would describe as the “best” period in my life. I had an estranged husband, and a puppy that seemed to take a shit every 5 seconds – plus, I was still working for a sadist at that point.
[This is Lillian. The one in the middle. The other person that is not 95 years old is Jeso.]
Then cakeface took off a week from all our New York troubles, and we went to Tampa for a week of performances, setting work on students, teaching master classes, and hanging with Joan n’ Chet (and Lillian). Uh, we also pulled like 18 hour days and had photo shoots at 3AM, which was the logical time to do shit like that, because the rest of the day we were running. AS was driving the cakebus (a huge-o GMC SUV), we did clean sweeps of Publix, and I was so much of a personal assistant that I actually told the woman working the St. Pete Times desk at the mall that I was in fact, the personal assistant to the founder of cakeface. cakeface was in a listing for our show at HCC, and I went into the mall to pick up a copy when AS couldn’t find parking. The woman looked at this picture which was next to the article and looked at me quizzically. “Yeah, that’s me,” I said.
Jada: the choreographer is from Tampa, she graduated from USF and now she lives in New York.
Joan: I know, she’s my daughter.]
Anyway, it was a good time to be away. It was uplifting in a way I didn’t know was possible, in a way that I assumed only religious people could be uplifted. I was so incredibly inspired by these really amazing students. I was in so much turmoil when I was in college, I don’t think there was ever a time where I actually looked around at my classmates and really thought about who we were, or the really awesome things we were thinking up, or how much pizzazz we actually had. The Hillsborough Community College students… they were just… WOW… they were so amazing. We created an installation with them, the basis was that they were going to work the lobby during intermission and do things to audience members to make them uncomfortable. It took a lot of serious energy to focus on the task at hand, and not be silly about it. Had anyone asked me to do that at 20 years old I would have been an asshole about it.
These kids, they were not assholes. They also performed in the last section of “vice. (with mary kate)”, the cakeface piece we had brought to HCC to perform. The piece is generally about badassedness (you can read the whole piece description here) and the things we do to make ourselves feel badass. The last little bit of the show includes an improv, led by Jeso for the most part. She rocks out, and AS and I dance along at some points. Anyway, it was cool when the three of us did it in shows prior to our Tampa tour. But it was fucking EPIC when it was with 25 students on stage with us. I said, epic.
What was the moral of the story about the week in Tampa? Well, that sometimes when life is super shitty, and can be super unshitty in other ways. That week I cared more about being inspired by kids that really love what they’re doing than anything else. It seems wrong to say it was “just that week” but you know how it is, you get caught up in your own shit and don’t take time to self reflect and step outside yourself. HCC kids stole my [candy] hearts. I love them, and the way that they memorized lines from “vice” and inserted them into various conversations.
Also, they baked us cupcakes. Red velvet. From scratch. YEOW YEOW YEOW! I think the love was mutual. And so, HCC, if you’re reading. Thank you, and we love you, and we’d like to come back and eat some fish tacos at Mema’s with you again (and again) and again.