On Sunday, August 16th, Brooklyn’s Shapeshifter Lab hosted the second day of the annual The Dissident Arts Festival.
(The Dissident Arts Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special weekend-long “2 nites/2 sites” edition. The event took place on Saturday August 15 and Sunday August 16 at El Taller Latino Americano (Manhattan) and ShapeShifter Lab (Brooklyn), respectively. DooBeeDoo congratulates this “annual gathering of revolutionary creativity.” John Pietaro respect and keep the good work!)
The performances began with Trudy Silver’s Where’s The Outrage (Trudy Silver: piano and words; Sanae Buck: Bhuto, mime, voice; Daniel Carter: alto sax, flute; Dixie Estes: recitation, voice; Rosie Hertlein: violin, voice; Ras Moshe: tenor sax, flute; Vincent Ivos: free style, voice). Silver and company made a powerful political statement about the injustices that exist in the world. Their political statements were clear. At one point some audience members held up a banner declaring “Demilitarize Now.” The entire performance harkened to a classic mode of political performance art. Beyond this, the musicians all presented virtuoso performances. Anyone familiar with Silver, Carter, Moshe, etc, will expect nothing less. They did not disappoint.
Spoken word artist Safiya Martinez went on next, offering a deeply personal poem about youthful memory / experience.
In the interim between performances, guest speakers Tim Sheard of the National Writers Union UAW Local 1981 and Mary Lonegran of the Len Ragozin Foundation offered inspirational discourse regarding their organizations, and on the state of the arts in the community. Both organizations endorsed and sponsored this event.
I had the honor of offering a brief statement about Musicians For Musicians‘ (MFM) and DooBeeDooBeeDoo NY’s goals and role in musical activism.
John Pietaro’s Literary Warrior Project (John Pietaro: spoken word, hand drums; Ras Moshe: flute, soprano saxophone; Laurie Towers: bass; and special guest Adam Cadell, violin (Brisbane Australia) performed next. Another virtuoso performance was enjoyed by one and all. Cadell’s performance brought a unique beauty to the music. It was announced that he’d flown, on a grant, from Australia to perform. Pietaro interjected spoken word throughout using quotes from historical leftist / socialist thinkers.
They were followed by Patricia Nicholson-Parker & the Resurrection Revolution Quintet. (Jason Kao Hwang: viola, Michael TA Thompson: percussion, Patricia Nicholson and Jason Jordan: dance, Bill Mazza live Video painting). Here was a multi media performance. Music, dance, and projected images of Thompson’s paintings formed a marvelous aggregate of artistic statements. Huang and Thompson provided a startling and dramatic music for Nicholson and Jordan to work with.
Poet Chris Butters offered a spoken word performance, which ushered in the final performance of the night.
Dissipated Face (Daniel Carter: reeds, trumpet; Steve “X Dream” Popkin: drum set; Will Dahl: bass; Jonathan Wood Vincent: keyboards; with special guest Bill Milkowski: guitar [the band’s regular guitarist Kurt Ralske was unable to perform for this event], and Sundari, dance). One of the most fascinating performances all evening (and that’s saying a lot). Dissipated Face blended free improv jazz with funk, blues, and hardcore. It began as an ethereal soundscape that turned into a Mile Davis like groove that morphed into a blues shuffle. They continued their deft shifting of styles. Sundari presented a mesmerizing dance that both worked with and contrasted the music.
The entire event was a coherent, eloquent, and powerful political statement.