Zornitsa Stoyanova, Lick My Gun, Curate This

I Have Always Liked Climbing on Top of Things

Six Performances Not to Miss This Month

You’re too busy to follow performance in Philly. That’s okay—We’ve been watching the best contemporary theater and dance for the last six years and we’ll tell you what to see. We’ve got a list of the best performers, theater makers, dancers, and Philly-famous stars that you can check out in April.

1. The Fever
By Wallace Shawn, restaged by Scott Rodrigue
April 12-22
PLAYS AND PLAYERS, 1714 DELANCEY PLACE
playsandplayers.org/the-fever/

The Fever, Curate This

This political restaging of Shawn’s play about accountability and entitlement will feel super relevant. Rodrigue is a Grotowski-based performance researcher with extensive training, and this is his first major show in Philadelphia. The production follows socialist models, being communally directed by a variety of collaborators and offering subsidized early bird tickets. This Thursday night is socialist night.

2. Lick my Gun
By Zornitsa Stoyanova
Saturday, April 15
MASCHER SPACE, 155 CECIL B MOORE
RSVP on Facebook

Zornitsa Stoyanova, Lick My Gun, Curate This
Artwork by Zornitsa Stoyanova

Zornitsa is one of the most innovative dancemakers in Philly, and a favorite of Curate This. “For almost 3 months I have been rehearsing with a group of dancers asking the above questions and exploring ideas around female sexuality tied to gun violence. Statistics like, its almost 3 times more likely for you to be killed by your own child or any other toddler than any terrorist, strike home.”

3. Anna
By Brenna Geffers and the Ensemble
March 29-April 16
LATVIAN SOCIETY, 531 N. 7TH ST.
egopo.org/anna

Anna, EgoPo, Curate This
Photo by Dave Sarrafian

Brenna Geffers is one of the best directors working in Philly, and she’s also the author of this adaptation of Anna Karenina (which is, in our humble opinion, one of the most searing and intelligent novels ever written). The incredible cast, including the super charming and versatile Andrew Carroll, is just a bonus.

4. Gumshoe
By New Paradise Labs
April 8 – May 7
FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA, 1901 VINE STREET
Reserve a session here

Gumshoe, New Paradise Labs, Curate This

New Paradise Labs has been making exciting physical theater work in Philly for decades, and this immersive performance investigates the never-ending struggle between fact, fiction, and falsehood. “Library agents will lead you through secret doors and down escape hatches into the underbelly of the building. Codes, puzzles, disguises, and subterfuge – a bobsled ride into the world of lost books.”

5. Get Pegged with Ivo Dimchev
Friday, April 14
FRINGEARTS, 140 N. COLUMBUS BLVD.
fringearts.com/event/get-pegged-cabaret-10/

ivodimchev400-263x300

Okay, so after all that serious shit just chill out with some cabaret and sexy puns. Get Pegged is always some wacky fun but this session features Ivo Dimchev, an incredibly daring and talented theater artist.

And we can’t seriously do this without upping  . . .

6. Parrot Talk
By Julius Ferraro (that’s me)
April 28-30
DA VINCI ART ALLIANCE, 704 CATHARINE STREET
parrottalk.bpt.me

Curate This, Julius Ferraro, Parrot Talk
Photo by Louise ORourke Photography

Parrot Talk is a metaphysical thriller about dying on the way to the grocery store. It features some of the most talented performers in Philly, outrageous abstracted language, and fundamentals of chaos. You’ll want to be there.

The Galleries at Moore, Curate This

Take Your Shoes Off at the Door

Where the Cool Kids Look at Art: 10 Galleries You Should Know About

Looking to graduate from the First Friday crowd and blossom into something a bit more contemporary? Maybe even, occasionally, abstract? LOOK. NO. FURTHER. Below you’ll find our top ten local gallery picks. The work in these galleries may be hot but the crowds are cool—who knew aesthetes were so attractive. Branch out and get in with the hip kids at these local galleries:

1. Little Berlin
Open Saturday 12:00PM – 6:00PM & by Appointment
2430 CORAL STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19125
www.littleberlin.org

Little Berlin, Curate This

Little Berlin has been a long time Curate This favorite. We have even collaborated with some of the cooperative gallery’s members. Little Berlin’s structure alone lends itself to some fantastic out of the box showings and installations. The name Little Berlin derived from a comparison once made to the founders, Kristen Neville and Martha Savery. Artists rehabbing buildings in Kensington felt like postwar Berlin.

