Living Arts' annual contemporary arts extravaganza never fails to bring to Tulsa some of the most unusual, provocative and radical artworks in the world.
The itinerary for this year's New Genre XVI festival, which spans two weekends, is as impressive as ever.
Thanks to a partnership with the National Performance Network, which provides funding for artist residencies for partner organizations, many of the featured artists at New Genre are nationally renowned performance artists.
Headlining this first weekend of the New Genre festival is Kristina Wong, who presents her performance artwork "Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" Friday, Feb. 26 and Saturday, Feb. 27 at 8pm Nightingale Theater, 1416 E. Fourth St.
Wong is a performance artist who uses satire and humor to tackle complex issues such as race, diversity, identity and mental illness.
"I see my performance work as a humorous and ephemeral response to the invisible and visible boundaries that shape my life, rather than a hermetic declaration of my identity," Wong said.
"Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" is the artist's third full-length solo show, funded through NPN's Creative Capital Award and a Creation Fund. It addresses the incidence of anxiety, depression and mental illness among Asian-American women. Asian women have the highest rate of suicide.
Wong addresses mental health issues faced by those in marginalized communities, the resources--or lack of resources--available to them and the power of art to heal.
"Which came first?" the artist asks. "The sky-high suicides of Asian American women? The maddening world? And when the heck do we get to climax?"
Wong will tangle, spin and weave yarns throughout her piece, and audience members are invited to knit during the show.
Tickets to the show are $15, or $10 for Living Arts members.
The other events are as follows:
Finding Your Language
This week, Wong's residency opens Wednesday, Feb. 23 with "Finding Your Language: Playing with Different Performance Tongues."
"You don't have to be the best actor, singer or dancer to tell an amazing story," the residency description said. "Finding the honest place and dabbling between different disciplines might be where you find your strongest voice."
The workshop is "focused on process rather than product," the artist said, and includes warm-up exercises, theatre and movement games and general "playing."
Participants will use movement, text, visuals and site-specific contents to create a new work.
The residency runs Feb. 23-25 from 7-10pm at Living Arts, 307 E. Brady, and is free and open to the public. Participants must attend all three workshops and are encouraged to bring "a box of images and props."
Cleft for Me
Opening Thursday at the University of Tulsa's outdoor gallery is Aaron Lee Benson's installation, "Cleft for Me," a two-part piece that frames a "cleft" in the gallery.
"The installation deals with the ability of art to give us a glimpse into the eternal, the transcendent nature of life that so many find hope in," the artist said.
Benson will give a talk at 4pm on Thursday in the Jerri Jones Lecture Hall, room 211 in the university's Phillips Hall. The talk and exhibit, which will hang through the summer, are free and open to the public.
Recently, Living Arts formed a contemporary dance committee to aid it in creating new, nontraditional dance works and enhancing the public's understanding of contemporary dance.
That committee organized "Contemporary Dance New Genre," Friday and Saturday at 8pm in Liggett Studio, 314 S. Kenosha, featuring Living Water Dance Company, Portico Dans Theatre and the introduction of several newcomers.
Tickets are $12, $10 for Living Arts members.
Locals from the Midwestern Theatre Troupe and Recorder developed an original production based on Recorder's song "Dear Nebulon," inspired by real-life encounters with eccentrics at the downtown hole-in-the-wall, Orpha's Lounge.
One of those eccentrics, an Orpha's Lounge regular, calls himself Nebulon and claims to be from an eponymous planet. Nebulon said beings of a higher order communicate to him through a special black box, and he feels it is his mission to help humanity.
In "Dear Nebulon," Midwestern's John Cruncleton has staged Recorder's songs, so they tell the story of Nebulon, who progresses through the song cycle by "presenting the various fractured emanations of his psyche in between the songs."
The show plays at the Nightingale Theater Friday and Saturday at 10pm. Tickets are $10, $7 for Living Arts members and students.
Circles & Other Spinning Wheels
As is tradition, Sunday marks the New Genre Video Matinee, "Circles & Other Spinning Wheels," at Circle Cinema, 12 S. Lewis, at 2pm.
The video matinee features new, breakthrough video artworks. At the forefront of those this year is a series of works by Melody Owen.
Owen spent years traveling in Paris, Quebec, Iceland and the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, along the way collecting video works of artists she met. Owen organized the works into a compilation of animations, mini documentaries, music videos and experimental films that feature the curves and planes of circles.
Tickets to the event are $7, $5 for members and students.
Check back next week for a full lineup of the second weekend's activities and events.
Share this article: