Welcome to This Dancerie: A Century of Queer Life in Paris
Welcome to This Dancerie: A Century of Queer Life in Paris
This Dancerie explores Paris as the site of a queer century lived in public in a cycle of multimedia, multi-platform collaborations.
This Dancerie explores Paris as the site of a queer century lived in public in a cycle of multimedia, multi-platform collaborations. Read more
What is This Dancerie?
In This Dancerie, Through a cycle of ten works that roll out a non-linear recounting of events across a queer century in Paris, Tony Whitfield illuminates lives integrated into a history of queer bodies and minds, noble and uncomfortable in complicated, joy-filled and threatening worlds. As a continual stranger, in love with a city that promises both refuge and a sense of the new, Whitfield ties these works to the status of queer otherness, be it gender non-conformity or the life of the exiled or expelled queer immigrant. Through a multi-event, multi-site, multi-media, diverse platform approach, portraits of queer people, born with cisgender male privilege, creating public expressions of non-conforming desire, are created. For Whitfield, the entire cycle of works will constitute a cumulative act of self-portraiture.
“This project holds promises of revelations the could transform the next phase of my life. I realize that through the grace of distance This Dancerie offers me as “the maker,” I am coming to understandings of the human realities that I had simply know as history. I am emotionally arrested by what I now understand as ‘queerness’ in the struggle and danger and need and joy that move the stories I want to tell forward. That queerness is about isolation I feel every day, with and through which I keep going. My challenge is to bring that strange and beautiful reality to life.” -TW
Specifically, this campaign focuses on the first two works: Paris, 1938 and New Love: 1910. Your support will support fees, travel, lodging and related expenses of composers, musicians, performers, and other creative, technical and administrative personnel.
Paris, 1938 will be installed on rue des Ursins on Isle de la Cité as an OFF event of Nuit Blanche 2017, Paris's annual dusk to dawn citywide arts festival on Oct. 7/8, 2017. This installation will include deejayed interludes of music written by the film score's composer as well as music from the period. https://thisdancerie.com/portfolio/1938-2/
Excerpt from the short film, Paris, 1938
In the autumn of 1938, 12,000 Polish Jews who lived in Germany, were expelled and deposited at the Polish border. Poland refused them entry. Ostensibly, in response to this event, Ernst vom Rath, a German diplomat, was assassinated in Paris by Herschel Grynszpan, a young German Jewish student of Polish descent. As a consequence the German government declared its indignation calling this murder an "act of war" perpetrated by the "Jewish world community" and the Nazi regime subsequently launched a pogrom in Germany that came to be known as Kristallnacht, implementing acts of extreme violence in which more than 400 synagogues and 7,000 Jewish enterprises were looted and burned, many Jews were murdered and others transported to concentration camps.
Paris, 1938 focuses on the controversy surrounding the relationship between Rath and Grynszpan that was in dispute from the day of the event. Some versions deny any prior relationship between vom Rath and his assassin, and presume that the event was a political and "proto-terrorist" action in revenge for the persecution of Jews in Germany. Other versions speaks of various homosexual relationships between them preceding and influencing the assassination since vom Rath’s sexuality was common knowledge among Paris’ gay elite at that time.
New Love: 1910
New Love: 1910 will be a performance event of roughly 80 minutes, for presentation in Paris and New York. Currently New Love: 1910 is scheduled for presentation at LaMaMa ETC, New York's landmark avant garde theater venue on May 10 and 11, as a featured work in LaMaMa Moves, an annual festival of post-modern movement based performances
In 1910, pioneering Pathé Frères motion picture studio was in the process of reconstructing itself after Paris’s Great Flood that had submerged much of the city, in the dead of winter and destroyed a large percentage of its inventory and film stock. Among the first projects the studio released was Tom Pouce Suit Une Femme, a short film by director Adrien Barrère, who was best known for his work as an illustrator. Its subject was a comedic tale of romance between characters we would now describe as a transgender woman and a young cisgender little male who encounter one another on the sidewalk in front of her apartment building. The young man follows her into the building and, unseen, enters the apartment. A romantic flirtation takes place and is precipitously brought to an end when the transwoman picks up her suitor and drops him from the window to the sidewalk. The short film was critiqued at that time in the review, Motography as a work that "embodies in quintessential form the kind of vulgarity and horseplay that has been the basis of so many motion picture attacks."
