Festival TDB: Emergency Glitter


The inaugural Festival TBD ran July 24-28th at Abrons Art Center/Henry Street Settlement. Fresh baked from a “city-wide heat emergency,” five summer nights on the Lower East Side unfolded Ben Pryor’s neatly creased Emergency Glitter, opening a “new amorphous framework…of loosely related curatorial endeavors, each with their own structure and context.”

If you don’t know Pryor by name, maybe American Realness rings a bell. Realness is the festival that, in 2009, set up shop in the dance-land bedlam of NYC’s annual summit of performance power brokers, APAP, and became instantly essential. Pryor is rightly renowned for pulling off that coup.

I had first heard of Ben Pryor from US choreographer Trajal Harrell during the 2011 ImPulzTanz festival in Vienna. I was there for the young professionals’ gauntlet that is danceWEB, and Harrell was there to have his career blow up. In the final hours of FUTURESHOCK, our group had the rare opportunity to openly talk shop with a fellow choreographer who was building quite the career in contemporary dance. Among other factors, Harrell credited a good manager as having been instrumental to his success—the same manager as Miguel Gutierrez, in fact.

American Realness was originally conceived to showcase the roster of performing artists Thomas Benjamin Snapp Prior manages as tbspMGMT. Realness seems to have done the trick. So much so that Pryor today finds himself pinned to an indispensable US festival with a title—and theme—somewhat disassociated from that 2009 context that brought it into being; a none too shabby dilemma Pryor’s made for himself. And a fine problem for contemporary dance in the United States as well.

This back story sheds a bit of light on the rather less catchy appellation: Festival TBD. Straight out the box proclaiming an imperative nimbleness with—Emergency Glitter—annually determined thematic subtitles.

I’m based in Oregon, and I felt something of an outlier audience for TBD. It was a program well worth my attending, but not the kind someone like me would typically fly across the country to get to. Luckily, I was already in New York to sweat through an intensive rehearsal period for Heather Kravas.

Proof of aforementioned hot rehearsals.
Post-rehearsal for Kravas’ “the quartet”

After dance work with Kravas ended, I decided to stay in NYC for a week rather than going straight back to PDX. Festival TBD was a no brainer to attend once I discovered it would coincide with my period of “professional unemployment tourism.” Earlier in July, I had gone to the New Museum Block Party to hang out with AUNTS because I had heard they were cool. At the party in the park, Gillian Walsh gave me an Emergency Glitter promo/schedule/hand out.

And just look at this thing:


A lovely glittered nose perched atop a handsomely mustached lip opens to…emergency_glitter_3

a fine pairing of booty & sass making artistic postures in church opens to…emergency_glitter_4

a poster-size image of plain naked Rebecca Patek with headphones that lead…toward?…her vagina. Beat that! What was that theater-world truism Caden Manson explained to us during Big Art Group’s The People – Portland residency: “Tits and ass put ass in the seats?” Set taught in a timely, throwback tinged hot–cold color scheme?! SOLD!

Except I couldn’t actually afford to see these shows—those more or less of my peers in another city—without requesting comps in exchange for this piece of writing. I note this both for the sake of disclosure and because, at $15 a show, ticket prices were a sad skosh prohibitive for those more economically compromised working artists among us.

This brings up an important distinction to the presentational models offered in New York by the likes of Movement Research at Judson Church or AUNTS, where relatively regular performance programming is accessible on a free or pay-what-you-can basis. These two approaches—free-ish communal and set-price ticketed—address different needs in the field of contemporary performance: bolstering artist autonomy and consistency in practice on the one hand, and building a context compelling enough to attract expanded audience and press attention on the other.

AUNTS @New Museum Block Party

TBD was more subdued—or perhaps more substantial—than I had expected based on the ready-to-party aesthetic of the promo pamphlet and the rosy press previews I had read via Time Out + Culturebot. I’ve been left wondering: Did a new festival of rising/hot/young (just not “emerging,” okay) artists overstate its ready-made appeal? Personally, I caught more pause than pop; good pause—that of integrity rather than hesitance—but pause nonetheless, confounding glitter.

