new york

In Performance: Chapman/Sirna-Frest, Welcome to the Gun Show (Exponential Festival)

Welcome to the Gun Show: a Chekhovian Song Cycle Julia Sirna-Frest/Shane Chapman/Patrick Vassel Exponential Festival, Slipper Room January 14-15 Composers Julia Sirna-Frest and Shane Chapman lit up the Slipper Room in Welcome to the Gun Show, an hour-long set of original songs with lyrics exclusively from Chekhov’s writings. Before diving in, Sirna-Frest explained the concept behind the set and invited the packed crowd to “sit back and enjoy the melancholy.” Melancholy was certainly to be had, with most of the many-membered band dressed in mourning-for-my-life black, playing songs focused on unrequited love, getting old, and wanting to go to Moscow. But a whole lot of fun was to be had, too. Sirna-Frest provided vodka and sno balls between songs, and listening to the songs themselves becam...

In Performance: Neal Medlyn, I HEART PINA (American Realness)

I <3 PINA Neal Medlyn American Realness, Abrons Arts Center January 11-16 “I feel weird about Pina Bausch and I feel weird about dance and I feel weird about romance and I feel weird about being a fan. I’m mainly interested in two things from Pina Bausch’s work: fandom and romance.” So starts the program note to Neal Medlyn’s I <3 PINA, words that are also projected during the performance. Behind almost the entirety of the performance is a constant, slow scroll of words, a fascinating wealth of context to Medlyn’s latest creation. Much of Medlyn’s work has dealt with celebrity, and I <3 PINA, focusing on the legendary dancer, of course does, too. As Medlyn writes, it certainly deals with fandom and romance, but to put it another way, it also deals with legacy and deep loneliness, ...

In Performance: Ikechukwu Ufomadu, Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure (Exponential Festival)

Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure Ikechukwu Ufomadu Exponential Festival, Vital Joint January 12-13, 2018 Comic entertainer Ikechukwu Ufomadu breaks all the rules in his one-man lecture performance, Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure. All the rules for giving effective presentations, that is. He moves through his presentation at a slow pace; he walks in front of the projector so that the presentation slides often end up projected on his body; and perhaps most egregious of all, he reads every single word that he’s put on his slides. Yet the show could not be a more thoroughly enjoyable leisure experience. Ike establishes the leisurely pace from the very start, as he shuffles in and says hello to individual audience members he happens to see, with an openness that makes it easy to e...

In Performance: Variations on Themes from Lost and Found (American Realness)

Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other works by John Bernd Ishmael Houston-Jones and Miguel Gutierrez with Nick Hallett and Jennifer Monson presented by Danspace Project, Gibney Dance & American Realness 2018 January 9-13 A mysterious crash reverberated through the sanctuary of St. Mark’s Church, interrupting co-directors Ishmael Houston-Jones and Miguel Gutierrez as they stood up to introduce the performance. The two artists looked up to the balcony for the source of the sound. “John’s here,” said Gutierrez with a sly smile. John Bernd was a vital member of the New York downtown dance community in the 1980’s, creating work until his death from AIDS complications in 1988. Conceived by Houston-Jones, who danced in Bernd’s work (as did Jennifer Monson, who...

In Performance: James and Jerome, Museum: Lecture (Exponential Festival)

It’s ten minutes past the hour, and the performance still hasn’t started. The performer/creators, James and Jerome, stand on the floor-level stage, bare except for their microphones, instruments, and samplers, and make small talk. It’s a friendly, welcoming atmosphere: they don’t seem to be concerned about the time, so I’m not particularly worried either. Suddenly a young woman walks down the aisle and takes a seat— James greets her and replies an audible “don’t worry, you’re so fine” to what I assume is her apology. They were holding the house for his partner on their opening night, keeping the casual space open until she arrived, already-forgiven.

In Performance: Deepali Gupta, Over(Reverberating) (The Exponential Festival)

Over(Reverberating) is a live-performance of selected songs from Deepali Gupta’s 2017 album of the same name. Between each song, Deepali shares snippets of stories inviting the audience into a recent break-up and the resulting manic episode that inspired and fueled the album. Each song is a stark and haunting plunge into Deepali’s psyche with just her voice and no instrumental support. Deepali uses rhyme and repetition to understand herself. Her lyrics seem to result from associative word games that pull the audience in for a brisk hour-long experience.

In Performance: Andrew Schneider, AFTER (Under the Radar)

AFTER Andrew Schneider Under the Radar, The Public Theater January 4-14, 2018 Without warning, the audience is plunged into darkness. So beings AFTER, created by the OBIE-winning Andrew Schneider in collaboration with Alessandra Calabi, Bobby McElver, and Alicia ayo Ohs. For AFTER, the creative team set out to make the truest blackout it could, and it succeeds to an extent that feels impossible in typical American, glowing-exit-sign-riddled theaters. Darkness recurs throughout the show’s 80 minutes. Sitting for so long in a darkness so complete that even the people whose coats you feel touching you disappear, your mind starts to play tricks on you: Is that a glimmer of a light source? Was that the hint of a body moving? Is that a sound, or did I imagine it? AFTER intentionally manipulates ...

In Performance: SOAK festival — a deluge of acts and training in butoh, dance, and performance art

SOAK is a festival presenting a deluge of acts and workshops in theater, butoh, dance, and performance art every spring over four weeks in May and June. SOAK is molded by LEIMAY at their Brooklyn home CAVE, as well as at some off-site venues. SOAK broadens the perceptions of our artists and audiences with work that is experimental, rigorous, and thought-provoking. The festival showcases finished and in-progress work by international, local and resident artists and blends them together in a concoction that inspires audiences, fuels the artists, and stimulates the community surrounding LEIMAY’s activities. SOAK features workshops and performances by international butoh dancers Yuko Kaseki and Moeno Wakamatsu, performances by Maximilian Balduzzi, Ben Spatz, Sabrina Lastman, Samita Sinha, LE...

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