Festival Details

Sam’s Post #5: Keep Moving, It’s the American Way

NEWS FLASH! Sam Accepted at Edinburgh Fringe Festival  (details to follow)

Sam and other Cal Arts Actors to Showcase in NYC

Sam's 1951 Spartan Royal Mansion, viewed from a hill at Cal Arts. Photo credit: Scott Groller

My trailer, our trailer, which I inappropriately refer to as “The Mansion”, was acquired in August 2010, in Torrance CA. Shortly before, my mother– a one time filmmaker for the United Nations, once a Katrina refugee, currently a freelance journalist with a fervent passion for social justice and a newly developed interest in sustainable living – and I, a one-time private banker employed by philanthropist and all around jolly good guy, Mr. John Pierpont Morgan.

Well, my mom and I we’re on the phone..Truth is we’ve grown apart quite a bit over the last 10 years. More often than not we’ve been on opposite sides of the country, opposite sides of the Atlantic, sometimes unintentionally (and admittedly) sometimes with quite a bit of intention.

We’ve been through a lot, and it’s just the two of us. So, you know, tension ensues, occasionally, sometimes, often, whatever. So we’re on the phone, and the topic of this particular conversation is one that comes up every couple years.

It goes something like this:  “So, whaaaaaat’s next ?” You see, my mom’s been a nomad for a little while now. That tends to happen when a storm like Katrina hits an already fragile community like New Orleans.

But me? I’ve been in denial about my nomadic nature. I had a proper desk job for a couple years before coming here, a serious girlfriend. I had a PLAN, a checklist, which I adhered to methodically: a sequence of suit-and-tie jobs, then auditions, which eventually, allowed me to be here, right here, at this very moment.

At the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 2010, Sam played Godzilla in Eric Ehn's adaption of the play. Here he hawks the production in the streets of Edinburgh.

The thing is, I’m about to graduate, as an Actor. (Did I mention that?) And my future is quite uncertain again. And so…

My mom and I are on the phone, my grandmother has passed away and left her a little bit of money, and she wants to buy a trailer and live in it.  And I have been wanting to restore a trailer – I want to MAKE something, something living, and useful to someone, something longer lasting than a two-hour play.   And that’s as far as my thought process went ..

So a month later we buy the trailer. And I park it on campus, THIS campus, tucked away behind the basketball courts and I start BUILDING and my mom starts BLOGGIN’ and we call it “Trailer Trash” because it’s a GREEN restoration, and we’re using recycled materials.

So after having grown apart over the years, here we are collaborating, truly collaborating, in a way that’s completely new to me. We’re collaborating on a project that’s very personal to both of us. We are building, in fact we are RE-building from old fragments, a new home that is both unconventional and yet, in the most American way, as conventional as can be.

I don’t know about building houses, or little. I don’t know about trailer living. I don’t know about doing all this while going to school full-time and sometimes feeling like I’m losing my mind!

This project has been a true experiment, from the beginning. The most amazing thing about embracing the experimental nature of this project has been to watch it grow and evolve. What began as a guerrilla building project has become–because of this place [Cal Arts] this faculty, this student body– a PERFORMANCE PIECE.  (Why the hell not?)  And it’s about building a HOME for a family that’s been without one for a while. About learning to work the system of a higher education establishment [to get permission to put the trailer on campus.] It’s about learning to become an artist- and not just a performer. Learning to put my thoughts into words (believe it or not this is not something that comes naturally.) It’s about figuring out what this project is, what it means to me, to us, and so this thing is THERAPEUTIC, baby.

I’m starting to ask myself, with no real expectation of reaching any answers: Why is it that I still haven’t unpacked my stuff after Katrina? And why do I still refuse to settle down and put pictures up on the wall?

…maybe it’s not just me…[he stops to address conference participants] If I were to stop and ask: How many of you in this room consider yourself in TRANSIT? How many of you have ever lost a home?

I realize that most artists are nomadic by nature. We have to be, to survive, to pursue our dreams, to make, to MAKE .. We gotta’ keep on moving. And if possible, we ‘gotta do it in STYLE.

