Calarts

Applications open for the 2012 Fringe Festival Award for Sustainable Production at the Hollywood Fringe #lathr #hff12

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE 2012 HOLLYWOOD FRINGE QUESTIONNAIRE

The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) announces the 2012 Fringe Festival Award for Sustainable Production at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The CSPA Fringe Festival Award for Sustainable Production is designed to reward sustainable practice in the production of a fringe show. The winner will be announced at the Fringe Awards Ceremony on June 24th at 7:00pm, and will receive a plaque and a feature article in an upcoming edition of the CSPA Quarterly, the CSPA’s print publication highlighting the most exciting work being done in sustainability and the arts.

The award will be adjudicated by the CSPA Directors, Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright, along with a number of CSPA affiliates. It will be looking at public communication and education, resource use and transportation in support of presenting a fringe show based on methodology developed by the CSPA itself and San Diego’s Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company, who has created a comprehensive Green Theater Choices Toolkit with a generous grant from the Theater Communications Group.

To be considered for the award, a production fills out an online questionnaire. Questions range from an inventory of materials used to what public transportation lines run close to venues to how themes about sustainability are addressed in their shows. Because venues vary so greatly, all but the most basic questions are optional. Shows are encouraged, but not required to provide a CSPA affiliate with tickets to their production to allow a trained eye to look at shows and projects as they exist in the real world.

As an independent producer and designer, outside of the CSPA, Garrett has produced dozens of shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Garrett also serves as the Festival Producer for CalArts Festival Theater, a program of California Institute of the ArtsSchool of Theater that enables students and alumni to bring work to the Edinburgh Fringe, now in it’s 9th year.

“Even more so than we want someone to score perfectly on the questionnaire we use to evaluate shows, we want theater artists to look at the questions and think about how it helps to guide their thinking about sustainability in the their art. There may be questions asked in ways they hadn’t thought, and we hope they ask these questions of their next project and the project after that.”

To apply, fringe show producers can head over to the CSPA’s website at http://www.sustainablepractice.com/fringe or email fringe@sustainablepractice.org. Applications for evaluation will be taken up until the end of the festival, though it is encouraged to apply while it is still possible for a CSPA affiliate to view the show. All questions regarding the award by also be be directed to fringe@sustainablepractice.org.

The CSPA Award for Sustainable Production at the Fringe launched in 2010 at the Hollywood and Edinburgh Festival Fringes. Previous recipients include:  The Pantry Shelf a satirical comedy that takes place in any ordinary pantry shelf, produced by Team M&M at Sweet Grassmarket; Presque Pret a Porter, produced by Dreams by Machine; and Allotment by Jules Horne and directed by Kate Nelson, produced by nutshell productions at the Inverleith Allotments in co-production with Assembly.

The CSPA was founded by Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright in early 2008 after individually working on each of the programs that now make up the multi-faceted approach to sustainability separately. It provides a network of resources to arts organizations, which enables them to be ecologically and economically sustainable while maintaining artistic excellence. We support the infrastructure of this network by supplying artists with the information, education and intellectual community they need to make the best choices for their sustainability. We do this through three independent programs: CSPA Knowledge Network,  CSPA convergences, workshops and granting. We extend these efforts with key partnerships with like minded organizations. Past and Present partnerships have included the University of Oregon, Ashden Directory, Arcola Theater, Diverseworks Artspace, Indy Convergence, York University, LA Stage Alliance and others. Under the umbrella of the CSPA, each program and partnership uses different tactics with their own mission to create a comprehensive and cooperative synthesis in artistic sustainability.

Trailer Trash at PACT Zollverein

Sam Breen joined a group of students and graduates presenting “CalArts Plays Itself” (September 29 – October 2, 2011) at PACT Zollvereinin Essen, Germany, one of Europe’s up-and coming culture centers. The show featured original, cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary work, including Breen’s “Trailer Trash Project: Life Meets Art in a Tin Can.” Using a 15-foot inflatable model of a travel trailer he told the story of how he lost his family home after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.  He explained how his mother—a former filmmaker for the United Nations refugee agency—was left without a place to live after the storm. A few years later, he took on unlikely

Musician Archie Carey presented at "CalArts Plays Itself," part of PACT-Zollverein 2011

project: he began transforming a 33-foot long trailer into a green place to live (for his mother) and a moveable place for him and his fellow artists to showcase their work. Even in its un-restored state, the 1951 Spartan trailer soon became a emblem at CalArts for student-driven creative work, the backdrop and the catalyst for many cultural events around the

AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

institution. In Essen, Breen’s gallery space was crammed with the oversized blow-up model, making it hard for guests to ignore his invitation to step inside. The inflatable served as a dominating yet fragile symbol, a reminder of those who turn to transient living as a last resort.

