(Editor's note: What follows is a press release concerning Franklin Avenue's own LaunchPad and the work they're doing in association with the New York Foundation for the Arts to promote the arts in Brooklyn. Check these events out starting today and running through the 20th of this month)
El Conquistador - La Caminata - Shaun El C. Leonardo
Identity - Dionis Ortiz
Grain Terminal - Ryan Murdock
Mouth Wide Open - Rachel Selekman
LaunchPad Plays Major Role in New Arts Festival
Without the support of LaunchPad’s Mike Kunitzky, a new arts festival showcasing work by 38 artists of all disciplines—many of them Brooklynites from Bushwick, Fort Greene, Williamsburg, Park Slope, Red Hook, East New York, Brooklyn Heights and Boreum Hill—might never have come together. From November 8 – 20, LaunchPad is partnering with the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a major player in New York’s cultural world, to present a series of arts events. They’re part of the new "NYFA Boot Camp Arts Festival," named for a business-training program in which the 38 participating artists took part last summer. The festival, which kicks off this Thursday, November 4, at the NYFA gallery in DUMBO, consists of edgy and fresh theater, dance and music performances; art exhibits; artist talks; multimedia projects; and poetry readings. Here’s what’s on offer at LaunchPad (click here to find out what’s happening at the other festival venues in Brooklyn and those across the river):
“Identity: Masked and Unmasked,” a group show that runs from November 8 – 27 (free) and is curated by artist Rachel Selekman. Melanie Baker, Margarida Correia, Shaun El C. Leonardo and Dionis Ortiz are the visual and performance artists who explore issues of identity in their work. A free opening reception happens on the 8th from 6-8pm; there is an artist talk about the show on the 17th at 7pm (also free).
“The Artist as Documentarian: Three Perspectives” on Thursday, November 11, at 7pm (free). Documentarian Ryan Murdock presents “Grain/ Terminal (or how to build a useless building that lasts forever),” a multimedia essay about the abandoned Red Hook Grain Terminal, a monument to Brooklyn’s industrial past. Actress/director Katy Rubin presents “It Could Happen to You,” a work developed and performed by 12 homeless men and women who are members of Theatre of the Oppressed, a new acting company formed by Rubin as a medium for communal problem-solving. And playwright/actress Rosanna Plasencia presents her solo piece “Growing a Hispanic in the Bronx” about the difficulty of reconciling opposing cultural forces—in her case, the heritage of her immigrant parents, the worldview of her Euro-focused schoolteachers, and the culture of the streets.
“Words, Music and Moving Pictures” on Saturday, November 13, at 7pm (free), brings back documentarian Ryan Murdock with another multimedia essay. In “Project: Butte, America” Murdock narrates his combination folk-history-and-cautionary tale about Butte’s mining past and its questionable legacy. Poet Liliana Almendarez reads new poems and pieces from her book, A Scorched Page (lulu.com), while fellow poet Wanda Phipps reads from Wake-Up Calls: 66 Morning Poems (Soft Skull Press), Field of Wanting: Poems of Desire (BlazeVOX[books]) and Silent Picture Recognize the World, a collection-in-process. Stephen B. Antonakos, a frequent collaborator, accompanies her with original compositions performed on the guitar.
In “Song + Dance” on Saturday, November 20, at 7pm (free)—the final night of the festival—soprano Gretchen Farrar performs Spanish and English songs for voice and guitar. Ranging from Renaissance to Contemporary in style, they include pieces by Dowland, Sor, Lorca, Cordero and Brouwer. Filmmaker Michelle Chai offers not a film, but a celebration of . . . salsa. It was Chai’s passion for the dance form that led her to develop a salsa-inspired clothing line as a way to support her filmmaking, an idea she developed into a business plan at the NYFA business-training program that gave birth to the NYFA Boot Camp Arts Festival.
The NYFA Boot Camp Arts Festival, an outgrowth of the New York Foundation for the Arts’ NYFA Artist as Entrepreneur Boot Camp, is both an opportunity for participating writers, visual artists, filmmakers and performers to showcase their work and a chance for them to put into practice the entrepreneurial skills acquired during the Boot Camp. Created to help artists become financially independent, the Boot Camp helped 55 men and women working in all artistic disciplines develop the marketing, funding, financial and promotional skills needed to increase income from their work.