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ASIANS & AMAZONS BY ABALOS
inside news about Asians and women on stage
KALIGHAT (top to bottom) Poorna Jagannathan, Simon Deonarian and Karam K. Puri.Photo by Dave Gochfield.
KALIGHAT: "Kalighat," the new play, written and directed by Paul Knox, highlights Mela: A South Asian Festival at Baruch Performing Arts Center (55 Lexington Avenue). Performances run through Feb. 15. Inspired by the author's experiences as a volunteer at Mother Teresa's titular home for the dying in Calcutta, "Kalighat," tells of Westerners and South Asians who discover themselves and their role in a turbulent world. For reservations, call Smarttix at 212-868-4444, or visit www.smarttix.com. For additional information, call Baruch Performing Arts Center at 646-312-4085 or the Indo-American Arts Council at 212-529-2347 or visit www.iaac.us.
Cultures clash at Kalighat, Mother Teresa's first home for the dying in Calcutta. "Kalighat" tells of Westerners who discover themselves and their role in a turbulent world. With a cast of 23, "Kalighat" dramatizes the work of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, and seeks to build a bridge of understanding between West and East. The powerful new drama merges current Euro-American theater styles, politics and spiritual/religious perspectives with the traditions of South Asia.
"Kalighat" has enjoyed development support at Circle Repertory Company, Circle East, La MaMa, HERE Arts Center, and with the Indo-American Arts Council. The production features choreography by Myna Mukherjee; scenic design by Mikiko Suzuki; costume design by Reshma Patel; lighting design by Brian Aldous and sound design by Bart Fasbender. Susan Kellerman is the associate director. The world-premiere production costars a cast of 23 actors from 7 countries: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Japan, Ireland, Canada and United States.
Presented by the Indo-American Arts Council in association with the Baruch Performing Arts Center, Mela: A South Asian Festival, running through February 15, is a celebration of South Asian performing arts in contemporary Western culture. In addition to "Kalighat", the festival includes a dance program from Nayikas Dance Company; the films of Lifetime Achievement Academy Award-winner Satyajit Ray; two South Asian music nights; and an evening of South Asian comedy.
Playwright/director Paul Knox worked at Kalighat; his play is based on his experiences there. Knox recently directed his work GEHRI DOSTI: FIVE SHORT PLAYS WITH A SOUTH ASIAN BENT at Harvard University. Knox is the Executive Director of Circle East, formerly the Circle Repertory Lab. His one-act INFORMED CONSENT, called "poignant" by The New York Times, was a highlight of Circle East's FIRST LIGHT: A FESTIVAL OF NEW SHORT PLAYS at Chashama last summer. His plays have been seen in the Circle Rep Lab, at Circle East, the Neighborhood Playhouse, the 42nd Street Project, the Columbia University Dramatists, the New York State Summer School for the Arts, Wellesley College, the Baxter Theater in Cape Town, South Africa and elsewhere. He is a co-recipient of the United Nations Society of Writers' Award for his cultural exchange work with the Russian Academy of Theater Arts (GITIS) in Moscow. Knox is a co-founder and trustee of the Tides Foundation-India Fund, which supports grass-roots education and community building efforts among sexually marginalized groups in South Asia, with particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS.
Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) supports all the artistic disciplines in classical, fusion, folk and innovative forms influenced by the arts of India. IAAC works cooperatively with colleagues around the United States to broaden our collective audiences and to create a network for shared information, resources and funding. The focus is to help artists and art organizations in North America, as well as, to facilitate artists from India to exhibit, perform and produce their work here.
RASA THEATER ON THEATRE ROW: Rasa Theater, a new Off Broadway theater company whose East Indian name translates to "the juice of life," is brining new juice to the world of theater in the form of two world premieres. These one act plays are "Abortion," written by the young Eugene O'Neill before he was recognized as a master playwright, and "The End of the Apurnas," a dark comedy by emerging Indian American playwright Sarovar Banka. Both plays are directed and choreographed by Rasa co-founder Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj. Rasa Theater will perform Feb. 7-22 at the Studio Theater on Theater Row, 410 West 42 Street in New York City. For tickets, call Telecharge at 212-239-6200 or visit www.telecharge.com.
Speaking for Rasa Theater, producer Don Nahaku states, "Rasa is very proud to premiere this lost play of O'Neill's that has never been seen before on a professional stage. And our young playwright Banka, who is about the same age as O'Neill was when he wrote "Abortion," has masterfully woven a story with comedy and drama in his new "The End of the Aprunas," about three daughters, all named Apurna after their grandmother."
Rasa's adaptation of O'Neill's virtually unknown and unproduced play "Abortion" is performed with the original text, but relocated from early 20th century New England to 18509s Calcutta in an adaptation by Rasa co-founder Uzma Rizvi. "Abortion" centers around a popular college cricketer and son of a prominent Bengali family who is forced to face the tragic consequences of his love affair with a working class girl.
"The End of the Apurnas" by Sarovar Banka, is a dark comedy about three girls named Apurna, after their grandmother. As they look upon the body of their mother, their grief and guilt play out alongside their usual sibling warfare. The three Apurnas, a serious doctor, a free spirited travel writer, and a sweet, sexy schoolgirl, reveal their mixed feelings about their mother and their strict Indian upbringing.
The cast includes Azher Ali, Chriselle Almeida, Geeta Bhatnagar, Anna George, Don Nahaku, Meeni Naqvi, Deepa Purohit, and Debargo Sanyal.
Rasa Theater was founded in 2002 by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, Uzma Rizvi, and Manu Narayan, who
felt there was an absence of East Indian and South Asian arts representation in the American theater. Rasa Theater is devoted to producing the work of theater artists from the South Asian Diaspora and to integrate South Asian stories into the greater American consciousness. Rasa produced the 2002 Indian Diaspora Playwright's Festival in collaboration with the Lark Theatre and the Indo-American Arts Council. They also co-produced the same Festival in 2003 and the AUDELCO "conservation" as well as workshops and readings of new works for play development. "Abortion" and "The End of the Apurnas" marks the company's first full production.
THE LONELINESS OF NOAM CHOMSKY: The Loneliness of Noam Chomsky (A Performance) will be one of the final productions to be staged at the soon to be demolished Chashama Theater at TIXE Arts Space at Chashama, 113 West 42nd Street. Previews begin Thursday, February 19th. The Loneliness of Noam Chomsky (A Performance) paints a multifaceted portrait of Chomsky as a political activist, linguist, idol, savior, despised prophet and mortal man. Aya Ogawa, whose difference in age, race and gender from Chomsky forces, plays the audience to discard preconceived notions about the man the title role. Reservations can be made by calling the TIXE box office at (212) 592-4644 or visit www.chashama.org.
