After a solid year of sold-out performances, we’ve learned how to streamline our shows. Both new guest artists and Veteran Vulva Underground members need to understand the following:
Q: I want in! How can I be in a Vulva Underground show? What’s the process?
A: Send us a live recording of yourself singing and/or playing a song. You can post it to us in a Facebook message or send it to Vulvaundergroundpdx@gmail.com and we will contact you to let you know if we think there’s a fit. We handpick talent for each show based on the musical and performance strengths we have observed among the women in the Portland music scene. Because there is limited space and musical genre considerations, you may not be asked to do every the show you want to be in. Think of this as a theatre production, and VU Core Members are the casting directors. If we don’t choose you for one show, we may invite you to do a future show.
Q: I was asked to play the next show. What if I have to be late or leave early?
A: We ask that you plan on attending the entire show, including early arrival. We need all hands on deck to assist with potential needs for these shows. We are here to support each other, after all. Promoting or playing another show on the same night will be considered a conflict of interest.
Q: Can I play my own instrument?
A: Maybe. Please plan on using the house guitar so that we limit equipment changes between acts. Keep your stuff simple; having a lot of gear to set up just for you makes the show drag and causes stress. Please make special requests in advance and we will do our best to accommodate. LABEL YOUR STUFF.
Q: What is the best way to contact and communicate with everyone in the show?
A: Facebook is a MUST. It truly is the easiest way for us to communicate with everyone at the drop of a hat. We’ll need your phone number and email, but Facebook seems to be the best
way. Also, we frequently use Google Docs to share setlists, reserved songs and other information documents between musicians.
Q: Whom should I contact if I have a question or concern regarding the show?
A: Always contact the producer, first. This is usually a VU Core Member (Darka, Rachael, or Renée) and will be the person who initially messages the entire cast with information about the upcoming show. Contact another core member if the producer cannot be reached.
Q: How many rehearsals will there be?
A: Generally, there will be two for each monthly showcase, and three or more for the big rock shows. You are required to attend if the band is backing you up. Solo performers need not attend.
Q: Do I have to stay for the full rehearsals the whole time?
A: No. We’ll have a schedule and you can pick your slot. But please be flexible. We will give you the opportunity in our rehearsal FB event invite to sign up for a timeslot in which we will cover your song(s). Show up at least thirty minutes before your time slot, in case things are running quickly, and expect to stay at least an hour later, in case we are running late. The bottom line is, be flexible.
Q: How should I prepare for rehearsals?
A: Know your song(s) before you come to rehearsal. A week before the rehearsal, please
make a simple, recording of your song (iPhone ‘memo’ is fine). Record it in the key you plan to use sing/play it. Send it to us (via Facebook) so we have a chance to practice before rehearsal. Print at least five chord charts with full lyrics in a large, readable typeface to hand out to band members. Bring a pencil and take good notes.
Q: What should I wear for the show?
A: We encourage you to dress like the musical artist that you are or the songwriter you are covering, if it is appropriate. You may also dress according to the era of the theme.
Q: How much do we charge for admission?
A: Varies. Showcase nights are generally $5 for admission. Bigger concerts can vary from around $8 to $12 per ticket or more, depending on the expected draw/venue capacity. Since we have a large amount of performers, we do not allow a guest list at any of our performances.
Q: How much compensation can I expect per show?
A: Compensation is based on your participation in the show, the venue, and the cover. If we make a large profit, we will pay each performer what we can. We do have promotional costs, sound/photography crew and VU core members to take care of first in order to keep these shows on a highly professional level.=
Q: What are the VU Mantras?
A: How did you know we had mantras? Well, we do. Check out this list:
■ Be direct, but with respect.
Before the night of the show, if you need to communicatea concern or make a suggestion, please speak up! Keep in mind that we are women and are naturally sensitive creatures. This is a wonderful thing, but it is your responsibility to communicate your needs in a thoughtful way that gives us time to respond accordingly and feel comfortable with each other.
■ Let it go ‘til after the show. On night of the show, be mindful that many of our senses our emotions are heightened from nerves or excitement, and thus, drama can happen. If someone upsets you, know that that person probably has the best of intentions, and wait until the show is over to talk to us about it then. Even then, consider waiting until the next day when everyone has rested and sobered up from the night before.
■ You gotta represent! We ask you to respect our shows and to manage your buzz to make sure you perform at your fullest. VU is not interested in sloppy performances or babysitting you. Our performances are always packed, because we do our best to showcase the most talented women in Portland. So know your limits, and value respect the hard work everyone has put into these shows by projecting your best artistic self.
We sincerely hope that by sharing our vision of this collective, you will help us unite and strengthen Portland’s well of female talent.
Thank you for reading!