2. Gravy Studio and Gallery
Open by Appointment
910 N. 2ND STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19123
www.gravy-studio.com

Gravy Studio and Gallery, Curate This

Gravy Studio and Gallery hosts some incredible local photographers like Katie Tackman and Julianna Foster, many of which double as members. The collaborative workplace and gallery focuses on promoting the work of local photographers. The studio and gallery makes our list for its fearlessness; Gravy Studio is not afraid to show challenging work. Just check out their facebook page and muse through some of their past exhibitions.

3. Vox Populi
Open Wednesday – Sunday, 12:00PM – 6:00PM
319 N. 11TH STREET, PHILADELPHIA 19107
www.voxpopuligallery.org

Vox Populi, Curate This

Vox Populi, Latin for “voice of the people,” has been bringing the people contemporary and experimental art since 1988. Vox Populi is all about fostering a supportive environment for artists. The gallery’s rotating membership policy leaves room for a diverse array of work.

4. Paradigm Gallery and Studio
Open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 12:00PM – 6:00PM
746 SOUTH 4th STREET, PHILADELPHIA 19147
www.paradigmarts.org

Paradigm Gallery and Studio, Curate This

Paradigm Gallery and Studio is always doing something, and let’s face it, we always want to be there when they are doing something! The Gallery is owned and curated by artists powerhouses, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston. When founding the gallery in 2010, Chen and McCorriston did so with the intention of showing their friends’ work, and they’ve succeeded. Today you’ll find some of the coolest local artists in town on the walls of Paradigm.

5. James Oliver Gallery
Open Wednesday – Friday, 5:00PM – 8:00PM, Saturday, 1:00PM – 6:00PM, Sunday – Tuesday, Open by Appointment
732 CHESTNUT STREET, PHILADELPHIA 19106
www.jamesolivergallery.com

James Oliver Gallery, Curate This

James Oliver has to be one of the coolest gallery owners around and his gallery certainly reflects it. The space requires some exercise—a four story hike to be specific, but it’s worth it to reach an artistic paradise. The gallery transforms with nearly every new exhibit and welcomes local, national, and international artists.

6. Kitchen Table Gallery
1853 NORTH HOWARD STREET, PHILADELPHIA 19122
http://www.kitchentablegallery.com

Kitchen Table Gallery, Curate This

You might think Kitchen Table Gallery is a funny name for a gallery but the story behind it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy. “Louise ORourke was inspired to start KTG by an excerpt of David Reed’s in ‘The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists.’ When David Reed asked Felix Gonzalez-Torres about his art studio he responded by saying, ‘I do not have a studio space. I am a kitchen-table artist.’ In that reading, KTG was born.”

7. Crux Space
Open by Appointment
700 MASTER STREET, PHILADELPHIA 19122
www.cruxspace.com

Crux Space, Curate This

Crux Space is Philadelphia’s only gallery 100% dedicated to new media art. We have been a fan of the gallery since its genesis and it never fails to disappoint. The gallery’s director Andrew Cameron Zahn has dedicated the space to experimental projects and works influenced by technology.

8. The Galleries at Moore
Monday – Saturday, 11:00AM – 5:00PM
20TH STREET AND THE PARKWAY, PHILADELPHIA 19103
www.moore.edu

The Galleries at Moore, Curate This

The Galleries at Moore are a MORE traditional space—see what we did there, but that doesn’t keep it from fostering incredible collaborations with local artists. Local artists are their main cup of tea. In fact the Levy Gallery was originally “created in response to a mayoral report revealing a “serious lack of support” for local talent.”

9. High Tide
1850 NORTH HOPE STREET, APT 14A, PHILADELPHIA 19122
www.high-tide.us

High Tide, Curate This

High Tide gets experimental, and that’s exactly why we love them. The gallery doubles as an artist-run project space in the heart of Kensington. In addition to holding exhibitions, High Tide hosts performances, workshops, and experimental programming.

