Fox: Thank you. . . Cool. Cool.
Lizbett: All right, well, hello and welcome to the podcast where we talk about creating experimental art in trauma informed and sustainable ways, um, that support artists, our communities, and our organizations as a whole. I'm Liz Bet and I will be your host for this episode of any other anythings.
Hey, y'all. Welcome to episode number seven of season three of any other anythings. I'm Liz Bet and I'll be the host for this episode. I've been with Gray Box Collective since 2018, um, as kind of a maker, creator, mover person, . Today I'm here with Fox Williams. Hi. Welcome. Hi. What up? That's me. . Um, in a moment we'll get into more of your origin story.
Mm-hmm. , but I wanted to start with a little check-in, in resourcing first. So for our check-in, we'll do like, name how you doing, what are you thinking about, and any like, awe inspiring message you want to share ?
Fox: Sure. . . So, uh, so yeah, I'm Fox. Uh, my pronouns are she, her and f Fair. Um, and I am doing good. I, uh, I just rolled outta bed, but I have my coffee, so I'm good to go.
And, um, Yeah. Awe inspiring messages is, uh, live life like my cats. Um, I'm scratching everything that you come into contact with and climbing all over. Climbing all over the structures in your house.
Lizbett: we'll do that.
Fox: Um, how are you? What are you thinking about? Oh my God,
Lizbett: yes. Lemme check in. Um, I'm libe. How am I today? I'm a little tired and trying to say present in the moment. I have a big book manuscript that's due tomorrow, and so, yeah. Writing makes me nervous. .
Fox: Yeah. Same. That's why I don't do it anymore. ?
Lizbett: Yes, . That's why we're doing a podcast right now.
Okay. ? Mm-hmm. . Um, What am I thinking? Oh, that's kind of how I'm doing and what am I, what I'm thinking about? Awe inspiring messages. Okay. Well I need this for myself. Like you can do it not in a water Boy style, , . Um, and hey, I'm very proud of you. Those are my messages. Oh,
Fox: thank you.
I don't know what I did, but Okay. I'll take it. . Yeah. ,
Lizbett: you mentioned your cats and you got your coffee and you're here, so
Fox: That's right. Yeah. I mean, all is right with the world and I respond well to praise. So we're off to a great start. . Me too. You're you're doing great too, .
Lizbett: Thank you. You're welcome. Um, you know, that could lowkey be like a resourcing activity to share with people, just like phrasing yourself and others, right?
Fox: Absolutely. I think we don't, um, I don't know, maybe like, I don't wanna make like sweeping generalizations, but I feel like we don't like praise each other like enough often. Especially like, I don't know, I used to work in, uh, I used to work for a big corporation, right? I used for, used to work for a big bank and like, there's definitely that sort of pizza party kind of vibe of like, uh, of like recognition and appreciation and stuff that is compulsory, that feels disingenuous, right?
Where it's like that stuff is constant and it happens all the time and it just feels like a wet napkin. But actual praise, like, like genuine little praise for little things is just like, I don't know. We should do that more to each other, to our friends and colleagues and, and what have you because. Some people don't hear that a lot.
I didn't hear that a lot. Like growing up, I, and I heard a lot of like notes and feedback and improvement kind of things, but , but not like a, Hey, you're doing, you're doing great. Or like, you tried and that's and that's cool. .
Lizbett: Yeah. Yeah. I'm trying to learn how to like reparent myself and like have proud mom moments for myself and I'm like, that seems so strange, but like also rewarding.
And also I wanna do that for others. .
Fox: Exactly. Yeah. People deserve it. Like, and, and you can see it and you can especially see it when other people are, when other people like, don't get that often or like, really
Yes. Mm-hmm. ,
Lizbett: I feel like, I'm sorry, go ahead. The next, um, segment around compassion. Mm-hmm. . Um, so, okay. One of the, the things that we're doing slightly different in, uh, this season is dividing out this episode into three segments. So one focuses on gray box collective creatives, personal stories, and then we have one section to talk about behind the scenes of our most recent projects.
Mm-hmm. . And then the last section is where we lean into the, any other anything's title or choose what we wanna spark a conversation about. Yeah. So for a little transparency, we've talked about the structure and the content of today prior to recording. So while a lot of the content will be spontaneous, the form we're working with has already been agreed upon by the both of us.
Fox: Exactly. Um,
Lizbett: So up first we have holding space for G B C creatives, origin stories on this platform. Mm-hmm. and origin stories can take many shapes, but we can think of them as the clues throughout our lives that suggested we'd end up where we are today. . Mm-hmm. , physically, professionally, personally, you know, whatever.
Fox: Narratively. Yeah. Mm-hmm. .
Lizbett: So another way to think of these stories is, uh, the parts of our journey that don't necessarily make it into our bios or websites, but are definite threads that have been a part of our lives. Huh. So today I am gonna hold space for Fox to share her story and. As a formal exercise.
Um, it's done with the challenge to the listener, that'd be me today, to hold space for the speaker without interjection minimal nonverbal communication and no vocal responses until the storyteller feels that complete in their story. So I'm really gonna
Fox: practice this . Yeah. I'm like, yeah, I'm, I'm rooting for you because that is, that is something that I do, I, I always into, like, I always interject or insert, like, or inject into, in, into like my listening, like those little things, right?
Like the mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , yeah. Mm-hmm. , like those active listening, being like, yes, tell me more. And Kim go like, I'm, I'm enjoying this, in this interaction, whatever. Right? . And it's, it's such a, it's such a reflex, but, um, Cool. Well, yeah, I'm rooting for you. So , thank
Lizbett: you. Even now, try to do it. I'm just like, okay.
Get it all out. Like move your face, be all blah, so I can Yeah, yeah,
Fox: totally. I just be there for you, .
Lizbett: Um, I will go quiet and then Fox, maybe when you're done, like if it sounds corny or whatever, just be like, and, and gimme some kind of end, right? So I
Fox: know. Yeah, for sure. Maybe, uh, maybe, uh, the end or whatever.
Lizbett: Yeah, lay it out.
Fox: Um, cool. Okay. Uh, my origin story, I think that any origin story for me has to, has to account for. Has to account for my transness, right? I was, um, like I was assigned male at birth and lived the first 30 years of my life as a, as a man or dude or boy or what have you, for various periods in that time.
Um, but I knew from an, uh, I like had inklings that that was wrong from a young age. Like, I, I started suspecting that I was, that I was not, uh, just one of the other guys around, I wanna say 10 or something like that. But also I didn't have access to the right resources and neither did my parents to really, um, to really be able to foster that kind of introspection or reflection as a child and, and or even know that there were, that there were words for that.
And, uh, and other people who felt that way. So for me, it took a, it took a long time, uh, to, to, to finally. Come around to the fact that I was, uh, that I was different in that way. Um, for me, what actually, uh, what actually cracked my egg as we like to say, um, is I was listening to a, uh, I was listening to a podcast.
I was listening to an episode of NPRs Invisibilia podcast, uh, several years ago. And they had this episode that, uh, that featured a, uh, that featured a long interview with, uh, with an individual who identified as, uh, as gender fluid. And, um, and they talked about, uh, how they had this experience of.
Throughout the day or throughout their weeks and months or like, just generally throughout their lives, they noticed that they would switch from like boy mode to girl mode and, and had like a noticeable shift in their, in their like demeanor, in their personality, in their way of interacting and way of like understanding and responding to and like inhabiting their body and the world that was very clearly something other than just like the standard, uh, issue gender that they were assigned.
Right. And I was listening to this episode and all of a sudden everything just fell in, like snapped into place and I was like, oh, there was a word for. Like, I could just have a word that's that, that describes my experience because growing up I, like we had, uh, like the only things that I could find were like outdated terms like transsexual and trans transvestite, which are like, were, were in use for many years at the time, but also had, like, had connotations that weren't exactly descriptive or like current on the, on the different ways that, uh, that trans people can experience themselves.
Right? Like, uh, like when I was, uh, when I was a kid and started finding things, the only thing that I could find that sounded right was, uh, was either transvestite, which is a man wearing a woman's clothes and, and enjoying that. Or transsexual, which is uh, which was somebody who wants to change completely, like medically and surgically.
Physical sex, which as a child was not really appealing to me for, for some reason it was, I was just not ready for that kind of, that kind of commitment. Um, nor did I have like enough experience to, to have a strong feeling either way about it. But being exposed to somebody with a, with a, what I would come to find is a non-binary identity was exactly the kind of like the kind of thin end of the wedge for me in my, in my transition experience of saying, oh, there is at least one box that I could put myself in for now while I'm figuring this out.
And it makes total sense and it relates to my experience. And it's something that that feels. Right. And even to this day, I still, I still identify as gender fluid. Like I, uh, I, I go back and forth. I have, uh, I have mask days, I have fem days, I have butch days, and uh, and, and all sorts in between. And yeah, it is, it, it has definitely influenced the way that I have moved through the world and, uh, and come to be where I am.
Like I went through, I went through college, I went to ASU for, for acting and, um, my time at ASU acting, sorry if we're getting into the weeds on just like story time now, but I guess it is my story. So you're gonna have to, you are gonna have to sit through it and then stop reacting. You're not supposed to do that
I'm kidding. You're doing great. Um,
Yeah, my time at ASU was, uh, was fascinating because like, I don't know, I like, it's a cliche, it's a stereotype, whatever, that like the theater kids are usually like all of the queers, but like ASU theater was really straight when I went through like, like unusually straight. Now, I came to find later as many of us did that like a lot of us were actually closeted queer folks.
Um, that, like hadn't come out yet or came out over the course of our time, uh, over our time in the program or like shortly thereafter. Um, but it was, uh, it was a fascinating experience to be like still going strong as like an assumed straight had, uh, like cis ma male or masculine person. And just barreling on through and thinking like, well, this is how, this is how it's gonna be cool.
I have like this biological like reality , whatever that means that, uh, that is going to influence the influence my path as a performer, as an artist, as a what, uh, as a what have you. Um, and then eventually a few years out into the world, I had been playing around with local, playing along around with local theaters and trying experimental methods and things and all of that sort of coalesced around the same time.
And I had that breakthrough, um, with gender and kind of stepped away for at least a year, A year or three I wanna say. Yeah, cuz I finally found my, found my way back around. To making art and specifically performance, uh, with gray box in, I wanna say 2019, like it was, it was early 2019. It was the house, like it was the housey on days before we had, you know, a pandemic that's that's made everything very complicated,
But I had, uh, yeah, I had taken a bunch of years off because I was just going really hard and not, uh, not seeing, going really hard in, uh, like in the arts, but not really seeing the kinds of results or, or the kind or creating the kind of things that I really wanted to be making. Um, and so it took a while.
I took a step back for a few years. I played a lot of video games and I stayed at, stayed at home a lot in the evenings after work and found my current partner. Moved in, developed like a long-term relationship, which was also new for me and really gained that, that stability and grounding in my personal life that allowed me to dip my toe back into the water, um, with Gray box.
And that's when I started saying, yeah, I, cuz up till then I had mostly just been an actor. Like I had done music here and there, like with band and choir and uh, and theater in, uh, like all the way through like elementary and middle and high school and things, but not, uh, not outside of that, uh, more than just like a little hobby in my bedroom.
And so I, I think I filled out the Google form, uh, for, for the new Gray Box season cuz uh, cuz I saw Molly share it somewhere and put down that I was interested in doing sound and. All of a sudden I got picked up for a show. I, oh God, which one was it?
I don't know. We'll look it up later. Somebody put in the notes , I'm sorry, but I forget which the sh I forget which, what the title was for the first show that I was, uh, that I was a part of, um, sham On Me. I'm getting old. It's Covid, it's, it's long covid. It's, it's not my fault. . But, Yeah, I came in and I started and I finally like brought in my, brought in my gear and my tools and my little toys and everything, and started taking this, uh, this hobby that I had been practicing for years and years in my bedroom, and really started sharing it with other people and came, came into the space and made, made noise and made sound and started cutting things together and, uh, and, and laying a foundation for what, uh, for what I would sort of keep, continue to step into as my role as the sound and music person.
