Artists sing, write, SPEAK about female experience | SteamboatToday.com
Julia Ben-Asher/For Steamboat Today

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Artists sing, write, SPEAK about female experience

Sabrina Stewart was one of the women who performed during the Young Bloods Collective SPEAK - Performances from Women in the Yampa Valley event earlier this year.

If you go:

What: SPEAK: Performances from Women in the Yampa Valley

When and where: 8 p.m. Thursday, March 9 at Yampa Valley Brewing Co., Hayden

8 p.m. Friday, March 10 at Circle R, Oak Creek

8 p.m. Saturday, March 11 at Off the Beaten Path, Steamboat Springs

Tickets: youngbloodscollective.org/speak; $20 online, $25 at the door

— The new nonprofit Young Bloods Collective is hosting a brand new event called SPEAK, which will feature performance of original work that have been written, compiled and presented by women who live in the Yampa Valley.

"A few of the pieces are pretty serious," said SPEAK's creator and producer Emily Waldron. "But there's also a lot of tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic humor, which relates a lot to the way women approach the world — always laughing a little bit to keep ourselves from crying."

The program begins with the song "Do As I Please," by Steamboat Springs funky soul singer-songwriter Tera Johnson. The song is part of her album, "Home," set to be released in April.

"Women are typically saying, 'Oh, I'm so sorry,' and taking 10 steps back," Johnson said. "This song does the opposite. It says, 'screw the system.' This is the message I want to send to my daughter and to other people's daughters.

"I've been in the music industry for over two decades," she said, "and I've always been a feminist. But I can't say that's been a focal point in my own music until I had my daughter."

The majority of the program is spoken pieces, some read by their writers and some by surrogates.

B Torres will be presenting her piece "Masculinity Makeover."

"We have a really limited idea of how men can be men," Torres said. "It's about the limitations that we put on men, and how, in turn, that harms us, as women."

Torres has participated in “Vagina Monologues” in the past; this will be her first time presenting her own writing.

"I'm a lesbian, and I'm Mexican," Torres said. "Owning those identities in Routt County can be difficult.

"Some of the people who really need to hear this stuff won't be (at the performances)," she said. "But everyone will find something valuable in these pieces. It's really bringing a voice to the other segments of the community. It's going to be a breath of fresh air."

The pieces to be presented were selected after a local call for submissions and auditions. Despite the fact that each piece was written separately, and despite the fact that pieces range from the modern-day experiences of a high schooler to the experiences of a Routt County great-grandmother as told through her decades-old newspaper clippings, the artists agree that common threads tie the pieces together.

"We all kind of have the same experiences, but in different settings," Waldron said. "I hope that no one necessarily cries, but we're giving people food for thought."

Proceeds from the shows will be donated to Planned Parenthood of the Rockies and Advocates Building Peaceful Communities.

"Definitely, the political climate is what motivated the choice of the organizations to receive proceeds," Waldron said. "Having forces for women's access to affordable healthcare is more important now than ever."

Performances take place Thursday at Hayden's Yampa Valley Brewing Company, Friday at Oak Creek's Circle R Bar and Saturday at Steamboat's Off the Beaten Path.

"In Routt County, we struggle with having a very liberal side and a very conservative side," Waldron said. "We all live here for the same reasons but don't necessarily realize that. Art is a way to bridge those gaps. If you can sit next to someone who voted opposite of you — if you can talk together, that's a little bit of progress."