Brave art

Idfest: "I've always wondered about the way an artist feels a connection with the audience," says Stephanie Morgan of stephaniesĭd. "It's really helpful for me to have people there."
Idfest: "I've always wondered about the way an artist feels a connection with the audience," says Stephanie Morgan of stephaniesĭd. "It's really helpful for me to have people there." Photo by Michael Oppenheim

Stephaniesĭd engages the creative community with ĭd Weekly

Not that the world isn’t full of people — and not just former Disney stars, at that — doing outlandish things on very public platforms, but when it comes to the creative process, privacy is often heavily protected. Maybe it comes from a fear of having material stolen (or, worse, being laughed at). But, says Stephanie Morgan of local pop-noir band stephaniesĭd, “You don’t hide stuff anymore. You have to make an effort to not be public nowadays.” Plus, she adds, “It’s more fun to create in community.”

Enter ĭd Weekly, a series of shows that takes cues from the increasingly popular musicians residency (Asheville Music Hall has hosted a number of them) and a broader-visioned writers workshop. Set in the upstairs lounge of Isis Restaurant & Music Hall during May, ĭd Weekly will include two sets of music from stephaniesĭd split by a segment called “night of bravery” in which members of the audience can take the stage for up to five minutes.

“Do you have something that you know that if you do it, it will move your life forward, but you’re scared to do it?” asks Morgan. That’s a prerequisite for those four-per-week bravery slots. She experienced something similar a couple of years ago in a songwriters group called Naked Babies. “For the first time, my songwriting was more social,” says Morgan. “I realized there’s a loneliness barrier that gets in the way of me and the people I’m writing for.”

The musician says she also learned a lot about vulnerability in acting school — something she decided to pursue a year ago. It meant making the initially scary decision to take her band off the road. That detour has proved rewarding in many ways, but Morgan says she’s felt out of touch with fans. The ĭd Weekly series is not only a chance to re-introduce the band to listeners: “It’s a way that we can get to know their stories,” she says. “Often the performance context doesn’t give you that opportunity.”

Shows, which will change from week to week to keep return listeners engaged, will include deep cuts from the stephaniesĭd back catalog as well as not-completely-polished material being worked up for a new album. Starting at 5 p.m., the shows are scheduled to attract a wider audience.

The month at Isis is part of a yearlong project called Re-ĭd, “a series of multimedia experiments aimed at building stronger community by teasing out authentic personal exchanges,” according to a press release. A website providing art assignments will launch over the summer. Of that project, Morgan says, “I’m hoping folks will use it whether they’re  a fan of the band or not.” And though the idea is not to generate material for stephaniesĭd to use, the musician says she’ll likely be inspired by some of what comes back.

Also in the works is a home stage set to facilitate the more frequent release of videos — “Things not just tied to promotion,” says Morgan. And, just last week, the band hashed out a plan to record an album, even though that wasn’t initially the idea behind Re-ĭd.

The timing seems perfect: 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of stephaniesĭd. But where some musicians would make much of such a milestone, Morgan seems content to focus on what’s next. “I tend to look at the last decade as the first phase of this band,” she says. “The adolescent, go-for-gusto world domination.

“I won’t be able to name this new phase,” she adds, “until 20 years have gone by.”

WHAT

ĭd Weekly

WHERE

Isis Restaurant & Music Hall, isisasheville.com

WHEN

Fridays, May 2, 9, 23 and 30; and Saturday, May 17, 7-9 p.m. $5

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts writer and editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs.

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