What for? Why not? is a series of six one-of-a-kind, shared-evening events over two weekends juxtaposing dance, music, spoken word, and visual art. Each WFWN program features outstanding artists from at least two different disciplines. Curated by Peter Kyle.
Caleb Nussear / Ryan Keberle
Martin Dockery / JJ Sulin
Holley Farmer / Pepper Fajans / Scott Giguere
Jaanika Peerna, Christine Sciulli & Qian Yi / Jason Walker
Patti Bradshaw / Vienna Carroll & Keith Johnston
Michael Bellar / Marielis Garcia
March 30-April 1 & April 6-8, 2017 8:00pm
$18 in advance / $22 at the door. BUY TICKETS HERE
2-Day Pass ($30), 3-Day Pass ($40)
Multi-day passes may be purchased online and in advance only
Muriel Schulman Theater
106 Calyer Street
Brooklyn, NY 11222
I have assembled these artists first and foremost because their work and their commitment to a life in art are inspiring. The goal of this series is to encourage dialogue, to share contrasting whimsies and artistic compulsions, and to bring audiences from different areas together in one spot, if for no other reason than simply to see what happens. If the results include some gentle pushing against real and perceived disciplinary boundaries, all-the-better. In many cases, the artists do not know each other and have been invited to intersect their material in any way they choose.
Thursday, March 30 – Caleb Nussear (visual art) / Ryan Keberle (music)
The What For? Why Not? series opens with a visual-acoustic installation and performance featuring visual artist Caleb Nussear and musician Ryan Keberle. Nussear’s intricate folded paper screens emblazoned with slide projections inspire Keberle’s live trombone, analog synthesizer, and pre-recorded music composed especially for this event.
Friday, March 31 – Martin Dockery (spoken word) / JJ Sulin (visual art)
Well-traveled solo performer and playwright Martin Dockery shares the evening with photographer and installation artist, JJ Sulin. Dockery’s The Dark Fantastic, described as “an incredible feat of storytelling” by the CBC, is a wild, darkly humorous tale of an artist trying to “make it big.” Sulin’s Acey Deucey transforms the Triskelion Arts stage into a mixed- media installation of photography and objects that balance the ephemeral with the everyday.
Saturday, April 1 – Holley Farmer (dance), Pepper Fajans (dance) / Scott Giguere (spoken word)
The closing performance of Week I features Bessie Award winning dancer Holley Farmer, dancer/puppeteer/carpenter Pepper Fajans, and actor/director/marathon runner, Scott Giguere. Farmer presents a dream state solo investigation of Homer Proteins and memory-making, Fajans presents Co. Incident, a new solo about behavior in a field of real possibility, and Giguere offers For Miles, a solo piece about the mechanics, psychology, and metaphysics of running and geolocation.
Thursday, April 6 – Jaanika Peerna, Christine Sciulli & Qian Yi (visual art-movement-music) / Jason Walker (music)
Week II of the What For? Why Not? series kicks off with a program showcasing the multi-disciplinary team of Jaanika Peerna, Christine Sciulli & Qian Yi, and “folk-soul” singer-songwriter Jason Walker. Walker employs his velvety-smooth, honey-sweet voice in readings, music and spontaneous stage commentary to address the question: why do we obey laws written for our own destruction? Estonian artist Peerna, award-winning light installation artist Sciulli, and Chinese opera star Yi merge light, voice, and drawing to create an environment in constant stretch and flux punctuated by questions and quest of truth.
Friday, April 7 – Patti Bradshaw (dance) / Vienna Carroll & Keith Johnston (music)
Choreographer and puppeteer Patti Bradshaw shares the evening with singing storyteller duo, Vienna Carroll and Keith Johnston. Bradshaw’s Flowers in Space uses dance, puppetry, and slide projections in a solo for dancer Valerie Striar inspired by the turn of the twentieth century painter, poet, set designer, and subtle social commentator Florine Stettheimer, (1871-1944). In Folk First: Black Roots Music, Carroll as griot and Johnston as guitarist celebrate the spirituals, work songs, prison blues, and sea shanties of antebellum African Americans, and their links to contemporary artists like Biggie Smalls and Pharrell Williams.
