Reckoning with Torture/Affordable Housing with The Actors Fund/The F Word/NEBULOUS TUSSLES/A Temporary Garden, Gonzalo Puch/Anatomical Collections &Kingdom Under Glass/SOUNDTRACK SERIES/The Vinyl Frontier/Balls Out!/CLOSING PARTY! OLEK/VIDEOROVER/Poets’ Potluck

Reckoning with Torture: Lincoln Center
Doug Liman to Direct Performance at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater

When: Tuesday, May 24
Where: Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65 St., upper level (between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.), New York City
What time:7 p.m.With Russell Banks, Col. Morris Davis, Peter Godwin, Beth Gutcheon, Rula Jebreal, Dahlia Lithwick, John Buffalo Mailer, Kati Marton, Jack Rice, Lili Taylor, Dianne Wiest, and others, with original artwork by Jenny Holzer.

Tickets
: $12 general; $9 students; $8 seniors; $7 ACLU/PEN/FSLC Members. More information and tickets at www.filmlinc.com/films/series/reckoning-with-torture


“Reckoning With Torture: Memos and Testimonies From the ‘War on Terror,’” an evening of readings from formerly secret government documents detailing the scope and human cost of the United States’ post-9/11 torture program

Acclaimed director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Fair Game) will direct this performance of “Reckoning” for the stage and is filming the event for a future documentary. Celebrated writers including Russell Banks, Peter Godwin, Beth Gutcheon, Rula Jebreal, Dahlia Lithwick, John Buffalo Mailer, and Kati Marton will join actors Lili Taylor and Dianne Wiest, along with former CIA case officer Jack Rice and former military prosecutor Col. Morris Davis for readings from formerly secret government documents detailing the scope and disastrous human cost of the U.S. torture program. The artist Jenny Holzer, whose work was the subject of a retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2009, has created original artwork for the “Reckoning” project.

Affordable Housing with The Actors Fund

Come learn about how to apply for housing opportunities through The Actors Fund, including The Schermerhorn, a permanent housing residence in downtown Brooklyn with reserved affordable space for actors and entertainment professionals. The Schermerhorn is co-sponsored by Common Ground and the The Actors Fund.

Housing at the The Schermerhorn is available to actors,screenwriters, musicians, dancers, editors, composers, set designers, producers, singers, directors and other performing arts and entertainment professionals. (READ MORE.)

WHERE: The Schermerhorn, 160 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Map.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 24th
Doors open and networking, 6:00-6:30 pm
Presentation and Q&A, 6:30-7:30 pm



The F Word

The Legacy: Feminism in Literature Today
24 May, 2 p.m., Book Expo America, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 W 34th Street, New York 10001

Julie Otsuka, Francine Prose and Karen Russell talk about which writers passed feminism down to them, and what the word means to them today. For tickets, visit http://www.bookexpoamerica.com.

The F Word Launch Party in NYC
25 May, 6.30 p.m., Paragraph, 35 W 14th Street, New York 10011

Join Julie Otsuka and Francine Prose to celebrate the launch of the issue. (READ MORE.)


NEBULOUS TUSSLES@ CULTUREFIX.
On May 25th in 1977, Star Wars came out in the theaters. I saw it in a drive-in theater two years later. And now I couldn’t care less. This is so much more exciting:
CULTUREfix & Jonathan Wood Vincent present:
NEBULOUS TUSSLES!
a night of unique song and dance
First: there will be:
Self-obsessed Jonathan Wood Vincent, playing the accordion and talking story-like about things of no particular importance just to wet your bustles.
Then: Enid Ellen, http://www.myspace.com/enidellen
In 2008, Enid Ellen was born: “I was writing poetry about specific men, and channeling a woman’s [point of] view,” says David Mramor about the feminine, earthly perspective that led him and pianist Greg Potter to create the songs on Enid Ellen’s debut album, Cannibal Disease. “There was a lot of anger and Mother Nature came forth and needed a vessel to speak through.” (READ MORE.)


