What: I AM MPLS!
When: Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m., Thursday
Where: Varsity Theater, 1308 Fourth Street SE, Minneapolis
When asked what one will experience at I AM MPLS!, Sarah Edwards doesn’t have a definitive answer — there is no strict definition for the collaboration. It’s free reign creativity and innovation; it has no rules.
“It’s hard to explain what people should expect,” Edwards said. “It’s not a fashion show, and it’s not a comedy show and it’s not a music show; it’s all of those things together telling a story.”
The mastermind behind the multi-faceted event, Edwards started I AM MPLS! three years ago in an effort to bring together all of the different types of talent the Twin Cities offers, from rockabilly to the sophistication of the MIA.
Originating as a quest to fulfill her passion of living life in the fashion lane and her appreciation of the abundance of art scenes our city offers, Edwards combined the two to create an event offering a plethora of talent.
“I wanna twist a fashion show. So instead of models, I wanna get chefs and entrepreneurs and tattoo artists to walk [the runway],” said Edwards. “They’re the ones going to these local boutiques and purchasing the items anyway; it’d be fun to see them in the clothes.”
Marketing director for the creative agency Pixel Farm by day and Minneapolis art-scene advocate by night, Edwards developed the event I AM MPLS! to showcase people who are doing interesting things in the Twin Cities.
The local talent featured at each year’s show is new, a fresh batch of creative cookies.
“I like to have new people each year,” Edwards said. “Get new faces and meet new people.”
“I’m really inspired by all of the scenes in Minneapolis, and I’m always surprised at how many things are going on,” Edwards said.
She wants to allow people with different creative interests the opportunity to meet and learn from each other. The event is about becoming exposed to people you wouldn’t have otherwise met or been connected with. It’s being introduced to a new scene within the same realm.
Edwards highlighted the performances of Thursday’s acts as appealing to a wide audience. The event includes comedic performances from Minneapolites Nate Abshire and Ben San Del, and musical performances from beat boxer and lyricist Heatbox and A. Wolf and Her Claws, a four-piece electropop set. Jade Tittle, radio host and producer of The Current, will host the show.
“What I like about these people is that they all have interesting stories, and they are down to earth,” Edwards said. “They are just going for it and — it sounds cheesy — but, they’re going for their dreams.”
She sees the variety show moving forward as more than just an annual event. She wants the collaboration to be more of a hub for innovators and artistic enthusiasts to have easier access to one another.
The revolution-esque intent of the collaboration has the foundation to become more than just a Minneapolis project, insofar as creatives from Denver will be flying in for the production. I AM DENVER! could be the next project, and who knows — we may be seeing an exodus of I AM [insert city]! flooding the nation within the next couple of years, all because of Minneapolis ingenuity.
“I think people want to be really proud of where they’re from and highlight their local and creative roots,” Edwards said. “I think it’s bigger than this, bigger than just Minneapolis.”