It’s the American Way.

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.

ME’DI.ATE Announces Soundwave Festival ((4)) GREEN SOUND

Bay Area’s Most Innovative Festival Explores Environmental Performances and Works From June 6 to August 13 2010.

San Francisco USA (April 8, 2010) – ME’DI.ATE Art Group is excited to announce the return of the acclaimed Soundwave Festival this summer for its fourth season, entitled GREEN SOUND, exploring the natural world and environmental issues. Arguably the largest collection of artists and performances the Bay Area’s avant-sound scene has ever seen, Soundwave ((4)) GREEN SOUND will feature over 75 participating artists and musicians, in over 35 inspired performances, exhibits and talks, in 18 events over the span of 2 ½ months.

Full festival details at www.projectsoundwave.com. Infoline: 415.320.6685

The astonishing season will feature events in the most stunning environments around the Bay Area including Battery Townsley in the Marin Headlands, the de Young Museum, Civic Center Plaza, Yerba Buena Gardens, Sunday Streets in the Mission, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and a month-long residency at The Lab where ME’DI.ATE turns the gallery into an artist-imagined forest. The most eclectic array of artists will perform including Bay Area luminaries like sound artist Jim Haynes, improviser Cheryl Leonard, singer Odessa Chen, electroacoustic band BarnOwl, chamber ensemble REDSHIFT with composer Mason Bates, avant-jazz band The Drift, as well as, national and international artists such as Texas artist Alyce Santoro, Chicago artist Brett Ian Balogh, Japanese sound artist Takahiro Kawaguchi, Norwegian artist Elin Øyen Vister, French composer Géraud Bec, amongst others.

“These innovative artists will investigate environmental compositions, solar and wind-powered performances, interactive eco-systems, climate change and pollution, natural- and human-powered performances, sustainable productions, reinvention and recycling, real and imagined environments and creatures, endangered species, water, plantlife/animal life, and other artist imaginations,” says Alan So, ME’DI.ATE Director and Artistic Director of the Soundwave Festival. “Soundwave promises to astound audiences with the locations, productions, and artist ingenuity, while challenging people to refocus attention on the beauty and destruction of our world, its needs for survival and implications to our community.”

Soundwave ((4)) GREEN SOUND begins June 6th at the historic WWII site Battery Townsley in the Marin Headlands. ME’DI.ATE is collaborating with the National Park Service for two events at the Battery. Artists will perform without electrical power using only the extreme natural resonance of the structure to amplify sound in this stunning environment. Audiences are encouraged to ‘buspool’ to the remote site leaving from The Lab gallery in San Francisco. “The battery today represents many things to many people – from national defense to the preservation of these former Army lands as a National Recreation Area,” says John Martini, Historical Consultant of Battery Townsley. “The historians and volunteers of Battery Townsley are excited to have artists explore the historic structure in new ways, and make it accessible to a new and diverse audience.”

From the resonances of bunkers, GREEN SOUND takes you to the resonances inside the majestic St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on June 12th featuring over a dozen vocalists and musicians. June continues with special free events in San Francisco at Yerba Buena Gardens June 13th featuring the Bay Area Sound Ecology, a sonic art installation/performance at Civic Center Plaza June 17th and a bicycle-powered music stage at the city’s Sunday Streets in the Mission District June 20th in collaboration with Rock the Bike.

July’s events start on July 2nd with special performances featuring experimental cello/violin duo Myrmyr at the spectacular de Young Museum, the first of two events here. “The de Young is very pleased to be collaborating with ME’DI.ATE Art Group for their Soundwave Festival ((4)) GREEN SOUND on this site-specific concert inspired by James Turrell’s “Three Gems,” says Renee Baldocchi, de Young’s Public Programs Director. “This experimental project is part of Cultural Encounters, which encourages artists to respond to the de Young’s collections and building.”

