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Interview with Not Enough! festival’s Sheana Corbridge and Edgar Frias

"Not Enough! chimera" painted by Sergio Torres and decorated by Not Enough! volunteers. It is a representation of the Not Enough! chimeric spirit. Disparate heterogeneity united in one. Photo by Mary Christmas.

This weekend sees the second annual Not Enough! Festival, a weekend long event aimed at creating more opportunities for queer art and music in a collaborative setting. The art/music/film/performance festival that showcases, encourages and supports new work by queer folks regardless of experience and/or “skill” level will take place throughout the weekend at Cathedral Park Place.

qPDX sat down with creators Sheana Corbridge and Edgar Frias to talk about what to expect from Not Enough’s sophomore outing and how it came about.

qPDX: What’s your involvement with Not Enough!?

Sheana Corbridge: I started it with Marlena Chavez, Sergio Torres and Edgar Frias last year and the group of organizers has grown to around 10. I mostly deal with music and bands and took the title of Executive Director last year-but we all work fairly equally within the group. I played in a band last year, my first band playing drums and I am playing guitar in a band this year.

How did the Not Enough Fest begin? What were some of your initial goals beginning the project?

SC: The idea of throwing a music festival like Not Enough! had been kicking around in our friend group for awhile. A couple years ago we had been going to a bunch of the reunion shows of queer bands we liked and felt so excited and revived by it that we got to thinking about how we wished there was a more current queer music scene-one that held some kind of punk or DIY ethics, not necessarily a specific sound. We love and cherish all the bands we were seeing, but couldn’t figure out why there seemed to be a lack of those bands. I started doing show booking with my friend Marlena and we decided to put up a flyer and see what kind of interest we got in throwing a festival like this, which is how we met 2 of the main organizers, Sergio Torres and Edgar Frias. It really grew from there, as both Edgar and Sergio introduced the visual and performance aspect of the festival. Our initial goals were about jump-starting a queer music scene by creating a space and a deadline for people to create new bands. We wanted to have a festival where it wasn’t about how cool you or your band was, but a festival we could all create together-almost in the moment.  We wanted to make community and connection a huge part of it, which is where the collaboration part comes in. We love and admire people who do solo work, but we really wanted to emphasize human interaction, friendship and the radical possibilities that arise when trying something new and challenging yourself.

Edgar Frias: I was introduced to the “Not Enough!” concept by Marlena Chavez at a show. She and I had spoken about the idea of starting some sort of queer or queer people of color music/arts festival in Portland. One of my initial goals when approaching this project was to really incorporate my own background in performance and socially-based artwork as well as a recent training I had had with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon (known back then as T.A.C.S.). This training for “future leaders of color” really centered around using oppression and its heterogenous manifestations as a means of co-constructing inclusion and fomenting human liberation. It was really important to me as a co-organizer to bring the ideas of inclusion and experimentation in ALL creative fields for ALL queers (and those on the queer spectrums) to the forefront.

What does the term “Not Enough” mean and how does that affect why collaboration and making new art are important to the fest?

SC: The name comes from a quote from a queer artist actually, but it is basically saying that there is “not enough” queer music/art/representation/etc. in the world and we want more. We want all kinds, we want to make our own. If you think about work that speaks to a queer experience vs. how ever many years of straight art- we’ve got a ton of work to do, and it’s always changing as new queer identities are forged and changed.

The Worse Than Queer mini film fest shows Sunday at 5pm

EF: At its core, “Not Enough!” is a challenge to the queer communities to REPRESENT THEMSELVES as they see fit. This of course, requires a lot of work, taking responsibility, learning to make mistakes, and learning to “invite the fear” that comes with putting yourself out there. I really see Not Enough! as a huge community manifesting itself for a few days and co-constructing a shared space. Our job as organizers is to help obtain that space to allow everyone to show off their work!

This is the second year of the festival. Have any of your goals changed since last year?

EF: I think that our original goals have remained the same. We still are seeking to create a safe, inclusive, ALL-AGES, experimental, underground, semi-lawless, welcoming, and ultimately FUN and LOVING experience for people. I feel that our festival itself has changed in some ways. For example, we decided this year to collaborate on a “night” with Alix and friends of the Big GAY Warehouse. This was a new concept that involved shifting in how we viewed the possibilities of the Not Enough! festival and how we felt we wanted our festival to be seen.

What did you learn from last year’s fest? What are you doing differently than last year?

SC: Well, we definitely learned a lot last year, and continue to learn. None of us are professional festival throwers by any means, we work with basically no budget so it’s definitely a challenge to make all of this happen. We’ve all had to learn new skills and do it ourselves since we can’t hire anyone to do things. I think one thing I’ve learned is that the guidelines really work out well for some people and projects. So many of the bands continued to play afterwards and so many people gained confidence to try new things.

EF: One thing I really feel I learned last year was that there WAS a BIG need for more queer people creating! And, looking back at this INCREDIBLE last year after the festival, I am seeing that Portland is REALLY growing, and that queers are doing so much! I mean, not to say that queers weren’t doing anything before Not Enough!, it’s just that we saw that there are many different kinds of artists in the queer communities who want to be represented and shown. I feel that that was one of the strengths of the festival, the fact that MANY different kinds of artists, musicians, writers, poets, etc. got to show their work in a non-hierarchical space. This year we decided to grow, get bigger, and allow the chimeric “Not Enough beast” to grow into the form she needs for this year’s festival. We actually invested money in a much larger space, and set the intention to GET BIGGER. Ironically enough, we lost some organizers and got smaller as an organizing committee and as a result each one of us had to take on more responsibilities. We were also were able to do some incredible outreach to great organizations, non-profits, and queer-owned businesses and at a greater scale than we had been able to last year.

You’re in a different venue this year as well. What made to choose that location?

SC: Well, last year we used the Waterheater on Fremont which no longer exists. We decided on this space because of it’s size and because it’s so open to change. We were looking for something that didn’t have a ton of character so we could create our own little world for the weekend. We are really excited to be in St. Johns actually because we really love the neighborhood and the warehouse sits right next to Cathedral Park with a beautiful view of the St. Johns bridge and the Willamette river.  It’s kind of isolated so we really feel like it’s gonna be a radical place to create queer culture.

EF: We wanted to EXPAND and get bigger. So, a couple of the organizers found this INCREDIBLE 10,000 square foot space and we decided to TRUST in our queer communities and actually PAY for a space this year! And we have seen that so many people want to help support us! This trust has totally paid off! That and it is by the river and surrounded by the strength of blackberry bushes, and right underneath the St Johns bridge. It is a magical space.

I noticed that you’ve teamed up with the Big Gay Warehouse project from San Francisco. How did that partnership come about? 

SC: I’ve known about the Big Gay Warehouse for quite awhile and I got a chance to go there this summer while on tour with my band. We played there and were so impressed with the project we couldn’t stop talking about how amazing it was, how much work went into and how rad the folks that run it were. Alix P. Shedd Lamet came to us and proposed the idea. We decided that because the mission and values of Big Gay Warehouse really went well with what we are trying to do and we loved the idea of it so much that it would be a great opportunity for all of us.

EF: I went to Sauvie Island with Alix of the Big GAY Warehouse and our friend Kernan. During the day Alix started to talk to me about collaborating with Not Enough! to create a “night” for the BGWarehouse. I asked her to come to our next meeting, and she came and presented the idea. Which to me is one of the beautiful things about Not Enough! ANYONE can come in and suggest an idea. ANYONE can be an organizer. We are looking for anyone to join and share their voice with us! And Alix’s vision was SO incredible that we couldn’t resist.

What other artists and/or projects are you most excited to see on stage this year? Want to highlight any newcomers? Returning performers? Will there be a showdown between Glitterfruit and Glittercunt?

Glitterfruit perform Satuday at 7:30. Photo by Sossity Chiricuzio

SC: We are really excited about ALL the projects!  There are a ton of new performers, and a few returning in new forms. For me, the most exciting thing is going to be the Queer Rock Camp showcase which will feature some bands from the first ever Queer Rock Camp that happened in Olympia this summer. I went to the QRC showcase a few weeks ago and cried because it was so rad to see such young kids being out and expressing that part of themselves. I’m also really excited to see XxxplosionzzZ, which is a new band with Kayla Tabb, Deya Card and Kelly Duncan!

As far as Glitterfruit and Gl!ttercunt showdown?  they both might have to deal with Glitterlips-one of the Queer Rock Camp bands! 3 Glitter bands in total this year!

EF: As the person in charge of looking for, organizing, and helping out the performance artists at the festival, I am really excited to see that there is more performance work going on at this year’s festival. Paris-based artist David Tretiakoff is teaming up with visual artist and musician Brittaney Taylor and musician Devon Maldonado to create a performance art piece entitled “Division.” Kaj-anne Pepper and others will be performing a Not Enough! version of their incredible GenderFantasy project. We also have a mini film festival occurring at Not Enough! called “Worse Than Queer” organized and starring work by Mev Luna, Rob Fatal, Roxy Farhat, Jake Myers, and Dawn Frasch.

Have you added art forms since last year? What kinds of visual art, films or other non-music presentations are you excited to showcase?

SC: One thing we noted and wanted to highlight was that a lot of the subject matter for many projects this year involve ideas around things like isolation, collaboration, anxiety around socializing, and connection which really speaks to the fact that these are issues that people in the community are thinking about.  We’ve got an installation project called  “Introvert Recovery Huts”  by Lauren LaMotte, Claire Barerra, Lydia Child and Lacy Davis, which will be small knitted spaces for one or two persons to take a break and revive throughout the festival. A Sunday discussion called “Plays Well with Others” by Kernan Willis and Edgar Frias that will look into queer isolation and community building among many other projects that look into these themes. We’ve also collaborated with Skate Like a Girl PDX and got them to do a Queer skate, which is a dream for many of us!

EF: We are having two discussions this year, that is a new art form submitted to the festival. There are also FOUR proposed spaces for queers to retreat, regenerate, grow, and connect in! This is a new movement….a reaction maybe to the coming of 2012, the earth’s continued protests amid hurried capitalist disasters, the death of so many queers in the last year to suicide, brutal attack, and even genocide?

What else would you like qPDX readers to know about Not Enough!?

SC: I would like them to know that we’d love to see them at the festival and we’d love for them to participate next year! Also, that by coming and supporting everyone showcasing you are helping to create and sustain these art forms.

EF: It has also come up so much in conversations with queers from all over the world that WE ARE WITCHES. We are alchemists, we are intermediary links to the Divine. We create our cultures. We create our connections. We create our reasons to be on this abundant planet. We are the center of the universe. Our universe. Not Enough! is a celebration! A celebration of the beautiful challenge of being alive and having a VOICE.

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