Um, and it feels so great. Like it was, it's one of those things that I, that I always knew I kind of wanted to be doing, but was afraid. Take that leap into bringing it out of, uh, of the private space, of the personal space and bringing it into, uh, into a public, like a public sphere and, and playing with others in the way that I had learned to play with others, like as, uh, as a performer, as an actor and things, but just with a different set of tools.
Right. Um, and that's a way that I've, that I continue to orient myself towards the work that I do, um, with Gray Box specifically. And in other projects where I, where I do music and performance that I have the sniffles a little bit, um, is as a performer first, as opposed to like, cuz I participated in, uh, in, in various like modes of, uh, of tech and behind the scenes work in theater, uh, in college.
And, uh, and, and after, um, But I knew that I didn't want to go the, like the traditional sound design route where it's, um, like, obviously this is not to say that that's like the only way that you can do sound design because there's hundreds, if not thousands, guaranteed thousands of brilliant sound designers who do, who have their own methods and do everything their, in whatever way makes sense for them.
And mine is just what worked for me, right? But I didn't want to create something that was pre-made and, uh, and set and based off of a bunch of like cues like you would normally see in a regular play of like said, this word is said and then the lightning strikes, and then this is the thing, and then like the toilet flushes, right?
Um, like all of those elements are fine and I love those. Like I am interested in playing with whatever sort of materials, but I wanted to, as a performer first, I wanted to make something that wasn't just. Preset. And then I, as the artist stepped away. And then during the performance, some, we could have somebody else, like a, like an operator, right?
Like a sound operator come in and just hit space bar on everything, which is, uh, which is what often is, uh, is the case. And, uh, and that didn't appeal to me as much. I really wanted to be, I really wanted to be in the actual production, right? Like as a, as an unrepentant attention who, like, I wanted to be on stage still, you know?
And I wanted to be in the thing with, uh, with the other performers and actually actively playing off of everybody else in the space And gray box allowed me that space to, to, to sort of like play and explore with that mode of, uh, of performance. And gosh, I love it. And it seems to be working and other people seem to be enjoying it too.
So yeah, I'm gonna keep doing that . And that
is the end for now.
Lizbett: yeah. Thank you. I really appreciate learning these things about you too, because I think, honestly, like we met first in a class at asu, didn't we? Was it in Christmas's class A performances research?
Fox: Oh God, probably . Probably cuz I graduated in oh nine. Like, oh, okay. When
Lizbett: were you there? Nope. Way after . Yeah.
Um, oh, hang on. .
Fox: Yeah. See, that's the, that's the, that's the easy determiner. Yeah. I showed up at ASU at oh five, so. Oh, okay.
Lizbett: Well, interesting.
Fox: I, but like, I am sure that we, I am sure that we encountered some similar people in the halls. Like I, yeah. Like I'm, I am sure that we were, that we probably had similar professors at some time or another, right.
Because people stick around for a while.
Lizbett: Oh, they really do. And that community starts to get really insular in a lot of ways. So it's cool to hear about like, oh yeah, I was doing that, but also like, went out into the world, got experienced, lived my life, like mm-hmm. did other shit for a minute. Yeah. And then came back, you know, in like, like you said, I like the idea of like reorienting
Fox: and, yeah.
And, and for, uh, yeah. I don't know. I think. I feel like this is something that I wanted to touch on more, but, um, but the, but didn't, uh, but like, I think that the idea of transition and the idea of, uh, of, of fluidity and the way that, that changed, like finding that part of myself and like acknowledging and ex and uh, and expanding on and encouraging that aspect of myself, excuse me, um, has definitely influenced the way that I approach art.
Like, it doesn't have to be, it doesn't have to be set in stone or like the way that everybody else does it, right? Like, which, I mean, we're already in experimental performance, so like, that's really not, like, that's not, not su super much of a standard necessarily, right? Like we're already in a kind of, in a kind of, uh, Genre that, uh, that encourages that kind of thing of like, that thinking outside of the box and that work, working in non-traditional methods.
But, um, but I think that's probably why I gravitated towards those, uh, towards those things like the, like as opposed to the more traditional sort of like journeyman theater actor thing. Like when I graduated I had no interest in, in like moving to LA for example, or New York or Chicago and like doing auditions all the time.
And then finding some, finding a serving job and, and trying to make it like, for whatever reason, that didn't feel like the thing that I wanted to do, you know? And this, whatever it is that we're doing make just feels a lot more. Right. Like, and it feels, it feels comfortable, it feels easy and it feels impactful.
Lizbett: Yeah. and that's beautiful. And like as someone who is also trying to find that in life, particularly ease, you know? Mm-hmm. like to find mm-hmm. something where you can be there, something of ease and just like acceptance and you know, all the other things in experimentation, like, yeah. And as we talk about this, like, oh, we love praise things.
In my experience, maybe we don't often receive the same kind of quote unquote praise because maybe the understanding of what this like experimental art is, is a little different. And sometimes audiences don't necessarily know how to respond to it, and that's like great too. But I know,
Fox: yes. But it does mean that it can, that it sometimes, uh, eludes that exactly as you say, that normal sort of like praise of like, I can't tell you how many productions I've been in where like people don't know that they're allowed to laugh.
Right. Like because of the way, because of like the way that it is aesthetically set up or, or, uh, or just narratively set up or whatever, like is, so like with an experimental piece, it's very easy for a piece to be so, like, to be so what's the word? Like, jarring is not necessarily it, but it's kind of close.
An alien is not essential, essentially it, but the, but like, it's kind of close. It's like, or alienating, um, in, in aian sort of way. But like it's, yeah, I've seen, uh, I've performed for a lot of audiences who, uh, who are like excited to be there and interested to see something they've never seen before, but also are not sure if it is appropriate to like, Express sound or emotion at it, or if it's just supposed to be like a very, uh, a very like walking through a, through, through like a gallery or a museum and like, not saying anything.
Right. Or if it's supposed to be, like, that's one of my favorite things is like being in a prof, being in a production where somebody doesn't understand that that's an option. And then there's, there's, at least, there's always at least one laugher in the audience who like breaks the ice for everybody and starts laughing at the things that are funny or just silly that are happening and everybody realizes, oh, I mean, yeah, like, this is really weird.
