With The Great Noise opening, I sat down with one of our songwriters to learn more about her experience working on it, what the show means in today’s society, and being an artist in Seattle.
Can you believe we’re already two months into 2018? We welcomed the new year by welcoming two new members to The Horse In Motion Company. Say hello to Maggie Rogers and Aaron Jin.
Together, they’ve worked with a number of theatre organizations in the Seattle area, including On The Boards, Washington Ensemble Theatre, Sound Theatre Company, Intiman Theatre, and The Seagull Project. We’re elated to have them on board for our first show of the year and can’t wait to get to work.
Tickets to Hamlet are on sale now! Hamlet runs April 12-29 at the Stimson-Green Mansion in
Seattle. Get your tickets here.
HR: What are you working on for IRL?
CT: We're working on a short film based on the "Casual Encounters" Craigslist category, and boy is that a wild little slice of human sexuality! It took a while to figure out a way to develop a story from that prompt which wouldn't just be super raw or at least a little bit depressing, so eventually we went back to some familiar territory—a webseries called Real Adult Feelings which we produced for three "seasons" but haven't really touched for a couple of years. Re-booting Real Adult Feelings for this project afforded us an opportunity to approach the prompt through a creative outlet with which we all still felt very comfortable despite having produced the last episode such a long time ago, and ultimately Jason and I were able to cook up a story in that world which we really liked. It didn't take very long, either.
HR: Have you been having success finding material on Craigslist? Any particularly notable posts or surprises you've stumbled across?
CT: Finding usable material on the Casual Encounters pages was a bit of a challenge, honestly. At least for me, it was. I found plenty of, um... interesting(?) posts without looking very hard at all, but most of that stuff was kind of gnarly and not the sort of thing I had any interest in developing into a film. Let's just say that the M4W page (and most variations thereof) is pretty difficult to imagine until you see it with your own eyes. And Craigslist's super spare, stripped-down, almost sterile interface only amplifies that feeling. But Jason managed to find a post pretty early on that we were able to use as a jumping-off point for our story. We still found a place in the short for some of the choicest post titles, though, so that's something everyone can look forward to.
HR: Do you personally use Craigslist?
CT: I just found an apartment on Craigslist. I know that's kind of a rookie move, but it's actually worked out pretty well so far. I think the trick to using Craigslist is just to be super diligent, wary of all claims, and always expect the worst in order to avoid disappointment/buyer's remorse. So kind of like life in general, I guess. Really, though, I think Craigslist is dope. It's weird and sketchy and you never know for sure what you might be getting or getting yourself into until you're there, but it's still ad-free and it works. Kind of amazing that anything like that still exists on the internet. It's absolutely useless for finding work, though.
HR: Is there an internet trend that you couldn’t live without? Are there any trends that you refuse to take part in?
CT: While I sincerely believe that a lot of the stuff on the internet has legitimate value, I don't think there's anything I couldn't live without. Email, maybe? I don't know. I mean, even the good, valuable stuff is mostly filled with dumb or just plain bad content. I still haven't joined Twitter or Instagram or any major social network outside of Facebook--and I think about killing my Facebook at least once a week. But hey, I'm an old-fashioned grump who essentially refused to text until it was all but inescapable, so I'm probably the wrong person to ask about the internet. I'll cop to this, though: Despite my claim that there's nothing on the internet that I couldn't live without, I spend an admittedly absurd amount of my free time online. It seems like everyone does anymore. I don't say that to excuse my own habit, I'm just saying... It's an epidemic.
HR: So Alan, what are you working for IRL: Craigslist?
AM: Well I found a collection of grout samples for free from an interior design company that just had a bunch of samples on hand and they were trying to give away as much as they could and so I was able to get a couple different brands of samples and so I took them out of their packaging and arranged them into a visually pleasing pattern.
HR: So you are working with the “Free” section of Craigslist, what was it like hunting around on there for material?
AM: It was interesting. You really get a peek into people’s lives, a lot of transitions of people’s lives, a lot of transitions of sofas. You see a lot of collections of stuff where people are either leaving in a hurry or they’re getting forcibly moved from somewhere or people have already gone from somewhere and left a bunch of stuff behind because people will post “come to this yard starting at 9AM today, all of this stuff will be here until I take this post down” and I actually drove by two of those and they were pretty heavily picked over pretty quickly. There are a lot of stories you can make up for those scenarios.
HR: What the weirdest thing you found in the “Free” section?
AM: I did see two pets which was kind of sad. I don’t know if that’s the weirdest but it’s something worth mentioning.
HR: That’s so sad… what kind of pets were they?
AM: I think it was a cat and a dog.
HR: Sad. So do you use Craigslist a lot?
AM: Yeah, I have used it quite a bit. I used to use it a lot for free rides and paid rides, so doing a lot of online hitchhiking, now we call it rideshare. I’d find rides around the country to get to and from certain places. And a lot of roommate situations. We found a house that I lived in for four years here in Seattle when I first moved here on Craigslist and that was cool because my friends and I wanted to get this place, and they just posted when their Open House was and we showed up the day before to knock on the door and check it out and then we liked it so we showed up an hour early to when the Open House thing was with our application in hand and we were glad we did because so many other people found it through Craigslist, and just because we were there ahead of it, we ended up getting it. I lived there for four years but at least one of my roommates who I lived with is still there. They’ve cycled through about twenty five roommates through Craigslist and friends of friends.
HR: That’s a lot of people.
AM: Yeah.. Oh, I thought of something I found for free on Craigslist.
AM: It was a rug from that house where I used to live. I saw it draped over the porch! And I said hey, I know that rug.
HR: Was it a good rug? I need a rug.
AM: Well, no it was on the “Free” section of Craigslist.
HR: Can you talk a little bit about the pro’s and con’s of accessibility via Craigslist or the internet?
AM: I mean I don’t know what a con is for voluntarily being able to find anything that you want. I guess it creates bad situations for people but not anything that isn’t already in the world. I like what they are doing as far as the people who created the website how they’ve stuck to this very bare bones visual experience that hasn’t changed at all, they’re not constantly trying to update things... I like that I’m not trying to learn a new way to navigate it and I think the way people have used it over the past ten, twelve, fifteen years is the same way. It’s one of the more reliable things because you know what you are doing to get. Or you know that you’re not going to get certain things on it but at least you know what it is.
HR: Are there any other artistics projects you are working on?
AM: Well I did find this free organ on Craigslist and wanted to use something from it for this project but it was a little too inspiring for me, in that I was like “Oh, if I can just use all the keys and have them complete little electrical circuits, it can make all these sounds” but I had no computer or circuitry experience so I spent a lot of time learning it and testing it out but not quite enough to complete a project but I will continue to work on that and play with it. So I’ve been learning a lot of programming and computer stuff so I can make more interactive pieces. So the organ was cool but maybe too much of a distraction for this. And the organ that I found, I got it from a guy from a Ballard and he was like, “Yeah I’m moving to Maine and I got it from a guy I’m in a band with” and I was like, okay whatever and then a week later I was going to go see my friend’s how and he was like “Yeah, it’s for our keyboardist who’s moving to Maine” and I look up and it’s that guy. And my friend was the singer of the band so afterward I went up and talked to them about it and it turns out he had gotten the organ from my friend originally who found it on the side of the road. So my friend was the one who originally got the organ from someone who was dragging it out, an old guy, who was dragging it out of his house. So he got it, had for a couple years, and then gave it to his friend, who then put it on Craigslist, and then I got it back.
Alan Marrero is a designer and visual artist based in Seattle. He is the Production Lead for the design firm Graypants.
HR: What are you working on for IRL: Craigslist?
AC: I am writing a short 10-12 minute play about housing for IRL: Craigslist. With rent and homelessness skyrocketing, many of us have had to deal with some sort of housing fiasco nowadays . My piece looks to explore the race to get the perfect place. How can it bring out the ugliest side of people? Especially when you throw factors of race, class, and privilege into the mix, how does that competition manifest itself? What happens when that need to satisfy a level on Maslow's Hierarchy awakens something deep within us that perhaps, we never realized laid dormant the entire time?
HR: Have you been having success finding material on Craigslist? Any particularly notable posts or surprises you've stumbled across?
AC: Yes, with an entity such as Craigslist that updates hourly, there's a never-ending supply of material and entertainment. One of my favorite's being a cheap room for rent. The description in the post was pretty scarce, with mainly location and a contact by the name of "Moe.' The picture that was attached to the post was a sad, bare, dreary-looking room with a broken mirror leaning against the wall. I feel like there might have been a random extension cord running on the floor as well. I thought to myself, "Well, Moe certainly is quite the salesperson, aren't they?" It was also great because it looked like a place that Moe the bartender from The Simpsons would live in. It gave me a good chuckle.
