In Performance

In Performance: Trajal Harrell, Twenty Looks…(S) (American Realness)

American Realness Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (S) Trajal Harrell (USA) Abrons Arts Center, Playhouse 466 Grand St January 6-10 The stage of the Abrons Playhouse has been transformed into a runway, a black strip running down the center of a white rectangle. There is an informal but buzzy vibe as the sold-out audience climbs the stairs onto the stage and takes its place on three sides of the runway. Are we attending a fashion show, a social event, an artistic performance? The space begins to articulate the intentions of Trajal Harrell’s solo, a remounting of the first work in his Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church series. Further guidance is provided by a leaflet that Harrell himself hands out at the beginning of the performance, which lists the t...

In Performance: Karol Tyminski, This Is A Musical (American Realness)

American Realness This is a musical Karol Tyminski (Poland) Abrons Arts Center, Underground Theater 466 Grand St January 6-10 Karol Tyminski’s searing This is a musical offers up the queer body as a site of pleasure, trauma, and defiance. Tyminski begins by eliciting a variety of sounds from his body, slamming his back, legs, and hands against the floor to produce an array of thuds, slaps, and violent exhalations. Soon he employs a microphone and a sampler to amplify and loop these noises, the manipulation of his body providing an ever-building electronic score. This manipulation becomes increasingly sensual: at one point he drops his shorts, pulls up his shirt, and rubs the microphone slowly up and down the length of his body. And the sensuality becomes increasingly provocative, inviting ...

In Performance – Britt Hatzius, Blind Cinema (COIL 2017)

Britt Hatzius Blind Cinema January 9-12, 5:30pm COIL SVA Theatre 333 West 23rd Street, New York “It’s white. Nothing is happening… Still nothing is happening…” a high, breathy voice begins to whisper through frequent  “ums” and pauses into a black funnel pressed against my ear. This is how Britt Hatzius’ brilliant performance piece, Blind Cinema begins. The experience which has participants blindfolded in the seats of a cinema while school children sit behind and describe the film projected on the theatre’s screen, forces it’s audience to face the limits of description and utilize instead the tools of imagination and assumption. One translates what they hear from their young companion into an image entirely apart from both the rea...

In Performance: Ligia Lewis – Minor Matter (American Realness 2017)

Ligia Lewis – Minor Matter (US Premier) Sunday, January 8, 5pm – SOLD OUT* Monday, January 9, 7pm – SOLD OUT* Tuesday, January 10, 4pm – SOLD OUT* Abrons Arts Center, Experimental Theater 466 Grand Street, Manhattan Minor Matter is uncomfortable. Rage in the black body is a polarizing subject in black culture. It’s as personal as a secret. Minor Matter explores the various ways black rage manifests and how it effects the community at large. Choreographer/Performer Ligia Lewis and her collaborators Jonathan Gonazalez and Hector Thami Manekehla fuse anger with everything from the mundane to the intimate. Their movement is athletic and powerful. Sometimes you can’t tell if the performers are loving or fighting. Humor feels like a slap. The show uses a limited pallet in evoca...

In Performance – Juliana F. May, Adult Documentary (American Realness 2017)

Juliana F. May Adult Documentary January 7, 5:30pm January 8, 8:30pm January 9, 1pm January 10, 10pm American Realness Abrons Art Center 466 Grand St, New York What is the relationship between the form of language and it’s meaning? Can a word’s “shape” interfere with the reality of what its expressing? What does it mean to exist in this unclear, problematized space, to  dance around a topic rather than seek clarity? These are the questions asked in Juliana F. May’s dance performance, Adult Documentary, a collision of text and movement with playfulness and eroticism running throughout, bringing to mind at times both the casual confidence of pre or post orgy discussion and the hollow emotion of group therapy. It is a piece certainly touching on sex, but primaril...

In Performance: AmeriSHOWZ, Circle of Champions 2017 (American Realness)

American Realness Circle of Champions 2017 AmeriSHOWZ (NYC) Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center 280 Broadway Jan 6 – 8pm Jan 7 – 8pm Jan 8 – 8pm AmeriSHOWZ, the brainchild of choreographer Alex Rodabaugh, advertises itself as “one of the world’s largest direct performance selling businesses.” If you’re confused as to what exactly this might mean, don’t worry: the AmeriSHOWZ team is here to explain it to you. Clad in professional black outfits, Rodabaugh and dancers Ashley Handel, John Hoobyar and Lily Bo Shapiro step out in front of the audience, welcoming us enthusiastically to this training session. AmeriSHOWZ, we learn from these earnest representatives, allows you to buy tickets to a variety of performances (advertised “brands” include Meg Stuart, Miguel Gutierrez, and Tra...