Back home, Hand2Mouth’s Risk/Reward and On the Boards’ NW New Works serve something of a similar role to Festival TBD. We could call these minor festivals as they occur outside most major theater seasons and often serve as a proving ground and potential springboard for lesser known works angling for additional performance opportunities and/or support for further development. I’ve criticized festivals like these for overstating what they claim to accomplish. In the Pacific Northwest, I see a need for organizations to spearhead a circuit of partnered performance platforms to circulate work produced in the region within and beyond it. I feel minor festivals like R/R and NWNW could do more to support the circulation of the works they program. Much to their credit, though, R/R and NWNW do seem to have coordinated their programming in a way that harnesses the potential of the Seattle–Portland microcircuit. The PacNW sister festivals offer a test run context to works pursuing the leap to higher-stakes programming in the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Arts Festival or the Northwest Series at Seattle’s On the Boards.

Not knowing New York too well, I have no idea if this critique holds water off the miserably humid Atlantic. While I’m sure the thrones of the US dance capital are not without their own shortcomings, exporting artists’ work doesn’t seem to be one of them. Emergency Glitter has shown that, in NYC, a minor festival can pull together that coveted audience cut with hiring choreographers, curious curators and press that matters. If a performance manages to tip even one of those dominos, the shot given by Pryor’s curation could very well be parlayed into a career break through. That’d be a big win, primarily on the part of the performing artist(s), but also for the festival that facilitates that gem of a context.

Pryor has thrown his rep and savvy behind something new and seemingly desirable for New York. Something also smartly synergistic with a portion of the contemporary dance field critically lacking in attentive, progressive curation.

I chose to attend all eight performances of Emergency Glitter on their two opening night programs. It was an ambitious amount to take in: five hours one night and three another, staged between three theaters on different levels of Abrons Art Center, each with distinct room tones (and seating options). I set this densest of schedules primarily to max my time for reflection and development around writing. But there’s more to the decision.

I kinda live for being swept up and transformed by performance. The key to my heart, friends. Handle with care. I strongly prefer the deep play of festival format programming to that of non-festival formats (seasonal, ongoing, one-offs). I don’t want my performance experience to dovetail nicely with dinner reservations. If there’s any contemporary art form that’s going to tackle the tyranny of convenience and resist rampant commodification, it’s live performance. When it’s made a convenient object of consumption, something radical and essential about dance slips away for me.

This is one of the reasons I’m such a fan of PICA’s TBA. Those ten days every September are quasi-mystical for me, often involving two to three performances a night. The hustle between venues demanded of near successive performance scheduling can be fun. But only if I know I’ll be able to redeem myself for abandoning friends as I rush off to my next show by later reconvening around food, drinks and the festival’s late-night events.

Even if I had chosen a more relaxed distribution of showtimes, Festival TBD would have struck me as running at too tight a clip. With its summer-in-the-city, down-time vibes and pronounced sexiness, Emergency Glitter seemed like it would have had more scope to party and socialize; to integrate the fostering of community and context into the festival itself.

The atmosphere felt friendly, just not convivial. The modest bar that typically supplements income for comparable programs was nowhere to be found, and I didn’t feel comfortable hanging out too long in the building before or after performances. Don’t get me wrong, the venue was well-maintained, well-lit and well-staffed by exceptionally courteous and informative people, but I also often felt the clock ticking away at my welcome.

I’m based in Portland, Oregon where time does seem to move slower and less expensively, so my experience might be one of intercultural dissonance. Maybe everybody had better places to party that I don’t know about because I’m not a local. Maybe people are just busier in New York. Maybe I misread a neutral difference as coldness; people simply abiding time management sensibilities shaped by a cultural context that’s a bit alienating to me. Maybe I was just homesick. Impression remains, regardless.

During Saturday’s afternoon conversation, Non-Institution-ality-ism, which ostensibly coincided with the “B.Y.O.Beer Garden,” all hands on deck held nary a cool brew. Rather, a good twenty, socially-responsible adults (there was one much loved infant, but no one was going to give it a beer) were focusing intently on comparisons between the organizational models of fantastically amorphous indie dance initiatives, annual operational budget breakdowns, weighing the pros/cons of establishing LLCs and managing tenuous revenue streams. The conversation allowed reps from AUNTS, CATCH, CLASSCLASSCLASS, and tbspMGMT to address an orderly agenda of key focus points pertaining to logistics. I had an indie dance initiative back home to take notes for—FRONT—so I allowed prudence to steal one Saturday back, thinking: I guess I’ll leave this 6-pack in my backpack, and pull out my clipboard, graph-ruled notepad and topically chromatic Post-Its notes instead, considering that no one is drinking beer in this garden, which is in fact a courtyard…

Maybe I just chose the wrong conversation to attend.emergency_glitter_6.jpg

Unfortunately, I had to miss all of Sunday’s events, including the closing celebration. I was drafting this writing all day, and then had to get ready to leave the city Monday afternoon.