A Temporary Garden, Gonzalo Puch @ JULIE SAUL
May 26-July 1, 2011
Reception for the artist, Thursday, May 26th, 6-8pm

Gonzalo Puch lives in Madrid, teaches at the University in Cuenca, and is a native of Sevilla. He creates situations or “incidents”, generally in neutral environments such as classrooms, or his own apartment, which he then records photographically and presents as large, color photographic prints. Although his working methods and environment are hermetic, the work itself addresses and tries to make order of the chaos of the world. His themes are linked to various traditional academic subjects such as math, science, music, biology and environmental studies. The settings are sparse and practical, well lit and benign. Recently he has been working in the landscape more immediately addressing environmental themes. However, the events taking place are inscrutable rituals or quiet procedures which are both serious and comic. They appear to have their own logic in which we can recognize the elements, but not their organization, like words without syntax.

Beginning in the fall of 2010, Puch maintained a year long artist’s residency at Location One in New York. As the title of the resulting series.A Temporary Garden suggests, Puch’s new work draws on the world of plants for its operative leit-motif. Leafy plants combine with busy line-drawings and assembled objects in one photograph; a bell pepper is carved into an ephemeral sculpture in another; and in yet another a twig and bits of colored thread are precariously organized into an image that brings to mind the traditional Chinese landscape drawing. In A Temporary Garden the line between the natural world and the world of artistic creation is not so much blurred as bridged — as it is in fact in any garden. (READ MORE.)

EVENTS AT THE OBSERVATORY


A Virtual Tour of the Anatomical Collections of the University of Groningen
An illustrated lecture with Dr. Rolf ter Sluis, Curator and Director of the Groningen University Museum

Date: Tuesday, May 24th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Tonight, join Dr. Rolf ter Sluis-curator and director of the Netherlands based Groningen University Museum–for a virtual tour of the museum’s historic and amazing anatomy and pathology collections. The majority of the collection consists of preparations in spirit, but also includes dry preparations where the veins have been injected with coloured wax, wax and Papier-mâché models, skeletons and skulls, preserved tattooed skin, and much more. (READ MORE.)

&

Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man’s Quest to Preserve the World’s Great Animals
An illustrated lecture and book signing with author Jay Kirk
Date: Thursday, May 26th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $5
Presented by Morbid Anatomy
***Books will be available for sale and signing

During the golden age of safaris in the early twentieth century, one man set out to preserve Africa’s great beasts. In his new book Kingdom Under Glass: A Tale of Obsession, Adventure, and One Man’s Quest to Preserve the World’s Great Animals, Jay Kirk details the life and adventures of naturalist and taxidermist Carl Akeley, the brooding genius who revolutionized taxidermy and created the famed African Hall we visit today at New York’s Museum of Natural History. The Gilded Age was drawing to a close, and with it came the realization that men may have hunted certain species into oblivion. Renowned taxidermist Carl Akeley joined the hunters rushing to Africa, where he risked death time and again as he stalked animals for his dioramas and hobnobbed with outsized personalities of the era such as Theodore Roosevelt and P. T. Barnum. In a tale of art, science, courage, and romance, Jay Kirk resurrects a legend and illuminates a fateful turning point when Americans had to decide whether to save nature, to destroy it, or to just stare at it under glass. (READ MORE.)

SOUNDTRACK SERIES W/DANA ROSSI @LE POISSON ROUGE.

Dana Rossi hosts a monthly merging of stories and songs in this legendary music venue. Six artists–writers, comics, actors and musicians–tell the stories they associate with songs of their choosing. There’s the song, the story behind the song, and the story inspired by the song. We’re the third one.

The storytellers and their songs for May 26, 2011 are…
Matthew Trumbull – Look Away/Chicago
Jon Baker – I Wanna Dance With Somebody/Whitney Houston
Julie Kraut – Keep the Car Running/Arcade Fire
Marc Landers – Gonna Make You Sweat/C + C Music Factory
Dana Rossi – Edge of Seventeen/Stevie Nicks
Lane Moore – Little Red Riding Hood/Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs


The Vinyl Frontier
Tickets are $10 online and at the door Buy tickets here
Thursday May 26th 2011 7:00 PM

At the dawn of the 21st century, renegade toy designers, bored with the G.I. Joe status quo, boldly remixed and reassembled the toys of their parent’s generation. Birthing a new format of toy and medium of artistic expression, these artists were the first to explore The Vinyl Frontier. A world where Art is Fun!

