Looking back at
Mountain Man’s Cosmic Prom

This article was originally published on the Duke Performances blog

This week, Molly Sarlé is taking over our socials for our weekly livestream, and next, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig’s solo project, Daughter of Swords, will wrap up this livestream series that we’ve taken on in partnership with Duke Arts and WXDU. This series has allowed us to dip our toes into the world of virtual production in lieu of gathering in a physical space, and play a small role in lifting up folks doing the crucial work of financially supporting our community’s artists (big shouts to NorthStar and Durham Arts Council’s respective funds).

For me, as a DP staffer who is often perched in the back corner during all of our shows, this series has provided the mildest version of a show night’s rush as I log into my computer a few minutes before stream-time, say a quick prayer to the gods of internet speed, and send the artist live to multiple platforms on queue. It’s an interesting (if less flashy), distant cousin of nodding to the sound tech, dimming the lights, and popping your head into the green room to call the artist to the stage. We miss that.

In honor of this serendipitous presentation of Molly and Alex alongside each other, both members of the “three-headed witch monster” that is Mountain Man (along with Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso), we’d like to invite you to look back at this past January’s presentation of Mountain Man’s Cosmic Prom.

Cosmic Prom was a three-night extravaganza which saw an impressive team of friends and artists transform a space around three themes: ‘Beneath the Stars’, ‘Under the Canopy’, and ‘Below the Sea’. Visual artist Nathaniel Russell transformed The Fruit into a mystical wonderland each night as lawn chairs, beach towels, and blankets covered the warehouse venue floors; twinkly lights and paper streamers hung overhead; painted cut-outs of animals graced the stages; and a costumed, sold-out crowd swayed along to Mountain Man’s set. Each night ended with a DJ-led dance party (after one pivotal number from the band: a cover of “You’re Still the One” by Shania Twain with three-part harmonies, of course). It’s truly impossible to capture the magic with mere words, so I’ll step back and let Jade Wilson’s photos do the rest:

Sibyl Kemp is Artist Services & Engagement Coordinator at Duke Performances.