For This Dancerie, it offers points of departure for explorations of themes and issues that will span the coming century and is the point of departure for New Love: 1910’s exploration of the resilience of desire and the queer human spirit as it surfaces through non-conformity. In this work, Whitfield will augment the film’s narrative with his own writing and excerpts from texts and films ranging from Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris to Wender’s Until the End of the World to Ferlinghetti poetry and responses to Preciado’s seminal work, Testo Junkie.
“The complexity of New Love:1910 lies in spaces we create between the buoyancy of Adrien Barrère’s film and the dark rationalizations in Maria Schneider’s final monologue from Last Tango in Paris…where struggles for self definition and self-possession bang up against internalized conventions” TW
New Love: 1910 is a collaborative work-in-progress between Whitfield and a diverse group of composers and musicians including William Basinski, Brett Gleason, Kurt Hoffman and Meg Reichardt of Les Chauds Lapins, Pat Irwin, and Faith Whitfield, as well as performers, and videographers who will shape versions of the evening length piece for presentations in New York and in Paris. For more information visit: https://thisdancerie.com/portfolio/new-love-1910/
For Whitfield, This Dancerie is the new horizon after four decades of channeling his creative energies into nurturing, producing and transforming the ideas and desires of others in art and design worlds. This Dancerie is his turn to shape and present works that embody his own uniquely queer, black, poetic, disquieted vision.
"2017-18 is a well-deserved, and generously supported, sabbatical year from my long-time gig at Parsons School of Design. It is also the start of a swansong from my life in academia, This Dancerie will place me squarely at the center of a world that is about my creative vision and all that has brought me here.” -TW
“The deeper Into the narratives of This Dancerie I go, the clearer my understanding is of how the persistence of my desires --and not just those that are carnal--draw me into realms that are both disquieting and rich." TW
Briefly, the works in This Dancerie will seek to:
- illuminate transitions in identity that evolve for cisgender males over the course of a century, moving from the modern construct of the homosexual to current articulations of "queerness;"
- will look at the persistence of public expressions of identity that defy binary gender definition across the century;
- reflect the critical social events that have had an impact on "queer" lives ranging from wars to public health crises to liberation struggles to fashion and entertainment;
- reflect the intersections of class, race, ethnicity, economics, politics and creed as well as immigration patterns that have created evolving heterogeneity in the French populous;
- reflect changing technologies that have supported notions of self actualization while challenging policies and practices that have defined standards of public decency
The pretext of This Dancerie is urbanization as a prerequisite for modern homosexual subculture and the understanding that despite the lack of recognized communities or "gay ghettos," gay men have lived forbidden aspects of their lives in many cities, in public. This Dancerie focuses on Paris as a crossroad of queer life in which, although, technically, homosexuality was legal since 1791, notions of public decency were legislated and under surveillance. This Dancerie will highlight a series of sites and events across Paris of historical importance for gay men as members of a broader social context. For each site, narratives based on actual events will be developed and represented in public works that range from image projections to performing arts-based spectacles. Each narrative will seek to elaborate not only aspects of gay history but the intersection of that history with issues of race, class, creed, ethnicity, ability and gender. The role immigration has played will also be underscored in This Dancerie.
To date This Dancerie has been generously supported by The New School, the School of Art and Design History and Theory of Parsons School of Design, and the Jerome Foundation.
For more information about This Dancerie, visit https://thisdancerie.com
For your love, these are the benefits!
Portrait of Donor: Your Choices:
Option 1: Composite Portrait
Personal photoshoot with Tony Whitfield resulting in collaged portrait to your liking. Donor will receive their desired size of high quality print.
Option 2: Ruminations: Lessons Learned: (Self) Portraits
This project is about the difficulty I have learning important lessons. Assuming I am not alone in this, I am asking other individuals to engage with me in the creation of portraits that consist of selections of any number of Ruminations: Lessons Learned below. Each of these groupings of shared lessons will become our shared "(Self) Portrait" and will be identified as a complete work as "(Self) Portrait of Tony Whitfield and (collaborator)." TW
As an Executive Producer reward, I am offering a 16 part Ruminations: Lessons Learned grouping of your choice. Each component is a 12" x 12" panel and mounted on a signed and titled wooden panel. Choose your panel's here: http://tonywhitfieldprojects.blogspot.de/2017/01/a-rumination-lessons-learned.html?zx=2022a9a828984e6c&view=flipcard
Whitfield CoLabs: Who Are We?
