Avant-garde fashion designer and artist Valerj Pobega presented her “Kabuki in Berlin” -Fall/Winter 2019 collection with a site-specific performance in collaboration with dancers, acrobats and a music performance by Lawrence Rothman. Dressed in the designer’s hand-painted silk creations from “Kabuki in Berlin” her collection was inspired by the hybrid identities and androgynous stylings as seen in the Liza Minnelli’s turn as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, and the epicene performances of Lindsey Kemp and David Bowie in their 1970 mimed numbers which had hints of Kabuki theatre. photographs by Mekael Dawson
On March 14, Maceo Paisley officially released his book, Tao of Maceo at NAVEL. The book launch was accompanied by a performance with dancer, Brianna Mims and a screening of Paisley’s short film, DYNAMITE, as well as a short Q&A with Maceo & our managing editor, Summer Bowie. photographs by Lani Trock
Defining a culture that comprises 7100 islands, centuries of colonization, and an overwhelming desire to assimilate is profound and Sisyphean. Unlike a migration that takes place over land, the ocean seems to wash away all evidence of the traveled path. The historical narrative that has framed Filipino-American immigration is fraught with this eternal question of identity and belonging. Being part Filipino myself, I learned very little about my grandmother’s life story while she was alive. It wasn’t until after she passed away and my grandfather published her memoirs that I learned just how harrowing her journey had been.
After attending the world premiere of FLEX, a dance theater piece that explores primarily the story of choreographer, Jay Carlon’s father and his immigration from the Philippines to the States, I realized that the erasure of these stories is rather commonplace. Click here to read more.
What does it mean to be a twenty-first century renaissance man? For Maceo Paisley, a wide range of disciplines comes together in a positive feedback loop that supports his indefatigable exploration of human behavior. Using embodied inquiry, he investigates his own identity and presents his findings in performance and film. A prolific writer of prose, he just released his first book Tao of Maceo, which takes inventory of his personal beliefs and aims to define his perspective more acutely. Stepping off the stage, he cultivates community through his Chinatown gallery, Nous Tous and a multi-pronged community practice/social innovation agency called Citizens of Culture. Click here to read more
Meredith Monk performed Cellular Songs on March 2nd at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Following the celebrated On Behalf of Nature, which offered a liminal space questioning the precarious state of our global ecology, Cellular Songs turns attention inward to the very fabric of life itself. Joined by the women of her acclaimed Vocal Ensemble, Monk combines some of her most adventurous vocal music to date with movement, light, instrumental music and film, as well as a video installation designed specifically for each space. photographs by Julieta Cervantes
Meredith Monk will also be performing at the LA Phil on June 11 &12.
Inspired by the life of explorer Alexandra David-Néel, Meredith Monk’s three-act “quest opera” uses Monk’s inimitable and hypnotic style to explore the loss and rediscovery of our inherent wonder. More than 20 years since Atlas first made its impact, Yuval Sharon will conceive and direct this landmark new production.
Chris Emile and No)one. Art House presented a choreographed performance in response to Haegue Yang’s Strange Fruit (2012-13), part of MOCA’s permanent collection. Yang’s work takes its title from the anti-lynching anthem famously recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939. Using Yang’s installation as its stage, Emile’s performance examines the public display and consumption of violence against marginalized bodies and investigates how Black Americans process trauma. The performance expands the dialogue between Yang’s Strange Fruit and the protest song of the same name. Chris Emile, the choreographer, is the cofounder of No)one. Art House, a collective that produces movement-based installations in unconventional spaces throughout Los Angeles. photographs by Lani Trock
Line Steppers, a performance by Maceo Paisley and Katie Malia, unfolds within Albert Oehlen/Peppi Bottrop: Line Packers”. Paisley and Malia’s navigation of a social space in the gallery adds a layer of commentary on labor versus expression in the world of art and entertainment. Curated by Brian Getnick. photographs by Lani Trock
Choreographed by Samantha Blake Goodman, Sky Echo is a psalm whispered to the universe, drifting the dancers in and out of the museum’s fountains. It is a trio performed by Bianca Medina, Chris Emile, and Sasha Rivero. The dancers move in costumes provided by New York-based designer Mara Hoffman to live musical accompaniment by vocalists AKUA and Anthony Calonico. This transcendent performance sways audiences and softly carries viewers to a place of bliss. photographs by Lani Trock
Milka Djordjevich’s ANTHEM, presented by Los Angeles Performance Practice, currently on a three-night run at Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles, is a pulsing kaleidoscope of movement that is difficult to label. Maybe disco dressage comes close, a choreographed disintegration loop, something akin to the rising and fading blips on a Soviet-era heart monitor, performed by a distant artificially intelligent species programmed only with 1.44 megabytes of 20th century cabaret instruction. In actuality the dance is performed by four human women named Laurel Atwell, Jessica Cook, Dorothy Dubrule, and Devika Wickremesinghe.
