by Cat Gilbert
Strings break. They bend. They lead, and they follow (if prompted.) It was physical strings that brought me to Hanne Tierney’s most recent piece “Strange Tale of Liaozhai” at HERE arts center, (as it did many) and it was more metaphorical ones that lead me to learn her rich history as both puppeteer and person. Known for her elaborate puppet rig utilizing (this time) over 114 strings, even Tierney’s herself in an interview for her past work (My Life in a Nutshell) says “80 strings can tangle, can break, can slip out, it’s such a high risk business that I kind of say “Why am I doing this?” Knowing Tierney’s tragic history of losing her son in Sierra Leone and picking up his designated NY space to create a community art gallery (FiveMyles) that has won an Obie for its ability to energize a transition community, it’s easy to see there is very little that truly scares Hanne.
Whether the audience echos the sentiment of “why” or not, they certainly are aware of the elements of “danger” or at least the intricacy involved with watching three dedicated puppeteers manipulate the medieval mechanism (creaky as a ship but with no threat of storm) that Hanne has created. A self-professed “art performer,” who works in galleries as well as theaters, Tierney’s work, while sometimes autobiographical, is also the product of her love affair with Gertrude Stein’s ideal of theater without actors. “Strange Tales of Liaozhai” was aesthetically driven by Stein’s piece “A play called Not and Now,” which employed ball gowns and tuxedos to create a piece which deconstructed the foundations of theater.
“Strange Tales” uses 18th century folktales to tell the stories of a bad trade among a pigeon merchant, and the story of two lovers (one a fox spirit) who struggle for martial bliss. The pigeon piece does so through shadow screens and the hand drawn visual projections of Hannah Wasileski, while the lovers pieces utilizes the inanimate puppet players in the forms of scarves, bamboo, umbrellas and the like. Both pieces were joined by the complex, strange constructions of Jane Wang, who played a setup that rivaled the string mechanism of the puppeteers in its visual interest and sound. The stories though slow, are poignant and worth the patience of watching, however anyone who has seen (or heard) Hanne’s work, knows that a good portion of the engagement of the audience relies on her beautifully subtle, slightly accented narration, and on the puppeteer’s ghost within the machine movements. The genius behind creating something that resembles the interior of a grand piano, complete with string manipulators is almost enough to capture audience for the full hour in itself.
The “new” puppets in the piece (many of Tierney’s older “puppets”-bamboo poles, beaded curtains made appreciated cameo appearances), were mostly the silk scarves which made up the bulk of the cast. The stage itself was cloaked in purposefully laid cloth, and each main character was represented in choice colors, that changed pattern with movement and time across the stage and in the plotline; the overly doting mother in deep reds and pinks, the brash, fickle uncle in blacks and blues, the young lovers in pinks, sky blues and rainbows, and the fox spirit, a satiny silver.
Jane Wang’s setup included a variety of musical instruments (perquisite toy pianos included) but the most interesting moments came when she engaged the “space plates” (metal plates balanced on balloons, balanced in plastic containers), and more simply in her playing of the upright bass which she plucked to create beautiful movement and drama within the puppet pieces. Jamey McGilray and Shawn Lane helped manipulate the puppet strings and did so with a great amount of grace and ease.
“Strange Tales of Liaozhai” the book certainly relies on a great amount of history (with humans or no) to appreciate its tales and appropriately enough Hanne’s work is no different. Woven within the strings she pulls there are connections to both her past apprenticeship at a spinning wheel factory, her ability to see more than mundane in simple machinery, and her choice to move forward even and sometimes because of the great danger within.
Screening with Director David Cronenberg: “Cosmopolis”
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Friday, August 17th
“Adapted from a Don Delillo novel, Cronenberg’s latest dystopian odyssey boats all three the ingredients for filmic greatness — sex, violence, and Robert Pattinson — in generous portions.” –Chloe Wyma
Tales of Social Activism
Museum of the City of New York
Saturday, August 18 at 2:00 pm
Activist New York includes an astonishing array of documents, historic artifacts, and personal items that transport us to iconic moments when grassroots movements changed the city’s history and culture. But the stories of New York activism are also woven through the lives and memories of countless New Yorkers. Join us for a gatherine during which we invite you to bring along a photograph, or just a story, that tells about your or your family’s involvement in the democratic process of change that occurs when citizens unite for common goals.
What Can You Do?/Remember, Dream v. 2.5
Wens, August 22nd
All are invited to be present in Dream Time, listening into the moment, discovering who we are in this moment, within and without, listening, sounding, moving, seriously playing the moment, exploring the moment as a community of listeners/viewers. A sound/video dreamscape which has evolved from Norman’s prior Singing Mask ceremonies, his latest work “Mysterium Magnum,” home videos and recent electronic music by Ezra will accompany us in this journey. As a shared dream, Ezra, Caleb and Norman will explore and guide us into the present moment with sound/movement/Singing Masks as we are all interdependently interconnected within the intricate interwoven depths and delights of Dream Time.
Wed, August 22nd
Trombonist and composer has worked with Slavic Soul Party, Lee Konitz and the Kronos Quartet but here he presents elegant and energetic compositions for his lithe trio. “Odd and excellent, taut with paradox” – Ben Ratliff, the New York Times. With Jacob Sacks, piano and Dan Weiss, drums.
Cassie Ramone/Deep Time/Turn to Crime
285 Kent Ave
Thursday, August 16th
Thursday August 16th @ 285 KENT AVE
11:15 || Cassie Ramone w/ Julie K-Holes
10:30 |||| Deep Time ——— formerly known as Yellow Fever
-9:45 |||||| Turn To Crime —- Derek Stanton from Awesome Color
-9:00 |||||||| Weird Rivers
-8:15 |||||||||||| I’m Turning Into
OurGoods:Barter: Theory and Practice
Eyebeam: Art and Technology Center
Saturday, August 18
From myths of haggling savages to accounts of societies run on mutual aid, “barter” occupies a grey area between gift giving and market transactions. In this workshop, participants will experience the theory and practice of barter. Participants will (1) learn about contemporary and historic barter communities, (2) connect with potential barter partners and (3) discuss the problems and possibilities of barter: building trust, negotiating value, communicating clearly, and getting projects done without money. Workshop Facilitator: Caroline Woolard is a co-founder of OurGoods.org and TradeSchool.coop, two barter networks for cultural production. She is currently a Fellow at Eyebeam. cost: bring drinks/food to share, or volunteer to help clean up. You must RSVP to attend: email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the item/service you plan to bring.
Poison Dartz/Robin Vote/Catfox/DJ Bloody Powes/ART
Saturday, August 18
A night of music & art brought to you by… Chandrikas. Music by Poison Dartz/Robin Vote/Catfox/DJ Bloody Powes/ART, the closing of “Growing the Garden,” a summer art exhibition of mixed media and mixed forms by David Shull.
Pressed And, It is rain in my face, Cuddle Formation
Saturday, August 18
Sxip Shirey’s Hour of Charm
Friday, August 17th
A brief history of a word I use allot by Jesse Sheidlower lexicographer and writer of “The F-Word, a detailed history of the word f*ck,” Turntablist/percussionist/producer VAL INC. who pulls beautiful ghosts from a table of machines, very very real, very very human and very very funny New York stories by GREG Walloch and CHRIS WELLS, Fascinating smart songs and live electronic compositions of composer AMY X NEUBERG, beautiful and compelling 4 part vocal music of TREVOR WILSON and ENSEMBLE and a new composition inspired by Ali Farka Touré by SXIP SHIREY performed with Rob C. (special appearance by Leron Peled!)
Sky-Pony/PitchBlak Brass Band
Sunday, August 19th
Pitchblak Brass Band is a ten-piece brass collective comprised of composers, producers, artists, rappers, strivers, hustlers, and superstars. Hailed as NYC’s only hip hop brass band, PitchBlak has been rocking the city since 2010 with their original dance-worthy music, which combines robust horns, Afro-Caribbean beats, soaring jazz solos, and tongue-twisting raps. In addition to performing at notable venues such as 92YTribeca, Southpaw, and a packed headlining performance at Brooklyn Bowl, PitchBlak most recently played to enthusiastic crowds at the NXNE festival in Toronto. Because of each member’s diverse musical background and training, PitchBlak is active in teaching and mentoring young musicians in New York, and prides itself on giving back to the community. For more info, visit www.pitchblakbrassband.com.
“CORIOLANUS” (Shakespeare in the Parking Lot)
Municipal Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow and Broome Streets, Manhattan
Coriolanus” has been re-envisioned as a modern day “election fable” in the second production of the Drilling Company’s 2012 Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot series. This “Coriolanus” is set during an election year, when money can buy power and working class citizens feel threatened by a dwindling patrician class who are seeking to solidify their political power by manipulating political figures. The title character, played by Arash Mokhtar, is a potential leader who is vaunted for his success as a warrior but is completely out of touch with the every day citizen’s experience of hunger and joblessness.