10. Fjord Gallery
Open Saturdays 12:00PM – 4:00PM, Open by Appointment
1400 NORTH AMERICAN STREET, STE 105, PHILADELPHIA 19122
www.fjordspace.com

Fjord Gallery, Curate This

Fjord, pronounced (fee-your-d), focuses on bringing Philadelphia exciting work from emerging artists and curators. Founded in 2012 the gallery has helped cement Kensington’s reputation as the one of the city’s strongest arts districts.

mcluhan-2

Disposable Life

Week in Maine

Candy-colored and laser-traced, Jenny Drumgoole provides gleefully cryptic dispatches from the hyperurban liminal. Jamming stultified, waspy conventions together with telekinetic ad lib media interventions, Jenny knocks proper taste on its ass and annihilates current art market notions of supply and demand. She understands this is physic warfare against the forces of despair. That’s not clown makeup on Rox Soxx’ face: it’s war paint. Behold Jenny’s mediated meditations created during a recent road trip to Maine.

– Tyler Kline, curator

Tyler asked me to document my week alone with my dog in Maine at the end of August.

Below is a 35 second recap followed by: 1) a souvenir, 2) a thing I learned, and 3) a send-off to remember:

Eat Lightning Crap Thunder, Jenny Drumgoole, Curate This

1. This is an “Eat Lightning Crap Thunder” drink coaster I made (next to my acorn fort drink coaster). It’s what Mickey tells Rocky when they are training for a fight in the first Rocky. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a serious love and reverence for Rocky. If you have never seen any of the movies, start with Rocky (1976), then Creed (2015), then Rocky 2 (1979). Everything got weird in the 80’s so watch these before Rocky 4 & 5.

mcluhan-2

2. I learned that I best understand Marshall McLuhan when I transcribe his writings in crayon. This is the introduction to his 1964 book Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man. There’s some really great stuff about the role of an artist in a media-driven society.

skunk-2

3. In the early morning as my dog and I were getting in the car to leave, we got sprayed by a skunk. We had to make the eight hour drive home like this (my dog is also a car barfer). My first contact with humans upon returning to Philadelphia was at a Family Dollar on Aramingo Avenue covered in skunk oil buying armfuls of peroxide, baking soda, and Dawn. Apply and repeat the next three days, and if that doesn’t work, try tomato paste.

Sculpture and photo by C.J. Stahl. Curate This.

Disposable Life

Public Space and the Prospector’s Cry

I chose C.J. Stahl for this project for his analytical interrogation of the public object and its relationship to our collective consciousness. C.J.’s evidence of contemplation, his structures that act as residue of psychic alchemy, point toward a very personal and highly sensitive nomenclature of symbolic fetish. Through a rigorous methodology Stahl is able to document the privatization of public spaces and synthesize this visual ethnography through sculptural forms that present both a clear dialectic and mystic talismans. Stahl’s results stand as hybrid/dirty Cartesian calibrations of phenomenological artifacts.
-Tyler Kline, curator

When contacted about this project, I was excited at the prospect of documenting some of my changing surroundings using a single-shot camera. Since January of this year, there has been a development boom in many Philadelphia neighborhoods, including mine of Callowhill/North Chinatown. This was no doubt due to Jim Kenney’s first order of business as Mayor: signing an executive order to create the Office of Planning and Development, intended to streamline the development process for city administrators and investors alike. The resulting rapid appearance of worksites was hard to ignore as a pedestrian. Public throughways like sidewalks and street corners became congested or inaccessible, and once-vacant lots doubled as site and storage.

With the coming of the warm months, I began to consider another public space, one that is more green and seemingly in a dialectical relation to the current wave of development. Outside of the Reading Viaduct Project, under the now green-lighted name of The Rail Park, it didn’t seem that the development of mixed-use buildings was balanced with growth of publically accessible green spaces. I noticed the cultivation of green was looking more and more private. Places that looked like community gardens were actually privately cared-for plots, still very beautiful for the passerby, but not an option for a gardener hoping to fall within a participatory catchment. Individuals’ stoop gardens and armies of planters in front of their homes staked a claim that echoed the prospector’s cry. Space, it seems, is running short, and the need to claim territory is now, a near-synthesis of the dialectic.