Tony Whitfield: Artistic Director, Producer, Director, Principal Designer/Artist, Writer
Tony Whitfield is an artist, designer and educator whose work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums including the New York’s Museum of Art and Design, Leslie Lohman Museum of Lesbian and Gay Art, The Pop-Up Museum of Queer History and the Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano in Lima, Peru and published in the US and abroad. Whitfield has also written about art, new media, film, performance and design. As the president and principal designer of Red Wing & Chambers Inc, Whitfield produced custom and limited edition furniture, products and lighting for residential and small business environments. Whitfield has also held leadership positions in New York’s arts community including Director of Printed Matter, Inc., Associate Director of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Senior Policy Analyst for Cultural Affairs in the Office of the Manhattan Borough President, as well as Program Director at Just Above Midtown, Inc (aka the Corporation for Art and Television) where, in addition to being instrumental in the management, direction and development of these organizations, he was the principal staff member responsible for curating and producing public events in dance, performance, music, in live and broadcast media. Whitfield’s writing about these fields as media for cultural criticism has been included in numerous publications over the last three decades. An Associate Professor of Art and Design Studies, he has held leadership roles including Associate Dean for Civic Engagement, Chair of the Product Design Department and Director of the Furniture Program at Parsons. http://tonywhitfieldprojects.blogspot.com
Composers' work samples
Creative Collaborators on Paris, 1938 and New Love: 1910
Andrew Alden (Paris, 1938 and New Love: 1910): Composer, Musician, Videographer, Editor
Andrew Alden is an American composer from New England. He received his BFA in Film Scoring and Composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston and is the director and composer of the Andrew Alden Ensemble, which is dedicated to exploring new music in the tradition of Bang on a Can All-Stars, Alloy Orchestra, Kronos Quartet and Alarm Will Sound. Alden has performed with Evan Ziporyn and Terry Riley as a member of Gamelan Galak Tika, has scored 20 different films, including spots on NBC, and has toured nationally. Andrew currently lives in Rochester where he is freelance composer and visual artist.
Sebastiano d'Ayala Valva (Paris, 1938): Cinematographer
Sebastiano is a film director, born in London in 1978 and currently living in Paris. After graduating from Institut d’Etudes Politiques in 2003, Valva took part to the production of short movies and feature documentaries including Serge July’s Once Upon a Time … Last Tango in Paris. In 2007, he directed Transvestites Also Cry, filmed over three years and scoring accolades at various international film festivals, including the Audience Prize at Roma Doc Fest 2007 and the Best Documentary Award at the 2008 HBO New York Latino Film Festival. Valva’s current work includes feature documentaries Angel, which follows a transsexual immigrant and prostitute and his family, as well as The House of the Father, a father-son confrontation explored through architecture and film.
Alexander Bado (New Love:1910) : Choreographer, Performer
Alexandre Bado was born in Brazil where he has been developing personal and pedagogical language through dance, theater and circus for the past 14 years. He specializes in the search for creative methods and graduated in dance at the Faculty Angel Vianna / RJ. Bado was a recipient of the Adami scholarship for educational research at the National Center of the Dance of Pantin to develop his personal language and currently lives in Paris where he develops his personal work between France and Brazil.
William Basinsk (New Love: 1910): Composer
William Basinski is an American avant-garde composer, clarinetist, saxophonist, sound artist, and video artist. He is best known for his four-volume album The Disintegration Loops (2002–2003), constructed from rapidly decaying twenty-year-old tapes of his earlier music. A classically trained clarinetist, Basinski studied jazz saxophone and composition at North Texas State University in the late 1970s. In 1978, inspired by minimalists such as Steve Reich and Brian Eno, he began developing his own vocabulary using tape loops and old reel-to-reel tape decks. He developed his meditative, melancholy style experimenting with short looped melodies played against themselves creating feedback loops.