Wed, August 22nd
GEORGE BARBA YIORGI AND THE BYZAN-TONES
Wed, August 22nd
An Illustrated lecture and book signing with Rachel Poliquin, author of The Breathless Zoo and the blog “Ravishing Beasts”
Friday, August 17th
In her new book The Breathless Zoo: Taxidermy and the Cultures of Longing, Rachel Poliquin–best known for her blog “Ravishing Beasts”–explores the cultural history and poetic resonance of taxidermy from its rudimentary beginnings in cabinets of wonder to its revival in contemporary art. From hunting trophies to extinct species and kitten weddings to perpetual pets, The Breathless Zoo examines the meaning and matter of preserved animal-things and why anyone would want them to exist, and attempts to get to the heart of taxidermy by answering two fundamental questions: why would anyone want to preserve an animal, and what is this animal-thing now? Animal or object? Animal and object. This is the irresolvable tension that defines all taxidermy. As The Breathless Zoo demonstrates, with taxidermy there are no easy answers.
The Fall of the American Movie Palace
Saturday, August 18th
There’s nothing remarkable about a movie theater today, but there used to be. When the great American Movie Palaces opened, they were some of the most lavish, stunning buildings anyone had ever seen. With the birth of the multiplex, theater companies found it harder and harder to keep these buildings open. Some were demolished, some were converted, and some remain to this day. “The Fall of the American Movie Palace” will take you through the history of these magnificent buildings, from their opening in the early 1900s to years after the final curtain.
Presentation Party Night 2 Year Blow Out
Sunday, August 18th
Topics this month:
• L Train History
• History of Riddles
• PPN Past, Present, and Future!
Saturday, August 17th
REVERSE invites you to the exhibition of OPEN LAB, the culmination of a month of work at REVERSE SPACE, during which six emerging artists use the 1010 sq ft gallery space and convert it into their own work-stations. The artists: Jin Joo Chae, Scott Fitzgerald, Hudson Lines, Francesca Padron, Gabriel J. Shuldiner, Jeremy Zierau
Microcosm: Sonic Territories
Saturday, August 17th
Microcosm is Jonas Braasch’s new project. Expanding from his solo work, Microcosm is — in a nutshell — in a band with Jonas on the soprano saxophone, his alter ego on the Arturia Moog foot pedal, and Caira, an intelligent agent who improvises autonomously with the trio using auditory scene analysis techniques, machine listening, and logic-based reasoning. The agent is currently being developed through support from the National Science Foundation, together with team members Doug Van Nort, Pauline Oliveros, and Selmer Bringsjord. The Microcosm project was conceived to cross traditional boundaries between arts and science, and was conceptualized out of the desire to perform with an inspiring ensemble that can follow and provide musical cues very quickly. The concert will include adaptations from Jonas’ previous works: “Global Reflections”, “Sonic Territories”, and “Quartet for the End of Space”, which were released on Deep Listening and Pogus.
Quay Brothers: On Deciphering the Pharmacist’s Prescription for Lip-Reading Puppets
August 12, 2012–January 7, 2013
Leo Koenig Inc. is pleased to announce the fifth solo exhibition of new paintings by Torben Giehler. Giehler is known for his geometric abstractions, influenced by futuristic universes, and finished with mathematical precision. In a departure from the vibrant color palette and electrified vortex of his previous paintings, these new works extend a zen-like calm, alchemically fusing the synapses of the human brain to the grids and networks of digitized technology. (READ MORE.)
The Dream Music Puppetry Program’s feisty showcase of tidbits, characters & shorts from the pinnacles of the puppet community. And after selling-out the last two Parlors, we’ve decided to add an additional show!
April 30 and May 1 7pm
Tickets $20 @ door
MORE INFO: http://here.org/shows/detail/599/
ALSO COMING UP!
Cellular Sweep explores the aesthetic of the spill and the splatter.
I began art-making as a realist. After a creative crisis I began to re-investigate essential qualities of composition. This departure took me on a slow ascent toward my current style in which I attempt to incorporate childhood fascinations and the emotional weight of adulthood to excavate a system of a private language. From simple systems, complexity emerges. Through assigning a structural hierarchy to my line what began to take shape was a technological body of tremendous volume, dynamism and movement.