Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Support Racoco Productions Aug 20 Performance in Socrates Park

One of the many things I learned from working with choreographer Rachel Cohen is that when it comes to composing for dance, anything goes and dancers feed on sound(s). One of my and Rachel's first collaborations, "Recidivistas," will be performed in Socrates Park (NYC) Aug 19 with 30 (!) dancers, all planted in flower pots. You can help realize this extraordinary event by visiting Racoco's Kickstarter campaign >> http://kck.st/2vklI77

Here's a little more about the upcoming performance and the campaign:

A one-of-a-kind happening, Busby Berkeley meets garden flash mob meets Alice in Wonderland! On Saturday, August 19, at 4pm, Racoco, an unusual dance-theater company, will perform the piece excerpted in the video above with 30 dancers, planted in soil in oversized flower pots, outdoors at Socrates Sculpture Park (invited by Julia Gleich and Jason Andrew of Norte Maar to participate in their amazing annual Dance at Socrates event - visit http://nortemaar.org/projects/dance-at-socrates-2017/). We'll also create a short edited film from the rehearsal, setup, and performance footage from Steven Speliotis's 2 cameras, a Go Pro attached to a dancer, and an overhead drone camera!

We're in rehearsals now, have ordered the pots and the soil, and are putting together the costumes. Racoco's longtime collaborator Chris Becker composed the wonderful music when we originally created the trio for chashama's Oasis Festival in 2006!

Your contributions will pay the 30 dancers what they deserve, the composer royalties, the videographers' fee, and cover the costs of the video editing, pots and soil, renting a van to get everything to Socrates--and doing the laundry after the show!

Meet our dancers: 

Janet Aisawa, Jessica Burstein (www.jessicasueburstein.com), Destiny Cabrales, Marianne Camarda, Maryanne Chaney, Rachel Cohen (racoco.org), Megan Curet, Lily Davis, Rina Espiritu, Bianca Falco, Nicole Fuentes, Julia Gleich, Jenny Gram (www.thejgramproject.com), Eva Hansson, Holly Heidt (www.muliebrisdancetheatre.com), Delsa Heredia, Masumi Kishimoto, Nicole Lee, Mengying Lin, Dale Nathaniel, Kymberly Nolden, Zoe Padden, Dalma Sacasa, Meghan Schardt, Irene Siegel, Despina Stamos (tmdas.org), Mary Staub, Emily Winkler-Morey, and Rose Zingale    

Racoco fuses absurdist visuals, quixotic choreography, and raw materials, frequently collaborating with visual artists and composers. Choreographer and performer Rachel Cohen founded Racoco in 2003. Visit our website: www.racoco.org

Risks and challenges

The only thing that could stop us now is a hurricane - we plan to perform rain or shine. It is very difficult to coordinate the schedules of 30 people but we've found wonderful dancers excited to do the project who have been willing to commit the time, and dance in dirt! Racoco's projects always have many moving parts, strange props, and complicated logistics, and we are always proud of the result.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Widow | Ghosts Screening at Resort Wear VS Couture Millinery Fashion Event, NYC

Jil Guyon in Widow | Ghosts

Resort Wear VS Couture Millinery | Fashion Event
Screening of Widow|Ghosts 
[Video direction by Jil Guyonwith Valerie Barnes/Cinematography and Chris Becker/Original Sound]
Holy Apostles Gallery
296 9th Avenue, near 28th St., NYC
This Friday, June 16
6:00 to 9:00 PM

8:00 PM fashion show: CHUCHU NY & PomPom Bikini Line

Tickets: $20


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

New Collaboration-in-Progress with Racoco Productions, May 14th at The Construction Company

Choreographer Rachel Cohen and friend. (Photo by Leighton Edmondson.)

