Dear Labbers and Friends of The Lab,
Happy 2018. The upcoming 6-week Cycle will mark ten years for The Lab. Thanks to you, an idea born of necessity has become my greatest professional joy. In 2017, it also served as a haven and a place to cope as much as create. At The Lab, we listen. We observe. We share. We hear. We try. Experiments fail. Then, just when it all seems futile, a shift. Something compelling surfaces. Something mysterious and delightful and gorgeous. We’re inspired. We commit and recommit.
In the Fall 2017 Cycle of The Lab, we studied performance artist Taylor Mac, who says: “I believe whole-heartedly in craft. I believe craft is essentially a commitment to learning the past, living in the present, and dreaming the culture forward.”
I agree with Mac that we must learn from the past. It is not my default to live in the present, but in this last year I’ve trained myself to focus on it: who can I call now, what letter I can write now, what essay or story can I teach now to wake up.
With The Lab, I’ve attempted to dream the culture forward by providing a place where the oddballs and the non-conformists can come and work on their own creations. On their own terms.
First-time Labber Celeste Chan wrote: “Where else can you write furiously in a church while watching a glitter-drenched opera? Where else can you learn about how setting can change your character by watching a film in which queer black child gets baptized in the ocean? Where else can you study two painters' landscapes and learn to incorporate absence into your scene? The Lab is a vibrant space to experiment across artistic disciplines.”
We ended 2017 at The Lab with an alumni reading. The work was incredible. Folks from The Lab’s first iteration joined those from the most recent. We sat in a giant circle and listened. Published authors and first-timers. No one knew who was who. We didn’t read bios. Instead, we ate pizza and heard a single page from each of twenty authors one after the other: a kind of take on the exquisite corpse, (with musical interludes from the incredibly talented Lila Blue).
Thanks to everyone for keeping The Lab going all these years by signing up and spreading the word.
There are still 6 seats left if you’d like to join in the upcoming Cycle, which starts 1/30/18. 6 Tuesday nights. 7-9:30 at San Francisco’s Swedenborgian Church on the corner of Lyon and Washington.