(As appeared in this week's issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
This is just a general overview. I plan to keep you guys posted with more detailed previews, reviews and other need-to-know stuff. So keep reading, dudes.
Each new art gallery opened, theatre company instigated, seems to include in its mission statement the same core purpose: to be different. To bring something different to the arts in Tulsa, to fill a perceived gaping hole in what is offered.
And, generally, each of these new endeavors fulfills its purpose. A city like ours, with such broad and diverse artistic offerings, only exists because someone set out to do something different and did it.
And it doesn’t get much more different than the New Genre Festival.
Now in its 16th year, the festival, hosted by Living ArtSpace, seeks to explore new and cutting edge contemporary media and artists. In a matter of days, New Genre will presents 110 local, regional and national artists – all of them doing something very, very different – to Tulsa audiences.
This year, New Genre has something new in store for its audiences – a community residency program through the National Performance Network, a partnership with Choregus Productions and the inclusion of Web media in its offerings.
Some events are free, while others require an admission fee. For $65 ($55 for Living Arts members), event goers can gain admission to all of the events.
We’ll break down everything the festival has to offer, from Feb. 26 to March 10.
Galazi: Thursday, Feb. 26, 5-7pm
Eighteen-year-old Kelci Stansbury, who studied under Mark Wittig at the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences and participated in the New Arts Camp at Living Arts, presents “Galazi,” an installation and performance at Chrysalis Spa, 7 E. Brady.
Stansbury will perform within her installation, in a work that so closely intertwines fantasy with reality that visitors will be challenged to distinguish one from the other. Stansbury encourages her viewers to “explore the depths of your inner conscious reality through installation of light, sound, glass and fabric.”
This event is free and open to the public.
[::ART.net::]: Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27, 5-7pm; Saturday, Feb. 28, 1-7pm; and Sunday, March 1, 1-4pm
Local video artist and rockabilly musician Dave McPherson curated this exhibit, which includes work by Web and video artists.
Living ArtSpace, 308 S. Kenosha, will become a collage of computers, projectors, images and sounds as work by some of the country’s best artists are on display. Some of the work is interactive, while others are not.
This is the first year for New Genre to include Web artists on its bill, acknowledging the very talented and revolutionary artists utilizing this fairly new medium.
The exhibit will be on display through March 26 and is free and open to the public. McPherson will give an artist’s talk at 5:30pm on Thursday.
Domestic Arsenal: Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27, 5-7pm; Saturday, Feb. 28, 1-7pm; and Sunday, March 1, 1-4pm
For “Domestic Arsenal,” Eileen Doktorski collected 365 objects that could be used in domestic violence situations. They include toys, furniture and shoes, have been painted to appear charred and iridescent and are piled in the center of Liggett Studio, 314 S. Kenosha, presenting a formidable sight to onlookers. The smell of smoke lingers in the background, and the walls of the gallery are papered with newspaper articles about tragic events involving domestic violence.
The installation is meant to be a tribute to victims of family violence. The exhibit is free and open to the public and will be on display through March 26. The artist will speak about her work at 6pm on Thursday.
Axis Mundi Archives: Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27, 5-7pm; Saturday, Feb. 28, 1-7pm; and Sunday, March 1, 1-4pm
Okmulgee-based artist Cindy Zimmerman presents a light, whimsical installation/performance at Tulsa Artists’ Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady.
In it, Zimmerman takes time to deal with all of the “stuff” she’s accumulated over the years, “scanning the archives” of her life within a “bunker-like grotto,” constructed from old crates, panel paintings, snow fencing, shredded paper, crutches and clotheslines on which images hang.
The event is free and open to the public, and Zimmerman will speak on her work at 6:30pm on Thursday.
Sonatas and Interludes: Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27, 8pm
Organized by Living Arts’ Artistic Director Steve Liggett, “Sonatas and Interludes” is a mixed media performance of work by the legendary John Cage. Adam Tendler will play Cage’s most notorious and demanding masterpiece for the prepared piano, which is played by the musician inserting random (but very specific) objects into the piano’s strings to create a sound very unlike that which is usually heard on such an instrument.
While Tendler plays (completely by heart), Charles Woodman, aka viDEO SAVANT, will perform a live video improvisation, projected around Tendler.