But also like, that's funny , you know, like, it's okay to, it's okay to laugh at silly things. And I think, uh, I think experimental art is. Often falls victim to. So, so some sort of like elitism effect where it feels like it's, it, it can feel sometimes that it's, uh, that it's super heady and it's not, and it's meant to be taken seriously, which I don't think that taking something, taking a piece of art seriously and uh, and finding a piece of art amusing or humorous or uh, or delightful or whatever, like that are mutually, are mutually exclusive experiences, right?
Like, I think that that is, if that is actually essential to, uh, not all pieces, right? Like hashtag not all pieces, but uh, like, you know, like not everything is gonna do everything for everybody obviously. Otherwise, like, it would just be, it would just be a big splash of brown every time you go to, every time you see something.
But, um, but yeah, like. It's okay to laugh at things that are also, that also make you think, and I think that's like, I think that's important. Just like it's all like, it's, it, it's okay to like, yeah, it's okay to respond in a variety of ways to a, to a piece of art. And I think that, that, to bring it back around to the kind of work that we do is something that I find reassuring about a trauma oriented ex uh, like approach to making art, to making performance.
Especially of like, starting from the position of we are going to make weird art about difficult topics, like, about things that are fraught, that are tough, that are, uh, that are affecting, that are, uh, that are traumatic experiences in our and others' lives. And, and finding ways to explore that. In like in an isolated environment where it's where we have like the space and the support and the encouragement to play with tough things, right?
To play with dangerous things, you know? Mm-hmm. .
Lizbett: Absolutely. Yeah. And you are leading us precisely where we are going. So
Fox: look at that. Can you see how I did that? Yeah. We'll look at this. What's over there on our left? ?
Lizbett: That would be segment two. . Hey . So, um, let's get
Fox: in. Oh, we have, we have music break or something like that?
Lizbett: Okay. . . So now let's get into the creative process behind, um, Behind the scenes of the most recent projects that you've been working on with Gray Box Collective now with almost any creative pursuits in the final product, project performance, et cetera, is sharing just like a tiny part of the work with audiences.
Cuz you know, so much time and energy happened well before audiences are aware of a project and we wanna take some time now to share more about our creative processes, individuals and within the company. So, um, you've kind of given us like, ah, sound and design and like movement and still being a part and like active within the group.
Talk about, uh, what you're doing now
Fox: ish. Sure. So for the current project, which is understanding otherness and it's uh, it's an exploration of. I mean, like, it, it is exactly what it, what it says on the tent. It's about exploring, uh, otherness and the experience of being othered, of being, uh, like to me that speaks to, uh, to axes and marginalization of, uh, uh, of experiences like that as a, like, as a queer person, like I have my own, my own experiences with, with being othered, um, in, uh, in the way that I go through, the way that I go through life.
And, uh, and yeah, the way that I, the way that I approach, like creatively the projects that we do is often I see myself. I see myself in a support role, um, which I think also connects to the ways that I am not othered right in my life. Because I am like, if you're watching this on video, I'm a white person and it's pretty, like, it's pretty obvious.
I've got like that American mu, like Scott Irish, German, German, sort of like mayo complexion, , um, and Bec and because of that, like my queerness is a, is a way that I am, is a way that I am experienced mar marginalization. But the, but it is not the only aspect of myself and there's an aspect of myself that is always going to be seen as white.
As for what? For like, for better or worse? For of like that normal category, right? Which sucks that, that is the way that it is, but it doesn't make any sense to ignore that, uh, to, to ignore that about ourselves, especially when dealing with, um, With the intersectional nation of, uh, or, or nature of marginalization and otherness, right?
Like there are ways that I fit in, um, that other, that black and brown folks don't, right? And, uh, and that will always come before my other axis of marginalization. So I, in general, I try to, and I don't always succeed, right? But I, but I try to acknowledge that aspect of my identity and, uh, and hold space in the ways that I can for other folks who, who experience more other intersections of marginalization and, uh, and othering.
And so I, while I am, uh, an admitted, uh, an admitted attention who, and I do want to be up on stage and like, uh, and showing off and things, I also have always sort of gravitated towards support roles. Uh, In general. And so I see the, the way that I participate in the creative project as, uh, as laying that sort of, Molly and I have talked about it in the past of laying sort of an atmospheric or grounding sort of foundation, like a sound bed, if you will, of, uh, of something that can sort of lay underneath and just add support and lift to, uh, to the, the rest of the performance, which, uh, which like our primary performers, I consider them are our dancers, right.
And our movers. And uh, and I generally approach what I do as trying to create an atmosphere that everything else can ride on top of that, uh, that sort of
lubricates the emotions of the audience and the, uh, and the rest of the performers in, uh, in that way. And, um, And can introduce, uh, can introduce other, like more active elements that are like, this is breaking through and this is something that you're going to attend to of, like, this is a, this is a bit of, uh, of found text, or this is a type of, like, this is some sort of specific sound that breaks through and, uh, and calls attention to something else.
But I think one of the fun things about the medium of sound is that it's, it doesn't, it's one sense, well, two senses if you count touch, right? If it's loud enough, um, that can add to the visual layer that's happening as well, but also doesn't have to take your eyes away from it. Like you can hear the soundscape and be affected by it while not paying attention necessarily to the soundscape.
If that's, if that's not where your brain is, if you're focusing on the movements, um, and the actions and things, it can be. It can be that kind of, that kind of environment that you, that you become immersed in for that time period. And so I, I try to establish that sort of baseline of where it's gonna be and what broadly is going to, is going to loop and, uh, to loop and modulate and, uh, and, and change throughout, but also being something that is familiar enough that, uh, that you can sort of let it fade into the back of your awareness, um, over the course of the performance.
So I often work a lot with like droney sort of, uh, droney sort of sounds and textures, like things that are not super complex. Like chord movements. Uh, one, because I'm all, I'm still a novice when it comes to say like music theory and chord theory and things like that's, I grew up playing single line instruments like clarinet and uh, and saxophone like in band for years and years.
