FringeArts Blog

REACTION: The show must go on

Posted September 12th, 2008

ENTERTAIN US! The audience is ready. We’re lined up in a fancy building reserved for the “really good” shows – or at least for the “famous” people, there are lights, there’s a big stage, beautiful music…but…umm, where are the performers? Where’s the action? Hey, why won’t you show me feats of daring and exceptional skill?

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The opposite end of the lens

Posted September 11th, 2008

I met JJ Tiziou at the Greenline yesterday. We ate bagels and talked about photography, the Festival, and the opposite end of the lens.

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How performance is not like real life
JJ clued me in on a few things about photographing performance, mainly the fact that performance is not as predictable as real life. If you see a guy on the street walking in a particular direction, chances are good that he will continue walking in that direction. But with theater and dance in particular, you can’t always predict the performer’s next move. The upside of photographing performance is that it usually happens more than once (life rarely offers guaranteed repetition of this kind).

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REACTION: Myra Bazell/SCRAP Performance Group’s TIDE

Posted September 10th, 2008

If you’ve never been the Isaiah Zagar’s backyard (aka Philadelphia’s Magical Gardens), now is the time to go. Myra Bazell and her dancers have created a work that flows in and out and all around this small labyrinth of mirror mosaics, bicycle wheels, clay tiles, and thousands of glass bottles. Every inch of this place has a story to it—Zaegar’s designs are famous for invoking stories, histories, ideas, politics, and TIDE seems to do a lot of the same.

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REACTION: Scott McPheeters’ Chick

Posted September 10th, 2008

We filed into a tiny brick studio on Cuthbert Street. Before us sat the Chick (Sarah Nye), garbed in white knickers that suggested the feathers of the most familiar domestic fowl. Her flapping wings emerged and she began to twitch and itch, she started to sniff and peck, and cough? That’s right, the Chick began to grumble and cough. Her whole body heaved until suddenly she flew off her perch, leaving behind a single white carton. A lamp that hung low above her head suddenly glowed red.

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PRESS + PHOTOS: The show must go on

Posted September 10th, 2008

Jérôme Bel’s The show must go on is a pop-music and movement bonanza that begs laughter, tears, and raised eyebrows. It also won a Bessie Award in 2005. So what is this Bel guy up to exactly? Find out in Rachel Frankford’s profile on French choreographer Jérôme Bel in last week’s City Paper. Read on for more photos from the French cast of The show must go on.

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The show must go on opens tomorrow at the Kimmel Center and runs through Saturday. Mayor Michael Nutter will be in attendance on Friday evening! Click here for tickets.

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PHOTOS: Sophocles at the skate park

Posted September 9th, 2008

Last week, Festival goers flooded FDR skate park in South Philly for the much-anticipated premiere of Emmanuelle Delpech-Ramey’s Oedipus at FDR, which starred Pierce Bunting, Corinna Burns, and Hinako Arao. Here are some photos that JJ Tiziou took at Wednesday’s preview performance. Click here to see more photos on our Flickr site.

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Ode to Billie Joe

Posted September 9th, 2008

This Thursday will mark the US premiere of Jan Fabre’s latest work, Another Sleepy Dusty Delta Day, a solo piece based on Bobbie Gentry’s 1967 hit, “Ode to Billie Joe.” Click here to watch an excerpt of the piece, shot at the Festival Teatro Napoli.

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REACTION + PHOTOS: Flesh and Blood and Fish and Fowl

Posted September 9th, 2008

Think Into the Wild meets Office Space. Created and performed by Charlotte Ford and Geoff Sobelle, Flesh and Blood and Fish and Fowl is a hilarious and creepy vision of natural forces slowly taking over an exhausted and obsolete white-collar world. Surprises abound in this show, which puts taxidermy, an array of 70’s-era projectors, and the incredible physical comedy of Sobelle and Ford to great use. Dead leaves erode the bottom of a filing cabinet. Gigantic grass blades poke through the water fountain. A badger slinks by your cubicle. Or is it a ground hog? A weasel? Can I touch it? Be careful. In this bizarre dystopia, hand sanitizer and sticky notes won’t save you.

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PHOTOS + REACTION: bodies in urban spaces

Posted September 8th, 2008

Combine one part dance, one part performance art, and one part Easter egg hunt, and you might have the closest approximation to this weekend’s Live Arts show, bodies in urban spaces. It was difficult to keep a straight face at times as hordes of Philadelphians stopped traffic, flooded sidewalks, and created mass chaos on the streets of Center City while following the site-specific show.

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REACTION: Pig Iron + Teater Sláva bring Joe Hill to Philadelphia

Posted September 6th, 2008

There’s nothing quite so simple, nor so evocative, as a plain white envelope. Envelopes hold limitless potential as the humble keepers of information, photos, money, or in the case of the Live Arts show Sweet By-and-By, the ashes of famed union organizer Joe Hill. And even as musician/actor Daniel Rudholm presents Hill’s engaging story using music, multimedia, and acting, somehow your mind continues to circle back to the plain white envelopes that held the documents that recorded his tale.

