Cirque Du Womp
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Cirque Du Womp

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Detroit, Michigan, United States
Band EDM Comedy

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Jun
19
Cirque Du Womp @ Majestic Theater/The Magic Stick

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Detroit, Michigan, USA

May
08
Cirque Du Womp @ The Blind Pig

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

May
06
Cirque Du Womp @ Old Miami

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Detroit, Michigan, USA

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We recently had the opportunity to check out the fourth installment of the very unique Detroit Dubstep Circus. It is an abslolute feast of the senses- with fire dance performances, live art, and oh yea… a MASSIVE soundsystem blasting the lastest bass stylings. We caught up with one of the organizers, Angela Palaian, who gives us a little background on the event:

1) What is DC all about, how long has it been around, and how did the event vision turn into a reality?
Dubstep Circus is a collaborative community-driven event. There is no one person responsible for the chaos that ensues. The actual “Dubstep Circus” event has only been around for about four months!
The three of us: Grant K@DOG Jackson, Scott Sutterfield, and myself, Angela Palaian, come from a deep love of art and music. I myself come from an even deeper interest and love of community and sharing and growth and substance. That’s really where our vision stems from.
Today the Dubstep Circus is a sort of one night spectacular festival. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it’s something that everyone looks forward to. It’s not a DJ gig, it’s not a rave party, it’s not a fundraiser. It’s a little bit of everything, and every little thing is equally important and substantial and integrated into what we are doing. If anything, it’s just this special space where kids can come and hangout, get to know each other, become stimulated by the atmosphere that we work SO HARD to create, and do something positive for the community all at once. That said, we have a very long way to go with this event. It’s in no way perfect.
We take our time with this stuff. The “vision” is honestly what I am so protective over, I’m almost paranoid about it because it’s that important to us. Here is a little insight into where it all came from though, although it can’t really begin to explain all the grand details..
Grant had been playing dubstep music in Detroit for almost two years, since a little after I had met him. He never liked techno, but for some reason became drawn to dubstep- it’s that electronic music that we had all been searching for for so long really. During that time, Scott was throwing these cool art parties in an industrial center downtown, and had also been going to school for graphic and web design. Meanwhile, I was getting involved with musical and performing artists and getting my hands on whatever projects I could. I owe my knowledge of the inner-workings of the music industry to these networking and project volunteer experiences. I basically took what I wanted and left the rest behind.
We did our first show only four months ago, at the end of November, and we have grown at an overwhelming rate ever since. That show in November was a free show- the subs failed, our lights powered off about halfway through, and there was no community outreach. It took place in a grungy hotel bar that could hold about 100 heads, and they had to stop letting people in and shut us down early. Then all the gathering of freaks rented out hotel rooms and hung out with each other, learned about each other, danced with each other, and nobody wanted it to end!
The next day we considered the show a sort of advertisement for what we would want to offer in the future. That special kind of word-of-mouth community-owned-and-operated thing, not that in-your-face forceful kind of shameless/weightless promotion, is really an incredibly beautiful and powerful resource.

2) This is the 4th DC, how has the event evolved since the 1st?
Dubstep Circus on April 3 was a completely different experience. We had a legitimate venue, to start. We had solid, professional security (well, eh, sort of). And we had fire extinguishers- phew!!
Our first event was totally FREE, and let’s just say the people got what they paid for. The sound blew out, Scott’s lighting system failed about halfway through, and I didn’t organize an outreach. I got one live painter there but she was all the way stuck in a small corner with barely any light. I brought some hula hooping friends but there was no room to even lay a hula hoop on the floor, let alone engage in the act and dance of hooping.
Our third show on Feb. 6, was actually shut down. We had a COMPLETELY unexpected amount of attendees and we were TOTALLY unprepared! We stole a spotlight from somewhere (shh) so that we could focus the energy between DJ transitions on our solo circus acts, and oh yeah, we sorta got shut down by the fire marshall. There were about 800-1000 kids waiting OUTSIDE the party, and there were a solid 700 already admitted. It was absolutely NUTSO, and the biggest reason we had to switch to a larger venue (the one you got to see last Saturday!) and raise our ticket price.
Dubstep Circus #4 was also the first event produced under our new name, “Cirque Du Womp,” so we of course take a lot of pride in that. It’s not easy to switch over group names, venues, and raise your ticket price, and still have a community with outrageous momentum and gracious understanding and acceptance of what you’re doing. Our people are just fucking awesome, that’s it, we can’t do this without their energy and support. Bringing that organic raw enthusiasm EVERY time! Gah, what a blessing. It sounds super cheesy, but I really feel connected with each of them, we are one huge enormous family of total freaks.

