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CREATIVE SUGAR

THE FALL ISSUE


COVER

Denim on Denim....Page 36

Photography by Olena Shkoda Fashion Direction by Sherah Jones Makeup by Te$$ Money Kim Models: Souhela (MC2 Model Management) VladimirGvozd Vladimir: “Ramuanes” T-shirt by MUA MUA Wide leg white denim: Buffalo David Bitton Hat is Stylist’s own Shoes by Vans Souhela: Leather Fringed Top: Sylvie Schimmel Vintage Gold Earrings: Stylist’s own Floral Straight Leg Denim: Buffalo David Bitton Blue Acid Wash Skinnys: Buffalo David Bitton Hand Crochet “Freddy Mercury” Doll: MUA MUA

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Creative Sugar Issue NO. 2 Editor-in-Chief Art Director Sabrina Scott Copy Editor Marilyn Recht Contributing Editors Jeffrey Grunthaner, Visual Arts John Thomas, Performing Arts Editorial Photographers Olena Shkoda Betania Sikora Fashion Director Sherah Jones Wardrobe Stylist Kristyn “Schimmy” Schimmerling Makeup Artist Te$$ “Money” Kim Photographers Laura Bluher Joseph Gallo Writers Ethan Boisvert Kenrick “iLikeZach”Cabey Kenneth Lundquist, Jr. Jen Pitt Nicole “Nkisoy” Sawyer Contact: info@creative-sugar.net ph: 1-888-669-5513 web: creative-sugar.net facebook.com/creativesugarmagazine © 2012 Creative Sugar magazine is published by Creative Sugar Design, LLC. All rights to art, words, photos, design and copyrights are the property of the Artist. All work in this publication may not be used without the Artist’s consent. Headquarters: New York, New York.

FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to the second issue of Creative Sugar! In this issue we have more content with respect to both the Visual and Performing Arts. As always, you can count on us to cover artists and creative topics as well as feature fashion editorials. Sometimes we provide a combination of both—such as Kevin William Reed’s stylized photos. Both the Reed concepts and the Denim on Denim fashion editorial have been brought to you by our inspired Fashion Director, Sherah Jones—who would agree after seeing this issue that the “mini–heart attacks” have been worth it! Our new Contributing Photographer Betania Sikora shot the Designer KahriAnne Kerr story as well as “6 Creative Ways to Wear a Necklace.” The images are beautiful, accompanied by the enthusiastic words of our new writer, Nicole “Nkisoy” Sawyer, with Fashion Direction by Schimmy. I want to also thank the models in this issue, all beautifully striking individuals, whose looks and work are flawless. Our Featured Artist this issue is “Jules Marquis,” who is well known in certain circles, but just in case you don’t know who they are, new Visual Arts Contributing Editor Jeff Grunthaner’s eloquent piece truly informs about their art and their concepts. We also have a new Performing Arts Contributing Editor, John Thomas, whose writing style is to ask those finely crafted questions that matter. See his piece on Esther Neff, one hard-working Artist Extraordinaire. And be sure to read iLikeZach’s piece, an exclusive interview with Comedian Jermaine Fowler—it will be sure to put a smile on your face. Photos were shot by Betania, with Fashion Direction by Schimmy and Makeup by Te$$ Money, whose makeup artistry truly complements the concepts. Also in this issue, Jen Pitt provides a sneak peek into the “Sleep No More” performance. I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Marilyn Recht, our Copy Editor, who helped to make the words that much better for you to enjoy. She asked all the important questions, making sure the reader gets the whole story. Be sure to check out her piece on legendary performance artist Cleopatrick. And finally, a huge thanks to those of you who gave support from day one, especially Joseph Gallo. I could go on and on about the work of everyone for this issue and how much I am impressed! Each Contributor on board provided professionalism and has exemplified creative style, technique and skill. They are dedicated to providing the latest on emerging artists hailing from New York. Thank you for supporting Creative Sugar, enjoy!

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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VISUAL ART

M I C H E L B E L L I C I - C A N VA S R E V O L U T I O N B Y K E N N E T H L U N D Q U I S T, J R

J U L E S M A R Q U I S - F E AT U R E D A R T I S T S

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B Y J E F F G R U N T H A N E R

K E V I N W I L L I A M R E E D, A R T I S T

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FA S H I O N D I R E C T I O N B Y S H E R A H J O N E S P H O T O S B Y O L E N A S H KO D A

TA K E O N F I L M

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BY JOSEPH GALLO

K A H R I A N N E K E R R : FA S H I O N D E S I G N E R

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W O R D S B Y N I C O L E “ N K I S O Y ” S AW Y E R P H O T O S B Y B E TA N I A S I KO R A WA R D R O B E S T Y L I N G B Y S C H I M M Y

D E N I M O N D E N I M

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FA S H I O N D I R E C T I O N B Y S H E R A H J O N E S P H O T O S B Y O L E N A S H KO D A

6 C R E AT I V E WAY S T O W E A R A N E C K L A C E W O R D S B Y N I C O L E “ N K I S O Y ” S AW Y E R P H O T O S B Y B E TA N I A S I KO R A WA R D R O B E S T Y L I N G B Y S C H I M M Y

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PERFORMANCE ART

C E L E B R AT I N G S L E E P N O M O R E

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BY JEN PIT T

E S T H E R N E F F & T H E P P L

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BY JOHN THOMAS

C L E O PAT R I C K , P E R F O R M A N C E A R T I S T

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B Y M A R I LY N R E C H T

J E R M A I N E F O W L E R , C O M E D I A N

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WORDS BY KENRICK “ILIKEZACH” CABEY P H O T O S B Y B E TA N I A S I KO R A WA R D R O B E S T Y L I N G B Y S C H I M M Y

C H A R I S S E M I L L S : P O P O P E R A D I VA

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WORDS AND PHOTOS BY ETHAN BOISVERT

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“I get pretty aggressive with the canvas…sometimes like, ‘Fuck! I ripped the canvas.’” Michel Bellici says to me about one of her new commissions, a 4x5 foot canvas.

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“I’ll throw baby oil on it just to make mess. My best work is when Fall 2012 CREATIVE SUGAR I struggle with the piece, that’s when I care more about it and give it the passion it deserves.


ART & SWEDEN B Y K ATA R I N A S M I R N O VA E T H A N B O I S V E R T, A B S T R A C T PA I N T E R B Y K E N N E T H L U N D Q U I S T, J R . MELISSA ROBIN’S PHOTOGRAPHY JESSICA SLAGLE A.K.A SLAGLETRON BY SABRINA SCOT T

Michel Bellici BAD ASS P H O T O G R A P H E R B R I A N PA N G I L I N A N S T Y L E D B Y C L A R E N C E S I N G E LT O N

Canvas

REVOLUTION By Kenneth Lundquist, Jr.

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“I get pretty aggressive with the canvas… sometimes like, ‘Fuck! I ripped the canvas,’” Michel Bellici says to me about one of her new commissions, a 4x5-foot painting. “I’ll throw baby oil on it just to make mess. My best work is when I struggle with the piece, that’s when I care more about it and give it the passion it deserves. It won’t let me alone until all of a sudden it clicks, and then satisfies the drama of its creation.” The sun is streaming through thunderstorm clouds while I speak with Michel on the phone. The clouds are pendulous in moody purples, about to burst into a deluge. She is describing how her creative process is evolving into an organic flow of channeling,

All work featured here by the Artist is untitled.

