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Interview: Lori Meeker - An Artist For CHRISTMAS & All Seasons

Multi-medium artist Lori Meeker and her Tin Can Telephone Productions has created an interactive online Christmas experience

Interview: Lori Meeker - An Artist For CHRISTMAS & All Seasons

Multi-medium artist Lori Meeker and her Tin Can Telephone Productions has created an interactive online Christmas experience with WELCOME TO MEADOWLARK FALLS - CHRISTMAS AT HOME. Viewers ordering a set of mailed packages from will be able to participate in communicating with 'your Meadowlark Falls' best friend in baking camp Jennie.'

Lori was most speedy in sending her answers to my emailed queries.

Thank you for the time for this interview, Lori!

No problem at all!

Did you write WELCOME TO MEADOWLARK FALLS - CHRISTMAS AT HOME specifically to be performed online? Or is it adapted from a theatrical production version?

This piece was originally imagined as an in- person experience. I have always loved Hallmark style Christmas movies. Watching them is a marvelous escape with their implausible plot lines and holiday magic. I imagined being the hero in the story, living in the small town, saving the ranch, learning that there's more to life than my fast paced big city job. I combined that desire with my other passion for immersive theater. The way that that medium allows audiences to be so close to the magic, was Interview: Lori Meeker - An Artist For CHRISTMAS & All Seasons a perfect fit! In 2019, my team produced WELCOME TO MEADOWLARK FALLS - A VERY MERRY COOKIE CONTEST that put our audience right in the middle of the whole thing. We had hoped to bring it back for a full run in 2020, but the universe had other ideas!

This story happens before the workshop storyline, as another slice of this charming little world. It's our hope to bring the in person experience back, to give that special Christmas feeling to audiences everywhere.

Your audience can expect four deliveries via the U.S. Post Office. This is unlike any typical live theatre show I've attended. Can you explain what the process with the deliveries and viewing on your website?

This year has caused many theatrical creators to shift focus, and rethink the ways we connect with our audiences. I feel that having this kind of story be told through different layers - ephemera, video and audio media - speaks to the down home nature of the Christmas rom/com genre. Audiences will receive four separate mailings, with a progressive story told through letters from your best-friend- from- baking -camp Jenny Snow. As the story moves on, you'll have a few videos to watch that live on our interactive town map website, and opportunities to write to Jenny as she tries to figure out what the town's holiday festival means to her.

Interview: Lori Meeker - An Artist For CHRISTMAS & All Seasons I think people love to get mail, and the holiday season is the perfect time for it!

Is your heroine Jenny based on someone you know? Or yourself, maybe?

Ha, I suppose! I think in order to write truthful characters they need to come from some sort of experience. There are a few Jenny aspects that are a reflection of myself: dealing with deceased parents, and the way she gets so excited about things that other important things get pushed aside. I also really relate to Andy, Jenny's quirky best friend, with all of her silly puns and love of all things shiny!

What cosmic forces first brought you and your director Chelsea Sutton together? The production of WOOD BOY DOG FISH at the Bootleg Theatre in 2015,perhaps? I loved that show, by the way!

Thank you, and so glad you liked it!

Interview: Lori Meeker - An Artist For CHRISTMAS & All Seasons I actually know Chelsea a bit longer than that. She and I met at the Eclectic Company Theater maybe ten years ago. I knew she was working with Rogue Artists Ensemble, and after I had seen their show GOGOL PROJECT,I knew I needed to be a part of that team. Chelsea and I are both now ensemble members with Rogue and collaborate - she as writer, me as costume designer. WMLF is our first time working together with she as the director, and I as the writer.

Your website lists you as Dreamer/Creator/Builder. Your portfolio includes costume design and construction, to murals and creating experiential design. What areas of studies did you take for your multi-faceted career?

My education is fairly simple. I went to the L.A. County High School for the Arts, with a focus in fine art, and moved into Pasadena City College where I studied fine art and costume design. Much of my experience has been on job training, growing my experience with each project or show.

Any particular medium you tend to favor more?

Interview: Lori Meeker - An Artist For CHRISTMAS & All Seasons My patience level is pretty low, so I shift around a lot! My creativity is peeked much of the time when I'm using non-traditional materials, and blending different genres of my work together. For example, many of the costumes for WBDF were mix-ups of fabric, plastic, metal and hand painted details.

Tell us about your collaboration with Sparkleblob.

I've known the Head Candy Corn, Crafter-In-Charge Julianna Parr for well over 15 years. Sparkleblob was created as the umbrella non-profit collective including her brain children: Craft Night at Akbar, The online Halloween countdown calendar and their annual holiday puppet shows. Working with JP on these projects taught me so much about inventive storytelling, and continues to help me develop my penchant for the whimsical. The Sparkleblob team, worked with me on creating the amazing interactive town map on the website. They are a wonderful arts organization that everyone should check out!

You've crafted costumes for a variety of TV shows, as well as, theatricals. What project was your most challenging and rewarding?

Interview: Lori Meeker - An Artist For CHRISTMAS & All Seasons I think the 2018 version of WOOD BOY DOG FISH at the Garry Marshall Theater in Toluca Lake CA was the most challenging and rewarding. I had worked as a co designer on the 2015 version and for the updated version, was able to create many more wild and unbelievable costumes that were uniquely my own. The Artistic Director of the Rogues Sean Cawelti, is always challenging his designers to create magical elements that make for transformative worlds. One costume in particular for the character Blue (based on Pinocchio's blue fairy) featured a giant blue wire cage studded with programmable LED lights

You're also a sign artist for Trader Joe's. That's a dying art. My father used to paint the price signs at our neighborhood grocery store. Can we see your signs and murals at a number of Trader Joe's? Or just the one you're based at?

Oh yeah, I'm all over! My "home base" store is Montrose CA, but I've helped lots of other stores with large art and murals. You can see my work most recently at the North Hollywood, Santa Monica, South Pasadena and Eagle Rock locations.

Interview: Lori Meeker - An Artist For CHRISTMAS & All Seasons It is certainly something that's not seen often, but I hope it's not dying! Some may not know that each Trader Joe's location has one or more store artists on hand. I've been a sign artist with TJ's for over 20 years, and I'm proud of this company for recognizing it as an integral part of their identity.

What's the backstory for your production company's name Tin Can Telephone?

I think that it speaks to my favor for hand- crafted communication. It's about our imagination, making things possible out of what's around you.

Any projects in the near future you can share with us?

I will be creating something for the Rogue Artists Ensemble in the start of next year all around Valentine's Day, love and the written word. Follow them for all the details!

Interview: Lori Meeker - An Artist For CHRISTMAS & All Seasons Thanks again, Lori! I look forward to experiencing WELCOME TO MEADOWLARK FALLS - CHRISTMAS AT HOME, and possibly seeing your artwork at Trader Joe's.

Thank you so much!

To interact with WELCOME TO MEADOWLARK FALLS - CHRISTMAS AT HOME, purchase one of the limited number of 100 packages before December 11, 2020 @

From This Author - Gil Kaan

      Gil Kaan, a former Managing Editor of the now-defunct Genre magazine, has had the privilege of photographing and interviewing some major divas of film, television, and stage in... (read more about this author)

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