You never leave the house without your make-up, hair, nails, and botox done. Everything is pink, everything is fun, and everything has boobs. BIMBO, a brand new piece from Hot Kitchen Collective, is an exploration of that person. Made in a series of video vignettes released daily, BIMBO pays homage to the bimbos who make their femininity known to the world, and explore how this archetype is worn and performed on different bodies.

Audrey Polinski - Director, Hot Kitchen co-founder

Audrey Polinski is a director, producer, performer and a huge bimbo. She is a founding member of Hot Kitchen and loves to make work that’s really, really stupid. Follow her on Instagram to see what she’s up to and look at pictures of her pet birds: @trymyfamouscornsalad. 

Justin Lynk, Director of Photography

Justin Lynk is a Midwest based Cinematographer & photographer. You can see more of his work on Instagram @jlynk or on his website at justinlynk.com.

Alex Hovi, Performer, Hot Kitchen co-founder

 Alex Hovi is a Chicago based performer, deviser, and celebrity (@alexhovi), as well as a founding member of Hot Kitchen. He is currently spending his summer being single, please dm him if interested!

Jasmine Henri Jordan, Performer, Hot Kitchen co-founder

Jasmine Henri Jordan is a writer, performer, and educator. She is a Neo- Futurists ensemble member, Playmakers Lab company member, and Hot Kitchen Collective founding member. @livelaughblood on social media. https://msha.ke/livelaughblood/

Jiana Estes, Performer, Hot Kitchen co-founder

Jiana is a bimbo. She’s also a writer, director, and founding member of Hot Kitchen. check out Her new show WATERSPORTS will debut in August. Follow her for more on Instagram @jianaestes. 

Katelyn Douglass, Performer, Hot Kitchen co-founder

Katelyn likes to make stuff with her friends and lover(s). She also happens to have the best dog in the world, her name is Joni. 

Wade Howard, Performer, Hot Kitchen co-founder

Wade is a performer, painter, writer, and as of recently printmaker who loves to make whatever feels fun in the moment. When he is not making art, he is either playing DnD or hanging with his partner and dog while watching reality tv. 

Andy Slavin, Performer

Andy Slavin is a movement artist based in Chicago, IL. They have worked with choreographers Emma Draves, Kristina Isabelle, Ginger Farley, Hannah Santistevan, Darling Shear, and Karen Yatsko among others in addition to collaborating with Hot Kitchen Collective and director Dani Wieder. They have presented choreographic work at Rebirth Gallery, Outerspace, Salonathaon, The Fly Honey Show, The Grelley Duvall Show, Dovetail Studio, 13 Love Songs, The Den, Manifest Arts Festival, and Prp Thtr. You can donate to Andy’s favorite abolitionist organization Black + Pink Chicago here: https://www.patreon.com/bp_chicago_reentry

Carly Wicks, Performer

Carly Wicks is a physical comic and a teaching artist with Playmakers Lab.  Occasionally she djs under the persona of DJ BBQ Dad. She is also a wizard on a quest to visit all 226 Dunkin Donuts locations in Chicago. Find her @dndchicago or @dawicks on insta. 

Claudia Castillo, Performer

Claudia Castillo is trying her best. Follow her on Instagram: @beetboi.

Ida Cuttler, Performer

Ida is a  playful performer & writer  & weirdo from San Francisco, California based in  Chicago, Illinois. She is a loyal company member of  The Chicago Neo- Futurists and a proud ensemble member of Playmakers Laboratory Theater. Since 2014, she has written for and performed in Chicago’s beloved and longest running show The Infinite Wrench and her solo show show Comfortable Shoes saw a six week run at The Neofuturist Theater in the Fall of 2019 and was a recommended critics pick by the Chicago Reader. Currently, she is working on a new performance entitled WILDCATS which will premiere at the Neofuturists spring of 2022.  Follow her on instagram @idacutt.

Kori Whitby, Performer

Kori is just happy to be here! Follow her on instagram: @going2puke.

Jackson Margolis’s Scratching the Surface Membrane is a two-volume zine series that covers the life of the artist dealing with chronic pain and isolation over the course of 2019 and 2020. Volume 2 will go up on Thursday, July 7th, so please return to this page to view the complete collection. In these works, Margolis, who has a history with the furry community, speaks to identity politics through fetishism. Scratching underscores a tension between fantasy and the self: each zine is a year-long anthology of honest projections of the artist reimagined as anthropomorphized dragons. By juxtaposing truth and fantasy in this way, Margolis seems to question the very core of how we understand identity and realness. What is more real: how we see ourselves or how others see us? 


Many of the images in Scratching are sketches upcycled from the margins of readings and notebooks, simultaneously capturing Margolis’s artistic process and representing intimate and candid moments of self-expression. Even the title, Scratching the Surface Membrane, touches on the sheer spontaneity of this piece, which can be best described as a non-literal, superficial exploration of thoughts and ideas surrounding identity without an outside perspective. As such, the zines are fundamentally diaristic, chronicling the artist’s evolving sense of self over time. This change, for example, can be traced through the difference in style of the dragons depicted in the two volumes. In Volume 1, the dragons grab at their marshmallowy bodies, emphasizing their plushness and roundness. Although the softness of the dragons remains an important hallmark of Margolis’s style, in Volume 2, one can observe a far greater presence of angular snouts and muscular bodies as well as less pronounced breasts. This transformation in the dragons’ forms serves as a thought record narrating the artist’s own journey starting Hormone Replacement Therapy in 2020. 


