by Drew Klein
Posted In: Performance Art
at 02:47 PM | Permalink
CAC performance curator Drew Klein reports from arts biennial in NYC
Another Performa show, another mesmerizing
experience. But we'll get to that.
While my nights are reserved for
performances, the days allow me an opportunity to put some miles on my MTA
card, shuttling around the city to meet people in various outposts. Wednesday
morning saw me grab breakfast and coffee with artist Roberto Lange, a frequent
Cincinnati visitor under the guise of Helado Negro. Roberto has a long history
working with Cincinnati's own Paul Coors on various projects over a number of
years, and Helado Negro's packed performance at MOTR Pub closed this past
edition of Midpoint. A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design,
Roberto's creative output is not limited to the standard write/record/tour
process, and his vision for future projects across various mediums was exciting
to talk about.
Another meeting of note was a jump across
Fort Greene to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) to sit down with Joseph
Melillo, executive producer of BAM overseeing artistic direction over the
esteemed organization and its venues. Our chat nearly didn't happen as our CAC
email had been out of service for the past 24 hours (work traveler's worst
nightmare realized) and all emails to me were bouncing back. Thankfully
everything got up and running just before the one window of opportunity and we
were able to connect The operational realities of the performance programs at
BAM and the CAC may be very different, but the conversation on our shared
ideologies and the approach to the work we program was inspirational and left
me feeling energized for the performance I was heading to immediately
Quickly grabbing dinner to go (a cubano
sandwich, for those interested), I made my way to Chelsea and New York Live
Arts, a venue dedicated to movement-based artistry that was created in 2011 by
a merger of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater
Workshop. Tonight's performance was the much-discussed Disabled Theater,
a collaboration between French choreographer Jérôme Bel and Zurich's Theater
HORA, a company of actors with learning disabilities. Debated and praised all
over Europe after its premiere at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany, the work
sees the actors' conditions and their (dis)abilities laid bare as they remain
onstage for the duration of the performance as they respond, often with humor,
to a series of tasks proposed by Bel.
A translator to the side of the stage
began by addressing the crowd. The actors only speak Swiss German fluently, so
she would be our guide. Each of the ten actors individually came out to stand
in front of the audience for one minute. Even with this task, you began to
learn about their conditions, their strengths and their fears. The actors
ranged in age from 20 to 43. Some suffered from more severe or noticeable
conditions than others. Asked to name their disability, some were fully aware
of their diagnosed reality while others were limited to describing themselves
as “slower than normal”.The main focus of the night was the dance routines, with the actors selecting
the music, choreographing and then performing their own pieces. One by one,
they would jump up when their name was called, taking the opportunity to show
their moves and completely invest in the moment. With each new dance different
questions would come to mind, as well as a new awareness of what expectations
or preconceptions I might generally have had of artists — and people — with
disabilities. Essentially, these actors were just being themselves, out in
front, onstage, mostly without concern for how the audience was feeling. There
were moments, however, in which we see that these actors have had experiences
whereby they feel different from the so-called “normal people”. In one
heartbreaking instance, a young, energetic girl with Down syndrome informed us
of her disability when prompted, said “I am sorry,” and rushed back to her
chair in tears, straight into the arms of a consoling friend.With Disabled Theater, Bel has made the notion of disability
commonplace. The idiosyncrasies, weaknesses and natural gestures of the
performers are displayed free of outside influence, allowing each audience
member to accept and appreciate the artists as they would any other. An honest,
highly impressive look at how we relate to a group typically viewed under a
different lens.Follow citybeat.com for more Performa 13 updates from Drew Klein. Read Part One here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The Requiem Project amended its lawsuit against the University of Cincinnati over the Emery Theatre, arguing that UC have systematically failed their charitable purpose.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Ok. So, obviously using the word “cool”
to describe something is, in fact, decidedly “uncool,” but that’s not
going to stop us from labeling the following people, places and things
as cool Cincinnati shit of which you should definitely take note.
Garey Faulkner parlays a one-time bet into success as a beard model
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The Amelia native and
onetime pro BMX biker has parlayed his massive (and still growing) beard
into something he never thought possible: a living.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The city of Cincinnati might take over
the Emery Theatre following a legal dispute between the nonprofit seeking to renovate the theater, and the group of leasers and owners trying
to push the nonprofit out of the building.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Culture
at 09:24 AM | Permalink
We start answering tomorrow!
You have one more chance to submit us a question for CityBeat's first-ever Answers Issue — after today, we're closing the polls, sorting through all the questions and divvying them up amongst our reporting team. We'll spend the next few weeks hunting down the answers to your questions as best we can and bringing back all the info in a special themed issue sometime in July. Ask us questions about
life in the Queen City you want
answered — that means anything on city politics, arts and culture, food,
neighborhoods, E. coli in the Ohio River, bird law, Cincinnati's lizard history, what an inmate eats
for breakfast at the Hamilton County Justice Center, etc. Whatever's on
your mind. Go here to submit us the best questions you've got.
