Category: Performance

Merry Christmas Mary Boom

After a long spell of letting many-an-event pass without noting it here, I’ve returned to keep you, fair reader, up to date on my goings-on. Up next: The Kate Bush Dance Troupe performs not one but TWO numbers in a very special event on Saturday December 15th. Merry Christmas Mary Boom is a co-production of ESP TV and Dirty Looks NYC which takes as its inspiration many holiday specials that I myself hold dear, including those by Kate Bush and RuPaul. We will perform in front of a live audience against a green screen/psychedelic Christmas backdrop while ESP TV live mixes the footage. Prepare to be dazzled. Check out the teaser below and buy tickets here. Please also visit KBDT’s Facebook page and Vimeo page to stay apprised of our updates. And do tell Kate to tune in to MNN.org on December 25th and January 1st to check out the results of this holiday spectacular. Here is the Facebook page for the event with additional guests and details.

In Search of the Golden Spandex

I’m interviewed in the 6/2011 issue of Kunstbulletin, a Swiss art magazine, and the title – Auf der Suche nach dem goldenen Spandex – is fondly translated above. The article is by Andrina Jorg, and Cat Tuong Nguyen photographed me. Here’s a permanent link to the English translation courtesy of Google – In Search of the Golden Spandex. It can also be read in German HERE.

Cover of the June issue as well as the photo, which is not included on the website.

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E.S.P. TV, Episode 1 – January 28th

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A few of my short videos will be included in episode 1 of E.S.P. TV – a live taping and screening taking place on Friday January 28th at Louis V E.S.P. in Brooklyn. The show was conceived as a public access type variety show that includes contributions from many artists, including Dana Bell, Colby Bird, Elbis Rever, Ganjatronics, Kate Gilmore, KUNSOLE, Katrina Lam, Derek Larson, Erica Magrey, Rachel Mason, Sam Mickens, Bradford Nordeen, Andre Perkowski, Jonathan Phelps, Sophia Peer, Andrew Steinmetz, Jennifer Sullivan, and Brian Zegeer. The show is curated by Scott Kiernan, one of the proprietors of the space.

Always a fan of public access, I’m happy to have my videos included. The three that will screen are all bumpers from Awesome Music Videos, Vol. 1, a compilation I made of music videos from VH1 Classic, wherein I play veejay and create bumper skits to segue between songs. The compilation also features a xeroxed booklet with short essays on each piece. The three videos can be seen on youtube: Alien Lounge Scene, Untitled (HANDS), and Are You Experienced?

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If you’re in Brooklyn, check out the live taping! No one knows exactly how it will turn out, which makes it all the more fun. I’ll post an air date/time for MNN when I receive notification.

Happy Feminist Halloween – Louise Bourgeois Costume at NADA Halloween Ball

Halloween 2010 seemed destined to come and go without the joys of costuming, as I had been sick all week and had no motivation to whip something up. But lo and behold, I heard the call for costumed artists for the NADA Halloween Ball, as my friend Brina Thurston was assembling well dressed artists for the occasion. Brina’s theme was feminist art of the 1970s, and I decided to recreate a costume from Louise Bourgeois’ A Banquet/A Fashion Show of Body Parts, a performance from 1978 that took place in her piece Confrontation. Many of the artists, led by Brina, posed as Valie Export in her piece Genital Panic, and they were a force to be reckoned with. The rest of us rounded out the posse as Yoko Ono (2 versions – “Cut” and 80s Yoko), Carolee Schneeman’s Meat Joy, Strawberry Switchblade, and Adrien Piper’s Mythical Being. My friend Jennifer Sullivan also came as a Picasso Masterpiece. See pics and links below.

Art in America article
Art Info article

A Banquet/A Fashion Show of Body Parts, 1978 – Costume from the Performance
photo of original costume next to me in my version:
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Performance at Hamilton Gallery of Comtemporary Art, NY
Photo by Peter Moore, c Estate of Peter Moore/VAGA, NY
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Group Shot – Brina Thurston and Valie Export of the Dolls (photo by Joanne Kim O’Connor)
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Me and Jen (photo by Joanne Kim O’Connor)
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Us posing with Upside-Down Guy (photo by Joanne Kim O’Connor)
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Stryx – 1978

While browsing Youtube’s fine selection of Grace Jones videos the other day, I came across this nugget from Italian TV show Stryx in 1978. It features Grace performing her song Fame while trapsing about in a heavily smoke[machine]-filled set and cavorting on leopard print divans. Note the tone set by the fantastical cape and perched birds as she appears in a bubbling pitcher.

