#93: Evan Weissman
Evan Weissman already deserves the Colorado Creative designation as a member of the wildly creative Buntport Theater (the whole troupe was honored as such when they received a Westword MasterMind award back in 2005 as part of the inaugural class). But then, late last year, he came up with the darndest idea: a new way to get people talking to each other about civic issues.
Called Warm Cookies of the Revolution, and subtitled a "a civic health club," the concept combines milk and cookies, public discourse and silly, communal fun for adults -- writing letters, playing games, building a LEGO town -- in the space of an evening. The monthly event has unfolded at a variety of venues so far, but Weissman's ultimate dream is to find a permanent spot, and open a true civic health club where people can really talk. What's your ideal government? Is gun control anti-American? Is Facebook making us lonely?
Does that sound like a place where you'd like to hang out? Weissman is betting on it, which makes him creative in a way that maybe hasn't quite been invented yet. We asked him to take our Colorado Creative quiz, and following are his ideas about life and local arts and culture.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Evan Weissman: Charlie Chaplin, because he experimented with a new form and was able to present important issues with beauty and humor. It'd be less of a collaboration and more of me watching him and eating snacks or something...
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
The Coalition of Immokolee Workers. They are immigrant tomato pickers that have been the most creative and therefore successful movement for worker justice in the last decade or so. I also find Rebecca Solnit's writing and Sebastiao Salgado's photography inspiring.
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
I'm not a huge fan of irony in artwork, but I don't know if that's a trend nor if I would actually want to see it die!...so, brushed steel? Those squiggle lines make me dizzy.
What's your day job?
My day job has been as a theater-maker at Buntport, though this year, I've been transitioning to making Warm Cookies more of my day job. We'll see if that works out!
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
I'd spread it around to as many folks creatively working for uplift in the community, whether that be straight art-related or more social justice based work. We'd make some great change I'm sure, and you know we'd have fun doing it!
Money doesn't fix all things but it can help for sure. I truly appreciate the SCFD but I think if we inverted the way the funds were distributed (giving the bulk of it to smaller organizations and individual artists instead of the largest five institutions) we'd see more innovation, more community connection and ownership of the arts, economic activity and just better work. Additionally, I think the time, money and energy spent on training and preparing young folks for war at our state's military institutions could be better spent on training and preparing young folks for creative work. An army of artists with salaries and housing and health care, set to respond to problems in the state: Rad!
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Ravi Zupa is brilliant. Chris Weed's sculptures are so damn fun. Rick Griffith's aesthetic and philosophical wisdom are needed. Kagen Schaefer's woodwork is genius. And honestly, my pals at Buntport are continually inspiring, and I am always amazed by what they each do.
What is 2013 looking like for you?
I am so jazzed for 2013! I hope to open up the world's first civic health club where folks can come and have fun and engage in civic issues and not be bored and maybe munch on some good cookies together. I believe the creativity and supportive community we have in Denver makes this possible, and 2013 looks like it will be filled with wonder, curiosity, magic and, if I dare to sound even more cheesy, love. If nothing else good happens, I'm getting married to a badass lady!
Intrigued by Warm Cookies of the Revolution? The next one, at 6 p.m. Monday, February 25 at the McNichols Building, is billed as a Civic Stitch 'n Bitch. Participants are invited to bring something to do with their hands -- no, you don't have to knit -- and the ladies of Lowbrow will facilitate some easy crafts, while a brigade of facilitators spark discussions on a variety of topics. It's free, and cookies and milk are included; get all the details on the Facebook event page.
Throughout the year, we'll be turning the spotlight on 100 superstars in Denver's rich artistic community. Watch for the next installment on Show and Tell -- and go to the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
Who rocks YOUR world locally? Do you have a suggestion for a Colorado Creative? Leave it in the comments section below.
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