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"Jupiter as in the Cult"

"Jupiter as in the planet..."

I was trying to figure out what kind of metaphor the name Jupiter would become.

A massive entity with an army of swarming moons, a warm glow in the sky, a celestial beacon, a gravitational pull so strong it's irresistible.

"Jupiter as in the god..."

A new, powerful force in the universe -- undeniable, fate-changing, portentous. Vast, cosmic might, the magic of creation, connection to something older and greater than tradition: myth.

"Jupiter as in the cult..."

I have often joked about wanting to be a cult leader. It's a problematic joke because I was raised by some pretty culty Christian fundamentalists, myself, but when I think about maintaining my own personal cult, it's a cult of love, inclusion, representation. It's the incubator for mutual understanding. It's the seat of self-confidence and self-compassion. It's the reliance on and constant contribution to community. It's an engine of empowerment. It exists to destroy barriers between people and barriers to resources and opportunities.

It's a cult of the ideal.

If the Jupiter Opera Development Foundation is a cult, then it's the cult of the queer creative longing to share their story and, in some small way, to the best of their ability, make meaningful change in the world.

To do this, I have to retreat with my friends and colleagues from the cesspool of the theater industry -- particularly the opera industry -- to breathe life and proof into a new set of methods and ideologies. We have tried telling the industry what we need, to very little avail. Now we're going to show them.

Jupiter includes many projects, representing the many phases of the creative-work lifecycle. We have shows in development, shows heading toward production, a training program for folks wanting to break into onstage storytelling, and even plans for a 25-seat microtheater where we can gather, workshop, share, and celebrate among friends and chosen family. We have engines in place for getting money that doesn't come from large individual donations -- one of the most frequent and persistent vectors of ideological pollution in arts companies. We think the current set of industry norms is so off-kilter from what is natural and moral that we are willing to separate and, working in a laboratory-like setting, build a new way of doing things from the ground up.

I don't particularly care if it fails. (I have a feeling it won't -- at least not right away.) I care that we try. We are bright, committed, and caring. We can do this. We can demonstrate this. We can create this and teach this to others. We can spin this off and give it to other communities whose voices are not being heard.

But we need a safe, separate space to make an earnest attempt.

That's Jupiter. Jupiter as in the cult.

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