” Sam Breen’s inflatable trailer project … lays bare contemporary America’s white whale: the housing problem, its connections to the current economic crisis, and to Hurricane Katrina. Like Jonah in the Old Testament, Breen was swallowed up by the whale. Several months later, he has been vomited out: the whale has turned into a screen onto which new stories are projected. The contemporary state of collapse has turned into a space of play, where new individualities and collectivities emerge”

Breen, who recently received an MFA in acting from CalArts, considered his 10-

Sam Breen in Essen with his inflatable trailer by sculptor Michael Darling

day stay at the PACT-Zollverin festival as a residency, using the opportunity to develop his presentation with his audience. He invited fellow artists— musicians taking part in other performances at the festival— to impromptu jam sessions inside the trailer. Daily conversations with patrons helped shape the installation. Many noted how the inflatable, sustained by two household fans, appeared to “breathe” as people entered and exited. It had a similar effect on Breen, who returned to Los Angeles energized with a new perspective on his project. He is planning to conduct more residencies, this time inside his actual trailer, which he will bring to the parking lots of cultural institutions in and around Southern California to continue renovating the trailer and performing art.

The Trailer Trash Project is a recent recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation.

 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Volunteers Take Center Stage In Trailer Restoration

Sam and his cousin Sasuke make templates for plywood that will be used to cover the walls and ceiling.

With graduation over, work on the Trailer Trash restoration has heated up.  The 1951 Spartan Royal Mansion left it’s CalArts home on June 15 and was towed 10 miles to a canyon on the the outskirts of Santa Clarita, where lizards and coyote are almost as plentiful as motorcycles rushing to the Angeles National Forest.

In June, Sam’s cousin, Sasuke, came from Japan to help out.  A recent graduate in geology from Kyoto University,  he spent a month working with Sam inside the trailer.  (Sasuke has an interest in nuclear energy and hekept us posted on recent happenings at the Fukushima nuclear reactor.)

The task at hand was to the walls and ceiling.  First, Sasuke attached wooden strips to along the ribs where the cabinets and closets will eventually be installed. Then he fashioned carboard templates which will be used as a pattern for the plywood that will cover the walls. The job isn’t  as easy as it looks; it requires lots of measuring, precision and patience.  Although he had little building experience, it is hard to imagine how Sam would have gotten the job done without Sasuke’s help!

If you are considering volunteering your time with The Trailer Trash Project, this slideshow might show you the kind of work we’re involved with now: 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Hot Times at the Silver Bullet

With graduation over, work on the Trailer Trash restoration has heated up.  The 1951 Spartan Royal Mansion left it’s CalArts home on June 15 and was towed 10 miles to a canyon on the the outskirts of Santa Clarita, where lizards and coyote are almost as plentiful as motorcyclists roaring up the road to the Angeles National Forest.

Sam’s cousin, Sasuke Breen, came from Japan to help out.  A recent graduate in geology from Kyoto University,  he spent a month helping Sam get ready to install the walls and ceiling.  He crafted and installed wooden strips to reinforce the studs on the walls and ceiling.   Then he made cardboard templates for the walls and ceiling – not as easy as it looks. The job requires lots of measuring and patience.  It’s hard to imagine how the job would have gotten done would have gotten done without Sasuke’s help. 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Sam’s Post #9 -Trailer: New Mascot for Cal Arts?

Photo credit: 24700, CalArts blog

 

by Sam Breen

This week I will graduate with my MFA in acting, so we are turning the page on the last chapter of the trailer’s involvement at CalArts.

Every year, the Theatre School sets aside the last two weeks of the academic calendar for New Works Festival, an event by and for the students.  The trailer was chosen to be a venue for the event. Three shows were performed in and around the Spartan: “The Nomad Project”; a dance piece about the transformation of the dancer’s body;  “True Love,” a reading of Chuck Mee’s play that also involved a BBQ and water-gun fight; and “Outbound to Wonderland” a play written with the trailer in mind about a 9-yearl-old girl’s subway journey to a stop called Wonderland.

As with Arts in the One World in January, I was amazed at how people came together to make this event happen. When one of the artists was worried that her computer speakers wouldn’t be powerful enough to be heard, she made a phone call and an hour later she had a sound designer – a PA system and a couple of professional speakers on booms – in time for the performance of her show.

Another example: the cast and crew of “Outbound to Wonderland” decided it would be best to set up their outdoor stage in the middle of the night, when they could properly test their lights and visual effects, and still everyone involved in the production (actors, designers, crew etc.) showed up to help out.

New Works took care of much of the logistics and the scheduling at the trailer, so I was able to relax a little and be a spectator. I watched the shows and witnessed how, over the course of the semester, the trailer had become much more than an elaborate backdrop—it was now a central character. The Spartan had evolved into something of a mobile landmark at CalArts and a symbol for the creativity and unique collaborative nature of this school.

I think CalArts just found its new mascot. 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Trash Piles On the Acts

Graffiti artist Jose Estrada

Click Here The events at Sam’s trailer kept on coming throughout the Arts In the One World Conference, January 27-29. The 1951 Spartan trailer  moved to the CalArts’ front lawn for the event.  The trailer is still a work-in-progress; the scheduled completion date is June, 2011. Some of the artists were so happy with the trailer they returned to the stage for repeat performances – film, dance, music and multi-media productions – throughout the weekend.

Many remarked that the space was inviting – even the inside in its unfinished state seemed to welcome artists and audiences alike.  Night time performances inside the trailer were especially intimate and light-hearted.  Daytime events staged outside under an awning in the warm provided a welcome space to relax on three sunny California days. Several dancers mentioned that they liked the way the floor (still only a subfloor) swayed with their movements during indoor performances.  Multimedia Interdisciplinary Artist  Kenyatta Hinkle said as she worked inside the trailer, she felt it had a life of its own.

Arts In the One World is a gathering of artist-activists interested in using their art to help bring about social change. First convened in January 2006 by Erik Ehn, AOW at CalArts is linked to it’s sister Arts in the One World conference at Brown University.

The CalArts blog Seen and Heard recently posted two articles about The Trailer Trash Project. Tatiana Williams wrote that many students at CalArts have gotten involed with the project.  And Lindsey Lollie wrote this post about an encounter she had at the trailer during the Arts In the One World Conference:

This past weekend Sam Breen and his amazing trailer was a great hit.  He renovated an old trailer which kind of looks like a space ship and transformed it into an art space.  Musicians, dancers, artists, singers, animators, filmmakers and photographers came to gaze and participate in what was a series of performances and installations.  It started on Thursday and ended Saturday.  I along with some other dancers choreographed small pieces to be performed inside and around the trailer.  meanwhile, in between performances, a bunch of us were waiting for more people to arrive and we started our own little dance party/show on the stage.  We took turns going up and making a fool of ourselves.  We were having fun in the moment.  There was a stage, and nobody around to judge us, just close friends and the opportunity was taken.  I filmed various people dancing and I hope you will enjoy.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Contemporary Art On Wheels

Axle Contemporary's gallery on wheels. Photo credit: Matthew Chase-Daniel, published in the NYTimes Feb. 3, 2011.

CalArts alum Jerry Wellman and Matthew Chase-Daniel transformed a Hostess delivery truck  into a mobile art gallery of contemporary art in Santa Fe, NM. Check out the story in the NY Times.  See also Axel Contemporary’s web site. 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

On The Subject Of Freedom

“On The Subject of Freedom” performed at the Arts In The One World Conference, 2011. Directed by Mersiha Mesihovic, Created with and performed by following: Lindsey Lollie, Amanda McNussen, James DiBrandon Lewis, Andy Robert, Etienne Rivera, Max Mendoza, Javier Gonzalez, Miriam Connor, Jahcobie Cosom and Matt Schumacher.

Growing up under a communist regime in the Former Yugoslavia, CalArts student Mierisha Mesihovic never really felt free. Her life became even more restricted when civil war broke out in her country.  Although her childhood may seem unimaginable to many of her fellow students at CalArts,  she thinks the gap between them is not all the wide.

Multimedia artist Mierisha Mesihovic

“Many of us struggle with being truly free.  We are afraid to express ourselves, to put ourselves in certain situations,” she says, explaining people often feel at war with themselves. “The conscious self confines us to what we should be and our subconscious self tells us to act on who we really are.”

Mierisha started out as a dancer at CalArts but switched her major to multimedia art in work with a broader palette. “As an artist interested in social justice, I felt I needed more tools than dance to express myself.”

A shared sense of community has helped her find her voice, take risks and break through boundaries.

“On the Subject of Freedom,” performed at Arts In The One World 2011 was a collaborations between Mierisha and fellow students. An exploration of the restraints on freedom, the piece combines dance, live music and projected images. It begins in a conflict zone with a duet about the oppressive atmosphere of war.  The dancers gradually learn to carry on their lives with dignity in spite of the fear and hate surrounding them.  They begin to confide in each other, questioning whether the war is just. The piece ends with liberation, resolution and peace.

Dancer and choreographer Lindsey Lollie

CalArts dancer Lindsey Lollie was one of the collaborators on the dance; she and Mierisha have been friends for three years. Lindsey says the piece is about some of the restrictions people face based on their nationality, gender, race, religion or personality.

“Not everyone is free to walk outside if they are in a war zone,” she writes in an explanatory note to the piece.  “Not everyone is free to speak up and address real issues. “We need to believe in something that is not forced upon us but discovered within our soul.  Everyone deserves to live in the comfort of their own thoughts…”

Mersiha seems clear about the direction she wants to take her art: “My wish is to make the audience part of my work.  I would like to inspire people to act. A sense of community can help us jump over boundaries.  We are many and we are stronger that the fear. The positive always prevails over the negative.”


