Dear Boston Phoenix,

I noticed that your esteemed paper is once again accepting nominations for “Best of” awards and I wanted to address the gaping void in your categories that irks me every year- the continued omission of underground, queer, and independent entertainment that fills this city. With such strict labels on categories, there is no hope for performers and producers like Vanessa White, Artistic Director of Babes in Boinkland, who produced a show for a second consecutive Christmas season that was attended by over 7,000 people (!) and funded on little more than life savings and the faith of a cast that worked at The Slutcracker because they loved it. There is no room for All The Kings Men, who for 8 years have pioneered a new genre in the queer scene, and seem to be recognized all over the country except for Boston. Though there is room for The Steamy Bohemians in comedy categories, these singer/musician/producers have pioneered the way for neo-vaudeville in Boston, and have certainly done it on more than their incredible comedy alone. There is no room for the legions of burlesque dancers, drag performers, aerialists, physical performers, puppeteers and other creative original artists in Boston who create their ongoing vision every day. And there is no room for shows like my company’s Bent Wit Cabaret, which is dedicated to producing the best variety in this great city and committed to working with these artists with a striking point of view. 

All of these performers and producers have no funding and work for free or gamble rent whenever a show comes up, or trade amongst themselves in this flourishing community we have created. There is no sponsorship, no bluehairs, no promotional and media budget. Imagine writing a show, sewing your own costume, writing a press release, balancing a budget, creating a website… it’s amazing the skillsets you gather when you’re only you, but to be an artist you have to be all of those other things too, and work a day job to pay rent on top of it.

Boston is often compared to, and found lesser than, New York City. I choose Boston. I love this city. Here we can produce the art we want to produce. We can have a voice and a point of view, and make up the rules without fear. The independent art and theatre community has been for too long bypassed for “real” theater- and for a group of people that is so proud to continually cultivate the landscape of Boston’s flourishing art scene, it is a slap in the face to not have a place to compete in the “Best of Boston” categories. We create original, creative, affordable entertainment in this community and we rightly deserve a place in your nominations categories. Without us, I sincerely believe Boston would not be the same great city. I ask that you consider including our presence in your nominations. 

Most sincerely,

Jill Gibson
Producer & Performer 
Axe To Ice Productions

FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES- Please pass this on to whomever you like, and let's see if we can grab our place in this fair city!