COMMERCE – If you had the chance to party in the woods with a group of women for three days while being entertained by a diverse line-up of musical talent, would you take it? What if you could do it and help support a good cause at the same time?
If this sounds like the kind of thing only a fairy godmother could offer, well, it is. Only the godmothers in question here don’t use magical powers. They use good, ol’ fashioned womanpower.
From July 25 to 27, the Proud Lake Recreation Area will be awash in women for the second annual Estrogen Fest, a fundraiser put on by The Godmothers, a group of local women working to make a difference in the lives of children and adults in need. From delivering gifts to kids to making sure families have something on the dinner table during the holidays, The Godmothers’ goal is to make their community a better place.
“We all wanted to help people in our own back yard,” says Juli Siagkris-Seymour of Royal Oak, a member of the group.
To that end, funds raised from Estrogen Fest will go toward building a playground at Detroit’s Drew Academy where one of The Godmothers is a kindergarten teacher. Currently, says Siagkris-Seymour, “There’s nowhere for the kids there to play and exercise and have recess that’s safe.”
To pull an event like Estrogen Fest off, most organizations would need at least a year to plan. The Godmothers, however, managed to wrangle together a hot line-up of music and comedy acts in less than six months.
Estrogen Fest attendees will be rocked and rolled by local favorites like Barbara Payton, Liz Larin and Sista Otis, as well as some new faces like Addie Loy, Urban Blue and Frozen Feet.
Comedian Jackie Primrose Monahan, who will travel from New York City to emcee the event, said she thinks of Estrogen Fest as a Lilith Fair that’s more fun and lasts longer.
After working primarily in sketch and improv, Monahan began doing stand-up four years ago after being “sort of pushed” into it. “Everybody thought I would be great at it except me,” she says. “But now I love it more than any other form because I don’t have to rely on anybody else and I get to say whatever I want.”
Monahan said she’s been described as a cross between Emo Phillips and Sarah Silverman. “Sometimes I’m a little bit edgy and some people can get offended,” she says. “Sometimes I wish I could be more like Ellen DeGeneres and be more for everybody, but I’m not for everybody.”
Neither, perhaps, is “Indierockbitchfolk,” but that’s exactly what Detroit native Julie Schurr brings to the Estrogen Fest table.
“Indierockbitchfolk,” explains Schurr, “is some cross between rock and folk because I’m not hard enough for rock a lot of the time and I’m not, let’s say, earthy enough for folk.”
And the bitch part? “That would probably be me, she says. “Not in a bad way, but in a I-say-whatever-the-hell-pops-into-my-head way. If it’s truthful, I pretty much say it and I think that kind of puts the ‘bitch’ in it.”
Just don’t call Avery a bitch. Avery, Schurr’s 5-year-old Shepard mix, will accompany her to the festival. “Everybody loves my dog so much. He’s so cute that he attracts all the girls and then they never look up at me for a second,” she says. “He’s an awful wing man.”
If edgy isn’t your thing, perhaps you’d prefer some jazz and pop standards. In that case, you won’t want to miss Ann Arbor duo Stolen Moments.
“We do covers. We’re not doing originals so people like that they know our tunes,” says bassist Jean Lieverman. “We do a wide assortment and people seem to enjoy it.”
Lieverman and band mate Marsha Gayle go way back having played in the band Herizon 20 years ago. They’ve been playing together as Stolen Moments for three years now.
Lieverman is looking forward to Estrogen Fest. “I think it’ll be a great success and it’s nice to be doing something that will benefit other people.”
Organizer Siagkris-Seymour concurs. “It’s a fun event, yes, but we’re doing it to help other people nearby to bring some joy to these children,” she says.
The point of it all is community; pulling together in spite of the bad economy, in spite of differences. “We want everyone to stick around instead of fleeing the state and events like this help keep it all together.”
Estrogen Fest 2008
Proud Lake Recreation Area, Commerce