Talking hotels, coyotes morphing into seductive, queer bearded men, grandmothers drifting away on glaciers: just a few of the surreal scenes from HOLIDAYS IN / COYOTE, a play directed by Jess Chayes and written by Adam R. Burnett in collaboration with the cast and crew. The play was presented by The Tank as part of this year’s Exponential Festival - an extensive, annual nonprofit presenting performance throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan during the month of January. I ventured out to the city on a blistering cold evening to see the production during it’s week-long run (Jan 14th - 20th).
In Politics We Trust: Observing JUST SITUATIONS
Various Locations across Brooklyn, NYC | July 2017
By Polina Riabova
Sitting at Panoply Performance Lab (Brooklyn, NY) on Thursday, July 20th I am sweating buckets. “It’s so HOT in there!” I say to Esther Neff, organizer of JUST SITUATIONS (alongside Kaia Gilje and Leili Huzaibah) as I smoke in-between performances.
“It’s just because there’s so many people,” Esther tells me.
JUST SITUATIONS, a “hybrid-convention, festival and ‘political science fair’” with an intent to create alternative structures and “modes” of being under a capitalist, power-hungry system through performative methods, spanned a total of 10 days (July 13 - 23). For an intensive festival involving more than 60 performers (or ‘situators’), the crowd makes sense.
Preparing for "Not a Rehearsal"
El Museo De Los Sures, Brooklyn, NYC, April 5, 2017
By Polina Riabova
On Wednesday, April 5th, I attended a movement, text, sound and action-based feminist performance event while going through what I can only refer to as a minor breakdown.
Prior to leaving for Not A Rehearsal (curated by Jean Carla Rodea and Kathie Halfin) at El Museo De Los Sures (NYC) I had written a dramatic Facebook status about the TV show Girls, which somehow resulted in me missing the first performance of the evening by artist Sierra Ortega, “I scream the body electric." I was told by audience members who experienced the piece that Ortega described her problems that day (such as subway delays making her late - hi, yes, me too) then proceeded to record and loop the audio, in between takes of which she shrieked. I entered the space fuming at myself for the unprofessionalism inherent in prioritizing a Facebook status over a paid writing gig. Ironically, in not seeing Ortega’s work I made what I understood of it the essence of my reality. For the next 2 hours or so all my problems were looping inside my head and in-between them, I too, shrieked.
You may have noticed a new name for the Performance Is Alive correspondence team when we published "ARTISTS IN HOPE: A SOFT POLITICAL DISSENT" by Polina Riabova. I first met Riabova at one of Fritz Donnelly's infamous performance events at BIZARRE Bushwick. We spoke casually about the Brooklyn performance community as live performers slung chocolate sauce all over themselves, the venue and anyone in their path (you know, normal performance stuff.) Months later we picked up our conversation at Grace Exhibition Space where Riabova expressed an interest in writing about performance. Intrigued by her poetic approach and fresh immersion into performance art, I found Riabova to be an apt addition to the site. In our interview, Riabova explains her relationship to writing, immigration and highlights a few standout performance pieces. - Quinn Dukes
The evening begins with Nora Stephens introducing herself and her onstage compatriots (Cecilie Beck, Eli Tamondong and Naomi Elena Ramirez) by read-singing from a sheet. Stephens credits a previous work for bringing the collaborators’ together, earnestly looking up from page to audience. “Welcome to our show,” the performers’ harmonize warmly, arms extended in greeting while colorful, glittery outfits sparkle as they move about. They come together in the center of the room and hold flower-like positions. Silently - slowly - the flowers wilt. Within minutes they are in a heap on the floor and begin to transform and undulate as the human bodies roll backwards into the space.