Creative Loafing

March 8, 2016

COMEDY IN TRAGEDY: Curator and burlesque dancer Sadie Hawkins hopes to expose the familiar struggle of an unwanted phallus in your inbox

Many people, primarily female-identifying ones, know firsthand the harassment and absurdities found in unsolicited direct messages online. Variety show DickLit features readings and interpretive performances of the actual tasteless messages people intercept on dating sites, social media, and the seemingly quaint channel of Ye Olde text message. Attendees can confront the objectification, dehumanization, and provocation of these messages.

During the show, artists from both genders are given half of a submitted conversation at random and will not know who their partner is until they get on stage. Each person reads their part and it moves on to the next conversation. There is a possibility that it will be a message that someone received, but did not respond to (typical with most unsolicited dick pics, TBH). No worries — everything is anonymous — especially to avoid those clingy types. With over 70 submissions, there will surely be plenty of LOLs and a lot of relatable conversations. The point of the show is to highlight submitted content of real messages from real people. “I want people to come and have fun,” Hawkins says. “It’s going to be sort of a weirdo performance art reading.”

Two violinists and a bass player accompany the 20-something readers. Cover  is $10, which Hawkins says goes to the performers. “It’s all volunteers,” she says. “If we make some money, hopefully they will get paid to do it because that is the important thing to me … that people involved in performance art have compensation.”

Hawkins says she’s been considering tackling something like DickLit for a while now. “There have been similar events in other cities so it’s not like this is my idea,” she says. “I’m around and social-networked with a lot of people who get a lot of really terrible messages from strangers on their social share accounts, and often they share them. I think a lot of people don’t see the people they are interacting with as actual human beings and that lack of humanity just means that people are terrible.”

Whatever name you call it, you know it often slides into places you don’t want it to be — like your inbox.

Click to read the article on the Creative Loafing website. Photo by Marc Turnley.