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rather than her traditional, trained practice of study in Italy at the renowned Lorenzo de Medici School of Art in Florence. “I’m moving from nature-based figures directly into the human form,” she says. Nearly all of her most recent work contains a human figure. “Walking the street, taking the train, watching the sunlight through the buildings, seeing how people interact with each other. I witness it and absorb all that emotion, then channel that into a canvas. I intensely watch them.” Studying at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and living in the art scene of Northampton early in her career, she felt that moving to New York was completely


BELOW - Michel Bellici. Photo courtesy of the Artist.

necessary after returning from study in Florence. “Being in Brooklyn is incredible. I love Bushwick! The people that were born and brought up there are like family. Open arms. I love their Bushwick, old Bushwick.” Her enthusiasm for everything New York is contagious, and we banter about all the fabulous experiences one has in this amazing place. Michel goes on to reminisce about her “newbie” days as an artist. “The first college I went to, I had a professor that said I should quit being a painter. So I did, for like 5 years…and it was the worst thing I could’ve done. When I was studying in Italy, it was Rosa—a teacher there in Florence—who got me started again. She said to take some charcoal, make a powder out of the sticks, and use my hands to create. I

did, and my art came as a storm! After a full day of classes, I would line my villa with paper, and just paint. I made some amazing work, and that was it; my whole life changed, and I became me. I feel like I was truly born when I was in Italy.” Michel considers herself a creator of figurative abstract expressionism. She paints only with her hands and fingers; sometimes using small rags—old T-shirts. Without a barrier between her hands and the canvas, Michel’s work is evident of emotions that are altogether powerful and vulnerable, raw and exposed, revealing and hidden.

or have a normal job, but no matter what, I always need to paint. I start to ache if I haven’t painted. My life is totally awesome—I just wish for more canvas so I can paint non-stop.” For more about MICHEL BELLICI, visit: www.studiobellici.com

“I chose painting because I had to. There never was a thought process to decide to be an artist. I just am. I’ve tried to focus on other things,

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FEATURED ARTISTS New Directions:

The Art of Jules Marquis

by Jeffrey Grunthaner

S

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trictly speaking, Jules Marquis does not ex-

Jules Marquis occupies the third person: a “he,” “she,”

ist. The name denotes a collaborative proj-

or even an “it” that Turner and Snapp are wont to dress

ect by Daniel Turner and Colin Snapp, who

in a variety of media. Consider, for example, Delta Per-

variously sign works “Jules Marquis” whenever

formance JFK to LGA (2009). The project was a “perfor-

their respective creative efforts need ventilation or

mance” in which the rubric of theater had been cast off.

cross-examination. The upshot of their long-time

No curtain was ever drawn; nothing was ever concealed.

friendship, “Jules” is perhaps less a collaboration

Rather, all activity within the performative context took

between Turner and Snapp than a dialogue, a form

on a directly efficacious social function. A ticket was

of questioning, an appeal for art to be more than

purchased and a flight was taken from JFK to LaGuar-

art-making and to make honesty visible. The fact

dia airport; everything was pragmatically enacted. Yet

that Jules Marquis can be differently pronounced

the ticket of purchase remained after the performance,

(and is, by both artists) as either a French name

the activity of taking a flight having dissolved into a vis-

or its English equivalent (“Marqwis”) bespeaks the

ible object, like a souvenir. Framed, the ticket became

kind of polyvalence one has to consider in refer-

an art object, and took on a double sense. On the one

ence to the project. The works attributable to Jules

hand, the price of such a brief flight was made apparent:

Marquis deliberately hover somewhere between

$493.47. On the other, the ticket indicated an invisible

concept and realization, existing within certain

history, an accomplished fact whose ultimate meaning

contextual precedents that they inevitably appro-

resisted closure. Delta Performance was designed to

priate and transform.

showcase the dialectic of distance and proximity within

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The Smithsonian Broadcast. Three hour site specific meditation to be broadcast on NBC. Wedding ring, face paint, turnips, purgatory hat, New Balance sneakers.

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RIGHT - 沒有權利的輕的皮表現 22 hour site specific light blind. In collaboration with AEO LED Billboard Project, Times Square New York NY 2011. Photo provided by Artists. continued from previous page...

what one would otherwise think to be a continuous

sonian Broadcast (2009), which was a one-time-only,

area. But there is a moment of interpretation, of inter-

on-site performance enacted in Virginia (at a gallery

rogation on the part of the viewer, which inserts him

owned by the artists). Again, the performance was

or her into the overall meaning of the piece. The ticket

practical activity more than theater, and involved

remains in and of the world, its frameable presence

Snapp seated on what looked like a vegetable throne,

giving way to unframed instrumentality.

earnestly trying to meditate in blackface while a projected NBC peacock displayed uninterruptedly behind

Resistance to closure is typical of Jules Marquis, and

him. The sheer duration of the peacock image killed

reflects Turner’s and Snapp’s views on art-making’s

the life of the symbol and emptied it of its original

place in the nexus of media culture. An almost mini-

meaning. The performance thus stands as represen-

malist tendency underlies their work—similar to that

tative of Jules Marquis in that it rejects the unity of a

of Vito Acconci, who saw in minimalism a way to es-

single message, opting instead for a double meaning

cape the limited confines of “art” and create through

that turns precedent against itself. This rejection of a

action directly. But rather than go beyond what can be

single meaning, the resistance to closure, states indi-

placed in the confines of a framed or delimited space,

rectly what in all likelihood cannot be stated clearly

Jules Marquis appropriates the expectations associ-

at all. Colin Snapp (www.colinsnapp.com) and Daniel

ated with specific media, contexts, and spaces, trans-

Turner (www.danieladamturner.com) are represented

forming them while simultaneously co-opting their

by Journal Gallery in Williamsburg. Their website for

original function. Thus, the form of each work says

Jules Marquis is: www.julesmarquis.com.

something apart from considerations of content; and

Jules Marquis Melissa Robin's Photography

social precedent becomes crucial for our understanding of a work.

Perhaps Jules Marquis’ most summative appropria-

tion has been that of the NBC peacock, which serves

as a kind of banner for the Jules Marquis enterprise— playing on the ambiguity of the word “enterprise” as

illustrates Dreams

both an agent of commerce and an exploratory venture. The peacock symbol figures heavily in The Smith-

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Good Game. Two-hour looped performance of a post baseball game hand slap, 2010. Photo provided by Artists.

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Jules Marquis Vanna White. Exhibition view, 2010. Photo provided by Artists.

ABOVE - Delta Performance JFK to LGA. $493.47, flight no. 174 from NY to NY. Delta ticket, frame 14” x 21”, 2009. Photo provided by Artists.

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Artwork: " Tumbleweed" Hexagon knit leather jacket: Sunghee Bang "Sade" layered chiffon maxi skirt: Ra'mon Lawrence Wood horn with pentagram necklace: Stylist's own Military boots: Bed St端

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Kevin William Reed CREATIVE SUGAR Fall 2012

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ARTIST Artwork: King Drag "Digby" zipper vest- Ra'mon Lawrence "Lowell" raglan boxy tee: Ra'mon Lawrence "Alastaire" drop crotch twill trouser: Ra'mon Lawrence Shoes: Bed St端

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by Sabrina Scott I visited a group show called Anatomically Incorrect in Brooklyn, a few weeks ago.  It was there that I saw Kevin’s work--discarded materials restructured to create layers and shapes, hanging from the warehouse walls.  Pieces that were once throwaways were revived, revisited and brought to new life as 3-D installations that had creature characteristics. Simply put, Kevin’s inspiration is the usage of industrial waste—or trash. He said, “The concrete walls of the warehouse were particularly challenging to hang on, but the space was exactly what the work has always been looking for and it felt really at home.” This home was at the Alternative Arts Association’s annual big show. The AAA is a not-for-profit arts organization whose platform is to bring many different forms of art together. Dance, music, performance, video, two-dimensional, three-dimensional, you name it. It was all inspired work. What’s your name and where are based? Kevin William Reed, based in Brooklyn, NY (Bed-Stuy) How do you describe yourself? Artist. Which inevitably leads to the question “what kind of artist?” But for me the specification isn’t necessary. Artist suits what I do without restriction. I’m a creator of things but no longer limit myself to one discipline or structure. What do you use to create? While I can’t specify a medium I can certainly tell you what I use to create. I’m really into trash. Specifically industrial waste/scraps/ leftovers and the possibilities therein. I’m really interested in a Baroque sense of drapery, folds upon folds upon folds, aesthetic elegance/ornateness. However, I tend to find this in the mundane, the wasted. I’m excited by the uncanny valley that is created when two polar opposite aesthetics (garbage and Baroque sensibilities) combine to create an object or a space that is at once beautiful and full yet also derelict and uncomfortable. I think that puts the viewer in a really crazy place. I also love acrylic paint, spray paint, woodblock prints (there’s something really crazy about using a chisel to carve an image rather than just drawing it… Makes drawing seem wimpy. That said I’m also an avid drawer, but chisels, man.

