Foreign and Familiar (2019) film

(2019) video

 

Filmed for the Georgetown Super 8 Film Festival. Brad Curren and I came up with a loose story idea set in the defunct rail yards of Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Sourcing my dinosaur mask as a way to look into abstract representation in hopes of finding further meaning in the story of the dinosaur mask. A small world is born of forgotten things left to collect dust.

 

Puzzel Luchador (2017)

(2017) Visual art mask.

 

Luchador mask created for Urban Artworks 2nd Annual Benefit Auction. Made from the trimmed, hole punched petals of the Monkey Puzzle Tree. Spray painted chrome gold, brass chrome and hand sewn to create the look of armor.

 

Photo Danielle Blackwell

Psychic Radio Star (2016)

(2016) performance premiere

 

Part of a series of performative gifts for my mother, this solo performance commissioned by On the Boards, Psychic Radio Star explores an aspect of my relationship with my mother, related to the performance Mother for you I made this.

As I have grown up, my mother wants to hear about my life as an artist, and upon hearing, her reply has become, “I’m famous too, I’m a Psychic Radio Star”. Through this performance I imagine who her Psychic Radio Star is. This self given title is so evocative I can’t help but think of images of: 

  • unfathomable universal forces, 
  • mythology of the galaxy, 
  • ancient cave paintings, 
  • neon fish, and 
  • the dark shadowy depths of the sea. 

These images evoke memories of growing up with my mother: her sensibilities and joys; her hobbies and eccentricities; and her complicated, beautiful mind as it slips, piece by piece, into unbalance.

Through this work I feel that I am able to provide a voice for my Psychic Radio Star mother, while encouraging a healing and constructive conversation around the failed mental health care system in America. A major goal of this work is to engage with community/organizations through the idea of art as therapy. In the hopes of creating a safe place for anyone to talk freely about their own experiences with mental health.  As I continue to explore my mother’s story – I also tell my own.

Collaborator Credits:

Jen Zeyl Artistic Producer.

Danielle Blackwell Costume Designer. 

Paurl Walsh Sound/Composition. 

Leo Mayberry Video. 

Jessica Trundy Lighting. 

Weirdo Set painting. 

Steve Carlino Stage Manager. 

Adam Michard Tech Director. 

Anthony Rigano Photographer. 

Anthony Jepson, Kyle Loven, Erik Andor, Tim Stackpole, Lily Raabe, Kaleb Kerr, Benjamin Maestas, Larry Browning, Lia Surprenant, Anne Marie Minnick, Brandon Estrella, Matt Sherrill, Equinox Studio’s, Pol Rosenthal, and NKO Rey.

Commissioned solo performance. On The Boards, Seattle WA. 

Psychic Radio Star is a recipient of the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project Touring Award, and Production Residency Award, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. As well as the 2016 Artist Trust GAP Grant, and a generous grant from the Bossak/Halibron Charitable Foundation. 

 

Psychic Radio Star previews:

Questions & Answers with Michèle Steinwald and Ezra Dickinson
OtB Writing Corp Profile by Michelle Penaloza
Seattle Times Preview by Brendan Kiley
Seattle Magazine Fall Arts Preview

Psychic Radio Star Reviews:

NKO Rey OtB Blog
Natalie Singer-Velush OtB Blog
Markeith Wiley OtB Journal

 

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Performances:

(2016) Premiere On The Boards, Seattle WA.

(2016) Solo performance of Birth, preliminary choreography for Psychic Radio Star. Velocity Fall Kick-Off. Velocity Dance Center, Seattle WA. 

(2017) Dance showcase for Pacific Northwest Performance Platform during APAP, Gibney Dance, NYC. In this showcase I took the end of birth into life sections from Psychic Radio Star and performed them with the fabric and costumes for a live audience in the round. I employed two assistants to help with the performance which was about fifteen minutes in length.

(2017) NDP Commissioned Tech Residency, On The Boards, Seattle WA. Funded through NDP’s residency Grant, this residency was used as a way of preparing the piece to tour in the future. All tech elements were re-created and in some cases refined as needed for touring the piece. 