My interest was piqued and I carried onward, determined to delve more deeply into the abyss of Stryx. Unfortunately, as the show only aired for one year, there were a limited number of clips to devour. The journey was short, but not without its high points. In addition to Grace, the show featured an eclectic international mix of songstresses, including Amanda Lear (French), Patty Pravo (Italian), and Gal Costa (Brazilian). Stylistically, the show had a decidedly glamified 70s take on the Middle Ages with dark imagery and characters, though catered specifically to each performer’s song. Each performer’s set of segments was classified by a particular Stryx-ian title – Grace Jones was featured in Rumstryx; Amanda Lear in Sexy Stryx; and Patty Pravo in Subliminal Stryx. (A full list of performers can be found in the Stryx Wikipedia entry.) I SO wish Kate Bush had been on this show. But I digress. The show was yanked from TV channel Rai Due in ’78 due to controversy over the devilish undertones and nudity. So unfortunate, but on the flip side, these fun discoveries remind me how very fortunate we are to have youtube in the first place.

Check out some more Stryx clips below. I promise human hand candle fixtures, a smattering of loud costumes, awkward chorus members, a LOT of smoke machine mist, and even – no exaggeration – a whole litter’s worth of adorable black kittens, not to mention several other animal species making appearances.

I’m not terribly partial to the song, but the giant head and hand on set alone make it worth a watch.

Kittens galore! Plus this one has amazing costumes all-around.

Great intro on this one, and great cape

An awesome very moody Patty Pravo performance

And finally, more Patty Pravo excellence including toplessness (turn it up as the volume is low):

Kate Bush Dance Troupe at The Kitchen

The Kate Bush Dance Troupe performed at The Kitchen November 5, 6, and 7 as part of Chase Granoff’s piece The Art of Making Dances. Chase’s piece featured himself and Jennifer Sullivan as the main dancers as well as a group of dancers who performed during several segments. Our contribution fell at the end of the piece and we performed just one song – The Dreaming. I made an additional costume for Renata, as she rejoined the group for this performance. The evening also included i need more by Nancy Garcia and was curated by Matthew Lyons. Matthew also conducted an interview with me, Jennifer Sullivan, and Samara Davis about The Kate Bush Dance Troupe that is included in the book Chase produced as part of his piece. The book is also titled The Art of Making Dances.

We were really stoked to be included in this show, and it was funny, because we had earlier joked that KBDT was blowing up and that we’d be at The Kitchen before we knew it. It was an awesome opportunity and really cool to perform in that space, so “big time” compared to the loft/party type locations of our previous performances. Unfortunately I don’t yet have any photo or video of the performance to share save for a mobile phone pic and some photos of us before and after the show. Check out the review from the NY Times and check back for more documentation in the near future.

Also see posts on our first and second performances.

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photo by Timothy Hull

Goofing off in the lobby of the Kitchen before going onstage

Kate Bush Dance Troupe, minus Cassie

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pics by me and Collin

See the full set on Flickr HERE.

Recession Runway at Nada/Fall Collection at the NY Art Book Fair

I’ve participated so far in two art runway shows that Jennifer Sullivan organized. Last May she mounted Recession Runway hosted by NADA at Bumble and Bumble, and I showed off the costume I created for my performance last March in Wisconsin. After wearing it a few times, I practically forgot that one of my breasts was nearly exposed and I felt more confident in it. I made the whole ensemble for under 40 dollars, including the fabric and applique. Not too shabs.

Pics below photographed by Brina Thurston.

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I was away on my honeymoon when Jen hosted Fall Collection at PS1 in October, but our fellow Kate Bush Dance Troupe member Kate Scherer modeled one of the costumes I created for the troupe. Kate did an amazing job and clearly represented the spirit of KBDT on the runway. Photo of Kate below by Dan Perrone.