This project gave me the opportunity to visualize some of my ideas surrounding the places and objects I encounter daily. The image roll that follows is a small selection of photos taken with the single use camera, as well as two sculptures and a collage that make use of these images. For the sculptural works, I considered the mediated experience of urban green spaces from the point of view of a domestic interior. The objects make reference to a space caught between an aesthetically manicured capacity and the desire for an immersive natural experience. The collaged work picks up on the idea of prospecting, and visually acts as a proposition or survey for sculptural works in a public space. In actuality, the space that is cited in the collaged image is private, nestled behind a condo building close to the Whole Foods on the Parkway. I have fantasized about installing works in this space, but it is hard to know how much longer it will remain vacant.

Pap Souleye Fall, Curate This

Disposable Life

Ju-Ju Phantasms of Pap Souleye Fall

Constant trip the lighting is Pap Souleye Fall; Anansi weaver of ju-ju phantasms and lank tails. Stitching jitterbug suits of rubarb and rye, aiding celestial footwork to calm young gods and old heads. Yung bull, yung bull, many hands make the load lighter; these Bullman chariot arcades stacked like legit forts guarding against the tomb of a false world.

-Tyler Kline, curator

David Cronenberg

Homework

Somnambulist Alarm Clock: If You Must Stare Into the Screen

From bronze to digital, Tyler Kline’s art spans the ages, melding ideas of time, space, metaphysics, and humanity into packages of cast metal that last forever, or into Vine videos that live for seconds in a Twitter feed. Tyler is fearless in his use of materials, generous in his treatment of others in the art community, and one of the smartest artists working in Philadelphia today. He’s a member of the Little Berlin collective and by day he manages the Sculpture shop and the bronze forge at University of the Arts and curates several art spaces at that university.

-Roberta Fallon, past curator

Regarding phenomenology and the sensate, one of the greatest functions of art is to open new ways of feeling, thus eliciting new modes of thought. The following is an abbreviated list of media that attempt to map the landscape of the heart, with a network I created to explore artistic and intellectual connections in Philadelphia and throughout history.

Videodrome, Shivers, The Brood, and eXistenZ, films by David Cronenberg. Using horror as a language to speak as a prophet, these films weave a caustic poetry narrating a tale of a visceral existence mediated by an artificial cognizance.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, novel by Carson McCullers. Whispered gospel from the haunted, secret South.

Audition, a film by Takashi Miike. Tight steel tension lurking and staggering toward a transgressive resolution.

Endgame, a play by Samuel Beckett. One of the most hilarious situations ever wrestled into existence, pointing a fierce klieg light toward the more absurd aspects of the human condition.

Auch Zwerge Haben Klein Angefangen, a film by Werner Herzog. Holy fools and anarchist clowns define authority through pandemonium.

Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, a book by Carl Jung. A noble attempt to plot one of the most elusive yet inescapable forces of the universe.

Delta of Venus, a novel by Anaïs Nin. Prose as lucid and phantasmagoric as it is subversive.

Rigadoon, a novel by Louis-Ferdinand Céline . . . problematic . . stylish . . . assaulting . . . compassionate . . . doomed . . . jovial . . . beastly . . . ravaging . . .

The Impossible, a book by George Bataille. Disorientation as stasis and clarity.

Welcome to the Desert of the Real, a book by Slavoj Žižek. Draws much needed connections in our post Sept 11th psychosocial labyrinth.

Kikujiro, a film by Takeshi Kitano. Bizarre take on the father-son road movie that is so much more.

Being and Time by Martin Heidegger. Extremely important work, dense; I suggest the uninitiated first watch Being in the World and allow Hubert Dreyfus act as a lens into the concept of Dasein.

The Blood of Others, a novel by Simone de Beauvoir. Meditation on what it means to be free.

Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre. This novel meant a lot to me as a young man when I read it during my breaks as a graveyard dishwasher in Athens, GA; it contains a great passage regarding the autodidactic.

F♯ A♯ ∞, album by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. “The car is on fire and there is no driver at the wheel.” This statement helped usher in the 21st Century.

2666 by Roberto Bolaño. A novel as an infernal biological mechanism, an animated corpse that bears witness.

Defixiones Will and Testament, a live performance album by Diamanda Galas. Art as psychic warfare against the forces of despair.

Hard to be a God, a film by Aleksei German. A spectral madhouse of what might have been, a horror, a vacuous portrait of a society spectacularly in disarray. “…it began with the destruction of the University.” Truer words were never burned into celluloid.

