Craftivism, an upcoming exhibition, intends to peel some layers off these questions and present space for a community dialogue to talk about the intersection of present and past of craft as art and art as craft. International multi-media artist and curator Coral Short is behind this three-day event being held at Le Petit Versailles in the Lower East Side in New York City on July 12-14. The exhibition is filled with installations, video and workshops with approximately 15 performers and installation artists from 10 different cities. According to Short's curatorial statement, "Craftivism is a welcoming art gathering that showcases an emerging generation of artists for three days. Queerness, feminism and textiles go hand in hand for many of these contemporary artists, as they rethink and reclaim craft in their own unique ways... These artists use their skill sets to fight patriarchy, transphobia and homophobia by creating a pop up community together in the lush blooming garden that is Le Petit Versailles." July 12 is opening night and there will be delicious cake by Quito, yarn portraits by Buzz Slutzky, textiles by Liz Collins, and a variety of installation art to get lost in. Saturday brings a Circle and Potluck Brunch Panel where crafters will talk about the intersection of their politics and art. There are also a plethera of workshops that day. A donation of $15-30 is requested but all the workshops are NOTAFLOF aka No One Turned Away for Lack of Funds. Rachael Shannon from Baltimore will be facilitating a Crafting Circle where participants will go through a list of different questions regarding relationship to body/where our feelings about bodies come from and then have a discussion and/or craft about it. Brooklynite Kris Grey/Dr. Justin Credible will also be on hand to lead Craft-Identified: A Support Group to talk about craftphobia and academia's preference for the word "design." You can also involve yourself with BabySkinGlove hosting a baby craft circle and some special Magick to inspire artistic revival with Tif Robinette. Sunday is busy, too, with more workshops. Make a headband with Heidi, learn about making craft a full time job with Wai Yant-Li, make a moving image with Zeesy Powers and examine the histories of craft and queer with Caitlin Rose. Sunday night also offers a ton of short videos featuring 16 artists from four countries and 10 cities [Berlin, Oakland, Montreal, Finland, Toronto, Baltimore. Philly, St. Johns Newfoundland, UK, New York] The Craftivism artists are: Alexis O’Hara, Allyson Mitchell, Anthony Privitera, BabySkinGlove, Bizzy Barefoot, Buzz Slutzky, Caitlin Sweet, Cat Mazza, Ezra Berkley Nepon, Heidi Nagtegaal, Janey Moffatt Laloë, Jason Penney, Jeni Little, Josh Vettivelu, Kailey Bryan, Kandis Friesen, Kate Sorensen, Killer Sideburns, Kris Grey, Liz Collins, Max Göran, Maya Suess, Mev Luna, Niknaz Tavakolian, Quito Ziegler, Rachael Shannon, Sabrina Ratté, T.L. Cowan, Tif Robinette, Tracey Bullington, Travis Meinolf, Tuesday Smillie, Zeesy Powers. I caught up with Short one night via Skype. Here Coral talks how Craftivism came about, the concept of social architecture and the difference between craft and art. How did this event come about? "I studied textiles in my undergrad at Concordia University in Montreal and ever since then textiles influenced the way I worked. But I’ve been noticing an evolution of craft. We can see each others work and we all influence each other’s work, but there is unique directions and paths we are working in. I see a queer aesthetic emerging and we can share it on the Internet in a way that we couldn’t do previously. For example, Tif [Robinette]. Her work just popped up on my feed in Facebook, I was like 'What is this,' and I just wrote to her and she's in the show. I feel like in the new craft movement there is a lot of healing around our bodies and gender, and there is a whole politic about nurturing each other. It's hard to put your finger on what queer craft is, but I see it as high experimentation, some raw DIY aesthetic and also creating social architecture - where we create an artistic environment that creates a space where we can feel at ease with each other, where queers feel completely comfortable. It's creating a space that’s ours, celebrating each other and ourselves. I’ve been thinking about curating Caitlin Sweet and Heidi Nagtegaal for some time, wanting these queer minds to meet. And this will further the momentum ball of the queer aesthetic, it's going to really be a catalyst moment for queer craft. When I got approached from Le Petit Versaillas about a show, I immediately thought Caitlin and Heidi needed to meet because not only are they super talented artists but they are organizers, too. There is so much talent in New York and I thought the queer infrastructure would swell. I put out an open call [for the exhibition]. Because of the Internet, things just move from queer family so quickly." What is the difference between craft and art? "Some people don’t see a difference – the institutions, the universities, they have been trying to take craft out of the naming of things and replacing it with other words. Craft is a radical form of making art. It has to do with class. What is high art? What is low art? These are loaded and problematic questions. In the show, we have a lot of crafting circles, it’s a constant dialogue. Craft can be anything from crocheting, knitting, sewing, ceramics, braiding. I definitey believe craft is art. How has craft changed over the years? "I think it has deepened and broadened in the last 10 to 20 years through