Culture: April 2006 Archives

James and I visited White Columns today to see the works in the Momenta benefit which happens Saturday night. There are lots of good pieces, and the format is very democratic. Most of the work goes to people who have bought a $175 ticket. They draw numbers randomly, and that determines when you get to choose from the 110 available. A couple of years ago, we ended up with works by Kiki Smith, Joey Kotting, and Michael Cambre.

Visit the web site for more information or to buy tickets online using PayPal.

The Civilians

The Civilians

Regular readers of bloggy know that I'm a fan of this wonderful theater group known as The Civilians. Here is a search to give you an idea of all I've written in the past. There a few theater companies doing this mix of fun and political work. We have attended pretty much every production they've done since we first met them.

Their next benefit, titled Patriot Acts: An American Vaudeville is co-sponsored by The Nation and includes an amazing cast of performers. It takes place on May 8th at 7:30, and tickets start at $35 dollars.

We'll be attending the concert and the after-party. Join us if you can!

Here is the blurb from them:

The Civilians Announces One-Night-Only PATRIOT ACTS: AN AMERICAN VAUDEVILLE
with DJ Spooky, Ollabelle, Jackie Hoffman and More.
May 8th at The Skirball Center, NYU.

The Civilians theater company, The Nation magazine and the Skirball Center for Performing Arts present PATRIOT ACTS: AN AMERICAN VAUDEVILLE a one-night-only celebration in words and music of a great American tradition, proving there's another side to patriotism, the show revives the forgotten progressive history of many icons of American culture. Artists of The Civilians are joined by guest artists Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Mary Testa, and Jackie Hoffman; guest speakers David Rakoff, Air America's Sam Seder and Victor Navasky, musical groups Ollabelle, Girlyman, Tom Kitt Band, Pierce Woodward Band, Atomic Grind Show and the acrobatic comediennes The Wau Wau Sisters. Visit for more information.

PATRIOT ACTS brings the cultural legacy of the left back to life, revealing another side to songs like America The Beautiful, This Land is Your Land, and Born in the USA. From these classics, the show moves into contemporary songs by the guest performers and selections from The Civilians recent hit show (I Am) Nobody's Lunch.

About the Performers:
  • PAUL D. MILLER aka DJ SPOOKY has remixed and recorded with a panoply of artists ranging from Metallica to Steve Reich to Killah Priest. His latest CD is Drums of Death, with Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Chuck D. of Public Enemy.
  • Actress and comedienne JACKIE HOFFMAN has appeared in Hairspray on Broadway, Comedy Central's "Strangers With Candy," and numerous one-woman shows, including, If You Call This Living, The Kvetching Continues, Jackie Hoffman's Hanukkah, Jackie's Kosher Khristmas and Jackie's Valentine's Day Massacre.
  • DAVID RAKOFF is a frequent contributor to Public Radio's This American Life and the author of the books Fraud and Don't Get Too Comfortable.
  • NY Stage star MARY TESTA was most recently seen in Michael John LaChiusa's See What I Wanna See at the Public Theater; she's been nominated for two Tony awards, for performances in revivals of 42nd Street and Leonard Bernstein's On the Town.
  • Comedian and writer SAM SEDER presently co-hosts "The Majority Report" with Janeane Garafolo on Air America.
  • THE WAU WAU SISTERS' singular and saucy combination of aerial and circus skills, saucy cabaret and clingy costumes promise careening surprises and titillating fun; "They can mix martinis in a handstand, while smoking Pall Malls and thinking impure thoughts!"
  • PIERCE WOODWARD, is a "left-leaning, twenty-something songslinger-fiddler," and formerly the bassist for the bassist for New York's "trad is rad" stringband, The Mammals
  • GIRLYMAN, has been compared to a modern-day Peter, Paul & Mary with an edgy, quirky sense of humor and a harmony-driven style veering from contemporary folk to country rock to pop.
  • OLLABELLE is an the East Village-based music collective whose inimitable rural American roots style draws from gospel, blues, country, and bluegrass which they re-imagine for the post-modern listener's ear.
  • TOM KITT BAND's piano-based sound evokes has been compared to Dave Matthews, and Ben Folds, "The Tom Kitt Band seems to have everything you don't find in one place anymore - great chops, well-made and catchy songs, and on-stage charisma," -- VH1.
  • VICTOR NAVASKY, publisher emeritus of The Nation, was the magazine's editor from 1978 to 1995 and publisher and editorial director from 1995 to 2005. He is the author of the award-winning books A Matter of Opinion and Naming Names.
  • THE ATOMIC GRIND SHOW "Mixes rock, jazz, country and other musical styles with carny attitude." -- Time Out New York

    THE CIVILIANS is a New York-based, non-profit theater company that creates original work from investigations into real life, touring both nationally and internationally. Recent shows include the hit (I Am) Nobody's Lunch, a cabaret about how we know what we know in the age of (mis)information. Reviewing Lunch, The New York Times wrote, "Snappy, scrappy and performed with deadpan razzmatazz by a young cast of six, the latest model is a funny, searching, at times plaintive look at the dangerous blurring of fact and myth in American culture and the unease that is its natural by product."

