downtownexpress.com
Volume 20 Issue 10 | July 20 - 26, 2007

Sitelines, Lower Manhattan performance fest, goes global

By Jennifer Milne

On the corner of Old Slip and Front St. last week, three people in orange jumpsuits laid prostrate over a large subway grate, face down. They remained motionless for five minutes, then ten, then fifteen, as threatening gray clouds rolled overhead. Meanwhile, behind the orange jumpsuits and a gurgling fountain, a woman stood on a pedestal as her assistant wrapped her, first in royal blue fabric, then plastic shrink-wrap, then lavender tulle. On the sidewalk, passersby stopped and gawked. One concerned man even asked aloud, “Is everything OK?”


“Whose Broad Stripes,” choreographed by Lawrence Goldhuber/BIGMANARTS, will be peformed on the steps of the Federal Hall Memorial through July 27.


The surreal scene was part of “Security Zone,” a collaboration between Siberian performance troupe Tryst and New York’s System of Units that ran Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. in front of the Police Museum at 100 Old Slip. The performance, along with those by six other groups, is part of Sitelines 2007, a free site-specific performance series produced by the River to River [R2R] Festival and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Like all R2R events, Sitelines is free, but it’s the only series in the festival that “uses the breadth of Lower Manhattan as its stage,“ said Nolini Barretto, Sitelines’ curator and producer, by email. “It’s a way for people to connect with an artistic experience where they live and work. If you go to all the Sitelines performances, you’ll discover wonderful, intriguing parts of Lower Manhattan you may not have know about — e.g. this year’s performance in the John Street United Methodist Church’s enchanting courtyard and its serene sanctuary. And how many people have taken the escalator up from 55 Water Street to enjoy the river view at the Elevated Acre? Both are Sitelines venues this year.” Now in its fourth year, this is the first time it has partnered choreographers from different countries. Which means that now through September, all of New York — and the world — is Sitelines’ stage.

Whose Broads Stripes by Lawrence Goldhuber/BIGMANARTS
July 18–20 and 25-27, 12 p.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Steps of Federal Hall Memorial on Wall St.

In “Whose Broads Stripes,” dancer and choreographer Lawrence Goldhuber arrives at Federal Hall Memorial with a briefcase and cash in hand. Flanked and tantalized by showgirls dressed in red and white gowns and tormented by the searing guitar of Geoff Gersh screaming out Jimmy Hendrix’ “Star Spangled Banner,” Goldhuber’s new choreography lets Las Vegas meet and beat Wall Street.

Goldhuber, who has also done site-specific work at the Whitney Museum of American Art at 42nd St., said he saw the N.Y. Stock Exchange’s massive American flag draped over the columns and “that was really the genesis of the inspiration.”

“Whose Broad Stripes,” Goldhuber said, isn’t meant to be ‘about’ anything in particular. “It’s supposed to be an eye-pleasing spectacle,” he said. “It’s humorous with a little side serving of politics.”

Accounting for Customs by Reggie Wilson and Andreya Ouamba
Aug. 22-25, 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Steps of the U.S. Custom House at Bowling Green

“Accounting for Customs,” a new dance work created by collaborators Andreya Ouamba from Senegal and Brooklyn-based choreographer Reggie Wilson and his Fist and Heel Performance Group, wrestles with questions of memory and loss, just in time for the Centennial Celebration of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House.

Wilson said he and Ouamba will be rehearsing the piece when Ouamba arrives in the U.S. from Senegal, a week before the premiere. Wilson, who has worked with Ouamba before, said the columns of the National Museum of the American Indian at the U.S. Customs House were what inspired him to create “Accounting for Customs.”

“Last summer, we were doing some research about Native Americans and we went to the Museum of the American Indian,” Wilson said of his and Ouamba’s idea. “I was fascinated by the columns. Each column is supposed to represent a continent, and four of the continents [are represented]. The statues representing each continent were strong and upright, but the one representing Africa was asleep and chained. It provoked an interest for me.”

States & Resemblances by Dean Moss and Ryotaro Mishima
Aug. 27-28, Sept. 4 at 7:00pm; Aug. 29, Sept. 5-6 at 12:30 p.m.
Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street

Incorporating shadow play, text and dance, set in a field of dots reminiscent of Yayoi Kusama’s visual environments, “States and Resemblances” is a collaboration between Japanese actor, photograper and video artist Ryotaro Mishima, Indonesian traditional dance and mask artist Restu Imasari Kusumaningrum, and choreographer, director, and video artist Dean Moss. The piece is a meditation on the brittleness of people, objects, and experience and on how transformation is one of the most binding aspects of our existence.

Window by Bill Shannon
Date and time TBD (mid-Sept.)
A window at 115 Broadway at Thames St.

In “Window,” choreographer Bill Shannon lures audiences into his freestyle urban street performance in the hip-hop / skateboard tradition of street improvisation. The piece is viewed from behind a window at 115 Broadway and viewers experience the unexpected encounters between the performers as Shannon and his cohorts engage with public space and pedestrian traffic.

“The strategy is to provide audiences that come to see the show with an authentic experience of interactions with the general public,” Shannon said. “People come to the location, go to the window, and the music played inside is the same music that I can hear outside. It’s music as a soundtrack to the world.”

Shannon has also performed site-specific work in Trafalgar Square in London, on Dearborn St. in Chicago, and in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Finland. He said the biggest challenge of outdoor and site-specific pieces like “Window” is a lack of control. “You’ve got kids hanging out, the Financial District [men and women in] suits and ties, power dresses,” Shannon said. “Then you’ve got a mass of traffic, combined with the sheer volume of people and a little bit of open space.” In other words, it’s the ideal, unpredictable venue for “Window.”

For more information on the series, visit www.lmcc.net/sitelines.





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