And then like eventually picked up the mandolin and started being able to do like more than one note at a time. Right. And now I play the computer and so I have all of the notes available at any time. Right. But also, like, I'm still learning as well. So like I try to, I try to both stick to stick to the things that I know that I'm comfortable with, that I can, that I know that I can execute in, uh, in, in a satisfying way for me and for listeners, but also I don't want to over stimulate, um, and therefore, and, and thereby take away or like distract from the overall sort of, uh, sort of effect that everything working together.
Has. And so the way that I approach it is the way that I approach, uh, most projects I'll come in and, uh, we, we usually have a pretty abbreviated rehearsal schedule like we made for a couple of times, and then we usually have a play. Um, and that's another part that I love is that like I can do a little bit of thinking beforehand, uh, of about like how I feel about the, the topic.
But really my work starts when we get into the rehearsal room and I set up my gear and people get stretched out and, and warmed up. And then we just st start playing in the space together. And so I'll, uh, I'll find, I'll find a sound or I'll find a texture that feels like, feels right in the moment. And then I'll.
Step into it a little bit and then just start to modify and start to start to add. And in, rather than trying to chase the interesting thing of, of like, all right, cool, well, I've done this, and now let's make that more interesting and more ca more ear catching or whatever. I try to, uh, I try to clarify what's, what's already been established as much as possible.
So find a thing, find a groove, or find a, or find like some sort of vibe that that feels right, and then only add to it in, in ways that, uh, that clarify and further, further bring into focus what's happening. So my mixes tend to be often pretty sparse. Um, like a handful of instruments and then occasionally a few, uh, a few like audio tracks that have.
depending on the performance, different, um, different sort of like real sounds as, as opposed to I use a lot of synthesizers, right. And, and synthesized, um, sound and instruments and then bringing in like those fully kinds of elements or those found text kinds of elements or, um, or in the case of a lot of our productions, we, uh, we have, um, the performers engage in their own writing either with the in-person groups or in the digital groups or as a combination as the, as this show has been.
Um, and also reaching out to find other things.
Yeah. I feel like I'm starting to talk in circles, so, um, so yeah, I'll, I'll toss it back to you. What, uh, what, what else, what do you think
Lizbett: well, I will say as someone who's like working on understanding otherness with you and. You know, we just had rehearsal yesterday for four and a half hours. Um-huh. , , . You really do set up an atmosphere like that. Yeah. Yeah. That sounds right. And I, as someone who's like a mover in this piece, I receive it. I don't know, it can kind of feel trans like or hypnotic in some sense.
Right. And so yeah, I get that bed. Good. That's what I'm going for. . Yeah. I'm like, oh, ok. Cool. This is good to hear and, and just understand more of, um, and it is fun and I can feel you responding to what's going on too. And in turn, like Yeah, it's just this nice little circuitous, um, way that we. Way that we work and create.
And so I love it, .
Fox: That's really great to hear. That reminds me of something that I, something that I learned from one of my, one of my favorite professors back at asu, um, was, uh, Oscar Aire and thinking about, he did a, he works a lot with like mythic theater and uh, and a lot with ritual and things, and a way that he would talk about a lot of the, like a lot of the projects that he was wor he would make and work on was about coming back to a s uh, a spiral sort of orientation about it, right.
It's like, Not even so much a circle, right? Like of, uh, of this cycle, but this spiral that goes, like, it goes up and it goes down and it starts in one place and it goes like, it travels and it moves and it takes you somewhere, but it does return to that, to that center, right? Like, and it returns to that origin at some point.
And so trance definitely as a, uh, as a late bloomer, but also a late bloomer Rav like trance is near and dear to my heart, right? And it's and like that, that sensation of beats or vibes or grooves that just like hit you in your, in your chest, you know, and put and just like transfix you and put you into that, into that state of, uh, of, of trans, of, uh, of.
A different, a different quality and character of openness and receptiveness to the thing that you're experiencing to the, to the moment that you are a part of. And so, yeah, I feel like I do my job, like, like many elements of tech, if I'm doing my job right, the audience might not necessarily notice what I'm doing, right?
Mm-hmm. , um, which is intention with, uh, with my, with my need for, with my need for attention and approval. of like, I wanna be cool, but like, maybe that's a, like also maybe that belongs in like a solar performance for me in something like that. And that's another thing that I've been thinking about, uh, thinking about pursuing as I, as I continue to hone my craft and, and feel more comfortable about sharing that in front of other people, right?
And so thinking about myself as that, As that support person of like, I'm not necessarily leading or composing the dance, but I am providing the beat that that allows it to, that that allows it to occur and, and helps everyone to stay, to stay grounded and stay on their particular track, you know?
Lizbett: Absolutely, absolutely. And like
Fox: it could be done it like the work of the piece or, or of the, the ritual, if you want to call it that, or the transfer, like the, the performance could be done without what I do. And so that, that also comes into the clarification of like, I'm not only clarifying the thing that I'm setting up in the space, but I'm also.
Everything that I do is should be clarifying what is, what is the greater thing happening in the space too, right? So it's not selfishly taking attention away, but uh, but feeding back into that, into that vibe, into that, uh, into that thing. And so in that way, yeah, I could talk about like, uh, like other little, other little things that may come into the performance and may not like, um, because we're still like, we're still working, right?
And, uh, and we're still currently after yesterday, we're at a place, uh, I'm at a place in my process where I'm starting to, Molly and I have been talking about bringing in some sort of text element and whether that's going to be found audio from, um, from. People talking about otherness, um, out in the world, whether that's going to be generated, uh, generated text that ha that our, our digital group has been ha has been working on and has de generated a lot of text.
Um, how is that going to be incorporated? And I actually, I have an idea that, uh, that may make it in, um, and a tool, a new toy that I got that, uh, that, that might actually, um, play into that. I recently got a specialty microphone. Um, it's a very geeky gear thing, so, uh, so forgive me for, for getting, for getting in my head space, but like, I recently got this, this weird specialty lofi microphone.
