Moon Cleavage Celebrates Mansfield’s Female Artists

You know that one lifelong friend who encourages you to stay in touch with your primal, wild self? The one who’s uninhibited and rebellious and reminds you not to take yourself too seriously?

32222232_10155754336392830_3402736759933501440_n

For me, that friend is JP. She lives in the woods near Zanesville and mows her lawn topless. She rides motorcycles, eats organic and thumbs her nose at society’s rules.

Sometimes at random, JP will text me and say, “Let’s go outside tonight and scream as loud as we can at the moon.”

We text back and forth about Mother Moona. We send photos of moonlit shadows and wild notions. And all the ills we want to fling side-armed into the night.

So when Aurelio Diaz asked if I wanted to be involved in his inaugural Moon Cleavage event to showcase local female artists, of course I thought of those texts with JP.

I gathered my Mother Moona strength, picked a few provocative poems and agreed to participate.

Moon Cleavage I Screams at the Moon

What did I expect of Moon Cleavage? I knew I’d recognize a few familiar faces. I figured I’d be heard by a respectful crowd. And I looked forward to being inspired by other local artists.

MoonCleavage-21 (1)

Jai Merina at Moon Cleavage. Photo by Tracey Graziani.

But what I found was a radical, talented lineup of artists and supporters embracing each other’s raw brilliance, reveling in each other’s openness and welcoming each other as long lost friends.

Five musical acts, five spoken word acts and five photographers gathered at La Luna for that first Moon Cleavage, plus the beautiful crowd of friendly faces, and it felt like we were all there somehow as a group to “scream as loud as we can at the moon.”

A few of the Moon Cleavage acts had never performed live in front of a crowd before. Others only had once or twice. Most of us were nervous, but we each rode the force of the performer before us and we each left the stage to warm embraces, requests to hear more and genuine questions about specific aspects of our art.

From Cindy Fowler’s favorite folk artists and Kathy Goodwin’s rhythmic recollections to Jai Merina’s forceful voice and Jillian Caudill’s heartbreaking lyrics, I felt a lunar connection to everyone who came and went from the stage. The night started with Ireland’s original music and ended with Mansfield’s new female funk band The Rust Pelts. Llalan Fowler and Rico Ché rounded out the lineup.

IMG_0465

Photos by Tracey Graziani from Moon Cleavage I are displayed for Moon Cleavage II.

Moon Cleavage II Says Hello to Heaven

Where Moon Cleavage felt radical and empowering, Moon Cleavage II felt radiant and familial. Five of the acts from the first show returned and the same supportive lunar vibe permeated the night.

Moon Cleavage II took place the Friday before mother’s day and included an essay by Cindy Fowler about motherhood and a list of advice to young women everywhere from Llalan Fowler. This excerpt from Llalan’s reading is a fitting summary of the Moon Cleavage vibe:

When you’ve been with your love for a long time, do not bemoan the routine, the normalcy, the familiarity. Instead revel in this. Revel in being the one person who knows them that well. The only person that loves them that hard. Revel in your partnership and the way you take on the world as a team, and the new reality you’ve created together.

When you’ve been single a long time, revel in that, too. Your individuality. The concentrated, pure, singular version of you. Be the you you’ve always wanted to be.

Eat as much as you want to.

Know that when something bad happens, it’s okay to go a little wild.

Maintain your friendships as carefully as your romantic relationships. You form an invisible web around each other so when any one friend slips there is always something to catch them. And they will help you go a little wild, if you need it.

Jennifer Hurst opened Moon Cleavage II with writings about radical bravery, and the artists who followed demonstrated it. Jillian Caudill sang about heartache and longing. Joan the Wad echoed originality and Kathy Goodwin reminded us all how lucky we are. Maggie Allred, Sairah Fields and Little Goat completed the lineup with almost every artist thanking Aurelio and commenting on the support and intimacy of the event.

Photographs by Shay Harris and Tracey Graziani from Moon Cleavage I were displayed throughout the room to tie the two events together.

To conclude the evening, Jai Merina proved why she was born to sing with a cover of Chris Cornell’s “Say Hello to Heaven.” And Moon Cleavage II felt again like a small slice of Mother Moona’s heaven.

How to Celebrate Female Artists

MoonCleavage-54

Kate Westfall of the Rust Pelts at Moon Cleavage. Photo by Tracey Graziani.

I started this post with the thought that I might write a list of steps for creating an event that honors and embraces local female artists. It’s likely Aurelio could come up with that complete list, but after jotting down my thoughts on the two events, all I can think of is this:

Step 1 for celebrating female artists:
Invite a talented group of female singers, writers and photographers, and give them a stage.

That’s it. They will rock the rest.

And they did.

Naturally.

Advertisements

Jimmy Warner Band Headlines Final Friday Concert Tonight

JimmyWarnerBand.jpg

No stranger to the Brickyard, the Jimmy Warner Band returns tonight to headline June’s Final Friday event in Mansfield. Last year, Warner roamed the brickyard with a Go Pro camera attached to his guitar while his band continued to jam in the background. Video courtesy of Downtown Mansfield, Inc. is below.

