Carissa Matsushima and Producer and Performer, Sara Minisquero give us the poop
… um …
get to the bottom
… um …
seat us in the
… um …
crack down on the …
OH FORGET IT!!!!
Tell us about yourself as an artist.
Carissa: I’m a singer, dancer, actress who refuses to stick to one performance medium. I allow all my outlets to inform each other. I like to work closely with people in small groups to create socially conscious dance/theatre. But when I write music alone I’m usually tackling that age old topic of heartbreak. What can I say, I’m a big sap.
Sara: I consider myself a multidisciplinary theatrican. While acting has always been my strong suit, I find joy and fulfillment in BTS production work as an SM, designer, dramaturg and producer. And I’m discovering new performance mediums, like this performance being my burlesque debut
OK, here it is … why women’s tushies???
Carissa: An ass is not just an ass. It’s where my lovers rest their weary heads and thirsty hands. It’s what keeps me from grinding my sitting bones into the chair or the floor. It helps me balance while I stand. What’s more, the asses of women are the asses of half the population. Mightn’t we pay a little attention to these misunderstood, misused and precious parts of our flesh? To pay respect, to say I’m sorry on behalf of all the “assholes” out there, to let them know that they are loved and wanted.
Sara: Women’s bodies, in general, are heavily policed and sadly, still a political hot button issue. I work at the very venue Margaret Sanger was arrested in for starting a public forum about birth control. For the feminine tush- we don’t often get to discuss our butts in a non-sexualized lens- and I find that to be incredibly disconcerting. Women need a safe, encouraging, and inclusive forum just to celebrate a body part men have put on a pedestal since time immemorial.
What’s it like tackling such a topic as women’s bumms
Carissa: It makes sense that this is what I do with my time and talent. Butts are great fun and I believe in disguising serious matters in levity when it comes to performance.
Sara: Refreshing, to say the least. When we first gathered for a developmental forum with our cast, we swapped stories with painful memories and voiced our frustrations about societal norms, gender expression and internalized misogyny. I felt incredibly blessed to have blasted past the awkwardness of taboo and dove right into incredibly personal “secrets”- that weren’t foreign or bizarre experiences, we echoed each other with every revelation- and I think that’s why our show is going to find a very accepting audience of women ready for this kind of material.
What the biggest obstacle you are facing with this show?
Carissa: My biggest obstacle doing music for this show is questioning whether or not I am doing the performers justice by what I’m giving back to them sound wise.
Sara: Fundraising and logistics. We have a sizable cast and it’s old hat to expect scheduling around everyone’s dayjobs, personal lives, etc. is a mental gauntlet. Plus, we’re so committed to the ethos that every butt gets paid- the blood, sweat and tears of volunteer work just isn’t worth it in the long run when you’re expecting an exceptionally polished product. Begging for money puts you in a really vulnerable spot, but we are actively supporting the artists who have donated goods and services to our indiegogo by creating a Moon Market prior to showtime, giving them an exclusive vending opportunity for a huge audience.
What’s the parable or moral of the story?
Carissa: The moral of the story is that in order to grow into our most realized selves, we have to face that which is right in front of us. In this case, it’s our bodies and the bodies of others. It’s important to look at where we come from, critically analyze how we look at each other, and identify how we want to grow to become more inclusive, more understanding and loving and accepting, and then we actualize that knew paradigm by creating community and art around it.
Sara: I think our moral is about self love and acceptance, defiance of patriarchal norms, and bringing some care and attention to a shadowed part of ourselves- our “behind” but also our root, our past, our foundation.
What is your opinion of indie film and theater?
Carissa: Very microcosmic, maybe not reaching the masses, but it certainly influences the mainstream, so we must make it and make it good.
Sara: I adore the independent arts world for its bravery in the face of commercialism. Knowing full well your product might not suit the majority’s tastes- or making very bold statements, playing with avant garde mediums- yet valuing the freedom to stick to your guns. I admire that, and I think there’s a more supportive network once you can establish yourself and your message and get taken seriously for your creative choices.
Finally, my favorite, I’m sure you have both commercial and indie creds, so what’s its like being a woman in the NYC arts scene in the 21st century… commercial v indie.
Sara: Being a woman in the NYC arts scene is more challenging than it is for men by far- part of what we address is SHE MOON is about the highly competitive and aesthetic driven nature of being an actress, how talent is of lesser consideration than the woman’s physical stats. I never really felt I fit a commercial “type” at all- the bafflement of many a professor or casting agent can confirm. Whereas in a more independent realm I defy all types and have been very lucky to be gifted with roles that may be a stretch of your expectation but allow me to showcase my legitimate skill as an actor. I’m humbled that I’ve been given challenging roles throughout my indie career- roles I never expected to book because they seemed “out of my ballpark”. I think indie directors are more willing to take chances, particularly given women voice where typically they are silent or overlooked.