On Oct. 2, The Nothing Without A Company Theater and The Living Canvas presented "Express Yourself," a gala fundraiser and celebration at The Crystal Ballroom in downtown Evanston.
The event featured spoken word, live music, a fashion show, acrobatics, dance and performance art, and was aimed at raising funds for the production of [Trans]formation, a multi-disciplinary devised presentation with the focus on "Exploring the Naked Truth of Gender Identity."
[Trans]formation is a show rooted in submissions from trans individuals from throughout the country and then adapted and work shopped into script form for theatrical presentation. The show is also the first collaboration with The Living Canvas, a company that specializes in projecting images on the naked body to create a living canvas.
One of the goals of the show is to reveal the expressive power and diversity of the human form under evocative imagery to reveal, rather than conceal, every bodys beautiful possibility. The show is devised by Ronen Kohn, Darling Squire, Avi Roque, Gaby Labotka and Kevin Sparrow, and is directed by Labotka.
Express Yourself got off to an adventurous start as a short video on the creation of [Trans]formation was presented as guests settled into there seats. With Emcees Ryan Tang and Dirty Devlin providing banter, the show alternated between a varied collection of performances and fashion show that showcased trans diversity with well received work from designers Whitney Masters, Olivia Nicole, Darling Squires and Hannah Maxwell. Artists who participated in the performance segments included Hannah II-Epstein, Erick Strebig, Juan Zepeda and Darling Squire, among others.
The event also included a raffle and silent auction with gifts provided from The Joffrey Ballet, The Living Canvas, artist Marshall Svendsen, Crystal Vodka, The Girl and the Goat Restaurant, Lynfred Winery and Northlight Theater.
Guests were greeted throughout the evening by Nothing Without a Company artistic director Anna Rose and her wife, II-Epstein, as well as the other board members, including Michael Shaw, Alexia Ward, and Michael Stein as well as the artistic director of The Living Canvas, Paul Guither.
[Trans]formation will run Nov. 17-Dec. 17 at Collaboration Studios located in The Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave.. For more information and tickets for the show, go to NothingWithoutACompany.org .