Broadminded: So this happened last Friday.

broadminde women.jpg credit

Broadminded was created by master hula-hoop performer Revolva in celebration of her 40th birthday.  While many of us performers know her as a major talent on stage, what you may not know is that she is also a writer and activist.

My first experience with Revolva the writer was upon reading a blog post of hers that showed up in my Facebook feed titled:

An open letter to Oprah, whose ‘The Life You Want’ tour asked me to work for free

Like so many other performers who read it and felt beyond annoyed about being asked to perform in exchange for “exposure”, I did my share of ringside “hell yeahs” reading the post.

Anyways, when I was asked to be a part of Broadminded I was just so honored.  Not just because it was being co-produced by this incredibly articulate and talented woman that I admired, but also because I have always felt that there is a huge population of people out there that were not being represented enough in the world of entertainment locally, and by that I don’t necessarily mean over 40 performers who still have something to give, I mean the audience members (40 years old is considered washed up, REALLY.  I didn’t even start teaching myself the art of pole till I was like 43!).  Broadminded had a great turnout with a pretty mixed bag of ages in attendance. Several people from the audience came up to me after the show to express how much they enjoyed the performances and also how inspired they were by the message that struck them seeing these talented performers do their thing – they were interested in seeing more.

There are a few producer’s out there that have come to know that good talent comes in all shapes, colors and ages and so they book performers into there line ups that are inclusive, they don’t let the media dictate to them what people will enjoy based on one group’s narrow view of what’s entertaining and beautiful.  In return they bring a mixed demography of people to the shows and word gets around to a more diverse group of potential audience members.  So when a show like Broadminded comes around that specifically showcases women past the age 40, what age group specifically is attracted to the show?  Well, I’m not really sure because I spoke with such a variety of audience members-some women over 40 as well as a couple of young men and women in their early 20’s,  and they all expressed the how much they enjoyed the performances and how inspired they were by them.

I think what most people really want to see is a well produced show with talented performers.  We live in such a progressive minded area that it’s not hard for me to  envision how ugly messages and stereotypes about people including those referencing women’s bodies, their age, their “place”, or whatever really can be put on notice through art.

Hula-Hoop Performer Revolva (And Others) Put Ageism and Sexism on Notice in BroadMinded

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 8:30 AM

Revolva - LEELA

  • Leela
  • Revolva

Monica Bellucci in Spectre notwithstanding, ageism is rampant in Hollywood. And unlike the equally discriminatory Silicon Valley, in film, it’s directed almost exclusively toward women. (Witness the 37-year-old Maggie Gyllenhaal being told she was too old to play the romantic interest of a 55-year-old male lead last year.) It makes a gymnast’s career arc look rosy by comparison.

So to hear about a show at Beatbox that features the talent of women over 40 — even up to their early 70s — should encourage anyone who suspected they were approaching their expiration date no matter how vital they looked and felt. Hula hooper, performer, and activist Revolva will exit her 30s on the night of April 22, and to own her mathematical age the same way she’s owned her body’s skills, she’s put together a variety show as part of the weekly Red Hots Burlesque that’s filled with badass women — including a 58-year-old belly dancer and a 72-year-old showgirl — called BroadMinded.

Shelly Elle - REVOLVA

  • Revolva
  • Shelly Elle

That showgirl is Sandy Eggers, who’s part of the 55-and-up Vegas-style revue troupe The Golden Follies (all of whom will perform). The belly-dancer is Leela, an Angeleno who didn’t even learn her art until her late 30s. Joining them are pole acrobat and wearer of many (literal) hats Shelly Elle, burlesque demoness Isis Starr (late of Moulin Rouge), vocalist and empress of slam poetry Nazelah Jamison, tigress of queer standup Karen Ripley — and of course, Revolva herself, who will ring in her birthday at midnight, after the show.

In other words, sexism and ageism have been put on notice. Ingenues, take heed: This is 40 — and beyond.

BroadMinded, Friday, April 22, 8 p.m., $15-$25, a Beatbox, 314 11th St. Tickets.

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