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Woven in Time – Evelyn Roth

Behold Woven in Time, the super-cool-in-its-own-right filmic showcase of the amazing work of Canadian textile artist Evelyn Roth. The film’s protagonists are costumed bodies engaging in animalistic rituals, acting and reacting on instinct and natural rhythms. Through costume and movement, these beings are transformed into mythical life forms, writhing playfully to an ambient soundtrack of clicks, creaks, pops, and the occasional whiff of a sweet little melody. This lil old piece of media proves that Roth is a verified goddess of wearable art, though surprisingly, there is not much readily available info online about her work. Thanks to Jen for sending Evelyn’s work my way, and look out for more goodies in the near future. Thanks also to John Stone Davis, whose youtube channel is the source of these videos and several related works as well. Such beautiful, poetic, and moving work should not go unseen! So go forth, my friend, and view the videos below.

First, first feast your eyes on this, and crank the volume, as the levels are rather low.

Woven In Time (1977)

Below are two videos featuring interviews with Roth from 1971 and 1974, respectively.

This one goes into detail about her work crocheting video tape to create car cozies, wearable art ensembles, and an interactive sculpture/costume titled The Video Trap.

Good stuff!!

The Kate Bush Dance Troupe at 179 Canal

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Photos above by Brina Thurston. Below, video documentation (by Andrew Steinmetz) of our second performance on May 30th at 179 Canal, a temporary gallery and performance space hosted by Margaret Lee. The month of programming was called The Month of May – read an interview with Margaret on the Art:21 blog HERE. For this iteration, members Renata Espinoza and Margaret Lee bowed out and were replaced by Cassie Thornton and Kate Scherer. Jennifer Sullivan, Samara Davis, and myself remained. Check out the video footage in order of presentation with a brief explanation of each number below.

Link: Photo set from The Month of May.

Wuthering Heights
We began the evening with an encore presentation of Wuthering Heights, enhanced by a lovely red sleeve-and-sash accessory made by Samara Davis. Kate Scherer’s abstract video played on the wall to our right (you can’t see it here due to the angle at which the footage was recorded).

Hounds of Love
Samara Davis came up with the moves for this piece, combining ghoul-like hound movements with doo-wop style snapping and bouncing. She also made an eyepiece for each dancer, which, in tandem with black gloves scouted by Kate Scherer, contribute a gang/posse element. Cassie Thornton’s slideshow video plays offscreen.

Room for the Life
This song did not have a Kate Bush-choreographed dance to work from, so Jennifer Sullivan used a live performance video as a jumping-off point. In the video, Kate leans and rocks in a womb-like structure, so Jen created quilted pregnant bellies for us to wear. The dance moves are alternately sexy and maternal, climaxing in a birth sequence. Maya Erdelyi provided liquid light visuals for this womb-tastic number.

The Dreaming
Source material was ample for this piece – in addition to the awesome sci-fi video Kate created for this song, there are a few great live television performance recordings as well. I faithfully transcribed the moves directly from these performances and crafted costumes that are simplified versions of those worn by Kate and her dancers. Add a smoke machine and we’re good to go!

Thanks to the DJs and those who helped out as stagehands!

Link: First Kate Bush Dance Troupe Performance

Performance at U Wisconsin-Madison’s Starlight Cinema

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I’m performing along with artist Shana Moulton this Thursday in Madison. In addition to some, er, classics, I’ll be performing a new piece, for which I made a new costume (see above). I have to admit – I’m pretty impressed with myself. My costumes are actually beginning to turn out as I had envisioned them!

Here are the deets:

Shana Moulton & Erica Magrey
a night of live performances

Thursday, March 26, 2009
8 pm – 915 pm
Starlight Cinema
Memorian Union: Fredric March Play Circle
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI

nyc video and performance artists shana moulton & erica magrey will each
perform individual sets and then come together for a rare, starlight-only
surprise collaboration. this is sure to be an evening of full impact head-on
collision wizardry so don’t miss it!

shana moulton will perform a piece titled “body รท mind + 7 = spirit.” in
this performance, shana brings her alter ego, cynthia, and her strange world
to life through an innovative use of props, costumes, live-action and
projected video. the performance weaves an abstract narrative out of
exercise equipment, carpal-tunnel therapy, goddess worship, the new-age pop
music of enigma, angela lansbury, the thousand-hand bodhisattva dance and
brian de palma’s carrie.

erica magrey will appear as her alter ego, metalmags, in a performance
titled “window.” here, a collage of personas, reflections and realizations
emerges as stories of transformation and empowerment are told through
movement, light, and sound. using performance, video, and songs, she creates
a psychedelic journey of self-discovery, engaging themes such as self-doubt,
nostalgia and personal mythology.

p.s. this event is free