I am currently working with director Lisa Channer, composer Dan Dukich, and dramaturg David Melendez on an original devised work about the history of blue jeans in the United States. This topic contains stories about race, money, labor history, colonialism, immigration, gender, the ideal of freedom, advertising, sex, and essentially every single thing that matters about American History. It’s a big project.
In June 2018, Lisa Channer and I went to San Francisco to visit the Levi’s archive and conduct research on Gold Rush California, the birthplace of blue jeans. We became fascinated by the campy way that Western US history is presented, visiting re-enactment towns and corporate funded museums. Here we are at the Wells Fargo Stagecoach Photo Booth.
Back in Minneapolis, we began working with our dramaturgy team and student actors at the University of Minnesota to develop a workshop production, or, Denim 1.0, as we called it.
It was a total joy to work with these talented students, and we learned so much about our subject and how we want to tell this story.
We are currently working on Denim 2.0, a much smaller production that will try to refocus on all the things we find most fascinating about this subject. We will be traveling back and forth from San Francisco and Minnesota to create this totally new piece, with a production in at some point in the spring of 2020.