By exploring a landscape inhabited by a wide range of artists, their creations, and obsessive collectors, the documentary examines the hybrid objects’ artistic and commercial value, as well as the creative process of art-toy making. The Vinyl Frontier is a comprehensive look at a fresh and exciting art movement that anyone young at heart and imaginative can enjoy. (READ MORE.)



Balls Out! Food Competition and Fundraiser

Thursday May 26, 2011
7-10pm
Veronica People’s Club

105 Franklin St, Greenpoint
$15, judge the balls, free drink, prizes & music by DJ Ning Nong (READ MORE.)
Photo Courtesy of Paper Magazine

CLOSING PARTY! OLEK’s Knitting is for Pus****
Friday May 27 6-9pm

Christopher Henry Gallery

127 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY

See “Knitting is for Pus****” for the last time (in NYC) and like never before… with a **SPECIAL BLACK LIGHT PRESENTATION!**

On Friday May 27th, 2011 Christopher Henry Gallery NYC will host a Closing Party for Celebrity Artist OLEK. Olek’s acclaimed installation “Knitting is for Pus****” has created a total sensation since it 1st opened back in September 2010. It traveled to SCOPE MIAMI, and was extended repeatedly due to pop…ular demand and endless press requests… next it will be highlighted in a traveling museum show called “40 Under 40” opening at The SMITHSONIAN Museum in 2012!

VIDEOROVER: Season II
Curated by: Rachel Steinberg
May 27 – Dec 17, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday, May 27, 7-9 PM
Screening begins at 8 PM
910 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY


NURTUREart Non-Profit is pleased to present VIDEOROVER: Season II, the second installment of its semi-annual video series. VIDEOROVER: Season II is curated by Rachel Steinberg and features artists: Fatima Al Qadiri and Lyndsy Welgos, Cecilia Bonilla, Juan Pablo Echeverri, Derek Larson, Dana Levy, Pernille With Madsen, Colin Snapp, and JULIACKS.

VIDEOROVER seeks to present a wide range of works from artists locally and internationally who are all working to expand the perceptual limitations of video. This season’s selection aims to disorient viewers by removing an essential reality context, only to redeposit them into seemingly familiar settings.

Dana Levy, Fatima Al Qadiri and Lyndsy Welgos explore the pluralism of eastern and western conventions by looking at traditions through a contemporary perspective. Cecilia Bonilla examines our relationships to the seductive nature of commercial images of women through minimal manipulation, while Juan Pablo Echeverri shows us a self-projected fantasy of mass-produced femininity. Colin Snapp acts as a ‘journalist’ of sorts, documenting moments of real-time, but relieving the viewer of imposed intentions. Pernille With Madsen dizzies and disorients us with a vision of how to imagine architectural surroundings. Derek Larson’s playful experimentations extend through other worldly humor while JULIACKS’ narrative pulls back and forth between a character’s inner psyche and external world. (READ MORE.)



Annual End-of-the-Season Poets’ Potluck

FRIDAY MAY 27 / 10PM

Come celebrate the end of another season at the Poetry Project!  The Poets’ Potluck is an opportunity for New York City’s poetry community(ies) to come together for an evening of readings, performances, and delicious food.  An array of writers from the Poetry Project series as well as other local reading series will read/perform their work.  Any one interested in bringing a dish for the potluck will contribute to an amazing feast.  If you’re interested in bringing food, please email Brett Price at fridaynightseriesp@gmail.com.


An Interview with Deborah Simon.

Deborah in the studio with her sculptures. ©2011 The 22 Magazine

This past Friday, I paid a visit to Deborah Simon who has an upcoming show at NY Studio Gallery‘s LZ Project Space opening this Friday, May 20th. Deborah has been a painter and sculptor for several years now and will be part of the Sculpture Space residency  in Utica, this coming October and November. She has worked at the Bronx Zoo building habitats and “intellectual toys” for the animals, and her work reflects the understanding of the dual nature of man-made versus natural environments and the drawbacks and necessity of both. Her sculpture’s present a strange encounter and cause the viewer to approach the animal in an unusual and raw manner, suggesting a reevaluation of the nature of human and animal interaction.