Key moments are precisely reconstructed from various documentaries, while another scene combines Chomsky's debate with Bill Bennett on CNN and the Oedipus-Tiresias confrontation from Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. True to Chomsky's impartiality, both liberals and conservatives are implicated in the political violence he describes. "We want to challenge the audience, tear down preconceptions and politically activate them, which is Chomsky's goal" says director Noel Salzman. "In this way, our portrait will be as complex and contradictory as any theater that truly reflects the present moment must be." Loneliness also
addresses Chomsky's mortality and questions what will happen when he is gone. Who will then be the voice of the voiceless? The show represents a novel way of arranging politically charged non-fiction into something intriguing, challenging, and frequently funny." The irrational rage provoked by Chomsky and his ideas is simultaneous frightening and hilarious."
Aya Ogawa (The Protagonist) was born in Tokyo and raised in Atlanta, Houston and Northern California. She is a performer, writer, director, and the Associate Artistic Director of the International WOW Company. She has been critically acclaimed for her roles in HyperReal America, Macbeth, the title
role in Alice's Evidence, and as J Robert Oppenheimer in The Bomb. She has worked internationally in Japan and Thailand. Her play has been produced at Soho Rep, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and was a winner at the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival 1996. She wrote and directed A
Girl Of Sixteen at Latea Theatre last spring.
Noel Salzman is a writer and director whose award-winning video adaptation of The Merchant of Venice (created with Brian Nishii) has been screened throughout the United States, Europe and South America. He teaches directing at NYU's Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, is on the Steering Committee of THAW (Theaters Against War), and is artistic director of The Butane Group. The cast includes: Aya Ogawa (HyperReal America, Macbeth, was J Robert Oppenheimer in The Bomb), Judson Kniffen (Jean Cocteau's Orphee, Production Stage Manager for Richard Foreman in New York, Europe, and Japan), Alanna Medlock (The Bomb, Death of Nations Part 1, Orphan on God's Highway.) Artistic team includes Producer Janine Waters, Sound Designer/Composer
The Butane Group is a collective of theater artists, led by Noel Salzman, intent on creating aesthetically radical and emotionally compelling political theater for the 21st century. Brian Nishii/Westwell Productions creates, designs and edits video and sound projects with a variety of artists. Brian Nishii and Noel Salzman have been collaborating for almost ten years. They are currently editing an audio version of Gertrude Stein's "Listen To Me."
Noam Avram Chomsky was born in Philadelphia in 1928. He studied philosophy, linguistics, and mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Ph.D. in 1955. In his doctoral thesis he began to develop some of his linguistic ideas, which lead to the revolutionary 1957 book Syntactic
Structures. He then taught linguistics at MIT for 19 years. It was during this time that he became more publicly engaged in politics, arguing against American involvement in the Vietnam War. Since then, he has been well known for his radical political views, lecturing on politics all over the world, and writing close to 100 books on the subject. His beliefs have earned him both a huge following and many detractors on the left and right. He has been married to Carol since 1949. They have three children.
CHAO IN BRIEFS: Tom X. Chao and Maggie Cino will present a brand-new collaboration in an evening of one-acts: "Briefs" on Friday, Feb. 27, 8PM at BRIC Studio at 57 Rockwell Place, 2nd Fl., Brooklyn. In honor of the shortest month of the year, the SHOEfarm has assembled several playwrights to showcase short-short one-acts. Playwrights include Jennifer Boutell, Tom X. Chao, Christopher Heath, Eric Hunt, and a few others. With original music composed by Matthew Horton. For reservations and information, call 718-855-7882 ext 53 or visit www.brooklynx.org/bricstudio.
Tom X. Chao last appeared at BRIC Studio in May 2003, presenting excerpts from his comedy Cats Can See The Devil, which subsequently played to sold-out audiences at the NY International Fringe Festival. It then enjoyed an extended run and was also given a staged reading at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. CCSTD was selected for publication in Plays and Playwrights 2004, the annual anthology of the best of Off-Off-Broadway. Recently, the Confluence Theatre Company presented a staged reading of Chao's tragicomedy, Summer, Deepening Then Gone. Chao most recently appeared in Prospect Theater Company's variety show, The EXode II. He has presented original theater pieces--including The Negative Energy Field and Can't Get Started--at numerous NYC theaters. He is a Resident Artist of the Horse Trade Theater Group and resides far from BRIC Studio--in the East Village. www.tomxchao.com
Maggie Cino lives and works out of New York City. She is the co-creator of Geek on Smack and Angry Little People, both of which performed around the city to critical acclaim. Her one-woman clown play, Ascending Bodily, has been published in The New York Theatre Experience's Plays and Playwrights 2003. She has performed in numerous classical, new and experimental plays, as well in a number of films, radio pieces and voiceovers. She has directed a number of pieces, most recently a vaudeville-style hobo piece called Tramp Tramp Tramp. Upcoming witness her hand in a piece about two people who, after being locked in a basement their entire lives, are released only to find themselves performing a USO show. .
BRIC/Brooklyn Information & Culture is a non-profit organization founded in 1979 to present cultural, educational, and informational programs that reflect Brooklyn's diverse population; support the borough's growing neighborhood and economic revitalization; and provide programs that enhance the quality of life for residents of Brooklyn. BRIC/Brooklyn Information & Culture's newest program, BRIC Studio, opened its doors in November 2001. A 4,000 square foot black-box theater adjacent to our offices in the Strand Theater building in Fort Greene/Downtown Brooklyn, the intimate space, which accommodates up to 74 people, showcases the work of both emerging and established artists, with an emphasis on Brooklyn artists working in new forms and technologies.
ALICE'S ROARING GIRLE: Alice Tuan's "The Roaring Girle," adapted from the 1611 Middleton & Dekker satire by Tuan & Melanie Joseph, directed by Foundry Artistic Director Melanie Joseph, will premiere at the Baruch Performing Arts Center at55 Lexington Ave. "The Roaring Girle" is about the most infamous woman you've never heard of. "The Roaring Girle " is Moll Cutpurse, a woman ahead of her time, and ours. Born in 1579 at Barbican Aldersgate Street, Moll became 17th century London's most notorious cross-dresser and "governess of the underworld". Playwright Alice Tuan has brought Moll into the 21st century, freely adapting the original text into a quick-witted satire that takes place in a world where the days of the week have corporate sponsors, free speech costs a fortune, smoking is banned entirely, and theatre has been declared illegal. For tickets, call Smarttix at 212-868-4444 or visit www. TheFoundryTheatre.org.
