Thursday, July 12, 2018

Eternal Harvest to become traveling exhibition!

I'm elated to announce that Eternal Harvest will be a multimedia exhibition that will travel to museums and libraries around the country beginning Summer 2020 through ExhibitsUSA. I'm so excited that people around the country will be able to see the film, photography, and my Grandmother's beautiful handiwork.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Portrait Sessions with KCUR

David Wayne Reed Draws Artistic Inspiration From His Family's Kansas Farm 

As a kid growing up on his family’s farm in Louisburg, Kansas, David Wayne Reed just wanted to perform.
He wore his mom’s heels, a cinched-up shirt as a dress, and a wig to entertain visiting seed salesmen. He also choreographed dances for the hay crew.
“As kind of a slightly effeminate little kid, (farming) was hard, it was masculine, and I didn’t know that I really fit in. I kind of felt like a little bit of a square peg,” Reed told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.
Once, his dad asked him if he wanted to be a farmer. Reed replied no, he wanted to be a backup singer, a stripper and an artist.
He grew up to be an actor, writer, playwright and a storytelling event producer.
And he can now add filmmaker to his resume. His first film, "Eternal Harvest," which premiered last weekend, has brought him back to his farming roots.
Those roots run deep. He described his great-great grandfather as the “original Rockefeller” of Louisburg. When a steamboat went down in the Mississippi River, the elder Reed got the engine, refurbished it and used it to run the first mill and grain elevator in town. He also started what became the first bank there.
Though his mother and father still live on the farm that's been in their family for generations, Reed was ready to leave Louisburg after graduating from high school.
He headed to Emporia State for a year, where he had a theater scholarship. He then transferred to Kansas State to study journalism. A friend suggested that he check out K-State’s theater department, and he changed his major junior year.
At K-State, he learned the technical aspects of acting. The theater program also allowed him to have a social life that he didn’t have before, he said.
“I just wanted to be in front of people. I just wanted to connect with people,” he said. “Growing up on the farm, it’s kind of lonely. Your only social outlets are going to church or going to the funeral home; that’s what it felt like to me.
“Becoming an actor, I wanted to empathize with other kinds of characters that I’d never really necessarily been around before, so it really opened up my view of the world.”
When he graduated from K-State, he wanted to go to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He ran out of money in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and he said he had to return home with his tail between his legs.
Back home, he’d go to the silo to sing and to shout out Shakespearian monologues.
“I would just sing my guts out in the silo every night because the acoustics were so good,” he said.
One day, he saw an audition notice for a play called “The Birds.” The group behind "The Birds" later became Late Night Theatre, a gender-bending theater troupe in Kansas City.
When Late Night Theatre started out, it was an all-male group that did send-ups of famous movies such as "The Stepford Wives" and "Valley of the Dolls."
Reed learned how playwriting and dramatic structure worked by studying these scripts. He then adapted his first play for the Late Night Theatre stage: “Come Back to the 9 to 5, Dolly Parton, Dolly Parton," his send-up of "9 to 5" and "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean."
From there, he turned his attention to writing original scripts. Tapping into the trucker-movie genre that resulted in films like "Smokey and the Bandit," he wrote “Mother Trucker” and its sequel, “Mother Trucker 2: Ride On.”
He also mined his personal history for the “Mother Trucker” plays. As a result, opening night was an emotional experience, he said.
“I remember the audience applauded and stood up,” he said. “And I went out to the back alley of the theater and I just wept. I couldn’t even go out for the encore.
“It’s your life you’re pouring into this, and to see it accepted and validated in such a warm, engaged way was really special to me.”
That marked a turning point for Reed. His work became even more personal.
He put together his one-man show, “Jolly Rancher,” while doing an artistic residency in Seaside, Florida. The show, which included stories from his life on the farm, made its debut to a community of strangers.
“People laughed and people cried, and people were into it,” he said. “It confounded me because I thought, ‘I’m just sharing who I am.’ It seemed so personal to me. It was the first time I realized that the personal is the universal. And I’ve carried that thread on since then.”
With "Eternal Harvest," he returned back to where it all started.
“It documents the cycle of life told through a farmer’s eyes,” he said.
Filmed on his family's farm, it features his father and shots of his grandmother's quilts in kaledoscopic patterns. Reed said he purposefully tied his writer’s hands behind his back to communicate solely through visual language.
Making the film on the farm felt like coming home, both literally and creatively.
“If I wasn’t performing on a hay bale wagon, dancing for the hay crew, or doing drag for the seed salesmen or performing monologues in the silo, it’s just part of me to create on that land.”