However, Scratching is just as much a regression as it is a progression. Driven by nostalgia, sentimentality and comfort, Margolis’s work encourages us to connect with our primal child and hug our inner monsters. In fact, this motif is seen literally through the zines where dragons are often portrayed hugging what can be interpreted as their partners, spirits, or twins. At the same time, while Margolis clearly draws influence from contemporary subcultures and the digital age, the artist’s inspirations can also be traced back to antiquity. In particular, Margolis cites the Paleolitihic Lion Man as one of the earliest instances of people showing that they are capable of imagination. So, anthropomorphism becomes a pure form of fantasy that can be traced throughout human culture and time. For Margolis, though, anthropomorphism is not only a way to connect to broader human history but also to the artist’s own past. Margolis recalls being a hyper-imaginative child, obsessed with drawing fantasy creatures, especially dragons, over and over. Thus, the work of Scratching is at once a moving forward and a revisiting. The temporality of the piece becomes jumbled, asking us to consider how memories and histories shape our presents and futures. Similarly, how does drawing the same image over and over for a year represent both the passing and stopping of time? 


–Afriti Bankwalla, curator 

Pay attention to this space. What do you notice? What assumptions do you make about the person who lives here? Bedrooms are complicated, intimate spaces that mirror ourselves back to us and anyone who sees them. They are where we feel ourselves (and others) the most, where we smell ourselves the most, and where we see ourselves the most. Literally, we see ourselves in our mirrors when getting ready; more abstractly, we do so in the scattered objects that reveal our styles, hobbies, and pasts. How do we root ourselves in our bedrooms and the objects that fill them? More specifically, how do such objects and spaces evoke performances through which our ever-evolving identity is constructed? What are the performances we play out every day, whether there is an audience present or not? In what way is our identity an extension of these performances? 


The artists featured in In My Room approach these questions with works that attempt to track personal growth and changing identities over time. Scratching the Surface Membrane by Jackson Margolis is the artist’s exploration of the self through anthropomorphic dragons; it features two year’s worth of sketches that juxtapose themes of nostalgia and evolution. In ted bourget’s virtual world, Some Sludge, the audience can roam freely through bourget’s life in Chicago over the course of four seasons. Time flows abstractly in this world, as players swim in Lake Michigan, wait for the bus, and walk through UChicago’s quad with bourget. aza’s art film, Chemtrails, presents a collage of photographic bursts from the artist’s private life as a way of playing with the strange and illicit disruption of time that occurs when one stops to look, assess, and take a selfie. Through their own whimsical variations on self-portraiture, bourget, aza, and Margolis address the difficulty of capturing something as in-flux as our perceptions of ourselves. They surrender linearity and narrativity in favor of an understanding of the past, present, and future as something more circular and connected.  


Each art object in this exhibit also represents a unique understanding of performance and liveness, and by placing them together, In My Room hopes to underscore and bring light to the performances we encounter every day that shape our lives and selves. In her theoretical text Queer Phenomenology, scholar Sara Ahmed posits the social as an arrangement of space. She explains that, even in a dark, hitherto-unexplored room, we find our way due to a basic familiarity with how the social is arranged. We know a room must have walls and a door, so we reach our hand out and feel along the door until we find what feels familiar to us as a doorknob. Ahmed uses this understanding of the social as spatial to riff on the idea of queer identity as an orientation. In what way is our identity a result of the way we are oriented in space and the objects and people towards which we are oriented? 


As you proceed through the exhibit, consider the way you move, consider your activity and engagement with each room. As you click through the pages of Scratching the Surface Membrane, allow yourself to think about the interactivity of flipping through a book. As you explore Some Sludge, think about the ephemerality of playing a video game. Can you ever exactly recreate that experience? As you watch Chemtrails, think about the small spectacle of the film format and of taking a selfie or going out to a club.


Please stay tuned throughout the week, as new content will be added regularly. 


Enormous thank you to Hot Wheelz Festival as well as Jill, Lauren, Jackie, ted, and aza. 


–Afriti Bankwalla, curator 

Jackson Margolis is an interdisciplinary artist who holds a BFA in Drawing from the Pratt Institute and is currently an artist in residence in “parents’ basement”. Jackson’s art is Identity-based work, concerned with themes of tenderness, comfort, regression, fantasy and the apocalypse. Particularly fascinated with American subcultures, Jackson makes use of fetish aesthetics to call attention to online spaces. Depicting what are most easily described as dragons, Jackson’s art asks audiences to connect with their primal child self and hug their inner monsters. Underscored in all of Jackson’s art is a desperate search for energy through color and material. Jackson is currently working on a new project that will deal directly with new-age world hurt, regression during the internet age, and the rabbit hole of the psyche.  


Insta: @lamesaltcrystal