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Kevin Bennett | BDN

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Emily Burnham (center) gets fabricated up by beard stylist Ao Harker (right) and architecture artisan Bex Hickman (left) at the BDN flat on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.

Haus of Paradigm | BDN

Ao Harker (left) and Bex Hickman, both of Bangor, archetypal some of the apparel they accept created for the Haus of Paradigm.

Haus of Paradigm | BDN

Sara Moreshead, April O’Grady and Ao Harker archetypal some of the apparel to be featured at Paraween, the Haus of Paradigm’s Halloween accident on Oct. 26 at Nocturnem Drafthaus.

Kevin Bennett | BDN

Emily Burnham gets fabricated up by beard stylist Ao Harker and architecture artisan Bex Hickman at the BDN flat on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.

Kevin Bennett | BDN

Emily Burnham gets fabricated up by beard stylist Ao Harker and architecture artisan Bex Hickman at the BDN flat on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.

Kevin Bennett | BDN

Emily Burnham gets fabricated up by beard stylist Ao Harker and architecture artisan Bex Hickman at the BDN flat on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.

Kevin Bennett | BDN

Emily Burnham gets fabricated up by beard stylist Ao Harker and architecture artisan Bex Hickman at the BDN flat on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.

Michael York | BDN

Street performers with House of Paradigm affectation their apparel in West Market Square as allotment of New Year’s Eve anniversary Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011.

Nok-Noi Ricker | BDN

Belly dancers from Paradigm of Bangor accomplish during the West Market Festival in Bangor in June 2010

BANGOR, Maine — Ao Harker is acclimated to bodies staring at her as she walks bottomward the artery in city Bangor. The vibrant, checkered hair. The alluringly painted-on eye makeup. The busy headdresses crafted from feathers, metal, cottony and bone. It’s adamantine not to abstraction the ability with which she presents herself.

Harker, 36, is the den mother and aesthetic baton of the Haus of Paradigm, a aggregate of abdomen dancers, apparel designers, bazaar performers and beheld artists that has been based in Bangor for the aftermost six years.

The affiliation — which includes Harker, Erin Switzer, April O’Grady, Terri MacDonald, Sara Moreshead and Jenny Sennyo, as able-bodied as several collaborators and long-distance associates — accomplish everywhere from art openings to the Eastport Pirate Festival.

A few times a year they host their own performances, such as Paraween, a dance, music and achievement art accident aggressive by Halloween and the Mexican anniversary Day of the Dead, set for 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 at Nocturnem Drafthaus in Bangor. Dancers from Paradigm, as able-bodied as bedfellow dancers from Blue Hill and Dover-Foxcroft, will perform, forth with musicians A Severe Joy and Remaria Live.

“Paraween is deathly, and it’s campy, and it’s aphotic and sexy. It’s our adventitious to do a abdomen ball appearance with our own altered circuit on it,” said Harker. “It’s got our own Paradigm ability to it.”

Harker grew up in New Orleans, La. Her ancestors is of Central American descent, so it was accustomed that Latin dance, music and appearance were a allotment of her activity from a actual aboriginal age. By the time she was 13, she was already accomplishing beard and architecture for those accessory proms and weddings. But while updos and conjugal parties were all able-bodied and good, the adolescent Harker athirst for added — added dark, added elaborate, added strange.

“I had no one to comedy with best of the time, though, so I aloof started alive on myself. I’d agreement with architecture and apparel and photograph myself, consistently at night, sometimes all night long,” she said. “It wasn’t until I started to accommodated bodies who had agnate interests and were accommodating to be my victims that I started to absolutely about-face it into my art.”

Ten years ago, Harker confused to Bangor because she capital to alive in New England and see snow, she said. She set up boutique as a architecture artisan and beard artisan for appoint — and, at the time, said she was the alone being arctic of Portland who did countenance threading, which she still does.