getting home covered in dirt, swarms, razor blades, bowl socks, my Grandma, porcupine quills, platypi, Bed-Stuy, Where the Wild Things Are, the Subway, abandoned places. What motivates you when you may not be inspired? Eg, music, etc. My own sense of stagnation, of not doing enough. There are definitely some bands that I’ll throw on if I’m not feeling it at the moment (Handsome Furs, Cold War Kids, Django Django) but the only thing that really gets me going when I’m out of it is my need to constantly create and one-up myself. Why do you create? As a way to cope with my brain. Lots of detrimental and circular thoughts up there. When I begin to create something, even if it’s trivial at first it always sorts out my thinking. Then my work is able to serve as the medium with which I can communicate those thoughts… So I guess, in a backwards sort of way I create to articulate my thoughts and vantage point, but out of necessity (peace of mind) not out of a need to be heard (necessarily). Describe any elaborate activities, rituals you may have done while seeking inspiration. Weird question. I don’t think I perform elaborate rituals to seek inspiration, I think the rituals come from being inspired. I used to walk about 20 blocks of Brooklyn bordering the Navy Yard 5-7 nights a week in search of some sort of discarded material that I could bend, float, drape, pinch, break or paint with and it eventually became the strangest thing I did as I would get waist-deep in a dumpster filled with human trash (the majority of which is half-eaten food I soon found out) fiendishly throwing materials to collect. The few individuals who got to witness it never really saw it in the jovial light I did. To them I was a dirty gutter kid with a fiery glow of excitement in his eyes and armfuls of trash. When did you know you wanted to be an artist? I don’t know if I ever knew. There was just never any other option. My life is very up-in-the-air and I have very few constants, but I think that is what I always knew from the time I was a self-cognizant child. I never saw one concrete thing for myself or an endpoint or a settling. I guess I always knew I would be living the life of an artist, I just didn’t necessarily know that’s what it was until later.

How do you describe your work? Sustainable, aggressive, creepy, billowing, excessive, raunchy, rowdy, dangerous (six-foot, razor-sharp, coiled saw blades), loud as fuck, mindful, unimpeded.

What do you hope to accomplish in 5 years? To make the best damn chocolate chip cookies anyone’s ever tasted, make an exorbitant amount of work, take over an abandoned church for an art space, show in Eastern Europe, and take over the world.

What inspires you? Scumbags (and their environments), Legends of the Hidden Temple, sewer rats, R. Crumb, Hellraiser, sunlit forest floors, raging water, Versailles, hallucinogenic memories, dive bars, T-Rex, velociraptors, Mario ghosts, queer culture, the 90s, Ki-L, my tattoo artists (Becki Wilson & Jason Flanell),

Which is your own favorite piece or body of work? Describe why. Right now my favorite piece is the giant 3’ x 8’ woodblock print I completed after the trash work you’ve seen. This is both because it’s my most accomplished print and the newest direction I’ve moved in (hypersexual) but also because it got STOLEN in the last show that

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Artwork: "King Drag" (tail) Cocoon wool coat: Sunghee Bang "Lowell" raglan boxy tee: Ra'mon Lawrence "Alastaire" drop crotch twill trouser- Ra'mon Lawrence Spiked chain necklace: Topman Shoes: Bed St端

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Artwork: “b.u.g. #9” Cable knit sweater: Rodebjer Suspenders: Rodebjer Bone necklace: Neqo Habibi “Bradley” lurex denim trouser shorts: Ra’mon Lawrence Boots: Bed Stü

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Artwork: b.u.g. #3 "McGuiness" hat- Sunghee Bang Round framed glasses: Artist's own "Emma" dress: Ra'mon Lawrence "Elrick" engineered twill trouser: Ra'mon Lawrence "Tomas" reversible leather belt: Ra'mon Lawrence Boots: Bed St端

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(continued from page 21) it was in (after it had already been sold) so there’s a weird enigma surrounding it… the most backhanded compliment ever? Who is your favorite artist? Describe why. That’s a nearly impossible question to answer. There are so many artists that I am inspired by and naming one or even a few would do injustice to the league of inspirational artists I’ve come across. However, if I could be any artist throughout history it would be Hieronymus Bosch cause that dude was crazy and did whatever the fuck he wanted within a ridiculously Catholic and controlled society. Any words to live by for an aspiring artist starting out? Hear everyone. Listen to few. Follow none. And do whatever the fuck you want. Check out: kevinwilliamreed.com

Artwork: "Roaring Expletive" "Fountaine" metallic brocade blazer: Ra'mon Lawrence Wool vest: Rodebjer "Elrick" engineered twill trouser: Ra'mon Lawrence Bono hardware necklace: Hitch Ring Shoes: Bed Stü Artwork: "The Guardian" Skull plate necklace: Michael Spirito Raw edge mesh vest: Ra'mon Lawrence Cascading sweater vest: Sunghee Bang "Morgan" cocoon tee: Ra'mon Lawrence "Rafferty" drop crotch challis trouser- Ra'mon Lawrence "Tomas" reversible leather belt- R a’mon Lawrence Military boots: Bed Stü

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Take On Film by Joseph Gallo

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Seagulls hovering on the beach, Coney Island 2011 - 2012 Color Film.

Firework Bursts Coney Island Color Film ISO400 multiple exposures.

It was a hot sunny day. I saw the opportunity to photograph these seagulls. The image tells a cooler tale than the sweltering heat of the day. I like the rich color and contrast and interesting action of the seagulls in mid air. Film image has a special charm that is different than images captured on the sensor of a digital camera. 400 ISO film using a zoom lens and a filter.

Coney Island Friday night summer fireworks. There was a sweet breeze over the beach after a hot day. I set up my camera on a tripod while picnicking on a blanket in the sand. 50mm.

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Monster on the Cyclone Black and White Film. Coney Island. Fall of 2011. The subject of this photo makes it one of my favorites. A big scary monster reaches out from the under part of the Cyclone, it feels like a 1960’s B-Movie and I am in it. Some things just look better in black and white. I find many images become good or better photos when the color element is reduced to shades of light and dark. This is possibly because it leaves room for the observer’s eye to fill in. Or, is it that there is no coloring for the eye to cast judgment on? There are no blues to go with the reds or blue to clash with red. A woman’s lipstick doesn’t necessarily have to be the right shade of red, it would only need to be dark enough and may not even be red at all.

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Mermaid’s Cove. Black and White film. Lonely Mermaid can be heard singing if you listen carefully. Photo taken at Coney Island. Images of some places can adopt a different life in Black and White.

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Joseph’s bald head shining. Black and White Film Did I spend hours carefully setting up for this shot in Rocky’s gym? I won’t say. Amazing how capturing it as an image for example, shooting from different angles and making use of light can manipulate one’s appearance. This type of contrast is not what I am used to seeing with a digital camera. I suppose a digital image could be manipulated to appear like this one. I rarely see an image come straight from the camera having such contrast with light and dark. I feel surprised looking at this image realizing that I am the person in the photo. By changing the angles and light it effects the expression and mood of the image. Camera angle plays an important role in the power or message the image reflects. Check out: juzeppy.com

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The Pavement Cracks Coat Dress by Kahri. Fall 2012 Collection

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Q & A Designer

Designer Q & A

Kahri: Clothes for the Rebellious Fashionista By Nicole “Nkisoy” Sawyer It began in Iowa—with just a sewing machine in hand and an unbreakable focus to fulfill a long-time dream of building a fashion career in New York City—a cold city where only the strong survive. KahriAnne Kerr took a leap of faith, relocating herself and her fashion career from Iowa to NYC.  “Work really hard and if you love it, don’t give up” she says. KahriAnne set out in August 2003 to attend the fashion design program at NYC’s prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology.  She got started as an entrepreneur selling her collection in NYC stores and e-boutiques.  Determined to succeed Kahri also set up a temporary ministore in SoHo, as a part of the designer collective, Burrow, in Spring 2005.   After FIT, like any new fashion graduate, her search for employment meant grinding her way through the concrete jungle, working various design jobs in the fashion industry.    KahriAnne began to focus on designing and selling her own collection. She taught herself to create edgy bold clothing for the rebellious fashionista. A hip, funky, rocker chick with a girly edge, she lives a fun and fearless lifestyle, independently strutting through the streets of a fast city.  She’s sexy and confident and makes her own rules in life.  She’s not afraid to set her own trends, mixing a little sharp-edged leather with sophisticated soft fun!   KahriAnne’s collection offers a unique variety of daytime and evening wear, beautiful layers of soft fabrics mixed with sharp edges.  “I also love retro styles of the 1920s, 1940s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s,” she says. Music is her main source for inspiration.  The beauty of music has a unique way of inspiring the creative mind; simply put, music is art and art is fashion. Kahri listens to a large variety of music and researches the artists.  “ I love learning about the person behind the song and the lyrics too. I love amazing lyrics,” she says.  Each item in the collection is named after a song by the artist who inspired her that season.  The collections are especially inspired by old school rock n’ roll, as well as fashion icon, Gwen Stefani. She also admires London because of its punk history and fashion.  This is KahriAnne’s own personal style.  She only wears her own collection, Kahri by KahriAnne, although she does wear other designer jeans and shoes. KahriAnne’s biggest success is just being able to keep on doing what she loves to do.  She has somehow managed to stay afloat through a rocky economy, surviving in a