1 Comment · Wednesday, June 19, 2013
There was this woman with a deep, slow
drawl spoken in something between a rasp and a whisper who had a
lightning bolt inked high on her right cheekbone not as thuggery, irony
or defiance but as a simple, stunning marker adding to the mystique of a
woman easily mistaken in her era-defying androgyny for a man.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Life
at 10:24 AM | Permalink
Soliciting lots more questions on everything and anything about life in Cincinnati
Hopefully, you've heard about CityBeat's first Answers Issue by now, and hopefully, by now you've submitted plentiful golden, glowing and totally insightful questions you want us to answer. If you haven't, however, there's still time to rack your brain for the most stump-worthy questions about life in Cincinnati so we, CityBeat's faithful editorial staff, can do some sleuthing, drink some Red Bull, make
some calls, read some files, spend a few hours on Google, hit up the
library, talk to some fortune-tellers — whatever we can to get your
questions answered. Ask us questions about
life in the Queen City you want
answered — that means anything on city politics, arts and culture, food, sports,
neighborhoods, E. coli in the Ohio River, bird law, what an inmate eats for breakfast at the Hamilton County Justice Center, etc. Whatever's on your mind. You submit your question (check out the Answers Issue page here),
and our dutiful reporting team will pick the ones we like best, divide
them up and bring you back the answers in an issue sourced directly from
you guys. Your questions will be anonymous when we print them. We could use a lot more questions, you inquiring minds. Here's the question submissions form.
by German Lopez
Cuts hit parks, human services, arts, outside agencies and other city programs
City Council approved an operating budget Thursday that raises taxes and cuts several city services in fiscal year 2014, but the plan avoids laying off cops and firefighters.Democratic council members Roxanne Qualls, Chris Seelbach, Yvette Simpson, Pam Thomas and Wendell Young supported the budget, and Democrats P.G. Sittenfeld and Laure Quinlivan, independent Chris Smitherman and Republican Charlie Winburn voted in opposition.As a result of the budget, 67 city employees will lose their jobs.Human services funding, which goes toward programs that aid the city's homeless and poor, is hit particularly hard with a cut of $515,000 in the final budget plan. The reduced funding leaves about $1.1 million for human services agencies.Josh Spring, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, says the latest cuts add to what's been a decade of cuts for human services funding. Originally, human services funding made up about 1.5 percent of the city's operating budget. With the latest changes, human services funding makes up about 0.3 percent of the budget."The additional cuts are deep and will negatively affect many lives now and in the future," Spring says. "It's important City Council work to reduce these cuts and citizens support that in ensuing months."The budget also cuts parks funding by $1 million — about $200,000 lower than originally proposed by City Manager Milton Dohoney.The budget further trims several city services, including the city's health department, law department and recreation department. Arts funding and subsidies for "heritage" events, such as parades, are completely eliminated. Funding for several outside agencies is also being reduced or eliminated: the Port Authority, the African-American Chamber of Commerce, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Center for Closing the Health Gap, the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission.The budget is partly balanced with higher revenues. The property tax is being hiked from 4.6 mills to 5.7 mills in fiscal year 2014, or about $94 for every $100,000 in property value. Water rates will also increase by 5.5 percent starting in 2014.The budget also invokes fees for several city services: a $75 fee for
accepted Community Reinvestment Area residential tax abatement
applications, a $25 late fee for late income tax filers, a $100 fee for
fire plan reviews, an unspecified hazardous material cleanup fee, a
50-cent hike for admission into the Krohn Conservatory and an
unspecified special events fee for city resources used for special
events.At a council meeting Thursday, Quinlivan, who voted against the budget, criticized other council members for not pursuing changes that would structurally balance the budget."I don't believe anybody's going to really address this problem," she said.Quinlivan has long been an advocate for "rightsizing" the
city's police and fire departments, which she says have scaled "out of
control."Seelbach defended the plan, claiming it will keep the city's books balanced while the city government waits for higher revenues from a growing local economy.Still, the city has not passed a structurally balanced budget since 2001, which critics like Quinlivan say is irresponsible.The public safety layoffs were avoided despite months
of threats from city officials that cops and firefighters would have to
be laid off if the city didn't semi-privatize its parking assets for $92 million upfront and annual payments afterward. That plan is now held up in court, and public safety layoffs were avoided anyway. But the layoffs were avoided with steeper cuts in other areas of the budget, including reduced funding for outside agencies and a requirement of 10 furlough days for some city employees and council members. The changes also increased estimates for incoming revenues with $1 million that is supposed to be paid back to the city's tax increment financing fund.Multiple council members blamed the budget problems on the state government, which has cut local government funding by about 50 percent during Gov. John Kasich's time in office ("Enemy of the State," issue of March 20). For Cincinnati, the cuts resulted in $21 million less for fiscal year 2014, or 60 percent of the $35 million budget gap originally estimated for the year.
by Steve Rosen
Posted In: Visual Art
at 12:38 PM | Permalink
From now on, when anyone mentions “Octoberfest” in
Cincinnati, I’m going to think first of FotoFocus. This year, its first, it has
clearly established itself as an artistically meaningful and rewarding addition
to Cincinnati’s cultural calendar. The next is planned for 2014.