Negative Horizon, a book by Paul Virilio. Tackles issues of speed, scale, late capital, globalization, the military industrial complex, and the role of the urban metropole orchestrating this chaotic dance.

Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, the life of Paul Erdős, and As If Summoned from the Void: The Life of Alexandre Grothendieck. All elucidate a much deeper relationship with the universe that what we merely observe.

Portrait of myself as my father by nora chipaumire. Julius Ferraro's Fringe Picks. Curate This.

I Have Always Liked Climbing on Top of Things

25 Shows in 34 Hours: Julius’ Fringe Schedule

You don’t know what shows you want to see in Fringe. That guide is freakin huge, the descriptions are tiny, and there are like 150 shows. And it’s coming up soon: Sept. 9-24.

For two years Curate This co-founder Julius Ferraro has leveraged his experience and knowledge of the Philadelphia theater scene to produce a series of Fringe Bike Tours, helping audiences to navigate the ocean of possibilities that is Fringe. This year there won’t be a bike tour, but you can take a look at his Fringe schedule, below.

-Amanda V. Wagner, co-founder

Fringe always reminds me of firsts! One of my first outstanding Fringe shows was Nichole Canuso’s Wandering Alice, and now she’s back at Fringe in Pandæmonium with Geoff Sobelle, whom I first saw in Pig Iron’s Chekhov Lizardbrain, also at Fringe. I first saw Mary Tuomanen perform in Vainglorious many years ago (and have seen her many times since then), and now she’s back in another immersive Applied Mechanics show.

If there’s a theme among the shows I’m seeing in this year’s Fringe, it’s that so many fall under the label of “immersive” performance. Think critically about this descriptor, which is inarguably a hot one these days. What does it mean? Is it a new way of engaging “presence” in performance, or is it a gimmick? Is it vital to the changing meaning of theater in an increasingly digital world, or is simply a new way to stimulate oversaturated audiences?

And what counts as immersive? If actors are on all sides of me and sometimes touch me, is that immersive? If I am allowed to choose in what order I see scenes, is that immersive? Or do I have to be picking fruit with the artists, or making real in-the-moment choices with my body which affect the ways I relate with other individuals, for a show to be truly “immersive”?

Look out for my reviews of many of these at Phindie and thINKingDANCE as the festival goes by. Hopefully this list will help you to navigate the notoriously massive and ponderous list of shows. I’ve also tabulated running counts of how many shows I’m seeing and how many hours that means in actual time in the theater. Just for fun.

Animal Farm to Table by The Renegade Company. Photo by Daniel Kontz. Julius Ferraro's Fringe Picks. Curate This.
Animal Farm to Table. Photo by Daniel Kontz.

THURS, SEPT 8
8 pm. Animal Farm to Table by The Renegade Company. Immersive theater and food together. Immerse yourself in both, like an arty jello bath.
Total shows seen: 1. Time spent in theater: 1 hr 15 mins.

FRI, SEPT 9
8:30 pm. Feed by Applied Mechanics. What’s Feed about? I can’t tell from the description and I don’t really care. Applied Mechanics “makes plays you can walk through,” and they’re good at it. Mary Tuomanen was a wonderful Napoleon in their Vainglorious so many years ago. I’m excited to see her alongside Thomas Choinacky again.
11 pm. Crave by Sarah Kane, this production by Svaha Theatre. Kane’s first major production was Blasted, a play which blew up theatrical orthodoxy by having the seedy motel room from the first act bombed by an invading army. Graphic staged (and often sexual) violence was a hallmark of her first three plays; Crave is a departure from this, with the violence still present but abstracted into language and monologue.
Total shows seen: 3. Time spent in theater: 3 hrs 45 mins.

Cellophane by Mac Wellman, produced by Jenny Kessler and John Bezark, Julius Ferraro's Fringe Schedule, Curate This
Cellophane. Image by John Bezark.

