Archive for the upcoming events Category

Q&A with Johanna Hedva: She Work, a collaboration with Nickels Sunshine

Posted in interviews, upcoming events with tags , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2015 by Carol Cheh
She Work. Photo: Mattia Casalegno.

She Work. Photo: Mattia Casalegno.

Since 2012, artist and writer Johanna Hedva (formerly Johanna Kozma) has been writing and directing a series of plays that she now refers to as The Greek Cycle. The plays are adaptations of ancient Greek texts that, in the author’s words, “have been rewritten to respond to feminist and queer political discourse, and relocated into contemporary contexts.” Each play has been developed in close collaboration with their performers, and each has taken place in an unusual location–Odyssey Odyssey, for example, was an adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey that took place inside of a moving Honda Odyssey.

On July 11, Hedva will open She Work, the fourth and final play in The Greek Cycle. An adaptation of Euripides’ Medea, She Work was developed with body-based artist Nickels Sunshine (formerly Nick Duran). It will be performed at d e e p s l e e e p, a private apartment that doubles as an art space. In advance of this concluding work, I conducted the following email interview with Hedva. To preserve the nuances of Hedva’s voice, the text is largely unedited from its original form.

Carol Cheh: Where does your acute interest in Greek plays come from? Why does adapting them for queer and feminist discourse appeal to you?

Johanna Hedva: my short answer to “why the greeks?” has always been “because they need it.” my longer answer is that i have a deep and complicated love/hate relationship with these stories, and couldn’t think of anything better to do in terms of storytelling. whenever i thought about adapting and directing a story, i kept falling into the greeks — probably because these are “original” stories in terms of their influence in western culture, and can be traced in many of the narratives circulating today in all kinds of art, and also because of their mythic-ness, their expanse and specificity. they are as big as cathedrals, oceans. also, i’ve had a tragic life, and find that i’m drawn to tragedy as a comfort (not a lesson). i like myths in and of themselves, and as cultural functions, as seen on a spectrum alongside or counterpoint to intimacy (my other fave), and i like a good story, so to that end, there’s really nothing better than the wildness of an ancient greek myth.

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The Mountain Bar at Tif Sigfrids, with a performance by Gracie DeVito and company, August 7, 2014

Posted in historical notes, reviews and commentary, upcoming events on August 8, 2014 by Carol Cheh
Image courtesy Tif Sigfrids and Gracie DeVito

Image courtesy Tif Sigfrids and Gracie DeVito

Tif Sigrids, longtime fixture on the early Chinatown scene before she set up her current digs in Hollywood, is paying tribute to her (and our) past with a temporary installation of the Mountain Bar at her gallery. Founded by Jorge Pardo and Steve Hanson in 2003, the Mountain Bar was for many years a gathering spot for the then-hot Chinatown art scene. In 2009, Pardo created the upstairs bar that would become home to The Mountain School of Arts (a free school initiated by Eric Wesley and Piero Golia) as well as various presentations, talks, performances and film screenings. In 2012, the bar closed, and Pardo’s designs have been in storage ever since.

Now, Sigfrids has taken an actual section of the original upstairs bar and installed it on one side of her gallery, where she and various volunteers serve free beer and wine to guests. The beautiful, cinematic design of the bar is served really well by the small, clean space of the gallery, where both its aesthetic qualities and its cultural significance seem to resonate with an extra glow, bathing the entire space in its warm, charismatic light. Perhaps nostalgia and history have something to do with that.

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KISSME LO MAXIMO!, Corazon del Sol, Thea Boya, Colectivo KissMe and friends, Human Resources, July 3–6, 2014

Posted in noteworthy, photo essays, reviews and commentary, upcoming events on July 4, 2014 by Carol Cheh
Corazon del Sol and Margot Walsh welcome you to KISSME LO MAXIMO!

Corazon del Sol and Margot Walsh welcome you to KISSME LO MAXIMO!

If you’re around this Fourth of July weekend, you should stop by Human Resources and check out KISSME LO MAXIMO!, a groovalicious installation by LA artists Corazon del Sol, Thea Boya, and several very helpful friends, in collaboration with a group of Colombian artists calling themselves Colectivo KissMe. The installation is part of an ongoing project that examines and critiques the culture and politics surrounding the infamous KissMe Cali, a Colombian sex hotel. (Think amped-up Madonna Inn with rooms rentable by the hour.)

The Human Resources installation looks like a very glamorous South American rave. At the opening last night, people roamed around amidst video, sound and light installations; outrageous sculptures, wall hangings and found objects; a slide that dumps people onto a bed and a pile of giant cushions; pornos by Margie Schnibbe that you can’t see; and even a sex room (which as of 10:30 last night had not yet been utliized). There was also a live feed from the artists in Colombia. Fabulous hostesses del Sol, Boya and Margot Walsh got dolled up almost beyond recognition in what I was told was approved Colombian hostess regalia (tons of makeup, huge false eyelashes and revealing outfits) and gladly offered tours of the show.

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Allison Wyper launches La Zanja Madre Performances

Posted in noteworthy, upcoming events with tags , , on June 5, 2014 by Carol Cheh

Zanja Madre 006a

So… due to irreconcilable differences that emerged between Team CheLores and the de facto organizers of the Perform Chinatown event, Chloë and I will not be curating the event on July 26. Something will happen on that date, but it will have nothing to do with us.

Not to worry, this development is definitely a blessing, not a curse. We are currently in talks to partner with other entities to present a major performance event, on a timetable that works for us, with like-minded collaborators and with the resources we need in place. Please stay tuned for announcements on that front as things develop.

In the meantime, I want to present to you an excellent project from Allison Wyper, which we were originally going to feature in our proposed version of Perform Chinatown. La Zanja Madre Performances is emblematic of the thoughtfulness and deep intellectual and bodily engagement that we admire in performance work. Due to her own timing and collaboration needs, Allison is moving forward with the project this summer as she originally planned, and both Chloë and I are in full support. Please check it out!

A series of exciting announcements

Posted in about this blog, noteworthy, upcoming events with tags , , , on February 23, 2014 by Carol Cheh

Big things are about to transpire at ART! Following two years of neglecting this blog while I pursued other interests, I am returning to it this year with passion and renewed commitment. Over the next few weeks I’ll be rolling out a series of exciting announcements related to the blog’s growth. ART! will soon be expanding to accommodate a greater variety of voices, coverage and material than ever before — which is how it was always meant to be.

For today, I’m just going to drop one teaser announcement that is tangentially related to this blog. Perform Chinatown, LA’s scrappy annual festival of performance art that’s been happening (and covered by this blog) since 2009, will be curated this year by none other than yours truly in partnership with the awesome Chloë Flores. I am super excited to take on this challenge with a friend whose work and vision I totally respect. We’ve already got a bunch of ideas brewing and look forward to conducting an epic series of studio visits as we attempt to put together one of the best Perform Chinatowns ever. Stay tuned for more details!!

And finally, don’t forget that the Performance Now radio show, hosted by myself and John Tain, is still going strong on KCHUNG Radio every third Sunday at 5pm. Check out our most recent show here, an in-depth interview with Rafa Esparza, who we think is one of the most important artists working in LA today.

Announcing “Performance Now” monthly show on KCHUNG Radio

Posted in noteworthy, upcoming events on August 19, 2013 by Carol Cheh
Mutant Salon comes to KCHUNG. Photo by Young Joon Kwak.

Mutant Salon comes to KCHUNG. Photo by Young Joon Kwak.

The two-hour performance discussion that I organized for KCHUNG Radio about a week ago generated a ton of energy and discussion in our local community. So much so that it became clear to me that regular forums are needed for people to talk about performance art in Los Angeles.

As an initial effort in that direction, I am very pleased to announce the launch of Performance Now, a new hourlong radio show that takes place every third Sunday of the month from 5 to 6pm PT on KCHUNG. The title is a bit of a nod to Perform! Now!, which was the original, and much better, name for Perform Chinatown. Hosted by myself and John Tain, the show will include a mix of discussions, interviews, and on-air performances.

Performance Now had a soft launch yesterday when we welcomed our first guests, Young Joon Kwak and Marvin Estorga, who together make up the musical/performance sensation Xina Xurner. The two also run the Mutant Salon, a site for beauty and miscellaneous convergences, out of Young Joon’s studio at USC. You can listen to the archive of our show, in which we spin some Xina Xurner tracks and talk about the two artists’ practices and the origins of the band, all while Marvin cuts my hair on the air—and does an amazing job of it, I might add.

KATE-CHUNG and Perform Chinatown 2013

Posted in photo essays, reviews and commentary, upcoming events on July 29, 2013 by Carol Cheh
Kate Gilbert performs Two Less Things to Worry About (Lucy Returns) at Perform Chinatown

Kate Gilbert performs Two Less Things to Worry About
(Lucy Returns)
at Perform Chinatown

This year’s Perform Chinatown looked to be a significant improvement over the two previous years’ editions, both of which I panned here on this blog and on the LA Weekly’s blog. The element that really made a difference was the installment of wooden cubes or pyramids, painted either white or black, to act as frames for individual artists. These served to set aside a certain amount of much-needed sacred space in which magical things could occur; lacking such spaces last year, the festival took on too much of a chaotic street fair quality, with pedestrians and onlookers stumbling into performance space and impeding the intended flow of energy.

Co-organizer Jamie McMurry, who put together this year’s edition with his partner Alejandra Beatriz Herrera Silva, also noted that the structures functioned as a satirical play on the art world’s ubiquitous and much revered/reviled white cube/black box. It worked on that level too. Not to mention, they just looked cool. The festival was not relegated to these structures, however. They simply served as anchor points, housing the durational performances that lasted for the entirety of the event. Performances also happened on an open central stage, inside of a few galleries that line Chung King Road, and randomly roaming about the area, making for a nice spatial balance.

