Making Art in 2017: HoneyTree EvilEye aka Timaree Schmit on A List of Common Misconceptions
Name: HoneyTree EvilEye aka Timaree Schmit
Show in 2017 Festival: A List of Common Misconceptions
Role: Performer, Co-Producer
FringeArts: Tell us a bit about your show.
Timaree Schmit: We’re tackling inaccuracies about sexuality, but rather than being a boring lecture, we’re utilizing burlesque, drag, and live music, all in the silly tone of a cheeseball after-school special. My PhD is in sexuality education so I spend a lot of the day trying to talk to folks about the realities of sex, an area that is as rife for misinformation as any. Meanwhile, my nights are spent as a burlesque performer and I get to witness the education and activism potential of performance art.
SEXx Interactive is a sex-positive collective that seeks to build community, educate and empower and they were a natural fit for this project. Polyglamorous Productions is a collective of artists who all inject a lot of sexuality messages into their performances anyway. This is the synthesis of what we’re about.
There are so many common misconceptions about sexuality, ranging from the historical (chastity belts weren’t actually a thing in the middle ages, Mary Magdalene wasn’t a sex worker) to the random (bears aren’t actually drawn to your menstruation), to the socialization we get from porn and commercialized sexuality. We get wrong intel from media, peers, church, government and more and there are important reasons that this misinformation is disseminated.
FA: How have your interests in or approach to art making changed in the last year?
TS: I think seeing the horrific changes to the political climate make it more important than ever to speak out for both accurate information and sexual freedom. Sexuality is the core of personal liberty, in my opinion. All authoritarian regimes specifically target sexuality as a means of social control. If someone can tell you what to do with your own body, whom you can love, what you’re allowed to do in bed by yourself, there is literally nothing they can’t control. And it doesn’t have to be a gun to your head or the threat of exile, it can be shaming messages. We see this in the current administration: how bullying and empowering bigots creates fear and causes some people to shrink and hide away. We may previously have had the luxury to imagine LGBT rights are progressing, women’s rights are established, etc, but now we see none of that is safe.
FA: Tell us about an instance from 2017 where your interaction with art provided some much needed solace or refuge from outside troubles.
Several of the members of Polyglamorous Productions take part in a monthly show called Agitated! It’s an all-politics variety show that has really taken off in the Gayborhood. At first we didn’t know if burlesque and drag audiences would want to mix entertainment and serious matters—there was an expectation that we had to keep things simple for bar arts. But audiences have really proven that they can think and drink at the same time and there is a huge call for these pared-down, working class types of performance to take on political issues. We have drag about Black Lives Matter, sideshows about the way vets are abandoned, burlesque about deforestation, all kinds of things. It has given us as artists a really big boost. We not only get to push our art forms, but folks on both sides of the stage get catharsis and a shared sense of community. We realize we’re not alone and it’s not hopeless, because there are so many of us resisting.
A List of Common Misconceptions
SEXx Interactive & Polyglamorous Productions
$15 / 90 minutes
Sept 13, 15, 17 @ Adobe Cafe, 1919 East Passyunk Avenue