    THE NATION is America's oldest weekly magazine and most read regularly published opinion journal. Established by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has long been regarded as one of the country's definitive journalistic voices on politics, culture, books and the arts.

[photos above are of members of The Civilians, taken by Jacques-Jean Tiziou]

Michael Rakowitz - P(LOT)

This is great. I've always been amazed by the idea of free street parking in New York, especially in Manhattan, given the fact that a single space would be worth $1000 or more per month if it was part of an apartment, to say nothing of what decent storage space costs.

Michael Rakowitz has an interesting project, titled P(LOT), meant as a commentary on the use of public space for storing private vehicles.

Found via we make money not art. They have more information on their site. The artist's web site is not set up for easy bookmarking to an individual project. I first heard of Mr. Rakowitz at White Columns, when I saw documentation of his paraSITE project involving portable and temporary shelters for homeless people.


Blalla W. Hallmann, Vater, Vater, warum haßt Du mich verlassen! (Father, Father, why Hate You Forsaken Me!) 1990, acrylic on glass, 120 × 110 cm.

The show already closed, but Carrie Moyer's review of it in Gay City News is too good not to link. Here is my favorite part:

Rooted in folk art, reverse painting on glass is a poor man’s stained glass. The process flattens an image, pressing it up against the surface while the viewer’s reflection places her within the picture plane. Hallmann’s pictures are further simplified by the repeated use of forced perspective, bright cartoon color and black grounds, giving his work a ferocity and directness. Hallmann’s self-conscious adoption of various outsider and folk genres is particularly resonant at this moment when the “untrained” aesthetic favored by so many contemporary, academically-trained painters has come to represent a fetishized sign for authenticity.

Hallmann’s paintings make one realize how stealthy and insidious the taint of self-censorship is. Given the current state of global affairs, one might rightfully expect more visual bile and outrage to emanate from America’s art studios. Yet the art world’s cozy relationship with the political left looks polite, self-serving, and parochial next to Hallmann’s rude declarations.

Note: That's not a typo above in the work's title. He used puns and other purposeful "mistakes" in his titles.

Medium NYC has a post on William Powhida's show at Platform Gallery in Seattle. Check it out.

Here is a detail photo I took of his wall piece at Schroeder Romero / Plus Ultra:

William Powhida at Schroeder Romero/Plus Ultra Project Space


Vaginal Davis

Jonathan Berger has organized series of premiere performances, lectures and events running April 28 - May 5 featuring Ron Athey, Franko B, and Vaginal Davis. Visit the web site for more information.

I am a fan of Echo Eggebrecht's work, as I have written before.

She has a solo show at Sixspace in Los Angeles, opening Saturday. The new work represents an interesting (and I mean that in a good way) evolution from her solo show I saw here at Sixtyseven.

Here are a couple of images from the new show. Visit the gallery's web site for more information and images.


November Charlie, 2006
Acrylic on panel
24 × 36 in.


Riptide, 2006
Acrylic on panel
30 × 36 in.


Gothamist has a small review of John Weir's new book, What I Did Wrong. The best part about the posting, though, is John's wondeful comment in response to the review. We love him.


Icelanders, photo by Dona Ann McAdams


Michael Turay as The Gnome, photo by Dona Ann McAdams

It's a cheesy title, but I couldn't resist. Now through April 9 you have a chance to see an extraordinary opera by the composer Michael Webster and the poet Eileen Myles. It will be one of the best hours (it's not long so don't be scared) you've spent in a while. I don't want to give too much away, because it is theater, after all. Let's just say it's about a world where the war-mongers have done such a good job that Hell is practically jealous.

Here is an excerpt from the libretto (available on the Hell web site):


No, I’m serious. There’s a group of trees coming right towards us.


And I’m telling you don’t even think about it.

It’s Father Tree.

People love him.

He’s our leader.

And he doesn’t do a thing

He’s the President of the World.


Well, shouldn’t we greet him, or something?

Maybe he wants to meet me?


No, that’s what’s so great about him. He doesn’t care.

He has absolutely no curiosity.

He’s famous for that.

I also love the description of "the opposition," the Gnome:

If the Gnome mattered at all he’d be Father Tree’s enemy.

If you need more incentive in addition to the word of Eileen Myles, great music and singing, and brilliant use of video by Peter Flaherty, there is also an "opera hunk" of whom I have spoken before, David Adam Moore. He looks like this and he can sing and act.


David Adam Moore as Lewis, photo by Beth Morrison



Performance Space 122

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