Damn, maybe it was just me who was too busy to party. Bummed to have missed Sunday :–/

Again, this impression I received of limited hang time and relative sobriety could have been the product of circumstances particular to New York that I don’t know enough about. But it’s also not clear if what I experienced as brisk was circumstantial or intentional. Festival TBD’s reserve and quiet efficiency did draw a clear contrast between it and other performance platforms that build time to mingle, eat, drink and party into their events: “AUNTS constantly tests a model of producing dance/performance/parties.” Pryor is known for his enterprising, entrepreneurial approach, which has always struck me as compelling and even refreshingly progressive in its way. Maybe TBD was planned to convey a distinctly first-things-first sensibility. Were the works in Emergency Glitter paid an added degree of respect through their isolation from more extensive socializing? The in-and-out nature of the evenings did square focus on the performances themselves. And then it kindly asked us to leave.emergency_glitter_7

Not surprisingly, many of the artists in Emergency Glitter seem to have performed in the works of more well-established choreographers. Sarah Michelson, John Jasperse, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Jennifer Lacey, Tere O’Connor and Shen Wei were names I recognized as luminaries listed among the choreographers’ program bios.

Being that Emergency Glitter is a program of early-career artists, the atmosphere—particularly premiere nights—hummed with potential outcomes. Doubts loomed, but were kept largely off stage. Perhaps inevitably, variations in performance solidity were most visible amid the ensemble works of Rebecca Warner, Gillian Walsh and Lauren Grace Basket: 6, 4 and 4 dancers, respectively.


Warner’s Into Glittering Asphalt was the first work I saw, and well. Opening night, the audience sat on-stage at Abrons’ lovely Playhouse theater, never more than a few feet from the white Marley dance space. Lighting design by Madeline Best added depth to this proximity without obscuring the exquisite closeness of the powerhouse dancing.

At one point, a tall dancer slowly placed one demi-pointe in front of the other to trace the entire extent of the soft boundary inches before the audience. This was maybe a one minute solo, a captivating drama pulling from composure to exertion and back, which was amplified in the visible quiver of her skirt. Still, she never rushed the tempo on this lengthy pathway. In other instances, the costumes (designed by Warner and dancers) embellished in the still of their pastel stripes the remarkable control of dancers deftly defying exhaustion. The mastery with which this material was performed flickered a bit. But that wavering invited me in to appreciate the nuances of its choreography. Sensing minor and major exhibitions of skill removed for me the distance which polished professional dance too often rears. Instead, it brought out the valor of the undertaking without foreclosing a modest humility in its pursuit.

In the program, Emergency Glitter is described in part as “the ecstatic, somatic body and a charged presence with a return to capital D – Dance.” That capital D seems apt to Warner’s work, and could also be applied to that of Burr Johnson—performances paired on the same ticket. My parents from rural Washington would recognize these works as dance, though they might not know what to call much the rest of Emergency Glitter.

If this can be called a “return” to such choreography, I wonder what factors precipitated the shift. Do these works reflect a renewed hope that formal aspects of choreography might resonate in rather than rope off audiences? What is this unbowed reverence for technique? Haven’t I heard of peers in contemporary dance—those who grew up training in classical techniques—intentionally scaling back how much they point their feet or turn out their legs during auditions of recent years to avoid being written off as “over trained” for the job?

Had I cynically accepted the death of “old-school,” count-based, highly set choreography? Had I presumed such “Dance” could only exist laced with psychological realism or otherwise used as fancy miming for fantastical stories? Had I resigned myself to the death of those real American heroes that Dance 101 revealed to me?

How have the recent spotlights major visual arts institutions have placed on dance—if they even have spotlights at museums—played into the perspectives of choreographers who are just starting to earn a name for themselves?

How about the new tone of 2011 set by the Doris Duke Performing Artist Initiative?

What’s behind this “return”?


The works inflected by the glorious renaissance of technical choreography marvelously blossoming in 2013 were programmed with a counterpoint of more brash and bluntly provocative works. Those that stood out most for me were Rebecca Patek’s ineter(a)nal f/ear and Carlos Maria Romero and Juan Betancurth’s, Carlos Maria Romero, Juan Betancurth, David González Jiménez. 26.07.2013.- 28.07.2013 New York. Abrons Art Center. 19:00, 16:00. Names of all spectators separated by commas.