HR: Have you personally ever used Craigslist before?
AC: I've definitely apartment hunted before on Craigslist. I also bought my bed from someone on CL. I haven't hopped on many deals, but I'm constantly looking--that's part of the hunt.
HR: Is there an internet trend that you couldn’t live without? Are there any trends that you refuse to take part in?
AC: I mean, sites like YouTube and Vimeo have become the premiere places for independent artists, musicians, and filmmakers to get their art out to the world. They've also opened up backdoors for producing content that goes against the Hollywood mold of star-powered reboots and sequels. On top of all that, it provides fantastic entertainment and has a gigantic wealth of information. Having said all that...memes. I will NEVER tire of memes. NEVER. The trends I don't get down on though? The Instagrams and your Snapchats. Not for me.
Next up, we have Kelleen Conway Blanchard! Kelleen is a playwright whose work has been produced at theaters all over Seattle including Annex Theatre, Pony World, Seattle Playwright’s Collective, and the 14/48 Festival. We picked her brain about her experience writing a play based on Craigslist.
NM: What are you working on for IRL: Craigslist?
KCB: I am writing for the Buy/Sell part of craigslist. A section that is filled with heartache, swindles and a lot of free fill dirt. I wrote a play about a ring. A potent item- filled with meaning. This charged transaction leads to greater understanding between two very different women and also some helpful household hints!
NM: Have you been having success finding material on Craigslist?
KCB: Craigslist is a tunnel of need and greed. You can find anything. But, it's mostly broken and over priced. Also, IKEA is not vintage.
NM: Have you personally ever used Craigslist before?
KCB: I don't much do the Craigslist because I don't have endless time to swan around the suburbs overpaying for futons. That said, sometimes there is a treasure. And that's how they get you.
NM: Is there an Internet trend that you couldn’t live without? Are there any trends that you refuse to take part in?
KCB: I enjoy the Internet. I like controlling my interactions with other people while still being the extremely nosy busybody that I am. It's efficient. I use FB and Tumblr and Instagram and whatnot. I don't really dig Twitter. It's not my bag. I try but… why again?
HR: So Amy! What are you working on for IRL: Craigslist?
AE: I am writing a play and my category is Rants and Raves, which I had never been to previously so I have now spent plenty of time on Craigslist.
HR: Have you been finding some good material on Rants and Raves?
AE: Well, I hate it there. I hate it there. I’d never had any reason to go there before so I’d never seen it and what is it, is just like, if there was a comments section for everything and nothing. So what it actually is, is entirely rants and it’s the most hateful, bigoted, racist, sexist, homophobic, just all of the worst parts of humanity just thrown into one.. And mostly what is right now is Clinton, Clinton, Clinton, Trump, Trump, Trump, and why everyone who likes either of those candidates is stupid, or why those candidates are monsters, any number of things. And that, mixed with all kinds of other hate. So I had a really hard time…I thought, my instinct is not to do a political piece, I mean there is going to be politics there, but I wasn’t drawn to what seemed like the same post over and over again about Clinton and Trump. There was so much other hate to choose from! So I gravitated, if you will, more towards the female hate. All the opinions that people, because I don’t know if they are men or women, about how women should present themselves, the way that women are disgusting for various reasons. And then there were a few that stuck out because they seemed really genuine in a way that sad in a different way. In a way that was people reaching for help in a desolate place where nobody is here to help anybody really. But small cries for help that really stuck out amongst all the “Fuck this!” “Fuck that!” “You’re fat and disgusting!” and lot of weird things too that I didn’t know people had issues with, a lot of women with tattoos, especially if they were overweight.
HR: Like shaming them?
AE: Yeah, shaming them. And then how, it was so weird to me, because I’m thinking is it just women? So you don’t like tatoos but you don’t like them on women specifically is offensive to you.. So all kinds of hate that I didn’t even know about. If you ever need to remember how hateful people are just go to the Rants and Raves section of the internet!
HR: Good to know.
AE: Yeah… I found about two raves I think. And usually it seemed like people who were either drunk or on drugs. There was one that was like “IIIII fucking love cupcakes! My friend gave me a cupcake and it’s sooo good!” so I thought maybe I could do a play about that but I didn’t choose just one and write about it. I sort of sifted through… I really struggled with how to approach it because it’s not the place I would go to for inspiration normally, which is kind of why I wanted to do it too. I am going to have to write about something that I wouldn’t have gone to to inspire me. I picked a couple that stuck with me and went from there... but it was a weird process.