Saturday, April 8 – Michael Bellar (music) / Marielis Garcia (dance)
Closing night of the What For? Why Not? series features exuberant dancer-choreographer Marielis Garcia and never-the-same-way-twice pianist, Michael Bellar. Garcia offers a solo inspired by Stan Douglas’s photograph Shoes, and Bellar, playing solo, uses every limb of his body to create as much rhythm, melody, and harmony in one live moment as possible.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Though Michael Bellar has been in NYC for a long time, he still stands by his slow southern roots. At its core, the music he makes is ecstatic. It’s wide-open improvisation with earthy, percussion-fueled grooves. Hailed as “GENERATION NEXT” by Billboard Magazine, his group Michael Bellar & AS-IS Ensemble are known for their joyous, live musical experiences. The group has performed at a wide range of festivals and venues across the U.S. including the Telluride Jazz Festival, Brooklyn Bowl, NYC Winter Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center, SXSW, A Bear’s Picnic, Blue Note Jazz Festival NYC, Avery Fischer Hall (for Habitat for Humanity), San Jose Jazz Festival, Evolve Fest, JVC Jazz Festival, Rockwood Music Hall and as the house band at the world famous Blue Note jazz club in NYC. The group has opened for Robert Randolph & the Family Band, John Scofield, Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers), Medeski Martin & Wood, the Everyone Orchestra, Tea Leaf Green, Grant Green Jr and the Ryan Montbleau Band. As a sideman, Michael has toured/recorded with Amos Lee, Art Garfunkel, Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers), Red Baraat, Ryan Montbleau Band, Chop and Quench – the Fela! Band, Wheatus, Carsie Blanton and Euro pop star Giorgia. As a SOLO artist Michael has opened for the likes of Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles, Raul Midon, Jon Cleary, That 1 Guy, the Jeff Sipe Trio, Tauk, the Jonathon Scales Fourcestra and Carsie Blanton. www.michaelbellar.com
Patti Bradshaw is a director, puppet artist and choreographer. Her work has been seen in many venues in NYC and in Greece, Portugal and Japan. She was 2016 artist-in-residence at Brooklyn Studios for Dance where she premiered “K and the Way”, inspired by the writing of Franz Kafka. Also in 2016 she presented new work as part of New Dance Alliance’s Performance Mix Festival and at Roulette Intermedium. She is currently working on building an evening length performance work and installation inspired by the zeitgeist of the artist Florine Stettheimer. Her work was presented in the 2011 Harkness Dance Festival at the 92nd St. Y for which she received a Project Grant from the Jim Henson Foundation. She was a multi-year member of St. Ann’s Puppet Lab and a recipient of a Barbara Bray Ketchum artist-in-residency Award at Sarah Lawrence College. She has been on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College since 2000 where she teaches in the dance and the theater departments. www.pattibradshaw.com
VIENNA CARROLL & KEITH JOHNSTON
Vienna Carroll is a Griot, a singing storyteller. She tells forgotten or under-reported stories of antebellum African American life. She learned music from the Black Ladies of her youth, including her fearsome great grandmother who played country & western guitar to Minnie Pearl on Saturday night radio and only proper Pentecostal chords in church on Sunday. She formalized her studies with a BA in African American Studies from Yale University. Ms. Carroll wrote and starred in Singin Wid A Sword In Ma Han, a musical docudrama about a family escaping slavery, which won the NYC Fringe Festival’s Audience Favorite Award. She conceived of and produced the First Annual NYC Underground Railroad Festival Juneteenth Celebration with the Plymouth Church of the Pilgrim, a nationally certified Underground Railroad site and the Brooklyn Historical Society. In Folk First: Black Roots Music Ms. Carroll joins forces with an old time string band to celebrate the spirituals, work songs, prison blues and sea shanties of antebellum African Americans, and their links to contemporary artists like Biggie Smalls and Pharrell Williams. As the Artist in Residence at the Hudson River Museum during Red Groom’s Civil War exhibit, Ms. Carroll commemorated the extraordinary response of the now-extinct Westchester African American free community, The Hills, to the Civil War. www.viennacarroll.com
Keith Johnston is a professional actor, director, educator and musician. His life’s work is grounded in the transformational power of the arts to heal and educate. He is Artistic Director of The American Theatre of Harlem and the founder of SHINE, servicing the community through drama while addressing social issues. Mr. Johnston has recorded and performed with Jon Hendricks, Olu Dara, Brian McKnight, Lisa Lisa, Toots and Shirley Murdock.
