One of my autistic obsessions is reading musician memoirs. A few years ago, I read one after another after another of white male boomer rock stars saying something like, "I saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 and I knew immediately that I wanted to do that too." My "Beatles on Ed Sullivan moment" was Hannah Gadsby's Douglas. Except I didn't see it and say, "I want to do edgy, inventive standup comedy about autism too." Instead, I said, "That's it. I want to be the Hannah Gadsby of music."
That is, I want people who are autistic to see themselves in what I'm doing, and for non-autistic people to regard me as that person who will say things they dare not risk their social standing to admit are true, in a way that's entertaining and funny. (And yes, I have done plenty of "family friendly" shows also!)
Soon after that, I began to realize that the "shut up and sing" kinds of situations I'd performed in before only told half the story about me. The other half was about what I said in between songs, and it wasn't just "I wrote this song because I had a kombucha fart in the elevator after a job interview and it reminded me of my 7th grade prom" kind of stuff, it was an actual story of transformation.
I didn't "overcome" my autism to do this -- I used it! But it wasn't until the pandemic, where I was "visited" by an entity I call the Clappy Monster, that I learned how. RAA tells that story.
My first full performance of RHYTHM AND AUTISM took place in July 2022 at the La Strada dei Pastelli Chalk Art Festival in Hillsboro, OR, and I'm happy to announce that I will be returning on the La Strada Main Stage on Sunday, July 16, 2023. I have performed RAAs of various shapes and sizes throughout Oregon on a regular basis, and am currently a resident in the Portland theater collective From the Ground UP. I will be part of FTGU's spring show of new works; information is here!
I also have a virtual show coming up for Solo Arts Heal on Wednesday, July 12 (see event page for more information). This can be viewed on the Marshstream (archive will be available if you can't catch it live).
On April 19, 2024, I will be doing a two-act sensory friendly RAA program at the Walters Cultural Arts Center in Hillsboro! This features a first act which avoids common sensory triggers for people with high sensory sensitivity (e.g. flapplause instead of clapping, muted sounds and colors, soft lighting), and everyone will receive a program that details which sensory elements the audience can expect from each scene. Yes, I can do a sensory friendly show about my obsession with clapping and noisy percussion! In the video above right, I map out how I navigate that. Access is extremely important to me, and I want people with high sensory sensitivity to have a chance to see a show, especially one put on by someone who lives what they are living.
I also have created some exciting and fun community outreach programs, including one about creating sensory friendly shows and environments! Click the drop-down menu above or just click here for a downloadable PDF.
Click here for videos of full songs that appear in RHYTHM AND AUTISM! Calendar of upcoming shows is below.
If you want to know more about RHYTHM AND AUTISM, sign up for updates below, or write me at email@example.com!