FEMINISM. ART. CHARITY. Come and get it at Gynaeceum!

GynaeceumYou know what I love about Chicago in the summer, beside the fact that it is NOT Chicago in the winter? THE ART. Seriously, this city is packed with amazing artists and shows and art shows ALL SUMMER LONG.  And this kind of awesomeness can be a little overwhelming at times, I get it. We’re busy. We have Facebook statuses to like, tweets to re-tweet, reality shows to watch secretly and shamefully behind closed doors.  But have no fear, queers – I HAVE SOLVED ALL YOUR PROBLEMS! On June 19th, not only can you see the work of over 40 female Chicago artists in one place, you can do it for ONLY $5, AND all of those five whole dollars will go to a good cause.  I caught up with Ali Hodson, Managing Director of Phoenix Rising Chicago for all the details on their aforementioned feminist art event, Gynaeceum at the Double Door on June 19th.

TLS: Tell us a little about Phoenix Rising & your role within the organization:

Ali: Phoenix Rising Chicago happened in the Fall of 2011 over an undisclosed amount of tequila. We realized we wanted the artistic freedom to go beyond the expectations of what a small, local performing company should be, and what its limitations are. Every single member of Phoenix Rising has talents that go beyond dance–we have theater experience, stage management, costume design/makeup/hair, graphic design, photography…and we try to utilize our collective experience and skills to present a fully realized (well, within our budget constraints) production company. We have big ideas for Phoenix Rising, and one of those big ideas was a full evening of multi-genre art–Gynaeceum.

My role with Gynaeceum has been Producer, but with Phoenix I am acting as Managing Director–I get shit done. I also am the costume and makeup mistress so my living room floor is constantly littered with scraps of fabric and broken eyeshadow pigment.

TLS: Tell us about Gynaeceum.  How did you round up so many phenomenal female artists for one night?!


Ali Hodson, Managing Director of Phoenix Rising Chicago

Ali Hodson, Managing Director of Phoenix Rising Chicago

Ali: Gynaeceum is the first of what I hope to be many Phoenix Rising-produced shows of this nature. First came the cause–something we were all very passionate about, and The Awakening Center was an organization willing to work with us, and make sure that we were doing something that would positively affect the local community. They’ve designated the money raised from Gynaeceum to be earmarked for a scholarship fund to provide Eating Disorder-related treatment services to someone who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

We wanted the show to be as diverse and multi-faceted as possible, which is why we were seeking anything and everything in our artist call. It took SO LONG for the company members to curate the show down to the selected artists! We were blown away by the number of submissions we received, and the talent within them. We knew that we wanted the evening to be a celebration of strong female artists, so we whittled it down to the top artists including performing, visual, and multimedia art.   All the artists chosen for Gynaceum are strong women influenced by strong women and for all of us to be under one roof for that one night is a pretty powerful statement.

Tickets are available here:

TLS: How did you get into doing this kind of work?

Ali: Well I have a day job, but I’ve been dancing since I was 3. Most of Phoenix Rising met in dance class, and while preparing for our first show as a company–a full evening Revue, less than two months after the company’s inception, we realized just what we were made of, and that we could really make a spot for ourselves in the Chicago dance community. In the year and a half since we started, we’ve really just been rolling with the punches and capitalizing on the opportunities that have been presented to us, to get our name out there and do what we love-dance.

TLS: What has been the most rewarding thing about the work you’ve been doing through Phoenix Rising?

Ali: It’s been really amazing, all the opportunities we’ve gotten based on people seeing us perform elsewhere, and for people to actually say “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of you” or “I saw you perform at XYZ”, especially considering how relatively new we are as a company–we’ve had a bit of snowball-like momentum since we started and we’ve just been enjoying the ride. But by far, the most rewarding thing is doing what I love with the people that I love, people who all push and encourage each other to be better, both on and off the stage. And thus ends the Miss America portion of my answer.

TLS: Haha – yes! I love a good pageant answer.  What are your goals and ideas for Phoenix Rising in the future?

Ali: Our immediate goal is to put on an amazing show on the 19th, do some good in our community, and build some momentum to keep Gynaeceum going. We’re not making any money from this, so success for us means creating an opportunity for the Gynaeceum artists to get some great exposure, raise awareness about The Awakening Center, and jam-packing The Double Door with people who wanna see good art and donate to a great cause.

After Gynaeceum, we’ll probably take a little break, regroup and then get to work on some new choreography for our next show(s). No rest for the wicked!

TLS: Thanks so much for taking the time is what must be a CRAZY week for you to tell us about your event! Is there anything else we should know about Phoenix Rising or Gynaeceum?

Ali: Like us on Facebook to keep up with Phoenix Rising Chicago, and don’t forget to get your tickets for Gynaeceum today! $5 will get you into the most incredible, unique show packed with over 40 amazing female Chicago artists of every imaginable genre. You won’t see another show like this–see you at the Double Door!

Tickets available here:
FaceBook Page: PhoenixRisingChicago

Event Details

Phoenix Rising Chicago Presents Gynaeceum
Wednesday June 19, 2013
Double Door / 1572 N Milwaukee Ave
7:30 PM  /  Doors: 7:00 PM
21 and over / $5

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About Stacy

Born and raised in rural Nebraska, Stacy migrated to Chicago in 2008 to begin her career in education. After four years of teaching high school English in the Englewood and Aburn Gresham neighborhoods of Chicago's Southside, she has since shifted her focus to more creative pursuits, returning to her first loves: interior design and poetry. Though she spends more time at poetry readings now than in classrooms, she can't seem to tear herself away completely, facilitating training and professional development for schools on LGBTQ issues in the classroom and providing interior design services for improving educational environments. She loves traveling, everything nature, crafting, casseroles, reading, and you. She definitely loves you.


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