Post-show: ineter(a)nalf/ear

I was flipping out a bit during the opening night performance of Patek’s brutally problematic ineter(a)nal f/ear. That affair began Wednesday at 10pm. An anchor for me were four older gentlemen sitting front row center. I have no idea who they were, but they bore some spectacularly grumpy, scrutinizing faces throughout the evening-length performance. A buoy for me was Miguel Gutierrez sitting shotgun, whose own embrace of Patek’s critical, emo wit unleashed a staid reserve in me that need not be kept. I have no idea what the demographic of a typical Patek audience is, but I’d like to think that some of the people who saw her work during Emergency Glitter wouldn’t have otherwise intersected with it without the context of the festival. Though I’m a totally unqualified judge of New York audiences , so who knows?

Patek’s online work description :

Exploring the way our brains and our culture deal with trauma, violence and shame, inter(a)nal f/ear uses parody and satire to expose power dynamics, psychopathology and the psychic underpinnings of human relationships. How do the unspoken and sometimes unacknowledged parts of ourselves drive compulsive behaviors and repetitive violence. Is it possible to extricate ourselves from unconscious cycles made conscious?

For me, the performance tickled as it appalled, fiendishly well calibrated in performance and craft. Imagine Miranda July adapting Catherine Breillat’s Fat Girl by channeling Kurt Cobain via the ecstatic conduit of a flippantly disaffected Cunningham dance consultant. I’m glad Patek’s work seems to be receiving some much warranted attention.

Audience procession prior to performance by Carlos Maria Romero, Juan Betancurth and David González Jiménez

I’m embarrassed to share this, but it’s worth confessing that I referred in my notes to the final piece I’ll highlight as “the Latins.” More accurately, Carlos Maria Romero and Juan Betancurth’s Carlos Maria Romero, Juan Betancurth, David González Jiménez. 26.07.2013.- 28.07.2013 New York. Abrons Art Center. 19:00, 16:00. Names of all spectators separated by commas was a clear stand out for me.

I saw Romero and Betancurth’s premiere at Emergency Glitter, and it was the only performance in the festival that offered me insights that, relative to the field of contemporary performance I’m familiar with, felt alternative and assertively non-assimilated. While the two other works I saw staged at Abron’s Playhouse each explored the spatial dynamics offered by a stage-seated audience facing the ornate, vacant auditorium, Romero and Betancurth’s work reset the coordinates for such play. I was impressed to hear that the artists had a total of just six hours over three days to set their work in the venue. They pulled together an impressive treatment of the space that managed to make the hefty ideas inherent to the work remarkably accessible and engaging for me.

What hefty ideas, you ask? From the online description:

Within consequential encounters staged in different cities throughout 2013, Carlos Maria Romero, in collaborations with visual and performing artists, on this occasion Juan Betancurth, will develop a succession of works that explore the intersection between live-presence and the notion of sculpture. The process takes the psychiatric concept of paraphilia, as a sexual arousal to objects, situations or individuals, and its relation to fetishes, servitude and labor, to articulate the creation of objecthood.

The only thing I’d highlight from artists’ description is servitude and labor, which gets a bit drown out by sexual arousal and fetishes in my reading. The sound score included a substantial section speaking to contemporary conditions of labor, in which I remember a remarkably breezy unpacking of the phrase “emotional worker.” A new concept to me, resonate and useful. And let’s not forget the roaring menace of the unattended table saw. I can’t imagine the sex party where the prosthetic both performers engaged as a final gesture might be, um, utilized? But the episodic composition in the lead up got me to a perfect pitch for a happy slap of poetic synthesis; a wallop that make me think to the title of a book on the shelf where I was staying.


Broadly speaking, many of the works in Festival TBD: Emergency Glitter seemed to nod at a cynicism in the corner while alluding to some prospective antidote at their core. That nod is a necessary gesture in a field as “worthless” as contemporary performance, where so many of us work in conditions of relentless economic vulnerability, without access to affordable health care despite the highly physical work we do. That many of these performances risked understatement seemed a gesture of good faith in the sophistication of audience attentiveness—a gesture that somehow leaned toward a remedy to the field’s predicament.

I landed on the stylistic descriptor: clear loose.

Loose in that a subtly removed insouciance felt something like a through-line to the program. Consider the finesse in Niall Jones gesturing, “Come in. It’s okay,” to someone pacing outside during his solo brown october lash—outside in the bright hallway that was visible through the six propped doors that served a backdrop to his solo. Or how about the cool distance of a program in which half the performances take no bow.

