Fellows Friday News: From Choreography Remixes to Reflections on Home

1/11: Thaddeus Phillips as Barry Seal, for Alias Ellis MacKenzie. Courtesy of the artist.
2/11: Mikeah Jennings and Dito van Reigersberg. Promotional photo for Pig Iron Theatre Company’s I Promised Myself to Live Faster. Photo by Jason Rothenberg.
3/11: Mash Up Body Lab, choreographed by Kate Watson-Wallace.
4/11: Vera Nakonechny, 2008 Pew Fellow. Still from Nakonechny’s Pew Fellow short film, directed by Glenn Holsten.
5/11: Ken Kalfus, 2009 Pew Fellow. Still from Kalfus’ Pew Fellow short film, directed by Glenn Holsten.
6/11: Michael Djupstrom, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
7/11: Charles Cohen, 2011 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
8/11: Marco Roth, 2009 Pew Fellow. Still from Roth’s Pew Fellow short film, directed by Glenn Holsten.
9/11: Thomas Devaney, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
10/11: Brian Phillips, 2011 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
11/11: J. Louise Makary, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news highlights, theater artists Thaddeus Phillips and Pig Iron Theatre Company’s Dito Van Reigersberg, Dan Rothenberg, and Gabriel Quinn Bauriedel, as well as choreographer Kate Watson-Wallace, all have works on stage at FringeArts. Master embroiderer Vera Nakonechny talks to the National Endowment for the Arts about the history behind her work, and novelist Ken Kalfus’ new book is released.


Pew Fellows on Stage

Pig Iron Theater Company founders Dito Van Reigersberg, Dan Rothenberg, and Gabriel Quinn Bauriedel (2002) opened their new Center-funded show, I Promised Myself to Live Faster, on stage through May 31 at FringeArts. The Philadelphia Inquirer praised the show, saying “though there’s no shortage of over-the-top visuals…there’s still a gentle beauty anchoring the piece.” The play has also received press from Metro Philly, Philadelphia Weekly, and others.

Pianist and composer Michael Djupstrom (2014) will perform at the German Society of Pennsylvania with Ayane Kozasa, including an original piece by Djupstrom—”Walimai”—which was awarded the 2012 Delius International Composition Prize by the UK-based Delius Society. May 31, 3–5 p.m., German Society of Pennsylvania.

Choreographer Kate Watson-Wallace’s (2007) Mash Up Body, originally a Center-funded project, will be at FringeArts for three days this June. A “meditation on agency, radical presence, and embedded patriarchy in the art world,” according to FringeArts, Mash Up Body asks dancers to destroy and remix choreography on the spot. June 4–6, 8 p.m., FringeArts.

Actor and playwright Thaddeus Phillips (2002) has just premiered The Incredibly Dangerous Astonishing Lucrative and Potentially Completely True Adventures of Barry Seal at FringeArts, the opening act to the Center-funded Alias Ellis MacKenzie at FringeArts this fall. The project examines Barry Seal, an infamous American smuggler, and is inspired by Phillips’ experience working on Colombian telenovela Alias El Mexicano. The Philadelphia Inquirer called the show “a work of bizarro genius,” and it has received rave reviews from Al Dia, Phindie, and elsewhere.


New Releases in Music and Literature

Experimental musician Charles Cohen (2011) has released a new album on Morphine Records, Brother I Prove You Wrong. The Quietus reviews the album, calling it “a deeply affecting work of great and subtle musicianship…a vindication for an artist who at long last found an audience but whose work, both now and then, remains timeless.”

Bloomsbury has released novelist Ken Kalfus’ (2009) latest book, Coup de Foudre: A Novella and Stories, a “groundbreaking work of literary invention.” Kalfus will do several readings in the Philadelphia area to celebrate the book’s release, including an appearance at the Free Library of Philadelphia. June 3, 7 p.m., Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr; June 4, 7 p.m., Chestnut Hill Book Festival, Chestnut Hill Hotel; June 8, 7:30 p.m., Free Library of Philadelphia.

Essayist Marco Roth (2009), founding editor of n+1 magazine, will also speak at the Free Library of Philadelphia in June. With other n+1 editors, Roth will discuss the latest essay collection from the magazine, City by City, which the Free Library describes as a “raw and revelatory yet still often celebratory look at some of America’s best known and least understood urban areas.” June 22, 7:30 p.m., Free Library of Philadelphia.

Hanging Loose Press has published Thomas Devaney’s (2014) new collection of poetry, Runaway Goat Cart, which takes its title from a Bill Traylor painting by the same name. Upcoming readings include: May 29, Poets House, New York; June 6, Muse House, Philadelphia; June 21, 3 p.m., In Your Ear series, DC Arts Center.


Fellows at Home and Around the World

Architect Brian Phillips (2011) of Interface Studio Architects has opened a new exhibition at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Re: Rowhouse, as part of the Home Is Where You Hang Your Hat group exhibition, a show described by the Art Alliance as “an interpretation of the concept of home.” Philadelphia Art Alliance, now through August 24.

Video artist J. Louise Makary (2013) begins an artist residency in Montegemoli, Italy this June, part of M’arte 2015 – Habitat, Habitus, Humus, a contemporary art project and experiment in creative participation. The project is run by Site Specific, an independent group focused on research and experimentation in contemporary art.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) interviews embroiderer and weaver Vera Nakonechny (2008), who was also a 2014 NEA National Heritage Fellow. In the podcast, Nakonechny describes her influences as an artist, including the moment when she first returned to the Ukraine after leaving as a teenager.


Grants & Grantees

Self-proclaimed “mud man” and 2010 Pew Fellow William Daley has been a leading figure in the field of ceramics for close to 60 years.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news, Jenny Sabin is honored with a Women in Architecture Award presented by Architectural Record, Benjamin Volta unveils a new mural, and we remember the late artist and teacher Nicholas Kripal.

Pew Fellow and visual artist Benjamin Volta leads an artmaking workshop as part of Historic Germantown’s ongoing Center-funded project Elephants on the Avenue.

This multi-part project will animate Chester’s downtown cultural corridor by engaging the local community, along with experts in public history, placemaking, and tactical urbanism, in a series of events and programs interpreting the city’s underground history.

Grants & Grantees

In 2005 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 66 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news highlights, CAConrad wins the Believer Poetry Award, Geoff Sobelle’s play The Object Lesson heads to Australia, and Opera Philadelphia presents Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain.

Grants & Grantees

Emily Brown is a visual artist and a 2000 Pew Fellow.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Susan Bernofsky is an author and German-language literature translator. She directs the literary translation program in the School of the Arts MFA Writing Program at Columbia University.

The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance is an evening-length autobiographical dance, the culmination of Philadelphia-based breakdancer Raphael Xavier’s 30 years of experience in hip-hop genres. Xavier, a 2013 Pew Fellow, plays with the rhythms of rap, break dancing and narrative to draw parallels between the performer’s body and the stage itself.

Grants & Grantees

In 2007, the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 83 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.

In this month’s Pew Fellows news, Justin Cronin’s book The City of Mirrors debuts at the top of The New York Times Best Sellers list, J.C. Todd wins the Rita Dove Poetry Prize, and we introduce 12 new Pew Fellows.

Pew Fellow and Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher leads a poetry workshop and story circle in Historic Germantown.