The Architecture of Proximity

Zullo/Raw Movement’s production The Architecture of Proximity is an immersive dance and performance experience exploring the relationship between the architecture of spaces and the physical, psychological and emotional effects of space on the body.

We asked Artistic Director of Zullo/Raw Movement, John Zullo a few questions about his new piece opening in the Theater at the 14th Street Y this Wednesday, October 28th.

Zullo Raw Movement

How would you describe this show to someone that has never experience immersive dance or theater? 

This performance is different from most other performances because there is no seating, therefore the audience is asked to stand during the duration of the performance with freedom to walk around the space. I liken the experience to being at a museum or gallery where you are moving through actively looking and engaging with the works. This allows for a more intimate experience of the work and to actually become part of the whole performance experience.

How did you first become involved with the Y?

I first heard about the Theater at the 14th Street Y when I was at the APAP conference last January.  I visited their booth, and  was able to talk to your staff to learn more about the space.  I like spaces that are unexpected.  My company has been performing mostly in the East Village, and I didn’t know that the Y had this venue.  I think this space allows for the piece to have a blank slate without the space defining the piece.  Instead, this piece is able to define the space.

What do you feel is an important theme of this piece?

In this case, it is playing with borders and boundaries that separate us and erasing them to find communality amongst individuals. It is creating an experience that forces people to deal with and negotiate the relationships that they have with each other and spaces.  Then, we are able to see how physical spaces can affect people physically, emotionally and psychologically.  In this piece, which I think more of as a movement based installation, is immersive through the convergence of movement, sound, architectural spaces, and light.  Through this, we are able to explore the possibility of it all working together– the movement is indicative of the spaces in our lives.

Is there anything else the audience should expect?

My goals for the audience are that they first, experience something that they have never experience before, and second, that they are transformed by the end of the installation.  I hope that the audience is able to find  a sense of openness, and are open to going on this journey with the performers.  The audience becomes part of the work as they are physically engaged in the piece.  Also, I encourage the audience to take photographs (no flash only) during the performance and tag @zullorawmovement on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

 

The Architecture of Proximity will be playing at the Theater at the 14th Street Y

October 28th-Nov. 1st

Buy Tickets Here

ORIENTED: Thoughts from Director, Jake Witzenfeld

“I’m figuring out where I stand on a lot of central identity issues:

what being Jewish means to me,

what Israel means to me… “

A few thoughts by the Director of the ORIENTED, Jake Witzenfeld:

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How did the making of the movie come about?

Jake : I came across a YouTube video by a group called Qambuta. It was a stylish protest piece by a group of visibly Palestinian 20-somethings pointing the finger at the heteronormative values of their community in Israel. I was so intrigued by that identity complex: too gay for the Arab sub-community in Israel, too Palestinian for the Jewish majority… a minority inside a minority. I was able to reach out to Khader, the ring leader, through my roommate at the time. We went for drinks, he told me that there was “a Palestinian Woodstock” cultural revival kicking off in Israel, he captivated me with charisma and a nonchalant yet fierce desire for change. I asked him if I could begin shooting him and his world and he agreed. Two years and a little change later, we had a film!

 

What is a surprising fact that you discovered during the making of Oriented?

Jake: When I started making the film, I felt that I was really capturing a peaking of social activism – like I was following Rosa Parks to the back of the bus. But as the boys did not deliver a revolution, I became frustrated and began questioning that feeling and my own disappointment that they weren’t “giving me” a radical crescendo of change. That’s when I discovered that social change isn’t made the way it is recorded in text books. While successful social action influences macro-narratives, it is made up of micro-actions, attitudes and decisions: where are you partying, who are you dating, what are you posting… that’s what informed the film’s primarily personal approach and storytelling decision.

 

What world did you discover in Tel Aviv that you didn’t know about?

Jake: The underground gay Palestinian scene. I was aware of it but after Khader welcomed me to begin shooting, I met everyone and saw every spot and really got a 360. We transitioned into friendship very seamlessly and the filmmaking become a very personal journey for all of us.

 

How has it changed you?

Jake: I believe that I achieved a reflexivity with my subject that required me to mute my own cultural baggage and pre-conceptions. And you don’t just switch that off after final cut and go back to your old ways. I’m figuring out where I stand on a lot of central identity issues: what being Jewish means to me, what Israel means to me… I’ve never felt more unsure on any of those things but, simultaneously, I feel that this new web of interactions and conversations that I’ve entangled myself in has an underlying optimism to it. So let’s see.

