Art & Community

A series of podcasts and interviews focused on the work and the people that inspire us!

Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters

It was an incredible honor to be welcomed warmly into the home and studio of master beader Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters while in New Orleans this summer. He and his partner Alicia gave us a glimpse into the beautiful traditions and culture of New Orleans.

“With a career spanning almost three decades, Melancon is well-known for his meticulous hand-sewn beadwork used to create massive Mardi Gras Indian suits which are composed of intricately beaded patches depicting actual and imagined events from African and American history. His complex and multidimensional portrayals draw inspiration from indigenous people in America, enslaved Africans, and inspirational leaders from history. His work draws from a broad variety of stylistic influences, features imagery rich with symbolism and meaning, addresses stereotypical representations of black people, and tells powerful stories from his experience of the African diaspora.”

Listen in, as the charismatic Big Chief gives us yet another reason to love the incredible culture and people of New Orleans.

AJ Silver – Cowboy from the Bronx!

AJ Silver, trick rider and cowboy dropped by the studio to break up some Bronx stereotypes!
He even brought his lasso and bullwhips so we all got a chance to cowgirl a little at Girl’s Club.
Yippee Ya Yo Ka Ay!

Confronting Criminal Injustice

This Fall, we were blessed to work with longtime Girl’s Club collaborator and A Blade of Grass Fellow Jackie Sumell on her Solitary Gardens project in a larger event sponsored by ABOG.

Big shout out to all the collaborators and ABOG for a fantastic evening – you can catch the full panel here hosted by WGRL and featuring panelists from Re:Entry Think Tank and Solitary Gardens discussing the work they are doing to confront and change our criminal justice system.

 

 

Strange! Odd! Bizarre! A Visit to Obscura Oddities and Antiques

Join us for a super creepsville field trip to New York City’s oldest oddity emporium located in a former funeral parlor!

Obscura Oddities and Antiques was equal parts fascinating and horrifying! They carry medical, scientific, natural history, fraternal, circus/sideshow, and all things unusual.

The shop had it’s own successful series on the Discovery/Science channel for several seasons. We were lucky enough to catch owner Mike Zohn at the shop who gave us some great behind the scenes info and assured us that the scariest thing about the shop was doing the tax paperwork each year! 

Music Box Village – a Tiny Town of Musical Wonder!

Music Box Village in our sister city of New Orleans is truly an experience where art comes alive and vibrates with song!
We have had the honor of performing there in the past in a female musical history of New Orleans and are lucky to count Airlift, who run Music Box, as our NOLA family!
Enjoy this magical audio journey and the below video with performance highlights!

 

 

Sowing Seeds of Hope with Jackie Sumell

Jackie Sumell is an incredible artist, activist  and compassionate friend of the Girls Club.
Her work seeks to expose and change the abuses perpetrated by the criminal justice system in America.
We caught up with Jackie in her home town of New Orleans, at her Solitary Garden project. What resulted is more of a discussion than an interview, one that we hope more people will be having after The Solitary Garden tour this Fall.
To find out more about the project please visit the Solitary Gardens website. 

Shine On! with Reese Witherspoon, Elaine Welteroth, and Cleo Wade

“The Best Thing about Girl Power is over time it becomes Women Power” – Cleo Wade.

We were thrilled to be featured in Reese Witherspoon’s new series “Shine On with Reese Witherspoon” from her women-centric media production company Hello Sunshine! on the DirectTV platform.

We also got a chance to sit down with Reese and Girls Club fam and supporters Elaine Welteroth and Cleo Wade for an in depth convo on women in media, sisterhood, and developing a circle of support.

Thank you ladies for a day filled with love, laughter and real talk!

Dread Scott — Revolutionary Artist Speaking Truth to Power

On our recent trip to New Orleans, we had the extreme pleasure of running into activist and artist Dread Scott at Paper Machine, an art gallery-print shop-artist studio in the Lower 9th Ward.

Dread was gracious enough to grant us an interview and spoke eloquently about his mission to make revolutionary art to propel history forward and how that manifests in his work.

Dread also told us about his latest project taking place in November of this year. The Slave Rebellion Reenactment is a community-engaged performance that will bring to life a suppressed history of people with an audacious plan to organize, take up arms, and seize Orleans Territory. In this area of land stretching across most of present day Louisiana, the rebels of the 1811 uprising were determined to fight not just for their own emancipation, but to end slavery.  It is a project that will animate a revolutionary vision of freedom that creates a space for viewers and participants to dream: What if …?

We learned a lot in our conversation and are quite motivated by the way Dread Scott uses his voice and his art as a tool against oppression.

Coco and Breezy – The Power of Sisterhood!

Coco and Breezy stopped by to talk about sisterhood (they’re TWINS!), girl power and the value of being true to yourself and having each other’s backs as women.
We hope you are as super inspired as we were by the story of twins who went from not fitting in and being outsiders in school to becoming successful designers, DJs and entrepreneurs.
Coco and Breezy exemplify the concepts of sisterhood whether it’s your blood family or your bestie and we were happy to welcome them into our Girl’s Club Fam!

Sisterhood and Community at Louisiana Products

When in New Orleans, WGRL recommends a trip to the Louisiana Products Deli, a neighborhood institution for more than thirty years!
Run by charming sisters Martha and Melanie, Louisiana Products is part art gallery, part community center and part old sc

hool deli with delicious home cooked NOLA specialities. In this edition of our podcast, Martha explains some of the heart behind this one of a kind store where you can get your groceries with a healthy warm helping of New Orleans culture.

Trans Model Superstar Connie Girl

We were so happy to host the lovely Connie Girl at our studios for a discussion on  the world of modeling. She even gave us a lesson on how to walk the runway – it’s not as easy as it looks!
Hopefully she will be back at Girls Club soon preparing us for our next couture show in our design department!

 

Kara Ross – Designer and Entrepreneur Unleashes Her Secrets to Success

We were excited to host energetic entrepreneur, philanthropist and ethical jewelry designer Kara Ross in the WGRL studios recently.
Kara spoke on taking a career risk to follow her passion to create Unleashed, a social impact brand whose net profits support girls’ education and job creation globally and gave us some solid advice on pursuing our dreams and attaining our goals.
Take a listen for some inspiring advice for teens that passionate people of all ages can apply to their lives.
Thanks Kara for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit WGRL and we hope you will be back soon!