It is made from a telephone handset like an old school. Big hard plastic tele telephone handset, and it's just got like an XLR cable input on it. And so it's made to, to recreate that lofi telephone handset sound, which is, I've never tried to go about it myself, but I've, but everything that I've read about is like, it's recreating that particular sound of a telephone handset is a particular, like, it's a, it's a tough challenge in, uh, in terms of audio, at least for somebody who is not like, I know a lot more talent, like more experienced and talented engineers who are probably like, yeah, no, I know what to do.
Like the e Exactly. This thing, because it's like when the telephone was created and when they were deciding like what physically is going to be the range of frequencies and the way that we transport this sound signal on the old technology that it was like all of these discrete components and uh, and uh, just like transistors and capacitors and uh, and tubes and stuff, right?
is uh, can be difficult to recreate with modern technology of like taking a digital signal and then applying, figuring out, and then applying appropriately the right kinds of like filters and effects and modifications to strip away the regular sound that you would hear from like whatever microphone you're recording on and make it come out the speaker sounding like a telephone.
Um, and so I found a maker on Etsy and I saw this and I was like, That's really weird and cool, and I would love to have that in my back pocket at any point to just be able to like, cool, we're on the phone now. And also, getting back to the silly things, like as an elder millennial, like I don't like phone calls.
I find them extremely like anxiety indu inducing. And uh, and I don't like to do them, especially if they're unscheduled, right? Like when I, like if I have to make a phone call and do like a, like set up an appointment or, or like do an adulting thing, right? Like it's a whole, like it's a ritual and I get into my space and I get into my customer service voice, right?
Because I've worked customer service and I know how it sucks to have a customer on the end of the other end of the line who is not generous or gracious, right? And so like I have to put myself in that, in that space, which is not necessarily an othering space, but I also have a unique experience of being a trans person that other trans people will probably, um, Can relate to of being on the phone with a stranger is the quickest way to get misgendered.
Especially, excuse me. Especially if you're dealing with like a customer service representative, where in our culture it is baked into that job that you be polite and how do we be polite in English, we say Sir and ma'am, right? Like or Mr. Or Mrs, whatever. Like and I having worked in those positions before I get it.
Cuz I used to do that too. I used to make that quick assumption based on voice or appearance or whatever and say, Mr. So-and-So, or Ms. So-and-so or what have you. And like now being on the other side of that as a trans person and getting mred on the phone, like almost every time that I have to pick up the phone and make like a service call or something like that, it.
It's a pretty immediate othering. Right. And so aside from the cool, like the cool factor of like, I can just pick up this microphone and it sounds like I'm on the telephone. Like that is, that is a way that I get othered, like on the regular , completely inadvertently by people who don't know any better and are just trying to be polite.
Right. And as a trans person and like, uh, others will probably relate to this as well. Like, that's a, that's an in the moment call that we have to make of like, am I going to, is it, is it worth my time and my energy right now to stop this conversation and correct this person for my, like, for my wellbeing and my mental health?
Or is that gonna be, or like, or is that going to be too much? Too much emotional labor for me to commit to right now. And it's just gonna be, I'm gonna have to take the L on this one, right? And say, yeah, sure, that's fine. I'm Mr. So-and-So , for the purposes of this discussion because I don't like, I want to be off this phone call right now,
And so I think, I think that is something that I want to include. And if, uh, and if we get to the point where I'm, uh, where I'm bringing text in and, and being the speaker of text in this piece, I think that's probably how I'm going to approach it is like putting it through that very, like that very.
Specific and like visceral thing that everybody knows the difference between like a clean microphone sound and a telephone receiver sound. Right? Like it puts you into a sp into a head space immediately you're like, oh yeah, everybody's voice sounds like that through a phone, right? And so that's one way for me that might, might have been an Easter egg if I didn't tell you about it, right?
Uh, to be like, yeah, this is a way that I, that I can bring my own experience of otherness in a, in a way that is not just like necessarily beating you over the head with it, of saying like, I'm going to refer to myself as, uh, as the wrong gender. Right? Like, that could be a, I could see that as being a hamfisted way of me trying to insert that, uh, that aspect of my own otherness into it or my marginalization into it.
And I prefer generally to, in my work and especially the work that we do with Gray Box, I prefer to find. Side steps to those, to those kinds of solutions to, like, I think about it as like a second order kind of thought process about, um, about that moment. So I can I, so you can identify the experience of being othered as whatever kind of person.
In my case, it's a trans person, and like I can identify that the feelings that I have about that and the ways that it happens, and I find it to be satisfying. And, uh, and also a little bit alienating in terms of like creating, uh, creating art to side sidestep it a little bit. Like find the experience or the emotion that you want to express, and then tying that to a specific, like physical or, uh, like physical.
Interaction, like grounding it in a, in, in real space, in a real action that takes place when that's happening. Like, for example, a phone call and then just keeping the physical accident of that experience and letting the original experience itself that was inspiring that expression sort of lay low and, and fly under the radar.
Where I'm pointing to that thing, I'm pointing to that otherness, but I'm not explicitly saying it. I'm saying it through the way that I experience it. Right. Which is similar to the ways in the past that we've used found sound like for pause. We, um, we talked a lot about the ways that we pause, the ways that we, the ways that we.
Take a step back when we get overwhelmed and things and wanna end, uh, a big category of ways that we step back and, uh, and reclaim sort of space when we get overwhelmed by the world, by the news, by the internet, by whatever is like chemical escapes. And so a big part of that was actually, I think that was the, I think that was the piece before pause, which again, I'm forgetting all of the names, so apologies.
Um, but we, um, we said, great, we wanna figure out like these ways that we take space for ourselves, uh, that may or may not be constructive or like destructive or harmful or not. Um, and one thing that we came, came upon was like chemical escapes. And so like we took that. Grounded it in an actual action or an actual like physical sound of like popping open a bottle of pills and dumping out a bottle, bottle of pills on a surface, right?
And hearing that rattling or like popping open a bottle of, uh, of liquor or snapping a zippo and like lighting and taking a drag on a cigarette. Like those things where we took the original inspiration of like the emotion, the emotional response, physicalized it into a physical response and then dropped the emotional origin and just keep the physical sound right.