the Internet and our more rapid travel. I found a few of my artists through Facebook! (Rachael Shannon, Max Goran and Tif Robinette) The call out for the videos was only on FB and people are delivering videos to me online through wetransfer. We live in a fast new age with all its pluses and minuses, but craft in fact helps us to slow down. We as textiles/ craft artists are taken more seriously than we used to be as we become more confident to take up more space as queers and feminists. I believe we are flourishing with each other’s support and often we get inspired by each other as we are in more dialogue than ever due the Internet and traveling. Artists are dreamers, visionaries living in our heads but then creating physicality for our thoughts. For the underground, the queers, the radicals are always one step ahead for all of time, always with change and revolution on our minds. Craft is a way to stay raw, real and connected for we are woven together in our queer kinship. Craftivism is a slow thoughtful activism, a strong powerful display of resistance. Craftivism is an established word. We are coming at it from a new angle. Personal is political and queer. None of our work is appropriative. I’m really excited to see the work, I think it’s going to be epic." Interested in getting involved? Volunteers are still needed. A week before the show opens [aka soon] artists will will begin to meet in the garden to start setting up and making a braid cave. People are welcome to join. Contact Coral at coralshort [at] gmail.com. The garden's July visiting hours are Wed-Sunday from 2-7PM. All events are rain or shine.What's craft? What's art? Who decides? And what does it mean for Queers?
Hacked By GeNErAL
Greetz : Kuroi'SH, RxR, K3L0T3X
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Patricia Racette was a good sport when my date unknowingly blocked her way to the stage during her Jan. 27 show at 54 Below. We were nestled in on the side, to the back of the piano (which actually made for a great view once my date turned their chair around), but what we did not know was that our seats were in direct route to the microphone. Of course I had to bring that up to Racette, who flashed us a gracious smile before getting up on stage, when we got on the phone. She laughed and said, “Oh that was you!?” It was then I learned her entrance was timed and she just barely made it to the mic on the beat. She did, however, and once she was there it was obvious she loves what she does. Her black, sequined flowered chiffon robe was fabulous, and she immediately started talking with the crowd. Performing her breakout cabaret album, "Diva on Detour," she kicked off her set with "I got Rhythm/Get Happy" (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin & Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler) and then worked her way to "Here's that Rainy Day" (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke) which she admitted to the audience was what she sings in the shower. Racette also said she loves singing sad songs and listening to the lyrics of one particular piece, "You've Changed," (Clarie Fischer) prompted me to write "depressing" in the notes I was scribbling on the set list. Elton John was right, sad songs do say so much. Honoring her French-Canadian heritage, Racette performed four songs in that tongue. "You could say the French language has been chasing me all my life," she told the crowd. It was during a French medley ending with La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf/Marguerite Monnot & Louis Guglielmi) that we were able to experience a taste of her operatic flavor. The audience loved it and she said, "You all like the French stuff, eh? Me too!" Operatically, Racette is a soprano and has appeared in some of the most famous opera houses in the world including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Paris Opera. If you missed her in January, don't worry- she'll be back at 54 Below in Midtown March 26-28 to perform from her "Diva on Detour" album. I highly recommend the show if you are looking for an intimate date night and to get out of your regular dinner, drinks and party routine. There's something romantic about being in a night club, with just a singer and pianist on stage sharing a table with strangers. Here Racette talks about preparing for a show, her favorite role and coming out (her wife is mezzo soprano singer Beth Clayton). What inspired you to record your first breakout cabaret album? And how did you decide on its name? This is coming full circle for me, it’s something I started out doing. Then I was introduced to and pursued my operatic career. It’s something I’ve always loved and always known how to do; it’s really a matter of returning to it. In 2004, I was invited to do a little slot in a concert in Santa Fe [where she and Clayton have a home] and they said do something different, not operatically, and I thought, ‘oh great, I will do some jazz songs or some cabaret songs.' We agreed what those songs would be and it took off from there. I’m not one to be in a recording studio and I told them that when GPR [the producers] approached me. They said, ‘Let’s turn the studio into a live studio.' We recorded it in front of a live audience. Beth has coined the phrase, ‘I thrive on live,’ I really love the energy of the audience as being part of the performance. When they told me we could do this and have the audience to record and get what we needed, I thought it was great. In terms of 'Diva on Detour,' Beth and I were talking about what I should call this and it just seemed