competitive fashion industry. “Ten years and not giving up like so many designers have done,” says KahriAnne. The saying goes in fashion: one day you’re in, the next day you’re out. Q: You grew up in Iowa and come from a Midwest background; how has that influenced you? A: Well, I don’t think my design aesthetic comes from my upbringing.  It’s pretty much out of nowhere that I’m a designer, but as a person I’m still very much a smalltown Midwestern farmer’s daughter.  I’m very grateful to have grown up where I did, but I’m also glad to have moved out to NYC.   Q: What advice would you tell your younger self with the experience you have now 10 years later?  Do you have any regrets from your fashion journey?   A: Well, I would probably tell myself that it’s going to be harder than you think.  But that’s not very optimistic, so I wouldn’t have wanted to hear that.  No regrets.  You live and you learn. Q: What is your biggest setback/disappointment? And how did you overcome it? A: My biggest setback is money.   Running your own fashion business is very expensive and I’m still working on it. Q: What’s your “go to” outfit?  All time favorite clothing item? A: My favorite items from Spring ‘12 that I’m wearing all the time this summer are the “Heartless” shorts and “Avalon” Dress.  I always love a good pair of black skinny jeans, black booties, and black leather motor jacket with a silk Kahri top.   Q: Do you live by a favorite quote? If so, please share it with us! A: The Kahri motto is “Be Rebellious!” which means wear what you want, do what you want, and don’t be afraid to be yourself.

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First Cut Dress by Kahri. Fall 2012 Collection

Waiting in Vain Jumpsuit by Kahri. Fall 2012 Collection


The Fall 2012 Collection is titled “Sweet Dreams.”   It is inspired by androgynous Annie Lenox and the Eurythmics and their song “Sweet Dreams,” as well as Rosie the Riveter and 1940s WWII era military style.  The Pavement Cracks Coat Dress is made of gray herringbone wool with black leather collar and shoulder details and feather trim at back storm flap.  It’s double-breasted military chic with a girly touch at the flirty flared hem.   The First Cut dress is made with black silk velvet burnout in herringbone design panels and peplum with a tie-back neck band. I asked the designer,  What’s next for KahriAnne?   What’s your 5-year plan? She said, “Well, I’m part of the Designer Entrepreneur NYC program put on by FIT and Mayor Bloomberg’s NYCEDC, which is a business series for a select number of NYC designers.   I’m working on my business plan now and will hopefully get financing.  I definitely have big dreams for Kahri.   I would love to branch out and do shoes, jewelry, sunglasses, kids, makeup, etc. and have my own boutiques across the world, in the future.” Unstoppable KahriAnne, the sweet girl from Iowa.  Stay tuned.

Photography by Betania Sikora Model is Olesia from APM Model Management Hair & Makeup by Chad Michael Maxwell Wardrobe Styling by Schimmy Clothing by Kahri

Designer KahriAnne Kerr (left) with Model Olesia (right)

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Denim On

Denim A G I N G E R B R E A D B O Y I N N A Z I S PA C E

F LY B O Y S H O O T S H I S L A D D E R

MARS=VENUS

SISTER NANCY’S

Photography by Olena Shkoda Fashion Direction by Sherah Jones

Models: Souhela (MC2 Model Management) Vladimir Gvozd

Hooded Denim Vest: Buffalo David Bitton Vintage Denim Overalls: Lee Jeans

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Chambray denim shirt: Buffalo David Bitton

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S- “Dinasty” T-Shirt Dress: MUA MUA Vintage Levi’s Jacket- Urban Renewal V- Motorcycle Denim Jacket: Buffalo David Bitton Bowler Hat: Forever 21 Bow Tie: Stylist’s own Navy Straight Leg Denim: Buffalo David Bitton Belt: Model’s own Shoes: Vans

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Vintage Bleached Flannel Shirt: Stylist's own Black Skinny Jeans: Buffalo David Bitton Leather Collar: Handkerchief Shoes: Vans

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Leather Fringed Top: Sylvie Schimmel Vintage Gold Earrings: Stylist's own Blue Acid Wash Skinnys: Buffalo David Bitton

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Out of the Blue. S- Flared White Denim: Buffalo David Bitton V- Wide Leg White Denim: Buffalo David Bitton

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6

Creative Ways

to Wear a Necklace

Some of the most interesting fashion details aren’t about clothing at all. By Nicole “Nkisoy” Sawyer For example, the most incredible transformations can start with just-one-necklace.  

Photography by Betania Sikora Wardrobe Styling by Schimmy Hair & Makeup by Chad Michael Maxwell Model is Ya from Agency Model Management

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This multi-dimensional necklace exudes smart style and ideas to make fall fashion simple. A single piece of jewelry such as this playful, fun piece can create endless looks at a low price and challenge your imagination and creativity.  That’s the beauty of imagination, a secret place where one’s style and innovation are just waiting to be freed!   In today’s economy, who has money to go out and buy new items? Choosing a basic piece of jewelry such as this beautiful necklace eliminates the fuss and saves on time.  How you choose to wear your accessories can truly inspire changing your entire wardrobe.  There are no rules in fashion; and in my mind, anything goes! 


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Take your style pick with this season’s new accessory trends: 1.     Wearing the necklace as a bold belt is a fun way to shape and proportion your outfit. This look elongates the torso to make you look taller and thinner AND does not limit your wearing any other jewelry also! Add a bracelet or earrings while wearing your necklace as a belt accessory. 2. Unclasp the necklace to open and wrap it around your head, creating a tribal headpiece to frame your face. To adjust the length, loop the chain between the appropriate open holes until you have reached the end of the necklace. This look pulls the eye up and away from your waist.  3.  Wear the necklace closely around your neck in an eye-catching choker style, good to wear with wide-open necklines. You can add additional necklaces as well for a unique layered look.  4.   Wrap the necklace around your wrist to create a cascading chain bracelet. This look is simply achieved by continuously wrapping the chain necklace around your wrist until you are able to clasp it closed. Then you can allow some of the chains to loosely cascade down your wrist. 5.  Now, stretch the full length of the necklace across your back one time and drape it around your shoulders, creating an artisan shoulder accessory.   This showcases the details of the necklace across your skin in an intricate web of art. 6.  Just wearing the necklace one time around the neck elongates the torso to make you look taller and thinner.  You can loop it around 2 to 3 more times to add texture on top. Jewelry adds character to your wardrobe.   It tells a special story of who you are and even where you’ve been.   Today, fashion’s most unique pieces are recognized as effortless finds from around the world, or perhaps an antique item from a family member; they all tell a story and that’s a beautiful thing! Happy accessorizing!

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All necklaces from Fashion Director, Schimmy’s own collection All other jewelry by Caribbean Lilac Photo 1,3,4,5,6 : Bathing suits by Blynk Dominique Sade

Photo 1 Vest - Blynk by Dominique Sade Photo 2 Dress by Ivana Helsinki Photo 5 Skirt by Ivana Helsinki Photo 6 Skirt - Blynk by Dominique Sade


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A Year of Insomnia:

Celebrating Sleep No More’s One-Year Anniversary in New York by Jen Pitt Sleep No More’s first awakening was back in 2003 in London. It was one of Punchdrunk Theatre’s first projects and now it has come back with a vengeance in New York. No stranger to Shakespeare, the company had devised a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream the year before. After the first production of Sleep No More, which is inspired by Shakespeare’s tale of revenge and lunacy—Macbeth—the company chose darker source material such as Faust and Woyzec, which are classic pieces on the issues of mental illness, paranoia, and corruption of the soul. The term “Punch Drunk” itself stands for Dementia Pugilistica, a mental disorder that is caused by concussions, usually in boxing. There is no aspect of this production—set, lighting, performance, venue, direction—that doesn’t skate on the rims of dementia and frenzy. Immersive theater is meant to dip the audience into a world that is started by the company but only created and brought to life once the audience is involved. In order to accomplish this feat, the audience must be physically and mentally detached from the outside world by a seamless system of production aspects. This cannot exist in a theater on Broadway or the west end, it cannot exist on the streets. Felix Barett, the company’s artistic director, literally creates Sleep No More’s world, transforming an abandoned property in Chelsea on 27th street into the five-storied McKittrick Hotel. As one embarks on this adventure, all conventions are in question: What to wear? If it were Lincoln Center or Broadway, heels and a dress would be in order, perhaps some jewelry. If street theater, comfortable shoes, sunglasses and jeans would do. But what is this? The line in front of the hotel resembles a red-carpet event, New Yorkers and tourists donning their evening wear, not knowing what to expect but certain it’s an occasion to look good for. Ironically, after drinks are served, you are forced to wear a mask, thus erasing individual aesthetic; you are just a white plastic head amid a sea of plastic heads, watching, observing. This makes for a stunning visual backdrop as white masks frantically scramble to find the next scene, turning the next corner in this vast dark warehouse. As the journey continues you become physically uncertain of your steps and surroundings, questioning your mortality and safety. No ushers guide the way and no program guides the time. The most reassuring instruction uttered is, “If you feel overwhelming discomfort, please direct yourself back to the bar on the first floor.” If you chicken out and let the alienation get to you, you will miss out on the whole experience—you do not get to eat your cake and have it too. A leap of faith has to be made into the Macbeth madness of the McKittrick hotel. Absinthe-filled flutes in the hands of fishnetted women are held out to the audience members as they flutter into the bar. This is the first Dantean circle—liquid courage for the weak at heart. The confusion and excitement is tangible. Most of the gentry have no idea what to expect but the one universal certainty is that it is bad-ass, a refreshing contrast to stuffy theater lobbies in which patrons sip espresso and discuss the cast. There is no learned, invisible contract of “pay, watch, intermission, turn off cell phones, applaud, leave.” Muscles twitch vicariously while watching the dancers perform in dangerous positions off rickety ledges and amidst the masked crowd. You become enwrapped viscerally, never checking the time—a consequence of more conventional “talking head” type theater. For

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(l-r) Nicholas Bruder and Sophie Bortolussi with audience members © Robin Roemer Photography

a production that has been up for over a year now, the moves seem fresh and spontaneous, bursting with expression--the motif of greed and obsession constantly appearing throughout as dancers frantically scrub their hands and bodies in asylum tubs, or throw themselves repeatedly against walls. However, if there is one point to Sleep No More, it is choice and ownership over choice. The narrative is based on Macbeth, but there are no concise five acts guiding you through. You choose where you go physically, every step matters, and that determines what you see. The characters break from one another, forcing you to choose whom to follow. As this occurs, white masks stare blankly at one another searching for an answer, or a popular majority, and end up scrambling trying to catch up with one character or another, usually leading into another intriguing encounter. Depending on heavily transmitted visceral emotion and confusion, the performance does not need to be experienced linearly. Often you find yourself wandering solo into rooms replete with immaculate set design—drawers that open to expose real papers, book shelves stacked with actual books. All these details subtly add to the story and the world Barett creates. The ending is the only definite part (so I won’t spoil it here). You are left wanting more, rejecting the notion of leaving this high-stakes world for the muggy evening streets of Chelsea. Remember, though, every step counts.

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Esther Neff talks

Panapoly Performance Lab

& documentary opera

Esther Neff photo by Laura Bluher

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By John Thomas

W

atching the operas of Panoply Performance Lab is always an enlightening experience. Their work forces the analytical faculties and the imagination to come alive in equal measure.  The result, in the author’s experience, may lead to some startling questions about how art, learning, and music can be created and received. For instance, why couldn’t Devo be a free jazz band that played educational songs a la Schoolhouse Rock? What if critical theory professors threw strange objects at their pupils instead of putting them to sleep? Or why shouldn’t a scene like the virgin sacrifice from Rite of Spring be performed not as a ballet, but as an LSD-informed brawl?  The associations vary from viewer to viewer, so deep and unsettling are the style, content, and methods of the group. Central to this largely collaborative collective is Esther Neff, who has emerged as a kind of institution in the Brooklyn arts community. She is notable not only for her extraordinary work with Panoply Performance Lab, but for her smaller-scale work, which has the immediacy of PPL’s operas, and for an adventurous, risk-taking curatorial spirit that has brought disparate artists from a number of fields to participate in various venues and collaborations. Throughout all of her endeavors Esther has remained committed to nurturing a community of artists who desire independence from the art establishment and share radical, countercultural values. If you, dear reader, find any of this appealing, and you wind up in Brooklyn, chances are you’ll cross paths with Ms. Neff in no time. JT: How’d you get into performance art? What are the benefits of this art form over others? EN: I studied theater directing in college in the Midwest and got obsessed with Joseph Beuys, both his performance work and his ideas of social sculpture, also with Ranciere and his “emancipation of the spectator” and conceptions of “sense” and so on. When I moved to NYC and started experiencing much more performance art, experimental music and theater, I got more rigorous about considering the acts of performance-making; getting groups of people together for the event, practicing, groups working together in different ways, individuals playing alone, speech/the voice, memorizing (composer friends passing around Frances Yates’ The Art of Memory), forms of public oration, language, ways of theorizing…I started seeing as much performance art as possible because it was the context that framed my interests situationally and seemed to have the most awareness of itself.

In my mind, performance art as a discipline is more aware of its situation in terms of different relationships between artists, audiences and participants, use of objects and space, as well as performance’s political and economic situations as a medium within social structures. I don’t think performance art is its own “art form.” It shares its situations, concrete operations, and materials (hammers, drums, flour, white boxes, black boxes, seated and unseated spaces, public spaces, musical notation, vegetables, stretchy legs, facial expressions) with performance at large, so performance art’s benefits for me become about how I subjectively experience it as a directly theoretical form. For me, its intentions involve performing in a hyper-situational context, being a way of perceiving/ seeing while being conscious of those ways. JT: It seems your group, Panoply Performance Lab, is equal parts troupe and method. Could you explain the workings of Panoply Performance Lab? EN: PPL is a flexible collective that forms around projects that we call “documentary operas.” These involve different social situations in process, including public Focus Workshops for collective theorization, conferences, rehearsals, sets of short-form reactive and site-specific performances, participatory performances, curated and non-curated exhibitions of performance, and varying cast and team development of material. At the core of almost all of these projects is an opera, which we then perform when ready. We attempt to relate the form of each project’s development process to the theorization it practices/what it is theorizing on. I think this could be called methodization, but there is no mimetic single method from project to project, only a vocabulary or way of framing performance (which is made evident by my way of talking about it here) and this act of relating. We are into absurdly formal attempts and the absurdity of formal attempts. Right now [07/16/2012], a more regular PPL team exists because we’ve been performing the NATURE FETISH opera. The project overall has been going on for a long time; the public components, including Focus Workshops, individual performances, etc., started in October 2011. The performance team is Jessica Bathurst, Arla Berman, Matthew Gantt, Katie Johnston, Natasha Missick, Brian McCorkle, me, Michael Newton, Ellen O’Meara, and Dave Ruder. Cory Bracken and Devlin Goldberg have also performed in the opera, and other participants are numerous. 20+ artists are also part of the performance exhibition, performing their own work.