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Eternal Harvest Premieres

I gave birth on Mother's Day weekend.  My short film, Eternal Harvest premiered in my Dad's tractor shed in Louisburg, Kansas as part of the Miami County Farm Tour. What a labor of love it was. Over 300 people came to the farm to visit and to experience this sanctuary and film.  I'm overflowing with gratitude.  Eternal thanks, in fact.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Prodigal Son

They say you can’t go home again. But what if you bring drones, quilts and a marching band?
On a warm, sunny Saturday last October, David Wayne Reed was in a machine shed on his family’s farm near Louisburg, Kansas, giving instructions to about 60 people who were helping him film his movie “Eternal Harvest.” Reed had gathered friends, family members and the Louisburg High School Marching Band. He’d had asked the band to  leave their instruments at home and wear a specific type of clothing.
“Thank you for all wearing plaid!” he said. “Man, it feels like 1991 and everybody’s in grunge again – I love it!”
That’s appropriate, because Reed graduated from Louisburg High School in 1990. Now, almost three decades later, he’s asked his former band director, John Cisetti, who he still calls “Mr. Cisetti,” for help.
In addition to delivering the music-less marching band, Cisetti brought one of two drones that will be used in the filming.

David Wayne Reed, center, gives instructions to the Louisburg High School Marching band, along with Reed’s friends and family, who are helping film “Eternal Harvest.” 
“Eternal Harvest” was conceived as a performance installation series and short film about the cycle of life, shown through the landscape of the Reed family farm. The drones will shoot that landscape from on high, capturing the circles created by center-pivot irrigation, the long straight brown lines of country roads, the green square acres of corn and soybeans.
Those circles and squares will also appear up close, stitched into the heirloom quilts Reed inherited from his grandmother. It’s the marchers’ job to hold up these quilts, opening and closing them to create a kaleidoscope effect from above.
Reed moves his film crew out to the middle of a hay field, where a circle has been mowed into the grass, outlined with pumpkins, and six antique tractors parked in the center. From the drones flying above, it looks like a flower.
Mr. Cisetti choreographs the band members, who he has placed around the circle in teams of four, directing from a bullhorn.

David Wayne Reed talks to Brett Butler, assistant director of the Louisburg High School Band, who was one of the two drone operators helping Reed film “Eternal Harvest.” 
“You guys listen to this: open, two, three, four. Close, two three four,” he says, directing a weird waltz as the teams move apart to “open” the quilt and walk together to “close” it.
In addition to the landscape, the project was inspired by Reed’s study of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the effect is a Midwestern mandala.
“I wanted to trace the lifecycle,” Reed said later. “So, using kind of Eastern philosophies and themes, I chose a mandala, which is a Hindu or Buddhist representation of cycle of life.”
Reed’s ancestors were among Louisburg’s founding families. They built the first grain elevator, and their headstones are in the center of the town cemetery. He is the seventh generation to grow up on the farm.
“Eternal Harvest” was also inspired by a conversation Reed had with his father, George, a long time ago. Reed asked his dad if reincarnation was possible. His father replied that it might be.
“He offered the example of a volunteer crop of wheat or a perennial plant as seeming evidence for reincarnation,” Reed said. “Life is perpetual. It continues even after the harvest.”
Reed is returning to the farm after leaving years ago and making a name for himself in Kansas City as an actor. He was a founding member of Late Night Theatre, a drag-themed performance company. He also wrote and directed “Mother Trucker,” a 2004 “parody of the trucker movie adventures of yore,” as he wrote on his blog.
For “Eternal Harvest,” he won funding with a Rocket Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, along with the Charlotte Street Foundation, and the Spencer Museum of Art, along with nearly $7,000 he raised on his own.
“This is like my prodigal son project,” he said. “The idea of the prodigal son goes off and lives a wild life and then returns to the farm not to his father’s shame, but to his father’s welcome and pride.”
This summer, “Eternal Harvest” is part of the official line-up for Louisburg’s 150th anniversary celebration: projected onto the side of a building in town and broadcast over a local radio station, for a drive-in theater effect.
It's as if Mr. Cisetti’s old student, David Wayne Reed, is completing his own circle of life.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Mandalas & Marching Bands: David Wayne Reed and his Eternal Harvest