so completely accurate and appropriate to call it that. How much do you actually collaborate with Beth? We were lamenting when the CD notebook came out because Craig Terry, my pianist, did in fact arrange a couple of the songs but he only arranged one song himself. Everything else has been a collaboration. Quite honestly Beth has been a part of that collaboration, obviously I have, and from time to time Craig’s husband, Hugh Russell, has also been a contributor. I’ve read in print that Craig has been called music director which is not entirely accurate because some of these songs in fact are medleys that I’ve done before I even met Craig. I musically direct it with assistance mostly from Craig and also from Beth and occasionally from Hugh. How do you decide on the order of the set list? Does that happen right when you get on stage or does it depend on the night? It’s rather spontaneous and what’s interesting about doing these live shows is that you can play around with that order and see how it resonates with the audience. It’s very interesting for us to see that. Do you have a ritual before you go on stage? It’s sort of the same for opera. I keep calm. I keep focused all day, keep somewhat quiet and I do a really good warm up. For the cabaret, I look at all my music, I look at my note cards for the chatter and the patter and I just keep my memory very, very fresh. Do you ever have performance anxiety? I think it would be very untrue if any performer said they didn’t. I do. If anything the anxiety is before, once I’m up there I feel like I’m home. It seems like you embody the emotions of the songs you perform and are able to create a really intimate experience. This is the treat of doing music of this genre, you can really be intimate and tell these very subtle stories as opposed to the opera, which is usually such a grand event, if only through the number of participants that it takes to make that event happen. So it’s a nice change for me as a performer and as an artist. Do you have a favorite role? I think Tosca is my favorite at the moment. I love the character; Musically, vocally it fits me like a glove and I like the female she is. So often in opera - let’s just put it this way - you don’t find the most feminist of creatures in your leading ladies. It’s just great to portray a character that takes fate into their own hands. That’s fun to realize dramatically. You did an “It Gets Better” video filmed at the Metropolitan Opera with Beth. What was that experience like for you? What sort of feedback did you receive? It was really neat. I was hosting one of the HD broadcasts at the Met and they filmed it in the hallway. Beth was with me so we had the opportunity to do that together. It was a privilege and an honor to do that - to be able to have our sentiments and thoughts on the subject known and also appear as we are- which is out and proud. In that video you talked about how you came out in 2002 in print and you said it was scary for a moment. You said the price wasn’t worth paying to not be true to yourself and your relationship. What article are you referring to and was it something you planned? The article was for our trade magazine, Opera News, and it was my first time on the cover and they were doing a feature on my career. At that point they didn’t know I was planning on coming out in print. Beth and I discussed that it was time to answer those questions not just specifically and honestly but with the celebration of what we actually feel about our life together. To dodge the question and act ashamed didn’t match what we really think and feel. Also, for me to not be an honest person or not be myself 100 percent, I felt that my art, my artistic voice, would suffer. How did it change for you? I was scared for a little bit. You have to work so very, very hard to succeed in this profession. I had achieved much and wanted to achieve more still and I didn’t know if this was going to be a great impediment to doing so. I was scared that the bigotry was going to ruin what I had achieved and not allow me to do more. But honestly I have not seen any evidence of that. Where in New Hampshire did you grow up? How did you end up in Texas for college? A town called Bedford. And, there was a great jazz school in Texas. I still ended up in opera, kicking and screaming. I wanted to do jazz and cabaret but it became very clear early on that my abilities at that time were certainly best led to the operatic genre. I had voice lessons every week and I was obligated to learn repertoire and quite honestly it came very naturally to me. It sort of took on a life of its own and took me along with it. What do you do to unwind after a show? It varies, sometimes I’ll go out with friends. I go home and I might have a little bite to eat but literally I just sit there. Maybe take a hot bath. Sometimes we’ll go out to a party - but it depends how busy you are and what you have going on. You have to be very guarded about staying healthy and keeping your energy up to the best because it’s an enormous amount of energy being a performer. What’s next for you? I am doing Manon Lescaut at the Washington National Opera, and then I come back and do the shows for 'Diva on Detour' in March, which I’m very excited about. Then we go back to Santa Fe and check on things. We come back here [to NYC] to the Metropolitan Opera to do Les Dialogues des Carmelites, opening May 4. Catch Patricia Racette at 54 Below on March 26, 29 & 30 at 8:30PM and on March 27 & 28 at 7PM. 54 Below, "Broadway's Nightclub," is located at 254 West 54th Street in Manhattan.