The plot includes plenty of Jacobean twists and turns - star crossed lovers, gallants out of cash, and hapless comic servants. Against this backdrop, Moll stages an insurgent performance of her forbidden "Show of Shows" rallying her fellow citizens into a roar against the authoritarian attitudes of the day.
A staple of graduate courses in colleges and universities, the original Jacvobean play has never been produced professionally in the US. The 1611 play is all but unproduceable with its five subplots, 48 characters and a sense of satire resonant only to a Jacobean London audience.
The cast for "The Roaring Girle" includes Marissa Copeland, John Epperson (best known as Lypsinka), Clove Galilee, Okwi Okpokwasili, Obie Award winner Steven Ratazzi, and Michael Urie. The creative team includes Bonnie Metzgar (producer), David Neumann (choreography), Obie Award winner Louisa Thompson (scenery), Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (lights), Doey Luethi (costumes), Jill BC Du Boff (sound), and Ron Piretti (fight choreography).
The New York Times has called playwright Alice Tuan a writer of "great dramatic power" whose "writing is cunning." Tuan's work has most recently been seen in new York City in Ma-Yi's "Last of the Suns" and the Flea's "Ajax (Por Nobody)." She ha received the mark Taper Forum's prestigious Robert E. Sherwood Award for emerging artists as well as Los Angeles' Colbert Award for Excellence. Other plays include "Ikebana," "Some Asians," "Mall," "Fletch" ad "That Race Place." She has been produced across the country at East/West Players, Berkeley Rep, The Humana Festival and The Perishable Theatre. She is currently working on new commissions for The McCarter Theater, The Public and The Mark Taper Forum. A resident of Los Angeles and a graduate of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Brown University, Tuan has taught English as a Second Language in China and Los Angeles, and continues to teach play writing.
MA-YI'S VOICES: Ma-Yi Theater Company and The Korea Society's Voices Program present Next Page Reading Series, "Infinitude," A Comedy about generations, evolution, and the dangers of digital video, written by Sung Rno and directed by Ralph Peña on Thursday Feb. 5, 7PM at the Korea Society at 950 Third Avenue, 8 Floor. This program is Free and Open to the Public. Space is limited, call to reserve seating no later than Tuesday, Feb. 3 to Jinyoung Kim at 212-759-7525, ext. 316, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Infinitude" is set in 1999, and a group of Korean American friends who grew up together find themselves dealing with the anxieties of leaving their 20s behind and also bidding farewell to the 20th century. Two friends, Filo and George, are bound by their affection for Samantha, a young woman not used to dealing with limitations. Filo inadvertently falls into a writing career as well as a reckoning with his older brother Terrance, his lifelong tormentor. Through a series of darkly comic events, Filo find that maybe he can survive the new century with a little help from his friends.
A series of events exploring the diversity of voices among generations of Asian Americans, Next Page is produced by Sung Rno and is supported by the NEA/TCG Theater Residency Program for Playwrights and the Vivendi Universal Residency Award. This event is the second in a series if events supported by the Korea Society and the Ma-Yi Theater Company, culminating in the Ma-Yi Theater Company's festival of Korean American playwrights in Spring 2004.
THE BUTCHERHOUSE CHRONICLES: The young and innovative producers Michael Hidalgo and Celena Cipriaso team together to bring you a reading of "The Butcherhouse Chronicles," the newest work written and directed by Michael Hidalgo. The reading will take place on Friday, February 20th at 8:00pm and Saturday, February 21st at 8:00pm at Common Basis Theatre 750 8th Ave (Between 47th and 48th Street). Reservations can be made by emailing email@example.com.
A suburban town is haunted by the myths and secrets of a dark house, at the edge of town. When four high school seniors search for their missing teacher, hidden agendas become revealed and the teens unearth a greater horror than they imagined.
Michael Hidalgo is a playwright/screenwriter whose work has been featured in Peeling-a NYC-based Asian American performance group-where he was contributing writer, producer, performer and director from 2000 to 2001. In addition, his work has appeared prominently in the Lemonade reading series and Desipina & Company's "Seven/Eleven Convenience Theatre". His plays include one-acts "Chum" and "Carpenter Ward"; his screenplays include "Dystopia" (horror), "Crash Diet" (drama) and "The Sugar Fix" (fantasy). He continues to divide his time between screenwriting and playwriting. He received a BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
Celena Cipriaso is also an alumni of the NYU's Department of Dramatic Writing. Her pieces "Language Lessons", "Waiting for Annie", "Little Feminist Asian Nazi Hitler", and "Still Breathing" have all received productions with the Pan-Asian theater troupe Peeling. She has been a lead producer on Peeling shows at New School University and Hamilton College. She is also one of the founding members and producers of Stolen Cow Productions, a fresh new production company.
The show features the performing talents of Jennifer Ahn, Wayne Asbury, Steve Campbell, Erwin Falcon, London Kim, Sesh Mudumbai, Elba Sette-Camara, Shawn Vena and Kerry-Jayne Wilson.
"The ladies", directed by Anne Kauffman.
THE LADIES: Dixon Place in association with Chashama and Cherry Lane Theatre presents the Civilians in "The Ladies" Feb 6 - 29, at Dixon Place at Chashama on 111 West 42nd Street in New York City. Writer Anne Washburn and Director Anne Kauffman set out to investigate famous dictators' wives. As they discussed their research, they turned on the tape recorder. A look at girls, and their fierce little fantasies; the lives of Elena Ceausescu, Imelda Marcos, Eva Peron and Madame Mao as told through gossip, torch songs, spectacle, grim historical analysis and damning transcription. Performers include Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Jennifer Dundas, Nina Hellman, Jennifer R. Morris, Maria Striar, Alison Weller. For reservations, call 212-219-0736 or visit www.dixonplace.org.
Notorius first ladies Elena Ceausescu, Imelda Marcos, Eva Peron and Madame Mao - all deeply ambitious and determined, married power and turned their countries into a stage for their vast personal fantasies. Incorporating historical fact and analysis, fantasy, torch songs, a brief dance number and excessive candor, Washburn creates a spectacle about the way we think about women and power.
Playwright Anne Washburn is a member of The Civilians, a production company that develops original projects from investigations into real life, a Soho Rep Artist in Residence for the 2002-03 season, and the winner of several awards and fellowships including a Cherry Lane Mentor Project Award. Her most recent play, "Apparition," was presented in November at Chashama. She has also had her work presented at the Actors Theater of Louisville, the Annex Theater in Seattle, and at the Cherry Lane Alternative, Soho Rep and Naked Angels in New York City.