Tickets to the performance, at the Tulsa Little Theater, 1511 S. Delaware Ave., are $15, $10 for Living Arts members. On Friday at 2pm, Woodman will lead a free workshop on live video mixing and improvisation at the Little Theater.
New Genre Dance Oklahoma: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28, 8pm
Hartel Dance Group, Bell House Arts Inc. and Perpetual Motion/Modern Dance Oklahoma, all Oklahoma-based contemporary dance companies, will perform together at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, 110 E. 2nd St., in the John H. Williams Theater.
Hartel is a company recently formed by Austin Hartel, who was a soloist for five years with Pilobolus Dance Theater, considered “gods” of contemporary dance; Bell House Arts is a new company spearheaded by Rachel Johnson, who also heads up the dance department at Oral Roberts University; and Perpetual Motion is a company that includes a lot of aerial work in its choreography and performed at the “Crazy Quilt Drive In” at New Genre XIV.
Tickets to the performance are $20, $15 for students.
The Cone of Uncertainty: New Orleans After Katrina: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28, 8pm
Jose Torres Toma is no stranger to New Genre, having presented work at the festival twice before. The artist, who lived in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina wreaked so much havoc on the city and helped evacuate residents using a stolen school bus, now presents an exhibit inspired by that disaster.
In “The Cone of Uncertainty,” Tama explores the “criminal negligence of the federal government and the apocalyptic abandonment of a people who were made to beg for help and water,” while also commenting on the larger, more universal issues of race and class in America.
Tama will perform the piece at the Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. 4th St. Tickets are $15, $10 for students, and reservations are suggested by calling 633-8666.
Additionally, Tama will offer guidance to artists who choose to participate in the first ever National Performance Network Community Residency program at New Genre. Funded in part by a grant from NPN, local performance artists may participate in a week-long residency, following New Genre, at Living Arts, which will enable them to study under Tama while developing their own performance artwork, free of charge. Stipulations apply, and artists may sign up by phoning Steve Liggett at Living Arts, 585-1234.
Following the residency, participants will perform their works at Nightingale Theater Saturday, March 7 at 8pm. Tickets to that event are $10, $7 for students.
New Genre Performance Cabaret: Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 and 28, 10pm
At the Nightingale Theater, the cabaret includes performances by installation artist Mark Wittig, the Monica Huggins Dance Theater and the theatrical electronic/robotic music group Recorder, all Tulsa-based.
Wittig’s “Breaking Labels” deals with his experiences with dyslexia and how the disability (for lack of a better word; Wittig asserts it is not) is perceived by mainstream culture.
Monica Huggins will present “Agree to Disagree,” a new collaborative work with Katie Feiock, Jennifer Alden and the dancers of Monica Huggins Dance Theater, and Recorder’s performance will include an appearance by the notorious shadow puppets wielded by Nightingale co-owner John Cruncleton.
Tickets to the cabaret are $10, $7 for students.
New Genre Video Matinee: Sunday, March 1, 2pm
Traditionally the closing event of the New Genre Festival (this year it is followed by the NPN residency and a collaborative event with Choregus Productions), the “New Genre Video Matinee,” screened at Circle Cinema, 12 S. Lewis, is a showing of new, experimental videos, including the winners of the recent 24 Hour Video Race.
The matinee includes nine videos chosen for their artistic and experimental merit by representatives from Living Arts and the Dallas Video Festival, and Liggett said this year’s video matinee will present the best videos he’s ever seen.
Tickets to the screening are $7, $5 for students.
The Merce Cunningham Dance Co.: Tuesday, March 10, 8pm
Ken Tracy began Choregus Productions two years ago as an effort to bring new, contemporary, exciting works to Tulsa, works seen often in larger cities like New York, Chicago and L.A.
His mission to bring such progressive works to Tulsa directly coincides with Living Arts’ mission, and so a partnership between the two organizations, Liggett said, was natural.
Together, they bring the Merce Cunningham Dance Co. to the Chapman Theater of the Tulsa PAC. The company and its namesake have been hailed as some of the most radical and influential forces in the world of contemporary dance. Tickets to the performance are $25-40 at tulsapac.com.
(As appeared in this week's issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)