Tag Archives: Gelsey Bell

Arts in Bushwick’s SITE Fest hits Surreal Estate, 15 Thames
on the 1st anniversary of the PERFORMANCY FORUM!!!

Saturday, March 5, 7pm-1am
Sunday, March 6, open SITE, 2pm-6pm

Work by:

Alejandro Acierto (installation with performance on Saturday night)
Gelsey Bell (performing from her solo song cycle “Bathroom Songs”)
Hector Canongee (performs ‘Ocular-Trance-Ocular’ with Maria Fernanda Hubeaut)
Ivy Castellanos (installation with performance on Saturday night)
Brian McCorkle (music/performance)
Esther Neff (YOU)
Paul Pinto (experimental music)
Brian Rady (theater/performance)
Matthew Stephen Smith (theater, excerpt from an upcoming one-man show)
Meghann Snow (performance art)

This past year has been incredibly stimulating for PPL and for Surreal Estate artists, thanks in large part to the influx of new collaborators and the work of artists participating in the PERFORMANCY FORUMS. Hector Canonge performed at the very first PF, opening the door on a whole host of exhibitions, conversations, and collaborations with other powerful artists; as a curator, organizer, and friend, Hector empowers everyone with whom he comes into contact.

Additionally, at least half of the artists in this exhibition collaborate with one another as experimental music ensemble thingNY, with whom PPL is currently collaborating on this piece for May, 2011. Click HERE to watch thingNY performing one of the pieces of SPAM 2.0, the awesome show they just did at LPAC.

Others in this exhibition are collaborators as old as the hills (9 years!) and some are newer collaborators and influences, as the old rhyme goes, precious metals and whatnot….heck, there is nothing like gratitude for people you respect to cut through the depressing weather of March!

PPL met thingNY Artistic Director Paul Pinto back in 2008, when we were looking for new collaborators. Since that fateful day in a recording studio beneath a motorcycle garage owned by alt-pop band Collective Soul, his ensemble thingNY has been a big part of our immediate influences; although the things approach work from a classically-trained music background, and PPL approaches work from a mish-mash of music, theater, performance art and other backgrounds, we all occasionally arrive on what we (at least semantically) call “opera,” and have overlapping aesthetics in interesting and often surprising areas.

experimental music ensemble thingNY

PPL in 2008, including thingNY's Paul Pinto

Now, we are excited to be in the beginning stages of a collaborative project. We’re devising a work together about time called TIME: a complete explanation in three parts. So far the individuals involved are Paul Pinto, Gelsey Bell, Jeffrey Young, Alejandro Acierto, Katie Johnston, Michael Hanf, Matthew Stephen Smith, Brian McCorkle, and myself (Esther Neff). We may gather more people as we roll, snowball-like, into the realm of concrete production, but so far this diverse group of collaborators, after only two meetings, is moving forward with enthusiasm and ease: we’ve arrived on a project concept, title, exercises for trans-disciplinary materials generation, and a sketch of the form for the piece.

Expect to see the fruits of this collaboration in April, 2011!

Although PPL’s current project (through August 1 at Surreal Estate) is about Feminism and is largely features women, three male collaborators provide the instrumental interpretation of the score. This is the result of the abrubt departure of previous female musical collaborators from New York City. We are, however, VERY pleased to have three male musicians who are experimental artists working across many mediums, genres, and types of work.

Paul Pinto is a composer, conductor, and performed who was in last year’s opera as a vocalist and in the PERFORMANCY FORUM (video of his second performance along with Gelsey Bell and Andrew Livingston) twice. Paul is better known as the curator of the Comformer Perposers series at University of the Streets, and the artistic director of experimental music ensemble ThingNY. PPL especially enjoyed ThingNY’s theatrical chamber opera this year, ADDDDDDDDD, which toured as a hybrid work accompanied by a comic book libretto available to audiences. In spring of 2011, ThingNY and PPL will present a collaborativelly created piece, the nature of which is still under much discussion, and soon will require “experimenting” to deduce.

Michael Hanf has been playing with Panoply for 2 years, starting with our last opera, On the Cranial Nerves of Barbarians. He is a composer and accomplished jazz vibraphonist as a soloist and with Lindsay Holler and the Dirty Kids, this guy mentions the joy of finding an old Lindsay Holler and the Dirty Kids album in the public library (you can buy some tracks here). He continues to astound people with his vibraphone playing in Hess is More, most recently seen at Celebrate Brooklyn with Kid Koala and touring Denmark this August (article on Mikkel Hess here). He is releasing his solo music and is currently playing in pseudo-No Wave band Parasite Singles with composer Brian McCorkle and Manzana Carnal with Brian, Katie Johnston of Panoply and Puppetbox, and Jason Anastastoff.

Jason Anastasoff is a composer, bassist and tuba player who studied Jazz Performance at SUNY Purchase. He has gigged in and around New York City and attends shows regularly, he has performed with the Mona Dahls, Djangos and Tangos, and several avant-classical and downtown jazz ensembles. He is currently working on an experimental drum and bass project, the Giglioramonamocon: A Drum & Bass Extravaganza, and graphic scores based on the idea of labryinths. He is also a graduate of the Swedish Institute in massage therapy. Some of his music can be heard here. Below is Panoply’s favorite picture of Jason.

Yes, it lived up to the hype! THANK YOU artists for sharing your work! For those of you who did not attend, you missed performances by:

Silvie Jensen

Melissa Shaw

Meghann Snow

Tom Swirly

Quinn Hechtkopff and Anne Bassen

Damien Quinones

Emily James

and (they showed up on their way to another gig and delivered one hell of a performance)

Paul Pinto, Gelsey Bell, and Andrew Livingston.

It was all pretty hot and everyone got the neurons swimming, like poked tadpoles. I assume neurons swim, doesn’t everything?

One of the most interesting things about the PERFORMANCY FORUMS (now that we have had four this is more apparent) is how flexible they are in terms of tone and mood, both as a whole, and internally throughout the evening. I think this flexibility is partly due to the forum’s mix of amateur performers with professionals, one moment the audience members are squirming with a certain open-mic discomfort while others applaud wildly, the next moment the same people enthralled by something wholly powerful, but others feel the former way, and so on. As a curator, there isn’t a whole lot I can do about this, with subjectivity considered, etc etc, but I’m not sure it’s a bad thing. Performance is a delicate medium, and it needs a lot of breathing room and then a lot of formal consideration.

My questions for continuing the PF include:

1.) how can the performances/performers interact with one another, not necessarily in terms of participation but in terms of flow, tone, mood, and overall dramaturgy? Should we have themes or central concepts for each PF?
2.) how can “quality” be removed from the experiential equation? What is quality and how should be speak about it in this context? Does everyone have the “right” to perform?
3.) how can the artists be given a concrete reaction to their work? Do we even really want this? How about feedback forms?

Artists who have participated, or others who hold forums/salons, do you have ideas about any of this?