Even if he doesn’t pull off a similar stunt this year, the band’s bluesy rock will be memorable and fun. Learn more about their sound and their history in this Mid Ohio Rock Show interview with Tommy Barnes, also recorded last year in the Brickyard.

Add some flavor to your summer with Gringo Stew in the brickyard

Blending Tex mex, swing and southern rock, Gringo Stew mixes of all types of bar room and honky tonk music for northern Ohio crowds. Their bio includes a dash of this and a little of that – plus experience playing around Boston, Nashville, Austin and other cities of musical renown.

You can hear them on June 30 at Mansfield’s final Friday show in the brickyard, or check them out in the video below.

Self-harmony artist Ricky Mitchell to sing solo at June’s Final Friday in the Brickyard

I watch a show called Orphan Black on BBC America in which Tatiana Maslany plays at least 10 different characters, all of whom are clones of the main character named Sarah. There’s Beth, Allison, Cosima, Helena and many others.  Despite each characters’ unique looks and personality traits, Maslany convincingly plays them all and sometimes even shares scenes with herself.

WeAreOne3

Tatiana Maslany as Sarah, Allison, Helena and Cosima

The acting is so realistic that when I watch interviews with the cast of Orphan Black, I often – for just a second – think, “I wonder why they didn’t include the actor who plays Cosima in this interview. Or Allison.” But she’s sitting right there. It’s Maslany. They’re all Maslany.

Where am I going with this Orphan Black story? And why am I writing about it here on this local culture blog?

After spending an hour on Ricky Mitchell’s YouTube channel, I imagine I’ll have a similar split-second moment of confusion when I see him on stage at June’s Final Friday Brickyard concert in Downtown Mansfield.

Mitchell makes these one-man, self-harmony cover song videos where he self-records every individual track of well-known songs from bands like Pink Floyd, Coldplay and Blue Oyster Cult. Then he combines all the tracks, and the song sounds just like the original.

In the videos, you see split screen clips of Mitchell singing, playing the drums, playing the bass, playing the guitar, and then another guitar, and so on until you end up with as many as a dozen Mitchells on the screen all playing individual instruments and filling out the full sound of the song.

So when I see him on stage, don’t be surprised if – for just a second – I say, “Where’s the Mitchell who plays bass? Or where’s the Mitchell who sings harmony?”

You’ll look at me like I’m crazy and I’ll remember: That’s right. It’s Mitchell.  They’re all Mitchell.

Watch what I mean in the video below, and come down to the Brickyard in June to see (the one and only) Ricky Mitchell play live.

Monica Robins and the Ninja Cowboys to Close May’s Final Friday at the Brickyard

May’s final Friday concert lineup offers plenty to love for fans of folk, rock and country music. But there’s also a special draw for fans of WKYC news out of Cleveland. The closing act, Ninja Cowboys is led by Monica Robins, an Emmy award winning broadcast journalist for the NBC affiliate out of Cleveland.

You’ve likely seen her covering local and national news for years, and now you can see Robins on stage singing classic tunes in downtown Mansfield.

With Ninja Cowboys, Robins is accompanied by Sid Solomon on guitar,  Jim Bacha on bass, Jim McShane on keys, and Deke Kumler on the drums. The group is known for rocking venues around the Cleveland area all year long.

Watch a sneak peak of the band below and plan to come for the party in May.

Crowd pleaser Acoustic Edge to play May’s Final Friday in the brickyard

AcousticEdgeIf you’re a fan of classic country, roots rock or strong male/female harmonies, you don’t want to miss Acoustic Edge at May’s Final Friday concert in downtown Mansfield.

Led by the vocal harmonies of Heidi Ball and Steve Baxter, this well-rounded band can cover everything from Johny Cash and June Carter to Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson. Mitchell Ball plays lead guitar along with Eric Frisch on drums and Baxter on the upright bass.

Fan favorites sung by Acoustic Edge include, Jackson, Mama’s Broken Heart, Seen it in Color and You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.

But you’ll really be blown away by their originals, including Gypsy Soul and Barstool, both of which are available on an upcoming CD to be released from the band. If you listen to a preview of Gypsy Soul below, you can learn the words and sing along in May.

Singer/songwriter Kelly Vaughn to play May’s Final Friday in the brickyard

16904886_1281767018573796_7185840206793081461_o

Who’s ready for summer weather and outdoor music in the brickyard downtown? To help put you in the mood for Final Fridays and to highlight more music in our featured artist Friday series, we’ll be introducing you to some of the artists who’ll be playing at downtown Mansfield’s Final Friday music events.

Kelly Vaughn, a singer/songwriter from Columbus is the first artist in the Final Friday lineup. She sings originals and cover songs, and plays guitar. She’s been kicking off the downtown summer music series for the past four years.

To preview Kelly’s smooth and soulful sound watch the video below, follow her on Facebook or check out her Website. See you in the brickyard soon!