January, the month of Janus, god of doorways…

It seems 2011 has been packed into this single month of January. First, the city gave way to a month of theater and performance art unparalleled.

PPL loved Gob Squad’s Kitchen at LaMaMa best, because it (on one hand) provided a experience that completely enveloped us during its performance and obliterated all attempts at in-the-moment analysis, and (on the other hand) thoroughly convinced us in retrospect that audience-participation can be both electrifying and dramaturgically satisfying. We were also on the edge of our seats during the post-performance talkback with Richard Shechner, which was presided over by Ellen Stewart, just days before she passed on; she would have become the world’s greatest theater ghost except for the fact that she can certainly rest in peace with the assurance that her business will continue to be carried out…

PPL also got jolted into the new year by Object Collection’s INNOVA at the Incubator Arts Project. Contact mics, live-feed close-up on the erosion of sugar cubes with food dyes, and another Modern Peter Ksander classic design. ..strange this year how Under the Radar seemed more in dialogue with than in competition with all of the other APAP-cluster, PS122’s COIL, IAP’s Other Forces Festival, etc. What a month, what a month!

On the home front, PPL organized/curated Performance Art’s Roots, Doppelgangers, and Shadow Selves (PERFORMANCY FORUM IX) at Surreal Estate, into which the Bushwick throngs packed themselves to see (in order of the evening) Kikuko Tanaka sleeping across the silicon-dripping sculpture of a dead deer with its beaded head suspended above, a live chicken pecking through plastic flowers, fruit, and deer parts as audience members knelt and crocheted on cushions around her (Brian wore a policeman suit the entire night as part of this piece, eventually reading a poem which woke Kiko and knocked down a structure made of stacked clear plastic cubes), the magnetic Sanda Weigl’s performance of songs such as Der Bilbao Song by Kurt Weill, which kept each audience member hanging on her voice, which Sanda brings from the sweetest, softest croon to the brassiest, sharpest expression, this time accompanied by bearded boys she referred to as “my new rock band,” PPL’s Brian McCorkle (keys), Mike Hanf (guitar), Jason Anastasoff (bass) and Daniel Malone (drums)…(watch for performances by this newly-created collaboration at Barbes and elsewhere upcoming…) Ivy Castellanos’ post-apocalyptic performance in which she, like a Sisyphean gladiator, rolled a huge carpet of thick paint on screen across the space from atop a pair of five-gallon buckets, Joseph Keckler’s terrifically witty character-voiced monologues and songs (don’t miss his upcoming video work at Apex Art, then his theater piece at PS122 during solonova this spring!), Anya Liftig having dinner with a salmon (raw, but not alive! The animal rights activists at Surreal Estate created a terrific stir about this) and consequently wearing its gutted carcass on her head and blending some of its flesh into a pink wad, which she then drank,

Anya Liftig, 'The Human Factor' Performance with 14lb Salmon, Surreal Estate 2011

and the always-charismatic Alison Ward’s performance, for which she gave the audience tarot-like cards corresponding to interactive on-stage actions, all the while harassed by a jeweled and gunk-caked mouth projected on the wall…

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO MADE THIS MONTH OF DELIGHTS POSSIBLE!

Check our Vimeo channel for video documentation of this show!

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