MARCH 2017 ISSUE

Anita Chordia plays Fruit Ninja at the VR exhibit in The Myriad at 2175 Market St. Exit Reality is a virtual reality cube open to the public for a dollar per minute. Photo: Jessica Webb

Exit Reality

 

 

The Myriad on Market Street is one of the area’s newest additions. Located within walking distance from hangouts like the Brewcade, it might appear to be just another future food court incarnate featuring hip noshes like poke, raw juice, and zoodles (zucchini noodles, for the uninitiated).

Although, peering out from between an oyster stand and the full-service bar is Exit Reality, the virtual reality cube that offers VR experiences to the public. What the “guides” call going “inside” the experience is offered to walkers-by, bar goers, and anyone with the dollar-per-minute willingness to put aside any hesitation towards this new form of media.

The goals of the crew behind Exit Reality, are much more valiant than a seeming-takeover that novels like Snow Crash and Neuromancer intimate. While some fear that virtual reality will take over as the real world ceases to exist, the crew at Exit Reality believe that VR is an experience akin to a more immersive cinema, video game, or educational tool than has ever been created before.

The guides and minds behind Exit Reality hope to step away from the idea of VR as little more than a new-aged arcade fancy — although its power as the coolest kind of video game is palpable. Games like “Space Pirate Trainer” function as your average first-person-shooter game although you’re plopped firmly in a cyberspace world. Each approaching enemy ship will make you duck as though it will hit you firmly in the face. This, not to mention that if you turn around you may as well be on a planet from the Star Wars universe. “Gnomes and Goblins” is the dream of any druid who has ever deigned to start up a game of Dungeons and Dragons. “The Brookhaven Experiment” invites you to essentially participate in an episode of “The Walking Dead.”

These visual — and almost tactile — feats aside, VR provides so much more than simple reality escaping entertainment. Programs like “The Lab” offer a variety of deep viewing experiences into spaces and places little known by humans, much less on such a to-scale model as this. Experiencers can exist on a to-scale model of the Solar System or dive into the human body. Other programs like “The Blu” allow VR users to swim with a life-size whale (it’s big).

Other uses are touted by the VR guides, ones that could save society time and money down the road. Car companies could experience cars before having to build a prototype, archeologists can explore excavation sites without risking destruction, and surgical students could perform proto-procedures without harming any lives in the process.

Guides and Exit Reality co-founder Ilya Druzhnikov created their experience on the belief that by exposing the potential of the technology they can both educate and delight people.

Exit Reality is also a proponent of local developers. For developers to create an immersive world is a massive undertaking — both artistically and financially. Exit Reality hopes to keep the innovation local before this kind of technology spreads to other hubs like LA and New York.

Exit Reality is not simply happy with the current state of VR in the world and is actively pursuing a route towards more social gaming and experiencing. While currently the VR experience is a mostly solo one, where one individual goes “inside” the VR while others wait patiently “outside,” Exit is working to create ways in which friends can participate on their phones while one is inside the VR experience. Other developing applications include online multi-player games.

Regardless of whether or not a user is interacting socially inside the VR experience, guides have noticed one thing: They certainly interact after about how out there and exciting the experience was. This reaction is, according to guides, across the board.

While Exit Reality often funds their work through hiring out for corporate parties, it is the sharing with the public that is their main passion. In the words of VR guide Lance Warner, “We just want participants to experience the future—we just want to expose the potential.”

 

• • • Also in the March Issue • • •C

Castro Theatre Screens Entire ABC Miniseries ‘When We Rise’

 

ABC premiered the San Francisco-based docudrama “When We Rise,” an eight-hour miniseries, at the Castro Theatre on February 20. Based on Cleve Jones’ memoir “When We Rise: My Life in the Movement,” the four episodes cover 50 years of LGBTQ history from the Stonewall riots in New York to present day.

The private screening at the Castro Theatre lasted most of the day and into the night. The rainy afternoon did not stop attendees, who filled the theater to capacity. However, the Rise and Resist rally initiated by Cleve Jones, which would have happened in Harvey Milk Plaza during the screening’s two-hour intermission, was cancelled due to a downpour.

Before and between episodes, guest speakers who spoke on stage included the series’ screenwriter and Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, Cleve Jones, and transgender activist Cecilia Chung. The SF Gay Men’s Chorus, which was initially filmed for the miniseries but cut from final production due to legal rights, performed before intermission.

