Sallie Merkel goes by “Merkel,” a name she inherited from her con-artist grandfather, who was adopted by some Merkels. Like her grandfather, Merkel pretends to be other people. Possibly unlike her grandfather, she tries—by pretending to be other people—to embody and give voice to multivalent and unfixed truths of the human condition, to make meaning and mystery out of our lived experience in a way that words or images alone cannot. In her own unfixed-ness Merkel inhabits many roles: actor, writer, director, teacher, witch…
Together with Mireya Lucio, Merkel is the co-creator of Emotional Labor Co., a feminist, multi-media production company. Their most recent endeavor, The Commons (a public-access style morning talk show for witches, by witches) is available on Vimeo for your streaming pleasure!
She appears as a performer in countless projects by other people, most recently and joyously in the music video for Johanna Hedva’s “Beauty (feat. Simone Weil)”.
She has taught feminist improv, cultivating a non-hierarchal, consent-oriented and liberation-driven pedagogy, at CalArts, the Women’s Center for Creative Work and various locations across Los Angeles. She also teaches playwriting and screenwriting to high school students at the UVA Young Writers Workshop.
From 2016 to 2017 Merkel edited THE GARDEN PARTY – an online platform for consciousness raising, desire-based dreaming, calls to action and invitations for collaboration amongst feminist culture makers working in and around the film and television industries.
Merkel is a former competitive jump-roper and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Emotional Labor Co. is a feminist, multi-media culture-making entity created by Mireya Lucio and Sallie Merkel.