Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 9, 2011.

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A staged song cycle for 7 musicians & 1 actress written by Carla Kihlstedt & Rafael Oses, inspired by Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings.

HELP FEED THE MONSTERS!

Our endlessly creative imaginations make it bemusing, amusing and amazing to be human. Every culture that has ever existed has created elaborate menageries of imaginary creatures, all of which have one important role: to tell us about ourselves.

Necessary Monsters is a staged song cycle after Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings. I wrote it with poet Rafael Osés for seven musicians and an actress. 

(Photo by Piotr Redlinski from the 2009 work-in-progress performance of Necessary Monsters at the Chicago MCA.)
Necessary Monsters
follows a young writer as she tries in vain to corral the imaginary beings that parade out of her mind in the course of a sleepless night. In this journey, she encounters many beasts - some meddlesome, some winsome, some loathesome - and discovers that she is indeed the sum of their parts.

(Photo by Piotr Redlinski from the 2009 work-in-progress performance of Necessary Monsters at the Chicago MCA.)

Necessary Monsters is the most fully-realized and elaborate piece I’ve created to date. It has gone through a kind of distillation process, the way a good friendship does, that only happens with time. In this next chapter, we’ve recast, retooled, and redirected. The cast, the crew and the design team include some of my very favorite musicians and artists, all of whom have brought incredible ideas and energy to the piece. It is finally becoming the beast it was meant to be. We’re performing it in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on July 29th and 30th of this year.

(Watch this interview with Carla about the upcoming production of Necessary Monsters.)

While we’re thrilled at the opportunity to bring Monsters to such a beautiful hall, our performance fee doesn’t begin to cover all of the expenses associated with developing the piece, and we’re going to rehearse the pants off of these monsters in the weeks before the performance! That’s where you come in. 

The packages we've put together are reflections of the creatures in the show and beyond, filled with rare music and artwork created by all the talented individuals in the Necessary Monsters cast.

Your donation will:

• Pay the musicians and artists (Michael Mellender & Matthias Bossi of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Rob Reich of Tin Hat, Freddie Price, Theresa Wong, Dina Macabee, Denmo Ibrahim for the long hours of rehearsal
• Feed them when their blood sugar plummets in hour 6 of a long rehearsal
• Purchase plane tickets so that we might all be in the same place for said rehearsals
• Allow us to print beautiful Necessary Monsters Field Guides containing the libretto for the show, as well as print posters, postcards, and T-shirts to get the word out
• Allow us to document the performances (still photography and video) so that Necessary Monsters can have a life beyond these performances.

And if we are lucky enough to overshoot our goal, your donation will:
• Pay for the studio recording of the Necessary Monsters song cycle and help us print more CDs!

Thank you so much for your curiosity and for your support. We could not make this happen without you.

Gratefully Yours,

Carla Kihlstedt & the Necessary Monsters team.

www.imaginarybeingsproject.com
www.carlakihlstedt.com

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    The LAMED WUFNIKS are the just men and women of the Earth. They are humble, honest and true. In this package, you get Carla's most sincere, heartfelt and everlasting gratitude!

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    THE GILLYGALLOO is a colorful, enterprising bird who lays square eggs so they won't roll downhill. In its package you get: A high-quality download of the Necessary Monsters album when it's finished (N.M. download... Every package above $10 gets this reward.)

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    AN ANIMAL DREAMED BY C. S. LEWIS is a great song dog who sings in the woods just for the joy of singing. In her package, you get: A download of Carla Kihlstedt & Matthias Bossi's recent album, Still You Lay Dreaming: Tales for the Stage, II + A subscription to Rabbit Rabbit Radio: Carla Kihlstedt & Matthias Bossi's upcoming monthly musical offering (Every package above $25 gets this reward.) + N.M. download.

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    ODRADEK is a dust-bunny made of odds and ends from our lives. In its package, you get: Your very own Odradek - a beautiful bag of sparkly resin bits, handmade buttons, colorful ribbon, printed fabric shapes, and mysterious tidbits from the workshop of our costumer, Alice Wu, of the clothing design company Feral Childe + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio

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    HOCHIGAN is suspicious of speech, and is played by the wizard of words, Matthias Bossi. In his package, you get: Matthias's lo-fi, hi-content solo CD, The Last Show on Earth + A download of Matthias's beautiful unreleased solo piano album "Exploration Of Delusions - Piano Meditations" + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio

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    THE SQUONK is the embodiment of sorrow, played by the intelligent, intuitive Theresa Wong. In her package, you get: The Unlearning - a CD of duets for singing cellist (Theresa) & singing violinist (Carla), out soon on Tzadik + Theresa's handmade CD Bolivar Zoar + A download of an unreleased 2 Foot Yard song, Museum of Tears + A handmade string of paper tears - your own Squonk talisman! + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio

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    THE MENEHUNE is a helpful night spirit of the Hawaiian Islands, in the habit of doing the housework of kind and pleasant families whilst they sleep. The highlight of this package is an original 4"x5" artistic rendering of an imaginary being collaboratively created by Carla Kihlstedt & Rafael Osés, as well as a Necessary Monsters tshirt (girls and guys styles available in all sizes) + NM download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio

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    THE ONE-EYED BEING is the culmination of culture, played by the inimitable Freddi Price. In his package, you get: a Rube Waddell CD (this is Freddi's kick*ss band) + Lord Loves a Working Man CD (another of his kick*ss bands) + 2 passes to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts galleries (worth 4 admissions each) + A hard copy of the Necessary Monsters CD (NM CD) when it's finished (every package over $100 gets this reward)+ N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio

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    THE AGLOOLIK is a benevolent spirit in Inuit mythology. It lived under the ice and helped hunters and fishermen. In this package, you get an original fabric collage of one of the beings in Necessary Monsters by our graphic designer Anna Singer, a Necessary Monsters T-shirt featuring Anna's design (boy & girl styles available in all sizes), an original 4"x5" artistic rendering of an imaginary being created by Carla Kihlstedt & Rafael Osés + a Necessary Monsters 11 x 17 poster + the NM Download.