This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Trash Piles On the Acts

Musicians James Brandon Lewis and Erinn Horton play on the Spartan's outdoor stage while multimedia artist Kenyatta A.C. HinkleHinkle works on a current piece.(Not pictured: musician Kevin Robinson)

Dancers Ariana Daub (right) and Erin McCarthy (left)

Events at Sam’s trailer kept on coming throughout the Arts In the One World Conference, January 27-29. Some artists were so happy with the space they retruned

Graffiti artist Jose Estrada

for repeat performances. Acts included  jazz, salsa, multimedia presentations involving old time movies and country hip.  Graffiti and mixed media artists were in residence along with filmmakers and videographers who screened their productions at night inside and outside the trailers.  Two playwrights presented reading with actors.

Students, teachers, working artists and others gathered on the lawn by the entrance to the main building at CalArts.  Arts In the One World is a gathering of artist-activists interested in using their art can help bring about social change.

First convened in January 2006 by Erik Ehn, AOW at CalArts is linked to it’s sister Arts in the One World conference at Brown University.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Border Art in the War On Difference

El Mexterminator

When Sam presented The Trailer Trash Project at the Arts in the One World Conference (Jan. 27-29) he heard  Guillermo Gómez-Peña give the keynote talk.   We thought you might like to read more about this extraordinary performance artist, poet, playwright and teacher.

In the border region between the United States and Mexico who are the insiders and who are the outsiders?    Guillermo Gómez-Peña puts borders – between people of different nationalities, ethnicities, religions and sexual preferences – at the center of his work. This “stubborn Aztec hipster” plays with some of the iconic images that invade our subconscious and feed our fears.  His personas include a Narco-Dandy, El Mexterminator  and San Poncho Aztlaneca, a shaman/saint from an unknown border region.

Earlier pieces explored the loneliness of the immigrant experience in the United States.  While still a student at CalArts he wrapped himself in a batik cloth and lay down on the floor of an elevator.  Another time he dressed as a homeless Mexican and begged for food. (No one stopped.)

The human body is often used as a metaphor for the body politic.  In the Mapa Corpo Series, performed with Violeta Luna and an acupuncturist, he re-created a ritualistic sacrifice in which members of the audience were invited to help stick needles topped with flags into Luna’s naked body.  The piece is a statement against the War On Terror which Gómez-Peña calls “the War On Difference.”

Using his artistry, wit, intellect and considerable compassion, Gómez-Peña invites us to examine the transgressions of western society and overcome our fear of the other.

In a seven-hour workshop held at the conference,  he gave the participants a suitcase full of simple props, telling them to improvise.  “Think of it as a performance jam,” he said. “Performance artists jam just like musicians.”

Next he invited the group to transform each other into icons representing the sacred and profane.  With an eccentric selection of music playing while the actors got into character,   he likened the exercise to a cabaret where the audience is invited to participate:  “Think of it as an obscure German lounge bar  where the images connect in a common theme.”

At the end of the workshop he encouraged aspiring performance artists to create “a borderless ethos,” experimental laboratories for change where divisions between outsiders and insiders begin to fade away. “The way forward requires hospitality across the divide,” he said.

Participants emerged with huge smiles on their faces. CalArts multimedia artist Mersiha Mesihovic said she felt the workshop changed the way she would approach her work in the future.  Dancer Lindsey Lollie agreed, adding she hopes to attend the International Summer Workshop in Oaxaca, hosted by Gómez-Peña’s troupe, La Pocha Nostra.

( Merisha and Lindsey collaborated on another AOW performance, “On The Subject Of Freedom,” which you can read about by clicking this link.)

Sidebar: “On The Fear Of the Other”

do you hear the police sirens? beautiful, eh?

Ammmeeeeeeerica, what a beautiful scary place to be

but then living in fear is normal for us

we are all scared shitless of the immediate future

by the way, are you scared of me?

of my accent, my strange intelligence,

my obnoxious capability to articulate your fears?

an articulate Mexican can be scarier than a gang member

que no?

are you scared of my moustache?

my unpredictable behavior?

my poetic tarantula,

my acid politics,

my criminal tendencies,

my tropical diseases,

my alleged ancient wisdom?

my shamanic ability to exorcise the evil out of white people,

yes or no? que si que no; que tu que yo

’cause I’m scared of you,

of your silence pinche mustio

your silence makes you really scary

& the distance between you and I makes it even worse.

For more on GGP’s workshops, see this link .  For resrouces, check out La Pocha Nostra’s bookstore. See also this article, “Disclaimer:  Notes on the death on the American artist,” from In These Times (May 19, 2006).


[1] Reprinted in Dangerious Border Corssers. (200: 61) 

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.