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Circuit City

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About the Show

Poet and noise musician Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother) presents her first theatrical work, a futuristic exploration—part musical, part choreopoem, part play—of public/private ownership, housing, and technology set in a living room in a corporate-owned apartment complex. Framed by Ayewa’s bold poetry and bolstered by new Moor Mother music performed live by Irreversible Entanglements and the Circuit City Band, Circuit City is an afrofuturist song cycle for our current climate.

Please note: Circuit City performances are being recorded and will be released later as a new album.

Creative and Production Team

Lead Artist/Sound Designer: Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother)
Scenic Designer: Taryn Jones
Lighting Designer: Kae Greenberg
Video Designer: Adrienne Jackson
Sound Designer/Electronics: Ada Adhiyatma
Electronics: Steve Montenegro
Upright Bass: Luke Stewart
Saxophone/Percussion: Keir Neuringer
Drums/Percussion: Tcheser Holmes
Trumpet/Percussion: Aquiles Navarro
Video: Adrian Jackson
Co-Producer: Rasheedah Phillips
Actor: Elon Battle
Actor: Hillaria Goodgam

Artist Statement

A poem by Camae Ayewa

NO ESCAPE REAL-ESTATE

SECRET CIRCUITS
WIRED FUNDS
INVISIBLE LAWS
FEED INVESTORS
PRIVATE OWNERSHIP
PUBLIC PROPERTY
SILENT BODIES
BEHIND HUMAN WALLS OF CONTROL

About Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother)

A prolific voice in the Philadelphia arts community, Camae Ayewa has released more than a dozen EPs as Moor Mother and Moor Mother Goddess since 2012. She has performed in the punk band The Mighty Paradocs and is also the co-founder of Rockers! Philly, an event series and festival focused on marginalized artists, and Black Quantum Futurism Collective, a literary and artistic collaboration with Rasheedah Philips (The Afrofuturist Affair)

About Irreversible Entanglements

Irreversible Entanglements are a liberation-oriented free jazz collective formed in early 2015 by saxophonist Keir Neuringer, poet Camae Ayewa (a.k.a. Moor Mother) and bassist Luke Stewart, who came together to perform at a Musicians Against Police Brutality event organized after the slaying of Akai Gurley by the NYPD. Months later the group added trumpeter Aquiles Navarro and drummer Tcheser Holmes (a duo who also performed at the MAPB event) for a single day of recording at Seizure’s Palace in Brooklyn, and the full quintet’s first time playing together was captured for this debut. In four relentless bouts of inspired fire music the instrumentalists explore and elaborate compositional ideas drawn from their deep individual studies of free jazz improvisation, but the tone of each piece is driven decisively by Ayewa’s searing poetic narrations of Black trauma, survival and power. The message is the undeniable essence of the music. Though free jazz with voice is an uncommon approach in the modern day landscape of the genre, the spirit and subject the band channels and explores represent a return to a central tenant of the sound as it was founded – to be a vehicle for Black liberation. As creative and adventurous as any recording of contemporary avant-garde jazz but offering listeners no abstractions to hide behind, this is music that both honors and defies tradition, speaking to the present while insisting on the future.

Irreversible Entanglements is the first collaborative split release by International Anthem & Don Giovanni Records, a partnership aimed to amplify this potent music and pertinent message to the widest possible audience.

About the Artists

Kae Greenberg studied political theatre and lighting design at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. After working in NYC as a freelance lighting designer and electrician, where he designed over thirty shows off-off-Broadway and for such festivals as the NY Fringe and Dixon Place Hot festival, he decided to put his theories into practice and went to law school. After graduation he worked for 5 years at the Defender Association of Philadelphia before landing in the housing unit as a staff attorney at Community Legal Services where he defends low income tenants facing eviction. In his spare time he is the resident lighting designer for Tangle Movement Arts. He is proud to work on Circuit City as it highlights the ongoing and addressable housing crisis in Philadelphia.

Taryn Jones is an artist whose practice is rooted in collaboration and concept, spanning the disciplines of sculpture, painting, film, animation, and photography.  Over the past decade, she has created scenery for theater, television, music videos, opera, performance art, advertisements, and major motion pictures. She is based in Philadelphia where she drums in the band Hermit Thrushes and co-directs the DIY record label Single Girl Married Girl.

Ada Adhiyatma (madam data) is struggling with a long, flourishing and abiding love of the multiple contradictory and completely unrelated practices we call ‘music’ and a growing frustration with being any kind of musician. They are resigned to the fact that their ‘sound’ will always be the sound of being on the verge of giving up completely. In order to make it to tomorrow, they are currently working with a) tactile, brutally erotic minimalities set in spaces defined by separations and b) the liberatory hyperstructures of the free jazz tradition. Ada’s performance personas in Philadelphia include the apocalyptic insect noise purveyor Madam Data, and various component identities of sci fi noise-thrash quintet OOLOI and the environmental improvisation duo ‘place’. They also produce a podcast of discarded sound and storytelling called The Floating World.

