I AM MPLS! brings a variety of local talent together for one epic party

I AM MPLS! 2012 participants pose at a photoshoot
I AM MPLS! 2012 participants pose at a photoshoot
Patrick Kelley Worldwide Photography

Fashion stylist Sarah Edwards was inspired to create I AM MPLS!, an annual variety show, because of the amazing talent that Minneapolis has to offer.

"I started the event because it was overwhelming how many cool things were always happening in the cities," she says. "There are all these difference subcultures. My mind was a little blown, and I was curious what would happen if all these people were in the same room at the same time."

I AM MPLS! creator and producer Sarah Edwards
I AM MPLS! creator and producer Sarah Edwards
Photo by Corey Tenold

Now in its third year, I AM MPLS! brings together both well-known and up-and-coming local comedians, musicians, clothing boutiques, and artists to celebrate Minneapolis. Edwards selects new talent to participate in the event each year. Headlining this year's show will be comedians Ben San Del and Nate Abshire and musicians A. Wolf and Her Claws and Heatbox. Local boutiques will showcase this season's latest fashion, and clothing will be modeled by a variety of familiar faces, most of whom are not professional models.

"I love fashion, and I think it's cool to see the clothes on real people instead of just models," Edwards says. "It makes the clothes come to life."

The purpose of the event is to celebrate the talent that the Twin Cities has to offer, and to promote the small businesses in Minneapolis that make it a really cool place to live.

"I AM MPLS! is not just about the people on the stage," Edwards says. "It's about promoting everyone who is chasing their dream. Minneapolis is a really great city for people who do this because people here build each other up and are very supportive. There's a lot of collaboration, and I think that's what makes Minneapolis really cool."

In addition to showing support for the community, Edwards wants people to be exposed to something new at I AM MPLS!

"Sometimes people stick to the thing that they're into," Edwards says. "I AM MPLS! opens them up to experiencing something new that they wouldn't see at their normal entertainment venues."

I AM MPLS! brings a variety of local talent together for one epic party
Black Collar

Tracy Tabery-Weller is an executive film/content producer at Mono, a musician and singer in the band Still Pacific, and has lived in Minnesota her whole life. She will be modeling at I AM MPLS! She says her love for the city inspired her involvement in event.

"I really love Minneapolis," Tabery-Weller says. "I travel a lot for my job, and I love to be able to tell people about where I live. The first thing that comes to most people's minds [when I tell them I'm from Minneapolis] is that Prince is from here and that it's really, really cold. They think it's a flyover city. They're all super amazed when I tell them how much is going on here with theater, music, etcetera. I truly believe that the Twin Cities are very special."

Participating in I AM MPLS! exposes Tabery-Weller to people outside of the film and music world, and she is excited to check out something new at the event.

"Minneapolis is a small town, and it's fun to meet people who do things outside of my little bubble. I think it's really important to support the community and support the arts. Whether it's another band or a comedian, it's fun to meet people and see something new," she says.

Kieran Folliard, owner of 2 Gingers Whiskey will also be modeling Thursday night. He says that he loves being involved in Twin Cities events, and he is grateful to be living in such a supportive community.

"There is a culture here in Minneapolis that promotes the idea of what I think of as the American Dream: acting on your ideas and taking a chance on something," Folliard says. "The support is great in Minneapolis. People are hugely supportive of new ideas and of people trying things."

Born in Ballyhaunis, Ireland, Folliard didn't expect to end up in Minnesota. But there are many things that he grew to love about the Twin Cities.

"My intention with my family was to live here for a year or two," Folliard says. "Like many people who end up here, particularly if you're open and you expose yourself to all the different activities that are going on, you get sucked in pretty quickly by this great community. I'm a big supporter of the arts scene here. I think it's fantastic, and the theater offerings are second to none in terms of the variety and the quality."

Modeling in the I AM MPLS! fashion show will be a new adventure for Folliard as he, like the majority of the event's models, has no experience walking the runway. For Edwards, that is the beauty of I AM MPLS!

"Each year I have new people involved, new energy, new perspectives, and different stories," she says. "Each year is a new way to tell the story of the City."

(Want to know more about the big pic in this post? Keep your eyes peeled, as we'll be taking a closer look at the shoot later this week.)


7 p.m. Thursday, December 6
Varsity Theater
1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis
$15/$20 at the door; $50 VIP
A portion of ticket proceeds benefit Public Functionary, an exhibition and community art space that will open in the northeast Minneapolis arts district in January 2013.

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The Varsity Theater

1308 4th St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414


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