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Brian McCorkle and I also perform shorter-form performance art pieces under the collective’s name, and others sometimes join us for these, like the 4-hour performance PPL Help the Water that we did along the Gowanus Canal earlier in July. Most fundamentally, it seems PPL is formed around the act of theorizing-as-performancemaking. JT: Do you think the collective and aleatoric techniques that you’ve employed to compose your work have a political basis? EN: Yes, if one defines “politics” as structuring of the authority of certain individuals and groups to construct and disseminate reality. Collective and aleatoric modes also structure authority; they can serve to de-hierarchize or hierarchize, disseminate, practice, and/or etc.  PPL’s performances are not trying to simply disrupt existing power structures, we are practicing different sociopolitical situations, structures, and ways of being and seeing. JT: Theater and performance art have always had a tenuous, yet symbiotic relationship with one another. How do you locate your work within this divide? EN: This relates to the first question. The rhetoric goes that performance art as a discipline evolved from the need to make post-product art, something that couldn’t be valued within existing industrialized economic schemas; unrepeatable/situational, authorized by a marginalized subject, ephemeral, emergent, while traditional theater tended to pose itself as a mirror to a universal reality, a way of capturing or commodifying a shared human experience or event, a saran-wrapped slice-of-life pie with a recipe that can be followed again and again (reinforcement of this paradigm is called dramaturgy). Right now, the theater industry continues to see and use theater solely as a dramaturgical form, even though there are so many other ways of “theatricalizing.” The word “theater” is ruined by the theater industry even though it’s really useful as it shares the root “the-” (seeing) with “the-ory” (ways of seeing). I use the word “theater” simply to mean “way of seeing while being somewhere” or “site of sight.” Due to all this semantic surgery, I guess my location is the same as the Fool’s on the Rider Waite tarot card, perpetually poised to fall right over the cliff into the divide. JT: Your “operas” stage works in a lot of different mediums as a total, immersive composition. How do you trace your work to the more or less Continental tradition of opera? Do you find yourself feeling more like P.T. Barnum or Richard Wagner most of the time? EN: In my wildest and most presumptuous imagination it goes: Wagner>Brecht>Robert Ashley>PPL.  Music is at the core of what we do. While its different modes of improvisation, notation, and so on have different operations

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and can also theorize, a lot of the music Brian throughwrites and develops with performers tends to also be MUSIC, replete with ear-worming melodies and complex harmonies. Circus is interesting too; the populism of it is desirable and preferable to the elitism of grand opera… I’d rather be Jennifer Miller than P.T. Barnum though. JT: You mentioned your newest opera, Nature Fetish. What is it about? How have the performances gone? EN: NATURE FETISH: A Public Opera performs clusters of theories about “the nature of nature.” These theories were identified, alluded to, imagined, invented, aligned, associated, impressed, elected, organized, and so on throughout the process, from the early Focus Workshops with the general public at University Settlement on.  At University Settlement, the piece ended up as a kind of musical for children; in Berlin, the fragments and frameworks got more sexual and violent. At Grace Exhibition Space we performed it the first night as we had at U Settlement and it seemed like an experimental theater piece from the 1960s. We had to move some of it out onto Broadway (in Bushwick/Bed-Stuy) and perform in concert with the J/M/Z.   JT: You recently acquired a new space in South Williamsburg. What are your plans for it? EN: PPL organizes and curates experimental/conceptual time-based performance across disciplines, often with an emphasis on social arts practices and participatory forms. We also make huge messes and a lot of noise, and we build things. We plan on using this space for these endeavors. There is certain work being done that really excites us and we want to support these artists and groups in any way we can.  Right now, Chloe Bass is holding one-on-one consultations as part of her Bureau of Self-Recognition here through August 3rd. In August, we will be starting a performance art open-mic MC’ed by Matthew Silver and we are currently hosting a meeting every Sunday at 11am to organize and curate non-competitively as artists, discuss work, and share resources. The space is also home to Valerie Kuehne, who does a lot of incredible music curation under the banner The Super Coda.  We also take proposals at any time; anyone can email us with an idea at panoplylab@gmail.com.  JT: The national DIY underground has exploded since the ‘80s, when it was mostly related to hardcore and only occasionally art. Now there are venues catering to music of all types as well as there being art galleries, printmaking workshops, food cooperatives, even yoga studios that could all fall under the DIY banner. Do you feel a part of this cultural milieu? Do you feel any relation to the other progenitors of DIY that focus more on music, be it pop or noise, and more traditional visual art?


Esther Neff and Brian McCorkle performing BABY BABY BABY at ACUD’s Serendipity Gallery (a performance with Anya Liftig as part of MPA-B, 2012). Photo by Glen Stoker.

EN: I was born in 1984 in Indiana so I’m not sure about the history of the DIY movement…the story I hear most often goes that the DIY movement was catalyzed by Reagan’s initial cuts to the NEA and a turn against public culture, etc., but it’s been a strong ideological/aesthetic direction for a good long while. Jerzy Grotowski/Ludwik Flaszen wrote Towards a Poor Theater in 1968…I’m not sure that hardcore was the source of “the” DIY underground, but maybe our difference in perspective on this proves that there’s really no such thing as a single DIY underground and that human beings simultaneously construct and are constructed by their political, economic, epistemic, and private situations… so right now those of us who live in the same place and time and have $0  + access to lots of trash are having some similar experiences right now, and some different ones, like always. PPL exists in relationships with some identifiable aesthetic and practical communities; these clumps of individuals, spaces, events, and practices involve cycles of influence, concrete mutual support, interpersonal conflicts, dialectical construction, and various forms of collaboration. There are certain habits, aesthetics, and traditions that come out of consistent social contact and certain realities that result in aesthetic similarities between groups and individuals.

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ABOVE: Esther Neff in PPL Help the Water, a 4-hour durational performance with Brian McCorkle, Jessica Bathurst, and Michael Newton, Gowanus Ballroom/Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn (2012) Photo by Geraldo Mercado LEFT: Esther Neff performs solo piece Onionono at Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn (2011) Photo by Anya Liftig NEXT PAGE - top right: Esther Neff and Brian McCorkle performing Birdhouse Home Craft Project for Fathers and Daughters #1 at IV Soldiers Gallery, Brooklyn, 2012. Still from video documentation. NEXT PAGE - bottom right: Esther Neff performing NATURE FETISH: Anima/Animus at KuLe Theatre in Berlin, 2012. Still from video documentation.

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JT: What’s the difference between aesthetic and cool? EN: People seem to be using the word “aesthetic” to mean “interesting looking,” which is weird. I was under the impression that aesthetics is a philosophical tradition dealing with what gives humans (or animals—I’d like to read a good book on that) sensory pleasure. I guess if something gives you sensory pleasure it is “cool,” like stepping on a stick of butter is pretty aesthetically satisfying and might also be cool in the right context… JT: Your work is often underscored by concepts being tossed around contemporary academic circles. How do you view your work in relation to academia? How do you view performance art’s relationship to academia?

that had its first performances at the Merce Cunningham Studio in February, first to Salt Lake City. I am also working with Yelena Gluzman (Science Project) to realize a durational conference supported by Culture Push throughout the year; we are currently accepting proposals (www.theatreastheory.wordpress.com for the Open Call).  I am also working on solo performances and duo performance art pieces with Brian McCorkle, organizing exhibitions, and so on. I am also working with Ivy Castellanos (IV Soldiers Gallery) and other performance artists on a project called iCan, collecting cans for the deposit and doing a series of performances in them as they accumulate over the next couple months.  However, the top priority project is always keeping the rats and bedbugs at bay.

EN: Not all critical analysis is academic; academia is a network of institutions involved in the higher education and publishing industries. Luckily, academia doesn’t have a monopoly on the practices of intellectual inquiry, only on buying and selling intellectuals and their ideas. The structures of academia maintain themselves much like those of the art world do, relying on complex and often associative schemas of value and legitimacy.  In terms of performance art, academia often serves to economically value performance art by justifying/explaining/interpreting it. In terms of concepts that interest intellectuals, what other concepts are there? Many intellectuals have never been to college, let alone graduate school, but I wouldn’t ignore the powerful ideas of philosophy professors either. Also, the idea of “underscoring concepts” would sum up PPL at our absolute worst. JT: What projects can we expect from you in the future? EN: Brian McCorkle, Lindsey Drury and I have started working on a project called Me Schemes for next year, we are just beginning that. Lindsey and I are also going on tour with Run Little Girl, a dance/social arts project

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Cleopatrick, Performance Artist By Marilyn Recht

O

nce a 1980s cult sensation, Cleopatrick is still an East Village icon. (Known for not divulging personal details, including his or her gender, for brevity’s sake I will refer to CP as “she.”) I found her sipping a cappuccino with white-gloved hands at a neighborhood café, sinewy and a head taller than me. She looked a bit like a fantastic snake, wearing an elegant leather black and white dress and matching feathered hat, with just a slash of red lipstick. I gingerly approached. She nodded regally and motioned to the other chair for me to sit. We introduced ourselves and she agreed to answer a few minutes of questions as long as I wrote and recorded nothing. Her voice was a breathy hiss. What follows is the conversation as I remember it. Is it true you’ve retired? Well technically an artist never retires. As Lennon and Ono famously said, life is art and art is life. Merge and flow, merge and flow. May I ask what is your philosophy? Tabula rasa—blank page, write, erase. I don’t believe in posterity or fame. In more flexible days one created, destroyed, then started again. Now people brag about their creations, like toddlers on a potty. Why the name Cleopatrick? That is for the imagination to conjure. Where are you from? Born in the Bronx, formed in the Lower East Side. New Yorkers get short shrift, you know. What some see as rudeness or impatience is mere awareness. I’ve traveled the world and New Yorkers are the kindest, funniest people you’ll find anywhere. I love to surprise them. I used to make nude sketches of passersby and give them away. I wrote limericks and gave them to suits. I never hold onto anything or it loses its freshness, like a fruit. The moment is the juice, so to speak. If you don’t sell your work how do you make a living? You’d be surprised how people want to give you money when you don’t ask for it. What are some of the things you have been known for? I have gone through phases, many immature [brief smile]. I resprayed billboard ad copy while the city slept—ah, the liberation of those hours. I videoed intimate conversations and cut them with jazzy riffs. These were very popular at 2B and other clubs. When I felt I had become too derivative I became interactive.