Brooklyn-based playwright and performer Martin Dockery spends the majority of the year touring his eight one-person shows through Canada, Australia, the UK, and the US. Six of them are autobiographical (Wanderlust, The Surprise, The Bike Trip, The Holy Land Experience, The Exclusion Zone, and Delirium) and two are fictional (Bursting Into Flames & The Dark Fantastic). He’s performed at just about every fringe theatre festival in North America, winning fifteen “Best of Fest” awards along the way. He’s also performed at The Melbourne Comedy Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, and twice headlined the London Storytelling Festival in England. Dockery has also written five plays (Oh, That Wily Snake!, The Pit, Inescapable, Moonlight After Midnight, & Love Is A Battlefield ) and toured them with his co-star and wife Vanessa Quesnelle under the moniker ‘Concrete Drops.’ He has a degree in English from Kenyon College and an MFA in playwriting from Columbia University. He’s currently at work on a 10-episode fictional podcast to be released this May. www.martindockery.com
Holley Farmer’s work performing with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1997-2009 includes thirteen original roles Cunningham created for her (Bessie Award Sustained Achievement). She has taught the Cunningham Technique® since 2007 and currently stages his work. In 2010 Twyla Tharp created the principal role of Babe for her on Broadway in Come Fly Away, for which she received an Astaire Award Nomination. Her solo work has appeared at New York Live Arts, the Museum of Arts and Design, LaMama, the Joyce Theater, and Jacob’s Pillow. Farmer holds a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts and an MFA from The University of Washington. Currently, she teaches at City Center Studios for the Cunningham Trust, and is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Hunter College. This Fall she served as an artistic advisor at Baryshnikov Arts Center for Brooklyn Touring Outfit Co. Venture. (US. Premiere). She has been featured in Dance Magazine, (cover) Dance Teacher Magazine, (cover) Time Out NY, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, LA Times.
Marielis Garcia (b. New York City) is a New York-based dancer and choreographer. She is currently a member of Brian Brooks Moving Company and Peter Kyle Dance. Marielis is the director of MG DanceArts, a nonprofit dance production company that exhibits her collaborative works. Marielis currently teaches at Rutgers University, The Washington Heights Community Conservatory of Fine Arts and in NYC public schools. Since receiving her BFA from Marymount Manhattan College, Marielis has been performing both nationally and internationally for 10 years. Her work has been commissioned by Salem College and Steps on Broadway. She has been the recipient of LaMama Theater’s Spoleto Residency, a Kaatsbaan UpStream Residency and a Dance Initiative Residency. www.marielisgarcia.com
Scott Giguere is a New York–based actor, teacher and director. As a performer, he has appeared in regional theatres across the U.S. and international stages including: the Steppenwolf Company at the Seattle Repertory Theater, the Kyoto University of Art & Design, Sibiu Int’l Theatre Festival in Romania, Florida Studio Theater, On The Boards in Seattle, HERE Arts Center, PCPA in California, and Monomoy Theater on Cape Cod among others. As a teacher, he specializes in physical performance techniques, including primarily the methodology of the Suzuki Actor Training Method and Shogo Ohta’s Slow Tempo work; in addition he practices and teaches to Mary Overlie’s Viewpoints. He has taught movement and acting at the undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Washington, Indiana University–Bloomington, Rutgers University, the University of South Carolina, Long Island University–Post and Marymount Manhattan College. His directing gigs have included SWIMMING IN THE SHALLOWS by Adam Bock and original devised works based on Tennyson’s IDYLLS OF THE KING, Chekhov’s SEAGULL, the Icarus myth and HAMLET. Scott earned his M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Washington’s Professional Actor’s Training Program in Seattle and is a member of Actors Equity Association.