We truly appreciate her taking the time to talk about her work and upcoming show.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW

The 22 Magazine: You worked at the Bronx Zoo correct? Can you tell us a little about what you did there?

Deborah Simon: Sure, I did some design work. It was everything from giving exhibits face lifts to mural work, to sometimes just flat out designing and building exhibits. [I also built] intellectual toys for the animals. With that you have to make everything look natural. So [you have to make a] tiger toy that looks [for example] like a rotten piece of wood. It was one of those oddball weird request situations, keepers would come and say we need hummingbird feeders made out of XY and Z and we’d have to figure how to make them look natural.

The 22: How did you get into that kind of work? Did you study design in school or elsewhere?

DS: No, I’ve got a fine arts background. [I studied at] San Francisco Art Institute, which prepares you for nothing but making conceptual art. I just happened to have a realistic bent to what I do, which was thoroughly discouraged but…
I started working as a muralist and then the zoo had an ad in the paper. I replied to it and got hired. It’s one of those jobs where the guy who runs the department is fantastic, and he just expects that you need a lot of on the job training. You need to be able to weld, you need to be able to fiberglass, you need to be able to do some basic carpentry. There are just so many skills that no one person is going to have them all. They do invest in teaching you quite a bit [so], I learned a lot, and it all goes back into what I do.

The 22: In regards to your artists statement, which talks a little about the animal confronting the viewer in an unrestricted environment, did working at the zoo conflict with ideas of how animals should be treated in any way?

DS: I think it’s a conflict a lot of the people who work at the zoo have, because everyone who works there more or less loves animals. We all have multiple animals, we are deeply concerned about animal welfare. Some of the holding areas are very old and not that great. Some of the animals are permanently on medications because [there is] not the best ventilation but, on the other hand, you can’t just let them go. [I believe] Finland ran into this problem. They decided it was cruel and inhumane to keep this baboon exhibit. They decided it was inhumane to keep more tropical animals in Finland, but they couldn’t get rid of them because they breed really well and every zoo has a ton of them. So, they were going to euthanize them but the public had a fit and they had to keep them. So, now they have these unhappy baboons; animals that are obviously not doing well, but there are no other options for them. [I think] a lot of the people [that work at the zoo] go through this. [They think] these animals didn’t ask for this, they didn’t want to become ambassadors of their species, but on the other hand sometimes when your standing and watching the public watch these animals and they suddenly make this connection to the human traits of the animals you really hope it does something. They are suddenly more aware of them and, you think, I hope this means that it will translate into something, maybe [that wouldn’t be there] if they hadn’t seen it. Then again, zoo animals they don’t behave like wild animals, they have three meals a day, they sleep all day. [In the end] it’s a lot of mixed emotions.

The 22: A lot of your animals actually are puppets or look a lot like traditional marionettes. Stylistically how did you decide this was how you were going to build?

DS: It’s weird because I have this totally anal goal to be as accurate as humanly possibly, but I’m always reminding myself it’s art, not taxidermy. I was living in India for a while and India is a very sculpture oriented place. I had been painting for years and years at that point, and maybe it was just being around so much sculpture. I was home in the states and one day I just thought, what would happen if I make sculpted animals with fake fur? The hyena was the first one. I found [the hyena’s fur] in the bargain bin and I thought, this looks just like spotted hyena fur, no wonder it’s on sale. I brought back Sculpy and fur and whatever else I thought I wouldn’t be able to get in India, and just started working. I was originally thinking of porcelain dolls-[with] the hard heads and the soft body. I was thinking more along the lines of what would it be like to make these things so they look like creeped out porcelain dolls, but they actually ended up a little but more like [weird] taxidermy.