 

What questions will you have afterwards?

Come see ORIENTED November 7th at 8pm at the Theater at the 14th Street Y

Stay after the screening for wine & conversation with the filmmakers and protagonist, Khader Abu Seif

For tickets to ORIENTED click here

USE  CODE: LGBTQ for $9 Tickets

Find out more about other screenings at The Other Israel Film Festival here

 

 

Actor Spotlight: David Stallings

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David Stallings & Antonio Miniño

We sat down with David Stallings, Production & Events Coordinator here at the 14th Street Y, who will be taking the stage in Fab Marquee’s production of Macbeth (Of The Oppressed) this fall in our Theater.

Tell us about what makes this production of Macbeth unique.

David: This is not your classic or traditional Shakespeare production.  Macbeth has always been one of my favorite plays.  It certainly is one of the most quoted texts in the English Language.  But to me, it always smacked of sexism and there are only so many all white productions my palate can handle these days.  It’s just not representative of our world.  So when the idea began, to swap the sexes of several major characters and change only simple pronouns, our team got very excited.  Suddenly the qualities ideal in a man are also ideal in a woman, and the bad choices made in the play are not grounded in gender.  You’ll find women fighting men while wielding battle axes; not doing the laundry.  Also, the chance to create an ethnically diverse world is exciting.

 

What about playing Husband Macbeth is most exciting to you and what is most challenging?

David: I am excited about the “love story” aspect of the play.  To play Husband Macbeth opposite my real life husband truly grounds me in the fact that everything I say must come from a place of truth and love.  Also, as a gay man, I am often asked to put on a masculinity I find false–especially when doing Shakespeare.  But with all gender roles basically thrown out the window, I get to be myself and find the honesty of every moment.  What is most challenging is the amount of energy this play demands.

 

As a playwright yourself, what do modern audiences have to learn from Shakespeare’s plays?

David: Shakespeare’s stories are timeless.  I think modern audiences often disconnect from them because they are treated with an almost biblical reverence.  In truth, Shakespeare was anything but reverent.  He challenged authority, rewrote history, invented words, and completely influenced the world.  I think audiences can still find the poetic truths of Shakespeare if they are presented as irreverently as he intended them to be.

 

Is there anything else you want us to know?

We love the 14th Street Y!  And for Y Members, we are offering our lowest price: $10!  Just write in the discount code “YMember” in the unlock code box.  I hope to see you there!

 

David HeadshotDavid Stallings has been involved with New York theater for ten years as an actor and playwright.  Acting Credits include: New York Theater: Sweet Sweet Spirit (MTWorks), Farewell to Sanity (Planet Connections Festival, Winner Best Actor in a Leading Role), Somdomite: The Loves of Oscar Wilde (Nominated Best Actor by Thespis Theater Festival), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Played Lord Henry, Directed by Glory Kadigan), A Home Across The Ocean (Theatre Row), Folie A Deux (MTWorks), Big Love (Theater for a New City), Book of the Dun Cow (Prospect Theater Co.), Merry Wives of Windsor (Prospect Theater Co.), Romeo and Juliet (Wooden O Productions), The Maids (The Independent Theater), Love and Garbage (Blue Heron Theater), and many more.  Favorite Regional Roles include: Tuzenback (Three Sisters), Jack (Into the Woods), and Joshua/Gerry (Cloud Nine).  David also performed in The Santa Fe Opera’s production of The Beggar’s Opera, as Jimmy Twitcher.  The author of 15 full length plays and numerous shorts, David’s plays have reached audiences across the US.  Most recently his play about the Louisiana oil spill told from the perspective of the animals, Dark Water, premiered at the 14th Street Y and won the 2014 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Best Full Length Script

“He’s (David Stallings) a powerful actor, slight in build, but riveting in his intensity. His humanity shines like a diamond” NY Theater Now on Sweet Sweet Spirit

“Lord Henry (David Stallings), is a joy to watch and listen to; his comments are skillfully filled with the sarcasm and unrelenting wit you would expect from the character. He influences Dorian in a masterful way, presenting a lifestyle which mostly values beauty and the gratification of the senses.” -Theatre Is Easy on The Picture of Dorian Gray

 

Macbeth (of the Oppressed)  October 8th -24th at the 14th Street Y

Get tickets here.

