Live from the LIFESTYLE workbench…Feature No. 3 is here!! It’s hard to believe a month has already gone by since the debut of our feature series with Samuel Bostick, followed by The Know Nothings two weeks ago…
Today, we are PROUD to present the one and only Megan Branch, a woman with mad creative talent in acting, singing, dancing, photography, and writing…Reflection and Response to the fullest, in all contexts. Her drive and passion for her craft continue to inspire us in our own work.
She was featured singing the hook on Peter’s acoustic version of He’s Your Guy last month. Now, through the LIFESTYLE interview followed by an excerpt from a rant she created, we take a look at how Megan defines herself and her work. Digg!
Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?
MB: I was born in Albuquerque but I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Right now I live in Brooklyn, New York.
What does Reflection and Response mean to you?
MB: Reflection and Response in my life is the ability to be moved and changed by the world around you, whether it be a painting, a song, a piece of conversation you hear on the street, a beautiful sky, a delicious meal, a piece of text, a news article, anything that affects you and in turn changes you, inspires you enough to further create and respond. Now, that response also comes in many forms, like a LIFESTYLE blog, one line of poetry or a raw fit – to me reflection and response is when art in its many forms affects you in such a way it alters the way you view the world, it changes you, and you it. This change begins a conversation, a response, and in my opinion, makes the world better than it was before.
How does Ghost fit in with that definition?
MB: Ghost is an excerpt from a rant I wrote in my Chicano Teatro class my senior year of undergrad at the University of New Mexico. The title used to be called This is Why You Hate Me, needless to say I was very angry at the time, specifically with the person whom I’m addressing throughout the piece. Anger can definitely be inspiring and is almost necessary when writing a rant. But I think since I’ve revisited this piece recently I have found that I am less angry but still passionate when speaking to this person through my writing and have since edited the final paragraph with a different point of view. Reflection is beautiful in that way because I am recognizing that my work is growing and changing and morphing and through my response I can now make something new.
What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?
MB: This rant inspired an image, which has inspired the opening scene of a one woman show I started writing this past summer. I am hoping to have it finished and start performing it within the next year. Stay tuned! I am also in the middle of rehearsal for Execution of Justice by Emily Mann at The New School for Drama where I am getting my MFA in Acting. The play opens in two weeks and I’m hella excited to be making my New York stage debut! haha.
Who or what inspires you?
MB: New York City is definitely an inspiration everyday. I see such crazy things here, such glimpses of humanity on the street or on the subway. New Mexico inspires me. That beautiful part of the country, my history, and the history of my family fuels everything I do. All of my family and friends that live there keep me pursuing my dreams. I see what my grandparents have done with their lives in order to give their children and their grandchildren opportunities they never had and I feel so moved to continue to create and educate myself on their behalf. Their love and support keeps me going. Education inspires me. I can’t seem to read enough or watch enough or see enough. My favorite playwright is Cherríe Moraga, her essays are also incredibly inspiring. She inspires me to continue to write and ask questions about who I am and my place in the world and meditate on those questions deeply. And Vicken my muse, lol, no but really, Vicken is MORE than inspiring.
Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?
MB: THAT THE LIFESTYLE IS SICK! And KEEP IT GOING HOMIES!
Shout out to…?
MB: To my sister Sierra who just started seventh grade and is growing up way too fast, she’s so smart and amazing and I’m so proud of her.
To my beautiful mom Mary who battles Leukemia every day but is still living to tell the tale! She is such a fighter and surviver and the best mama. I love her so much.
To my homegirls; Mimosa Twocrow one of the most creative people I know, a sick make-up artist, and ill photgrapher, get out here to NYC ASAP. And Klarissa Gallegos you too! It’s time to make your restaurant idea a reality! Much love.
To my professor Leonard who assigned our teatro class to write a rant. And introduced me to so many incredible playwrights.
To Chris Leslie who directed me in my first play when I was eight. That theatre was my refuge and I don’t know what I would have done or who I would be without it.
To Ernie Badinsky the Polish Prince. One of the most creative people I have ever known. I will now make art in celebration of the incredible life he had.
To E, with who I can’t even begin to describe all of the life gifts you’ve given me, you taught me that being an angsty teen was okay and gave me outlets for it, to name a few Johnny Cash, Modest Mouse, and Quentin Tarantino.
To P-Mu who’s going hard in Spain and doing big things! Thanks for including me in your music Pete, it means a lot.
And to my cariño Vicken. One of the smartest and most beautiful people I know. Talk about making dreams a reality! Vicken DOES IT. He never neglects his own ideas and I always see them come into fruition. From the day I heard about the LIFESTYLE as just a random topic of conversation to the day I saw him and Peter launch it in our apartment. Vicken never fails at being 100% who he is and putting 100% in everything he does. Vicken is always Vicken no matter where he is or who he’s with and that teaches me so much. He is one of the most talented artists I know and inspires me to devote more to my art everyday. Te amo.
“Invite that brown friend of yours over HERE” your mother said. She couldn’t remember my name – “she doesn’t come from anybody we know”, “what’s her last name?” “Yeah I’ve never heard of them.”
My brown skin blended in with the saltillo tiles and adobe. I felt her eyes pierce through my new transparent self.
The ‘Mexican Room’ as you called it, decorated with rugs and furniture and a collection of Mexican dolls smuggled across the border like immigrants in your father’s van. I snuggle up against them and sit with them on the shelf. Together we stare aimlessly at this odd family around us, forever missing our home, they were my camouflage, my friends, foreigners just like me.
When I discovered the ‘servant button’ built into the floor under the dining room table, placed ever so conveniently for the masters foot to beep, I buzzed it repeatedly, for minutes on end, you told me to stop but my finger pressed on, I hid under the dining room table…waiting for a ghost, my ghost to enter dressed as a maid.
“Get up!” she whispers. “Fly away!”. “Fly away” she yells! I grab her hand and we fly out of the window and up into the sky, we fly over your house and onto mine. As we fly my ancestors join me from Delia and Las Vegas, Albuquerque and Mora. We laugh as we fly over Los Sangre de Cristos and Las Sandías. We are free and together, juntos at last. Our laughs get louder and our whispers get stronger, you think it’s the wind and so we keep on laughing. I wave to my mom and my grandma below…I laugh harder and harder until my laugh wakes me up…I am met with the angry yell of your father telling me to stop.
Reflection and Response.
I C U
So proud of my beautiful Cupcake!
thanks Peter! Conversation is definitely vital and complacency = death. You guys are raw for creating a new venue that facilitates that conversation.
Awesome feature. It’s so cool to peep your writing! I especially liked this one line in your interview when you were talking about your definition of reflection and response:
“to me reflection and response is when art in its many forms affects you in such a way it alters the way you view the world, it changes you, and you it. This change begins a conversation.”
I think “conversation,” is a dope way to look at R&R. For me, music and lyrics enable participation, a “conversation,” with the world. That is so powerful. Mediums of RR, weather they be music or art or fashion or whatever are an important way to for us to “wake up” from being passive. Once awake we really are unstoppable and music has been such a beautiful awakening and it is great to hear about your take on RR and it’d be dope to hear about what other people use for their mediums of RR.