Clear in that the works in Emergency Glitter demonstrate how looseness and play are not incompatible with rigor, control or clarity. These performances seemed to know their stakes. The assured pause mentioned at the outset was found in instances when restraint reigned back exuberance to let composition breath a bit—or a lot in the case of Burr Johnson’s not-short repose center stage in duet with Reid Bartelme, which opened up the final moments of Shimmering Islands nicely. More micro in its pauses, the cadence of Rebecca Patek’s vocal delivery keyed deep into its audience, riding a blade’s edge of satire and parody to great effect in ineter(a)nal f/ear.

The play I detected affirmed not only that these works were impressively considered, but also that a whole array of depths were present that would—for now—remain cloaked in a sweet incoherence that couldn’t help but be heard murmuring to itself amusedly from time to time.

I’d contrast this incoherence to some of the more accomplished works of recent years like Miguel Gutierrez’s HEAVENS WHAT HAVE I DONE, Jérôme Bel’s Cédric Andrieux, or Emily Johnson’s The Thank-you Bar. In their own ways, these works serve as leading examples of choreographic enunciation clear enough to portray a coherent and intricate perspective in sixty minutes or less. The gateways we get from these works of some of today’s master makers speak their respective new languages loud and clear. As audience, we ourselves will probably never become fluent in those new languages by sitting with them alone, but enough attentiveness could facilitate our proficiency in their reception—which must be close to the case since all of these works seem to be touring rather well.

If Gutierrez, Bel and Johnson have made successful work, it’s worth considering how articulate they are as artists who speak and write about their work. It’s not hard to find examples of this online: MG, JB + EJ. The language these artists produce around their work—distinct from the new languages they perform in dance—helps others value the work for themselves.

Great entry points to the artists of Emergency Glitter are on display in these online work descriptions as well as the festival hand out. But TBD itself could have done more to allow these artists to speak to their work publicly.

American Realness seems to be serving this function. Consider these videos of AR 2013 artists Neal Medlyn, Keith Hennessy and The Bureau for the Future of Choreography.

As the artists of Festival TBD get a foot in the door, it would seem all the more appropriate to present opportunities to generate dialogues around their work. The two conversations + BBQs were a fair undertaking in this regard. But I want more, and I’d be remiss to let Pryor off the hook. He’s the one I’ve heard referencing the root Latin meaning of curator as one who cares or to care for. Admittedly, there are big difficulties to building enthusiasm and attendance for extracurricular activities with artists who are not altogether well known. But Pryor is too smart and resourceful for us to excuse on those grounds. The proposal of Festival TBD warrants more opportunities to approach its artists’ work.

Personally, I would have appreciated if Emergency Glitter could have facilitated more centralized places and times for attendees to unpack together the multi-magics produced by the attentive performance of its audiences. Nobody’s going to tell me TBD’s performing artists are being compensated fairly if there’s no good lattice offered to grow the consideration of their audiences.

The creation of new language and rapports rooted in the live presence of performance is integral to the advancement of the profoundly social art form we call dance. Those who care enough to invest their time, attention and money in the precious strata of work Festival TBD curates need to be given the chance to wield what they’re left with from the encounter. The work in most minor festivals promises more than it pronounces. It does not speak for itself, yet. The genesis of its language must occur in society. And the slice of the pie that cares about that kind of genesis looks mighty petite from where I’m sitting.

The work minor festivals justify themselves upon needs all the help it can get to garner inlets toward its appreciation. These inlets are made through invested dialogues, and only a critical mass of distributed consideration will advance an artist, their work, and by extension the field itself. We need more confident, articulate advocates. And presenters need to do their part to ensure the contexts they propose are not without avenues for those latent advocates among us to find and assert their voice.

I don’t think it’s these artists’ responsibility to make their work accessible or even understandable. They’ve done their work, and I appreciate how little that work pandered to its audience. Those of us who are not performing on stage must pick up our fair share of progressive meaning making. Somehow, we need to make place for that process of progress.

The language that is produced around art matters. The visual arts, music and cinema all have vastly more developed methods of producing and distributing dialogues than does dance. Those dialogues are value adding to the work circulating in those forms. (Thanks Andy Horwitz for putting this idea in my head via Culturebot!!)

