What is your name?
@leighhendrix on the Twitter
Describe your creative practice. Are you a visual artist, musician, craftsperson, apparel designer, blogger, etc?
I am a performer and writer and lesbian-about-town. I mostly write for my own performance – I make work solo and in collaboration with other performers and am extending into some collaborations with artists of other kinds as well. My solo show How To Be A Lesbian in 10 Days or Less was created in Providence and at Emerson College and has toured to some festivals and colleges and also some bars thank you very much. I recently wrote and performed a buddy comedy about friendship, work and making theater with Melissa Bowler called Leigh and Melissa Present: Hamlette at 95 Empire in Providence. I perform in a lot of different ways and in a lot of different places and I use a lot of movement and dance in my work too – most of which is a little ridiculous and funny in all the best kind of ways. In my humble opinion. I also act in other people’s plays and dance in other people’s dances too.
How does social media affect your practice?
I use social media a lot – as a tool for promotion because I self produce so much of my work and also as a way to connect with the larger theater and performance community. I follow theaters and performers and interesting organizations on Twitter and Facebook as a way to know what other folks are up to and also as a way to connect with people making things in similar ways. I don’t really blog very much, though I have a tumblr that I update occasionally. I also think social media is a little bit a part of my practice – since one of the ways I perform is really a performance of myself, sort of comedic personal story told by a Leigh that is more self conscious and a little more self deprecating, I do find that Leigh being a little more present in online stuff. Especially in my Twitter feed – that version of me is a little bit of a mess and tells embarrassing things or strange bits of her life in a way that I like to think is charming and hilarious.
Do you promote your work via the Internet? Why do you use the internet?
I promote my work via the Internet, although I think I don’t update my website frequently enough. I’m not the most savvy – I know there are better ways to use social media for marketing but I love it so much as an outlet for exploring the ways I want to interact with the world, ways that one can present oneself and craft something that is both like and unlike one’s real life that I don’t do the work of commenting on the right things or engaging buzzy people and topics online. I think strangely enough I use the internet because I really love people and personal story and I like the ways that people can connect in the virtual world. I like getting new people’s stories. And I also recycle jokes that I start on Twitter on a pretty regular basis. I seek to be adorable. That’s a good strategy for networking I think. I guess I’ll reassess around 35, see how the adorable thing is working as I get older.
What are some websites, social networks or other digital media that you find yourself using, loving and/or lurking on a somewhat regular basis?
One of my favorite websites is The Rumpus, which is a literary website that has a lot of really great personal essay and book talk that I adore. Have I told you yet how much I love Twitter? I’m not sure if I mentioned Twitter. Twitter. -Well, I love Twitter. I like the 140 character limit and the way people write jokes or poetry or respond to famous people in outrageous and strange ways. I spend a lot less time scrolling through tumblr than I used to and I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I love and also hate Facebook. I want to be entertained on Facebook – be cute and funny, show me every single picture of your cat ever, I even want to know about your improv show next week but I do not care what you think about a particular political issue or how much you love this or that thing or see pictures of your babies. Cats, yes. Babies, no. I think that really tells us a lot more about me than about anyone else or really anything useful about the internet machine. The takeaway: send me photos of your cats as soon as possible via whatever medium you have at your disposal.
Are there any creative people [visual artist, musician, craftsperson, apparel designer, blogger, etc] who are using web platforms in a particularly interesting way?
I think that the comedy writer and podcaster Julie Klausner is an awesome interent person and persona really making a cohesive thing work for her. The poet Patricia Lockwood does these incredible tweets that are so absurd and poetic – she explicitly exploits the form of a tweet to create tiny weird poems. The online theater journal Howl Round is changing the way folks have conversations about theater making in the United States and really activating conversations nationally and helping to include voices that don’t often get heard. They have this incredible thing called the New Play Map and anyone can put new work that is happening there. It’s an open platform and forum for people to engage with one another and with one another’s ideas and I love it.
Are there any websites/ web platforms that you have found to be less helpful, not as interesting or even taboo for creative people to use?
Hmmm. I don’t know – maybe I hate Linked In, is that answer? Do not send me a request on Linked In ever anyone. Thank you. I think that there are a million things I don’t even know about because secretly the Internet is a wild wild west kind of place if you can get past the fences. I am obviously comfortably hanging out around the fence, you know? I’m sort of using the tools that everyone else is using and trying to use them well.
What advice would you give to artists, musicians, bloggers, and online retailers?
I think an organized web presence is good – a website that connects your social media stuff, even if it is just a super simple splash page (like mine) that is easy for people to find and use. Get your domain name. Ask for help. Ask for help! I think that I don’t have a lot of advice because some would say that I’m doing it wrong. I certainly don’t think much about brand online and I don’t stress maybe as much as I should about what I am putting out for the world to see. I guess I think that you must have a web presence for people to believe you exist and beyond that it is up to you to try to craft the things that best express the person and thing you want to put out into the world.