A few months ago, Crystal Carter and Jonathan Margheim visited friends in Chicago and saw a show called The Paper Machete. The "live magazine" covers local news, culture and trends, and has quickly grown into a weekly phenomenon with regular posts on the blog of WBEZ (home station to This American Life) and themed nights like last week's all-puppet "issue."
Inspired, Carter and Margheim returned to the Springs and launched Unbound. Similar to Machete, Unbound presents a forum in which people react to current local events and discuss the arts, featuring both talented performers and regular Joes.
"What we really want to do," says Carter, "is have the ability to promote all sorts of different kinds of cultural opportunities in town."
Unbound debuted earlier this month, after Carter and Margheim, along with social media director Christian O'Shaughnessy, formed connections with local performers via their backgrounds in theater. (Carter is an actress and director, Margheim is co-founder of THEATREdART, and O'Shaughnessy is an award-winning actor.)
This is the trio's first project — a springboard for Unbrand, their umbrella organization that aims to connect the community by encouraging dialogue about the arts and current events. And although personal storytelling is an aspect of the show, Unbound is different from the more personal Story Project ("Oral archeology," Culture, June 12).
Each 90-minute "volume" of Unbound presents 10-minute "articles" on happenings in town, and more regular "columns" about specific ongoing issues, all vetted by Carter and Margheim.
While Carter says that Unbound is intended to be an outlet for people to express topics that don't get a lot of attention, it's also about mixing different facets of the city together. Through Unbound, art enthusiasts now have an opportunity to connect and collaborate, with the help of live music and beer.
"It'll turn out to be a sort of mixer," she says. "An afternoon at the bar with people you like and respect."
To lighten the mood between the more serious monologues, there will be short filler pieces like dramatic readings of missed connections on craigslist, competitive erotic fan fiction, and embarrassing selections from locals' teenage diaries.
The inaugural show took place Aug. 17 at Zodiac. Highlights included brewer Alyson Hartwig demonstrating the process of beer-brewing using coffee beans and hot water before discussing the popularity of micro-breweries (pictured); comedian Naughty Pierre revealing the origins of belly dancing; and a performance by the Mostly Don'ts.
At the Underground this Saturday, artist Lexi Harris, activist Beth Clements-Mosley and the band the Rogue Spirits are set to perform. And Carter already has participants wanting to be in installment No. 3.
From here on, shows will happen on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Although there is no charge to attend, donations will fund future Unbrand projects, details of which are still in the works. But donations accepted during the last volume alone, allowed them to purchase web hosting for a biweekly podcast.