So it's pointing towards that experience, but it allows the audience, ideally, if we do our job right, it allows the audience to access that to through their own experience of those sounds, those actions, those, uh, like those expressions and ways that it bec in ways that those emotional states. Become physicalized.
Right. And become things that we all relate to in our own sort of way. Right. Rather than just saying, this is a thing that happened and this is how I feel about it. Just doing, doing the action that you do after you've had the feeling and letting the audience come back round to the original, the original emotion, right?
In their own way. So that I think is a big, a big part of how I orient myself towards the work of like doing the specifics and the technicalities of like, how do I decide what exactly what sound is going to go in here, or the way that it's going to be expressed or what or what have you. And I think that's, if I could give you anything to, uh, to look or listen for in, in, in, in our pieces, that would be the thing that's like, that's your, that's your, your insight into my, into my process.
Lizbett: Hmm. Thank you. Yeah. One thing that I really enjoy about this process as a whole and the things that we make is that they really are fully like, Multisensory kinds of immersive experiences that maybe we wouldn't label as such necessarily with immersive. Yeah. But like Sensorially, right? There is a lot of information and it might not be that like, uh, you know, fits in the face, hit you over the head kind of thing, right?
Yeah. But it's all there. And coming from a trauma informed perspective as we do too in practice, like we don't necessarily want to be like boo boo boo in your face about it all of the time, because
Fox: that's how we got in and that's how we got in this place in the first place, right? just being smacked with things like,
So I appreciate the space to be able to fill things in and to have my own experiences of something and it not be, you know, linear, progressive in any particular way. And so that just, yeah. Allows me a more full experience,
Fox: which, yeah. And it allows you, as an audience member to do, to do your part of the work of being, uh, of being a witness to this ex, to this performance, right?
Like it is a sharing. Um, and at least the way that we approach it, I feel like it is, like we are trying to bridge that, uh, to bridge that gap and to create, uh, to create a communicative space between the audience and the performance of, and, and also to draw in as opposed to just, um, as opposed to just like speak at, right.
Like, I could explain to, to you the way this, that I am, the ways that I am marginalized or othered in, in daily life. But that's like, that's just a conversation. We have the opportunity with a, with, with a piece of art to approach it in different ways and allow you to relate to it in the way that you do without coloring it necessarily with my specific experience.
And so instead of in, instead of invoking a sympathy response of like, if you shared my experience, then you can relate to it and you have, uh, an example of that same emotion that you felt in, in yada, yada, yada, trying to evoke that em empathic response of like, feeling the way that you experience this thing that may or may not align with ours, but is still in the same, in the same, um, World in that same emotional sort of space.
And then I think as an audience member, it allows you to get more out of it than just like, like memorizing and taking notes and then, uh, for like a quiz at the end, right? Like, you don't have to remember everything that happened. You just have to, you just have to experience it and witness it and then allow it to engender something in you.
This is the, this is the, the trans agenda? Yeah, this is come to gray. I will trans your gender. .
Lizbett: Thank you
Fox: Um, Also, I think we're, I, I wanna be respectful of time because I think we might be, we, we might have gone for, for a ways. So, uh, I haven't been keeping track. I hit the record button, but I don't know exactly how long this has been going. Do you have any idea, ?
Lizbett: It has been going over the 45 minutes, which is, I think in post something we worry about and, you know, whatever.
I think everything we just talked about can be part of section three, which is the, any other
Fox: anythings. So I can do the whole, I think we have kind of sparked, like, sparked another conversation and, and, and offered ways to, ways for not only ourselves, but but for the listener to, to like expand on that, right?
Lizbett: Absolutely. Um, so I'm just gonna do the mechanics of like saying these things still and then we can Yeah, of course. Wrap it up. Um, so , here's some space for some interlude
Not me. Natural music.
Lizbett: So we've reached the final segment of our episode where we can lean into our title of any other, anything, um, any other Anythings was a phrase that was used in our rehearsals that was essentially like a last call for topics to be brought up before we closed out rehearsal. We're reframing that slightly here to ask what would you like to spark a conversation about?
Fox: Boom conversation. Yeah. To tie it all back, uh, think about if I could encourage anything for, for, for listeners, for audiences, for watchers and, and is to think about, think about your role in, uh, in art like it is. We're not always taught how to, uh, how to experience art, right? Unless we happen to, like, unless we happen to go and seek specialized study in it, right?
Like, I have this, I have the understanding of art that I do and of performance that I do because I did, like, I, I went to college for it and I, I devoted a, a, a large chunk of time and thought and, um, and work into, uh, into making and viewing and uh, and uh, and encountering art, and also being an active participant as, uh, as an audience member.
Like art doesn't happen with witness. Like it requires an audience. Like otherwise it's just a, like, it's a personal thing or an outsider art or something like that. That is, that is. Which has its place too, right? Like, uh, like it's important to do things for yourself as an artist that never see the light of day too.
Right? My partner calls it composting, right? Like, I have folders and folders full of, full of projects that I have like started, spent a couple hours on and never come back in touch again. Right? And it's like, I keep all of those things because if I, if I need to, I can come back to it and make something else out of it.
Or if nothing else, I learned something along the way. But it doesn't require an audience to be, to be meaningful to me. And so when we do make something that, that we, the point is to, to show and to tell and to, and to share with folks. I think we, we as artists to, to a greater or lesser degree, you do expect that the audience will come and provide their, their part of it, of, and whether that is just simply the act of witnessing this thing and being affected by it or of.
Engaging with it on a, uh, on a deeper level and an emotional level. Oh, hi . Hey, hey. You got a little tap on the shoulder too? Yeah. . That's cute. Hey, I'm ready for my closeup. .
Lizbett: Hi. There's, there's more than one attention. Who in the house? Apparently.
Fox: Oh my God, you have no idea. . We have four, and they are all, they are all sweet, sweet baby angels, and also just, uh, just un penant recidivous criminals,
But yeah, if I could encourage anything, I would say, I would say think about your role as an audience member. As a, as a, as, not a, not necessarily a consumer of art, but a but as a participant, like. You are important. Like the fact that you show up and that you, and that you sit and all look in the same direction for, for an hour and a half or whatever is like, is uh, is a crucial part of like, it's an integral part of, uh, of any performance or piece of art.
