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Archive for the ‘practice and process’ Category

I’m delighted to be moderating an upcoming discussion of Ursula Eagly’s brilliant Fields of Ida, which premiered at Dance Theater Workshop last October.  The discussion, which includes a screening of the piece, is part of the series Sorry I Missed Your Show!, developed by Gina Gibney Dance and Dance/NYC.

SIMYS! is an exciting addition to the landscape of “contextual events” for performance.  It promises to provide a thoughtful, productive opportunity for artists to revisit recent works long after the opening-night nausea has worn off.  Equally, it promises an interesting, down-to-earth opportunity for audiences to catch something they may have missed or revisit a work for a deeper look.

Sorry I Missed Your Show! featuring Ursula Eagly’s Fields of Ida
Saturday, January 23rd at 4:30PM
Gina Gibney Dance, Studio 5-2
890 Broadway, 5th Floor (between 19th and 20th)
FREE!  (please RSVP to infoATginagibneydanceDOTorg)

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On October 13th, The Inquisitive Owl turned two.  While I can hardly claim to have been diligently dedicated to posting over the past two years, it has been an interesting practice to attempt to maintain this outlet over that time.  I can only guess as to whether it has provided any interest for others, but that’s the beauty (and the horror) of the internet.

On October 20th, one week after TIO’s modest anniversary, I moderated another installment of my THROW series at The Chocolate Factory Theater.  This one featured works-in-process by Tara O’Con, Renee Archibald, and Reghan Sybrowsky.  Coaching artists through the development of their questions for an audience always teaches me something – and always reinforces the feeling that making art is like drawing a map of the desert in a sandstorm.  Why do we do it?  Well, to quote Ursula Eagly’s recent gem, “We make art to make sense.”  Even though it’s impossible to draw the map, our attempts bring us closer to understanding the desert, and that’s better than nothing.

The last THROW for 2009 is coming up on Tuesday, November 10th.  It will feature works by Dietz Marchant, Mana Kawamura, and Tatyana Tenenbaum.  I’m looking forward to more comparative cartography.

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As part of my “off-line” investigations, I curate a performance-development series called “THROW” at The Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City.   THROW returns from its summer hiatus on Tuesday, September 15th with works-in-progress by Maura Donohue, Benjamin Rasmussen, and Jessica Ray.

Designed to provide artists and audiences with a platform for testing ideas-in-progress THROW has been going strong since 2006.  But, as LeVar Burton would say, you don’t have to take my word for it:

“Going to THROW is a bit like participating in a brand-new art form, one in which the co-creation is not only between the choreographer and performers, but also with an actively engaged audience.”
-Martha Sherman, Audience Member

“Dialogue!  Process!  Participating in THROW reminded me that this is where the joy is in art-making.”
– Rebecca Davis, Artist

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This owl has been focusing all of her inquisitiveness into a new production, which opens at the Chocolate Factory Theater on March 25th.  Hence, the relative lack of posts lately.  I do hope that you will come and see my effort to spin the theory into practice:

[          ]
Created by Red Metal Mailbox
Presented by the Chocolate Factory Theater
March 25-28, 2009 at 8PM
$15

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Making It

Lately I’ve been having some trouble focusing on art-making. Several artists I know are having the same struggle. Over the past few months, I’ve been struck by how many artists have said to me (unprompted) in conversation, “I’m just not sure what to make anymore. I feel like I’m re-thinking what’s important in my life,” or something along those lines.

I’ve been similarly confused. Is it just because we’re getting older and more tired or is there something more to it? What work is actually necessary to make – for ourselves and our audiences? What is the best way for each of us to spend our increasingly limited time? These big questions are (perhaps too heavily) weighing on me as I continue to work with my performance company Red Metal Mailbox on a piece for The Chocolate Factory this March.

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On Saturday, my company Red Metal Mailbox performed as part of a showcase of work created in part at the Dragon’s Egg, an artist residency space near Mystic, CT.  There were many different kinds of performing artists on the program, presenting a lot of different types of work.  It was a great reminder that some people make things simply because it’s fun, and that that’s what making performance used to be about for me (before it go so pressured and professional.)  Perhaps I can bring some elements of the fun back, without losing the rigour of professionalism.

On Monday, I helped to produce the 24th Annual New York Dance and Performance Awards (aka “The Bessies.”)  Shifted from the formal awards ceremony of years past to an informal party with awards, this event also had me thinking about fun, as well as the incomparable magic of a full moon on a clear night.

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I took Ishmael Houston-Jones‘ composition class this week, which focused on text and movement as part of Movement Research’s MELT workshop. We started each class session with a five-minute free write, which made me wonder about free-writing on this blog. Is it possible for me to put myself out there without editing? Can I move without thinking first? If I manage to let go and write more freely, could I maintain a more active, less precious posting presence, or would it just bore my few readers to seek other internet entertainment?

I’ve noticed that I write a lot of questions on this blog. I also found that I wrote a lot of questions during the free write sessions in class this week. Plus, I curate a works-in-progress performance series that is all about questions. Perhaps this is obvious, as my site is titled “Inquisitive Owl” and the subheading is “investigating contemporary performance.” Still, I wonder if the questions are just a way for me to keep from making a statement that might be criticized. Sometimes the questions are tools for true investigation, and a means to discovery, but sometimes they are just my cover.

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