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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Copious Love for Some Smart Art

I’m taking a brief pause from end-of-year kidstuff and SIFF happenings to tell you about something completely awesome. If you live in Seattle, you’ll thank me for telling you about it in time for you to put it on your calendar, if if you don’t, well, you’ll wish you did.

Seattle is blessed with an abundance of awesome artiness, little conclaves of smart, interesting folks doing smart, interesting creative things. One such group here is Seattle’s Copious Love Productions, which I got to know about because the people behind it are friends of my daughter Meg and son-in-law Dick. After a couple of successful productions, Copious is gearing up for their biggest endeavor yet: An musical adaptation of Alice in Wonderland called Alice’s Anthem, which will feature all original music, written by Copious principal Tony Galivanes. Dick is in the cast, and Meg is on costume, hair and makeup design.

Founded and run by Chelsea Madsen, Tony Gavilanes and Lacy Sarco, Copious Love has great ambitions to bring original theater to Seattle in their own unique way. What I love about everyone involved with Copious is how passionate and dedicated they are to the theater, and how they’re just out there organizing and producing their own stuff without waiting for permission from anyone to tell them they can. They aren’t trust fund kids, they’re hard-working young people, all of whom work day jobs before coming in to get pre-production work done and rehearse for four hours a night to make it happen. They found a space to work out of (at the Ballard Underground), held a fundraising party to raise the money to produce Alice’s Anthem, talked local businesses into sponsoring them, and talked their friends into pulling an original musical together on a short production schedule.

In other words, what they’d done here is essentially form a little theater group collective in which everyone pulls together to just make it happen, which is the same mentality by which indie film collectives work. And in watching Copious work on Alice’s Anthem, I am just so impressed by everyone involved in this project. I love that these talented 20-somethings, rather than endlessly audition and wait for that elusive “big break,” just had the balls to get themselves organized and pull together their own troupe. In Chelsea’s words, from the Copious website:

In my head, it was meant to be told with music; it would be perfect, the story is plunky like a toy piano in the beginning and then, all of a sudden it gets very electric, synthesized. It changes gears rapidly; Electro Cabaret! With no money to purchase rights to anyone else’s songs, we would need original music to back up our original script. Unfortunately, Lacy and I are musically, sans-talent. But you want to know who isn’t? Tony Gavilanes. Tony can write music and SING, like, really, really well. He is a crazy talented musician, performer, and a budding musical theatre actor. Before he was even a part of our company we had recruited him to play Max, the Hatter. I just have to say, we are lucky. SO, SO, SO lucky. Stay tuned my lovelies, the music will rock your socks off; you might have to throw them onstage just to prove my point. In fact, that’s an invitation.

Enter Copious Love, the Tri-Force of Chelsea, Lacy and Tony. We made it our mission statement to write, produce and perform our Original Works, stories that we have wanted to tell since forever, plays that we would want to be involved in ourselves and that showcase not just our talent but our entire community’s talent. When you put us all together, we have a shit ton. ‘Alice’ is one of those stories; it’s going to take a village! So we have been slowly growing our little community into a company, involving just about everyone we know and tapping our resources, finding new talent, new inspiration. And I am so very happy to say that it is coming together, we are finding our groove and gaining momentum. I think back to where we were just a year ago and it astounds me, just thinking about what we wanted to do most in this world and THIS IS IT. We told ourselves we would go big, nothing less.

This whole idea of small groups of people organizing to create art is, to me, what is really at the heart of artistic ambition. Don’t sit around waiting for permission from anyone, just take a chance, take a deep breath and dive off that cliff. Do it. And if you’re in Seattle, please support the great work Copious Love is doing to bring original, female-driven plays to the world and come see their show. Rock on, guys.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon