MONTE/MULLER Made New York Live Arts Move

From June 20-22, Monte/Muller Move! played at New York Live Arts.  Monte/Muller Move! combined five works from choreographers Jennifer Muller and Elisa Monte and showcased the power and majesty of these two dance companies.

The first performance was the world premiere of Grass by Jennifer Muller.  Inspired by Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and featuring cellist Julia Kent, whose haunting solo truly captured the spirit of the ballet.  As people trample daily on a grassy knoll or a sector of a park, do did these dancers slide and thrust their bodies onto the blades of the astro turf stage.  Colliding, then separating again, emoting the thread of impermanence.

ELISA_MONTE_FULL-180The second, Unstable, premiered in 2012. Choreographed by Elise Monte, Unstable was a primal ritual with bodies rolling on the stage.  Slow and sensational, the imagery of the wall shadows created added another dimension.

Elise Monte’s Shattered premiered in 2000 and is a fast paced spectacle for the eye. Like lightning when it strikes the impact hits with a precision that only a force of nature can.  Explosive, this piece pumps with high-octane adrenaline.

Premeiring in 1996, Volkmann Suite was choreographed by Elise Monte and is a stunning display of beauty and strength.  The power lifts displayed throughout the piece complimented the dancers carved frames and reminded me of moving sculptures.

The last performance was also by Jennifer Muller and featured excerpts of the ballet Speed, which debuted in 1974.  Filled with fast changes, the piece was considered a tour de force when it first premiered.  MONTE/MULLER MOVE! at New York Live Arts was made possible through New York Live Arts’ Theater Access Program, a comprehensive subsidized rental program benefiting a diverse group of dance and theater companies and producing organizations.

Photos courtesy of Krizer Graber Communications, LLC

 

 

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On The Margins of a Portrait Places Its Borders in Brooklyn

One of my favorite jazz albums is Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain.  Released in 1960, it is considered to be a textbook blending of jazz, European classical and world music.  The melodies are haunting and delicate.  Last Saturday, I found myself dangling from the same subtle, yet lingering lines found in Nancy Friedemann’s work.

Currently showing at The Gallery @ 1GAP is Friedemann’s latest exhibition of works titled, On the Margins of a Portrait Places.  With a nod to Minimalism and The Pattern Decoration Movement, the exhibit is comprised of large panel pieces and smaller paintings.  With a black backdrop, Friedemann creates a mash-up of nature and the roots of her Columbian heritage.  As the absoluteness of the noir framework attempts to consume the viewer’s eye completely, Friedemann creates depth and refinement by adding illustrations of lace and botanical imagery to contrast the darkness.  Together Friedemann’s works present a modern interpretation of yin and yang – a tango between masculine and feminine.   One of the aspects I appreciated from viewing On the Margins of a Portrait Places is Friedemann’s use of Minimalism.  I was able to get a true sense of the intricacy of the brush strokes and how the use of color brought the paintings to life.

Located inside Richard Meier on Prospect Park, a residential building, On the Margins of a Portrait Places will be on display at The Gallery @ 1GAP until August 2013.

 

Photo: F.A.M.E NYC Editor

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Dirty Great Success

By Martin Burgess

FAMERS if you are up for some British action check out Dirty Great Love Story at 59E59 Theaters. It’s a clever, stripped down, well-delivered, simple play about Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna, whose relationship takes two years to develop into something serious after a one-night stand.

DGLS3webIt all begins when Richard and Katie meet for the first time in a nightclub; both happen to be at a bachelor and bachelorette party. In a drunken blur Richard and Katie wake up in a cheap hotel room the following morning.  He’s in to her, she’s not in to him and runs away trying to forget about the whole thing. The problem is…Richard’s friend Westie has hooked up with Katie’s friend CC, and the hilarity ensues as Richard and Katie keep bumping into each other at social events.

Here’s the twist; there are only two actors on stage, no set, no costumes, nada – just two chairs, mood lighting and some background music. If you’re worried about the fact that it’s British and you’re still traumatized by Shakespeare in high school, do not be, the language is very modern and easy to understand. The script is well written and the delivery is flawless. The dialogue weaves between spoken word and poetry, which really helps keep the play flowing smoothly.

Because the play is British there are lots of drinking references, which only leads to one thing, highly embarrassing moments. This new interpretation of the classic “boy meets girl” story is universal. Even hip hop fans should check it out; there is lots of good rhyming and call and response.

Pia Furtado directs this production and the play is written and acted out by Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna, who give an outstanding and unblemished performance. They have great chemistry between them and do a superb job of connecting to the audience and setting up the scenes.  Dirty Great Love Story is part of 59E59 Theaters’ Brits Off-Broadway Festival and will be playing a limited engagement until June 30.

Photos: Carol Rosegg

 

 

Cross Connection to Stardom, a Conversation with Nathaniel Ryan

The lights of New York City lure artists from all over the globe like moths to the proverbial flame.  Hundreds flock to this concrete jungle in search of big game.  But the starry-eyed  desire of fame isn’t just a dream for those who migrate to The Big Apple.  Before Jennifer Lopez was reminding everyone that she was just Jenny from the block, she rode the six train from the Bronx into Manhattan in search of her big break.  Maxwell rode the J train before he ascended on top of the music charts.  Nathaniel Ryan is a New York City artist poised to make the transfer from anonymity to prominence.  Singer, actor, model, playwright…Ryan has several conduits that can take him to the Promised Land.  If his future is as bright as his smile, then Ryan’s prospects are as vast as The Milky Way.  And his humble demeanor only make him more intriguing.  50 Cent asked 21 questions, but I only ask 10…

Usually I don’t begin interviews with this question, but after reading your biography I just have to ask…what is an actor, singer and model doing with an MBA from Clark Atlanta University?

While in High School and College I never thought about acting, drama or singing.   I went to Morgan State University and studied Finance.   While there I also modeled in the school’s Fashion shows.  After an internship on Wall Street, I went back to school and studied finance at Clark Atlanta University.  After I graduated I soon found that being behind a desk was not an ideal life for me.  I met a photographer who took pictures for my first comp card. From there I started getting work.  I started taking classes.  And as they say I was hooked.

Your bio stated you were born in Brooklyn.  Were you also raised in Brooklyn and if so, how did growing up in a borough known for being eclectic influence you artistically?

I am a native New Yorker.  Born and raised in Flatbush Brooklyn.  Flatbush was a great area to grow up in.  I grew up around West Indians, Jews and a lot of other cultures and races.  My mom made sure she took me to see Broadway shows, the museum, and the library.  Subconsciously I think that it has had a profound impact on me and the way I think and how I perceive art.  It’s not something I appreciated growing up but I am glad I did those things now as an adult.

Who are your three biggest acting influences?

My three biggest acting influences are: Don Cheadle, Forest Whitaker and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

You have acted on film and stage.  Hollywood is the Mecca for film, but Broadway is the Mecca of the theatre world.  Which medium do you prefer and why?

I love [the] theatre.  Being on stage keeps you on your toes.  And every show is different.  I ultimately would like to do more film and television, but as of right now I am enjoying my pursuit to be a working actor on Broadway.

Out of all the roles you have played, which one has been the most fun? Which has been the most challenging? And why?

Every role has played has given me an opportunity to grow as an actor.  I love working on original thought provoking pieces.  Bringing a character to life is a challenge in itself.  I would say my greatest challenge has been playing a survivor of the holocaust in Rwanda.  Truthfully playing a man who survived such horrors was a challenge and humbling to say the least.

Name your dream role on stage and on film?

A dream role would be to play an original character or [a] historical person Huey Newtown, Marcus Garvey [or] Emperor Haile Selassie.  Men who have taken on impossible odds and thrived.

As a singer, who are your influences?

As a vocalist I am growing and coming into my own.  Some of my influences are Donny Hathaway, Daryl Coley and Ella Fitzgerald.

How would you describe your vocal style?

My vocal style is still growing.  Right now I would say my favorite style is Jazz and Gospel.  But I would say I am not clinging to one particular style.

Are you in the process of recording a demo or an EP?

No.  I am not recording a demo or EP at the moment.

If Diddy and Tyler Perry came to you and offered you the opportunity to sign a three album contract and a world tour or a deal for six films and a starring role on a TV show, which would you choose and why?

If Diddy and Tyler Perry came to me and offered me the opportunity to sign a three album contract and a world tour or a deal for six films and starring role in a TV show I would choose Diddy.  I love Diddy’s work.  I grew up listening to him and his artists.  I also like his work ethic.  I respect him and his work.   As a recording artist I could parlay that into commercial, co-star and other acting opportunities.

Check out more of Nathaniel Ryan at www.nathanieljryan.com.

Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Ryan

VeroDalla‘s LivenLuLu©

By Martin Burgess for F.A.M.E NYC

Last Thursday, French artist Véronique Anne Jadot (aka VeroDalla) debuted her latest collection at Gallery 32 Fine Arts in Chelsea. Reflecting selected aspects of humanity and movement, the collection mainly consists of sculptures in the form of genderless, race-less, fluid figures. Jadot tries to create an alternate universe by calling the collection LivenLuLu© and even gave the figures their own voice by creating a story behind their creation.

“We were born in Culêtre, a tiny village in Burgundy [France], after a long gestation of 24 months before finally materializing.  Our creator, VeroDalla, wanted to make a universal figure devoid of external traits and far removed from pre-existing creatures – we needed our own identity…” says VeroDalla’s website.

Jadot’s alias, “VeroDalla,” is supposed to be free from language barriers. Let’s not get into linguistics, but our Asian and Arabic speaking friends might disagree.

Unfortunately the exhibition feels too gimmicky and contrived. The fact that there is a copyright symbol in the name is a big turn off. It indicates that these sculptures were created with the intention to make money not art. Jadot comes from big money, like big big money.  Her grandfather was the founder of Maison Louis Jadot, an extremely successful French wine company. There is a term in the art world, “Housewife art,” and this is what the exhibition feels like. There was no technique to the painting and no real detailing on the sculptures. The colors used were plain, illogical and lacked feeling.

Also crammed in the gallery (which looked like it was half under construction) are two other exhibits by Jadot titled Poppy and Inner Journey. Again, both lacking any kind of skill or technique. The Poppy paintings and sculptures look like cake decoration and Inner Journey is supposed to represent “wet clothing stuck to your skin in summertime.” Ummm…who exactly likes having wet clothes stuck to their skin? Now just because someone comes from money does not mean they cannot be talented, but this is New York and we know how to smell a rat.

Check it out and share your thoughts; Gallery 32 Fine Arts is located at 515 West 20th Street, Level 5, New York, NY. The Jadot exhibition runs from June 13th – June 16th, 2013 so there is still one more day to view the exhibit.

Photo:  Martin Burgess

59E59 Theaters Gets Sailing With Brits Off Broadway and The Boat Factory

Yes, despite the miserable weather it is that time of year to catch some jolly ole productions from across the pond as Brits Off Broadway takes residency at 59E59 Theaters.  The Boat Factory is set in Belfast 1947 and centers on a 16-year old boy beginning an apprenticeship at Hartland & Wolffs’ Titanic Shipyard.  World War II is over but the ripple effects of the war are still fresh.  This production provides a powerful voice to everyday people struggling to make a living during the glory days of Belfast’s shipbuilding era.

The Boat Factory’s limited engagement run will end on Sunday, June 30. Tickets are available by calling Ticket Central at 212-279-4200 or online at www.59e59.org. For more information, visit www.britsoffbroadway.com.