3) What are, if any, the affiliations or similarities between DC and the Burning Man community (what other community outreach has DC been involved in)?
The Dubstep Circus is an event saturated with fire performance. Fire performance plays a big role in the Burning Man community, and therefore both these things end up playing a big role in our event. And it’s one of the main reasons our event kicks so much ass! (in my opinion, of course)…
First off, the Burners (my very cool friends!) perform as our circus players. Most of them are also members of our local practice community called “Detroit Fire Guild.” So I hire my fellow DFG members, most who happen to be my close friends now, to perform at my show. And it provides them with an income as well as an outlet to do what they love. It also allows them to showcase their unique talents to the public. Not to mention that the Dubstep Circus has gotten them loads of media and attention, and I hope to keep the interest growing, because they are truly inspiring – meeting them and being with them has changed my life on a personal and intimate level. By the way, you can book them for your event! Contact Gypsy at www.detroitfireguild.com! Serious.
Secondly, the Burning Man community has been our biggest resource of community outreach mobilization. Doxie (my biggest human resource, leader of Burners Without Borders Detroit Chapter) has provided me with so many opportunities to “get stuff” for her. That’s what we call it – getting stuff. She leads a homeless project and is always looking for items to fill backpacks with. She then holds backpacking parties, where a group of volunteers (myself included) will pack various items into the backpacks, which will later be distributed on the streets by Doxie and other volunteers. So of course I usually ask her what she’s really low on, which is why we don’t always raise canned food every time. From canned goods of protein, to gloves and mittens, to handwarmers, to whatever she needs next! We got her back, we love her!
The other thing I tried out (and REALLY liked) was a children’s books drive. I got involved with this through my mom’s friend Sally. It was that easy. My mom sells books and she has a lot of nerdy friends, and they are all very sincere noble women. They rock. Anyway, Sally operates with no major organization backing her up, she does it all on her own. Her main vision is to gather a myriad of children’s books (they must be in good condition – take care of your literacy!) and she stores them in a warehouse type of setting. On certain days, she’ll bring students in to her book warehouse from Sampson-Weber Academy, a recently merged school that has experienced some rough adjustments, and she lets them sort through her collection of books, all of which have been donated from someone, somewhere- even teh Dubstep Circus community who raised over 2,000 great books! Her extended vision of this outreach project is to start building home libraries for the students, because they do not have the luxury of having many books at home.
Whenever Sally can get a book donated, she makes sure to get it. Sally has really set the example for me, and now I set the example for my DJs and my artists and my community. Give, and give well!

4) You have such a wide array of performers, how did you go about assembling all the talent for DC?
It all goes back to the way of the universe! Well, partly…
I hopped in a car one afternoon with some friends on a total whim. I had no idea what I was getting into, but the car ride lasted for about 2 or 3 hours. We ended up at DECOMP, a Burners event in Michigan in Doxie’s backyard (is that where we were? who knows…). As I said before, Doxie is now my biggest human resource on the community outreach projects for Burners Without Borders. And the people I met at DECOMP were Burners, and they are now my family. They have taught me many lessons, they have brought me these exciting relationships, and craziest of all, they have participated in the Dubstep Circus as troupe players, which is now the largest growing event in my city- yay Detroit!
Now with our Internet presence though, I have been able to attract fire performers, DJs, and artists, from other areas- mainly Chicago so far. It’s cool to get the Midwest united on this performing artist front. I bring them in and say, “Hey all, this is Josh from Chicago, he’ll be playing with you tonight,” and then all the circus folk will bombard him and say whats up. It’s all smiles, and the next day, everyone’s friends with each other on FB. Community building – where it’s at!

5) Tell us a little bit more about the Dance Troop you are involved in:
Dance Troop?! What?! I just absolutely love dancing. I consider the entire circus troupe, no…the entire DC community, as one enormous dance group. Our people can fucking DANCE.
The gypsy fire eating routine you saw on April 3 was the result of four members, myself included, getting together at DFG circus practice and saying, hey let’s get sorta sexy at the next Dubstep Circus. And honestly, we’re not very sexy, just kinda goofy.
A side note- Usually I’m so busy running the event that I don’t get a chance to breathe and play myself, so it felt nice to get a chance to perform and learn the different sides of my event. It was a kick in my ass too though – the players work their butts off, sooo much respect for what they do!

6) Where do you see the DC going from here? Any news on being involved with DEMF?
We would absolutely love to become involved with DEMF/Movement festival, but there is no word on that front right now. We see the Dubstep Circus as a space, a network, a collaboration. I know countless kids who have hooked up, started dating, started friendships, started travel plans, all because of meeting at the Dubstep Circus. I think for right now, our goal is to keep feeding each other with spirit and fun, and to keep doing things to give back to our community. Not saying it wouldn’t be great to get on a large bus with my players and do a tour accross the country- big dreams over here!

Related Links:
Cirque Du Womp Facebook Page
Detroit Fire Guild - Fresh-Kid.com


Discography

Cirque Du Womp _pirateRadio is our bimonthly underground Internet radio/video show. K@DOG brings in the most talented up-and-coming producer/DJs to mix with him in our studio live on ustream.tv.

You can listen to a seven minute podcast clip from March 2010 above.

The K@DOG EP is slated to drop in June 2010.

Photos

Bio

Cirque Du Womp is now the latest edition to Summer Camp Music Festival 2010!

Cirque du Womp is the brainchild fusion of three Detroit area artist-director-producer minds: Angela Palaian, Scott Sutterfield, and Grant Jackson. The collaborative project has stirred up quite a wobbling commotion within the city, and also on the Internet airwaves. America’s youth culture has embraced Cirque du Womp with open arms, cultivating an open space where people from all over can come to play: there’s music, dance, painting, mirror art, community outreach, fire performance, 3D string art, visuals, lights, vendors, stilts, dudes in weird masks, and more.

In only five months, Cirque du Womp’s original premiere event, called “Dubstep Circus,” has grown at an unexpected and rampant rate, accidentally drawing about 1500 people to a grungy Detroit hotel ballroom where the capacity was only 700. In addition to Dubstep Circus, Cirque du Womp has produced shows in Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo, and also co-produced the Excision show in Detroit in March 2010. This production was outrageous, with visionary image artist “synjektion” (Scott) performing theatre-sized visuals on a 50ft x 120ft projection screen. Cirque du Womp’s focus on community and collaboration is the driving force behind their event’s success, which draws from the ground up, allowing the local kids to fuel the foundation for Dubstep Circus’s awe-inspiring creations. The project continues to be an enthusiastic phenomenon where hundreds of freaks come to play freely, make lifelong friends, help the community, and of course, relentlessly rage.