Director Anne Kauffman is a member of The Civilians; a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, a Resident Director at New Dramatists, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and an alumnus of the Soho Rep Writers and Directors Lab. In New York she has directed Lisa D'Amour's "Red Death" and "16 Spells to Charm the Beast," with Clubbed Thumb, Ellen Melaver's "The Right Was to Sue" and Sheila Callaghan's "Blue Lila Rising" for New Georges; Anne Washburn's "Refreshment of the Spirit" David Hilder's "Bay Orchard High" , Brecht's and "Fear and Misery of the Their Reich."
The six member cast for "The Ladies" will be Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Ceausescu), Jennifer Dundas (Washburn), Nina Hellman (Mao), Jennifer R. Morris (Kauffman), Maria Striar (Peron) and Alison Weller (Marcos).
SARAH JONES: Acclaimed playwright, poet and actor Sarah Jones stars in her new one-woman show "bridge & tunnel" at the 45 Bleecker Street Theatre beginning Friday, Feb. 6 with an Opening Night on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 7PM. Directed by Tony Taccone, with set and lights by Alexander V. Nichols, it is produced by Meryl Streep, The Culture Project , Allan Buchman, Robert Dragotta ,Jayson Jackson, Michael Alden and Eric Falkenstein. For tickets, call 45 Bleecker Street Theatre Box Office at 212-253-9983 or Ticketmaster at 212-307-4100 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
In "bridge and tunnel," Jones's fresh ingredients are added to the modern urban American melting pot. Building on the success of her previous show Surface Transit, fourteen characters travel the roads of assimilation to tell the story of American change in an ever-changing America. Mohammed, a charismatic Pakistani accountant; Mrs. Ling, the Chinese mother adjusting to her daughter's alternative lifestyle and Nereida, a young Latina with a quick wit and an even faster tongue, are but a few of Jones's gallery of characters. This mix of voices emanates from the reaches of New York's boroughs with origins far beyond the city's limits.
"Whether we are women or men; older or younger; straight-laced or queer-eyed; whether we pray Saturday, Sunday, everyday or only at football games; whether we're born here or not; barely scraping by or more comfortable than most, we are all much more connected than any of us realize. By neighborhood, by circumstance, by chance and most importantly by our basic human dignity, we are all cosmically, and of course, often comically linked," says Jones.
First time producer Meryl Streep has this to say about Sarah: "Sarah Jones first burned her astonishing characters into my consciousness three years ago at an Equality Now Event. She created a series of portraits that were as visually arresting as the work of Cindy Sherman, but they spoke and moved and invented on the spot. Her writers' gift is equal to her talents as an actress. Her compassionate, tough and hilarious take on what makes us different as human beings and the commonality we can't deny is unique in my experience."
Sarah Jones is a playwright, poet and actor. She attended Bryn Mawr College, where she was the recipient of the Mellon Minority Fellowship, then returned to her native New York City and began writing and performing. Ms. Jones has garnered numerous honors including a Helen Hayes Award, HBO's Aspen Comedy Arts Festival's Best One Person Show Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination. Jones's shows have enjoyed sold-out runs at The Kennedy Center, Berkeley Repertory Theater and the American Place Theatre, among others, and have been presented for such audiences as the United Nations, the Supreme Court of Nepal and members of the U.S. Congress. Jones's commitment to activism through art has earned her grants from the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and others. She made history by suing the FCC for its ban of her celebrated poem/song Your Revolution and eventually forced reversal of the censorship. She was seen in November on PBS's "On Stage At The Kennedy Center: The Mark Twain Prize" honoring Lily Tomlin and recently taped a television special for Bravo. Learn more about Jones at www.sarahjonesonline.com.
The Culture Project @ 45 Bleecker is a non-profit arts organization which, under the artistic direction of Allan Buchman, has presented numerous acclaimed new works including the Obie-winning And God Created Great Whales, 3 Dark Tales, One Man, The Good Thief, Bombitty of Errors and Sarah Silverman's Jesus is Magic. The Culture Project hosts an annual Women Center Stage Festival dedicated to increasing the visibility of talented female directors, writers and performers, providing these women with the necessary resources and support to showcase their work. In addition to SARAH JONES bridge & tunnel, The Culture Project is currently presenting the Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Award-winner The Exonerated.
TROJAN WAR TRILOGY: "Odyssey: The Homecoming," the newest multimedia theater production conceived, designed and directed by Theodora Skipitares, is the second part of her puppet trilogy on the Trojan War. It will be presented by La MaMa E.T.C. from February 12 to 29 in its Annex Theater. Skipitares' trilogy takes on the legend of the Trojan War in its entirety, including the prewar and postwar periods. Last season, Skipitares' "Helen, Queen of Sparta" dealt with the battle for Troy. This year's "Odyssey: The Homecoming" will tell the war's aftermath. Next year, Skipitares will do a piece about the prelude to war, based on Euripides' "Iphigenia in Aulis." For tickets, call 212-475-7710 or visit www.lamama.org.
The multimedia production transforms the 24 chapters of the Odyssey into several individual shadow "screens" and other projection surfaces, taking the audience through a physical journey of space and time. The production features 50 shadow puppets, several "video puppets," projections of documentary war footage, and other styles of puppetry and masks. The character of Odysseus is a five-foot Bunraku style puppet. The score is a strongly percussive soundscape by Arnold Dreyblatt (with Tim Schellenbaum). Some of the most amusing and delightful scenes, such as the encounters with Cyclops and Circe (she turns men into pigs), are rendered in delicately colored shadow puppets, which appear to have come to life from Greek vase paintings. The character of Penelope, performed by Obie-award winner Leeny Sack as narrator, performs a prologue in front of a Rajasthani scroll painting to introduce the play.
The production was work shopped this month in Delhi, at India Habitat Centre, as part of Ishara International Theatre Festival. There, Skipitares commissioned two Rajasthani scroll painters to create a 4' x 10' painting of the Odyssey. Their creation will be backdrop for the play's prologue, in which a light source will move along the painting, illuminating portions of the epic.
The play itself will be extremely spectacular, with an emphasis on gesture and music rather than dialogue. It opens with a video projection in which Athena entreats her father, Zeus, to help her bring her beloved Odysseus home. The hero has been away at war for 20 years. It is possible to infer from the video that Athena is a wife or mother of a GI in Iraq, and that she is pleading with President Bush to bring home her son. A masked dance scene recounts a major childhood incident in Odysseus' life where his thigh was gashed open by a wild boar (it's how he got his name, which means born of pain).
