Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Continuum' Live Art Series at Avant Garden THIS FRIDAY!

WOAH! Lonestar Explosion, the first International Performance Art Festival in Houston was an amazing success, it brought together  the older performance scene of Houston with the young performance art scene. It also brought some high quality, professional performance artists from around the globe, giving Houston artists inspiration and new perspective.  Continuum, a local performance art collective with the purpose of encouraging performance art, has begun collaborating and blurring in various ways with Counter Crawl, an underground Houston art movement full of creativity and rebelling against the commercialization and hierarchy of the art world. 

All of this blurring, all of this new energy mixing and fluctuating is coming to a head this Friday Night at Avant Garden. 22 Performance artists will be showcased at the Continuum Live Art Series Grand Opening Night. I am still aghast that there are 22 Houston Performance Artists! There are, and there are many more set to be a part of this six month series of workshops and art events which are happening at Avant Garden as a part of Continuum's art residency at the beautiful bar on Westheimer. Performers include classic members of Continuum including Jonatan Lopez who is currently facilitating the group, some Counter Crawlers such as Evan McCarley and Unna Berre aka Jessie Noel, and even some members of the classic scene such as Nestor Topchy. Plus tons of fresh blood, YUM!  I think it is fair to say that Houston is becoming an exceptionally exciting place for performance art right now. The growth and freshness of the scene is evolving fast, and the free monthly workshops being offered by Continuum as a part of this series is sure to add some strength to the current artists and an exciting introduction to anyone new. ITS ONLY GETTIN' BETTER, Y'ALL!

Continuum's Live Art Series Opening Night is happening at Avant Garden (411 Westheimer, Houston, Tx 77079) on Nov. 30th from 7-2AM and will also feature live music from Say Girl Say. Artists include:  Jonatan Lopez, Unna Bet
tie, Hilary Scullane, Koomah, Nestor Topchy, Evan McCarley, Raindawg, Zubi Puente & Y.E. Torres, Sway Youngston, Christine Cook, Tina McPherson, Black Magic Marker, Militia “Malice” Tiamat, Jana Whatley, Jessica Mendez, Chuz Martinez, Marisa R. Miller, Noelle Dunahoe, Julia Wallace, David Tyson Moore and Laurette Canizares.

For more information about Continuum and their Live Art Series please click here

Here is an informative interview with three Continuum members about their group and the Continuum Live Art Series.... 

What is Continuum and what has Continuum done for you? 

Sway Youngston: Continuum is a group of performance artists who agreed to form a supportive community in 2011 for the purpose of creating performance art together and encouraging one another in the medium. It has consistently given me a venue for my performance work.

Tina McPherson: Continuum is a safe space for self-exploration. It is a methodology for me to share and learn from other like-minded creative’s. The nature of Performance Art lends itself to learning, as this genre is a social sculpture – viewed from a myriad of perspectives on the notion that life is a highly complicated mystery that humans must understand with rational thought and intelligence. Continuum allows me to spend time on my art and spend time with special friends. Even though all approach Performance Art from different methodologies and experiences we often find common-threads in our work. This unity has made me a better performer and person.

Raindawg: Continuum is a consciousness that more or less resides within the art of the core members, along with the communities in which we live, perform, and otherwise participate. Continuum is the body/spirit dialectic that has transformed my life and my art into a vision, wherein the imaginable becomes possible.

What is your intention behind your personal involvement with the upcoming CLAS? 
Sway Youngston: I intend to help facilitate these events, create my own performances for workshop and performance nights, and to teach a workshop on being a greener artist, combining my background in sustainability with my passion for performance art.
Tina McPherson: My intention in my involvement in CLAS is to explore, engage and spark dialogue in order to help one discover and achieve understanding. I tend to have more questions than answers and hope to achieve personal understanding and help others do the same.
Raindawg: My intention is to perform three or four well-conceived ideas that have been work-shopped with the group. In my role as a co-facilitator, I intend to help provide a safe, supporting environment where fellow travelers can relax and grow toward their potential through performance art. I intend to treat my fellow artists, audience and associated persons with maximum compassion and to be mindful of the moment I am in so that I can interact with others at the highest level of consciousness that is available.

Would you like to share any teasing details about performances you will be sharing during Clas? 
Sway Youngston: Might get naked. Might not.
Tina McPherson: I am a historical fiction buff and my current focus is threading many historical locations into my contemporary interests. Perhaps there will be tough-n-cheek in parts, which is new for me, perhaps get me out of my comfort zone – all explored with LOVE. Love is still a common-thread in my body of work. Love is timeless…
-Whale Song
-The Tao Dialectic

How do you see the Houston Performance Art Scene and how do you think CLAS will effect it? 
Sway Youngston: The performance art scene has grown tremendously in the last couple of years. I believe Continuum has contributed to that, exposing communities like those involved in CounterCrawl to local artists in the medium and welcoming them in to create their own performances. CLAS is a unique opportunity to not only showcase new and experienced performers, but also to workshop as a community and literally shape the direction of performance art in Houston.