Deborah working in her studio. photo ©2011 Ted Szczepanski

The 22: They seem to have this really human quality, a very aggressive straight on gaze…

DS:I feel even though animals are a really popular subject right now, it’s always animal as metaphor or animal as parable. They play the role of an odalisque and they don’t confront the viewer. They are a stand in for history, they’re a stand in for human behavior, but they are never just themselves, and when they are themselves it’s more kitschy animal art. I want it to be as if you were walking into their space. It’s kind of that feeling when you out in the woods or hiking, or even in Central Park [where] it tends to be a bird of prey, a hawk or something, and you have that instant where they look at you, and you look at them, and you have no idea what’s going to go on. Especially if it’s big enough to hurt you. Then it’s this totally different interaction than the zoo or anything else. Your walking into their space, and they are psychologically dominating it. The sculptures themselves are going to be hung so your going to have to walk around them. They force you to move around them instead of being on the walls or giving a pathway.

The 22: Can you tell me a little about Coyote Pursue’s puppet project?

DS: It was a pretty amazing experience. Collaborating was new to me but Matt Reeck is a good friend and amazing to work with. We shored up each others strengths and weaknesses really well. I would never have been able to direct something like that. I think in the future I may do more puppetry but do it so it’s video.

Coyote Pursues, 2010. photo courtesy of St. Ann's Warehouse

 The 22: Is there a difference between building the puppets versus building the sculptures? Is that something you had to learn?

DS: Yes. St. Ann’s puppet lab is a nine month program so they are a huge resource, but it took me forever just to figure how to walk them. It took me two months just to build one, to actually physically construct it so that it moved properly. Once I got the basic structure it took me weeks to figure out how to string it, and that’s one of the times the lab was great. I brought them in and said I don’t know what to do, and one of the guys [showed me], and it was done. It was wonderful.

The 22: The piece itself was about a world where humans are gone, and coyotes are the only ones left right?

DS: [Matt Reeck] is a wonderful poet and he gave me a book of his poetry and asked me to illustrate it. At the time I was just feeling like, I don’t want to paint anything, and I don’t want to sketch.
[But] I was thinking [the poetry] would be perfect to do a puppet show with, and so we said what the hell, we’ll write a puppet lab. We threw it together in two weeks, and we were really surprised we got in. Originally we had taken three of his poems, more short prose really, and the one we both had a very clear vision-that was the same vision-was [the coyote] one. We started building and time started ticking by, and we realized the other two we’re never going to make it, and that we wouldn’t have time [to perform more than one]. You only got twenty minutes tops to perform. So, we decided just to focus on the coyotes, and it was really based on his writing, and [the idea of] not using the animals as parables but to be really Darwinian about it. What would a coyote really be doing if they were wandering around in this world with nothing really left. We were thinking of it as The Road but with coyotes.

The 22: Did you do a cover for The Beastie Boys [Intergalatic]?

DS: I had actually done the paintings and they ended up on the cover. The paintings were actually in the small works show at NYU and Mike D’s wife  bought them. So, she came over to my studio and she’s chatting and we’re having this very nice conversation, and she keeps talking about her husband’s band and so I’m thinking….ok, band whatever and being polite, I ask oh what band is your husband in? And she’s says, The Beastie Boys, and at that point I’m immediately intimidated. So about six months later, they called to see if it was ok with me if they used it as an album cover and I just thought….ooook, twist my arm. It was just this little freak thing, they were just these little freak paintings, that I wasn’t planning to do as a body of work or anything.

Memento mori: Ocelot and ocelot skeleton, oil on wood, 68” w x 36” h, 2001

The 22: What about the memento mori series paintings? Can you talk a little about what this series means to you and why you decided to do it?

DS: I think in that series I’d been reading a lot about evolution. I was thinking about how death influences life. I was thinking about a Darwinian perspective, you have these animals with these constant pressures, and it’s survival of the fittest but also thinking about viewing what human’s do in the world [destruction and pollution] as unnatural, but it is natural because we are part of the world and this is part of what we do. Animals routinely destroy their environments, but they don’t do it in the same numbers that we do. Elephants constantly  trash environments and have to move on, but there are so few of them, they aren’t ruining Africa or Asia-we sort of beat them to it. I guess I was thinking about that simple pressure and interaction, and how some of your stiffest competition is from your species. You know species always have more children than your going to need. You really only need a one to one replacement and chances are that’s all your going to get if your lucky.