CATCH these performers tonight at BOK
Tonight CATCH—the Obie award-winning, itinerant, rough-and-ready performance series—takes a break from its native Brooklyn to treat Philadelphia to a one-night-only performance showcase, CATCH takes BOK, as part of the 2016 Fringe Festival. Featuring a roster of some of the most daring contemporary performers from Philadelphia and NYC, what they’ll be doing may be a mystery, but considering the breadth and depth of each’s body of work it’s a safe bet that you won’t want to miss it. Also, your ticket includes free beer, so, yeah.
Not convinced? You’re awfully difficult to please. In that case, why not get acquainted with the evening’s lineup?
Brooke O’Harra is a director and performer based in New York. As co-founder of The Theater of a Two-Headed Calf she has developed and directed all fourteen of the company’s productions, including the Obie award-winning Drum of the Waves of Horikawa. In an interview with the Huffington Post, O’Harra remarked, “I have been drawn to theater because of the live-ness, the weird formal codes of storytelling, the strange intimacy that happens inside of a group experience, the vulnerability foundational to the act – the real possibility that something could go wrong – these things make the experience charged.” Get a taste of O’Harra’s work with this excerpt from Room For Cream, Two-Headed Calf’s Dyke Division’s live lesbian soap opera which she conceived, directed, wrote for, and performed in:
Cynthia Hopkins is a writer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and internationally acclaimed musical performance artist. Through her songs, albums, and groundbreaking multi-media performance works she intertwines truth and fiction, striving to obscure the distinction between edification and entertainment. “My creative process is a survival technique which alchemizes a combination of inner and outer (personal and socio-political) demons into works of intrigue and hope, for the audience and for myself,” she says in her artist statement. She recently relocated to Philadelphia after twenty years in Brooklyn and has been chronicling the experience with her podcast, Moving to Philadelphia. Sample her stunning musical chops in the video below from her 2013 performance at Celebrate Brooklyn:
Philadelphia native Kemar Jewel is an award-winning international director and choreographer. They are a founding member and creative director of Xcel Dance Crew, a dance group that incorporates dance and theater and specializes in dance styles such as jazz, hip-hop, African jazz, and, chiefly, vogue. A graduate of Temple University, Jewel gained to national recognition for a 2014 Youtube video, “Voguing Train,” filmed on Septa’s Broad Street Line. Since then Jewel has toured and performed across the US and Europe, including at the recent tribute to voguing icon and pioneer Willi Ninja at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Check out their latest short film, “Vogue Ball Tango,” a spin on Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango” that mixes Broadway with Ballroom:
Erin Markey is a writer, comedian, and performance artist who makes uproarious music, shows, and videos. Recently named one of “Brooklyn’s 50 Funniest People” by Brooklyn Magazine, her work draws inspiration from cabaret, comedy, and her midwestern family. In a recent profile in the New York Times, Markey remarked, “Some people think I’m a cabaret person. Some think I’m an actress or comedian. Others see me as a performance artist. This makes me hard to sell.” Perhaps that’s true for certain places, somewhere where they like their art jammed inside rigid and outdated notions of form/genre, but screw that, this is the Fringe Festival! I say bring it all! Here’s her hilarious take on Justin Bieber’s “Baby” as part of Our Hit Parade, the now defunct showcase where performers offered twisted versions of pop songs:
Jimmy Grzelak is a Philadelphia-based practical theologian and theater artist. His previous shows—2013’s Boy Scouts focused solo How to Be a Terrorist and 2015’s collaboration with set designer Cate McCrea, described as a gastro-liturgical event, St. Jimmy Celebrates “The Food at Our Feet”—have been widely lauded, earning numerous distinctions from DC Metro Theater Arts, including “Best of Fringe,” for their runs at Capital Fringe. Billed alongside Grzelak is Daniel Park, a director, devisor, and performer whose interactive performance art piece You Are the Hero was a favorite of last year’s Fringe Festival. “As an artist I create sincerity-fueled experiences that remind our bodies how to advocate and take action,” Park says in his artist statement. What these two will concoct together is anyone’s guess, but this trailer for Park’s You Are the Hero might give you a sense of the fun that may await:
Ric Royer is a monologist, writer, and self-described “a song and dance man of the avant-vaude.” He is the founding director of The Psychic Readings Company who are “dedicated to the advancement of a higher histrionics through exaggerated examples of life and death.” He is also the host of The Coincidental Hour, a raucous and wild ongoing live show, described by Royer as a “late night game show children’s TV variety show talk show cabaret show and musical twilight zone piece of Vienna Aktionist performance art with the prizes!” Witness just a snippet of the insanity, featuring Psychic Readings Company co-founder and music director G. Lucas Crane, below:
Annie Wilson is a Philadelphia-based choreographer, director, performer, and writer. She describes her choreographic work as “dances that sing with contrary value systems.” Her “burlesque-postmodern-dance-theater-bad-improv” show Lovertits examined societal views on sex against the real, messy sex that humans actually have. “The underlying mantra for the piece is: Having a body is awesome. And having a female body is awesome. And what makes having a body awesome has so little to do with the way it looks. So how do we assert this in performance, which is based on presenting living imagery of the body?” Wilson told FringeArts about the show back in 2014. This December FringeArts will be presenting her latest work, At Home with the Humorless Bastard.
That’s a whole lot of talent packed into a single evening! Also beer. Need I say more?