Like, and it's, you will get out of it. As much as, I don't wanna be that, like that prescriptive, but like you will get out of. Things too that like correlated with the, like with the amount of, uh, of, of effort and engagement and like experience that you, that you put into it. Like you bring your own experiences, you bring your own emotions and uh, and uh, and thoughts and feelings and what have you to the space.
And they are present and they are just as valid as, as everything that is happening up on stage. It's just that we, like, we have the attention for that period of time. And I think that's also why we have talkbacks right? To, to hold that space for our audience, even if it, even if it takes more time than is allotted at the end for a talkback, right?
If you're not, uh, if you're not experienced in, in sharing that feedback or in doing that kind of thing, which we as artists often are, right? Uh, we have experience of. Doing a little postmortem after, uh, after a thing and saying, Hey, what worked and what didn't? And like, what really, what really stood out and what have you?
And so like, holding that space is important in the first place. And even if it doesn't, even if you don't get the chance to like, say something or ask a question that is, uh, that is burning right there in the moment, it sets, I think it sets the tone and it sets the expectation that you are allowed to keep thinking about this thing.
It's allowed to take up space. Like we've given you this thing that can now live in your mind that you can return to. Um, and it might be days or weeks or months later that it just sort of like sits in there like a time bomb and then all of a sudden, like you accumulate additional experience or you just keep thinking about it and thinking about it and then like something may appear to you.
And so, Yeah. Remember that it doesn't have to stop when the curtain goes down or when the lights go black, right? Like, or when we just like all stop and then run into a line and bow, like that exp like, you get to take everything home and, and do your own work. Work with it if you want to. And, and if you do, you can get, you can continue to get something out of it other than just like a fun night out.
Lizbett: Yes, yes. .
Lizbett: fun. Night out. Hey, maybe that's what someone has planned now because we have reached the end of our episode. . That's right. . . Um, let's wrap this up with a little checkout. So that's gonna kind of mirror what we did at the top. Mm-hmm. . So Fox, how you doing? What you think about.
Fox: Uh, I'm doing good.
I've, uh, I've got a little bit of a headache creeping in, so I need to, uh, I need to go and have some food, um, maybe a little bit more water, but I'm feeling super jazzed. Like I, like I often do when I get to, when I get to super geek out about my, about my special interest, uh, which is performance and theater and, and making shit.
Um, yeah, I'm excited and I, uh, I hope that it has been, uh, I hope that it has been fruitful, uh, to you. It certainly has been for me and, uh, and for you, the listener out there in internet land, like, and if it, if it sparks something, if, uh, or if it sits with you and then comes back around at some point, like, please feel free to leave a comment like, uh, like, and subscribe.
Like, you know, like, we we do this thing so that we can have these conversations and so that we can keep. Sharing our perspectives and so that we can continue to provoke, um, and elicit responses and uh, uh, and reactions and, and what have you in our audience, especially if you are, if you don't live in Phoenix, Arizona and you don't have the opportunity to necessarily, and come and see what we're, what we're making all the time in person, like we, that's a part of, uh, that's a part of the, like the, the current iteration or season of Cray box right, is like expanding, expanding that reach and offering these experiences and these, these insights.
Um, if we can be so bold, , uh, to, to everyone if, uh, if they want. So yeah, let us know if, if anything, if anything rang true for you. I would love to. Liz Beck, how are you? What are you thinking about it?
Lizbett: I'm good. Similarly headache creeping in, and I think I need food and, you know, to continue drinking water as well, so it's a good thing to mm-hmm.
check in about. Um, I'm also getting cold, so that's a thing.
Fox: food will help with that too. Uhhuh.
Lizbett: And what am I thinking about? Um, I recently learned from, from a new, a new friend about noise artists and, yeah. Yeah. So all of this is coming together for me in a way where I'm like, Ooh, I have so many things that I also wanna geek out about and, you know, special interests and just learn because there's no one way to do this.
And I think, you know, hopefully throughout this entire, the three seasons of this podcast thus far, you know? Mm-hmm. people can come to understand that. Yeah. Which, We make things with what we have, and they're always different and right. They can always include other perspectives and methods and tools and all of the things, which is incredibly exciting.
And yeah, I just wanna learn more about noise artists and experience. Oh yeah.
Fox: All that stuff. We should, um, we should, outside of this, uh, find some time to, to hang out and chat about that because I've also been interested in, uh, in incorporating like aspects of noise, art, and uh, and like noise music into my own work, which is something that I haven't done a lot of in, I haven't done a lot of up to now, but like, using contact mics and weird, weird gizmos and things, and like finding new ways to bring in found sound and interesting textures that, uh, that, that like, Hit just hit different right.
Than, than like a, like a piano sound or a synthesizer sound, you know, ,
Lizbett: yes. I would love to do that. Thank you. Um, do you wanna do some kind of seal it before we, before you bless us with an outro?
Fox: Uh, sure, sure. Uh, yeah. Do we wanna do the, the standard sealant? I'll, we'll zoom back here and we can do the, the flex foot.
Kick in the clap. . Alright.
Lizbett: I'm with
Fox: ya. . You have space for that? Yep. All right. Cool. Right.
Heck yeah. Uh, people on YouTube enjoy my feet.
usually, usually people have to pay for that, so, Ooh,
right? I think we get some theme music and then, Um, outro by interviewee,
Fox: which is, ah, okay. What's my intro?
Lizbett: Yeah, you get a Hey,
Fox: listener plus. There we go. There we go. Cool. I have a script. I have a script. Great. Awesome. . All right, here we go. Hey, listener, thank you so much for taking the time and energy to listen to this episode.
If any other, anything, be sure to check out the show notes for links to find out more about this podcast, the Speakers and Grape Box collective. You can also go to gray box collective.com/podcast for a full transcript of this episode. Thanks again for listening and
uh, yeah, thanks again for listening and take care of yourself. Drink water. You're basically, uh, you're basically a houseplant with anxiety, so drink up
Cool. Yeah. I'm gonna hit stop recording and.