Q&A with Door Kinetic Arts Festival Founder Eric Simonson

June 9 marks the start of the fourth annual Door Kinetic Arts Festival (DKAF): a collaborative, interactive, multimedia arts experience. Attendees may enroll in acting and dance workshops with esteemed performers, take in 17 films by international filmmakers, watch several live performances and even sample craft cocktails made especially for the festival. In anticipation of the weeklong event, I talked to founder Eric Simonson to gain more insight into what the 2019 DKAF will bring to the county.

Aleah Kidd (AK): In a few sentences, why was DKAF created?

Eric Simonson (ES): I have had many years of creating in Door County. The environment inspires creativity, and I wanted to share that with other artists in a unique way. I’ve always been interested in artistic hybrids. I wanted to do something that would inspire artists to go outside their comfort zones and reach higher.

AK: Last year, the cocktail competition and featured cocktails were a fun addition to the lineup. What can guests look forward to this year?

ES: The theme is the same as last year: invent a drink that reflects the spirit of the festival. For those who did not attend last year, the event is surprisingly entertaining and theatrical. Bartenders tell the stories behind their creations as they’re creating them. It’s real theater and well worth the experience.

AK: What was your approach to coordinating this year’s schedule?

ES: We focused more on hybrid works. There are no purely theater pieces. Everything is a combination of mediums. And the whole lineup is the best we’ve ever had.

AK: Who is invited to attend the festival?

ES: Everyone is invited, and we like to think all will enjoy. Part of the reasoning behind our selections is the desire to inspire and entertain. We love good stories and events that stretch the bounds of human imagination. What isn’t there to like about that?

AK: For those who have not experienced the atmosphere of Björklunden, can you describe the setting where the bulk of the festival is held?

ES: One hundred acres of woods along Lake Michigan. Trails open to all those who show up. Truly magical.

AK: I love that the festival is bringing in amazing dance ensembles. It seems the dance category could be a promising niche in Door County. Do you see that category growing?

ES: Absolutely! Dance is sorely underserved in DC. We are aiming to correct that!

Alan Kopischke, event organizer: We’re glad to continue our partnership with Andria’s Dancin’ on the Door in this. Andria is the leader of the resurgent dance movement in Door County.

AK: The films are organized by past tense, present tense and future tense. Why did you take that route?

ES: It just sort of worked out that way. There seemed to be an awful lot of good films that took place in the near future, so we bundled those, and the other two categories fell naturally into place.

AK: DKAF covers all the bases: dance, performance, theater, film and even a bit of music and comedy! What can attendees expect at the DKAF Koffeehouse event?

ES: Lots of fun. The Koffeehouse is a celebration and a release for artists and audience alike. After all the entertainment, we clear away the tables, and everyone dances. It’s a bit of what I imagine Berlin in the ’20s to be. At least that’s what we aspire to.

AK: Going into the fourth year of the festival, what excites you the most about the future of DKAF?

ES: That it will be the best one yet!


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