On the Couch with Jennifer Kingwell

Jennifer Kingwell Arts Review On the CouchWho is Jennifer Kingwell?
I am a cabaret performer, musician and arts producer/programmer. My background is in classical music, music theatre and contemporary rock but I’m learning to reconcile my performer side with my nerdy love of spreadsheets and organisation, which is where the producing and programming work comes into its own. I’m also really deeply appreciating being able to combine my love for performing with my passion for collaborating and creating opportunities for other artists, which is a big part of how my show The Glitter & Doom Salon came about.

What would you do differently to what you do now?   
I still to this day fantasise about giving it all up to become a sloth biologist and hang out with those three-and-five-toed wonders in the Costa Rican forest. It could still happen yet…

Who inspires you and why?
Artists who use their performing careers as platforms to affect change in the world for the better, in particular groundbreakers such as Nina Simone, Kathleen Hanna and Josephine Baker. I don’t think you always need to be explicitly political in your artwork but as Nina Simone said “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times… And at this crucial time in our lives, when everything is so desperate, when everyday is a matter of survival, I don’t think you can help but be involved… How can you be an artist and NOT reflect the times? That to me is the definition of an artist” Now more than ever I think we need to keep constantly reminding ourselves of that duty.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Try to embody Nina’s quote, above, while recognising that being an artist is a pretty privileged position to be able to make a difference in and being a good ally.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Paris, because I’m a sucker for romance.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’m a recent import into Adelaide from my beloved Melbourne, so I’m still figuring that out really! In Adelaide, the first place I take people to is cabaret and cocktail bar La Boheme, and of course during Fringe Festival going to as many shows as possible! While in Melbourne there’s nothing more that I love to do than cruise down Sydney Rd, stopping in for coffee and breakfast at Ray’s, vintage and record shopping at Savers and Round And Round, beer and vegan eats at The Cornish Arms and live music at the Edinburgh Castle and The Retreat along the way.

What are you currently reading?
A novel by an Australian author, Stephen Orr, called Dissonance. My housemate lent it to me and it’s right up my alley, I’m really enjoying it so far. I used to be a huge reader but it’s fallen off my radar a bit recently so I’m enjoying diving into the written word again (that’s not on a screen)…

What are you currently listening to?
I’m still a bit obsessed with Ladyhawke’s latest album, Wild Things. It came out around the middle of last year and I still can’t get enough of it. Perfect summery loved up vibes for days.

Happiness is?
At various times, post-show high after a great performance, relaxing with a glass of wine and a classic movie or sci-fi series after a productive day writing or otherwise creating, hanging out with friends, or exploring new and favourite cities and countries.

What does the future hold for you?
More performing and producing adventures in Australia and around the world, recording a new album and working on a new show that’s still very much in its creative infancy are all things I’m looking forward to in the next couple of years!

Jennifer will host The Glitter & Doom Salon, Spiegel Zelt at Gluttony: 17 February – 19 March as part of the 2017 Adelaide Fringe. For more information, visit: www.adelaidefringe.com.au for details.

Image: Jennifer Kingwell

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