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Getting Jazzed about V-Day
Photos and Story by James Hill
Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus is hosting a benefit production of Eve Ensler’s "The Vagina Monologues" as part of the V-Day College Campaign.
The event, sponsored by the PCC-Sylvania Women’s Resource Center, features productions between Feb. 10-12 at the Performing Art Center on the Sylvania Campus, 12000 S.W. 49th Ave. Show times are 8 p.m. on Feb. 10 and 11, and 2 p.m. on Feb. 12. Doors open one hour before the show.
Putting the whole thing together is a team of 55 volunteers. Leading that team is Jazz McGinnis, who serves as the event’s executive director. At only 17 years of age, McGinnis is ready to graduate from PCC this spring with a transfer degree and sees the organizing of the 2006 V-Day College Campaign as another important step in her life and the lives of the people that it will reach.
"We can build community through this show," said McGinnis, a southwest Portland native. "Women in our cast have never had a link to each other, but now they can find friends and people with similar experiences to get to know.
"There are a lot of people involved with this," she added. "And they all play a huge part in ultimately stopping violence against women."
The goal of this year’s benefit is to raise awareness to stop violence against women and girls, and funds the Illumination Project at PCC and the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center in southeast Portland. In 1998, Ensler and a collection of women from different backgrounds performed "The Vagina Monologues" off-Broadway and since then has spread to college campuses throughout the nation. It is the sixth year that PCC has hosted this event.
There will be a silent auction before the shows on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 10 and 11) to benefit the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center. There will also be performances in the lobby by local musicians Ally Hanes and Em Brownlowe of The Swallows. Admission is $15 for general admission and $12 for students. Tickets are available through the PCC Women’s Resource Center(503-977-8101), In Other Words Books (503-232-6003) and Ticketmaster(503-224-4400).
McGinnis knows where her interests rest: sociology and creative writing (she spends time working on her own ‘Zine). But what exactly she’ll be doing in the future is a whole another thing other than making people aware of the V-Day College Campaign.
"I’m not sure where I see myself," McGinnis said. "But I do know I’ll keep enjoying being a part of projects like the ‘Vagina Monologues.’ The empowerment I see in the women’s performances is so powerful and I always take something away. It is something very wonderful to me."