To crack that open for a minute: While I’m no Music Expert, I do listen to music—a lot. As I’ve been getting my fitness in this summer, I’ve had Yeezus bumping my ear buds. While striving toward my new personal best, I’ve marveled at how wildly the array of vocal timbres Kanye West raps with distinguish themselves from those of his earlier albums. Now, I can appreciate this because New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones made a passing comment disparaging the monotony and numbness of the timbres in A$AP Rocky’s vocal delivery. I’ve never even listened to Rocky! But I have listened to a three-second comment on a free New Yorker Out Loud podcast that gave me an insight that I then used to deepen my appreciation of the latest release by Mr. West. An album that, surprise surprise, topped the Billboard sales charts. Even more impressive to my mind, the astuteness of articulate appreciation I so unassumingly exemplify in my inner running pontifications is so fucking common it’s the object of satire in this promo video for the West album. Yes, the album that made more money than everything every choreographer in the United States of America has done, combined, in the 21st century—which is probably a suicidal fact check, so let’s just sit now with how terribly true it maybe might be.

The language that is produced around art matters.

I find audiences of contemporary dance to be exceptionally intelligent. This intelligence needs to be made manifest in order to support the field. Minor festivals like TBD would do well to find more ways to foster agency in their attendees, and to nudge along those who care to articulate the value of their attendance.

My last point circles back to an excuse for my notation of “the Latins.” I was disappointed by TBD’s relative monotony of body type and skin tone.


In framing Emergency Glitter, Pryor has mentioned how a notable feature of the work he has seen recently seems to be less “screamy.” One of the only other performances I was able to see here in New York was a night at JACK curated by Jaamil Olawale Kosoko for the Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival. Not only did that night have a good amount of screaming from Geo Wyeth and Stiven Luka, but it was one of the most critical, volatile and valuable nights of performance I’ve ever attended. Considering the breadth and scope of performances I presume Pryor sees any given month, it’s fair to hope for more breadth and scope reflected in future TBD programs.

I’m not trying to step on the curator’s toes. And I’m not trying to reinforce the bureaucratic “diversity requirements” that many funding sources use to ensure their check boxes are filled. In fact, I may simply be parroting what the curator himself has already noted as areas for growth. In interviews, Pryor has identified an interest in programming work both from outside the United States and from outside the theater world.

As noted, the work of Carlos Maria Romero and Juan Betancurth was a clear winner for me in this first regard. I’d also bet theirs was the most resource intensive work to bring to NYC. Figuring out how to fund international travel of early-career artists must be mighty challenging. That’s a lot of time coordinating with sponsors/partners and a lot of budget wagered on work that is inherently unproven.

Then again, some of those bureaucratic check boxes might here come in handy. For instance, The Trust for Mutual Understanding “awards grants to American nonprofit organizations to support the international travel component of cultural and environmental exchanges conducted in partnership with institutions and individuals in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.”

I imagine Pryor is well aware of the category of funding TMU here represents, and perhaps all too aware of how independent professionals—in contrast to incorporated non-profit organizations—run up against obscenely limited access to consideration for this kind of funding.

Intriguingly, an event that may have unwound my sense of TBD’s shortcomings seems to have fallen through at the last minute.

From Pryor’s preview interview with Gia Kourlas in Time Out:

There is this more club performance evening that will hopefully be at 11:30pm on Saturday in the Playhouse. I’ve been dragging my feet a little with this. There’s always been so much club performance in New York, and I always felt there should be more crossover between these worlds. The people doing this don’t ever know about anything happening in the contemporary performance world, and I think it has to do with a lack of any kind of information about it. It’s always been of interest to me to engage with the different programs. This is why I started doing Pussy Faggot! at Realness. Initially, I wanted to use the amphitheater at Abrons and have stuff happen outside and make that the beer garden. This was complicated in terms of sound permits that would only go until 9pm. And then getting a liquor license; I was like, I don’t want to be creating that context without alcohol—it kind of really needs it. I’m still trying to hash out the club-kid thing. Is this going to be okay even if it’s kind of terrible? The translation from a five-minute club context to putting something on a stage is a very big transition, and so I’m a little apprehensive, but that has always been a big part of what I want this thing to do. I have to at least try something.

Did I miss the club performance evening? I don’t think it ever took place. Too bad…

Someone as demonstrably capable as Ben Pryor should be able to access the resources and facilities necessary to actualize the calibre of curation he states to be his aspiration. Artists, audiences and the field of contemporary dance itself would benefit greatly from a more robust manifestation of Festival TBD.

A teammate’s critique; kudos to Pryor and all the brave, brilliant artists who offered so generously of themselves to get Festival TBD: Emergency Glitter off the ground.








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