Dinosaurs And Sea Hawks (2014) film

(2014) Video, short film.

 

Sleeping under a bridge is a man and his dinosaur mask. Waking up, he walks into the heart of the city and puts on his mask. A friend, a stranger, a kindred soul emerges and the mask is passed off and traded. The man watches and then walks away with a Sea Hawks hat.
Inspired by creating performance gifts for my schizophrenic mother Dinosaurs and Sea Hawks is another story in my ongoing performance works. The dinosaur mask is intended as a reminder of childhood and quite literally a mask to hide from the harsh reality of the world through my mother’s eyes. 
Directed, filmed and edited by Linas Phillips. 
Written and acted in by Ezra Dickinson. 

Featuring Melinda Fraizer.

 

Screenings:
(2015) In Flight Film Stream, Alaska Airlines. 
(2014) Film Screening, Seattle International Film Festival, Seattle WA 
(2014) Film Screening, Milwaukee Film Festival, Milwaukee WI 
(2014) Film Screening, AMFEST, Moscow Russia
(2014) Film Screening, Next dance Cinema, Seattle WA
(2014) Film Screening, Jaipur International Film Festival, Jaipur India 
(2014) Film Screening, Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival, Mumbai India 
(2014) Film Screening, Shorts Premier, Chile

Mother Quilt (2013)

(2013) quilt created for the performance of Mother for you I made this.

 

Sourcing ideas and imagery from my childhood of wanting to be able to wrap myself in my mother’s arms turned into creating a portrait of my mother and sewing that into a quilt that I could wrap myself in. This was the first quilt I have ever made, but was definitely not my last. I used four 3’x5’ tiled sections of photographic fabric to create this 5’x7’ portrait of my mother Kathryn. 
 

Photo Anthony Rigano

Velocity Bash, Photo Jim Colman

Mother for you I made this (2013)

(2013) Performance Premiere

 

Part performance and part activism, Mother for you I made this is aimed at activating a conversation about the failed mental health care system in America through memories of my childhood as I lived with and unknowingly cared for my schizophrenic mother. This hour-long solo is built from a series of performances I made as gifts for my mother over a seven year period.
Audiences were guided through forgotten public spaces by ushers and given a personal audio sound score composed by Paurl Walsh. Weaving conversations between myself and my mother with sounds from the actual landscape.
Mother for you I made this was commissioned and produced through Velocity Dance Center‘s Made in Seattle dance development program with support from 4Culture, ArtsFund, and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

 

Collaborator credits: 
Paurl Walsh Sound/composition. 
Christopher Stewart Sound Tech. 
Christian Swacker Stage manager. 
Kim Lusk Tech Director.

Mother TEDX Rainer:

Tonya Lockyer + Ezra Dickinson TEDX Talk Macaw Hall 2014

Gifts for my mother, interview with Ezra at TEDX

Mother press reviews:

Seattle Dances: Ezra Dickinson Quietly Provokes

Seattle Star: The Art of Changing How We Talk About Mental Disorders

Seattle Times: Haunting look at mental illness, laid bare on the streets

City Arts: Ezra Dickinson Triumph and Tribute

The 12th Avenue Project: EZRA DICKINSON DANCES A DUET WITH SEATTLE

The Stranger: No Two Performances Will Be the Same

Mother press quotes:

Seattle Dance Annual: Reviewers recall highlights of 2013

Mother press preview/interview links:

The Stranger: Q&A with Ezra Dickinson
Seattle Met: A Fiendish Conversation with Ezra Dickinson
Kiro Radio: In “Mother For You I Made This,” a Seattle Dancer Finds a Stage in the Streets
KUOW Interview: Weekday & Weekday With Steve Scher (Interview starts at 38:30)
Seattle Channel: Art Zone with Nancy Guppy (Interview starts at 6:30)

Mother press photo essay of performance:

City Arts: Ezra Dickinson Takes to the Streets with an Emotional Tribute to His Mother

 

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Photo Dan Hawkins

Photo Tim Summers

Photo Dan Hawkins

Mother performance excerpts:

Pacific Northwest Performance Platform. APAP, Gibney Dance, NYC. (2019)
For this showcase I chose to perform the section from “Mother” where I wrap a 150’ foot block printed cloth poem, pulled from my stomach around a grove of trees, in this showing I asked audience members to stand onstage in place of trees as I wrapped the length of the poem around and in between them. I was quite pleased with the result, as the length of the cloth poem filled the stage to complete capacity and used the space and the audience in a way that no other performers did during the showing.
Velocity Bash. Velocity Dance Center, Seattle WA (2019)

 

Pacific Northwest Performance Platform. APAP, Gibney Dance, NYC. (2018) 
The Incredible Intensity of Just Being Human exhibition. City hall, Seattle WA (2015)

 

The Incredible Intensity of Just Being Human exhibition. Highline College, Dem Moines WA (2015)

TEDX Rainier. Macaw Hall, Seattle WA (2014)
“My”. Art Share. Centennial Hall, Sitka AK (2005)
“My”. Cornish Benefit Concert. Poncho Theatre, Seattle WA (2005)
“My”. 12 Minutes Max. On The Boards, Seattle WA (2005)

Mother Mask (2012)

(2012) mask created for Mother for you I made this performance.

 

I only have a few images of my mother taken within the last ten years. When I imagined creating a mask of my mother I found myself feeling lucky to have this image as my only and best photo. I have the color original. In a progression of performative ideas, I xeroxed the color into only black and white. My first use of the xerox’d photo of my mother was for a Ten Tiny performance, for this performance I made a dress out of 80 copies of my mother’s face.
For this mother mask, I gave myself the task of finding a store bought mask that had the same expression as my mother in this photo. Taking multiple copies I began to recreate my mother’s face overlaid on the preexisting mask (of Hillary Clinton).
My mother has a healthy fear of the government that is amplified by her imbalance. I thought it was a poetic gesture with a mother’s son portraying her face skin deep over Hillary, walking the streets searching for the last few ferries among the cement of the big city.

 

Photo Anthony Rigano

Photo Tim Summers

Mother Printed Poem (2012)

(2012) Text block printed on muslin, created for Mother for you I made this performance.

 

In developing my route for the performance of Mother for you I made this, I found myself gravitating towards the Federal Court House because I felt its backdrop during the performance could stand in as a symbol for the machine of America that forgets so many of its parts. I wanted to write a poem speaking to a courtroom and its judge: an only child pleading with the court/country’s constituents to see the forgotten and vulnerable, an only child pleading for the rights of his institutionalised mother. In my short film Listen I read this poem to an empty counsel chamber in Seattle’s City Hall. 

 

Photo Nate Watters

To create this work I first had to measure the length between a desirable grove of trees located in the courtyard of the Court House. Having the exact distances between each tree, I started to create the layout of each word and each sentence. I had to take into consideration the direction that the poem would unfurl from my belly and how the audience was going to be viewing this work as I wrapped this poem through the trees. Once I had these steps completed this allowed me to determine the total length that was going to be needed to both complete the poem and also begin sewing the full length of muslin together. In total this poem is a hundred and fifty feet long. I hand printed each letter of each word, meticulously measuring each sentence so that it fell in the middle of its allotted length. I created a special undershirt that had a built compartment that housed and allowed for the poem to look as though it was being pulled from my belly. When the poem was wrapped in the trees it created a five pointed star, I think of this as not a nod to the stars on the American flag but a ritual space delineation each and every time I completed the task of wrapping. I am truly proud of this particular performance element. I feel this work digs deep to speak truth to power, and for my love of my mother. (from Mother for you I made this performance)

 

Photo Nate Watters

Photo Nate Watters

Photo Nate Watters

Allosaurus Mask (2012)

(2012) mask created for the performance of Mother for you I made this

 

Inspired by looking through National Geographic as a child, this mask was modeled after a photograph that always stuck in my memory–a brightly colored model of an allosaurus tied down riding in the back of a pickup truck. I made this mask using cardboard, masking tape and acrylic paint. This is a very light weight mask that has found a role in numerous short films, namely Dinosaurs and Sea Hawks and Foreign and Familiar, in addition to setting the stage for the closing moments of Mother for you I made this.