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Meaning? I like to play! Perfect example, those kids at Astor Place with their clipboards of politically correct causes. I set myself up right between number 1 and number 2, decked out in my finest, pleading loudly: “Save the Gay Seals!” It wasn’t hard to steal their limelight. [smiles] I got down with the dirty white kids sprawled under my neighborhood scaffoldings. I learned what I’d suspected all along: 8 out of 10 come from rich homes, plagued with anger and guilt. They’re not bad kids, just dreadfully unoriginal. As for the truly disenfranchised, I hand out wipes and snacks and talk to them. Some of them could have been geniuses but they’re too damn vulnerable. Any civic protests? The political is personal, c’est vrai? I covered all the Metrocard machines at the “select service” bus stops up and down Second Avenue with canvas bags reading across: “Evolution ends here,” “Free rides for the angry,” acronyms for the MTA, “Most “Tyrannical Assholes,” etc. I tried to stop the spread of Starbucks by handing out paper cups reading “Fuck Starbucks” or “Break the Chains” under a lewd mermaid. I dressed in velvet, sequins and sunglasses during subway rush hour. I cried that I was kidnapped by aliens and needed airfare to get back to Hollywood. You’d be surprised at the effect of glamour on the common purse. Then I found real panhandlers and distributed the cash. Do you think it’s time to leave New York? We’re a safer city than most in America. And I mean from natural and man-made disasters. Tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, forest fires? Not here. At most a mini-earthquake makes our tooshies vibrate. As far as crime, sure we have our pickpockets, our muggers, our rapists, even our serial killers. And the last thing I’d do is downplay 9/11, which permanently shattered our macho veneer. But there’s something about a lone crazed killer shooting up a school, a restaurant, or a theater, that’s very un-New York. Not to tempt fate, but I like to think that the pace and awareness of the city contains the average psychopath. It’s difficult to carry out a vendetta where nothing is assumed, nobody is trusted, and nothing stays still. Thank you, Cleopatrick. It was a pleasure talking with you. The pleasure’s all mine [putting out a gloved hand to clasp].


ART + FA S H I O N + LIFE C R E AT I V E S U G A R M A G A Z I N E SEEKING WRITERS + PHOTOGRAPHERS I N F O @ C R E AT I V E - S U G A R . N E T

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COLLARD SHIRTS COMMUNE SCARF LUISA BRINI ORACLE BING BANG JEWELRY R I N G S F S M N YC J E W E L R Y

P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y B E TA N I A S I KO R A WA R D R O B E S T Y L I N G B Y S C H I M M Y H A I R & M A K E U P B Y T E $$ M O N E Y K I M

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Jermaine Fowler: One of TV’s Funniest New Faces by Kenrick “iLikeZach” Cabey

“What’s that officer? Oh yeah, the car hopped the curb and hit her, yeah. How’d I survive? Oh, I had on Nikes, she had on high heels. You can’t dodge a car in pumps.” – Jermaine Fowler, Stand-Up Performance at Comic Strip Live Daffy Duck?! Seriously? I ask Jermaine Fowler about his artistic influences and he mentions Daffy Duck? Where do I go from here? Assess the situation. I know that people want to understand this guy. They want to like him. Hell, they already do. He’s been cast in a brand-new remake of In Living Color. The original version was my favorite television show as a kid. His new web series is pushing the boundaries of sexuality and race at a seamlessly intelligent and hilarious level. It’s obvious that this guy knows his craft well. With that said, how do I reckon with the fact that beside great names like Eddie Murphy and Tim Burton, the comedic mind of Jermaine Fowler is being brought to you in part by a spit-slurring cartoon talking bird? I choose my next moves wisely. I breathe. I stretch. I shake. I sip from my energy drink stash. I stare at my notes for an angsty minute or two. And then I perform the simple action necessary to open up my understanding of this man and his special power. I lean back in my chair. I swivel a bit. And eventually, I laugh. I laugh out loud. I laugh at the Duck thing, at myself for worrying about it in the first place. I laugh at the fact that taking a peek into any creative mind is an adventure, but when one makes the decision to foray into the mind of a comic, one must always remember the magic rule. The point is to laugh. Nothing more. No matter how mindtangling the artist’s work might be or how many quirky horizons the artist may force you to cross. To understand Jermaine Fowler, all you have to do is laugh.

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PA N T S D A N I E L PA L I L L O S W E AT S H I R T D A N I E L PA L I L L O S W E AT E R C O M M U N E NECKLACES BING BANG JEWELRY R I N G S F S M N YC J E W E L R Y

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Besides the aforementioned, Jermaine Fowler seems to come from a place with no rules at all. He turns the classic tale (a 20-year old kid from D.C moves to New York to make his way) on its ear, by actually becoming a success in the process. In the three years between then and now, Jermaine has raked in accolades, from the Silver Nail Award at Aspen’s Rooftop Comedy Festival to a spot in the New York Post’s “50 Funniest Jokes.” Just recently, Jermaine made his way into Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival under the event’s “New Faces” banner. Now we find Jermaine here, at the kind of evolutionary moment American comedians dream about. He’s been selected to work as a cast member on a nationally televised sketch comedy show. In Living Color reminds us of an amazing time in Black television history—when brothers Damon and Keenan Ivory Wayans were carving out their thrones as entertainment royalty. Jim Carrey took a chance with his Fire Marshall Bill character and it launched his career. A young and already dangerous Chris Rock coined the phrase “Good lord, that’s a lot of money!” by way of Cheap Pete while speaking for a generation chafing at the all-too-slow trickle-down effect of Reaganomics. And just before the commercial break, audiences watching at home got to meet a Fly Girl named Jennifer Lopez, who always had a special something about her that made her shine among the other dancers under the brilliant choreography of Rosie Perez. The mere fact that the show has been remade is amazing news for us, the viewers. We can’t wait to see what this new show will be like, what new stars might be born here. But for those talented few individuals selected to form the cast of the new show, some pressure might emerge. What plan of attack might be needed for such a grand opportunity? Where will the motivation come from? Fowler didn’t seem bothered too much. iLikeZach: What made you want to get involved with In Living Color at this stage? Jermaine Fowler: Keenan Ivory Wayans told me he’d let my family go if I’d join the cast. iLZ: As an artist, what are you attempting to do with comedy as it exists now? JF: I’m not trying to do anything with comedy per se. But I do know what I’m doing is different and fresh. iLZ: What’s it like to be a comedic actor in front of the camera compared to being a hilarious comic on stage? JF: The only difference is that on-camera there are so many technical aspects to consider while delivering a joke. The best part is that you can do take after take then choose the best. But in stand-up, you only have that one moment.

