Insight from glovings rubber-wristed whip king
The lightshow community has seen massive growth in the past few years. Going from a strictly California scene, to tons of new communities popping up everywhere you look, gloving is spreading its reach across the coasts and creating powerful new scenes. No community is a better example of this than Chicago. Having grown from a relatively small group to a powerhouse in gloving, boasting tournaments, stores, and sponsors, Chicago is the shining example of what gloving can become. And almost no one has had as big of an impact on a scene than the lovable Materia.
With Chicago BoSS coming up, and a legends spot at IGC up for grabs, I thought it would be nice to hear from the main man himself Materia. Materia has helped evolve Chicago in so many ways, and has been present for so many leaps and bounds in the community that it would be near impossible to separate his name from success. He’s one of my best friends and a massive inspiration in gloving and in building up your city.
The Windy City
Q. Gloving has expanded a lot throughout the past few years, and given way to many new scenes. What makes the Chicago scene unique compared to all of the other areas where gloving thrives?
A. “I feel like what gives the Chicago scene its uniqueness is, honestly, where we are from. We Chicagoans come from a place where family is something that is not given, but created. We’ve held FNLs at beachfronts overlooking the city and nothing felt more like home to me. Not just because of its location but the people we were with. There’s this unwritten rule where you HAVE to trade with everyone, like greeting every Mafioso at a dinner table upon arrival. I also feel like every city’s story is unique so trying to pin words to that feeling is pretty difficult. You’ve got to come feel it for yourself to believe it”
Q. It’s no secret you’ve been heavily involved in evolving the Chicago scene. What difficulties did you find in pushing the scene forward, especially when the scene was relatively young and wasn’t as established as it is now?
A. “To be quite honest, I feel like I jumped into the Chicago scene at the perfect time. It had just the right amount of momentum. Mary (Blitzen) put in so much amazing work while she was going to school here and without that foundation, I think we’d still be struggling. After Mary finished school and left to go back home to California, I saw it as a perfect opportunity to pick up things right where they left off and shortly after, we got our own local EL shop outside the city. With the help and work that the entire scene was putting forth, promoting events, helping set up said events, being genuinely invested in the art and genuinely nice to everyone as a whole, it was and is one of the most fun and awarding aspects of my life.”
Q. What goals, present and future, are you hoping to achieve for Chicago gloving and for yourself?
A. “As a glover, every goal and dream I’ve set for myself, I’ve reached. I’m almost at the point where I have to start making up ridiculous goals just because SO many amazing things have already happened so fast. It’s truly amazing. Currently, my one goal is to just meet Brendon Urie through the help of Emazing; something that I thought was absolutely impossible but now seems unbelievably possible. We’ll see!”
Creativity and Individuality
Q. What or who is your biggest source of inspiration when it comes to trying to create new concepts or new combos?
A. “I have to give that one to the amazing group of sponsors EL has chosen. Every time they post these guys give me impulses to get better, to strive for something unique. Seeing all the work that they put in across the nation really makes you evaluate what you’re doing in your own hometown. Kind of like sibling rivalry”
Q. What, in your opinion, sets your lightshows apart from others? What aspect gives your shows individuality?
A. “With my background in theater and Greek folk dance and performing publicly, I feel a sense of fearlessness anytime I put the lights on. I feel as though I can do anything and pass it off as a gloving move. If you ever watch my shows, you know that I honestly don’t care about the cleanliness, the technique. As long as I can make someone’s head turn or make someone laugh, that’s a successful light show to me”
Q. Who would you say is the most unique glover in the scene right now?
A. “Blitzen. Not only is she unique, but she’s super driven in everything that she does. If you see a video of hers with her face completely blacked out and just her hands, 10 times out of 10 you know it’s her. Her flow, her spirit, her energy is something that I’ve watched grow for as long as I’ve been gloving and it’s something that I strive to achieve with my shows.”
The Man With No Wrists
Q. As a sponsor, you’ve been granted opportunities through gloving that most people can only dream of. What is the coolest thing you’ve been able to do because of gloving?
A. “With a professional production team, I was able to do a gloving remake of the Death of a Bachelor music video by Panic at the Disco (also adding to the “I want to meet Brendon Urie” dream). But not just that, all the videos I’ve done with Emazing were from ideas that I came up with myself. I think one of the best things that they’ve done is that they said, ‘So you want to shoot a video? Give us any idea you come up with and we’ll make it happen.'”
Q. As a glover, what do you hope to achieve in the future through this art? How long do you see yourself continuing to glove?
A. “I had an amazing opportunity with Shriner’s hospital in early 2016 where I was invited to teach a bunch of kids with spinal cord injuries how to glove. Just seeing their lit up faces (See what I did there) made me realize ‘Wow, I would love to continue doing these kinds of things.’ Dancing itself is such a wonderful outlet for many things and seeing these kids have their brains tested while having fun was absolutely incredible. Although the event, hosted by Shriner’s hospital, featured multiple activities that these kids were able to do in wheelchairs, I feel like I could definitely start an organization or event or whatever to teach kids in wheelchairs how to glove. Just having those moments where these kids forget about the state they are in, forgetting about the world around them and focusing on this beautiful art, it’s amazing. That would honestly be a dream come true.”
Q. Everyone has at least one awesome gloving story. What’s the best story you have?
A. During north coast music festival in Chicago…2015? 2014? I don’t know. I was giving a show to an old friend of mine kind of far back from the stage, just far enough where the music was clearly audible but not overbearing. Well one face turned into two, which turned into four. To accommodate, FlourChild came in and we started doubling for this small group of people…or so I thought. We finish the light show and as I got up, I realize that a group of maybe 20-30 people had gathered around to see us glove. After we ended the show and gave each other high fives, we had a line of hugs and impressed pats on the back waiting for us
If you enjoyed this article, and have a sponsored glover or high-level glover you want to see interviewed, comment below! I had a blast interviewing and getting to know how a fellow glover thinks, and I can’t wait to do many more!