Shortly thereafter, she began acquirements how to abdomen ball with longtime Bangor adviser Lorien Wood. That’s breadth she met her aboriginal aesthetic collaborator, Zanjibal Zen, with whom she founded Paradigm in 2006 (Zen confused to Missouri aftermost year). The two became abdomen dancing advisers aural a few years, and bound started to breach abroad from the art’s accepted form, application abreast music instead of acceptable Arabic music to choreograph their dances.

“Of course, with all these admirable abdomen dancers around, they all bare costumes. And if they bare costumes, they bare makeup,” said Harker. “And already they looked gorgeous, they bare pictures taken of them. So I abstruse photography.”

Eventually, Paradigm grew to accommodate abounding added dancers, all of whom accept their own audible accomplishment and vision. For instance, ballerina Sara Moreshead has abstruse the art of poi, or blaze dancing. Erin Switzer came out of the goth and jailbait bedrock arena in Providence, R.I., and additionally helped adhesive the accord amid Paradigm and Portland-based singer-songwriter A Severe Joy, with whom Paradigm consistently performs.

Jenny Sennyo started her own affiliation in accession to Paradigm, Casual Arcane, with accomplice Riel Green, in which they accomplish with hoops, bamboozlement assurance and Buugeng blades, which are about ample S-shaped knives. Senn additionally grew up in New Orleans, and has accepted Harker back she was a teenager.

“We both concluded up here, and from her I abstruse abdomen dance, which absolutely sparked my own absorption in hooping,” said Sennyo, who performs beneath the name Sennyo. “The accumulation absolutely encourages all the associates to do their own affair and break on your own path. There’s a lot of abandon there. Ao has this affectionate of dream of authoritative it into this array show, this affectionate of amazing bazaar breadth bodies can advertise what they do, and she’s always alive on that.”

The attending of Paradigm combines a aggregation of influences, from all six members, whether it’s Switzer’s accomplishments in jailbait and goth or Sennyo’s adulation of bazaar and carnival arts. Harker loves the intricate, over-the-top attending of classical opera and bizarre design; she additionally loves the electrified pop of Mexican folk art, and artists such as Sylvia Ji and Tim Burton. In addition, she draws advisedly from the aesthetic ability of altered civilizations, from Maori tattoos to Egyptian iconography to Japanese anime.

She begin a affiliated spirit in Bex Hickman, a bounded beheld artisan whose intricate pencil and brand assets accept been displayed at Flat 36 and Nocturnem Drafthaus. Back they met two years ago, Harker and Hickman accept created costumes, advised architecture and collaborated on achievement pieces, such as the one they did at the West Market Festival in July 2012.

“I advised art at [the University of Maine] afore I went into therapy, and I begin that it was absolutely accessible to construe painting and analogy assimilate your face and body. I started accomplishing the aforementioned affair as Ao; authoritative myself up and demography pictures of myself attractive crazy,” said Hickman, an breadth actuality corruption counselor, who is not a affiliate of Paradigm but who is a approved assistant with the group. “Into one of my art shows absolved this voluptuous, fire-haired goddess that was Ao. And that was appealing abundant that. We coact all the time now.”

As Harker says, the spirit of Paradigm is about demography the admirable and aberrant things she sees in her arch and authoritative them absolute — and auspicious others to do the same.

“It’s my job to booty what I appetite or what addition abroad wants and apparent it in concrete form,” she said. “If I appetite to be a zombie, I’ll be a zombie. If I appetite to abrasion a crazy headdress, I’ll accomplish it. It lets me be the things I dream about.”

Day jobs and accustomed apropos aside, Paradigm offers an aperture for the artistic souls admiring to Harker’s bold, aberrant vision.

“We actualize these little worlds to alive in,” said Sennyo. “It’s a acceptable vacation from circadian life.”

Paraween starts at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 at Nocturnem Drafthaus in Bangor. Suggested donation is $5; the appearance is for ages 21 and up.

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