Stories (2020-present)

Stories from the Streets or Being Seen (working titles) (2020-present)

 

This is the seed project for what will become a much larger, interactive, citywide performance experience. To begin, I have been awarded funding from 4Culture to collect interviews from people living on the street experiencing homelessness. My aim is to find individuals who would like to talk with me about their experience living on the street. I have found myself gravitating to these folks for two reasons: 1) My mother lived on the street for a period of time after I began living on my own, and before she ultimately was committed to Wester State hospital; and 2) I can’t help but see a clear correlation between out of control rental prices and the rapid increase in the homeless population in the northwest.

 

 

Through this funding I will compensate the individuals interviewed. I want to collect these interviews and geo tag the locations where the interviewees are living. In Seattle currently the people living on the street are routinely dislocated or swept from their established homes on the street, a practise that is both inhumane and, given that we are still in the grips of a worldwide pandemic, is all the more absurd an action to be taken against an already extremely vulnerable population. 
Once I have collected as many interviews as funding will allow for, I will create a website which houses all of these stories and cross references each one with a QR code that will be placed at the location of past residence for each individual I interview. This will create both a visual link to the inhabitants that occupied these street homes–prior to being displaced yet again–and determine a walking tour through Seattle that someone could follow to see these stories activated from one QR code to the next.
This first step will lay the groundwork for the larger piece. I will endeavor to fill in the path that is created from these stories with installation, both site specific and gallery. There will be sound that will accompany the viewer through this journey. There will be pre recorded performance that lives as a sort of ghost along this path. All this will come together to create a walking tour that can be entered at any point, at any time.

 

Wish you were here (2020)

(2020) Live stream performance. Art Martyrs Relief Society, Seattle WA.

 

Collaboration between myself and Dani Blackwell. Focusing in on the body, specifically the torso to show fleshy articulation until exhaustion, then the face to remember self, still thinking of flesh as Dani paints the face to look like a skeleton remembering the bones that are underneath providing the structure, then the self is released by throwing handfuls of flowers into the sky.

 

Body hands      Chest squish          Face paint

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.

 

Core 14 (2019)

(2019) Improvised performance. Zebulon. Los Angeles CA

 

Asked to perform in Chantael Duke’s improvised performance score, movement artists were paired with musicians in different duets and other combinations and given a set amount of time to improvise together. Photography by Rebecca Green.

 

SODO Express (2019-20) film

(2019-2020) short film

 

I’m always looking to find new paths and new collaborators. In my random surfing of Instagram one day I stumbled upon black and white photography of graffiti taken in Seattle that caught my eye. I looked at the bio on the profile and in short, it said that the photographer was in the beginning stages of making a film about family troubles and mental health. I felt compelled to reach out as I could see there were multiple areas of shared interest between the two of us. This is how Shaz and I first met. I soon realised that Shaz was married to a woman who was the sister of a guy I spent my childhood into teenage years dancing with at ballet school. 

 

It didn’t take long for Shaz and I to get deep into this film he was thinking about. Our conversations started to reshape the seed ideas for Shaz, and before too long he had asked me if I would like to star in his film. A new direction had emerged, of following a street artist trying to achieve fame and getting overtaken by the demons of social media addiction. This collaboration was really easy, Shaz and I both layed out what we wanted and needed. I let Shaz know when I was going to be putting art up in the streets, both my own or for friends, so he could come with and get the footage. We started talking about wanted locations and Shaz story boarded out the shots he wanted to collect. Step by step we checked off our shot list, and just a few months before covid exploded on the world we completed filming.

 

I’m only beginning to realise that Shaz has a long and full collaborative history with many very talented artists. This is where our film SODO Express gets really interesting and exciting. Since we finished filming Shaz has been updating me on all the artists involved in the post production, animation, editing, music, design, all folks who I have never met. The little bits I have seen of these artists’ works have been very encouraging to say the least. We are now months away from having a completed short film, SODO Express is being accepted to screen at festivals around the world, and we are laying the groundwork for (when Covid reveals what kind of world we will live in the future) gallery shows and film screenings in multiple countries.

 

All in all I have both made a new friend in Shaz and found a new collaborator who I know will be cooking up ideas for the both of us long into the future. 

 

SODO EXPRESS TRAILOR 

 

Give us a voice (2019)

(2019) commissioned choreography

 

Choreography set on ten young women in North Star Ballet School’s advanced level. This work was created in collaboration with the students. I’ve been interested in exploring different ways of integrating text, voice, and clear messaging into my choreographic works. This interest began with creating gifts of performance for my mother. When I arrived at North Star, I had decided that I wanted to ask my cast of ten young women the question, “what do you have to say to the generation that is leaving you this earth”. We spent a good portion of our first rehearsal time talking about this question. I wrote down each answer, after hearing all the thoughts, I explained that I wanted to build the choreography around the words that we had just discussed. Collectively we settled on “give us a voice” as the text and title for the piece.
My aim was to push these young performers to not only realise my movement ideas, I wanted them to realise their voices individually and as a collective by building vocalised text into the choreography from the very start of rehearsals. I had decided beforehand that the sound used in this work was to come directly from the performers live. Exploration of repetition, abstraction, volume, and exhaustion was the ideas I built, and shaped this work vocally, around. I feel that younger performers often have to be shown how to learn a section of choreography so that they can know this movement sequence without having to think about what step comes next. When this effortlessness is found, the next step is to run this movement sequence to the edge of exhaustion so that the dancer’s ego is shed. When this is found ten dancers can perform as one, their awareness of the ensemble grows and is able to collectively lift each other up. A clear image of the body being propelled by muscle is the intended result. This is quite a lot to ask of young performers, I feel though that this is the most important concept to have been introduced to in the development of a young professional dancer. I was quite proud of what these ten young women accomplished in our time together in rehearsal. This work was set to premier in Fairbanks in April 2020, unfortunately Covid-19 had other plans, so for now the premier is on hold.

 

We Love This (2019)

(2019) Commissioned choreography. North Star Ballet, Fairbanks AK

 

In collaboration with long time friend Oscar Gutierrez, commissioned by North Star Ballet, Oscar and I created a twenty minute duet about friends seeing each other after a long absence.

 

Tech reh

 

Artville Residency (2019)

(2019) Leadville Colorado residency

 

The month of October, high in the mountains, served as a time for allowing space. My time was spent walking, seeing mountain tops, movement researching/choreographing, environment sketches, mural painting, all while living with dear friends.

 

 

I was able to create the movement framework used for the choreographic commission at North Star Ballet in Fairbanks Alaska following my residency. My environment sketches serve as a personal photograph for my eyes, a drawn memory of any location that captures my attention.

 

 

My friends like to walk. While at Artville I was invited to go for a three-day walk along a section of the Continental Divide Trail. I have for quite a long time fantasized about long distance walking. This served as a beautiful introduction to this revealing and healing path.

 

 

I visited the peaks of five mountain tops over 14,000 feet while at Artville. I have a long standing practice of planting a handstand at the top of high points. I aim to try and pretend that while in the handstand, I’m actually rightside up and holding up the mountain and world in my hands. As a student of my own body, I love the reality of walking up a steep mountain, the physical strength and stamina needed to listen to and work through rapid altitude shifts is humbling to say the least.

 

Drinking with destructo (2018)

(2018) video

 

My second music video for the Seattle band the Corespondents. I have a long standing collaboration with band member Douglas Arney. Working together we came up with the concept for this video. Shot in one day in an abandoned bowling alley. This video plays with time as we progress through a chaotic environment of play and destruction.

 

 

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.