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REACTION: Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre’s Factor T

Posted September 6th, 2008

Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre’s Factor T is an exhausting portrayal of wanting what one can’t have, inspired by the writings of Polish novelist, philosopher, and poet Stefan Themerson. Performed in an empty black box on the third floor of Christ Church Neighborhood House, the audience includes four half-hidden dancers—two men, two women. With no apparent cue, they leave their seats, and begin.

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The work starts with a curiously dazed conversation, both between the dancers’ bodies and with the audience. Dreamy and detached, the dancers survey each other and their surroundings. Brief glances and fixed, intentional stares between dancer and observer riddle the piece, heightening tension and intimacy.

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Head to Kensington for FLUX TASK 2

Posted September 6th, 2008

It’s rainy–are you feeling bored and impoverished? Fear not! Just put on your slicker (or a trashbag) and head for FLUXspace, one of Philly’s burgeoning centers for new visual artists. From 5-10pm tonight, Oliver Herring’s TASK will be back for a second round, free of charge (as usual). What begins as a room full of people and a bucket of interpretable instructions becomes an entirely self-perpetuating performance. There will be music, food, activity, and certainly some uncertainty in this participatory party! Just pick a task from the bucket, and get to work.

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Here are a few tasks from 2007:

Find someone with a tinfoil hat. Steal it.

Sprint ten laps around the gallery. Go!

Tell someone, “Way to go Einstein!” real sarcastically like a jerk.

Zip-tie yourself to someone for five to ten minutes.

Get everyone in the room whose name starts with “m” to get together and sing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

Sound like fun? Click here to see a video of TASK 2007.
FLUX TASK 2 is from 5-10pm tonight at FLUXspace, 3000 N. Hope Street.

REACTION: Tania Isaac’s stuporwoman

Posted September 6th, 2008

Watching Tania Isaac dance is like seeing a bubbling stream of lava course across the stage, leaving both destruction and renewed energy in its path. Stuporwoman, indeed; the formidable choreography perfectly executed by its creator merits hardly less than a title of Superwoman, rather than anything suggesting muddled confusion.

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Yet Isaac’s subject is the state of stupefaction a woman can encounter as a mother, a wife, and a lover raising a child in the midst of all of the middle-class clichés. The feeling that hundreds of thousands of other mothers have done it all before only adds to the pressure Isaac expresses in stuporwoman, playing at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre through Sunday.

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REACTION: Jérôme Bel’s Pichet Klunchun and Myself

Posted September 5th, 2008

Two chairs face one another onstage, several feet apart – several more feet, in fact, than you’d expect. This distance is your first clue that what might look like an ordinary conversation on stage, dotted with dance excerpts and one very loud song, is much more than two choreographers just chatting. Perhaps the distance between their chairs marks mutual respect, but it nonetheless seems like the two men have a lot of ground to cover in order to reach shared terrain.

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TOMORROW: bodies in your urban spaces

Posted September 4th, 2008

Willi Dorner’s bodies in urban spaces premieres tomorrow! Meet at LOVE Park and follow the dancers as they use fire escapes, newsstands, and alleyways to create a trail of colorful human sculpture. This show is free! Tickets are not required.

bodies in urban spaces
Friday at 12:30pm
Begins at John F. Kennedy Plaza/LOVE Park

Click here for additional showtimes.

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REACTION: Spencer goes to store

Posted September 4th, 2008

GRAND OPENING! For one week only, enjoy the best and affordable performance products at store.

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Wedged in the heart of the hustle and bustle of South Street, store offers you top of the line performance art products at prices high brow museums can’t beat! Smartly donned in wool suits, Michikazu Matsune and David Subal greet you at the door with a well-stocked menu of acts that meet all artistic tastes. One can choose from the “Specials of the Day,” “Special Delivery,” “Take Away” (most popular), “Pure Theater,” and “Cheap Copies” to name a few, and then the duo will perform the piece before the customers’ eyes. Prices range from $0.40 to $10.00, but admission is free for those who can enjoy watching the selections the others make.

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PHOTOS: Car is in the garage

Posted September 3rd, 2008

If you didn’t get tickets to see Car, you can look at these photos for free. Otherwise, hold your horses! The photos are awesome, but the show is worth waiting for. JJ Tiziou braved the wilds of West Philly Parking Garage #40 to take these beauties. Visit JJ’s site at

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PRESS: City Paper likes Joe Hill

Posted September 3rd, 2008

And Sweet By-and-By. Click here to read Lori Hill’s (no relation–we think) take on this one-man show that takes you back to the time of union martyrs and labor activists on the California picket lines. It’s a lot faster than reading The Grapes of Wrath and there’s music too!


INTERVIEW: Michaela Majoun talks with Leah Stein

Posted September 3rd, 2008

What exactly is urban echo? Find out in this interview with choreographer Leah Stein, whose latest work, Urban ECHO: Circle Told, will premiere this Saturday at the Rotunda in West Philly. Stein discusses this bold collaboration between her company, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, and composer Pauline Oliveros. Click here to listen.

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VIDEO: Tania Isaac’s stuporwoman

Posted September 3rd, 2008

You’ve seen her face all over town (and on the header for this blog), now you can get to know what she’s actually doing in the Festival. Watch this video preview by Woodshop Films and learn more about Tania Isaac’s stuporwoman, premiering tomorrow night at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre.

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For more information and tickets to see stuporwoman, click here.