Going Back Home

It’s always odd recalling the first time you returned to your family home and realized that things were no longer the same.
For me it was spring of freshman year of college. I was returning to Wichita to see my newborn niece, and suddenly understood how her arrival had shifted everyone’s family position. I was no longer “the baby”. There was a real baby. I was now an uncle, and my parents were now grand. A new life showed me just how much we were all changing, and how this process would only continue.
Sitting with artist David Wayne Reed and his cat Neely in his North KC home, talking over donuts, he paints his revelatory moment as one that was more sobering than my own.
On Father’s Day of 2016, he returned to his family home in Louisburg, Kansas to the death of his aunt. Starting that day he began to see things differently.
“My family was starting to change and disappear, and who knows what could happen with the land?” Reed says. “I remember it was such a beautiful day. I’d never seen the farm so beautiful. And maybe I was just looking at it through the eyes of grief, and everything just seemed brighter somehow – but it really inspired me to capture that [beauty]”
It was that 2016 Father’s Day trip back to Louisburg, as well as another trip with his nephew “going to Colorado, getting stoned and talking about his drone”, that led to the concepts behind David Wayne Reed’s Rocket Grants project titled Eternal Harvest.
Eternal Harvest is Reed’s seasonal performance installation series and film about the cycle of life, shown through the landscape of his family farm. In the clips released so far on his personal blog you can see the results of Reed arranging different markers of his hometown and family identity into living patterns.

Reed freed dozens of quilts sewed by his grandmother from a closet in her home, and used their designs to form interwoven, kaleidoscopic visions. Other choreographed sequences, viewed from above, depict community members moving in formation around carefully placed tractors and pumpkins, forming larger-scale patterns as they unfold and display the quilts.

Legacy & Impermanence

“I started to see the quilts as their own landscapes.” Reed says. The pieced fabrics are a crafted representation of his family history on the land where he grew up – like viewing it all from a plane flying over the farmland. And as the 7th generation of Reeds in Louisburg there’s a sense of legacy that he feels the pressure to fulfill.
“As a single, gay man with no children, I feel like I’m kind of an end of the family tree… and so to leave something lasting is very important to me.” Reed says “I don’t foresee myself doing that with children, but if I can honor those who came before me and also leave some mark of permanence on my community then that means a lot to me.”
I listen to David Wayne Reed talk about his project and see just how much he’s thought about both the conceptual and visual sides of his process. And the more we talk, the more Eternal Harvest breaks down. The project becomes a conversation between Reed and his roots about the larger existential questions that have no answers – like reincarnation and life after death.
“It’s hard to craft an effective narrative to that because those ideas are so vast! I felt like the only way to bring them into any kind of beautiful form would be through movement and music and landscape, and let that tell the story” Reed says. Using his personal life story and interests as inspiration, he creates a meditation on existence. By rearranging the imagery of his rural Kansas community with Buddhist-inspired philosophy and artwork, Reed expands his tools as a writer by developing a visual language – which has been a learning experience for him.