“When ABC and the producers decided to have the world premiere at Castro Theater, executive producer Bruce Cohen called and asked if we would sing,” Chorus director Tim Seelig told Castro Courier in a written statement. “It was his vision that we would perform ‘San Francisco’ from [the musical] ‘I Am Harvey Milk’ just as the credits ended on the second part—one of the most poignant moments in the series.”

Seelig says the audience was raw with emotion as approximately 120 singers entered down all four aisles of the theater as credits rolled after episode two. “San Francisco, I am calling. I have no one. But you welcome the broken to come and to heal,” the chorus began singing in the darkness.

“It was a moment etched in time for everyone in the room,” Seelig continued in his statement. “It was that moment when we realized how lucky we were to live in [San Francisco], to have survived the terrible plague and to be sharing a moment of magical music.”

The film, which was awarded the Audience Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, depicts local, prominent LGBT activists.

Cleve Jones (played by Guy Pearce), author of the book in which the series is based upon, is the story’s protagonist. After leaving a repressive life in Phoenix, Jones moved to San Francisco and quickly emerged as one of the leading figures of the gay rights movement. Cleve Jones worked for then-supervisor Harvey Milk and created the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in 1985.

Founder of the Mission’s Women’s Building, the first women’s center in the country to be run by women, Roma Guy is played by Mary-Louise Parker. A lifelong activist, Guy still lives in San Francisco. With the help of her wife Diane (played by Rachel Griffiths), a social justice advocate and HIV/AIDS nurse, the couple worked on bringing accessible healthcare to all San Franciscans.

Ken Jones (played by Michael Kenneth Williams), a gay African American naval officer, arrived in San Francisco to spearhead a desegregation program. Following a covert gay affair, he became the victim of racism and eviction after his partner died during the AIDS crisis.

Introduced later in the series is Bay Area transgender rights activist Cecilia Chung (played by Ivory Aquino). As trans identity gained recognition in the 1980s, Chung’s depiction in the film felt more timely than historical in light of Trump’s transgender restroom policy reversal.

Audience members had mixed reactions to the series after the screening.

“It’s a proud achievement for the artists and our community,” said Rainbow Flag creator Gilbert Baker (played by Dylan Arnold). “We are going to be really grateful that this was made to tell our stories and preserve our history. ”

San Francisco local Robert Lussier was displeased. “I’m not liking it all that much,” Lussier said. “The first part was boring. The second part was a little better and now we’re going back to boring again.

“It’s too defused,” Lussier added. “They’re glossing over really important things, like Prop 6 [the ban on gay and lesbian teachers in public schools].”

Kyle Wong, 31, said it was amazing. “It’s heartbreaking to see what led to where we are now. But it’s also very inspiring to see the actions of those who came before us.”

During last summer’s filming, local businesses were made over for accuracy. Gyro Express on the corner of Castro and 18th Street was redressed as Star Pharmacy, the first pharmacy in the city to notify residents of “gay cancer.” Across the intersection, Harvey’s became the 1970s bar Elephant Walk. Castro and 18th’s rainbow crosswalks were covered up during production and subsequently damaged. ABC later funded and restored the northern and eastern crosswalks.

Guest stars in the series include Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell, Sam Jaeger, Denis O’Hare, David Hyde Pierce and Carrie Preston. When We Rise is available to view on ABC’s website after the televised screenings.

 

Photo: Tony Taylor

 

• • • Also in the March Issue • • •

A crowd is inside in the Castro’s Dog Eared Books listening to a performance as part of the local literary reading series “Perfectly Queer.” The series takes place on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m.

‘Perfectly Queer’ Literary Series Features Local Authors

 

Wayne Goodman and Rick May bring the Bay Area’s LGBTQ authors together in the Castro with their monthly reading series. The series is called “Perfectly Queer” and takes place on the second Monday of each month with a different literary genre at each event.

“Perfectly Queer” is part passion project of Goodman and May, features LGBTQ writers for an evening of reading their works. This month features San Francisco-based authors M. Christian, Vylar Kaftan and Ellen Klages. The authors will read selections of their work on March 14 at 7 p.m. at Dog Eared Books, located at 489 Castro St.

