V-Day 2009, V-Day 2008, WISEfest Clothsline Project,
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WISE presents Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues
Directed by: Clay Smith 2008 and 2009
Natalie Dempster, Megan Forsyth, Christina Hernandez, Laura Lee Hale, Aja Walker, and Kara Voorhest
Left to Right: Aja Walker, Laura Lee Hale, Natalie Dempster.
The costumes were designed by Clay Smith. Nicole Davis and Kara Voorhest were on the costume crew.
At the after party we talked with a few of the cast and audience members.
My experience as a cast member for WISE's 2009 Production of Ensler's Monologues was amazing. I have always been a women's rights lady, and to put my opinions to action in this production was truly a blessing. I come from a family with a dark sexual abuse history, and my time spent working with WISE has been powerfully liberating; I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
Laura Lee Hale
Erin Robinson and Christina Hernandez Blount
After the After party
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WISE presents Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues"
Kim Brown, Pauline Burnett, Leetta Caine, Kimberly Camp, Tina Deshotels, Trace Fleming-Smith, Nicole Hicks,
Michelle Ingles, Stephanie Marie Lynn, Jennifer Savage, Chasity Sellers, Nicole ? Oops help please! Also this is only pic I have of the cast/play
V to the Tenth New Orleans LA April 2008
In April of 2008, WISE participated in V to the tenth where V-Day celebrated its tenth anniversary at the New Orleans Arena and Louisiana Superdome. Over 30,000 people participated in two days of events that featured over 125 speakers, a choir of 200, 40 stars and over 800 volunteers. Members of WISE and the cast of the JSU production of the Vagina Monologues were able to attend when the V-day foundation donated over $700,000 to groups in the region working to end violence against women and girls.
When we arrived at the Superdome we were greeted with cheers and welcomes. We walked through a vagina like tunnel of red and pink satin lined with women. As we walked through, the sound of super-love was unbelievable. In the middle of the tunnel the sound surrounds you. Looking forward women are flowing out, and looking back women are flowing in, smiling, happy women.
At the end of the tunnel Eve Ensler was greeting each one of us individually and thanking us for the work we do.
The two days were packed with super-love (massages, ointments, teas, yoga, meditation, makeovers, speakers, workshops, and wonderful, wonderful people working on the same goal: to end violence against women).
One of the most moving parts was the V to the Tenth Superlove parade lead by the women of New Orleans and the Gulf South and Dr. Denis Mukwege from Panzi Hospital in Congo. The starting point was Congo square. This is the place where Jazz began and a site where slaves would historically gather for festivities. The procession, marched through the heart the areas most devatated by Katrina to the Superdome. The parade was about the right to return. It was about the right to return to a safe and loving place. The Superdome, the site of so much horror during Katrina was transformed for the returning women into super-love.
The music for the parade was provided by two local (and competing) bands. Each band had been in the New Orleans Area for generations and some of the member’s fathers and mothers began the bands. They had a long history of competition but put that aside during the parade to bring some of the best New Orleans jazz to the event. In typical New Orleans style, the bands traded musical lines each trying to outdo the other in call and response between horns and drums.
We literally danced down the street for miles.
When we arrived at the Superdome, the line to the entrance stretched for blocks.
The bands were supposed to stop on the street. They didn’t. One yelled to another “We not lettin’ our sisters go in there alone.” The bands joined together under this woman and followed us into the entry way of Superdome playing, together: We’re Coming Home.
The sound was incredible. The music surrounded us bouncing off the walls of the small hallways. The marchers stopped in awe….at least stopped marching. Many never stopped dancing.
That night we went to the performance. We were able to have seating on the floor of the superdome. Here we saw performances by Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Kerry Washington, Rosario Dawson, Kristina Krepela, Charmaine Neville, Jane Fonda and many more. Does anyone have pics?
After the performance many of us took to the streets of New Orleans. All night long you could see the familiar V flashed.
We also took a bit of New Orleans and Superlove home with us. Super-love was the inspiration for the annual WISEfest where we try to recreate in a very small way the incredible experience we had in New Orleans.
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In the Fall of 2008, WISE held the first annual WISEfest. Inspired by V to the tenth's Superlove, WISE celebrated women's achievements in an all day festival featuring women's art, poetry, history, and literature.
While we celebrated how far women have come, we also remembered how far we have to go. At WISEfest we also display the Clothesline Project and give people the opportunity to create t-shirts to express their emotions about violence against women.
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Beginning in the Fall of 2005, WISE brought awareness of how domestic violence and sexual assault impact women in our area by sponsoring the Clothesline Project.
The Clothesline Project is a program started in Cape Cod, MA, in 1990. The purpose is to break the silence on the issue of violence against women. Women affected by violence express their emotions by decorating a t-shirt. This t-shirt is then hung on a clothesline in the front of the TMB at JSU. The viewing is a testimony to the problem of violence against women in our area. In the first year, there were over 200 t-shirts blowing in the wind along Hwy 21. Each year we add to the collection and we now total close to 500 shirts.
A traditional breaking the silence ceremony, began at our first CLP in 2005, involves particpants breaking plates with their written on them. This symbolizes breaking the taboos against speaking out but also breaking traditions, thought patterns, and the hold memories may have on us. In this symbolic act, we recognize we have the power to break whatever stands in the way of them attaining their goals.
We will continue to air our dirty laundry in public UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS!
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