Archive for the interviews Category

PREVIEW: Nick & James at Highways in a Tribute, Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17, 2012

Posted in interviews, upcoming events with tags , on March 14, 2012 by Carol Cheh

Nick Duran, left, and Jmy James Kidd work out final details of their upcoming performance at Highways

I have almost zero knowledge of dance history or contemporary dance, so I thought I wouldn’t be qualified to write about Nick & James at Highways in a Tribute, a new collaborative dance work by Nick Duran and Jmy James Kidd. As it turns out however, I might be the perfect person to write about this show, and you might be too.

Both Nick and James are natives of California, but both have also done significant time as dancers in New York’s intensely concentrated contemporary scene. They describe the dancer’s life in New York as highly pressurized and full of the anxiety of influence: “You go to rehearsals constantly, and in those rehearsals people are always talking about what they’ve seen, and there is a lot to see in New York, and everyone knows every last reference that is being made in the dances, and everyone is critiquing them,” said James. “It’s really hard to find the mental space to make your own work there, not to mention the material challenges of finding affordable places to do your work.”

Nick and James, who met while dancing with noted choreographer Neil Greenberg (the “tribute” in the title is meant for him), both relocated to LA not too long ago, and both found LA’s relaxed, open atmosphere a huge relief, as well as a boon to their own creative processes. Here, they are able to work from themselves and from their memory of movements, perhaps working out past doubts in new ways, free from the incessant chatter and judgment of their dance world peers. They feel they can do anything here; they didn’t feel that way in New York.

Continue reading


Embodied Rituals: An Interview with Barbara T. Smith and Christen Sperry-Garcia

Posted in historical notes, interviews, upcoming events on August 5, 2010 by Carol Cheh

On Saturday, August 14 at 7:30pm, Barbara T. Smith and Christen Sperry-Garcia will present Chaos Confounded, a performance, feast, and benefit in honor of Highways Performance Space’s 21st anniversary. The event will combine Sperry-Garcia’s Maps, Nodes, and Networks, an interactive work based on the artist’s study of traffic patterns, with a multi-course, sit-down meal that will be presided over by both artists. The dinner, which will be a performance in itself, is the latest in a long line of work by Smith exploring food and ritual. Additional performances will also take place throughout the course of the evening.

This event is a great chance to experience signature works by a legend of performance art and an emerging Los Angeles artist, and support Highways, a seminal West Coast performance space, at the same time. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased here.

This past week, I sat down with Smith and Sperry-Garcia to talk about Chaos Confounded, and about their individual practices.

How did this collaboration between the two of you come about?

BTS: That was really fortuitous. I had been on the board of Highways, which, like all nonprofits, is very financially strapped. I was on the board for two years and decided that it was time for me to move on. At the same time, we were talking about how 18th Street Arts Center had just had a benefit dinner, which they charged $250 for, and it was very high-end, very gourmet, with an Artforum critic as a featured speaker, and it was quite successful. And so Leo [Garcia, Artistic Director of Highways] said, why can’t we do that? But we recognize that we don’t have the same donor base; the people who follow Highways are not, generally speaking, as affluent. So I said, what you could do is have some kind of affordable, not-so-fancy dinner, but at the same time bring in a decent amount of money, and have it be much more peasant-like, more fun, more in the body, you know? So this project became my last fling for them.

Continue reading

Human Resources: Interview with the Organizers

Posted in interviews on June 16, 2010 by Carol Cheh

Opening reception for Qualia at Human
Resources, May 22, 2010

Human Resources, a new space in Chinatown devoted to performative art practices, opened on May 1 this year with much fanfare. The five organizers—Dawn Kasper, Eric Kim, Kathleen Kim, Devin McNulty and Giles Miller—were kind enough to consent to an email interview for this blog.

Who is Human Resources?

Human Resources is a collaborative collective of creative individuals who support the experimental performative arts through programming, archiving, and outreach. Dawn is a performance and mixed-media artist actively exploring the woven web of questions that fuel the quest for answers into the meaning of life and death. Eric, a longtime friend and supporter of the art community, has an academic background in philosophy and a professional background in health informatics, software design, and public health. He’s lived in Los Angeles for 6 years and HR is his first community arts project. Eric’s sister Kathleen is a professor and civil rights attorney focusing on the advancement of immigrants’ rights; she is also a violinist who explores experimental composition and improvisation. Devin is a musician and composer. Giles works as an investigator in the business world and has maintained a practice as a musician and performer for many years; he is a founding member of the experimental ensemble LA Fog, along with Devin and Kathleen. We also have a close working relationship with our neighbor gallerist, Francois Ghebaly.

Continue reading