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    NECESSARY MONSTERS - Get the Monsters experience in one complete package. You get: 2 tickets to the performance of Necessary Monsters at YBCA on July 29th or 30th, 2011 + a copy of the Necessary Mosnters CD + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio

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    7 backers Limited (3 left of 10)

    The HYDRA is a many-headed water serpent. In her package, you get a set of 6 signed cds from Carla's various bands/projects (Causing a Tiger, 2 Foot Yard, Ravish, Tin Hat, Minamo and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) + A signed copy of cast member Rob Reich's solo accordion CD, The Balancing Act + A signed copy of cast member Dina Maccabee's CD, Who Do You Suppose You Are? + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio + N.M. CD

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    11 backers Limited (3 left of 14)

    INK MONKEY, played by Michael Mellender, is a tiny monkey who sits on your desk, jealously watching you (ab)use his precious ink. In his package, you get: A gorgeous limited edition copy of the Necessary Monsters Field Guide (N.M. Field Guide). This bound book contains the Necessary Monsters libretto & artwork and is signed by Carla Kihlstedt, Rafael Oses & designer Anna Singer + A limited edition 11"x15" hand-pulled print by artist Daniel Duford/Cumbersome Multiples depicting one of the beings in Necessary Monsters + Michael's solo CD, The Lower Animals + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio + N.M. CD

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    THE DOUBLE is the you that you can never meet on this ferris wheel of life. In his/her package, you get: Your outgoing voicemail message recorded by SGM and NM member Matthias Bossi and his commanding radio voice! Provide your own script, or let him write his own! + An original cloth collage of The Double by Necessary Monsters designer Anna Singer + Rob Reich's signed circus music CD: Circus Bella All-Star Band + 2 tickets to Necessary Monsters on 7/29/11 at YBCA in San Francisco + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio + N.M. CD + N.M. Field Guide

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    The CULTURE VULTURE is one who is "excessively interested in the Arts." In this package, you get: 2 tickets to each of 3 performances of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' Bay Area Now 6 Festival: Hafez & ETHEL, Big Art Group, & Marc Bamuthi Joseph + 2 passes for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts galleries, good for 4 admissions each + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio + N.M. CD + N.M. Field Guide

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    The CHIMERA is a monstrous fire-breathing female creature with the body of a lioness, a tail ending in a snake's head, and the head of a goat arising on her back... in other words, a foolish fantasy. In her package, you get: A private skype concert wherever you like by Carla Kihlstedt & Matthias Bossi's in their duo, Now You + A private skype conversation/interview with Carla + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio + N.M. CD + N.M. Field Guide

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    3 backers Limited (1 left of 4)

    THE INK JUNKIE is the Ink Monkey gone too far! In his/her package, you get glorious inky things: An original one-of-a-kind drawing of an imaginary being by Carla Kihlstedt + A beautiful set of 9 original, hand-pulled 11"x15" Necessary Monsters prints by artist Daniel Duford/Cumbersome Multiples + A bound copy of The Night Pharaoh, an epic poem by Necessary Monsters librettist Rafael Osés (limited edition of 100, includes woodcuts by Cumbersome Multiples, an audio recording of Oses reading poem & letterpress/embossed jacket.) + A booklet of unpublished works by Denmo Ibrahim, the actress and writer in Necessary Monsters + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio + N.M. CD + N.M. Field Guide

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    THE NORNS are powerful maiden giantesses who rule our destinies. In their package, you get: 2 tickets to Necessary Monsters on 7/29 or 7/30 at YBCA in San Francisco + 1 night at a 4-star Hotel in San Francisco on 7/29 or 7/30 + 2 backstage passes to Necessary Monsters + Invitation to Necessary Monsters cast picnic on 7/31 in Oakland, CA + a beautiful set of 9 original, hand-pulled 11"x15" Necessary Monsters prints by artist Daniel Duford/Cumbersome Multiples + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio + N.M. CD + N.M. Field Guide

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    QUETZALCOATL is a feathered serpent, god of the morning star, inventor of books and the calendar, giver of corn, symbol of vegetational renewal, patron deity of the urban center, god of culture and civilization, etc, etc, etc. In this package, you get: A private Now You concert (Carla Kihlstedt & Matthias Bossi) anywhere you are (some travel restrictions may apply) + An executive producer credit on the Necessary Monsters album + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio + N.M. CD + N.M. Field Guide

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    ALKONOST is half woman, half bird, with a song so beautiful, those who hear it want nothing more ever again. In her package, you get: A new song written & recorded by Carla Kihlstedt, commissioned in your name about an imaginary being of your choosing, or imagining. You are the executive producer & can work w/ her to create the characteristics of the song. + a bound and signed copy of the Necessary Monsters score + N.M. download + Rabbit Rabbit Radio + N.M. CD + N.M. Field Guide

Funding period

- (30 days)