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J A C K E T T R I P P N YC S W E AT E R R O D E B J E R NECKLACE BING BANG JEWELRY R I N G S F S M N YC J E W E L R Y H AT V I N TA G E

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iLZ: Jermaine, where do jokes come from? JF: My jokes come from personal experiences growing up and non sequitur ideas I have plaguing my thoughts. But mostly my jokes come from Africa. Of course, as illustrious as it is, this television show is not the only thing Jermaine has cooking right now. He’s been airing episodes of a web series he created with Kevin Barnett called “Homo Thugs.” So far the show chronicles the picaresque adventures of two gang bangers who can’t seem to set the record straight about their sexuality. The show speaks heavily to the warped ‘hood ethics concerning displays of homosexual tendencies and gay-on-the-down-low motifs. Fowler’s character, with a naked behind protruding from sagging jeans, and a comfortable willingness to perform simulated fellatio on a gun in episode 2, brings a lot of complexity to the table in terms of what comedy, especially black comedy, is ready for. iLZ: The Huffington Post is talking about “homo thugs” in the same breath as President Obama’s support of homosexual marriage rights and Frank Ocean’s coming out of the closet. How comfortable are you with your comedic work playing an active role in the Black Gay Movement? JF: I believe, “Homo Thugs” doesn’t just play an active role in the Black Gay community. “Homo Thugs” is more than just for Black People or just for Gay People. It’s for everybody to enjoy. I just hope the series also plays a role in the progression of entertainment. iLZ: What do you seek to destroy? JF: Stereotypes and smallpox. iLZ: What do you seek to build? JF: An academy where mutants can learn how to hone their skills and function in society. Jermaine has his work cut out for him. He’s a new young voice with a great big platform. He’s proud of who he is, so much so that he shares that identity with his audience regularly on the stand-up comedy circuit. He’s willing to put himself out there for better or worse. He’s sometimes misunderstood but if you look close enough, it’s always clear that his efforts come from an honest place. Hmm, I think I get it now. iLZ: Who are some of your artistic influences? JF: Tim Burton, Eddie Murphy, Nickelodeon Cartoons, and Daffy Duck. With Jermaine Fowler in the game, I think we’ll all be laughing for a while yet.

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Charisse Mills: Pop Opera Diva

I

By Ethan Boisvert

t was a regular action packed day for me, weaving my 18-foot, 88 Cadillac in and out of traffic on my way to the M1-5 lounge of 52 Walker St, NY, NY, hosting the RAW artists event for June 2012. If you’re unaware, the RAW organization gathers a group of artists of varying disciplines to come together for one night to put on a show, whether it be painting, photography, dance, fashion, whatever. The main stipulation is that all the artists must be emerging.

flowing rhythms. The singing is of contemporary dance infused with opera. To this Charisse danced as much as she acted out her words in contemporary pop fashion. She was accompanied by two men one on each side executing choreography to play off of each other’s stage drama.

We arrived at the party on time and it was really happening. About two hours into the show the host of the evening announced, “And here is the next RAW artist, Charisse Mills.” The seemingly casual, scattered crowd immediately came to full alert and flooded the stage like this was the last show on earth before the Apocalypse. It might well have been. She entered the stage, full figured like Marilyn Monroe, eyes gleaming, well dressed, wavy golden hair of a goddess, with an aura of confidence that is rare and precious.

E. Charisse, please describe your music. C. “I am a pop opera singer who is classically trained. I have been working in the classical field for 9 years. I think it is important to bring this art form to the forefront of contemporary culture because the youth are unaware of it. I want them to fall in love with it the way I fell in love with it. It’s about going back to the roots where music was made.

What drives this artist? This is not only an amazing performer but also a truly intelligent dedicated artist with a history that runs deep. So I took the time to interview her. Here is her story.

“Give me your full attention!”

E. Where are you from? C. I am from Trinidad and Tobago. Music is a very important part of our culture. It was never classical though and that is what I want to share with not just my Caribbean people but people as a whole. It is so much more than pop, rap, hip hop, soul, R&B, and Soca.

She demanded it and we said yes. She danced and sang with so much soul, so much passion, so much sexuality, play and drama. The music had a very strong driving backbone with beats of contemporary hip-hop and well

E. When did you start studying music? C. I started very late, at 16. One day it just hit me. I was in my High School choir class and started singing along to a coloratura classical song on my teacher Steven Ka-

With enthusiasm, fully in the moment, she yelled out to the audience.

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plan’s boom box. He was shocked. He asked me if I ever had classical training. I said no. He then said, “I want to introduce you to a friend of mine, Anitta Darien.” Although not taking on any more students, Anita took me on for a lesson and looked at my choir teacher and said to me, “I want to train you.” As a single parent, mother of three, I sadly said, “I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford it.” She offered to train me for one dollar, out of principle. Not only was she teaching me how to sing, she was teaching me morals and principles. So my teacher Mr. Kaplan drove me everyday to lessons. It was a godsend. Ever since then it was history. I did everything I could. I was studying books, singing here and there with Mayor Giuliani, president Clinton, and the list goes on. I was set on catching up with ten years of work as fast as possible in any way I could to get accepted into music school for college. I was that passionate. E. So where did you study after that? C. I auditioned and was accepted to many but I chose the Manhattan School of Music. I chose it because of Hilda Harris, who was teaching there. Not only are there very few performers who teach classical music but she is one of the best. She is African American, something I really embrace, being a minority myself. When I auditioned I decided to sing one of my selections in Russian because it is not so common. Hilda immediately was interested and wanted to teach me. Hilda was the perfect fit because she makes singers flourish. E. What did you learn there and what do you want to bring to the table?

C. In school we learned all the important things about music, how to compose, sight-reading music, history, etc. We studied all the great composers and had to pick up an instrument as well; mine was piano. It was all about the music. I’m finding more and more these days that music is all too much about the lyrics. But the true emotion is in the music. This is what I learned and it’s important not only to my culture but for everyone to know. E. Who are your favorite classical composers and musicians? C. My number one favorite composer is Rachmaninoff. I don’t like anything that is easy. It took me a little longer to master his pieces, but once you do it’s like magic. The next of course is Handel because of his love songs. The next is Gershwin because he is fun and melodic. Of course let’s not forget Mozart in Hallelujah…..ah, ah ah ah, laaaaaa…all over the place. He just loved to play with the notes. As far as artists go I didn’t focus as much on that because I have no intent on mimicking them. I learned to sight read so I was able to develop it on my own, which is why I am so grateful for music school. E. Now I want to deal with your contemporaries in pop. We have Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, and of course Madonna. I think production is so vital to a song and I am very perplexed in hearing so many songs overproduced. I am wondering what your thoughts are on this. C. Production is so important. It can make you or break you. It is so important to have a strong production team

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that understands your music. Some people have a natural gift but they really should go through music school. E. So why are there musicians with so much money coming into a world of bad production? C. They don’t always have a say and sometimes they have not gone through schooling themselves and simply don’t know better. E. So you exert a strong directive force on the production? C. Absolutely. There is no mediocre. My dream is to work with Star Gate, which is a great production team. They do a lot of records for Rihanna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, all the hits. E. So Star Gate is a production company. But is there any particular producer you would like to work with? C. Well, it’s not just about the producer, it’s the engineer, the writer. The producer is just one element. Every person is a part that counts. A lot of work from everyone goes into this. Then when it is all done it has to be mastered.

E. What new things do you have upcoming, shows, albums, etc.? C. I have a show on August 26th at Santos Party House in NYC. I would like to have an album out by next year. I am currently looking for investors and labels. I’m going to do this right. I have a lot of new things in the works. You can be up to date with what I am doing by visiting my website www.CharisseMills.com and following me on Twitter @CharisseMills E. So before we go I have to ask the question: out of all we talked about, music, culture, training, what inspires you most? C. Life inspires me, and it is the desire to be happy and living a fulfilling life that inspires me most.

E. What do you think about sex in music? We look at Lady Gaga who has sold herself on shock value. C. Absolutely and this is a great example. What background does Gaga have? She was classically trained. When you have training behind you, you understand what you are putting out. It’s not just about the singing, it’s everything altogether, and that’s why she is so successful. However we can’t forget that sex does sell. We should be happy with ourselves and be natural. But it all comes down to being who you are, like Adam and Eve. Then get back to the voice and the music. E. I see you have some other things in the works. C. Yes, CM is a brand and I want everyone to know that I have a fashion line as well. E. Where did this come from? C. I have always been interested in fashion. My mother got me into it at a very young age, custom designing everything I wore right down to infant clothes. To this day I bring that original aspect to my performance and find it very important. E. We are coming to a close so do you have any more thoughts to share with the audience? C. Always look at the negative and find the positive. I like to be bold and daring yet pray every night for discipline and continuity. It’s very hard to be an artist and extremely hard to be a woman at that.

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All Photos of Charisse Mills by Ethan Boisvert


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ART FASHION LIFE B E A C R E AT I V E S U G A R FA N ! G O T O O U R PA G E A N D C L I C K “ S U B S C R I B E 4 N E W S ” FA C E B O O K .C O M / C R E AT I V E S U G A R M A G A Z I N E G E T U P D AT E S A N D A L I T T L E B I T O F S U G A R ! I S S U E S S O S W E E T T H E Y ’ L L G I V E YO U A C AV I T Y.

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L O V E A LWAY S

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Creative Sugar - Issue 2 - Sept 2012