Goodman explains the importance this reading series is for the LGBTQ community, not only in the Castro, but the greater Bay Area.

“Rick and I believe that most bookstores won’t carry LGBTQ authors unless they are big names. We wanted to show that we can still draw a crowd and sell books from lesser-known writers. This supports our LGBTQ writers and local independent booksellers.”

This month the book reading series explores the genre of Queer Speculative Fiction.

While Speculative Fiction in mainstream literature is relatively new, it has been around for a while. However, coming from a queer perspective, this genre may be unfamiliar to some.

The purpose of beginning the reading series for Goodman and May was not only to bring San Francisco queer writers together for an evening of reading, but also to introduce new literary genres to readers interested in LGBTQ literature. The idea appears to have stuck and the reading series seems to have found a semi-permanent home at Dog Eared Books.

Goodman and May saw the void within the LGBT community of San Francisco and decided a change could be done starting with them.

“When Rick and I discovered the lack of queer authors in San Francisco, we knew this book reading series could change the perception that LGBTQ books do sell.”

When the community supports its fellow LGBTQ family, especially in the arts, it gives their voices a greater chance of being heard from the mainstream. When queer communities support their own local artists, it contributes to a growing voice.

Along with academics, artists write history. We must choose to lift up LGBT authors and use their art and voice to help move the community forward in the direction of complete equality.

Events like Perfectly Queer, and other events that spotlight Queer artists are important for the community to attend and support because LGBT artist are ambassadors to a larger world beyond the Bay Area bubble.

 

• • • Also in the March Issue • • •

Upper Market St. Development May Offer 96 New Apartments

Changes are afoot at the corner of Duboce Avenue and Market Street.

 

A proposed mixed-use development at 1965-67 Market Street is one of the many in recent years that could soon be changing the Upper Market landscape. The highly visible site is currently the location of a FedEx Office outlet. David Baker Architects designed the development for Keller Grover Properties, and when finished will have 96 residential units, retail space, and an underground parking garage. Fourteen of the new units will be designated for affordable housing.

The developer still needs the Planning Commission to approve the project but they are optimistic they could break ground as early as next spring.

According to city and state regulations, all buildings constructed over 50 years ago that possess architectural or historical significance can be considered historic resources. The current facade on Market Street fits this requirement, and will remain intact while the new development will be built around it.

David Prowler, project manager of the new development, discussed the projected impact. “We worked very hard to learn from the Market and Octavia plan, [and] that the city and neighborhood associations worked for years to develop a plan that meets the goals of neighborhood residents,” he said.

The Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan covers Market Street between the Van Ness Avenue and Church Street Muni stations and along Octavia Boulevard. The Plan has been in effect since 2007.

“We’re really happy to say that the project complies with the Market and Octavia Plan,” Prowler said. “We’re working to further the neighborhood’s goals of creating a gateway in that corner, and creating a scale that relates to the buildings around it and to the width of Market Street.”

Prowler said the project preserves the significant elements of the historical building and creates housing at all levels of affordability at a time when the neighborhood needs it most.

Currently, any building along Market Street at that intersection is zoned for development up to 85 feet in height. However, the current parking lot, along Duboce Avenue, is only zoned for 55 feet. Therefore, the project team is utilizing the state’s Density Bonus Law, passed in September 2016. The law enables an increase in height or configuration in order to increase the number of units that are created on a site. This will allow two additional floors to the Duboce Avenue side of the building, making the new structure 75 feet tall.

“What it enables us to do is to push the addition that goes above the historic building way back in order to create a setback that honors the existing building. We’re set back from Market Street property line 35 feet, more than the width of a typical building lot,” he said. “The state density bonus allows us to recapture what would be lost by increasing the height above the existing zoning.”

The current FedEx Office Outlet will be converted but the amount of retail in the development will stay the same, Prowler states. “It’ll go from office and retail to residential to retail,” he said.

Originally, the development was projected to have 80 units. San Francisco’s Inclusionary Housing Program requires developers of projects with 10 or more units to pay an Affordable Housing Fee, or to instead sell or rent a percentage of the units to low or middle income households. The required rate for BMR (below market rate) units for this project is 14.5 percent. However, the additional space allowed by the Density Bonus Law allowed for the addition of 16 units to make a total of 96 units.

