In 2013 Emily Rubin’s Dirty Laundry/Loads of Prose reading series commissioned Lizzie Olesker to create a site-specific laundromat performance, with support from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Rubin and Olesker presented their work-in-progress at Gentle Wash Laundromat on Avenue A in the East Village.
In early 2014, Olesker invited filmmaker Lynne Sachs to join in the creation of a fully realized site-specific performance as co-writer and director, with funding from Brooklyn Arts Council.
Olesker and Sachs spent many months interviewing laundry workers in different Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods. Text and video from these conversations and interviews became the source material for their collaborative, original script. With Rubin, they visited many laundromats in many different neighborhoods looking for places to present the performance.
In the summer of 2014 Luo Xiaoyuan, a journalist working in a local Chinese language TV station, joins the project as a translator and liason within the Chinese community.
Acclaimed Downtown actors Ching Valdes-Aran and Tony Torn along with emerging performers Jasmine Holloway and Veraalba Santa become a part of the performance piece. Sachs and Olesker invited each actor to add his or her own personal laundry story to the evolving script. Audio artist Stephen Vitiello created a sound design for the live performance using recordings from laundromats as his source material.
With Dirty Laundry’s support, the EFM collective presented preview showings in Brooklyn at the Old Stone House and Atlantis Superwash Laundromat.
In the Fall of 2014, Sean Hanley and Amanda Katz assisted Sachs and Olesker in the filming of documentary material from working laundromats.
In late 2014, $6,000 was raised for the project through an Indiegogo campaign making it possible to present three performances with film of Every Fold Matters at the New Lucky Laundromat in Clinton Hill Brooklyn in early 2015.
Atlantis Super Wash Center and Lucky Laundromat, two laundromats that welcomed the Every Fold Matters site-specific performance, close becoming many among closed New York City laundromats.
In Spring 2015, the Workers Unite! Film Festival hosted a staged reading of the performance.
The Every Fold Matters performance is developed into a film, with the support of the New York State Council on the Arts and the Women and Media Coalition.
In late summer, Every Fold Matters, the film, is shot at the Super Suds Laundromat on Nevins & Bergen Streets.