Events of the creative kind

Last night I performed at the Mercy Vineyard Open Stage, which was pretty rocking awesome. It’s a very different feel from performing at the Voices Merging Open Mic, a lot more musicians and bands, and a lot less people of color. That’s not saying much since I’m one of like five white-ish people who attend the VM open mics, and there are usually around 300 people there. The Mercy Vineyard Open Stage was also more relaxed and casual, and I got to do three pieces instead of just one since there’s no five minute limit. I’ll include one piece here that was performed last night. This video isn’t actually from last night because my camera ran out of batteries before the event even started. Sad.

Next weekend Source is having a benefit to for their annex project, which will add a few more beds onto the current 35 in the city that are used for transitional housing for human trafficking victims. I know that Breaking Free alone gets 800-1,000 calls every year from women wanting to get out of the life, so that will give you an idea about how inadequate 35 beds really are. I helped organize that benefit, and I did an interview for their artist spotlights. Which is great, because a lot of my friends (who are freakin’ fantastic) will be performing at that show, or showing visual work, so you should go just because it’s awesome, and then feel good about it because it’s for a really good cause. You can find out more about it at

Two weeks after the Source benefit, I’ll be hoofing it down to Mankato for The Venue. This is a three day art festival that’s put together by a bunch of volunteers who love God and art. I am super excited that they invited me to join them, especially since they’re putting me up so I can participate in the whole weekend. You can find out more about The Venue at I was invited by Julie Hawker, who saw me perform at Art Fest earlier this year, and who was kind enough to read a draft of my book and give me feedback. That is one cool lady.

The week after that, I’ve planned a retreat for my women’s 12-step group so we can work through our inventories together. A vast majority of people who enter a 12-step program drop out during step 4, which is when we’re supposed to take a fearless searching moral inventory of our lives. Not surprising that people drop out during that step, that is some scary stuff. But I hope by taking some time out to work through it quickly and with tons of support, we will all make it through to the other side which will be a whole lot better than this side. I know this because I’ve done it, and I hope that the wonderful women in my group will know it soon too.

Two weeks after THAT (I know, right?), November 6th, is a date you should mark on your calendar right now. I’ll wait. Because that Saturday is going to be my birthday party, and you will want to be there. I’m going to invite everyone I know who is amazing at something and ask them to do that thing. The goal is a crazy, over the top, co-ed version of women’s creativity night that will send me into a creative nirvana that will last until my next birthday. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Women’s Creativity Night

Women’s Creativity Night is my pet project and one of my very favorite things in the world.  This all started with a couple of friends coming over to crochet and scrapbook, but it has grown into much more.  Now I invite artists to come and perform or show visual work, and women come to get inspired and wowed.  I’m very broad in my definition of what’s considered creative.  We’ve had poets, authors, actresses, comedians, opera singers, belly dancers, and a darn good knitter.  It is always an amazing time, and this last one was no exception.  If you missed it, I took pictures and videos to help you enter into the experience, and maybe inspire you to attend the next one or hold one of your own.

First we just hang out, chat, and get to know each other if we don’t already.  I put together a beautiful snack table (really it is, I’m not just bragging), make coffee, and just let all these fantastic women sit near each other.  That’s when the magic happens.

After we’re all comfortable (i.e. when I start thinking “there’s never going to be a nice pause to announce that we’re shifting to performances!”), I announce that we’re going to shift gears into showing off some of our work.  Performance artists (like myself), will perform, and visual artists will present their work and talk about their process some.  It’s always a different crowd and there are always a few surprised, but here’s a taste of what we had this time around.

Paintings by Cara Mills Bennett
Jewelry and dark room photography by Angel Wohler
Tee shirt art by Sara Kelly
Sketch art by Sara Kelly
Crocheted trivets by Rena Rasmussen

I particularly love the part where my whole house is decked out in women’s art and everyone’s enjoying this eclectic gathering of beauty and creativity.  And of course, I will add a spoken word piece that I performed at the event.  I would include one by the fantastic Kiesha Lamb as well, but she was a little sick at the event and requested that I not publicize the video.  You’ll just have to take my word for it, it was awesome.