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All kinds of labor afoot and it’s not even Labor Day

Posted in upcoming events on March 12, 2013 by Carol Cheh
Six Twelve One by One, a performance by Emily Mast and Hana van der Kolk. With Abbey O'Bryan, Emily Mast, Julie Clark, Leslie Stevens, Ruby Rain and Whitney Carter. Photo: Martin Dicicco.

Six Twelve One by One, a performance by Emily Mast and Hana van der Kolk. With Abbey O’Bryan, Emily Mast, Julie Clark, Leslie Stevens, Ruby Rain and Whitney Carter. Photo: Martin Dicicco.

I know this is random since it's been forever since I've posted about upcoming events. But I realized there are intriguing performances happening every night this weekend, so I might as well share the wealth.

Friday through Sunday, you can catch a new performance/lecture by Sara Wookey at Automata in Chinatown. Wookey is a dancer who gained a bit of notoriety two years ago by posting Open Letter to Artists, an eloquent statement of protest against art world labor standards as represented by Marina Abramović’s notorious 2011 MOCA Gala. This weekend’s performances will continue dialogues around dance practice and the economics of art. Seating is limited so get your advance tickets here.

An epidemic of pregnancy has recently overtaken the LA art world. I personally know 11 artists or dealers who have just given birth or are expecting soon. To commemorate the Great 2013 Baby Boom, artists Emily Mast and Hana van der Kolk have put together a choreographed evening of movement by pregnant women, to take place in the iconic Onion building in North Hills. RSVP here.

Finally, LAND will present its latest Nomadic Night on Sunday at Human Resources. The event will feature a performance by Anna Sew Hoy, Math Bass, and Claire Kohne. A poem will be read while a clay ball is rolled around on the floor; guests are encouraged to bring small items like pennies, shoestring, old cables, etc. that can be thrown on the floor to be picked up by the balls. RSVP by Thursday to rsvp at nomadicdivision dot org.

Look at these fucking artists

Posted in upcoming events on September 7, 2012 by Carol Cheh

Ready or not, yet another fall art season is launching as we speak. Amidst the massive onslaught of openings, parties, and happenings this weekend, there are two performance events worth noting: Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens’ Real failure needs no excuse takes place at Monte Vista Projects tonight at 7:30, while Jibade-Khalil Huffman and Martine Syms will give performative lectures at Public Fiction on Sunday night at 8. ALSO, on a bittersweet note, the venerable Track 16 will be hosting a party on Saturday night from 6 to 11pm for the last show at their current Bergamot Station location, before it gets mowed down to make way for a rail station. The Adolescents, Saccharine Trust, and other punk bands will be playing live starting at 8.

Finally, check out the below series of art+anarchy conversations organized by Addie Vuitton as part of the LA Anarchist Bookfair this Saturday. Conversations will take place out on the balcony of the LA Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park. Willie Herrón just got added to the mural discussion. Should be fun!


Perform Chinatown, Jobriath, and much Wildness this weekend

Posted in upcoming events on July 19, 2012 by Carol Cheh


A pretty ridiculous amount of exciting performance stuffs happening this weekend.

I have mixed feelings about tonight’s Benjamin Millepied dance experiment in the galleries of MOCA. On the one hand, it sounds cool, on the other, I don’t want to even step foot near the toxic mess that is MOCA these days. There are no reservations whatsoever when it comes to Simone Forti however, who performs another of her News Animations tonight at Barnsdall Park. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make either of those events, as I’ll be at OCMA listening to Cal Arts dean Thomas Lawson give a talk about Jack Goldstein.

Forti will also make an appearance in Slanguage’s spoken word and experimental music fest at LAXART on Friday night, which promises to deliver the World’s Worst Words. The same night, Ann Magnuson will present a special glam rock performance at REDCAT in tribute to David Bowie and Jobriath, a tragically forgotten, openly gay 1970s glam rocker. Magnuson’s performance will be followed by the premiere of the Jobriath documentary (both are presented as part of Outfest).

Saturday is going to be a bit over the top. Perform Chinatown returns with new organizers Mat Gleason and Charlie James at the helm. The two definitely seem to have their shit together–they have snagged performance art legend Karen Finley to be the headliner in her first Los Angeles performance in over a decade, and they’ve put together a great-looking schedule that winds all over Chinatown and includes many of my favorite artists. At the same time, Wu Tsang, who’s had an amazing year being featured in both the Whitney Biennial and the New Museum’s triennial, will finally premiere his much-lauded Wildness documentary at the Directors Guild in West Hollywood, followed by what promises to be a wild after-party at Rasputin. Also on the west side, David Levine presents a performance at Blum and Poe. To really make this night a performance bender, head over to Pieter in Lincoln Heights after 9 to check out experimental music with Little Wings, Tara Jane Oneil, and Bouquet.