Music is by Arnold Dreyblatt, the Berlin-based American composer who also scored "Helen, Queen of Sparta." The score is very powerful rhythmically and has been recorded by musicians from Bang on a Can. Tim Schellenbaum, a veteran sound designer of La MaMa, has provided additional music, as in the earlier installment. The cast includes puppeteers Michael Kelly, Chris Maresca, Alisa Mello, Bernadette Witzack, Bronwyn Bittetti and Amanda Villalobos. Lighting is by Pat Dignan.
Theodora Skipitares became regarded as the most provocative miniaturist working in New York following such formative works in the 1980's and '90s as "Micropolis," "Defenders of the Code" and "The Radiant City." She made her La MaMa debut with "Underground" (1992), a work which explored a wide variety of subterranean cultures, from mineshafts to fallout shelters. David Richards (New York Times) wrote, "She wants you to look hard and close into dark nooks and spooky crannies. You'll discover all sorts of mini-revelations and Lilliputian enchantments if you do." She went on to mythologize the history of medicine with "Under the Knife I, II and III," all at La MaMa, between 1994 and 1996. This work was her first use of La MaMa's large Annex Theater as an enveloping, multi-level installation as, in a series of 24 miniature environments, she fabricated a spectacular interactive marketplace of medical ideas through the ages.
Trained as a sculptor and designer, Skipitares avoids the label puppeteer as too limiting in view of her multi-media approach. Alisa Solomon (Village Voice), reviewing her "The Age of Invention" (1985), claimed Skipitares fulfilled Gordon Craig's call for Uebermarionette to replace actors because only puppets could convey the "noble artificiality" he considered necessary for the stage. That work had life-size puppets of Ben Franklin, Edison, and Michael O'Connor--a 20th century salesman who passed as a surgeon and performed operations in five states.
When "Micropolis" (1982), her first major work, was revived in 1992, the Village Voice (Pam Renner) calls it "the work of a possessed and clairvoyant miniaturist." The work contained miniature scenes from urban life: some real, like an unnoticed murder, some fanciful, like a dinosaur waking up on a superhighway. Her "Defenders of the Code" (1987) was picked in the New York Times' "ten best plays" list. It dramatized Plato's "Republic," Darwin's "Origins of the Species," and James Watson's "Double Helix" with Bunraku-style puppets. "The Radiant City" (1991) presented the legacy of master-builder Robert Moses. Her "The Harlot's Progress" (1998) was a chamber opera, with music and lyrics by Barry Greenhut, based on the engravings of William Hogarth. The New York Times (Lawrence Van Gelder) wrote, "Like its inspiration, 'A Harlot's Progress' is striking, timely and admirable art." Her "Body of Crime" (La MaMa, 1996) and "Body of Crime II" (La MaMa, 1999) enacted scenes of women in prison from medieval times to the present. Her "Optic Fever" (2001) was a play on Renaissance artist-scientists, devoted to the history and philosophy of how we see. It played to packed houses in its initial run at La MaMa and had a return engagement that year.
Skipitares has been repeatedly nominated for the American Theater Wing's special design award and won the 1999 prize for "A Harlot's Progress." She has received Guggenheim, Rockefeller and NEA grants. In 2000, she was a Fulbright Fellow in India and has returned to India frequently to create new works.
Composer Arnold Dreyblatt was born in NYC and has been based in Europe since 1984. He is presently living in Berlin. He studied Film and Video Art at SUNY Buffalo (M.A. from the Institute for Media Studies) with Woody and Steina Vasulka and later Music Composition with Pauline Oliveros (1974), La Monte Young (1974-76), and Alvin Lucier at Wesleyan University. From 1979-97, he was director and composer for his music ensemble, "The Orchestra of Excited Strings." In 1991, Dreyblatt composed "Who's Who in Central & East Europe 1933," a co-production between Inventionen '91/DAAD, Berlin and Wiener Fest Wochen, Vienna. He has received commissions from "Ars Electronica", Linz (1988), Oeyvaer Desk, Den Haag (1989), Prime Foundation, Groningen (1989), DAAD- Inventionen '91, Berlin (1990), Werkstaat Berlin, 1991, Podewil/US Arts Festival, Berlin (1993), Bang in A Can, New York (1996) and Saarland Radio (2001). His recordings have appeared on numerous labels. Recently, Dreyblatt has been increasingly involved in integrating archival and biographical texts with his sound work in performance and installation.
LITTLE PITFALL: "Little Pitfall" by Marketa Blahova, translated by Jiri Topel runs thru February 8th at the Schetler Studios (located at Theatre 54 244 W. 54th St., on the 12th floor). Inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, "Little Pitfall" is a dark comedy set in a mythical Czech Forest that is simultaneously about two sisters and their younger selves, their rivalries and jealousies for the love of their father, the sexual favors of a young forest ranger, and theirs for each other. For reservations, call 212-246-6655. For more information, call 347-512-5572 or visit www.immigrantstheat.org or www.czechcenter.com.
Marketa Blahova is from Hradec Kralove. In 1993 she became the dramaturg of Cinoherni Studio in Usti and Laben. Since 2002 she has worked as a dramaturg at Svandovo Divadlo in Prague's Smichov quarter. She has also written (with Michal Lang) Holy Whore (Kurva Svata, 1993), and The Fall Game (POSZIMNI HRA). She is one of the few Czech women playwrights to have come of age after the Velvet Revolution (the fall of communism) of 1989.
Director Marcy Arlin directed Double Auntie Waltz, by Aurorae Khoo, which won the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Roger Stevens Award, and Bunting Fellowship and spoke on Multiculturalism in American Theatre at the 2003 Prague Quadrennial. Marcy Arlin founded Immigrants Theater Project in 1988. The company works with professional theatre artists of over 40 nationalities and ethnic backgrounds to portray the universality of the immigrant experience: themes of adaptation, intergenerational and intercultural relationships, American identity, and the dreams and realities of life in a new and unfamiliar world. ITP has presented over 70 plays.
JOAN JONAS: LINES IN THE SAND: HELEN IN EGYPT: Performance/video pioneer Joan Jonas returns to The Kitchen with the U.S. premiere of Lines in the Sand: Helen in Egypt--her first New York performance in over a decade. With this multimedia production, originally presented at Documenta XI in 2002, Jonas revisits the myth of Helen of Troy, using her emblematic vocabulary of ritualized gestures and symbolic objects (masks, mirrors, costumes) mixed with live drawing and video, Vegas kitsch and pre-recorded sound. "Lines in the Sand" runs Feb. 19-29 at The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street in New York City. For tickets, call 212-255-5793 x11 or visit www.thekitchen.org.
