The Chicago Reader just released their annual People Issue. Brain Frame’s founder, organizer, and emcee Lyra Hill is one of 19 profiled Chicagoans! Click here to read the interview and see some nice photos. Especially delightful is the video (bottom of page) in which she discusses her collaborative performance with Night Terror at BRAIN FRAME 13, our second anniversary show.
Over the past couple years I participated, to varying degrees, in Brain Frame, the Chicago-based performative comix reading series. Here I am included alongside my favorite cartoonists in the world in the Brain Frame Yearbook / 2011 - 2014.
The “joke” was that last night’s Brain Frame 19 Grand Finale was a funeral. But only one moment carried the funereal vibe—an extended dirge by Tyson Torstenson right before Lyra Hill reemerged from the curtain bathed in golden chains and sunglasses that shouted “deal with it” to the heavens.
For three years, Brain Frame has been a mainstay of first a gathering of friends, then a gathering of friends and cartoonists, then a gathering of friends, cartoonists and artists, then a gathering of friends, cartoonists, artists, and everyone else. Brain Frame was a monument to passion, to creativity, to drive and focus and beauty and the grotesque and light and darkness and love and hate and the idea that if you think of something, anything— you could make it happen.
Last night I performed a piece entitled “This Is Not That” with my (what, my everything? sure, that sounds about right) Emily Hutchings. It dealt with bodies and placement and dysphoria and confidently asked questions in the back (or very much the front) of everyone’s mind. It was a deeply personal piece for the both of us, we opened up each other’s hearts and minds and let a few hundred people into our most personal thoughts.
But never once did we worry about that openness, that vulnerability. Because Brain Frame was always a safe, open place where judgement and ridicule were always off the table. Chicago is not a safe place. It is not an open place. It is a place ruled by money and corruption where art is shat upon and anyone not fortunate enough to be a conniving rich psychopath hell-bent on ruining the lives of those “beneath” him is outcast. .
And for three years, Brain Frame was there for us to forget all that. It carried on, drowning out the hostile background noise with laughter and tears and wonder and absolute joy. When thinking about our piece today, I realized that I’d taken Brain Frame’s safe place for granted. Which is lovely, in it’s own way— that it would be so warm and open that I would forget that it was so unique in its warmth.
I realize now that I will always have Brain Frame in my mind. No matter what else I do in live, I will look back on these three years and remember those nights with awe and love and deep, deep gratitude and I will never take it for granted again.
Lyra Hill gave us a place where we could all be our honest selves, no matter who or what that self was, and harbor no fear.
The Brain Frame Yearbook is the most engrossing book I’ve looked at in a long time. Really nice to see the jam comics me and some friends did at the Cake Frames included amongst the photos, drawings, and remembrances. It’s a beautiful memento to a really inspiring series. Congrats to Lyra Hill and everyone involved!
CAKE was incredible. Hello, new friends from across the globe; hopefully we will be visiting soon! Here’s a photo of Lyra Hill and Lale Westvind, table-mates, who are currently working on the Brain Frame 13 (2nd Anniversary) poster. The poster will feature two strong women engaged in battle, for obvious reasons.
Aliens investigate the forgotten appliances of an abandoned earth in Lyra Hill’s “They Glisten”. Included in her “Compiled” collection, which I picked up at the Brooklyn Zine Fest a couple weeks ago, just a month after stumbling across her poster work in Chicago on my way through.
Five teens, all played by the same actress, gather for an Ouija session in this 16mm experimental short with a supernatural twist.
This video is basically a ridiculous list of all the reasons my dear friend Lyra Hill is one of the most amazing people on the face of the earth. Please consider this project, and give her the victory lap she truly deserves.