It is also, like that other
Oktoberfest (which actually occurs in September), fun. No, it doesn’t have
the World’s Largest Chicken Dance, but it may have come up
with something even better in Contained:
Gateway Arts Festival, which opened last Saturday and continues with
limited hours through Nov. 3.
It was produced by the Requiem Project, which is managing
and hoping to restore Over-the-Rhine’s Emery Theatre (where there is a Mike
Disfarmer photo exhibit that I blogged about last week). Saturday’s
opening was hampered by cold weather that kept attendance small on the grounds
of Grammer’s in Over-the-Rhine. (Grammer’s is a place that’s probably seen
quite a few Oktoberfests in its day.) But the weather didn’t dampen the
creative imagination that went into the event.
Using 11 trailer-size steel shipping containers as gallery
walls, artists displayed their photography and video-based work, some
interactive, as visitors wandered in and out. The standards were quite high and
one project — David Rosenthal’s “Everything at Home Depot (Series)’’ — struck
me as outstanding.
Installed in vertical pieces on fiberboard along the interior
sides of the container, the color heat-transfer prints set out to do what the
title suggests. In this environment — with the container’s metal sides, the
wood floor and glaring fluorescent lights – the whole project looked just right — a melding of the artistic and the industrial, the soulful and the soulless.
If this is part of a larger series (as the title suggests), it deserves to be
seen in total. But one hopes future showings will get an environment as cool as
In a corner of the grounds, behind one crate and out of
direct view, a band played suitably spacey music. After awhile, musicians moved
atop a crate to play music with a pronounced electronic component. Meanwhile,
video projections were displayed high off the building’s sides — you could see
the images when approaching the site and it was really exciting.
The whole festival, itself, worked as an art installation. It will be open again this Friday from 6-10 p.m.
(it’s ideal at dark), 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Nov. 3 by appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s definitely worth a visit, even if not that easy to get to.
Another show you need to see — partly because of its
excellence and partly because it’s in a space rarely open to the public — is
the Using Photography exhibit at
downtown’s Michael Lowe Gallery. He is a private dealer, so it’s a treat to see
his elegant, uncluttered two-floor gallery open to the public. Drawing on his
own collection, he’s put together a show that
works as both top-notch fine-art photography and as a historical exhibition.
In this case, the history that the show addresses is that of
the conceptual/performance art world of the 1970s. Pivotal names in
international contemporary art’s development are represented here — Marina
Abramovic, Vito Acconci, Gerhard Richter, Michael Kelly, Ed Ruscha, Gilbert and
George and many more.
With the richness of work represented, and it way it
stretches our definition of photography and time-based art, it’s one of
FotoFocus’ best shows. To just pick one piece, I was especially moved by
Christian Boltanski’s five touched-up photographs comprising 1974’s
“Anniversaire,” or “The Birthday.” I am used to the French artist’s solemn,
sobering, heart-rending installations that use photography to remember the
Holocaust. They are so strong you wonder if they must drain the artist of all joie de vivre. Yet here he is happy in
this work, and the meaning of that happiness is revelatory if you know his history.
Even if you don’t, it’s a generous and warm piece.
This show originally was going to be open just briefly, but
Lowe has agreed to stay open noon-4 p.m. weekdays through the end of the month.
His gallery is at 905 Vine St. Plan a downtown lunch trip around it.
Meanwhile, only up through this Thursday is Photogenus at the Reed Gallery inside
University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning.
Put together by Jordan Tate, DAAP photography professor, and gallery director
Aaron Cowan, this looks at how today’s international artists use photography in
a digital age.
It’s a nice companion to Lowe’s show, as one chronicles
breakthroughs from the 1970s (some of which we’re still trying to understand)
and one shows how today’s international artists are using photography to make
new breakthroughs. Much of it is quite out-there and left me quizzical about
individual work’s obscure intent and technique.
But some were very striking, like Anthony Lepore’s pairing of a photo
(an archival ink print) of a salt field with a piece of carpet of roughly the
I had written earlier about how eager I was to
see Nancy Rexroth’s photographs at downtown’s YWCA Women’s Art Gallery as part
of FotoFocus. The show consists of previously unprinted images from her
influential Iowa project of the early
1970s — she used a toy camera to capture fleeting glimpses of everyday life in
There was always the chance the black-and-white work had
been left unprinted for a reason all these decades, but I’m happy to report
it’s an excellent, evocative show — underscoring just how strong a body of work
Iowa is. Besides the ghostly “Clara
in the Closet, Carpenter, OH,” previously published in CityBeat, I also loved
“House Vibration, Dayton, OH, 1976,” in which the blurry focus produces an
unsteady image that makes one think an earthquake is occurring. It’s a great
metaphor for the here-today-gone-tomorrow nature of life. This show will be up
through Jan. 10 — Rexroth shares the space with Judi Parks and Jane Alden
Stevens. Watch for Contributing Visual Art Editor Steven Rosen’s FotoFocus blog postings all month. Contact him at email@example.com.