Lines in the Sand is based on the epic poem Helen in Egypt written by H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) in 1961, which tells of the seduction and abduction of Helen, suggesting that she remained in Egypt and never set foot in Troy. The myth of Helen as the cause of the Trojan War is a phantasm, and for centuries, the accepted myth-a war fought over a woman-was preferred to a lesser-known version of a woman being absent. In Doolittle's alternate version, it is Helen who constantly questions the reality of her own myth,
exploring female character through a complex matrix of meaning. Egypt, like Helen, is represented by a "real" and a "fake"-the fake being Las Vegas and its new casino Luxor, and the real existing in photographs of Egypt taken back in 1910.
In the live performance of Lines in the Sand, excerpts from Helen in Egypt are intercut with Tribute to Freud (1956) in which H.D. describes her analysis with Freud in the 1930s. On the walls are multi-channel projections of the kitsch head of Khafre adorning the Vegas strip, weaved with multiple drawings of the sphinx, pyramids and endless spirals made by Joan Jonas herself (a consummate draftsperson). Jonas appears live, narrating or using her body in a kind of ritual dance, crafting the repetitive images of the
pyramids with a piece of chalk.
Since the mid '60s, Joan Jonas has continuously fused new technology with ancient symbolism to portray various female archetypes. Along with artists in her immediate circle, such as Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Dan Graham, and Laurie Anderson, she sited many of her early works at The Kitchen, including Funnel (1972), Juniper Tree (1979) and the screening of Vertical Roll (1972). Moderated by David Ross, curator of Jonas' first 1980 retrospective, TV Dinner No. 18 celebrates the artist's four decade-long career, from her seminal video performance work of the '70s to her later televisual narratives. The informal discussion includes multi-channels screenings and a vegetarian dinner provided by a neighborhood restaurant.
Joan Jonas (b. 1936) is one of the most important women artists to emerge from the late 1960s and 1970s. Working in New York as a sculpture, by 1968 she moved into what was then considered new territory-mixing performance with props and mediated images. She received a B.A. in Art History from Mount Holyoke College, Mount Holyoke, MA (1958), studied sculpture at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts from 1958-1961, and received an M.F.A. in Sculpture from Columbia University, New York, in 1965. Her first performance retrospective was at the University Art Museum, Berkeley (1980) (Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, 1981). She has exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; The Kitchen, New York, and Pat Hearn Gallery, New York. Jonas has had major retrospectives at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1994), and Stadtsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany (2000), and was represented in Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany (2002). She has taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA,
Frederic Chiu, pianist
PIANIST CHIU PERFORMS: Frederic Chiu has released over 20 CDs , most recently Liszt's Année de Pèlerinage (2nd year), Liszt's transcription of the Schubert song cycle Schwanengesang, Chopin's Mazurkas, and Opus 10 Etudes and Rondeaux. The complete piano works of Prokofiev in ten volumes is now available, a recording project that has elicited enthusiasm from Fanfare Magazine to the Wall Street Journal to France's Elle magazine. His release of three rarely played sonatas of Mendelssohn was chosen as "Record of the Year" by Stereo Review. He records exclusively for the Harmonia Mundi label www.harmoniamundi.com). Mr. Chiu's next recording project is the Opus 25 Etudes of Chopin.
His first CD, a recital of piano transcriptions, marked him as a champion of this under-explored repertoire, following the example of his former teacher, Abbey Simon. He recently opened the National Symphony Orchestra's season with the Liszt transcription of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, to a standing ovation. His own arrangements, including pieces from Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije Suite, have met with rousing success in concert and on record.
Highlights of the 2003-04 season will include two performances with Philharmonia Virtuosi at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Purchase, NY, as well as performances with the Elgin Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, and recitals in Syracuse, Jacksonville, and San Francisco. Mr. Chiu will also perform at the Valery Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam.
In the 2002-03 season, Frederic Chiu toured the U.S. with the Budapest Strings performing the Bach D minor concerto and performed Prokofiev's War Sonatas (Nos. 6 ,7 & 8) at New York's Metropolitan Museum. During the 01-02 season, Mr. Chiu toured Japan, made his Lincoln Center orchestral debut performing the Saint-Saëns Second Concerto with the Orchestre de Bretagne, Stefan Sanderling conducting, and performed recitals throughout the United States. Other North American appearances have included the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Ambassador Theatre in Pasadena, and Place des Arts in Montreal. He is a perennial guest of the acclaimed Newport Music Festival. Born and raised in America by Chinese immigrant parents, and a long-time resident of France, Frederic Chiu's cosmopolitan background brings a unique humanist approach to his music. "He has reinvented virtuosity... a phenomenon that must be heard" (Le Monde, Paris).
After studies at Indiana University - in piano with Karen Shaw and also in Computer Science - and at the Juilliard School, Frederic Chiu began his career in Paris, and has become one of the most well known American pianists playing in France. He has performed in most of the major European cities: Rome, Milan, Brussels, Antwerp, Berlin, Frankfurt, The Hague, Warsaw, Prague, and London. He performs regularly in Asia (Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China) and Africa.
A recipient of many prestigious awards - the Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Petscheck Award, and the American Pianists Association Fellowship - it was the lack of a certain award that first brought him international notoriety; in a rare foray into the competition circuit, his elimination before the final round of the 1993 Van Cliburn Competition roused enormous protest; prominent stories in the New York Times referred to him as the "Maverick American Pianist."
His concert activities also include orchestral appearances and a large amount of chamber music. He participates regularly in the festival "Consonances" in Saint Nazaire, France, which he co-founded in 1991 with the violinist Philippe Graffin. He collaborates with invited artists, including Gary Hoffman, Charles Neidich, Jeremy Menuhin, the St. Lawrence Quartet and Christian Ivaldi. Growing up with a violinist brother and having worked closely with Josef Gingold at Indiana University, Frederic Chiu reserves a special place for the violin/piano repertoire and plays regularly with Pierre Amoyal who is also a regular recording partner, and Joshua Bell.
Eager to bring serious music to a larger audience, he makes special presentations for school children, and also collaborates with personalities outside the traditional realm of his field, including the actors Brian Bedford and Sami Frey and psychologist/writer/clown Howard Buten. Frederic Chiu's activities as a teacher are highly acclaimed, both as a private teacher and in master classes. His unique series of seminars, with their philosophic and holistic approach to piano playing, are coveted by their handpicked participants.
