Fellows Friday News: From Choreography Remixes to Reflections on Home

29 May 2015


Thaddeus Phillips as Barry Seal, for Alias Ellis MacKenzie. Courtesy of the artist.


Mikeah Jennings and Dito van Reigersberg. Promotional photo for Pig Iron Theatre Company's I Promised Myself to Live Faster. Photo by Jason Rothenberg.

In this month's Pew Fellows news highlights, theater artists Thaddeus Phillips and Pig Iron Theatre Company's Dito Van Reigersberg, Dan Rothenberg, and Gabriel Quinn Bauriedel, as well as choreographer Kate Watson-Wallace, all have works on stage at FringeArts. Master embroiderer Vera Nakonechny talks to the National Endowment for the Arts about the history behind her work, and novelist Ken Kalfus' new book is released.

Pew Fellows on Stage

Pig Iron Theater Company founders Dito Van Reigersberg, Dan Rothenberg, and Gabriel Quinn Bauriedel (2002) opened their new Center-funded show, I Promised Myself to Live Faster, on stage through May 31 at FringeArts. The Philadelphia Inquirer praised the show, saying "though there's no shortage of over-the-top visuals...there's still a gentle beauty anchoring the piece." The play has also received press from Metro Philly, Philadelphia Weekly, and others.

Pianist and composer Michael Djupstrom (2014) will perform at the German Society of Pennsylvania with Ayane Kozasa, including an original piece by Djupstrom—"Walimai"—which was awarded the 2012 Delius International Composition Prize by the UK-based Delius Society. May 31, 3–5 p.m., German Society of Pennsylvania.

Choreographer Kate Watson-Wallace's (2007) Mash Up Body, originally a Center-funded project, will be at FringeArts for three days this June. A "meditation on agency, radical presence, and embedded patriarchy in the art world," according to FringeArts, Mash Up Body asks dancers to destroy and remix choreography on the spot. June 4–6, 8 p.m., FringeArts.

Actor and playwright Thaddeus Phillips (2002) has just premiered The Incredibly Dangerous Astonishing Lucrative and Potentially Completely True Adventures of Barry Seal at FringeArts, the opening act to the Center-funded Alias Ellis MacKenzie at FringeArts this fall. The project examines Barry Seal, an infamous American smuggler, and is inspired by Phillips' experience working on Colombian telenovela Alias El Mexicano. The Philadelphia Inquirer called the show "a work of bizarro genius," and it has received rave reviews from Al Dia, Phindie, and elsewhere.

New Releases in Music and Literature

Experimental musician Charles Cohen (2011) has released a new album on Morphine Records, Brother I Prove You Wrong. The Quietus reviews the album, calling it "a deeply affecting work of great and subtle musicianship...a vindication for an artist who at long last found an audience but whose work, both now and then, remains timeless."

Bloomsbury has released novelist Ken Kalfus' (2009) latest book, Coup de Foudre: A Novella and Stories, a "groundbreaking work of literary invention." Kalfus will do several readings in the Philadelphia area to celebrate the book's release, including an appearance at the Free Library of Philadelphia. June 3, 7 p.m., Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr; June 4, 7 p.m., Chestnut Hill Book Festival, Chestnut Hill Hotel; June 8, 7:30 p.m., Free Library of Philadelphia.

Essayist Marco Roth (2009), founding editor of n+1 magazine, will also speak at the Free Library of Philadelphia in June. With other n+1 editors, Roth will discuss the latest essay collection from the magazine, City by City, which the Free Library describes as a "raw and revelatory yet still often celebratory look at some of America's best known and least understood urban areas." June 22, 7:30 p.m., Free Library of Philadelphia.

Hanging Loose Press has published Thomas Devaney's (2014) new collection of poetry, Runaway Goat Cart, which takes its title from a Bill Traylor painting by the same name. Upcoming readings include: May 29, Poets House, New York; June 6, Muse House, Philadelphia; June 21, 3 p.m., In Your Ear series, DC Arts Center.

Fellows at Home and Around the World

Architect Brian Phillips (2011) of Interface Studio Architects has opened a new exhibition at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Re: Rowhouse, as part of the Home Is Where You Hang Your Hat group exhibition, a show described by the Art Alliance as "an interpretation of the concept of home." Philadelphia Art Alliance, now through August 24.

Video artist J. Louise Makary (2013) begins an artist residency in Montegemoli, Italy this June, part of M'arte 2015 – Habitat, Habitus, Humus, a contemporary art project and experiment in creative participation. The project is run by Site Specific, an independent group focused on research and experimentation in contemporary art.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) interviews embroiderer and weaver Vera Nakonechny (2008), who was also a 2014 NEA National Heritage Fellow. In the podcast, Nakonechny describes her influences as an artist, including the moment when she first returned to the Ukraine after leaving as a teenager.