Nerd Out

Listen to lead artist Camae Ayewa discuss how Circuit City explores what the concept of freedom really is, through the lens of the housing crisis and its effects on those who’ve spent their lifetime in their community. Read the full transcript on the FringeArts Blog or listen on your favorite podcasting app.

“We are experiencing an affordable housing crisis, and this crisis is exacerbated by the average of 22,000 eviction filings each year and the unknown number of illegal evictions…Compounding these issues is pervasive housing discrimination –  single mothers and their children, seniors, Black people, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and people living with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by evictions and lack of access to safe, habitable, and affordable housing…Circuit City considers both the implications of time and of space involved in privatization of public housing, gentrification, displacement, and redevelopment. There is no set year or place in the play, but instead a layering of multiple temporal spaces.”

Reverse Gentrification of the Future Now: Essay by Rasheedah Phillips.
Full essay on the FringeArts Blog

Supporters

Circuit City  is a part of XPN Welcomes.

About FringeArts

FringeArts is Philadelphia’s home for contemporary performance, presenting progressive, world-class art that expands the imagination and boldly defies expectation. Our programming exposes audiences to genre-defying dance, theater, and music performances by accomplished and emerging innovators who push the boundaries of art-making and redefine the artistic landscape worldwide.

Circuit City is part of High Pressure Fire Service (HPFS), FringeArts’ presentation series of new works by Philadelphia’s most innovative performers. The series takes its name from FringeArts’ historic building, the first high pressure pump house in the country. Opened in 1903, the station pumped water from the Delaware River to fire hydrants across Philadelphia, connecting the city and helping it grow and thrive. This history of creativity and connectivity is at the very heart of the High Pressure Fire Service series.

Next up is Hand to Hand, a multi-day festival of circus arts, presented by PECO, in partnership with Circadium School of Contemporary Circus. Featuring performances on the FringeArts stage and outside in the Haas Biergarten, Hand to Hand brings remarkable levels of artistry and ability together for a thrilling long weekend of events, perfect for the whole family. Performances and workshops include acrobatics, aerials, clowning, juggling, and everything in between.

Pss Pss
Compagnia Baccalà
June 28–30

Two modern-day clowns take the stage for an hour of breathtaking physical comedy, acrobatics, and aerial work.

Circus Midway
Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
June 30, 11am–3pm

Learn the basics of aerial acrobatics, juggling, plate spinning, and tight wire at this day of free outdoor workshops and performances.

Test Flights
Curated by Ben Grinberg
July 1 at 7pm

The most skilled and expressive jugglers, acrobats, and aerialists in the region present works-in-progress.

Louis Bluver Outdoor Movie Series
Curated by Catherine Preston
Wednesdays at 8:30pm, June 12–August 21
A summer-long themed series of free film screenings in the Haas Biergarten. Coming up this summer:

June: Record Stores
6/12 High Fidelity
6/19 Pretty in Pink
6/26 Empire Records

July: ’90s Throwbacks
7/10 Space Jam
7/17 She’s All That
7/24 Cruel Intentions
7/31 Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion

August: Unconventional Love Stories
8/7 Working Girl
8/14 Dumb and Dumber
8/21 Raising Arizona

Support independent artists participating in the 2019 Fringe Festival by donating to the Independent Artist FestiFund of CultureTrust. This scholarship fund will become grants for artists who need our support to continue their important work! More information on how to donate at: FringeArts.com/festifund.

FringeArts Staff + Board

Staff

Zach Blackwood, Artistic Producer
Melissa E. Bridge, Director of Finance
Tenara Calem, Audience Engagement Coordinator
Katy Dammers, Artistic Producer
Sarah Dennis, Comptroller
Claire Frisbie, Marketing and Communications Director
Amy Kurzban, General Manager
Keighty McLallen, Director of Production
Mary Menchel, Client Services Manager
Porsche Murray, Office Manager & HR Assistant
Rachel Swartz Robinson, Development Director
April Rose, Fringe Festival Coordinator
Carolyn Schlecker, Senior Adviser Operations
Georgia Schlessman, Technical Director
Raina Searles, Marketing Manager
Jennifer Shorstein, Development Manager
Evelyn Swift Shuker, Master Electrician
Nick Stuccio, President & Producing Director
Hugh Wilikofsky, Institutional Giving Coordinator

Interns

Calder McNeil, Marketing & Programming
Madena Kusi, Development
Jack Yang, Finance
Ellie Moonan, Production
Carolyn Carrier, Development
Greer Cohen, Programming
Charisse De Los Santos, Patron Services
Stephanie Seymour, Podcast Production
Jordan Landy, Finance
Sean Andrade, Graphic Design
Seth Boyce, Marketing Information Management

Board

Richard Vague, Chair
Jennifer Bohnenberger, Vice Chair/Secretary
Lisa P. Young, Treasurer
Emily L. Bittenbender
Mark Dichter
Denise DiSimone
Tony P. Forte
David Grasso
David Hoffman
Kevin Kleinschmidt
Kathy Lentini
David Lipson
Tom Lussenhop
Clement D. Pappas
Salem Shuchman
Michael Solomonov
Stephen Starr
Nick Stuccio
Audrey Claire Taichman
Max Tuttleman
Paul Wright

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