REMIX FESTIVAL: DANCE REIMAGINED

What happens when you combine Philadelphia choreographers with dance makers from across the country, give them less than 10 hours to remix and recreate each other’s works, and ask them to show their creations? We’re about to find out.

The Remix Festival, curated by Annie Wilson and Susan Rethorst, is inspired by Susan’s choreographic technique of wrecking­—basically radically taking apart a finished work and reconstituting into a new form—and The Wrecking Project.

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Photo courtesy of National Water Dance

The National Water Dance

A typical concert dance performance does not usually conjure up thoughts of social justice and governmental reform. At first glance, dance and politics might not seem to go together. That is not to say that the art form is entirely apolitical – different genres of art can certainly serve as a persuasive medium for declaring political statements. From a historical perspective, analysis of the arts can be used to study social change and political reform, and dance is no exception to this.

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Photo by John Donges

John Donges Photographs THREE DAYS OF RAIN (Quince): A Double Assignment

In shooting Richard Greenberg’s THREE DAYS OF RAIN, my first photographic challenge was to capture the unique structure of the play: the first act is set in 1995 and involves a brother/sister and their old friend – the son of their father’s architecture partner and oldest friend. In Act II, the three actors play the parents of their Act I characters. So it was a dual challenge to photograph basically two casts instead of one, and to try and paint a visual portrait of what is both similar and different between each character and his/her parent, and to portray the look of two very different decades.

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Mark Nadler in I'm a Stranger Here Myself (photo courtesy of The Prince Music Theater)

I’M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF (Prince): Intimacy, Song, and Rage in Weimar Germany

I’M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF, created and performed by Mark Nadler and directed by David Schweizer, is both a lament and a celebration of Weimar Germany and the bohemian lifestyle celebrated by the young during this time. Incredibly impoverished, pincered by a swiftly inflating currency, stabbed by the growth of hate and, underneath that hate, a creeping fascism; yet this impossible position also gave rise to an incredibly fertile undergrowth and the arts mecca which Berlin became.

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Arlen Hancock in Ellie Brown's DEAR DIARY, BYE. Photo: Ellie Brown.

DEAR DIARY, BYE (Ellie Brown): Schoolyard scraps and crushes galore

And maybe that’s what makes Ellie Brown’s DEAR DIARY, BYE such a fascinating show. The play, directed by Seth Reichgott, presents her 1984 diary. Brown wasn’t so different from any other ten year old – she liked boys, she got sick of her parents, she was teased, and she liked more boys. There’s a pleasure in this kind of uncensored presentation, a la Nature Theater of Oklahoma.

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Josh McIlvain and Deborah Crocker serve up some fresh hot American Wisdom.

AMERICAN WISDOM (SmokeyScout): Interview with Playwright Josh McIlvain

And now, AMERICAN WISDOM, a mainstage collection of three of Josh’s one-acts, is a handshake between Philly and New York, featuring actors and directors from both sides of the ancient and abiding divide—and performing for one weekend in each city. What’s more, it was launched through an IndieGoGo campaign, representing McIlvain’s collaboration with his audiences.

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Buckminster Fuller before his geode dome at Montreal's World Fair.

THE LOVE SONG OF R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER (FringeArts): Fringe’s First First Friday

Among the first presentations in this exciting space, THE LOVE SONG OF R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER, shows First Friday, April 4th, at 7 and 9pm. This part theater, part musical, part film is dubbed a “live documentary.” Acclaimed filmmaker Sam Green narrates, accompanied by an original score played by Yo La Tengo. Together they create the movie experience in front of the audience in real time. Nick Stuccio, president and Producing Artistic Director of FringeArts, sat down to chat about this unique offering, as well as the developments with the new space and Fringe Festival.

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The fault, dear Brutus, Act II: Interview with Makoto Hirano about “Super Racist” Julius Caesar

You may have seen the Lantern Theater Company’s JULIUS CAESAR, which recast Shakespeare’s political tragedy in Feudal Japan. You may also have seen the open letter that local playwright and performer Makoto Hirano hand-delivered to The Lantern on “How to Stage Your Show Without Being Super Racist,” which he signed “Makoto Hirano, Dance-theatre artist, actual Japanese person, and actual Samurai descendent,” reposted on Phindie with Hirano’s consent.

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Incubator artist R. Eric Thomas.

NOTES from the INCUBATOR (Simpatico): Entry Two: Getting So Frustrated

My mother tells a story about a time when I was young—3-years-old or 4—and I was trying desperately to get the swing I was seated on moving. My little legs kicked and kicked but I stayed motionless. After a minute or two, an adult came over and gave me a push and that’s all it took. I caught the momentum and I was swinging! As she tells it, I turned to the little boy on the swing next to mine and exclaimed in a giddy, high-pitched voice “I was getting so frustrated! Were you getting frustrated, too, Brooksie? I was getting so frustrated!”

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Tere O'Connor's BLEED at FringeArts this weekend

BLEED (FringeArts): Tere O’Connor’s dance embraces all

The much-talked-about BLEED, running this weekend only as the next page in FringeArts’ idiosyncratic year-round programming, opened in New York last year to what seems like universal praise. The dance piece is the culmination of two years of work and three other dance pieces, which O’Connor made, then digested and collapsed into BLEED.

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NOTES from the INCUBATOR (SIMPATICO): Entry One: The Collective Spirit

Writing this play has been hard. It feels like squinting into the distance at an object that I think I should be identifiable but is just too blurry. Luckily, I have a cohort on this trek. If you met Lena (Barnard) and I, it would feel a lot like an episode of Gilmore Girls or the West Wing. We talk over each other and make obscure references and laugh at inside jokes that no one else gets. Being around Lena makes me feel entirely secure. I can be myself with her. I like to think the feeling is mutual. Who else will get all her Julie Andrews references?

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Passion and Art in the Philadelphia Flamenco Festival

What better way to welcome the coming spring than with flamenco? Flamenco, which means “flame-colored,” is a genre of Spanish folk dance and music traditionally characterized by sensual choreography and bold, complex guitar rhythms. In Philadelphia, dance company Pasión y Arte is bringing the spirit of modern flamenco to the Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, which runs from March 1st through March 16th.

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The fault, dear Brutus, is Super Racism: Makoto Hirano Criticizes Lantern’s Julius Caesar

“Will it be in yellow face,” my friend asked when I told him about Lantern Theater Company’s decision to stage Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar in feudal Japan, when what the meant was “in kimonos with some Japanese screens and music” seemed somehow culturally tone deaf.

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john rosenberg

A NICE AND FRESH sendoff: John Rosenberg’s last show in Philadelphia

Phindie has been a long-term champion of playwright John Rosenberg and his Hella Fresh Theater. There are pretty much no companies in Philadelphia focused on full seasons of original work, certainly none of the caliber reached in Rosenberg’s best plays, 2013′s Hannah and 2012′s Alp d’Huez.

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Free Beer. Have I said enough? Scratch Night returns at FringeArts

For several years now, the FringeArts Scratch Night series has been an in-the-know favorite on the Philadelphia performing arts scene. Each Spring and Summer in the lead up to the Fringe Fest, the organization hosts a monthly event to showcase in the works performances by LAB fellow, Fringe favorites, and other local artists.

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