Parks Robinson challenges Reno’s male culture with ‘She’s on Fire’ art and music festival – Sierra Nevada Allies

She's on Fire music festival flyer

Women are severely underrepresented in many areas of the art world. However, organizers are working hard to celebrate female artists with an upcoming one-day arts and music festival called She’s on Fire.

“The dream for this event is an old-fashioned variety show format, but we want female musicians, artists, comedians, dancers, poets and other yet-to-be-imagined performances, not by men in ugly sweaters. Featuring an accordion player and then a hair-raising ventriloquist, we hope to bring together and highlight the depth and diversity of talents and skills possessed by the women of Reno while engaging as many people as possible to appreciate and enjoy them,” the event website reads. .

sierra sierra ally Staff writer Cheyenne Lester spoke with Pax Robinson, one of the organizers of the event, which doubles as a fundraiser for the Reno Beauty Project.

Pax Robinson is the founder of She's on Fire Arts and Music Festival
Pax Robinson, founder of She’s on Fire Arts and Music Festival

Cheyenne Lester: I’m wondering what you think is the importance of shining a light on female performers in our community, whether they’re dancers, comedians, poets, or musicians; why do you think that’s valuable?

Parks Robinson: I think Reno has a strong male culture [aren’t] Too much space is given to women. I wanted to create an event that celebrated women and provided more opportunities for them to meet each other and cross-pollinate. I find that many female artists are more versatile. I want to create an ecosystem of talented women coming together.

For example, we always have live music, but then some pole dancers dance to the music, which is great. I think it will come together in an organic way. I hope to bring people from different creative communities together and support each other.

I’ve had similar thoughts; there are a lot of male performers in Reno and I’m always looking for more female bands, artists, comedians, dancers, musicians. I believe this festival will be a huge tribute to that. But can you tell me a little bit about the festival and the Project Beauty fundraiser?

Jillian Haun (Founder of The Beauty Project) is an amazing hairstylist. She finds the unique beauty in people and brings it out. When I saw her posts, not one hairstyle was the same. She helps people shine and express their uniqueness through these hairstyles. Jillian wants to ensure that people who are struggling financially have access to these beauty services that allow them to feel more confident, beautiful, and build that confidence to further help them find their way into the world.

Jillian Haun, founder of The Beauty Project
Jillian Haun, founder of The Beauty Project

The fundraiser has two goals: to pay performers equitably and to fund cosmetic programs so that these services can be provided to those in need. For homeless people, some resources are very simple and the way they are presented can be dehumanizing. Her approach is very refined because she respects these individuals and knows they should have these basic needs met to help them feel better about themselves, more confident and positive.

I like that very much. A good haircut can definitely give you a better perspective on yourself and your daily life. Can you tell me about some of the performers who will be there?

We will have burlesque dancers, Native American dancers, pole dancers, DJs, poets, spoken word performers, comedians, front girl bands, improvisers and live visual artists who will be painting during the show.

We will have a larger stage for the performers and a smaller open mic type stage for anyone who wants to stand up there and perform.

The festival features a wide variety of performers. So, final question; what do you hope to get out of this event once the dust settles, or even now? What do you hope the performers or audience take away from the day?

I want all the performers to feel appreciated and inspired, and I want everyone here to feel that more is possible, that a different world is achievable. This is a world where women are celebrated and not taken for granted. I want people who don’t consider themselves artists or creatives to feel empowered to take steps to explore their creativity. I also hope that at least six couples will meet there and get together (laughs).

When she said this, we all high-fived ourselves at this hopeful thought. I’m sure I’m not the only one eager to make new friends and hopefully build community connections and fuel other creative endeavors.

But this conversation also made me think about all the women who inspire me in their different ways of looking at life and creating, and how necessary it is for women to reach out to each other.

There is always something sacred about women coming together for the greater good. We are literally on fire; whether as artists, chefs, mothers, sisters, or simply intuitive beings. We bring so much light and life to this place. Sometimes it gets lost in the notion that there is a “man’s world” on this planet.

There is something to be said for a woman whose heart and soul burn with passion, and a woman who wants to share that passion with a world that can sometimes feel dull and disconnected from beauty. This festival seems to prove that our genders can convey complex aspects of creativity to each other and to people in our communities.

The event will be held on Sunday, May 19th from 2 to 7 pm at Abbey Highway: East 4th Street in Reno.Attendees are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance Tickets can be purchased at the door the day of the show for $40 each.

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