HR: I bet. So it sounds like you’ve used Craigslist before - what do you usually use it for?
AE: All kinds of things! I’ve gotten a lot of jobs, the job I have right now, I found on Craigslist. I have gotten furniture, apartments, done some dealings in the seedier parts of Craigslist… that maybe I shouldn’t mention because maybe my mom will read this. But all over! I’ve gotten free haircuts from Craigslist, I’ve done all kind of things off Craigslist.
HR: Any good stories worth sharing?
AE: Oh boy…
HR: Or anything bizarre where you thought, how did I get here?
AE: Oh sure, but I knew how I got there. If you go to the Casual Encounters part of Craigslist, you’re not looking for, you know, bubblegum. So that was not a great experience, but I put myself in it so I assume when you go into the more devious sections of Craigslist, I should hope people know what they are in for. They are casual encounters. I’ve never been to like, the Opinions page of Craigslist, mostly because I don’t want to read a bunch of people’s opinions. That’s the thing, who are these people? Why are they here? Do they not have friends to talk to? They are so angry. They are so angry. There must be no one around them saying, you seem like you’ve got a lot on your mind, let’s talk about it.
HR: So you’ve gotten furniture, jobs, anything else?
AE: I’ve made money in weird ways. I once made a little over a thousand dollars hanging out with a guy. I just hung out with him and we’d go places.
HR: What did you talk about?
AE: I remember he was into gaming, but maybe I’m just making that up because we were at an arcade place one time. I just remember that he lived in one of those economy apartments that is very small and has a sort of a hotel-like set up and he had a high paying job and he just didn’t spend very much money so he was paying for a girl to hang out with him. But that got weird because it was very clear that he wanted it to evolve and I basically just ran away. I thought okay this sounded like a good bad idea but now it’s just a bad idea. It never got scary but that was an interesting way I made money one time. I hung out with that guy probably three or four times. Looking back on it, it does really stupid of me because anything could have happened when I was at his place or in his car but you live and you learn. Desperate times.
HR: Is there an internet trend that you couldn’t live without?
AE: I could live without any of them but I’d say I’m most dependent on Facebook at this time and by dependent I meant that that’s how I find out that anything is happening.
HR: Is there a trend that you refuse to take part in?
AE: There are some short ism’s that I don’t love, I’ll never write “lol”. I would just rather write “haha!”... I don’t know if that’s better. I use a lot of thumbs up emoji.
Amy is a writer and performer using the topic Rants and Raves from Craigslist. Catch her first full length play produced by Annex Theatre, Scary Mary and the Nightmares Nine, this winter.
HR: So Ellen, what are you working on for IRL: Craigslist?
EA: I am working on some new music, I am writing a song about the Jobs section of Craigslist.
HR: How’s that going?
EA: It’s really fun, in part because I am not looking for a job right now, so I can just enjoy the content rather than have a very specific aim when I am perusing it.
HR: You’re a musician. Do you sing? Play guitar?
EA: Yeah I play guitar and piano and the composition I am working on for this show is on guitar and voice. In a different project, I make electronic based music with some twangy vocals over it, so that’s one side of my life and then I write fiction and essays.
HR: Having drawn your inspiration for this piece from Craigslist, do you have a lot of experience with Craigslist? Do you use it a lot?
AE: Yes, every time I open up the Jobs section of Craigslist, I remember so vividly about two years ago I was so desperately trying to find work after returning to the States unexpectedly and then also remembering looking for housing in Seattle when I was over in eastern Washington greyhounding over midday which is always a hoot, and then back at night which is less of a hoot. I’ve depended on Craigslist for housing, jobs, I sometimes look at it for furniture but I don’t have a car so a lot of the cooler stuff requires a car, so I try to not window shop. And there is so much junk on there. It’s so fascinating how people present themselves or present their company, with jobs for example, sometimes they put the wage really front and center, or the other day there was one that said “Awesome boss!” and I thought that better be true! Especially if the boss is the one writing this. I’ve also, more in the conceptual art form I guess, snooped a lot in Craigslist, there is so much dirt and weird stuff out there, I guess it’s one of the joys of the internet and also it’s challenges, like in the era of last night’s debate, that you are exposed to so many facets of life. I’m sure Reddit was the same way.
