On July 27th, Speedy Ortiz will be headlining an evening of innovation and the arts in Champaign at 51 Main. INTER-PYGMALION, which features music, technology, literature, and food will kick off with a reading from Speedy Ortiz frontwoman Sadie Dupuis before she performs later in the evening with her critically acclaimed band. Dupuis took the time to speak with Visit Champaign County’s Communications Manager Taylor Bauer about life on the road, the best parts of traveling, and the role that the arts play in a community.
It’s no secret that the arts are essential to the soul of the greater Champaign County area. Whether it’s Friday Night Live in Downtown Champaign, the Mahomet Music Festival, or a show at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, locals are always quick to attend a play, poetry reading, or any public performance from one of our many local, talented artists and creators. For Speedy Ortiz’ Sadie Dupuis, the arts can define a city and contribute to an “intellectual health”.
“A lot of ideas that can change a city for the good come from the arts, whether or not that’s an awareness thing or financial thing,” Dupuis says. It’s something she sees where she lives now. “I feel like here in Philadelphia it’s so diverse and pro-arts that there’s always a fundraiser or a protest that builds awareness to more casual show goers.”
Dupuis knows that Champaign is a uniquely active and dynamic artistic hub. “We played Pygmalion and we didn’t get to do much, but we’ve come back for club shows”. Dupuis says her favorite spot in Champaign County was Earth Analog, a recording studio owned by Matt Talbott in Tolono. When time is short on tour, Dupuis says it’s important to get out into a community whatever way you can. “I’ll go running in the morning and get to see a little of the city or the neighborhood,” she says. “We’re thankful for days off, but we’re lucky if we get to go out to dinner even. [It’s important to] get enough rest, eat so you have enough energy for the show, and then energy for the meet and greet and merch, and so on”
Dupuis says she’s been touring behind album after album since the release of Speedy Ortiz’ Major Arcana, the band’s 2013 full-length debut album that just celebrated its fifth birthday last week. Touring offers a better understanding of communities around America like the greater Champaign County area and the people that live there. “Getting to see so much of the country, you feel empathy for the different regional problems and the things people go through…you don’t have to travel to feel that, you can have internet access and see that, but it helps to put a face to an issue.”
Dupuis has been interested in activism for much of her life, and a lot of that passion has centered around poetry. On July 27th for her poetry reading at 51 Main, she’ll be reading newer works she’s written, as well as possibly some work from a book she’ll release in November. The collection of works was originally written four years ago. “The book is made up of thoughts about myself, and identity, and on gender, but it doesn’t go past my own experience. I don’t write like that anymore, so it’s kind of like a time capsule book.”
After being entered into and winning a poetry contest as a kid, Dupuis was actually cast in a commercial for a local theater. Poetry lingered on her peripheral for some time after that, but it wasn’t until a college course with Pressed Wafer founder Bill Corbett that she fell back in love with poetry, much because of Feminist authors like Audre Lorde. After dropping out of college to work and write, she reapplied to school at Barnard College and studied poetry. She followed her time at Barnard up with an M.S.A. in poetry at UMass-Amherst.
Art is important to Sadie Dupuis, much like it is to the residents of the greater Champaign County area. Dupuis believes when life gets hectic, the arts can be your best friends, offering “diversion by subjecting yourself to the arts.” We have access to a pool of talented musicians, artists, writers, and innovators here, which makes us very much Outside of Ordinary.
At INTER-PYGMALION on July 27th, you can hear Sadie Dupuis read poetry, as well a reading from Amy Sayre Baptista. Following poetry readings, there will be a panel discussion entitled the “Future of Tech in C-U”. The evening will conclude with the Spandrels opening for Speedy Ortiz.
Tickets for the evening of events are on sale now: https://www.facebook.com/events/214634132474930/