Maylee Todd wants you to return to the womb. Let me explain. Todd, an acclaimed visual artist, dancer, and electro-indie musician from Toronto, is bringing her interactive, multimedia experience known as Maylee Todd’s Virtual Womb to the WISE Hall on Thursday night, Sept. 15.
The concept could be unlike any other event you’ve ever attended. First of all, it’s BYOB, which stands for Bring Your Own Blanket. Upon arrival at the WISE Hall, you will be asked to “check your ego, status, recognition, and identity on the outside of the vag,” as Todd aptly puts it, in an attempt to recreate the complete innocence and anonymity of a fetus in a womb.
“We’re trying to craft a relaxed and unique environment to enjoy music, art, dancing, and projected imagery”, says Todd, who has already performed the show to sold-out audiences in Toronto, New York, and Miami.
And yes, you will indeed walk through a giant, homemade vagina/entrance way, complete with an overhead clitoris embedded with a huge eye. Once inside “the womb,” you’ll be invited to spread out your blanket and lay down on the floor to enjoy the show, with imagery being projected onto the ceiling.
“Like lots of people, I go to a lot of shows,” explains Todd, on what inspired the totally reclined viewing experience. “Some people have height issues, or they have to stand in a really crammed space, which can foster an aggressive vibe. In my case, my old goat legs just wanted to take a seat and enjoy the music. When everyone is lying on the floor, it can be a peaceful equalizer of sorts”.
Maylee Todd’s fascination with the womb has multiple folds. “I’m interested in spaces I don’t fully understand: deep space, the ocean, or the womb,” she says.
Her own birth story was also an inspiration. “According to my parents, I briefly died in my mother’s womb when the umbilical cord became wrapped around my neck during my birth. The doctor resuscitated me.”
Maylee Todd’s Virtual Womb promises to be a psychedelic spectacle that will include Todd singing and playing the harp, backed by a choir, a string section, and an array of electronic instruments. Each projected image coincides with the live music. There’s also interpretive dancing and choreographed “waacking,” which isn’t what you might be picturing: waacking is a style of dance credited to the LGBTQ clubs of Los Angeles in the 1970s, and a precursor to breakdancing.
“I just want to have a warm vibe where it’s okay if your foot is touching someone else’s. It’s a love-in, a slumber party. Inside a vagina.”
• Tickets for Maylee Todd’s Virtual Womb are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Showtime is 10pm, one night only, on Thursday Sept. 15.