IN PERFORMANCE: MOLLY LIEBER + ELEANOR SMITH – BASKETBALL (COIL 2017)

Molly Lieber + Eleanor Smith – Basketball (World Premiere) Saturday, Jan 7, 7pm Sunday, Jan 8, 4pm + 7pm Monday, Jan 9, 4pm Tuesday, Jan 10, 7pm at Howard Gilman Performance Space, Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 37th Street, Manhattan Basketball is a team sport. It requires discipline and sharp focus. These virtues are exemplified when the game is played one on one. Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith’s experimental dance piece developed over two years has the quality of an intense game of one on one. Lieber and Smith exhibit risk in subtle and eerie ways. It’s hard to know when one performer ends and the other begins. That requires an incredible amount of intimacy that is rarely seen on stage. You wonder if they are going to get through it. They are dancing for each other ...

In Performance: Tina Satter/Half Straddle, Ghost Rings (American Realness)

Tina Satter/Half Straddle Ghost Rings Sunday, January 8, 10:00pm Monday, January 9, 2:30pm and 8:30pm Tuesday, January 10, 2:30pm American Realness Abrons Arts Center, Playhouse 466 Grand Street A neon outline of a ghost and a heart hangs above the audience of Tina Satter/Half Straddle’s Ghost Rings, being remounted in Abrons Arts Center’s Playhouse for American Realness. This mix of pop art and whimsy sets up what is to follow: a pop song cycle about sisters growing apart and female friendships growing into something more. The show starts with a dramatic opening of the stage curtain to reveal writer-director Satter flanked by performer-composer Erin Markey and performer Kristen Sieh, each at mic stands, and backed by performer-composer Chris Giarmo at a keyboard. A drum set sits empty ups...

In Performance: Forced Entertainment’s Real Magic (Coil 2017)

Forced Entertainment’s Real Magic Thursday, January 5, 6pm Friday, January 6, 3pm Saturday, January 7, 9pm Sunday, Jan 8, 12pm PS122’s COIL Festival at La MaMa, Ellen Stewart Theatre 66 East 4th Street, Manhattan Forced Entertainment’s Real Magic is simple. Three performers play a game where one functions as host and the others as contestants. Contestant #1 has three chances to guess a word Contestant #2 is thinking. If Contestant #1 fails to guess the word the three performers switch roles. It feels like your typical daytime game show you watch to pass time. The catch is the game has absolutely no stakes. There is no mention of prize or punishment if they win or lose. Yet the game retains all the signals of stakes. We randomly hear the sound of a canned audience laughing...

In Performance: Big Dance Theater, Cage Shuffle (American Realness)

Big Dance Theater Cage Shuffle Saturday, January 7, 4:00pm and 7:00pm Sunday, January 8, 4:00pm and 7:00pm American Realness Abrons Arts Center, Studio G05 466 Grand Street On each audience seat was a card with a simple explanation of what was about to unfold: “The sequence of the stories is random. The sequence of the dance is not. The performer follows Cage’s original performance instructions: ‘Read stories aloud, with or without additional musical accompaniment, paced so that each story takes one minute. Read all stories in order or select a smaller number, using chance procedures or not.’ -John Cage” The performance began simply as well: two people entered Abrons’ intimate studio space and flicked light switches on the wall. One, creator and performer Paul Lazar...

In Performance – Kate McIntosh, Worktable (COIL 2017)

  Kate McIntosh Worktable January 5-7, 12-8pm January 8, 11-7pm January 9, 12-8pm COIL 2017 The Invisible Dog Art Center 51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn Destruction and renewal are the central themes of Kate MctIntosh’s remarkable installation, Worktable, however the piece also inspires thoughts on legacy, process, and power within artistic expression. Simple in conception but exceptional in its execution, the experience consists of a series of rooms through which participants are led one at a time. Participants choose an object from a well-curated selection of domestic pieces (porcelain figures, globes, cut flowers, etc) and are led to a private room where they are instructed to destroy it as thoroughly as they wish (hammers, saws, scissors and more provided.) When satisfied, partic...

In Performance: Ni’ja Whitson: A Meditation on Tongues (American Realness)

Ni’ja Whitson: A Meditation on Tongues (World Premiere)  Sunday, January 8, 8:30 PM Monday, January 9, 4 PM American Realness Festival Abrons Arts Center, Underground Theater 466 Grand Street New York, NY United States The performance begins in the cramped corridor of Abrons Arts’ Underground Theatre. Performer Harold Ninja (of the legendary House of Ninja) is framed in a doorway of light. His body cuts through the crowd like a snap. He dances with precision, pacing, placement, and poise.  A live interdisciplinary adaptation of Marlon T. Riggs film “Tongues United”,  Director/Adaptor/Performer Ni’Ja Whitson and performer Kirsten Flores-Davis examine the complexities of black gay men. Through words and dance, we see these identities at war with each other. When...