To keep the original number of affordable units at the rate of 14.5 percent, they voluntarily added two additional units, making it a total of 14 units that qualify as affordable housing. “We’re applying the local requirement to all the units, even those attributable to the state density bonus, even though we’re not required to,” he said.

Prowler states that the management team made presentations to six or eight neighborhood associations to solicit their input. “Some people have critiques of the design and we’ve made some design changes in response to those critiques,” he said. “The basic use, the scale, the residential mix- we’re doing exactly what it is that people called for in the community-driven Market and Octavia plan.”

Prowler said a crucial component of the development is that the management team are residents of the area. “Just about all of the project team lives or works in the neighborhood,” he said, “One of our goals is to create a project that we can all be proud of.”

 

• • • Also in the March Issue • • •

A shot from “12 Pianos,” taken near Half Moon Bay.

Seventh Annual Green Film Festival

Returns to the Castro Theatre in April

 

 

This year’s Green Film Festival will open at the Castro Theatre on April 20 and run through Wednesday, April 26. The event will feature internationally acclaimed films, with guests and filmmakers holding discussions about at the world’s most pressing environmental issues. Besides “ah-ha” moments and a sense of wonder about many films, the audience is apt to leave the theater with tangible ways to become involved.

“I’m super excited to premier my film at the Castro! It’s every filmmaker’s dream to show their film at the Castro and fill the room,” said Mario Ffortissimo, the director of one of this year’s entries by a Bay Area filmmaker. “There will be musical surprises the night Twelve Pianos plays,” he added.

If this year’s festival is anything like last year’s, the audiences are in for some outstanding films. The Festival Wrap Report from 2016 shows important information about this festival, now in its seventh year. Last year, the festival presented 68 films from 15 countries in eight venues with 107 guest filmmakers. There was a 28-percent increase in individual ticket sales. With 11 world premieres, a third of the films were by women, nine films by youth and a third of the films by Bay Area filmmakers.

This year, the festival has added the Green Fire Award for the best documentary made by a Bay Area Filmmaker. While none of the winners have been notified at the time of publication, this article will describe three of the best films by Bay Area filmmakers.

The director of the Green Film Festival, Rachael Caplan, said, “It’s clear that the festival is about more than just showing movies. I’m more than just the film’s message; it’s a way of using film to build a movement and inspire people to take action on the climate.”

This year, the festival brings audiences independent films on one of the most important environmental issues, food production. The Festival will present 70 international, eco-focused films, with more than 90 visiting filmmakers and guest speakers who can motivate viewers to take action with local sponsors. These sponsors help bring in new audiences.

The Green Film Festival is also bringing films that stoke conversations between filmmakers and the audience about food. There are many industries and sciences that affect how our food is grown and how it is one of the most important ways to reduce carbon from the atmosphere. There are many complex organic and natural food systems with the farmers, chefs, food-lovers, and mega-corporations like Monsanto that has changed the way farmers grow food.

Thanks to the amazing ability of Caplan to bring people and organizations together and her knowledge of hot issues, San Franciscans have one of only two environmental film festivals in the country. The other festival based in Washington, D. C. takes place just before this one, and filmmakers, who make environmental documentaries, tyically apply to both festivals.

Besides working closely with her board, filmmakers, community sponsors, volunteers, and interns, Caplan relies on her COO, Gemme Bradshaw. They make the festival happen. Also, the jury of several people meet every two weeks during the year to review films. All of these people believe in the power of film to bring the public into the global conversation about what it means to sustain life on the planet.

“When the credits roll, the lights come up,” Rachael said, “and you feel moved and motivated for what comes next, the film’s program online gives you ways to become involved with local sponsors that promote the Green Film Festival to their members.”

The Green Film Fest will announce seven film awards this year. The films described here are among the best made by Bay Area filmmakers.

Evolution of Organic, produced by Mark Kitchell, starts with hippies in the 1960s and the back-to-the-land movement rejecting industrial farming that grew into the organic food revolution. This change in thinking renewed our connection with our food and the land. Filmmaker Mark Kitchell (“Berkeley in the Sixties” and “A Fierce Green Fire”) presents a celebration of Californian organic farming, as told by the people who started the revolution, and continues through a new generation that is reinventing the food system.

