Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ann Wedgeworth, 83

Ann Wedgeworth, 83, Dies; Tony-Winning Actress Known for ‘Three’s Company’
by Daniel E. Slotnik, The New York Times, November 22, 2017

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Dmitri Hvorostovsky, 55

Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Silver-Maned Baritone From Siberia, Dies at 55
by Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, November 22, 2017

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Dance is her oxygen, and Smallwood welcomes your help

Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center, opened in 2014 by the former Alvin Ailey star, recently suffered a fire. No one was injured, and the intrepid Smallwood, her instructors and her students have returned to continue their essential work in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy community.

Why are dance, dance education and community important to Brooklyn and, especially, today's Bed-Stuy? Watch the above video, and read the DSPAC statement here.

And if you'd like to help Smallwood achieve her vision of owning rather than renting her space, please consider contributing to the DSPAC Building Fund. Contact DSPAC here to request information on how to donate.

Dance artist yon Tande views that "Unicorn"

yon Tande
(photo courtesy of the artist)

For many observers, Memoirs of a... Unicorn--Marjani Forté-Saunders's recent premiere at The Collapsable Hole for New York Live Arts--proved to be an earth-shaking highlight of New York's Fall 2017 arts season (reviewed here by me). Not so much for the chief dance critic of The New York Times. Contrasting it to another dance artist's work he deemed to be "a real piece," Alastair Macaulay dismissed Memoirs as "an intensely personal piece with which I could make few connections" and "choppily incoherent," sparking a blaze of reproach on social media.

I'm happy today to welcome dance/performance artist yon Tande as guest writer. He contributes the following poetic reflections on Memoirs of a... Unicorn.


Marjani Forté-Saunders performs Memoirs of a... Unicorn.
(photo: Maria Baranova)

Memoirs of a... Unicorn: Reflections on an Imagined s/p(l)ace of memory, revelation and trauma.

This text is written as a response to the notion of being simultaneously present and absent. As an interviewed subject in the process, removed for technical reasons, but still feeling and knowing my presence and participation, not only as an audience member, an interviewee, but as a native to this society of magical creatures so “gloriously damaged.”

In reflecting on the imagistic creation of Marjani Forté-Saunders and collaborators, one question that remains is “What has been deleted or negated?” In the title written, “Memoirs of a... Unicorn,” the ellipses suggests that something in the title, perhaps in the world, has been negated, left out, deleted, denied. Do ellipses also function as denial?

Cleanse your Feet, for upon this terrain you will meet much filth. But, if you have been cleansed, you will be carried.

Follow the Action - staying engaged and connected to the artist. The agency of sight is precious. Curiosity is enabled and made possible by journeying through the various spaces. The interaction of Marjani, the objects and the spectators, stirring up scopophilic remembrances, and ultimately feelings tied to wonder and concealment. Getting so close to the action that psychic interconnectivity is palpable and its impact unnerving.

Enter the Room(s): a nucleus networked through memory where decentralization and fragmentation create a universe by which such “destruction” yields clarity.

See and Hear the video projections and sound imagery speaking to the slices of living which comes and goes like the long-passed joys and torments that memory realizes. The “jam” which makes you jump to your feet in cultural knowing, the strut that recalls a familiar coding of strength and vitality, and a projection of a “mother” who gives permission to revel in mundanity with the hope that a greatness and complexity may be revealed. Through the constructed collage, the view of fragmentation as wholeness.

“Confined body” - under the staircase speaking with a child’s voice. A vivid reminder of both the communal joy offered and the paralysis-induced desperation as a result of incest. Perhaps the ellipses implies all the possible affects of the unicorn, both making the unicorn what it is and recognizing that it is.

“Garden of the Golden Horn” - so dangerously provocative like a mine field waiting to destroy and delight. How can the image of a golden, dildo-ladened room instill so much fear? Desire has an evil twin called recollection. This room tempting the “outing” of the revelation of discovery and the potentialities of unearthing the makings of what it means to “feel good.” How and when does one first begin to know penetrative sensation...?

“Daddy’s Pyramid”- the mythological place to which one may escape and be born unto. The sledgehammer when tooled to destroy just two sections of the pyramid conjures up the possibility by which a removal from a place and state may be possible. Simply slide into it, like a grand garment, stand and away you go. Launch yourself into the ether never to return to this “place” again.

A Prayer:
Upon these horns, I sacrifice myself to the void of knowing and remembering, being and becoming. I consult, in a secret tongue, the oracle of the void for guidance and direction, in the hopes that one day, I may be resolved.
--yon Tande

yon Tande (Whitney V. Hunter) is a dance/performance artist/culture worker and BLACK SEED Native committed to #cultureascatalyst. His work centers around nurturing and cultivating individual and communal spirit through performance, education and curation. He has worked with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, Martha Clarke, Ralph Lemon, Fiona Templeton, Daria Faïn and Robert Kocik, John Jesurun, Kankouran West African Dance Company, Yass Hakoshima, Preach R Sun, Najwa Dance Corps and others. He was a Movement Research Artist in Residence (2013-15), a founding member/curator of Social Health Performance Club, and is co-creator of Denizen Arts: with Jude Sandy.

His works have been presented through RISD Museum, AS220, chashama, Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts, Washington Reflections Dance Company, La Mama, Grace Exhibition Space, Panoply Performance Laboratory, Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival and in the streets of NYC, Chicago and Detroit. His grants and commissions for the creation and exhibition of his works are numerous: New York State Council for the Arts, Puffin Foundation Grant, Harlem Stages, Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center, Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival, Lumen Festival, and others.

He has taught nationally and internationally at Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island, AS220, Peridance Center, Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Harlem School of the Arts, The Ailey School, Dance Institute of Washington, and Centro Nacional de Danza Contemporánea (MX), LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and Long Island University. His academic degrees include: B.F.A in Theatre Arts/Dance (Howard University), M.F.A in New Media Arts and Performance (Long Island University). He is presently a Ph.D. candidate and Driskell Fellow at Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts.

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David Cassidy, 67

David Cassidy, Heartthrob and ‘Partridge Family’ Star, Dies at 67
by Jacey Fortin, The New York Times, November 21, 2017

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