Kaddatz Galleries is hosting a new photography exhibit in Studio K by Fergus Falls artist and event organization guru Dominic Facio titled “Catwalk: Celebrating Counter-Culture in Rural Minnesota.” The show’s photographs document three successful Catwalk Parties organized by Facio and featuring a number of performers who attended the parties.
The first Catwalk Party was held at The Spot in Fergus Falls in June of 2018 through the Springboard for the Arts Year of Play Initiative. Since then, Facio has held two more Catwalk Parties and all of them have been sold out or nearly sold out. When applying for funding through Year of Play, Facio described the event as, “A catwalk party slash dance party at The Spot with lip-syncing performers and an emcee, that’s basically the gist of it.”
Due to the popularity of the party, the third Catwalk Party was moved from The Spot to a larger venue, The Silver Dollar Saloon in Elizabeth. Facio said he was taken aback with how much community support the event received, and how popular it was, “with how many people were in attendance, the political diversity, and everyone was having a great time. People were bummed when it was over and that really made me and the performers happy, it made us all happy because that was the goal, for there to be a sense of unity through performance art.”
The name “catwalk” comes from the runways models use during runway shows, as well as the walk down the runway. The Catwalk Parties are an opportunity for performance artists to put on a fun and unique show and though they were primarily borne out of drag scene culture, it extends beyond that. In addition to drag artists, almost any unusual performance would be accepted as part of the show. “If it’s weird it’ll probably be accepted,” says Facio. The artist statement at the show reads that the parties hope to, “uplift sub/counter-culture, and shed light on otherwise dismissed or unseen performance arts in rural Minnesota.”
The Catwalk Parties began with four original performers, all from Fergus Falls. During the gallery’s reception on Aug. 9, they all showed up to join Facio for an impromptu surprise mini-performance with music and lighting.
The photos in the gallery were taken by Facio, Jennifer Striffler and Eric Santwire. Facio said he had thousands of photos to go through and had to narrow it down to what would fit in the gallery. “It was really tricky, any photographer knows that 10% of the job is photographing and the rest is all editing and organizing,” he said. “I was trying my best to keep things as equal as possible (I would have preferred there to be four of each performer, there simply wasn’t the space for it) and to really document the accomplishments of all the performers.”
Facio and his organization, DomFreq Productions, also put together the Fergus Falls Zombie Crawl and Danse Macabre. “We don’t need to live in a metro area to have the feel and fun that the metro area offers,” Facio says. “Sometimes getting to and from the Twin Cities for a show or event is not feasible, so I create niche events for our rural area and so far it’s been a very good turnout.”