Few musicians have managed to navigate the richly varied avenues of New York City’s abundant music scene with the same passion and adaptability as trombonist and composer Ryan Keberle. Since his arrival in 1999, Keberle’s diverse talents have earned him a place alongside a staggering array of legends, superstars, and up-and-coming innovators. Leading his pianoless quartet Catharsis or arranging for the little big band setting of his Double Quartet, Keberle draws upon lessons learned playing alongside masters of a multitude of forms, from jazz legends to indie rock ground-breakers, R&B superstars to classical virtuosos. That includes playing with jazz greats including Maria Schneider and Wynton Marsalis; hip-hop and R&B superstars like Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys; Latin jazz leaders like Pedro Giraudo and Ivan Lins; indie rock ground-breakers such as Sufjan Stevens; or playing in the house band at Saturday Night Live, on the soundtrack of a Woody Allen film, or in the pit for a Tony-winning Broadway musical. Ryan was born and raised in Spokane, WA and is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music and the Juilliard School. His music has taken him to venues across the globe, throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. www.ryankeberle.com
Caleb Nussear is an American artist living and working in New York City. He received a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Bard College at Simon’s Rock and an M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. Mr. Nussear’s work is based on the overlap between complex formal geometries, physical and mathematical concepts of higher dimensionality, the natural landscape as it is found, and finally, the sensual, tensile quality of line drawing. He is comfortable working in drawing, sculpture, photography, and installation. In recent years his work has been exhibited across the greater New York City region in a variety of venues including: Leslie Heller Project Space, Danese/Corey Gallery, No Longer Empty, NURTUREArt, Marymount Manhattan College, Vaudeville Park, and Katonah Museum of Art. www.calebnussear.com
JAANIKA PEERNA, CHRISTINE SCIULLI & QIAN YI
Jaanika Peerna is an Estonian-born artist living and working in New York, Berlin and Tallinn. Her work encompasses drawing, video, installation and performance, often dealing with the theme of transitions in light, air, water and other natural phenomena. She has exhibited her work extensively in New York, Berlin, Paris, Tallinn, Helsinki, Venice, Moscow, Dubai, Sydney, and Cologne. Her work is in numerous private and has been acquired by Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris. Peerna is represented by ARC Fine Art and Galerie Ulf Larsson. She is a member of Artist Pension Trust and was awarded the FID Grand Prize. www.jaanikapeerna.net
Christine Sciulli is a visual artist whose primary medium is light. Sciulli was selected for the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2014 Invitational, her installations have been shown in the US and Europe including the Parrish Art Museum, Smack Mellon, Frederieke Taylor Gallery, Edward Hopper House Art Center and the Islip Art Museum. She was the recipient of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Grant and commissioned by the 2013 Global Citizen Festival. Sciulli is the video artist for the upcoming Aenid at Duke University, Mabou Mines, “Song for New York: What Women Do While Men Sit Knitting”, by Ruth Maleczech and has worked with Phantom Limb in residence at Dartmouth College’s Hopkins Center and Mass MoCA. www.christinesciulli.net
Qian Yi was recognized in 1997 by The Chinese Ministry of Culture as one of the country’s finest young Kunqu actors. Internationally renowned for performing the lead role of the epic 20-hour production of The Peony Pavilion at Lincoln Center Festival she had her Western premiere singing leading role in the San Francisco Opera’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter. In 2015 and 2016 Qian Yi starred as the lead singer in composer Huang Ruo and visual artist Jennifer Wen Ma new installation opera Paradise Interrupted for Spoleto Festival, Lincoln Center Festival and Singapore International festival of Arts. Qian Yi starred in Triple 8 Palace, an Official Selection of the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. www.qianyiarts.com
JJ Sulin has a BA from the University of Illinois, Champaign. He was the art director/curator for Canteen magazine from 2008 through 2016. JJ’s photography has been exhibited in galleries throughout the U.S. His book Acey Deucey was released September 2016. JJ currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. www.jjsulin.com
Brooklyn vocalist Jason Walker hails from a multi-generational music family –he was cradled in the arms of Mahalia Jackson as a child and has shared the stage with Mick Jagger, Bono, and Elvis Costello. This velvety-smooth vocalist combines jazz, gospel, classical, and soul in an uplifting, honey-sweet sound that’s a pure pleasure to take in. Fans rave about this crooner’s gorgeous vocals, bluesy bassline interludes, and joyous lyrics that coalesce in his self-coined style of “folk-soul,” a revelatory combination of spiritual and secular music that anyone can enjoy. Walker discovered an inclination for music at an early age, and his talent was fostered by his family’s deep music roots. After finding his calling in music theatre at Kenyon College, Walker went on to be a featured soloist and ensemble leader for Robert Wilson and Bernice Johnson Reagon’s opera, Temptation of Saint Anthony, an all-African American production, rooted in the gospel tradition. He most recently toured with Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach. In addition to his prolific theater resume, Walker has an impressive solo career. His first album Just Like You debuted in 2008, and draws from Walker’s musical expertise in the genres of jazz, gospel, classical, and opera. www.jwalkmusic.com