Tina McPherson: The Houston Performance Art Scene is on fire. Do to the efforts of groups as Continuum this almost dead genre has been ignited. The audiences have grown greatly over the past year or so. Often I am at unrelated events or grocery shopping and someone will stop me and tell me how my performance touched them – many shared it brought tears to their eyes. This emotional connection is the power of Performance Art. It amazes me how I tend to bond with the audience, which leads to friendship. I would argue the bonding is birthed due to the participatory aspect of this genre. Meaning, performance artists explore extremely personal themes, which complete strangers experience voiding distance – the viewer and performer are no longer strangers.
CLAS will increase interest in the genre since it explores common-threads in all humans. Performance Art is relatable as in any art the viewer is as much part of the performance as the performer.
Raindawg: The Houston performance art scene seems to be getting redefined by the Lonestar Performance Art Explosion, by Continuum, and by new artists, such as Jessie Noel and Uriel Landeros, who are emerging on their own terms. This is not to say that the establishment has become irrelevant but they have become--the establishment. I think CLAS has the potential to bring some unity to this diversity, in part through its location at Avant Garden, which is an establishment venue. Furthermore, the residency aspect of CLAS has the potential to lend legitimacy to artists who might otherwise be marginalized in Houston’s performance art scene.
Tell me about your fellow artists that will be performing at CLAS, what are you most excited to see?
Sway Youngston: Jonatan Lopez, who has been a part of Continuum since the beginning, is one of my favorite collaborators. At the moment, we have no collaborations planned for the event, but that doesn't say much. I always look forward to seeing anything by the enigmatic Julia Wallace, a woman I consider my mentor in the medium. She got me started in 2009, maybe earlier. Jessie Noel is a strong performer and has been extremely prolific recently. Raindawg's teaching abilities make him a sure thing to teach a workshop, and I'm also hopeful that he will share some of his unique performances involving sound and the body. There really isn't anyone I'm not looking forward to seeing perform.

Tina McPherson: I always enjoy and learn something from my fellow artists. Often, they are sharing something they are going through that I wasn’t aware of – this bonds me even tighter to all of them. I have great respect for their creativity and they are caring human beings.
It is hard to pick whom I am most excited to see since all of the performances are interesting and dynamic. But if I have to pick, I am always excited to see what Jonatan Lopez will spark. He is a keen person who works long hours preparing for each performance. His good looks coupled with his exploration of areas of interest are always captivating. Often, he makes a mess by use of liquids or other messy materials – visually it is unexpected and curious. I adore his performances and him.
Raindawg: Jessica Mendez is a very sweet, intelligent young woman who lives in artistic isolation amid the insanity of a nuclear suburban household on Lake Conroe. Josiah Gabriel and Jessie Noel were at Taft St. Coffee with me four years ago, when we were all three discovering new voices and new identities for ourselves. You might say they attended Raindawg’s artistic birth. I could not be more pleased and excited about the artists they have become and how Continuum is enabling us to collaborate on performance art projects. It is a great joy to work with artists, with whom I am so deeply in love.
What do you hope to see happen from the CLAS Performance Art Workshops? 

Tina McPherson: As a Librarian I am interested in education foremost and hope to see participants and instructors learn and grow together. Even if everyone takes away one methodology, thought, question, answer, or other – it is a success. Performance Art is a great tool to explore in hope of finding understanding just as reading, classes, meetings, mind-dumps, think-tanks, and all of the other buzz methodologies out there. There are no rules to Performance Art, which makes it a safe, creative, non-judgmental space to express and explore oneself and others.
Sway Youngston: I hope this performance art community just grows and grows and that the medium will take a bigger role in Houston's art scene. 
Raindawg: I would like to have some help adding depth to my own ideas and developing them into more solid performances; but mostly I would like to help guide new artists through the process of developing an idea or action into a performance.
What are some of your wildest hopes for CLAS?
Tina McPherson: My wildest hopes for CLAS are that it will find the recognition it deserves. Meaning, it is a misunderstood genre, which tend to attract and help those who have opened minds. I hope it reaches those who have not given it a chance. I hope it opens minds to eliminate prejudice and judgment; after all we are all humans of this beautiful world and are in it together. It’s time humans exude tolerance for things they don’t understand. It’s time that humans love each other, find understanding, and show decency to each other. I hope this love and light is a result of CLAS.
Sway Youngston: Wild? It would be great if some artists came from out of town or country to perform at the shows and to share their experience with us. I'd love to have a workshop by long distance artists.
Raindawg: My wildest hopes are that class could become a traveling village of performance art; that there might be a place I could go and hang out, to feel safe and loved, and have coffee to drink; that I might become a new person.