I am mostly up for anything with my hair, as long as it somewhat looks the same. I like deviations from my classic look. He's easy with his scissors and yes, on the eyes. And he's got great stories. And sometimes, if you treat him right, he'll make a house call. Did I mention he's a DJ? [Check out his next gig here] And tells good stories about the dudes he meets on the street?Shameless plug. I love Riki Razo. I met him through a friend who brought me to his house in Williamsburg for a haircut.
social therapy group and then acupuncture. Yes, social therapy. It's basically a group that gets together every week with two therapists to talk about shit. It's super challenging and hard for me because I am actually pretty shy when it comes to a group setting. I get really nervous talking in front of people, and even more so if it's just conversational and I want to just contribute and build off something somebody said. It's slightly easier when I'm sharing something about me, but I have a hard time with attention on me, I realize (even though I have secret fantasies of performing). And I have a hard time with thinking I have anything meaningful or of value to contribute. It's really hard to admit that and I know intellectually it's not true, but it's old and dusty and something I'm working hard to transform. I always feel raw afterwards, though if I contribute and find myself talking a lot during a particular session, I notice I feel buzzed. It's a group of about 15 I think, so not that big, but it's growing. Three new people started this month alone. It's a mix of gay, straight, young old - and it's diverse in terms of where people are from. I started last spring, I think, though I'm not sure exactly. We basically talk about whatever - people's shit that comes up, what's going on politically and culturally, or certain themes about the emotionality of life. It's deep and the pace of the group can be fast. I'm always conscious of who is speaking and how much space they take up. I think I am conscious of this because I struggle with taking up space speaking, even though I know I do, just with my presence. I've had some pretty deep realizations by osmosis and participation since joining the group, some of which feel a little personal to share here, but I made an interesting parallel today while on the phone with V. There's no introduction in group therapy (other than a few initial sessions with the lead therapist), nobody shows you or tells you how it's done, or what to say or when to say it. They don't tell you how to introduce yourself or what to share or how to give feedback. You just do it. It's the same sort of thing in sparring. Sparring is awesome. I love being in there with the more advanced students and my teachers (who are taking it easy on me, somewhat) but there is very little direction until I am in the thick of it. The minutes are ticking on the clock and I'm in a round, on offense and defense, going slow, but still wondering about what strikes to put out, and how to block properly. I had a coach (aka another student) the other day who showed me a round kick and then front kick sequence technique, which helped. And I am learning some blocks slowly, but for the most part, I'm thrown in and am picking it up as I go. This is happening for me in group. I feel myself flailing in there, contributing and retracting, and then just harboring. Of course it's different because I am physically moving while sparring, but with both things, I am forced to put myself out there and participate and I feel vulnerable. Vulnerable in sparring because I want to have a better idea of what I am doing and vulnerable in my group because I want to have a better idea of what I am doing. And I don't. And I'm really uncomfortable with that and trying to lean into the uncomfort and anxiety and just be OK with it. I'm moving and growing and I want to know what I am doing! And, then today, I was reminded that whenever things get hard, I tend to want to bail. I don't have that feeling in sparring, but in the group, yes, I do. I really do. I want to hide under my covers and watch Downton Abbey all day and The New Girl and just shut down. And cry. And yeah, I do some of that, but I also am working on visibility and my old coping mechanisms just keep me hidden. Aka they really don't work anymore. I have not yet found the balance of participating and showing vulnerability and doing it in a way where I don't feel overexposed or emotionally exhausted. It's a process and I guess, on days like these, when I leave group feeling defeated because I didn't participate on the level I want to, it's time to just be gentle and tender with myself and know that I am working hard and trying. PS. This post doesn't even address the concepts of conflict and playing well with others - both of which I am exploring in karate and social therapy. I have a history of conflict and have traditionally not done it well - it frightens me - and learning how to be in conflict constructively and sharing my perspective without my righteous edge is a new challenge of mine.Mondays are typically what I call my "mental health day" ... as I go to my