MARI KIMURA: Acclaimed violinist and computer music innovator Mari Kimura debuts work with LEMUR, League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots, Frederick Loewe Theatre, New York University, 35 W. Fourth Street, on Monday, Feb. 9, 8PM. The program consists of works for violin and computer; all are either written for Mari Kimura or performed by her. The highlight of this program is the debut of 'GuitarBotana,' a piece created with LEMUR's GuitarBot. Other works in the program are by Tania Leon, Frances White, Jean-Claude Risset, Conlon Nancarrow and Robert Rowe. Tickets are FREE. For more info, call 212.998.5435
GuitarBot and Kimura first performed together at the ArtBots show at EYEBEAM Gallery (Chelsea, NYC) in July 2003; an excerpt of the collaboration was shown on CNN's 'Headline News.' "With GuitarBot, there is a mechanical presence, besides myself, that moves on stage. Although I know that the movement of the GuitarBot is controlled by the interactive computer, it started to evoke unexpected musical feelings," explains Kimura. "It is very exciting for me to create music with new kinds of musical expressions evoked by a machine. I start to play and react differently than interacting with a human player. The creative process of morphing the expressions of humans and the machines is artistically very inspiring to me."
Currently an adjunct professor of Interactive Computer Music Performance at The Juilliard School, Ms. Kimura is an active composing and performing musician. "Chilling...gripping...charming...Ms. Kimura is a virtuoso playing at the edge," said The New York Times about one of Kimura's performances. The avant-garde musical legend Henry Kaiser said, "Out of this galaxy...One of the best improvisers I have ever played with or heard" after working with Kimura. Additionally, Kimura has done revolutionary work with the use of "subharmonics," a technique of playing notes on the violin below open G without changing the tuning. For more information about Mari Kimura, visit http://homepages.nyu.edu/~mk4.
LEMUR's growing ensemble consists of a wide variety of musical robots. GuitarBot, an electric stringed instrument, is comprised of four independently controllable stringed units which can pick and slide extremely rapidly. It is designed to extend - not simply duplicate - the capabilities of a human guitarist. !rBot (pronounced "chick-r-bot") fuses traditional musical instruments with mechanical design. Inspired by the human mouth, its malleable cavity opens to expose and play a Peruvian goat-hoof rattle. TibetBot is a robotically controlled percussive instrument that creates atonal rhythms and tonal droning soundscapes. It is designed around three Tibetan singing bowls, which are struck by six robotic arms, producing a wide range of timbres.
ForestBot displays a forest of 25 egg rattles sprouting from 10-foot rods that quiver and sway over onlookers. Rather than a single robot, it is a magnificently beautiful robotic installation. ModBots are miniature modular percussion robots in a variety of styles and functions, including singing bell bots and percussion "beater" bots.
LEMUR is Eric Singer, David Bianciardi, Kevin Larke, Jeff Feddersen, Milena Iossifova, Bil Bowen, Chad Redmon, Kate Chapman, Brendan FitzGerald and Michelle Cherian.
TOKYO STRING QUARTET: On Saturday, Feb. 28. 8PM, the Tokyo String Quartet present two works exploring "Schubert's Bohemian Roots" : the youthful C Major String Quartet and one of his last works, the C Major String Quintet, performed with cellist Timothy Eddy. Between the two, pianist Jon Kimura Parker joins the Quartet for Dvorak's popular, folk influenced E flat Major Piano Quartet. The ensemble is the Quartet in Residence at 92nd Street Y. For tickets, call Y-Charge at 212-415-5500 or visit www.92Y.org.
The members of the Tokyo String Quartet are violist Kazuhide Isomura, a founding member of the group, second violinist Kikuei Ikeda, cellist Clive Greensmith, and first violinist Martin Beaver . In January the Quartet participated in Carnegie Hall's "Making Music: Joan Toawer" program at Weill Recital Hall, and in February it will appear at Alice Tully Hall on the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's quartet series. It will also perform in numerous cities throughout North America and Europe. The members of the quartet have served on the faculty of the Yale School of Music since 1976 as quartet in residence, devoting a considerable amount of time to teach young musicians at Yale during the academic year and at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in the summer. The Quartet has more than 30 recordings. Its recordings have earned honors including the Grand Prix du Disque Montreaux and "Best Chamber Music Recording of the year" awards and seven Grammy nominations.
Officially formed in 1969 at the Juilliard School of Music, the Tokyo String Quartet traces its origins to the Toho School of Music in Tokyo, where the founding members were profoundly influenced by Professor Hideo Saito. The original members came to America for further study with Robert Mann, Raphael Hillyer, and Claus Adam. The Quartet's honors include First Prize at the Coleman Competition, the Munich Competition and the Young concert Artists International Auditions. The ensemble has been featured on many television programs including PBS' Great Performances. The Quartet performs on "The Paganini quartet," a group of renowned Stradivarius instruments named for legendary virtuoso Niccolo Paganini, who acquired and played them during the 19th century.
Pianist Jon Kimura Parker was born, raised and educated in Vancouver. Parker has performed in Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Warsaw Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, London's Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Sydney Opera House. He has toured Canada and Zimbabwe. He has received many honors and awards, and in 1999 he was invested with the Order of Canada, his country's highest honor. He is also host of CBC Radio Two's series "Up and Coming," which showcases young musicians. He teaches a limited number of exceptional piano students at Rice University in Houston. As a child, "Jackie" Parker began piano training with his uncle, Edward Parker, while receiving daily coaching from his mother Keiko Parker. He also studied with Robin Wood and Marek Jablonski and with Lee Kum Sing at the Vancouver Academy of Music. He studied with renowned pedagogue Adele Marcus at the Juilliard School.
Timothy Eddy is a recitalist, soloist with orchestras, chamber musician, recording artist and winner of numerous national and international competitions. He received his BA and MA degrees with honors from the Manhattan School of Music. In addition to numerous solo and chamber recitals throughout the US, he has appeared as concerto soloist with symphony orchestras in the US as well as music festivals around the country. Eddy teaches cello at the Juilliard School and Mannes College. He is Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He appears regularly in duo recital with pianist Gilbert Kalish and is the solo cellist of the Bach Aria Group. As cellist of the Orion String Quartet, he is in residence with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and at the Mannes College of Music.
Katia & Marielle Labeque. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe
OTHER MUSICIANS ON STAGE: At CARNEGIE HALL, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, violinist, will perform Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vanska conducting, on Feb. 9, 8PM. Pianist Mitsuko Uchida will play Ravel's Piano Concerto in G Major with the Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez, conducting on Feb. 11, 8PM. Yu Hyun Choo, soprano will perform on Feb. 14, 5:30PM. On Feb. 15, pianist Bueibin Chen (2PM) and pianist Noriko Suzuki (8:30PM) will perform. Seiji Ozawa will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Feb. 18-20. Sun Young Paik, violinist, will play Feb. 21, 5:30PM. Tickets to Carnegie Hall concerts, call Carnegie Charge at 212-247-7800 or visit www.carnegiehall.org.
