A major publication by Lois Weaver and Jen Harvie dedicated to the work and life of pioneering feminist performance maker Lois Weaver.
Lois Weaver is one of the most important feminist and lesbian performance makers of the 20th and 21st centuries. This is the first ever book about her work and her life. With pictures.
We are inviting YOU to contribute to the making of this book, to help us produce the best possible record of her life and work, featuring as many wonderful and often previously unpublished photographs as we can fit in... elegantly!
This is a book about the life and performance work of Lois Weaver.
After a rural Virginian childhood which included a fair amount of happy showing off, and teens and early twenties spent cutting her teeth in activism (at church), direct audience address (as a cheerleader) and professional performance in summer rep, Lois moved to New York in the late 1970s. Joining the legendary Spiderwoman Theater, she began seriously to develop her approaches to feminist performance, including the roots of her infamous alter ego Tammy WhyNot. Around 1980, with Peggy Shaw and Deb Margolin, Lois co-founded the performance company Split Britches and the performance venue the WOW Café, both of which would lead the way for generations of feminist and lesbian performance makers, audiences and critics. In the 1990s, Lois co-ran the London-based Gay Sweatshop Theatre Company and then joined the Drama Department at Queen Mary University of London. From there, she has been a leader in teaching and developing live art/performance art and has pioneered methods for engaging people in important public debate, for example at her Long Tables. Lois was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship Award in Drama and Performance Art in 2014 in recognition of her excellence.
Lois’s long and influential career in making theatre includes Split Britches’ wacky, politically committed, deconstructed semi-farces such as ‘Little Women: The Tragedy’ (1988) and the ‘Streetcar Named Desire’ re-mix ‘Belle Reprieve’, with legendary gay/drag performers Bloolips (1990). It incorporates duet work with Peggy Shaw, including their reflections on loss and urban gentrification in ‘Lost Lounge’ (2009). It encompasses solo work, not least as Tammy WhyNot, her failed-country-and-western-singer-turned-aspiring-lesbian-performance-artist. And it includes her work as a director and mentor.
Lois’s work has influenced theatre making, production, spectatorship and scholarship; activism; understandings of gender, femininity and sexuality; strategies of public engagement; ideas about aging, loss and love; and much more.
The Project: ‘The Only Way Home Is Through the Show: The Performance Work of Lois Weaver’ [working title]
This book will reflect on Lois’s use of performance personae such as Tammy; her explorations of the role of the femme; her methods of making performance, as a performer and director; and her strategies of leading and facilitating – in other words, of making stuff happen. It will also include some hidden treasures – revelations about performance work that has initially been made for small audiences. Contextualizing Lois’s work, the book will explore her lineages, legacies and practices in collaboration. And did we mention it will have pictures? Lots.
Its co-authors are Lois Weaver and Jen Harvie plus a host of other contributors. Its designer is David Caines, with images by Eva Weiss, Lori E. Seid, Christa Holka, Tom Brazil, Gordon Rainsford and Sheila Burnett, amongst others. ‘The Only Way Home Is Through the Show: The Performance Work of Lois Weaver’ [working title] will be published in September 2015 as part of the series Intellect Live, co-produced by the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) and Intellect; series editors are Dominic Johnson, Lois Keidan and CJ Mitchell.
This crowdfunding campaign offers you the opportunity to support this book project – and to receive credit for doing so, plus perks! For pledge perks, see the panel on the right.
What the funds are for
The funds will be used to enhance the book visually, allowing us to include many more photographs, to achieve the quality of production that Lois’s life and works deserve, and to create a beautiful object for her fans and admirers to cherish.
All backers will be credited in the book (unless you tell us you don’t want that).
Why support this project?
• Be a part of history! This is a unique book about Lois’s long and important career. Be a part of it.
• Be a part of Team Tammy and a Belle of the Ball! Supporters earn titles like these PLUS wonderful kitschy souvenirs of Tammy’s progress, extraordinary and rare archival material from Lois’s career and the chance to socialise with Lois/Tammy herselves!
• Help us make a better book! Co-publishers Intellect and LADA are financially supporting the book, but your contribution will help us produce an even better book, with higher production values and more images than would otherwise be possible. Thank you.
• Can I pledge in a different currency? Yes! Kickstarter will automatically convert your contribution from whatever currency.
• Can I make more than one pledge? Yes! Feel free.
What is Kickstarter and how does it work?
Kickstarter is a funding platform dedicated to making creative projects possible with direct support from the public.
• We set a funding goal of UK £10k (approximately US $17k, CDN $18.4k, or €12.6k).
• You, our supporters, make pledges, perhaps motivated by the title you’ll earn (such as Hot Peach or Spider Woman), or the rewards you’ll receive...
• If we reach our goal, your pledge will be processed by Kickstarter and we will complete and publish the book as planned, using the funds you’ve contributed to enhance the quality of our production and the number of images we can include.
• If we don’t reach our goal of at least UK £10k, you won’t be charged for your pledge. We will find other ways of publishing the book, but it will be neither as fulsome nor as wonderful visually as we are planning. Please help us!
• If we make more than the minimum UK £10k, we will use the funds for even more images, for marketing and for possible additional perks!
Who are we?
Lois Weaver (co-author and subject) is an extraordinary performance-maker, director, feminist activist, curator and resistant femme whose longer-than-40-year career spans New York, London and beyond. She is one of the very most important feminist and lesbian performance makers of the 20th and 21st centuries. If you want to know more, support this book! ... and see the web pages of Split Britches and the Drama Department at Queen Mary University of London.
Jen Harvie (co-author and editor) is a colleague and friend of Lois’s in Drama at Queen Mary University of London. Her recent writing about performance and politics includes ‘Fair Play – Art, Performance and Neoliberalism’ (2013), ‘Theatre & the City’ (2009) and ‘The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance’ (second edition 2014, co-author). She is co-editor of Palgrave Macmillan’s series Theatre& and of a recent issue of ‘Contemporary Theatre Review’ on ‘The Cultural Politics of London 2012’. For more information, see her QMUL web page.
David Caines (designer) is a visual artist and graphic designer based in London who collaborates regularly with the Live Art Development Agency.
Intellect Live is a series of publications on influential artists working at the edges of performance. Intellect Live is a collaboration between Intellect Books and the Live Art Development Agency. The series is characterized by lavishly illustrated and exquisitely designed books, created through close collaborations between artists and writers, each of which is the first substantial publication dedicated to an artist's work. Series editors are Dominic Johnson, Lois Keidan and CJ Mitchell. The series’ first two books are ‘Throwing the Body into the Fight: A Portrait of Raimund Hoghe’ edited by Mary Kate Connolly (2013) and ‘Pleading in the Blood: The Art and Performances of Ron Athey’ edited by Dominic Johnson (2013).
The Live Art Development Agency (LADA) offers resources, professional development initiatives, and projects and publishing for the support and development of Live Art artists, audiences and discourses in the UK and internationally. Based in London, LADA works strategically, in partnership and in consultation with artists and organisations in the cultural sector and is committed to creating the conditions in which diversity, experimentation and risk can thrive.
Risks and challenges
This book is underway and we plan to publish a version of it whether we secure the funds we’re aiming for or not. (That said, a version of the book without crowdfunding would be less high-quality and less fully illustrated than the exquisite and fulsome version we are working on.) There are few risks to this project: all the collaborators are experienced and have strong track records; many materials for the book already exist and simply need gathering and contextualizing; design for the book by David Caines is well underway; other resources are fully committed and already contributing to the book (for example, funding and support from Intellect and LADA); and Lois and Jen are prioritizing this project in the lead up to submission to the publishers in early 2015 (Jen is currently on research leave from QMUL).
Estimated delivery dates: Perks will be sent out (where applicable) when the book is published.
Crowdfunding period: 23 July – 4 September 2014.
Funding goal: UK £10,000.
- (43 days)