Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories transforms traditional narratives

The art collective highlights works from artists of color, LGBTQ artists and other marginalized folks

Hector Chavarria performs during Transitional Transmissions Live at Pangea World Theater in Minneapolis on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Tony Saunders

Hector Chavarria performs during Transitional Transmissions Live at Pangea World Theater in Minneapolis on Saturday, Feb. 9.

by Ksenia Gorinshteyn

“Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories” finds its home at the intersection of stand-up, cabaret and theatrical production. Here, art for and by the underrepresented is celebrated.

The collective, founded a year and a half ago by Xochi de la Luna, started with pop-up shows across the Twin Cities. It now nests at the Pangea World Theater in Minneapolis. 

“I started Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories with the idea that it was going to be a collaborative community thing,” de la Luna said. “[The first show was] in the courtyard of the Seward Cafe. Ever since then, it’s been … shaped by who comes onto the show.”

The Mother Goose collective focuses on art by black, brown and indigenous people, as well as folks from the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups. 

“We figured that if we had an intentional space for folks that aren’t seen as much in comedy, that we would start seeing new faces, that people would start getting bolder with what they do in comedy,” de la Luna said. 

This concept came about through de la Luna’s experiences with various open mics in the Twin Cities area. They wanted something that reshaped what people thought of when they thought “performance.”

“[It’s about] this idea that through [de la Luna’s] efforts and others, we can manifest a reality where the white, male narrative isn’t the central one,” said Twin Cities-based activist Zeam Porter. 

Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories produces multiple shows with this emphasis, including “Vector 9,” “Transitional Transmissions” and the “Uproar Comedy Open Mic.”

“[De la Luna] created this space for people, that people appreciate and … look forward to and love and feel invited to, and they’ve carried that with each venue they’ve been to,” said comedian Devohn Bland.  

“Transitional Transmissions” is a new show with Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories. It’s a community conversation that moves beyond gender. 

“A lot of the time when people [have a] conversation about gender … they focus too much on the trans-ness, the non-binary-ness, and not enough on the human side of it,” de la Luna said.

The first episode of “Transitional Transmissions” centered on intergenerational dialogue with Porter and Roxanne Anderson on Saturday. 

While Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories considers discussion an important part of its mission, its members realize certain subjects can be difficult to talk about.

“They’ll let people know like, ‘Hey, at any point, if the show is too much for you, feel totally free to take some time for yourself, you can step out for a little bit. It’s totally fine to do that,’ which is not something that is encouraged in a lot of spaces,” Bland said.

The events are presented free or on a sliding cost scale to make the art and discussions as accessible as possible.

“[De la Luna] is taking on the effort to be as anti-capitalistic under these capitalistic structures as possible,” Porter said. “Them creating sliding scales or free events really goes against the grain.”

De la Luna hopes to transform Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories into a larger organization for marginalized artists in the Twin Cities, whether their forte is visual art, written art or anything in between. 

“I want one umbrella to encompass it all so I could also help others produce events,” de la Luna said. “I also just wanted a place where I felt like everything could be unified.”