 

 

Arts & Culture Season Announcement

2015-2015 Season Launch of Arts & Culture events at the 14th Street Y

This season, the 14th Street Y is proud to present a wide variety of arts and cultural events for audiences of all ages. From dance, to wine tasting, to film, to musicals, to visual art and Shabbat experiences for the whole family, there is something for everyone this year at the 14th Street Y!

Dance Series

Our Dance Series brings diverse styles of dance including Flamenco, Ballet, Modern, Immersive, Tap and Contemporary to the downtown community.  Tickets are available at 14streety.org/dance.

Sonia Olla Flamenco Dance Company Sept. 9-13 — Zullo/Raw Movement Oct. 28-Nov. 1

Bare Dance Company Dec. 4-6 — of bones || hollye bynum Dec. 17-19

Joffrey Ballet School Feb. 17-21 — Sokolow Dance/Theatre Ensemble Mar. 10

From the Horse’s Mouth Apr. 1-3 —  American Tap Dance Foundation Apr. 13-17

Theater

This fall the 14th Street Y Theater will welcome two innovative productions from our resident companies, Red Fern Theater and Afterwork Theater.

Red Fern Theatre Company (readings) Sept. 14-20 — Macbeth (of the Oppressed) Oct. 8-24

Afterwork Theater Presents Urinetown Nov. 13-22

Other Israel Film Festival Nov. 5-8

The 14th Street Y is participating in the 9th annual Other Israel Film Festival. Award-winning films and engaging conversations focusing on the lives and diverse stories of Arab citizens of Israel and minority populations. Visit www.otherisrael.org for updates.

Pause/Play Nov. 14, Dec. 12, Jan. 9, Feb. 6, Mar. 12

Pause/Play is an innovative Saturday afternoon of Shabbat programming, once monthly at the 14th Street Y.  Activities will include New Country in the City camp programming for kids; toddler sing-a-longs; adult conversations and learning; LABA/rts sessions; meditation; music; family and adult fitness and aquatics for all ages. Free for Y members.

LABALive DRUNK Jan. 21

You’ve seen wine paired with food, but how about wine paired with texts? Join LABA fellows, ancient text scholars and a sommelier as they explore the relationship between wine and time through teachings, tastings and performances. A sensual mash-up indeed. Ticketed event.

LABALive Feb. 25, Mar. 17, Apr. 7, Jun. 2

Join us for a presentation of new works in progress by the LABA Fellows and teachings surrounding this year’s theme of Beauty. LABALive events will include dance, theater, visual art, literature and immersive performances. Ticketed event.

Tikkun Jun. 11

Into the Night a contemporary spin on Tikkun Leil Shavuout presented by Downtown Jews at the 14th Street Y. Join us for a nocturnal journey through culture, conversation, ritual and cheesecakes featuring LABA Fellows, artists, teachers, musicians, and rabbis. Free.

Load OUT! Saturday September 12th with Fourth Arts Block

One of our favorite Greening Partners, Fourth Arts Block (also known as FAB) is hosting one of our favorite events of the year, Load OUT!– which is as they describe it, “a bi-annual recycling riot offering free materials to artists and students.”

Save the Date:

Saturday September 12th, 11:00AM-2:00PM at 11 East 3rd Street

load out

As you may know, Load OUT! began as a way for local theaters to dispose of excess materials, and has since grown into a popular bi-annual recycling, re-use and re-purposing event, one in which our own theater has participated.

FAB is committed to diverting materials from the waste stream and providing an outlet for the community to safely dispose of gently used items. Local artists can also acquire items for their own creative projects for free.

Unclaimed items are collected for reuse and recycling by FAB’s community partners, United War Veterans Recycling, GrowNYC, Wearable Collections and Lower East Side Ecology Center.

WANT TO CONTRIBUTE?

You can help by donating materials, or by volunteering with Load OUT!. Interested? Please contact  anna@fabnyc.org for more information

$14 at 14Y – Dance Series Launch

The Theater at the 14th Street Y is excited to announce our 2015-2016 Dance Subscription Series, $14 at 14Y. Join our subscription today and choose any 3 shows for $42 – that breaks down to just $14 per ticket!

Check out our eight professional companies below to create your custom series!

Sonia Olla Flamenco Dance Company – Flamenco

As an Internationally recognized dancer and choreographer, Sonia Olla is known for her impeccable technique and riveting  stage presence. Get a preview here.

Zullo: Raw Movement – Immersive Dance

Zullo/RawMovement is exploring ideas and concepts from our cultural landscape that are transformed into works that are expressive, imaginative and explosive. Check them out here.

BARE Dance Company – Contemporary

BARE’s versitile approach to movement has been described as “smart, effective, technically accomplished work.” – Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times. Watch now.

of bones || hollye bynum – Contemporary, Film

of bones || hollye bynum seeks to find commonalities between dance and viewer by introspectively exploring the human experience. See for yourself here.

Joffrey Ballet School – Ballet

The Joffrey Ballet School transforms passionate dance students into versatile, individualistic artists able to collaborate and evolve fluidly in a fast-changing society. Watch them here.

Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble – Contemporary, Theatre

Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble’s aim is to recreate works choreographed by Anna Sokolow, continue her teachings, and develop her artistic vision for the purpose of passing on for posterity. See their work here.

From the Horse’s Mouth – Various

From the Horse’s Mouth celebrates the “heart and history of dance” with outstanding dancers and choreographers of all ages and traditions, performing together and telling their extraordinary personal stories. Catch a glimpse here.

American Tap Dance Foundation – Tap

ATDF is committed to establishing and legitimizing tap dance as a vital component of American dance through creation, presentation, education and preservation. Tap along here.

A Truly Trans-Cultural LABA Fellow

LABA Fellow Siona Benjamin
LABA Fellow Siona Benjamin

We spoke with artist Siona Benjamin, a LABA Fellow presenting  her new work, “The Four Mothers Who Entered Pardes,” at LABAlive presents MOTHER: Power on March 16th at the Theater at the 14th Street Y. The art installation includes four cathedral-scale mixed media panels exploring the journey of the four matriarchs as they enter the Pardes. The installation will also feature dancing by Bhavani Lee and music by Galeet Dardashit. Siona was humble enough to share her influences, process, and the effect being a LABA Fellow has had on her personally and artistically.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

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Siona Benjamin

A: I am an artist originally from Bombay, India, of Bene Israel Jewish descent. My work reflects my background and the transition between my old and new worlds. Having grown up in a predominantly Hindu and Muslim society, having been educated in Catholic and Zoroastrian schools, having been raised Jewish and now living in America, I have always had to reflect upon the cultural boundary zones in which I have lived.  In this trans-cultural America and world, I feel a strong need to make art that will speak to my audience of our similarities, not our differences as I feel I can contribute to a much-needed “repair” (Tikkun) through my art. I would like my audience to re-evaluate their notions and concepts about identity and race, thus understanding that such misconceptions could lead to racism, hate and war.

Q: You have so many influences. Can you describe your pieces and your process?

A: I use gouache and gold leaf on paper and wood. I am inspired by traditional styles of painting, like Indian/Persian miniatures, Byzantine icons and Jewish and Christian illuminated manuscripts, but I blend these ancient forms with pop cultural elements from our times to create a new vocabulary of my own. Using the rich colors of gouache I apply layers, literally with the paint, as well as metaphorically with the content.

My painting is my ritual, my celebration, my essence. My research and ideas flow simultaneously together and make up the fabric of my work. I use gouache paints and 22K gold leaf to form layers of jewel like color. My background in painting, enameling on metal and theater set design all influence my work. My characters are real as they act out contemporary situations and dilemmas, while also celebrating my womanhood, my abilities, my strengths and my ambitions. The ornateness of the culture from which I came once seemed difficult and unnecessary to apply in my work. Now I have found a way to use it, to be able to weave current issues and parts of my life in its intricacies, thus making this ornateness strong and meaningful. In this way, I attempt to create a dialogue between the ancient and the modern, forcing a confrontation of unresolved issues.

Q: To sum it all up, what is one word that describes your work?

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Siona Benjamin

A: Trans-cultural

Q: How has being a LABA fellow informed your trans-cultural work?

A: The exciting process of learning midrash, collaboration, and meeting amazing new artists has influenced me. Also, the power of myth and recycling this mythology to make it relevant today is informing to my work.

See Siona’s installation, “The Four Mothers Who Entered Pardes,” at  LABAlive presents MOTHER: Power on March 16th at the Theater at the 14th Street Y. The evening will include a teaching with Ruby Namdar and two theater premiers by LABA Fellows Clemence Bouloque and Sigal Samuel. Tickets are $18. The evening will run 90 minutes with wine, snacks, and schmoozing to follow. Click Here for More Information and to Buy Tickets.