I recently read "Adventures in Dietland" by Sarai Walker, gifted to me by the aunt I always looked up to for Christmas this year. The narrator, an overweight middle aged woman shares her experiences trapped inside of a body that does not fit in our culture's conception of beauty. As an overweight adolescent and young adult, I struggled just as she had with this "inner skinny woman" who was just waiting to be carved out my soft, doughy flesh. If only I was thinner, I thought I'd be happy. I could wear whatever I wanted and look beautiful. Men would look at me and give me attention. I tried Hydroxycut and bulimia, Sensa appetite-curbing dust, Weight Watchers, Slimfast, Alli, anorexia, and the grapefruit diet. Weight loss pills I can't remember the name or first ingredient of. I've eaten thousands of dollars worth of low calorie frozen trays of cardboard food. I've done two-a-days and refused my body sustenance until it finally submitted to the scale. Sure, I had heard the side effects. Restricted blood vessels, irritability and depression, paralysis, even death. Back then I didn't really care--sure, I may not have admitted it but I was willing to do whatever it took to claim my life the way it should have been, for that thin woman trapped inside of my curvy body. I hated my body into the shape I wanted it to be, and ultimately would cave under the pressure of denying my body the pleasures of food and rest. And why? For the sake of being desired by men and idealized by women. In short, I wish I had been given a copy of this book on my sixteenth birthday. It's truly that powerful. I'd recommend it without hesitation to any woman struggling with body image issues--which is nearly every person (woman or otherwise) on this planet. I haven't been able to step into a Victoria Secret since, and I'm not sure I'll return. Not because I'll be burning my bras anytime soon, but because I'm not a fan of how the chain makes me feel about my body and the bodies of other women. I'm certain I've never read something that quite put the diet industry into perspective like this-- Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book.
I've moved onto "A Man Called Ove" by Frederik. A fantastic read so far that's given me perspective on my neighbor, Ron. He lives at the end of my street, and there's been a sign posted in his yard for over a year now, accusing the person who took the cactus out of his driveway of being a thief. The sign has been weathered and repaired many times, but it's tone is sharp and unforgiving. I'm not exceedingly familiar with the care of cacti, but I'm imagining this cactus had been groomed devotedly for many years. Surely so if the plant deserves such an extended search. I recall it well, inhabiting an entire milk carton, sunning itself on his driveway. I'll explain more later, but this book, heartbreakingly sad and beautifully written, helps me imagine why Ron is the way he is. What a round-about way of describing my thoughts--but, I digress.
In other exciting news, I've booked my next show at The Stage @ KHDX in Saint Louis, Missouri on Saturday, April 15th 2017 at 7:30pm. The show, "Duet," will be a largely collaborative effort showcasing St. Louis's biggest and brightest through pop duets and group numbers. I'm thrilled to present something unlike I've ever tackled before--an ensemble cabaret showcasing several performance mediums: song, dance, spoken word, and more. When I was in college, our theatre and dance club would put on these cabarets that invited all majors perform--from ballerinas to stage hands. They were wonderful shows because they were such a mixed bag. You never knew what kind of art you'd get to experience. In that spirit, I'm putting together a show that celebrates multiple art forms. I'm also ecstatic for the opportunity to invite my friends on stage with me. You can design and build the most beautiful place in the world, but it takes people to make that dream a reality. Celebrate your network. Create art. Come out and support the artistic community in Saint Louis. Tickets are $20, and are available via this link.
And, of course, I booked my next show on my birthday--what better way to celebrate another year of birth than by doing something I love? I'm also excited to launch my first foray into merchandising with the help of close friend and collaborator, Craig Warnhoff of Fatalistic Image and the uniquely skilled designer and illustrator, Parker Gibson. The t-shirt design is still under wraps, but rest assured it's stunning and when we unveil the final design you won't be able to resist adding to cart. What's more, we'll be offering a special concert ticket package which will include one official Emily Johnson merch tee along with your ticket. Pre-order your concert tee along with your ticket or add your name to the list to be notified when the design is unveiled and our order system is up and running by clicking below:
Can't make it to the show to celebrate my big day? Here's your chance to show your support! Order your own official Emily Johnson concert tee, catch the show streamed LIVE via Instagram, and enjoy the performance from the comfort of your own home.
I'm positively thrilled to welcome so many talented folks onto the stage with me, including Maria Bartolotta, Joseph Bassa, Abraham Chapman, Amy Coyle, Caitlin Fields, Evan Fornachon, Stephen Haake, Jake Henke, Riley James, Lindsey Jones, Carrie Kesler, Maggie McCarthy, Reginald Pierre, Ariel Roukaerts, Luke Steingruby, Kelvin Urday, Sara Rae Womack, Jacob Zengerling, and many more. Celebrate your network. Create art. Come out and support the artistic community in Saint Louis!
We take the stage on my birthday, Saturday, April 15th 2017 at 7:30pm at The Stage @KHDX. Doors will open at 7pm. Tickets are $20/piece or $45 for a ticket and concert tee.
Be sure to follow my Instagram account, @emilyjohnsonstl, for show updates, ticket giveaways, and of course catching the whole performance streamed LIVE!