CATCH takes BOK
Sept 17 2016
“It’s really a party with a show in the middle of it.” CATCH
“Consistently entertaining, stimulating, thought-provoking and irreverent.” The New York Times
CATCH is the Obie award-winning, itinerant, rough-and-ready series of performance events that whirls through Brooklyn and beyond every month or so. For over a decade, CATCH has given stage to emerging artists and downtown luminaries, pouring equal portions of community, love, and beer. For the 2016 Fringe Festival, CATCH infiltrates the Bok building for a night of performance mayhem showcasing what’s new in the avant-garde with a powerhouse line up of Philadelphia and NYC-based artists in a one night mini-festival within the Fringe Festival.
Brooke O’Harra !
Cynthia Hopkins !
Kemar Jewel !
Erin Markey !
Jimmy Grzelack & Daniel Park !
Ric Royer !
Annie Wilson !
Curated by Andrew Dinwiddie, Jeff Larson, Caleb Hammons Coproduction Thirdbird
Photos: Arion Doerr
Holly and David Stichka
Nick Chuva Plagge
Complimentary Beer Provided by
Interview with CATCH
Responses from Andrew Dinwiddie, Jeff Larson & Caleb Hammons of CATCH.
FringeArts: What are the most important things that you look out for in curating a CATCH?
CATCH: We’re trying to keep CATCH the most fun way to experience the breadth of what’s going on in live art right now. And we’re trying to make a lot of introductions—introducing one artist to another, one artist’s audience to another artist, audience members to other audience members, everyone to a new space. So we’re looking to put together a group of artists who represent a range in terms of the forms they primarily work in, the (micro)communities they exist in, their age, experience and/or level of support. We’re also trying to put together a show that will have fun dynamics, so we’re looking for a range of what kind of energy or vibe we expect each artist will bring to the show.
FringeArts: How do you go about creating the CATCH atmosphere?
CATCH: The space for CATCH wants to feel relaxed. We want it to feel like all your expectations of what it means to see or to show performance are subverted in some way. We want artists and audience to inhabit a shared, dynamic, welcoming space that speaks to the diverse communities that are represented. As mentioned above, we are psyched and a little daunted by bringing the show to the Bok school. The space is incredible, but we recognize that it has a charged history in the community and we hope to present a show that doesn’t turn a blind eye to that reality. At the same time, we want to create a space that is alive with the creative vitality of the artists and infused with a sense of “serious fun,” with audiences getting a taste of some great work in a casual, community embracing environment—“let’s drink a beer, watch some exciting performance, have stimulating conversation at intermission, and have a dance party together after the show.”
FringeArts: What do you talk about to the artists you are presenting?
CATCH: CATCH is essentially a variety show of avant-garde art, though “variety show” isn’t the right vibe to imagine. We show short, frequently in-progress, works by a bunch of different artists in one night, mainly dance, theater, performance but also video, music and other forms. It’s really a party with a show in the middle of it. Our audience is there to have fun and hang out with each other, but they’re serious about the work too – they’re super attentive and supportive. We have terrible production values but great attention to detail – so we can’t do a lot technically, but we’ll take care of your thing with what we have. You should do 7 minutes of whatever you’re most excited about doing. Oh, and we won’t know the show order till Family Meeting an hour before the show – we see all the pieces at tech earlier the day of the show, usually for the first time!
FringeArts: Have your interests in programming changed over the years?
CATCH: The natural change that’s happened to us is that our artists have gotten a little fancier as we’ve gotten older and the folks we’ve known got fancier.
The intentional change is that we’ve gotten even more focused on diversity, both in representing other forms (we’re frequently like, “what artists aren’t we working with—abstract figure skaters? Is that a thing we could figure out who’s cool in?”), and in being more proactive about racial diversity.
FringeArts: What have you noticed that’s changed artistically about the artists and arts in general that CATCH presents?
CATCH: We’ve seen that a lot of artists, responding to the ever-shrinking opportunities for full works to be commissioned/developed/presented, are re-envisioning what it means to make a “piece” and therefore are able to use the CATCH platform as a way to initiate work. Maybe it’s a bummer that many artists, particularly young artists, are making short works, as these are often the only types of platforms they have access to, but maybe it’s also the future? The expectations of what a show is, what kind of work or how long the work is determining its value or its level of “readiness” are really changing.
FringeArts: What will you be looking for from Philadelphia artists?
CATCH: We love taking CATCH on the road, we’ve gotten the chance to do it in a couple other cool cities, and we’re super excited to be doing a second show in Philly. Our first was with ThirdBird at the Neighborhood House. It was fantastic. We made a bunch of friends, a bunch of whom have gotten to come do CATCH in NYC. Whenever we do a show out of town we always try to make it half locals and half New Yorkers so we’re really cross-pollinating the communities, giving artists an opportunity to see what folks are working on in other towns, and hang out with each other. It’s a lot of fun for us to scrub the internet, ask whoever we know and work with our partners in a place to figure out who the exciting artists are there.
The other big thing that we’re still digging into and figuring out whether/how to address, in the artists we invite to do the show, or how we talk to them before the show, or how we structure the show, or frame it in press and marketing, is our being at the BOK School, as we’re learning about the recent history and current use of the school and it’s relationship to the community it’s in. We’re not from Philly so it’s hard to grasp, but we’re talking to folks and trying to figure out what our approach should be.
FringeArts: What do you see as the audience’s role at CATCH?
CATCH: Oh it’s so easy – just show up, everything you need to know will be clear, and everything else is up to you. Probably you should eat first?
CATCH Takes Chicago (Review) by Lauren Warnecke, Art Intercepts
Excerpt: I don’t have any idea what CATCH is like in Brooklyn, but I assume that the DIY, rough-around-the-edges feel is intentional – as intentional as the sort of brilliant line-up of artists who don’t automatically appear to go together. Read the full article.
Nice Catch: A Conversation with a Trio of Performance Art Curators by Emma Wiseman, Hyperallergic
Excerpt: There was an opportunity for CATCH to be a place for different artistic worlds to meet, for other people and for audiences, the way they were meeting in us. So, when Andrew and I took it on it was a really big thing, to bring these somewhat disparate artists and communities together in a way that feels substantial — like there’s an actual dialogue, and it’s not a variety show; that it’s community building in some way. Read the full article.