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Since the fall of 2017, I have been cultivating a project called “Going For It: an experimental/amateur talent show.” As an ongoing participatory performance, Going For It serves as an exercise in bravery and community care. It is space to play the one song you know on guitar, to try the stand up act you've always wanted to perform, to lead a group in song for the first time, to draw live caricatures because, for some reason, you've always wanted to. Performance art? Untangling knots? Consensual/conceptual group participation? Who's to say! At Going For It, expertise is superfluous and perhaps even discouraged.

The changes that need to occur to create a more just and equitable world are going to require bravery and creativity, and Going For It is a way to bring this skill-building together. The event fosters a communal exchange, through sharing and support and discussion, in place of an audience/performer dynamic. Guided by the belief that we have a lot of healing to do in order to address and repair the harm caused (particularly by fellow white folks) to our neighbors and the planet, Going For It uplifts joy, play, and catharsis as a pathway to making radical vulnerability more accessible, and encourages folks to bring those skills out into the world.

I see this project as more of an organizing tool than standard event, so get in touch if you’d like to collaborate by bringing this participatory event to your organization, training, community group, movement work, living room, etc.

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In January 2019, Going For It received funding support from the Kindling Fund, a statewide regranting program for artist-organized projects, administered by SPACE Gallery as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Regranting Network. This funding will enable to project to expand to new audiences, and fund the creation of a printed guidebook that will act as a tool to enable other folks to bring this event to their own communities.

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Participant’s organ drawings, created on-site to process or hold expressed intangible needs.

Participant’s organ drawings, created on-site to process or hold expressed intangible needs.

FAQTF (frequently asked questions, thoughts, fears)

Do I have to be amateur or not good at something in order to share it?

It may be helpful to think of the sharing more was “what is an act of bravery” rather than “what is an act of amateurism.” For example, someone might be a well-versed poet but just never felt like they could read anything out loud. Or maybe they want to try a reading in a whole new way that they’ve never done before. It’s less about expertise (having it, not having it) and more pushing our edges.

Do I have to share something in order to attend?

The thing is...I'm not going to give you permission to show up without sharing something. But it's not because I don't love you! The reason I won't/can't give that is because I can't be the keeper of what bravery looks like for other people. Without guilting or pressuring or judging, the intention is that a majority of attendees will share something. That being said, this space is about us all deciding for ourselves what feels available and maybe a little brave, and for some people all of those things DO just mean sitting and watching. Or maybe assessing the scene to share next time. Or finding a way to share or create something that can be done on the sidelines. I'd also encourage you to give a lil more space to that voice in your head that said "oooo" when you first read the description but then talked yourself out of it (if that's a thing that happened).

I’m really nervous, and I’m going to really consider going and then talk myself out of it at the last minute. Cool?

I get it! This happens all the time! What I’ve often told people is that leading up to each event I’m always terrified that no one is going to show up and that it’s not going to work, and every time it’s like the best night of my life. What might be helpful for you to think about is this: this event is an invitation to exercise our bravery muscles together, in a safe(r) and creative space, so that we are more practiced at accessing the bold, vulnerable, and caring parts of ourselves that we can use in service to our work in the world. It’s a tool for working the skills that will help us fight for justice, to get out of our own way and build skills to counteract pillars of white supremacy and capitalism (perfectionism, silence, etc etc). Plus, it’s so damn fun. But I will always honor whatever you decide, and we’ll be here when you’re ready!

Participant’s knot tying lesson turned collaborative soft sculpture.

Participant’s knot tying lesson turned collaborative soft sculpture.

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