Eternal Harvest still from @davidwaynereed

All In

But what’s been most remarkable throughout the filming and preparation of Eternal Harvest is the significance that this installation and film have come to represent for the community of Louisburg. The project has gathered a spirit much larger than just the Reed family.
In addition to participation from the local High School band, Eternal Harvest has gained the support of the Louisburg Historical Society. 
The performances and filming have brought together the past and future in this small town. It’s the 150-year anniversary of Louisburg’s founding and the local Library plans to incorporate Eternal Harvest into their celebrations. It is also Reed’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, the High School band marched in the Rose Bowl parade this year, and his family farm will be a stop on the Miami County Farm Tour (where the project will premiere May 12). The time in Louisburg is ripe for the coming of Eternal Harvest.
“I didn’t realize what an impact [an art project like this] can have in a community and it’s been really special for me to see how that’s evolved.” Reed says
“All these things coming into my lap… and engaging with my nephew who’s the drone operator and my dad who’s moving hay bales around for these installations, it’s such an all-hands-on-deck experience.” Reed says. “It never started out this big”
“Being able to really engage with members of my own community that I left and returned to – of which my family has been a part of for generations – it’s really meaningful… I will submit [Eternal Harvest] to film festivals, but right now it’s so micro-local…and I’m more proud of that!”

Shelf Life presents Stolen Goods


Breaking and entering in the suburbs, a pink flamingo in hiding, a scrapbooking racket, Kama Sutra wallpaper from a famed porn theatre, stolen youth, and a memento from the police. 

Featuring: Georgianna Londre BuchananSusanna Lee Lucky-DeluxeAnson Thee OrneryGlenn NorthMichael Andrew Smith, and David Wayne Reed

Your stuff. Your story. Your Shelf Life.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Come Home With Me

Come home with me.
I'm so pleased to announce that the Reed Farm has been accepted to be a part of the Miami County Farm Tour, May 12-13, 2018. In fact, we have the honor of being the first row crop farmers to be a part of this tour.
The Reed Farm features a historical look at agriculture, including tools, implements, and an impressive collection of antique tractors. This stop presents the world premiere of Eternal Harvest, a short film shot on the Reed farm using drones, dance, quilts, and agriculture to depict the cycle of life.
Save the date and come for a visit!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Everything's Coming Up Roses

The Louisburg High School Marching Band made history today by marching in the Rose Bowl Parade. I sat on my couch and watched proudly as the Wildcats marched. I might've even gotten weepy. (Okay, I totally did.) It's a proud moment for all of us LHS marching band kids over the years. (I played alto sax and belted out a mean Eye of the Tiger. FYI.)
When I began to envision Eternal Harvest, I knew that I had to collaborate with Mr. Cisetti, the LHS band teacher because, well, he knows how to move people. I called him up and asked him if I could meet up with him and tell him about my project. We met at an Olive Garden. I told him what I had in mind-a farm mandala incorporating my grandmother's quilts and my Dad's collection of antique tractors. We hatched a plan.
The fall sequence happened in mid-October on a windy day on the farm. Seventy-five people (part of a marching band, friends, and family) came out to the farm and we gathered in the barn to lay out the game plan at 3:10 p.m. We orchestrated and filmed several large kaleidoscopic formations taking place in a 150 foot circle. We were finished and packed up by 4:59 p.m. before a harsh thunderstorm/near tornado blew through at 6 p.m.
It was such a stunning day when people of all ages (3-83), and political stripes gathered together to wear plaid shirts and march my grandmother’s quilts around in formations for this film.
I’m still kind of gobsmacked by the magic efficacy of this most awesome day.
After the shoot, my nephew, Lenny (my drone camera operator) and I were in my truck driving to Powell Pumpkin Patch to return the 50 pumpkins I had rented. Lenny remarked "Man, it's so great to work with professionals." I looked at him and said "Are you calling me a professional?"
He said, "No, I mean Mr. Cisetti and the band."
Congratulations to them on this momentous honor and occasion and much gratitude for helping me out with this film.
In Wildcat pride,
p.s. Class of 90 rules.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Silo

When I was in high school, I'd go out to the silo on the family farm and rehearse monologues or sing because the acoustics made my voice boom like James Earl Jones. (That's what I thought anyway.)
The silo is a special place to me not only as a personal auditorium, but as a creative space. Silos are also known as a place of ignition, of blasting-off. This video snippet from one of our early days of filming is really just us testing out the drone but it seems like an apt metaphor for the Rocket Grant and contributions I've received so far. I'm so grateful to those who have contributed and ignited this project with your generosity.

I still have a good way to go though. Please, please consider a donation to this project--and enjoy the ride!
Taking off,

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Kaleidoscopic Quilt Fantasia

A couple weekends ago, I spent a full day documenting the nearly 100 remaining quilts my grandmothers had made. Their handiwork is so incredible and the geometry of quilt making, sacred. Examining each quilt I saw pieces of fabric-from the suit I wore to pre-school graduation to dresses my Aunts wore to Sunday School–family history  literally woven in the fabric.
IMG_20171013_232428_resizedMy Grandmothers were part of quilting circles, in which each had a hand in the creation of the quilt. The quilts were constructed stitch by stitch and square by square. This creative process created community.
The process of creating this film is much the same. It’s hands-on and all-hands-on-deck. It takes a community.
2017-05-20 19.41.38_resizedThere have been many hands in this process. From an antique tractor association to a marching band to the friends and family who have volunteered their time and/or resources for filming or to any number of loved ones who have contributed in other supportive and meaningful ways.
The Rocket Grant has been an incredible ignition for this project. There have been numerous in-kind donations (drone/equipment/ volunteers) which has helped immensely with production costs.  I am exactly halfway through the process of this yearlong filming and need assistance in completing the short film for a premiere on the family farm in May of 2018.
Eternally grateful,

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Eternal Harvest Wins Rocket Grant!

Growing up on a farm in Louisburg, Kansas without formal creative outlets for his talents, David Wayne Reed created his own venues for self-expression. His family lived off the grid, connected to the world by dirt road and antenna—the CB, the AM/FM, and in small doses, the TV. Alone, with the nearest neighbors miles away, he found creative spark in the solitude of his imagination. David desperately desired an audience, a connection. When people would come to visit the farm, he finally had a captive audience. He performed impromptu drag numbers for visiting seed salesmen. He danced for the hay crew. He made a connection. These memories have informed his creative work—from his trucking musicals to his one-man show about growing up gay on a farm. Having transported farm and country to the city with those productions, he would now like to return to his rural homeland and make a new artistic connection: to put the art in agriculture.
The relationship between farmer and land is spiritual, interdependent, and profound. It is an exercise in having faith in a seed’s future. It is the ritual of daily chores. It is the consequent prayers for rain and sunshine. It is the gratitude for a bountiful harvest. It is the inevitable surrender to the Winter. David recalls asking his father about the idea of reincarnation when he was a young man. His father said that the idea was plausible and offered the idea of a volunteer crop of wheat, or a perennial plant as possible evidence. Life continues from birth to death, from seed to harvest, again and again, he reasoned, creating a vision of the farm as a mandala of life—seasonal, perpetual, unrelenting, and eternal.
Eternal Harvest is a seasonal performance installation series, culminating in a film about the cycle of life as depicted in the landscape of the Reed family’s rural Kansas farm. Using drones, dance, farm implements, heirloom quilts, agriculture, and video installation, Eternal Harvest re-imagines and re-purposes the familiar agrarian implements and landscape to illustrate and celebrate the land, as well as the coming and going of livelihood it brings.
The short film will be projected on the side of a large barn that sits beside a road and on top of a hill – allowing for drive by and drive up audiences. This project is collaborative, and both reflects and shifts the perspective of the landscape back to its own community in a pronounced and innovative way.
David wants to cross-pollinate disparate communities in artistic collaboration. The process will, he hopes, create meaningful exchanges in a way of life and state suffering from an ongoing cultural drought. In addition to his urban creative community, he will be enlisting the assistance of his family and the communities to which they belong—including the Louisburg First Christian Church, the Two-Cylinder Antique Tractor Association of Greater Kansas City, the Masonic Lodge, an elderly dance and social club, and the hometown marching band.