Even before Trump began mulling wallpaper for the Oval Office, DawN Crandell’s Xenophobadelica was designed to bring humor and solidarity to minorities. Now, Crandell intends to keep stirring the pot with her part-burlesque, part-poetry slam one-woman show.
“As I’ve grown up, I’ve been less concerned about fitting into one community and more confident that if one community is not accepting of all of me, then just no,” says Crandell, who is a half-white POC queer artist.
The jack-of-all-trades solo show is personal for Crandell. Xenophobadelica is designed to illuminate the hypocrisy of those who overlook the sensitivities of intersectionality. Her show is rooted in her own experience, but it’s also inspired by an unfriendly tweet.
“I get really frustrated with having to compartmentalize myself because a certain group likes this part of me but not that part,” explains Crandell, who also answers to her burlesque stage name, AuroraBoobRealis. “I happened to notice this woman I follow on Twitter—an inspiring black burlesque dancer who is also a holistic educator about women’s sexuality—posting a transphobic, misogynistic tweet. All the people on her feed were blindly agreeing with her, and that kind of thing really frustrates me. She might accept my blackness, but not other parts of me?”
Much like its target audience, Xenophobadelica submits to a variety of identities, and rallies many of Crandell’s collective talents and passions. As a teen, she was a slam poet, and later in life she became a solo-show artist and a burlesque dancer.
“At 18, I started stripping at clubs, and with stripping, you need to convince a customer that they’re the only one who matters so they’ll tip you more,” explains Crandell. “I wasn’t interested in theater where people just applaud at the end and there’s no eye contact with the audience. Here, I’m really talking to them.”
The show itself was born in 2011 in Manchester, England, where Crandell was asked to design a short for an event called Queer Contact, which would later become a piece of the Xenophobadelica we see today. The show also serves as a tribute to Prince, whose song “Shockadelica” inspired its title.
“There are stories about what [Prince] meant to me in the show, and definitely as a performer, you’ll see the influence he’s had on me,” says Crandell.
But is Xenophobadelica really chicken noodle soup for the souls of the social groups most fearful of conservative tyranny?
“We need more love in this world, more standing tall in our truths and embracing the totality of ourselves,” explains Crandell. “The people who are scared or saddened about the fact that [Trump] is our president-elect collectively need joy in their lives right now, and stories of inspiration and growth and moving through challenges. We need to laugh together. I feel Xenophobadelica can be that, for just over an hour.”
SEE IT: Xenophobadelica plays at the Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St., pinkhanky.org. 7:30 pm Friday, Nov. 18. $15 advance, $20 day of show.