July 9th opens ME’DI.ATE Art Group’s most ambitious project ever. ME’DI.ATE will present a month-long exhibition entitled “The Illuminated Forest” at The Lab, San Francisco’s premier experimental art space. ME’DI.ATE Art Group is creating an artist-imagined natural world inside the gallery walls with environmental artist works and an immersive multi-media interactive exhibit and performance installation by Agnes Szelag, Jorge Bachmann, Ben Bracken, Alan So, Suzanne Husky, Jessica Resmond, Sam Easterson, Vaughn Bell, Alyce Santoro, and Reenie Charrière. Every Friday and Saturday night during the exhibition run, the Forest will host experiential performances inside the installation by some of the most compelling artists and musicians. “The Lab eagerly anticipates ME’DI.ATE’s residency here for Soundwave,” says Eilish Cullen, Executive Director of The Lab. “Our mission is to support the experimental and the daring, and ME’DI.ATE’s work continues to push those boundaries of presentation and performance.” The exhibition closes August 7th.

August 1st sees the second event at the gorgeous site of Battery Townsley and the festival concludes with a special GREEN SOUND ‘Cultural Encounters: Friday Nights at the de Young’ on August 13th.

Full Calendar of Events with list of participating artists availablehere. Extended descriptions are available at the festival website:www.projectsoundwave.com. Press Images available atwww.projectsoundwave.com/press. Ticketed events will be at affordable rates between $10 and $15 available online starting May 3rd at www.projectsoundwave.com/buy-tickets/. RSVP to free events atrsvp@me-di-ate.net

Soundwave Festival ((4)): GREEN SOUND gratefully acknowledges support from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Black Rock Arts Foundation, Japan Foundation, SF Bay Area Chapter of the American Composers Forum, Bill Graham Memorial Foundation, Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, Meet the Composer MetLife Creative Connections, The M-Line, The Lab, the de Young Museum, National Park Service, Rock the Bike, Yerba Buena Art and Events, and many individual donors and volunteers.

About the Soundwave Festival
ME’DI.ATE’s Soundwave Festival is San Francisco’s premier experiential arts festival held every two years over the span of two months over the summer. Bringing together sound purveyors from across the sonic spectrum (from sound art to experimental to classical to popular music), Soundwave presents experiential performances and activities that challenge the way audiences see and hear sound and music. Each season investigates a new idea through sound that incites diverse artists and musicians to create work that explores the season’s theme in new and innovative directions. Led by Artistic Director Alan So, Soundwave has completed three incredible seasons: 2004’s Free Sound, 2006’s Surround Sound and 2008’s Move Sound. Soundwave has established itself as one of the most anticipated events in the San Francisco Bay Area avant-sound scene and a growing reputation in the global sound and art communities. Among its accolades, Soundwave won Best ’07 Award and called a ‘Future Classic’ by San Francisco Magazine, ‘Inspired’ by 7×7, ‘Unique and participatory’ by SF Chronicle, ‘Magical and deeply personal’ by SF Weekly, featured on numerous local and international radio programs including the BBC (UK), CBC (Canada), NPR (New York), KPFA (Berkeley), KUSF (San Francisco), as well as an in-depth feature on the PBS-KQED television program SPARK* with an accompanying experimental music Educator’s Guide.www.projectsoundwave.com

About ME’DI.ATE Art Group
ME’DI.ATE is a volunteer-driven, San Francisco-based non-profit arts group. Founded in 1998, our mission is to develop innovative exhibitions, products and live events that challenge perspectives and inspire new and unique experiences within ourselves and the world around us; present diverse artists, mediums and places to exchange ideas and collaborate; connect new and diverse audiences to experimental arts and visions; and provide an innovative forum and an essential voice for progressive ideas to be seen, heard and explored critically, imaginatively and without limitation. ME’DI.ATE showcases emerging and established local artists, as well as national and international artists, to bring innovative ideas and perspectives to Bay Area audiences. For more information about us, please visit our websitewww.me-di-ate.net.

ME’DI.ATE Art Group – ME’DI.ATE Announces Soundwave Festival ((4)) GREEN SOUND.