‘Ultraviolet freakshow’ lights up Majestic
By Phreddy Wischusen
The Michigan Citizen
Although the winter solstice marks the day of the year with the least amount of sunlight, many ancient cultures celebrate the day as the return of the light —every day post-solstice grows incrementally brighter. A troupe of Detroit musicians, artists, circus performers and organizers will bring the rekindling perspective of the solstice to Detroit on Dec. 20. The event, Cirque du Soulstice, will be driven by electronic dance music, but will encompass much more. Cirque du Soulstice is part of an event series, branded Cirque du Womp, created by friends Scott Sutterfield (a visual artist), Grant Jackson (a musician) and Angela Palaian (a promoter/organizer) in 2008.
“It all actually began in 2009 at the Detroit Leland hotel in their tiny 200-person basement bar under the name ‘Detroit Dubstep,’” Palaian told the Michigan Citizen. “That first party the walls were sweating and the kids were just oozing out of the room and overflowing into the street.” The success of their first event encouraged the budding promoters to expand.
“Our event has evolved from a disorganized mess of strangeness into a full blown ultraviolet freakshow production.” The Cirque du Soulstice comes after year-long Cirque du Womp hiatus, during which Palaian traveled to the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada and spent seven months working in Bali, Indonesia. “I was growing and changing and evolving, but Cirque du Womp remained in my heart. The travels and lessons that unfolded were penetrating all along the way.”
Palaian describes the Cirque du Soulstice as “an intergalactic fusion of community connection, radical self expression, counterculture enthusiasts, local craft vendors, and forward thinking electronic music.” But, she cautions, “Words can only do so much. If you really want to get it, you’ll just have to join us.”
“We want our event to support the phenomenal talent we have right here in Detroit,” says Palaian regarding the event’s bill of all-local performers and participants. The evening’s music will consist of performances by ChrisB., K@dog, Disciple and TerniduP. In addition, there will be a troupe of circus performers, interpretive dance, “standup hip hop” and spoken word slam. Stephen Kruse, Bobby Kruse, Mary Maz and Brian Gagnon will be live painting through out the night, while Neural Patterns Deco and Cirque du Womp will create what promises to be an astounding ultraviolet (blacklight) neon-colored installation. Numerous artisan jewelers and fashionistas will be selling their creations.
Behind the tripped-out lights, the Cirque team does have a desire to use their work to incarnate something socially beneficial, to have a positive impact by connecting people in an age of increasing isolation. “We never forget why we are part of all this. I do attribute some of these capacities to each of us kind of falling into our own spiritual journeys throughout these past couple years. It has been so amazing to see and experience each of my dear friends grow and expand and evolve – both personally and artistically.” Guests who bring donations to the Burners without Borders Detroit Homeless Project, such as hand-warmers, socks or gloves, will receive $5 off Cirque du Soulstice admission at the door.
Palaian concludes: “We want our parties to serve as the portal, as a change agent, as a transformative turning point for other people’s bliss, excitement, inspiration and opening up to new perspectives and ideas.”
Cirque du Soulstice takes place at the Majestic Theater (4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit) on Dec. 20, beginning at 9 p.m. For more information on the event visit: www.facebook.com/events/753006641379879