Every week, I’ll be doing a mini feature on my site on activists, artists, and educators who are doing important things in the world. Like Levar Burton says, the only thing these folks have in common is that I like them, and I hope you do too.

Today’s #badasscrushfriday is Lizz Ehrenpreis.

Confession: I’ve known and loved Lizz for about seventeen years. We first met as salty teenagers, performing together in a Shakespeare summer workshop production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. She got to play Hermia (a role I’d desperately wanted), and I was stuck playing a two-bit mechanical. Though we had a rocky start, we’ve been the thickest of thieves ever since.

Lizz is a wildly talented and passionate person. Her lion heart loves fiercely, and she’s always doing something amazing. She’s one of those almost-unfairly skilled people who can sing, act, write, paint, and make mosaics. She advocates for young people, she helps trauma babies, and she loves murder podcasts. She’s a super weirdo, and the world needs more of her.

Where can we find your work?

Three places: 

What themes or ideas do you feel your work engages with?
My writing and charity work tends to be largely centered around trauma, heartbreak, and healing. Trauma Baby, in particular, is based around the idea that while no one can do the work of healing for another person, the kindness and support–the thoughtfulness–we can extend outward to others can be a crucial element in getting someone through a rough patch.

What part, if any, do you think art plays in times of political duress?

It plays a huge part! Art is commentary. Art is the light of truth, shining brightly in the dark. Art is the salve–the way we say “You’re not alone,” the way we underline the strength of community when the people in it are being attacked by political dark forces. It’s a form of defiance, of willfulness in the face of opposition, and of hope.

Can you remember the first piece of art– performance, literary, fine, street–you saw/read that wowed you?
I can’t remember the *first* piece; my dad was a musician and my mom is a visual artist who both introduced me to art so early on. They were taking me to plays when I was three, and I went to see my dad play live shows before I had consistent memory retention.
I remember, though, that I used to listen to Alanis Morrisette on my walkman while rollerblading in a circle, as fast as I could, inside my garage. That probably says something about the impression it made on me. I still know all the words to every song on Jagged Little Pill.
What work do you do in the world that you feel proud of?
My volunteer work is my biggest pride and joy, and Trauma Baby is the culmination of that. I’m really proud of my ability to cultivate community and show up for that community; it means so much to me to be able to forward the amount of love I have received, from both strangers and loved ones alike. It keeps my faith alive in a world that is so tumultuous and heavy.
Tell us a story.
Every morning, her body showed up early and her mind showed up late. Smoke twirled from the cigarette between her fingers, nails glistening with color, as she sipped on a hot coffee, and thought to herself, “Some day, I’m going to be a better person.” The scenery changed over the years: a crumbling wooden porch in the dusty California country, a fuzzy blue chair from Target on a patio where the ocean salted her lips, leaning out the window of a Los Angeles high rise, the alley way in a small town posing as a big city, the cement stairs stairs stained by rain and shaded by camellias. But each day, every day, she still woke up as herself.
The only thing I can think to add regarding how I function as a person is that you call me “the prickly marshmallow,” and it remains the truest thing to this day. Rough on the surface; soft on the inside. 
Lizz Ehrenpreis is a frenetic navel-gazer, accidental community organizer, and a lil salty wafer wearing lipstick. She currently works as a Project Manager for Zao, a WordPress web development firm based out of Portland, Oregon, and is a Louder Than Ten Project Management apprentice. She previously worked as the communications and marketing maven at WebDevStudios. Before her professional dive into the tech world, she was the Managing Editor of the Urban Dater and Editor-in-Chief of both Slixa Late Night and Slixa Under Cover. She is a writer, painter, and lifelong volunteer, with a passion for cats, true crime, cooking, and mental health advocacy. Her current brainchild is Trauma Baby Recovery Packages, and she thinks peplum is total bullshit.
SIDEBAR FROM JULY: I wholeheartedly disagree with the above statement regarding the validity of peplum as an art form.
December 7, 2017 0 comment
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