SAT, SEPT 10
3 pm. Cellophane by Mac Wellman, this production by Jenny Kessler and John Bezark. I wrote a preview about this play for thINKingDANCE. Wellman is a master of modern wordplay, “James Joyce reborn as a rap artist.” If you think there’s something weird and wiggly going on underneath the grinning, whitecapped veneer of contemporary communication, take a peek under the sinister skirts of Cellophane.
7:30 pm. Two Stories. In a house, dance happening in different rooms, choose your own adventure. “Immersive.” Why not.
10 pm. Shadow House. Immersive opera directed by Brenna Geffers and with a libretto by Brenna Geffers. Another choose-your-own-adventure, follow the performers around the house and get a different story depending on where you go play. I saw Geffers’ La Ronde in the same building last year. My choices didn’t seem to matter because I was able to catch everything that happened, eventually . . . but Geffers is super talented and experienced so this is worth checking out.
Total shows seen: 6. Time spent in theater: 7 hrs 30 mins.

SUN, SEPT 11
2:30 pm. The Chairs by Eugene Ionesco, created by, of course, Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium. Ionesco is the French absurdist who wrote The Bald Soprano, the anti-play which you’ve seen performed in 24-hour cycles with an increasingly exhausted and loopy cast.
7 pm. The Sincerity Project by Team Sunshine Performance Corporation. The hook: two years ago, seven performers signed on for a 24 year experiment. Every two years they’ll perform The Sincerity Project, perform the same rituals, answer some of the same questions, and re-weave their lives together.
Total shows seen: 8. Time spent in theater: 10 hrs 30 mins.

I Fucking Dare You by the Berserker Residents, Julius Ferraro's Fringe Picks, Curate This
I Fucking Dare You

MON, SEPT 12
8:30 pm. I Fucking Dare You by The Berserker Residents. I’m going to this completely by the virtue of the company making it. Wild and wicked; “daft, ephemeral and joyous.”
Total shows seen: 9. Time spent in theater: half a 24 hr day.

TUES, SEPT 13
8 pm. Gala by Jérôme Bel. Join thINKingDANCE after this performance for Write Back Atcha: a post-show “talk-back” combined with a mini-writing workshop, exploring the language you use to describe dance. See the show, pow wow with other audience members and some experienced writers, think and talk critically, write a few lines about what you saw, and then have some of your work compiled with other audience members’ work into a crowd-sourced review like this one.
Total shows seen: 10. Time spent in theater: 13 hrs 30 mins.

Pandaemonium by Nichole Canuso. Julius Ferraro's Fringe Picks. Curate This.
Pandæmonium

WEDS, SEPT 14
8 pm. Pandæmonium by Nichole Canuso Dance Company and Early Morning Opera. Nichole Canuso is a Philadelphia treasure – her Wandering Alice epitomized immersive work for me before I ever knew what that word meant, and then The Garden blew that out of the water a few years later. See her dance with Pig Iron founding member Geoff Sobelle.
Total shows seen: 11. Time spent in theater: 15 hrs.

THURS, SEPT 15
7 pm. 7-Chair Pyramid High Wire Act by Der Vorfuhreffekt Theatre. Puppetry. Elaborate costumes. Props and dynamic sets. Super theatrical performance. This show’s been all over the world and I want to catch it while it’s here.
Total shows seen: 12. Time spent in theater: 16 hrs.

FRI, SEPT 16
7 pm. With Flint and Steel by duende. Improvised music and dance. But, like, they seem to really know what they’re doing.
Total shows seen: 13. Time spent in theater: 16 hrs 45 mins.

Explicit Female by Zornitsa Stoyanova. Photo by Will Drinker. Julius Ferraro's Fringe Picks. Curate This
Explicit Female. Photo by Will Drinker.

SAT, SEPT 17
5 pm. Speculum Diaries by Irina Varina. Varina is an engaging, present, super-talented performer who is also capable of screaming a song at her own vagina on stage. One of my top picks for the festival.
9 pm. Explicit Female by Zornitsa Stoyanova. To quote Kat Sullivan, Zornitsa is a “neo-metal monster and a futuristic Renaissance queen.” Check out my interview with Zornitsa on thINKingDANCE for more info about why I’m psyched about this performance.
Total shows seen: 15. Time spent in theater: 18 hrs 45 mins.