“Reducing carbon is the best answers to climate change,” said Kitchell. “Soil rich with microbes that is tilled produces oxygen from the carbon the microbes consume. About 40 percent of the U.S. land (and 37 percent of the world’s land) is farm. This process reduces carbon in the atmosphere but the only difficulty is there is no way to measure the increase in oxygen.”

Organic foods now compose almost 5 percent of total food sales in the U.S. The organic industry says U.S. sales of its products jumped 11 percent last year alone to more than $39 billion, despite tight regulations of what “organic” means.

A film by another Bay Area filmmaker, Judy Irving, is the Emmy-award winning film Dark Circle that explores the link between nuclear weapons and nuclear power and how the nuclear industry affects regular people. She relies on anecdotal stories of individuals affected by the nuclear plant in Denver that contaminated the soil of the Rocky Flats, then the center of nuclear industry in the early 1980s. She narrates the film which is based on her experience with a film crew 35 years ago. Even so, it’s still timely and a wake-up call for us to be informed about this horrific problem that still plagues people in most countries.

Another remarkable environmental film, Twelve Pianos, is a feel-good movie that is a memorable ending to this year’s festival. The film began when Director Mauro Ffortissimo dragged an old grand piano onto the bluffs near his home in Half Moon Bay. Then he began collaborating with filmmaker Dean Mermell and Sunset Piano built a base of community around their unconventional events.

The film has some of the world’s best musicians who play in unusual surroundings such as the enormous Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park. The arboretum has invited them back for the third time this summer.

As the leading destination for environmental films, the filmmakers initiate conversations on how to sustain endangered species and human life despite the threat of global warming.

The Green Film Fest is a treat for Bay Area audiences who appreciate rare displays of people passion. Caplan, like former Vice Present Al Gore, is optimistic we will make this planet habitable and a place where all life forms are protected. This unusual forward thinking festival is what we have come to expect from artists living in the Bay Area.

Festival film venues include: FestHQ at 518 Valencia; Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch; and the Goldman Theater at the David Brower Center in Berkeley. Closing ceremonies are at the Castro Theatre.

For more information check: http://www.greenfilmfest.org/festival

 

From “Evolution of Organic” starts with hippies from the 1960s and the back-to-theland

movement rejecting industrial farming that grew into what later became the organic

food revolution.

 

• • • Also in the March Issue • • •

A homeless encampment across the street from the public library in the Castro spurred Mayor Ed Lee’s Fix-It Team to erect a barricade in mid-February. Photo Heidi Smith

Homeless Barricades Removed in Castro

Fix-It Team SF, an organization created by Mayor Ed Lee to address quality-of-life concerns in San Francisco, is taking harsh measures against homelessness in the Castro. Last month, they went so far as to put up metal barricades to deter people from sitting and setting up tents along the sidewalks.

Barricades were placed on Prosper Street mid-February, next to the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Library. They were also set up on 16th Street, alongside the “Hope for the World Cure” mural. Both areas are largely occupied by homeless individuals and street youth.

But the barricades didn’t stay up for long.

On February 24th, Hoodline reported that the barricades were not compliant with the American with Disabilities Act. According to ADA regulations, sidewalks must meet a width requirement in order to be compliant. Even when a sidewalk is blocked for temporary construction, it has to be a certain width, have a special permit, or be marked as “closed.”

Hoodline reported that the distance between Prosper Street’s barricades and trees was only one foot, when in fact the sidewalk needed to be at least three feet wide, and cleared of obstructions, to be compliant.

Several neighbors voiced their concern about the matter.

“Let’s just force the disabled off of the sidewalks and into the streets,” one citizen commented. “Thank you Fix It Team. Job well done. What’s next on your list?”

According to Sandra Zuniga, director of Fix-It Team SF, the aim of the organization is to identify immediate problems that can be addressed and work collaboratively with other city departments to prioritize positive outcomes for neighborhoods. Using the barricades as a “quick fix” to a long-term problem did not turn out to be a viable option.

Another resident shared a more personal viewpoint in his comment.

“As a disabled person, can you please also require transients not to sprawl themselves and their belongings across the sidewalk, and not to set up tents that take up most of the sidewalk? With the little mobility I have left, navigating past a barricade is one thing; navigating past human limbs, shopping carts, tents, etc. is a near impossible hurdle. Or doesn’t the city care?”