According to Djordjevich, ANTHEM utilizes “existing and imagined vernacular dance styles” to explore “labor, play, and feminine-posturing.” You could say that this trifecta becomes a first, second and third act by which to break down the performance, and break down it will. Within the hour-long performance, an innocent playground clapping game turns into a cocaine fever dream that reminds you of Sydney Pollack’s 1969 adaption of Horace McCoy’s 1935 novel, They Shoot Horses, Don't They? It's about a Great Depression-era dance marathon the devolves into desperation, exhaustion, greed and death. ANTHEM is electric and existentially thrilling in the same context. It is a fragmented mirror reflecting an alternate reality that absorbs the viewer within Djordjevich’s enthralling matrix, helped maybe by the droning, undulating music of Chris Peck and theatrical communist bloc, discotheque-toned lighting by Madeline Best.
Each dancer, one with a full Petra Von Kant afro, arrive in a kind of centipede-like daisy chain, various lackadaisical rhythmic exercises turn into cavalier Saturday Night Fever dance moves performed with brilliantly stolid indifference. Soon, the dancers climb on top of each other, writhing double-deckers of velvet covered flesh. One chews gum, blows bubbles and makes awkward eye contact with the audience. Two of them lose their shoes. At points they all rehydrate and fix their hair as they fall into a hypnotic groove, one of which takes on a texture of movement that has a robotic, cool remove. Mascara, eye shadow and sweat glistens. The dancers slowly succumb to gravity and exhaustion, like bon vivants at dawn. They emerge from their stupor to return from whence they came. The fever has broken and no bitter tears were shed.
ANTHEM has three remaining performances in Los Angeles, Saturday 6/9 at 10pm, Sunday 6/10 at 3pm & 7pm. Ghebaly Gallery is located at 2245 E Washington Boulevard. photographs by Summer Bowie
On May 25, 2018 PAM hosted the debut performance of Untangling Manhood, Maceo Paisley investigates gender through embodied inquiry, juxtaposing identity and social constructs. Using movement, language, and audience interaction, Paisley guides us through a narrative that goes beyond making art, inviting audiences to confront themselves in the process. photographs by Lani Trock
On Saturday April 28th, Navel LA celebrated the launch of MAPS, Movement Art Performance Space. MAPS was founded by Samantha Blake and is dedicated to cultivating the contemporary and traditional arts of the Afro-Latinx and Caribbean diaspora in Los Angeles. The launch featured three dance performances by Samantha Blake, Chris Bordenave and Vera Passos (respectively), along with a film screening by Nery Madrid, singing by Felicia ‘Onyi’ Richards, costumes by Gabrielle Datau + Jiro Maestu (Poche) and Desiree Klein, and still photographs by Russel Hamilton, shot during the film’s creation. You can read our interview of Chris Bordenave from our Winter 2017 issue here. Navel LA is located at 1611 S Hope Street Los Angeles. photographs by Lani Trock
A classically trained, multi-disciplinary choreographer, who is one of the 3 founding members of a dance company called No)one. Art House., Chris Bordenave has recently been working with a number of musical artists, such as Anderson Paak, Mayer Hawthorne, and more recently Solange and Kelela. He has also been creating site-specific works for institutions such as the California African American Museum, Hauser + Wirth, and Solange’s SAINT HERON House. Click here to read the full interview.
The tremendously talented actress and performance artist Helen Shumaker performing at the DeYoung Museum as part of a series of events called Our People curated by Monique Jenkinson (aka Fauxnique) with a group of performers, most of whom she knows through the queer club scene, to create a dance/installation inspired by the work of Jean Paul Gaultier—"his icons, his fetishes, and a light-hearted, humanistic irreverence." Photograph by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre.