Local band takes stage to fundraise

Local band Mordechai in the Mirror performed at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center on Saturday night as a fundraising effort for the center. For a suggested donation of $3, the approximately 70 concertgoers saw Mordechai in the Mirror accompanied by local dancers in an event which also showcased the works of local artists.

Jonah Weisskopf, member of Mordechai in the Mirror and new member of the Independent Media Center (IMC), came up with the idea for an event that included his band’s music joined by dancers. Weisskopf said the band joined with dancers for a similar concept about a year ago, and the chance to do it again, this time as a fundraiser for the IMC, was too good to pass up.

“Basically, (the IMC) stands on fundraisers alone, and it’s an opportunity for people in the community to get resources and use these resources,” Weisskopf said. “So it’s a way to both use the resources of the IMC, but towards the end, raising money for this center, which is a really great space with a lot of great opportunity.”

The music of Mordechai in the Mirror was supplemented by the movements of dancers Anna Marks, Sarah Haas, Jacqueline Kinsman and Kate Insolia. Haas said the dancers were first approached a few months by Weisskopf at one of Mordechai in the Mirror’s shows at Caffe Paradiso about performing alongside the band.

“We choreographed one piece for one of (Weisskopf’s) songs,” Haas said. “It’s about five or six minutes. And then, outside of that, we’re improvising to his shorter pieces as well.”

Mordechai in the Mirror’s music was a mix of electronic ambient music with hip-hop vocals provided by Weisskopf. The band was veiled by a thin curtain, and the dancers performed in front of the stage as the main attraction.

The fundraiser also featured works from local artists Rachel Reed and David Samuel. The two artists provided paintings of various aliens, monsters and sea creatures for the event.

“They’re all acrylics on canvas, except for one, which is newspaper and other collage,” Reed said. “Dave and I have shown art together before, and everything is a good match because of the creatures and having all these aliens and monsters together. His are obviously pure fantasy, while mine are a little more true to life.”

The IMC provides local artists, musicians and community members a chance to rent out a space for a production or gathering, as well as the chance to take advantage of a public computer lab and audio and video training in the on-site production rooms. In addition, the IMC hosts the Radio Free Urbana radio station and is a member of the global free media network Indymedia.

“I don’t know a whole lot about the IMC,” Haas said. “I’ve been here for a few things, but I feel like they’re a pretty good ground-up place. It’s pretty cool, in terms of support. Artists don’t have tons of money, but it’s still quality art.”