Rachel Gordon, the spokesperson for SF Public Works, stated that ADA compliance is a priority and that crews would be dispatched to resolve the issue once it had been brought to their attention. By Sunday, February 26, the barricades had all been removed.

• • • Also in the March Issue • • •

The century old St. Charles catholic school in the Mission is suspending operations at the end of the year due to low enrollment. Photo: Jessica Webb

Historical Catholic School Near Castro To Close This Summer

Come June, a historic Catholic school in the Mission will close its doors. Father John Jimenez, pastor and director of St. Charles Borromeo School in San Francisco, and the Archdiocese of San Francisco have notified parents and faculty that the K-8 elementary school will suspend operations at the end of the current school year.

St. Charles Borromeo School, located on Mission Street between South Van Ness and Shotwell, was founded in 1888, in the four classrooms downstairs from the church, which occupied the upper floor of the current building. When the new church was built in 1929, the upper floor was remodeled into the current floor plan. The school was staffed by Holy Cross Sisters from 1888 to 1979, by Dominican Sisters of the Philippines from 1979 to 1982, and by Dominican Sister of the Most Holy Rosary of the Philippines from 1982 to the present, along with dedicated lay teachers.

According to Mike Brown, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the suspension is due to low enrollment and an expensive construction budget that has not been met for a seismic retrofitting project.

“There has been a declining enrollment over a number of years,” Brown told the Courier. “We are down to 81 students, which doesn’t make for a good learning environment.”

Enrollment at the 129-year-old school has declined by almost half over the past three years. St. Charles serves many immigrant and low-income students. The decline may be connected to the changing demographic of the neighborhood. The 130-year-old school building also faces imminent construction and seismic challenges. The Archdiocese said that these expensive improvements must be addressed in the very near future.

“The goal is to work together with the community to increase enrollment and reopen,” Brown said. “It is a suspension - not a closure - it was designed to be a school and that’s what it will be.”

The most immediate task at hand is to assist all current K-7 students in registering at nearby Catholic schools for the fall semester. The Archdiocese is committing the tuition assistance necessary for students to make the transition and continue their education at another Catholic school.

A homeless encampment across the street from the public library in the Castro spurred Mayor Ed Lee’s Fix-It Team to erect a barricade in mid-February.

 

• • • Also in the March Issue • • •

Photo: L. Helman PR

Area Dance Performance to Be Live Streamed

 

SATIN & SWING is the latest creation from Adrianna Thompson’s repertory dance company, SOULSKIN Dance. It’s a multimedia extravaganza that draws a parallel between current times and the 1920s via dance, music and film. Dance Mission Theatre at 3316 24th Street will host the production on March 10th, 11th, and 12th, and a live-stream of the performance is to air on following Saturday night for those who are unable to attend but would nonetheless like to experience SATIN & SWING.

Wendy: Your upcoming performance, SATIN & SWING, is very much a commentary on our times.

Adrianna: With the times that we’re living in now, art is even more important to freedom of expression and communication. We’re living in this really disruptive planet right now—everything is just moving so wrong internationally. It’s not just the U.S. When there is disruption, art comes alive. There’s so much more to say and it’s even more important, music, and movies, and everything.

Wendy: Absolutely, and this piece looks at what’s happening through a dual lens of current times and the 1920s.

Adrianna: It’s a 40 minute ballet. It literally swings you from one to the next and what carries the theme is [that] I have CAMCON, who’s a DJ artist that I’ve been working with for four years. I also have a composer that I’m working with this year, Noh Salomon. They’re both performing live, and Andrew Packard, who is my multi-media designer. He’s my technical director but he’s also my multi-media designer. He’s created a collage of film in the background that’s going to be intense. You’re going to see these images that are kind of crazy, but crazy in a way that’s really directed to what’s happening in the reflection of our times and paralleling it with a reflection of the times that happened in the ‘20s.

Wendy: You’re also working with two guest choreographers on SATIN & SWING.

