LGBTQIA Artists at the Intersection of Art and Ecology Bring Awareness to the Night Sky in Santa Rosa Jan. 27
Sonoma County queer musician Anne Carol Mitchell, also known by the artist name Brightdarkdawn, is producing a two-hour immersive music concert that uses songs, video, audience participation, and storytelling to raise awareness about the preservation of Sonoma County night skies in an age of artificial light. I’ll Show You the Night is presented by the Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art, and Politics in Santa Rosa on Saturday, January 27 at 6:30pm. The concert is a celebration of the natural darkness, queer identities at the intersection of art and ecology, and a new album by Brightdarkdawn. The concert brings into focus questions of collective belonging to the natural world through the lenses of music, audience-participatory poetry, and actual telescopes courtesy of the Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO). RFO will also provide opportunities for the audience to further engage with the Sonoma County night skies by taking classes or attending star parties. The event comes at an important moment in Sonoma County conservation work where the voices of artists are needed to make the emotional connections in engaging people when data and statistics fall short.
“This concert is a collaboration with local and Bay Area based queer artists/allies and Robert Ferguson Observatory exploring our belonging to and relationship with the night,” said Mitchell. “We look at the concert as a gift to the community–a space to feel our relatedness to the cosmos and an intimacy with the cycles of nature. As an artist who engages in both music and ecological work, this concert is a moment when the environmental and artistic circles I work in can inform and inspire one another.”
Mitchell has been writing music about the natural world as an inquiry into connection to nature since 2014 with polished lyrics and well-crafted acoustic guitar work in the vein of Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell. Anne Carol Mitchell brings a nature-based storytelling approach to her songwriting and occupies a space on the fringes as a queer artist giving voice to the more-than-human world as a call for justice. In I’ll Show You the Night, Mitchell is celebrating the release of her fourth solo album of original music (the first under the name Brightdarkdawn).
Music artists Sindhu Natarajan, a South Indian classically trained singer from Livermore, and Maya McNeil, Scottish-American singer and songwriter who works in both Scottish Gaelic music and original folk songwriting, will share music and stories about the night and darkness from their traditions and perspectives offering striking lenses through which to view the night sky. The event hosts, SJ Cook and Jason Wyman, will invite and engage the audience into poetic-play, queering, blurring and reveling in the spaces where the lines between darkness and light commune.
Tickets for I’ll Show You the Night are available at https://night-show.eventbrite.com.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Sindhu Natarajan is an accomplished vocalist, composer, and Bharatanatyam dancer. She began her Carnatic vocal training under her aunt, Smt. Vasanthi Kannan, and grandfather, the late Sri P.V. Natarajan. She is currently under the guidance of her other aunt, Smt. Raji Gopalakrishnan. Sindhu has given many Carnatic concerts, as well as provided vocal support for numerous South Asian dance performances across the United States. In addition to performing, Sindhu is a passionate composer who creates music that blends her Carnatic roots with other genres. She has also studied Bharatanatyam under Smt. Mythili Kumar, Artistic Director of Abhinaya Dance Company in San Jose.
I am Jason Michael Wyman, also known as Queerly Complex, born upon the Land of 10,000 Lakes on what I am coming to know as Turtle Island, who has settled on Yelamu, which is also called San Francisco. My name means healer, or so I’ve been told since a young child, and I did not believe it until my father and I mended ourselves and one other as he died of mantle cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma across a screen and a country over all of 2020. What I’ve come to understand as the significance of my name is that healer does not mean healed or (even) healing. Rather, it is a positionality within the cosmos that allows one’s self to change and be changed by all that unfolds. It is to be curious and listen and then create.
Maya McNeil’s music echo locates story and melody from the ethers round the heart.McNeil performs original and traditional (Gaelic) songs from a well of times past and writes songs for the shape of the future. They are a recording artist and healing arts practitioner currently orbiting through life, work, and curious mischief around the San Francisco Bay Area.
SJ Cook aka Frankie Velvet they /them/she /her: Frankie is an artist, writer, holistic practitioner, and lover of life among other things. They tell stories and channel feelings through movement, music, and poetry. Their art is one of bending, blending, and expanding gender through evoking sensuality, passion, play, ceremony, connection and fun. They also foster events for other lgbtqia folx to come forward in their brilliance and shine, be heard and seen, such as annual autumn variety shows and is an organizer of Petaluma’s annual Pride festival.
Brightdarkdawn is a project of songwriter/composer Anne Carol Mitchell, a queer woman living in Sebastopol, California, cultivating food and community with her partner and ornery orange tuxedo tabby. Anne is a graduate of the UC Climate Stewards certification course and is currently enrolled in the California Naturalist program at Pepperwood Preserve.
Anne Carol Mitchell is a composer and songwriter who crafts music with the aim of awakening care and healing for the living earth. Her music is reminiscent of folk traditions in the vein of Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Anne’s songwriting reveals and celebrates the storied existence of the Earth in all its beauty, vulnerability, resiliency, and ferocity. Anne has toured throughout the western states and shared the stage and studio with notable artists including Ani DiFranco, Jimmy Horn (Mr. December), Judy Grahn (a woman is talking to death), Peter Jaques (Brass Menažeri), as well as others. https://brightdarkdawn.com/