A snowy January afternoon, a small group of Rhubarb artists met in the Buddies cabaret. Working in pairs, they interviewed each other on a range of topics from their artistic practices, to their obsessions and rituals. There were some moments with plush animals too. Read-on…
Yovska is a 20,000-year-old shape shifting entity from the hollow earth. He is a self-proclaimed drag creature, blurring the lines of gender expression by creating monstrous entities inspired by the paranormal. Yovska is featured in the Art Party on Feb 21.
Can you speak about an artist that you see as a part of your lineage, that has shaped your thinking?
Leigh Bowery was a big influence in my art practice. The idea of the club kid, how he morphed the body in different ways. The political climate he made his work in is similar to the conservative atmosphere we are facing right now. Another artist I admire is Mariko Mori, more specifically her performance work where she would wear costumes of deities or aliens to create discussions about cultural and social problems during her time.
Is there a moment in time/history that you are creatively preoccupied with?
I’m always pre-occupied with the Paranormal, UFO history and the timeline of Cryptid sightings. I want to look and embody these creatures as my drag and gender expression. It is an exploration culturally, physically, mentally, in the way another drag performer would express and explore themselves through. Growing up I felt like an outcast and felt othered.
What risks do you take in performance practice?
Mobility seems to be an issue I face and the balance of mobility with the over the top outfits I like to wear. I often find how to try and make sure I can satisfy my ideas without sacrificing another aspect of function. I always joke that it’s not a Yovska outfit if I’m not immobilized.
Do you have any personal rituals or processes of self-car that you engage in, in order to make publicly sharing your work more possible?
In terms of personal rituals I like to play certain music on loop to get myself in the head space to become the character. For example, during my Titanic performance, I listened to Celine Dion on repeat to feel the fantasy of what I was doing. Video games as well help to give inspiration and also help to put me into a different realm. I guess for me self-care is about separating myself from my reality.
Monica & Patrick
Monica Garrido is part of Boiband the Boyband, performing at Queer Church Cabaret (Feb 18) and Patrick Salvani is a creator/performer in Scary Stories People of Colour Tell in the Dark (Week One in the Cabaret).
Monica: What risks do you invite audiences to take?
Patrick: I want the audience to feel like they are part of the story, and to have fun!
Monica: Was there a defining moment in your performance practice when things shifted for you?
Patrick: Rhubarb Festival 2017. I felt the foundation of my artistic practice was community based, it’s about making people feel connected to one another. Like The Drag Musical Program. So, with Sarap [pictured below] at Rhubarb 2017 I was able to bring that to the theatre while developing my own voice. It allowed me to work in a team, and discover what made me, me.
Monica: Do you have any personal rituals or processes of self-care that you engage in, in order to make publicly sharing your work more possible?
Patrick: I like eating and cooking. Cooking adobo, my people’s national dish. I find cooking to be grounding and sharing food to be familial, like a queer family. So for our rehearsal, we start by eating food for the first hour, reflect on our week, what we want to do for rehearsal and gossip.
Monica: What shows do you wanna see this year at Rhubarb?
Patrick: Queer Church Cabaret, Art Party (especially R. Flex!), Eat Me, and Toxic People
Patrick: Do you have any personal rituals or process of self-care that you engage in order to make publicly sharing your work more possible?
Monica: I pray before every show, to thank Jesus that I’m here and I get to tell stories. I also pray to have a moment to realize where I am and to tell myself I’m okay.
Patrick: What do people never ask you about your work, that you wish they did?
Monica: I wish people asked less, and talked more – like sharing. As a performer who does a lot of personal work, sometimes the questions after the show can get really personal, so I wish we could have a conversation after and I can ask the audience questions.
Patrick: What other artist/shows in the festival are you excited to see?
Monica: EVERYTHING. I love this festival because everything is always a surprise, I will be here everyday (also cause I work here some days). But this festival is amazing. I want to see Eat Me, Scary Stories People of Colour Tell in the Dark, FRIDA, Art Party and mientras tanto that is written by Sofia Rodriguez and Liz Der that talks about interracial dating and I also love them so I am excited.
Patrick: What risks do you take in your performance practice?
Monica: I talk a lot of my own personal life, and that always feels like a risk: to give people access to your life.
Patrick: Was there a defining moment in your performance practice things shifted for you?
Monica: It was at Rhubarb I think in 2016 when I was in the Emerging Creators Unit and I got to perform my solo show The Cunning Linguist. I got the chance to work with Beatriz Pizano and she changed my life and that show helped me see what art I wanted to do, and that my story matters. That comedy and sadness can be best friends, and that there is always someone in the audience that will find themselves at home when they hear this stories.