At LINCOLN CENTER, The Tokyo String Quartet will perform with the Lincoln Center Society of Lincoln Center on Feb. 18, 8PM, Alice Tully Hall. Pianists Katia and Marielle Labeque will play with the New York Philharmonic, Antonio Pappano conducting, at Avery Fisher Hall Feb. 19 - 24, 8PM. For tickets, call CenterCharge at 212-721-6500.
At MERKIN HALL, Concertante featuring violinist Ziao Dong Wang together with Anton Nel, piano, Ittai Shapira, violin, Rachel Shapiro and Ara Gregorian, viola, and Alexis Pia Gerlac and Zvi Presser, cello, will appear Feb. 10, 8PM. Yi-Yo Chamber Music Society, featuring Ma Si Hon and Colin Jacobsen, violin, Sarah Adams, viola, Timothy Eddy, cello and Tung Kwong Kwong , piano, will play on Feb. 15, 3PM.
Pianist Alpin Hong will play works by Prokofiev, Chopin and Brahms on Feb. 17, 2PM. The New York Philharmonic Ensembles will perform on Sunday 22, 3PM. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's Meet the Music Family Concert will present a musical story for the whole family on Feb. 29, 1PM and 3PM. Call the Box office for tickets and info at 212-501-3330 or visit www.kaufman-center.org.
IDENTY AT SEPIA: Sepia International is honored to present Identity, three concurrent solo exhibitions of photographs by Sunil Gupta, Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, and Tomoko Sawada. Each exploring issues of cultural displacement or transposition, these three artists investigate the theme of individual identity as it exists within the broader context of social mores and conventions. Sepia is located at 148 West 24th Street, 11th Floor. For more info, call: 212-645-9444 or visit www.sepia.org.
Sunil Gupta's series of large scale photographs entitled "Homelands" represent the artist's journeys as a gay man with HIV from his homeland in India to his adopted homes in England and Canada. Presented as diptychs in oppositional pairings of location -- East-West, inside-outside -- Gupta's bold narrative juxtapositions explore the inherent tensions which have shaped his experience of being a gay Indian man living in the West.
Gupta grew up in India in the 1960s and attended college in his late-teen years in Montreal, where he became interested in photography. In the mid-1970s, Gupta traveled to the newly emergent photo arena of New York, where he frequented the center of the Gay Liberation Movement on Christopher Street as well as the streets of midtown Manhattan. He continued his art education in England where he also embarked on a professional career.
Currently, London is home to Gupta, who has exhibited his works in one-person shows in India, England, Canada and numerous American art galleries. Sunil Gupta's solo shows for 2004 also include India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, Prowler Project Space, London, and Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto; his group exhibitions include Hammer Sidi Gallery, London (at ARCO, Madrid), The Tate, London, and The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK.
Annu Palakunnathu Matthew's latest body of work, An Indian from India, investigates the "staged" photographic document and its power to reinforce cultural stereotypes. Combining nineteenth century photographic representations of Native Americans with digitally altered facsimiles using her own image, Matthew creates fabricated pairings that explore both the notion of originality and that of identity.
Born in England, Matthew was raised in India. She now lives in the United States, having received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography from the University of Delaware in 1997. Currently she is an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Rhode Island. Matthew's prints featured in "Identity" are the result of a collaboration with Cone Editions Press. Master Printer Larry Danque utilized the Piezography process with hand-mixed inks for this project.
Matthew's recent exhibitions include the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Light Work, Syracuse, NY, the DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA, and the Center for Photography at Woodstock. In the last year, Matthew was awarded the 2003 John Gutmann award and received two project grants from the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts and an artist residency at the MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH. Her work can be found in the collection of the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ, and the RISD Museum, Providence, RI, among others. Matthew's work is included in the books BLINK from Phaidon and Digital Art by Christiane Paul, curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Tomoko Sawada's work, as presented here in the OMIAI series, addresses the issue of identity via cultural masquerade. Her work in this series utilizes the Japanese convention of photographing potential brides and grooms for the subsequent arranged marriage. In this Japanese tradition, the hopeful bride-to-be is dressed in formal attire and has her picture taken at a portrait studio, which is then presented by the woman's parents to other families in the hope of finding the "ideal" husband. For the series OMIAI, Sawada repeatedly went to the photo studio for her formal portrait, each time however disguising herself as a different individual. The resulting portraits enchant, amuse, and offer a thoughtful commentary on the elusive nature of personality in our changing world.
Born in Kobe, Japan in 1977, Tomoko Sawada graduated from the Seian University of Art and Design Photography program in 2000. She has been included in numerous solo exhibitions since 1997, including The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka, Japan, Zabriskie Gallery, NY, and Kohji Ogura Gallery, Nagoya, Japan. Her group exhibitions include The National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen, Japan Society, NY, and The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. In 2000 Sawada was given the Canon New Cosmos of Photography Award. She lives and works in Kobe.
Sofia Tekela-Smith, Savage Island Man with Pure, 2003
PARADISE AT ASIA SOCIETY? Asial Society will present "Paradise Now? Contemporary Art from the Pacific" Feb. 18 - May 9 showcasing 45 works by 15 leading contemporary artists from New Zealand, New Caledonia, Torres Strait Islands, Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji and Niue. The exhibition reflects the cultural uniqueness of the Pacific and of New Zealand, in particular, where a rich intersection of cultural influences coalesce. For more info, call 212-288-6400 or visit www.asiasociety.org.
Since the crossing of the Pacific by Spaniard Ferdinand Magellan in the 16th century and subsequent voyages by British and French explorers into the 18th century, the Pacific Islands have occupied a vivid place in historical imagination as "paradise." This ideal of the Pacific paradise still resonates today. "Paradise Now?" offers an alternative vision of these islands, one at odds with this enduring perception. Working in video, installation, sculpture, painting and photography, the artists in "Paradise Now?" address issues relating to migration and diaspora, indigenous land rights, cultural heritage and environmental degradation.
The artists featured in the exhibition include Mohini Chandra, Shane Cotton, Downwind Productions, Bill Hammond, Niki Hastings McFall, John Ioane, Michael Parekowwhai, Peter Peryer, John Pule, Lisa Reihana, Sofia Tekala Smith, Ken Thaiday, Denise Tiavouane, Michel Tuffery, and Ruth Watson. Pakeha/palagi artists (the Maori and Samoa terms for non-islanders) from the Pacific have also been included in the exhibition. Their inclusion reflects the history of European settlement in the region since the 17th century and recognizes that their work engages critically with myths of the Pacific as paradise. [Abalos]
Copyright © 2004 Marilyn Abalos.
Marilyn Abalos is an arts writer published in Asian New Yorker, AsianWeek, Filipinas and Filipino Reporter.
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