Choreographer Rachel Cohen, mastermind behind the impossible-to-define dance/theater company Racoco Productions, will present a new work-in-progress Sunday, May 14th, at 3:00 p.m. at The Construction Company, 184 Eldridge Street (at Rivington), New York, NY. The piece, entitled -overt, features Cohen, an air dancer (see above), filmmaker Leighton Edmondson, free cotton candy, and music by yours truly. Also on the program are Laura Shapiro, Beth Leonard, and Bob Eisen. Admission is $10.

Wish I could be there! I smile whenever I look at this photo.

For more about Cohen and our past collaborations, read my interview with Rachel here.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

WIDOW_Remix at Contemporary Art Ruhr, Media Art Fair, Essen, Germany, May 12-14

(Still from Widow_remix, a film by Jil Guyon)

VERY exciting news. My most recent collaboration with New York video and performance artist Jil GuyonWIDOW_remix, will be presented at Contemporary Art Ruhr, Media Art Fair, Essen, Germany, May 12-14. Wish I could be there! 

Jil Guyon: Director, Performer
Chris Becker: Original Score 
Helga Davis: Vocals
Valerie Barnes: Cinematography

WIDOW_Remix (2016)

Chris Becker: Widow is the first film I scored for artist Jil Guyon, whose cross-disciplinary talents resonate strongly with my own creative obsessions. Widow premiered February 4, 2014, at the Dance on Camera Festival presented by Dance Films Association and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and went on to screen at several festivals and museums across the U.S. and Canada.

For WIDOW_Remix (2016), Jil created a radical re-edit of Widow, and invited vocalist Helga Davis to improvise and record several a cappella performances while watching the resulting film. My job was to create a final score using 10 separate takes of Helga’s improvisations. Knowing how deeply Helga is able to go into the music as a singer and improviser, I tried to preserve the spontaneous energy of her performances and create a score that sounds like it is unfolding in real time with the film. WIDOW_Remix was edited and mixed using Ableton Live on KRK Rockit 6 speakers and mastered by Berlin-based sound artist Douglas Henderson.

Jil Guyon: WIDOW_Remix is an alternate version of my original Widow performance-video in which a woman wearing a 1940’s-style black dress and unfurling belt performs a sequence of movements while constrained within a stark, narrow white interior. Because Widow followed the choreographic trajectory of the live performance upon which it was based, I decided to create a more abstract edit using a “cut-up” collage style which allows the viewer to merge with the protagonist’s unrestrained, emotive experience. Because I knew this experience would be as dependent on the sound score as the edit, it was important for me to work with collaborators who were sensitive to this interrelationship. What Chris and Helga put together was altogether successful, hovering on the edge of pleasure and pain, and not only mirroring but intensifying the protagonist’s internal world.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


(Chris Becker in performance, April 8, 2017; Photo courtesy of Kingwood Fine Art Gallery.)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Looking forward to this tomorrow. I will talk a little bit about the great pianist Connie Crothers, who graces the cover of my book Freedom of Expression: Interviews With Women in Jazz, and sadly, passed away in August 2016. Next there will be a sort of improvised dialogue between myself at Aaron Bielish's non-traditional traditional piano and recorded excerpts from my interview with Connie for my book. It is a humble tribute to a master musician, and I am very grateful to Aaron for the opportunity to be a part of this ongoing installation/performance series.

The performance takes place April 8, 2017, 12:30 p.m. at Lone Star College - Kingwood Fine Art Gallery

(Installation and photo by Aaron Bielish)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wremix at the NOW Music Festival

WIDOW_Remix, my most recent collaboration with artist Jil Guyon, will be screened at Capital University's 2017 NOW New Music Festival in Columbus, OH (Feb. 12-19) on a program of electronic media. This year's festival pays tribute to my composition teacher and mentor Dr. Rocky J. Reuter, and features works by many of Dr. Reuter's former students. I will share more details about the festival soon. 

The NOW Music Festival presented the original Widow in 2014, and will be screening this dramatic re-edit of that film, with an entirely new sound score. 

Jil Guyon (Director, Performer)
Valerie Barnes (Cinematography)
Chris Becker (Original Score)
Helga Davis (Vocals)