The Accidental Futurist Ensemble: SITI Company’s “The Medium” at BAM

The year is 1993: Bill Clinton becomes president of the US; the World Trade Center is bombed by Islamic Fundamentalists; the FBI raids Branch Davidians, a religious cult in Waco, TX; Russia and the US sign a treaty; an earthquake and tsunami devastate Japan; brush fires ravage Australia; ethnic fighting causes turmoil in Bosnia; Ty introduces plush toys called Beanie Babies; the tech company Intel launches its Premium Processor. And an ensemble-based theater company called SITI Company devises the play The Medium in Toga-Mura, Japan. The Medium returns almost 30 years later to BAM Fisher, Fishman Space from March 15-20. As Shakespeare

NAATCO’s OUT OF TIME at The Public Theater

OUT OF TIME, a collection of five brand-new monologues by five award-winning Asian American playwrights could have been titled “Long Overdue.” Now playing at the Public Theater through Sunday, March 13, OUT OF TIME was commissioned by NAATCO (National Asian American Theatre Company), conceived and directed by Obie Award-winning director Les Waters, and stars five Asian American actors over the age of 60. The pieces were written especially for them, and it shows.  While over two hours of monologues can feel exhausting and more like an actor’s showcase than a full production, when done well (Eve Ensler aka V’s Vagina Monologues,

Mdou Moctar & Bartees Strange launch Music at BAM Curated by Hanif Abdurraqib

There are moments when music can break down all borders and boundaries to touch something deep within the soul. Those rare experiences make an individual recognize their place in their collective community and within humanity as a whole. This is not an intellectual process but requires the heart's opening. It is a possession of sorts that takes you over as if seized by some supernatural force. That was the feeling that permeated BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House when Mdou Moctar and Bartees Strange kicked off Music at BAM, a series programmed by Hanif Abdurraqib, Guest Curator-at-Large. The vast space was jam-packed

Interview with Daniel Alexander Jones

The transcendent Black Queer Artist Daniel Alexander Jones (aka DAJ) puts his “slashes” to good use. The multi-hyphenated artist is having a very busy 2021. He’s had a book release, a podcast, a Howlround, and Christmas show, Jomama Jones’s Celestial Holiday Spectacular on December 3rd at New York Live Arts all in one season.  I first encountered DAJ in his luminous performance as Jomama Jones in Blacklight. I was immediately transfixed by his mystical charms, chameleon-like abilities, extraordinary talent, and tender vulnerability that brought the cosmic character of Jomana Jones down to earth. Reading his recently published collection of plays and performances,

Interview with Buck Gooter’s Billy Brett

Buck Gooter was formed in 2005 by multigenerational bandmates Terry Turtle and Billy Brett. The duo met in Harrisonburg, Virginia while working at the Little Grill Collective (known for hosting early Old Crow Medicine Show sets). The quirky name is the result of Terry hurling a playful joke at Billy with his mouthful. Buck Gooter’s eclectic sound is hard to pinpoint with the limitations of a single genre. It’s industrial-folk blues with electronic elements, primal screams and dark, moody, melancholic lyrics verging on the sinister. Imagine a caged beast who’s a half-alien, half-mythical medieval creature hybrid stuck in a cage in

Interview with Sarah Brightman for “A Christmas Symphony” 2021 Tour

  Though her time in the spotlight began as a member of the UK-based dance group, Hot Gossip, soprano superstar Sarah Brightman’s career launched on the global stage when she originated the role of Christine Daaé in Andrew Llyod Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. After her fateful Broadway debut, Brightman’s legendary career and iconic status have increased exponentially along with her longevity. She continues to top charts, break records and touch the hearts of millions with her angelic voice, commanding stage presence, love of collaboration, and curiosity about world cultures and music.  Credited for putting the term “classic-crossover artist” on the charts,

SHEEP #1: Tiny Toys Captivate Hearts at Japan Society

There comes the point in life when one embarks on a Hero’s Journey toward self-discovery and finding the meaning of life. In the case of SHEEP #1, now playing at Japan Society through November 7, that remarkable journey belongs to a tiny plastic sheep toy.  NYC-based Japanese artist Sachiyo Takahashi creates a unique, imaginative world and theatrical experience through her “Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatre,” a real-time manipulation of miniature objects projected on a screen with silent dialogue and live musical accompaniment.  The result is a performance that is extraordinarily tender, whimsical, and perspective-shifting. Inanimate objects become sentient beings with complex desires, interactions and

Under the Radar Festival 2021: Re-envisioned Virtually

It’s 2021. We made it. Now what? For those of us fortunate enough to have survived (though not without scars) the year that no one could have imagined, we enter the new year less naive and more prepared for the unexpected.  Fortunately, one of the annual delights that kicks off each January with surprisingly fresh performances from local artists and exciting international companies has returned. The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival is back for its 17th triumphant year, albeit differently than before. Like everything else, the festival’s offerings are confined to virtual viewings and one very personal phone call.  The artists

Theater Markers Summit 2020 Offers Investigation & Inspiration Amid Uncertainty

Over a weekend and one bonus day, 103 theater professionals from Broadway, the USA, and worldwide assembled virtually for the most well-attended Theater Makers Summit in the event’s history. Participants from NYC, across the USA, and globally were eagerly hoping to glean some spark of light in a very dark year for the theater industry. The Summit was hosted on the app and web service Whova, which enabled more direct interaction than possible with an in-person event. The community chat rooms, comments, and direct messaging were all abuzz with energetic chatter and networking attempts throughout the Summit. Another benefit provided by the

“The Game of Life” Ushers in Rubin Museum of Art’s Brainwave 2020 on Impermanence

The Rubin Museum of Art has a knack for making their exhibitions of both ancient and contemporary art from the Himalayan region -- and the philosophies and practices that inspired and informed the work -- relevant through compelling interactive engagement that makes the creations and concepts spring to life in ways that are entertaining, thought-provoking and sometimes profound. I should know because I was first lured into the former tenement building-turned-Barney’s store that was transformed into a museum to host the collection of art collectors and entrepreneurs Donald and Shelley Rubin -- who bought their first Tibetan thangka painting with

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