Vertigo comes home in its first event of the year: “Bring it Home to You”

The Daily Northwestern Video Desk


Chris Vasquez / Daily Senior Staffer

Danny Vesurai, Reporter

Among cheers, laughter and howls, Communication senior Chris Lanham delivered his stand up routine clad in black high heels. As one of eight participants at Friday’s “Bring it Home to You” art event, Lanham delivered a sketch narrative based on his experience with his sexuality.

During his performance, Lanham veered away from a typical routine, instead choosing to weave together stories about his upbringing in a religious home, his coming out process and the eventual acceptance from his family. After sharing such personal details, Lanham said he felt like his performance was a “whirlwind.”

“I feel relieved, released, happy that I got to share that with people,” he said. “Something happened in this room that was really beautiful. It was ephemeral. It reminded me of home in a lot of ways.”

“Bring it Home to You,” hosted by theater board Vertigo Productions at Shanley Pavilion, provided artists with an opportunity to showcase what home meant to them. Participants had a mere 24 hours to produce and submit art once they got a prompt that was related to home — a constraint event co-producer and Vertigo publicity chair Susie McCollum said “heightened” material.

“When there’s a time crunch, what can be created is incredibly exciting and compelling, artistically and personally, to be watching,” the Communication sophomore said. “The fact that it was done under such short time — everyone understands that kind of time pressure.”

Lanham said the time constraint challenged him to accelerate his writing process — he worried less about the quality of his jokes, instead using word associations to brainstorm material. Since most stand-up comics typically refine their material over time by testing it out on audiences, he said he felt more nervous than normal about his entirely new set of jokes.

As participants entered Shanley, they picked up plates and got macaroni and cheese from two artists roleplaying as grandparents inviting people into their “home.” Audience members then wrote what reminded them of home on Post-it notes — phrases like “long drives,” “ghosts” and “Morton Shapiro” — which they placed on Shanley’s support beams.

During the event, the audience witnessed plays and songs, roaring with laughter at times but was also stunned by raw emotion at others.

“I cried — just Chris talking about growing up in a religious home in the closet and the emotional impact everything had,” said Chloe Fourté, a Communication senior and Vertigo co-music chair. “I related to that.”

Vertigo began planning “Bring it Home to You” last spring quarter, looking to host an accessible, low-key event that wouldn’t require a lot of commitment from artists and audience members, McCollum said.

McCollum said they chose “home” as the central theme because it would be fresh in people’s minds as the academic year started. More than that, McCollum said it would be something everyone could understand and relate to.

“This is a night people won’t forget they came to,” McCollum said. “It was one of those times where everyone breathed, sat back, ate mac and cheese and was with each other.”

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