Adrianna: I’ve been working with Dylan Elmore. We don’t collaborate together but we work together. This is the second year that I’ve brought him out from London. He brings another kind of feel that complements my work. I like having a rep company because it allows my dancers to experience another kind of experience in the studio, and in performance. It’s a nurturing environment. Then I have my friend Robert Sund, who’s also [choreographing] a solo [for] one of my guest artists. For me as an artist, I really love collaborating. I think I’m a pretty good director. Before you know it, like a sculptor, you’ve created something that’s tangible.

Wendy: And you’re seeking not only to create, but to inspire your audience via this performance to maybe go out and create something themselves in response to it.

Adrianna: Exactly, and I think as artists our job is to inspire a thought, an idea, and allow it to be transformative if possible.

Wendy: Your upcoming performance, SATIN & SWING, is very much a commentary on our times.

Adrianna: With the times that we’re living in now, art is even more important to freedom of expression and communication. We’re living in this really disruptive planet right now; everything is just moving so [in the] wrong [direction] internationally. It’s not just the US. When there is disruption art comes alive. There’s so much more to say and it’s even more important, music, and movies and everything.

Wendy: Absolutely, and this piece looks at what’s happening through a dual lens of current times and the 1920s.

Adrianna: It’s a 40 minute ballet; it literally swings you from one to the next and what carries the theme is [that] I have CAMCON, who’s a DJ artist that I’ve been working with for four years; I also have a composer that I’m working with this year, Noh Salomon; they’re both performing live, and Andrew Packard, who is my multi-media designer. He’s my technical director but he’s also my multi-media designer. He’s created a collage of film in the background that’s gonna be intense. You’re gonna see these images that are kinda crazy, but crazy in a way that’s really directed to what’s happening in the reflection of our times and paralleling it with a reflection of the times that happened in the ‘20s.

Wendy: You’re also working with two guest choreographers on SATIN & SWING.

Adrianna: I’ve been working with Dylan Elmore; we don’t collaborate together but we work together. This is [the] second year that I’ve brought him out from London. He brings another kind of feel that complements my work. I like having a rep company because it allows my dancers to experience another kind of experience in the studio, and in performance; it’s a nurturing environment. Then I have my friend Robert Sund, who’s also [choreographing] a solo [for] one of my guest artists. For me as an artist, I really love collaborating; I think I’m a pretty good director. Before you know it, like a sculptor, you’ve created something that’s tangible.

Wendy: And you’re seeking not only to create, but to inspire your audience via this performance to maybe go out and create something themselves in response to it.

Adrianna: Exactly and I think as artists our job is to inspire a thought, an idea, and allow it to be transformative if possible.

Wendy: The advert for SATIN & SWING announces three Cuban virtuosic male dancers; all the male dancers from SOULSKIN hail from Cuba.

Adrianna: Yes, the boys! It became a very quick love affair; they’re lovely young men and they’re gorgeous. They started training in Cuba at 11. They’re like brothers; they grew up together. I knew that I wanted to give them a different experience than what what they’re always asked to do. so it’s more sensitive. I choreographed a men’s section that shows this brotherly love. They want to have the experience of working with many different choreographers; they wanna mix it up; they’re here to experience. They’re working with me and they love working with Dylan. He’s very different than I am.

Wendy: You’ll be bringing in two guest dancers to join your company: Marlowe Bassett and Jennifer Jaffe.

Adrianna: Marlowe danced with me last year; she’s a neoclassic ballerina; she’s gorgeous. Robert Sund is the guest choreographer who set this particular solo to Ravel [for] Marlowe. It’s a neoclassical solo and it’s just beautiful. It’s an interesting evening because you have Dylan’s piece that’s in silence and coming from a different background than some of us; it’s almost like an invitation. The second piece is the solo, which is welcoming. Jennifer is actually in my ballet; she’s in SATIN & SWING.

Wendy: The music for your ballet will be a mix of music from the 1920s and Prince.

Adrianna: I grew up in the ‘80s in San Francisco where Prince was basically God to us at the School of the Arts. I am using “Erotic City” and “Beautiful Ones.” When you think of sexual revolution, don’t you think of Prince?

Wendy: Two of his most brilliant songs. He was definitely a sexual revolutionist but i think of the ‘60s when I hear the words sexual revolution, although of course it it still ongoing!

Adrianna: When I hear hear Prince there’s this certain way [he has of evoking] complete abandonment. He was brilliant; he was an incredible musician, composer. publisher, engineer. He was a genius.

 

 

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