HR: Yeah, well with Craigslist, you can look at an individual post, but with Reddit, you could go down rabbit hole after rabbit hole, just one after the other. Do you have any crazy stories or weird experiences with Craigslist?
AE: That’s a good question… once when I was living in New York, and this isn’t that crazy but it definitely comes to mind, one time I posted my bed and my mattress for two hundred dollars which is a steal, but no one emailed me and no one emailed me and I thought what the hell is wrong with everyone? Why don’t they want my bed and mattress? And then I found out that it’s illegal to sell mattresses on Craigslist! They actually censor it because of bed bugs.
HR: So when I think of Craigslist, I think of the vast information that is accessible to us, all that is available at our fingertips. Can you talk a little bit about pro’s and con’s?
AE: I think that I wish that we thought about the internet more than we do especially now that our lives are dependent on it and now that it’s woven into our lives, particularly with social media. I don’t know necessarily, aside from comfort or validation, what is necessarily good about people having access to your personal life, especially when the don’t know you, or when you don’t know them. I’m a bit wary of that. And then also, to give an example, I had an acquaintance come through Seattle and was really obsessed with putting everything we’d done on Facebook, to the point where I didn’t feel like we were walking down the street anymore, I felt like we were working on propaganda, the propaganda of “I’m in Seattle and I’m having a great time” project… But on the other hand, I’m queer, and I know and have heard from so many youth or former youth who grew up in rural areas that the internet saved them by knowing that they weren’t alone or that there were other people who were queer and religious or even knowing that mental health resources are out there for LGBTQ folk or scholarships like that. The internet is a mixed bag! It involves humans!
HR: So Jay—what are you working on for IRL: Craigslist?
JS: I am working on a song. My topic was "Gigs" which was cool because I just went through a year of many interesting gigs. I did a lot of performances this year here in Seattle as well as going on my first national tour, just came off of that this past Labor Day weekend in Miami, which was a good time. Gigs can apply to a lot of different things in my genre specifically in music, which when you get a gig, it could be a job, it could be a short stint… it can means many things.
HR: What kind of music do you produce?
JS: I produce a wide range of music. Everyone would want to categorize me as “rap” however, I like to consider myself an artist. I do like to sing as well, I like R&B, I can go country, I have done rock. I just want to put out sonic art. I can’t draw! So just sonic art.
HR: Do you have personal experiences with Craigslist?
JS: Yeah! I purchased a car off there a couple years ago.
HR: How’d that go?
JS: Uh.. it died in a couple months. The heater overheats so the radiator was messed up which was a quick fix but other things too like the transmission and the engine light was popping up and I just thought, you know, I’m going to sell this and I got my money quickly back. Some furniture, other small things, Craigslist, you know, helps out. Would never recommend getting any wooden home pieces of furniture… You should get those new. Don’t use Craigslist for that.
HR: So any crazy stories from Craigslist?
JS: I’ve never tried to meet anyone off Craigslist so my experiences are pretty limited to furniture mostly.
HR: When I think of Craigslist, I think of the laundry list of things that are suddenly accessible to us. Can you talk a little about what you think the pros and cons are of accessibility?
JS: The pros are that everything is at our fingertips. We as humans in advancement through time, we just want everything now now now, we’re greedy, to be honest. And so it’s made it easier. Accessibility - that’s the key word. Everything is just right there. As long as you have the funds, you order it quickly or you can bargain with the person. But then also it’s dangerous because… I want to relate it to, I guess you can meet people or you can get jobs off of it, however, you have to wary about it because the internet does allow for things to be misleading, because you don’t know who is behind that screen. I guess in terms of meeting people, you should always be cautious, you bring a group of friends or backup, I don’t know. It’s a dangerous world out there so it provides a smoke screen for those who are trying to use it maliciously. Other than that, the internet is great, Craigslist in particular. Amazon too.
HR: Is there an internet fad that you participate in?
JS: Twitter is one of my favorite ones. Twitter is more about free thought and then just more relaxed than Facebook. Facebook I guess you can put your opinion on too, and Instagram, but Twitter I feel like, people care less so I like it. I don’t really get on the internet too much which is interesting working in this field. I have to be on the internet daily to promote and push my online stuff, as I’m on iTunes, Spotify, everything.
Jay Silver is one of two musicians creating an original song for IRL: Craigslist using the topic "Gigs" from Craigslist.