Some early experiments
Brandel much of her 20's traveling and trying on different lives and jobs to see which felt right (ish), learning by way of contrast and extremes. From an NPR intern in the buttoned-up city of Washington D.C. to a psychometric test-developer working in sexy, freezing Montreal, to under-the-table farm labor in remote and breathtaking Tasmania to ghost-writing for exotic dancers and the late John Hughes in scrappy, charming Chicago.
DANCE DANCE PARTY PARTY
In partnership with Jenn Martin, I started the first offshoot chapter of the phenomenon Dance Dance Party Party and ran it twice a week for seven years. What is it? Quite simply: No booze. No boys. No judgment. An all-female, freestyle dance session. DJs are everyday ladies kicking out their favorite jams. Check the official DDPP site for information on other cities.
We could not have predicted how this idea would catch on ... it's in more than 20 cities and 5 countries. Guess ladies just needed a place to get down minus scrutinizing eyes and plus sports bras? Chicago is now the Mothership of this operation. To learn more, visit the DDPP website.
DIRECTING + PRODUCING MUSIC VIDEO FOR WE/OR/ME
The talented Bahaaj Taherzadeh, known musically as We/Or/Me, was game to allow me to unleash his twin girls on him while trying to create a music video for his song "Old Joy."
MEDIA PRODUCER, THE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA'IS OF THE UNITED STATES
For three years, I worked as a writer, producer, editor and sometimes shooter for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States. I was incredibly lucky to travel around the country and eavesdrop on Baha'i communities in the process of empowering individuals at the grassroots to take ownership of their lives and neighborhoods. Some of the videos I've shot and produced can be seen here.
WRITER / EDITOR, MULE MAGAZINE
Mule Magazine was a collage of art, music, happenings started as an independent study with friends in the early 2000s. It was an immediate adventure in the creation-process from start to finish. We published six issues and I had the pleasure to write for and edit many of them.
ESSAYIST, CASSETTE FROM MY EX
Contributed some confessions in the form of an essay for this terrific collection about the lost art of the mix tape, Cassette From My Ex.
"Few things induce nostalgia more than obsolete technology, especially obsolete technology associated with romantic crushes, like the analog mix-tape. For his new book, Cassette From My Ex, Jason Bitner—co-creator of Found magazine—asked more than 60 writers, artists, and others to share their most memorable mix-tape experiences. What results is a bittersweet look at a phenomenon uniquely suited to a format that no longer exists."
--The A.V. club
PHOTOGRAPHER: VICE GUIDE TO CHICAGO
Took the photos that comprised the Vice Guide to Chicago, and oddly enough, years later, ended up moving a block away from where the cover image was taken on the day those beautiful smiling meats were being dismantled.
A moment of prescience. On my old portfolio site, I wrote "Curious about nearly everything. Yet to develop a beat." Didn't realize I could force the system to recognize curiosity as its own beat, and then make it mine. Below, a smattering of things that happened prior to Curious City.
Have enjoyed trying on various lives for an hour or two through characters on the endlessly inventive CBC show WireTap with Jonathan Goldstein.
October, 2014 Shush: A woman tries to hold her tongue as a professional listener. A dog learns to speak. Angels fall from the sky.
November, 2012: Wake Up, Call Me, Tell Me Your Dream: What does it mean when you dream that your teeth are falling out? What about when 10,000 people dream their teeth are falling out? A dream-trend analyst with her finger on the pulse of slumbering societies shares her findings.
January, 2012: All the World's a Stage: A woman tells the story of how one little white lie launched the performance of a lifetime.
October, 2011: Look at Me, Don't Look At Me: A performance artist gives up her privacy for a month.
LOVE + RADIO
A performance of Joanna Newsom, so apparently convincing, that her record label, Drag City, asked Love + Radio podcast creator Nick van der Kolk to take it down. Get me in the right mood and I'll give you a taste.