SUN, SEPT 18
7:30 pm. Wise Norlina by Stacy Collado, Hillary Pearson, and Kat J. Sullivan. I don’t know much about this piece; I’m seeing it because I’m interested in Sullivan’s work.
10 pm. Exile 2588 by Almanac Dance Circus Theatre. First time I saw Almanac was at Nice and Fresh; they did a little wordless ditty about a SEPTA ticket taker chasing a fare-cheat up onto the roof of the train and then into such unlikely places as the cockpits of fighter jets. Laurel and Hardy joyfulness combined with astounding circus skill.
Total shows seen: 17. Time spent in theater: 21 hrs 45 mins.

One Way Red by Medium Theatre Company. Photo by Kate Raines. Julius Ferraro's Fringe Picks. Curate This.
One Way Red. Photo by Kate Raines.

WEDS, SEPT 21
7:30 pm. One Way Red by Medium Theatre Company. Dani Solomon first created this piece for 2015’s SoLow Fest. It’s a beautiful and moving exploration of the one-way trip to Mars proposed by popular science recently.
Total shows seen: 18. Time spent in theater: 23 hrs 15 mins.

THURS, SEPT 22
7 pm. Julius Caesar. Spared Parts by Romeo Castellucci / Socíetas Raffaello Sanzio. A nice pairing with Cellophane, this is a Caesar stripped of its words, featuring characters who wrestle desperately to communicate and fail.
Total shows seen: 19. Time spent in theater: 1 day and 45 mins.

Portrait of myself as my father by nora chipaumire. Julius Ferraro's Fringe Picks. Curate This.
Portrait of myself as my father

FRI, SEPT 23
7 pm. Portrait of myself as my father by nora chipaumire. A dancer who never knew her father “celebrates and critiques masculinity: its presence, presentation, and representation” by producing it in a boxing ring.
Total shows seen: 20. Time spent in theater: 1 day, 2 hrs and 15 mins.

SAT, SEPT 24
2 pm. Le Cargo by Faustin Linyekula. A Congolese dancer explores the elimination of memory and his country’s past.
6 pm. The Performers by Erica Janko. A total toss of the dice on this one. I know nothing about Erica Janko except that she describes herself as “a movement artist who researches social phenomena through performance,” a kind of personal statement which might mean everything or nothing.
10:30 pm. Martha Graham Cracker is Martha Graham Cracker.
Total shows seen: 23. Time spent in theater: 1 day, 6 hrs.

SUN, SEPT 25
2 pm. One Way Red by Medium Theatre Company. Full disclosure: I’m filming this for the artist, so I’m seeing it twice.
7 pm. Macbeth by Third World Bunfight. A bit of a cultural minefield: a South African director leads a cast of Congolese performers in an adaptation of Verdi’s opera Macbeth, translating its events to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the leading man into a warlord.
Total shows seen: 25. Time spent in theater: 1 day, 9 hrs.

Add a Little Bit of Meaning

Artist to Artist

Add a Little Bit of Meaning

Veronica Cianfrano is a multimedia artist who has been examining “the communication breakdown” through photographic images and memories of her familial ties and through our current reliance on digital communication. Her work displays her examinations, whether it be through memory decay, new meanings found in old footage, or the effects of the news media on our state of mind. Since receiving her MFA from the University of the Arts in 2010, Cianfrano has served as both co-founder and curator for Manifesto-ish and Champions of Empty Rooms. Here, she interviews video artist Zach Zecha about his work and the value of art via handwritten notes.

-Julius Ferraro, co-founder

 

Zach Zecha

My Problem with the Arts in Philadelphia

Nothing Out of the Ordinary

Zach Zecha is a fairly recent Philly transplant, moving here from Colorado in 2013 to get his MFA from PAFA. He was a founding member of Automat, a gallery he started with some fellow PAFA MFA-ers on the second floor of the 319 N. 11th st. building. He makes paintings and assemblages that remind that we are not in control, and that is beautiful. His work is glorious chaos at first glance and then slowly you begin to find meaning in the connections he makes, going from a loud scream to gentle whisper. I never thought hot pink duct tape could make me so sad. An inner conflict ever-present. Symbolism both invented and universal is presented, redacted, and then re-presented in a different form. He cites Baudrillard, Plato, and the like; but really, in the most human terms, his work asks us to stand back and appreciate the beauty of our chaotic, broken world as it crumbles in front of us; at the same time, he asks us to work hard to make meaningful connections. Very relevant work for our current political climate.

-Veronica Cianfrano, curator