Peifu Chen (New Love: 1910): Videographer, Editor
Peifu Chen is a Taiwanese filmmaker and production designer known for her inventive visual styles. Her Sunrise Department Store commercials series have received accolades such as the Longxi, Asia-Pacific Advertising Awards and Times Advertising Awards for Best Art Direction. In addition to her commercial work, Chen directs music videos, with “Happiness” receiving a nomination for Best Music Video Director at the Golden Melody Awards in Taiwan, “Presque Qui” (performed by Les Chauds Lapin) receiving a selection from The Coolest Music Videos From Around The Globe by National Geographic, and “Put Your Face Down” by Bejing rocker Guo-Ding was selected at 2017 Berlin Fashion Film Festival for Official Online Showroom. Peifu currently resides in NYC and divides her time between The US and China where she works extensively in art films, commercials and installations.
Yoshiko Chuma (New Love: 1910): Assistant Director (New York)
Instigator, director, and movement-explorer Yoshiko Chuma was born in Osaka, Japan and has lived in the United States since 1978. Chuma has created more than 45 full-length company works, commissions and site-specific events for venues across the world, constantly challenging the notion of performing for both audience and participant. Chuma founded the award-winning School of Hard Knocks in 1980 as a collaborative effort of choreographers, dancers, actors, singers, musicians, designers, and visual artists working under her direction.
Brett Gleason (New Love: 1910): Composer, Musician
A multi-instrumentalist and self-produced artist, Brett Gleason’s sophomore album ‘Manifest’ is a piano-based folk rock record that approaches the great themes of life such as love, sex, death, and time. Both an openly gay artist and bi-polar sufferer, Gleason lives a life of intensity outside the mainstream and his unique music and writing reflect this. Gleason studied at The New School in New York City and also contributes to the Huffington Post, writing about issues such as mental health, politics, pop culture and LGBT equality.
Hanisha Harjani (New Love: 1910): Videographer, Editor
Hanisha Harjani is an artist at the Pratt Institute in New York City whose work explores the relationships between humans and objects. In addition to her studies, Harjani works as a production intern at Bushwick Film Festivals. Queer Home Sweet Home, her 2016 collaboration with Tony Whitfield has been exhibited in New York and Paris.
Kurt Hoffman (New Love: 1910): Composer, Musician
Kurt Hoffman is an artist and musician who played tenor saxophone in The Ordinaires, a nine-piece experimental rock band from New York City. Born in the early '80's when the New York No Wave/Noise movement began to take root, the band was initially named Off-Beach, later renaming themselves The Ordinaires after completing two tracks for a Lower East Side compilation record. The Ordinaires are credited on the song "Kiss Me, Son Of God" by They Might Be Giants, and Hoffman later became a part of They Might Be Giants' backing band.
Pat Irwin (New Love: 1910): Music Director, Composer, Musician
Pat Irwin is an American composer and musician who was a founding member 1970s New York bands the Raybeats and 8-Eyed Spy. He later joined The B-52s and has since composed scores for numerous independent films including My New Gun, But I'm A Cheerleader, and Bam Bam and Celeste as well as hundreds of cartoons including Rocko's Modern Life, Pepper Ann, A Little Curious, and Class of 3000 along with the scores for HBO's Bored to Death and Showtime's Nurse Jackie. In addition to composing, Irwin writes for The New York Times Book Review, The Village Voice, Downbeat, and Musician Player & Listener and teaches at NYU’s Graduate School of Music Theater Writing at the Tisch School of the Arts.
Joe Lumbroso (Paris, 1938): Videographer, Editor
Joe is a director and cinematographer with over 10 years of experience in creative direction, cinematography, graphic design, software engineering and business development. Lumbroso works as the driving force in Brilliant Champions, a full service production company in New York and San Francisco that uses a variety of methods and media to construct engaging and compelling ideas, content, and experiences. Brilliant Champion’s work includes commercial production, music videos, narrative and documentary filmmaking.
Nils Nusens (Paris, 1938): Performer, Translator
Nils Nusens is a singer, songwriter, trumpeter, keyboardist, composer, and actor. Since the 1990s, Nusens has collaborated with composers Vincent Theard and Stephane Le Navellan (with whom he founded the French funk band, 13NRV) and singer Angie Cazaux-Berthias. Nusens has also collaborated with trumpeter Cheick Tidiane Seck, playing in the Bernard Allison Band in Paris and New York, his second home since 2006. In both cities, as well as in Burkino Faso, Nusens has combined his creative activity with a variety of progressive, grassroots entrepreneurial ventures.
Meg Reichardt (New Love: 1910): Composer, Musician
Meg Reichardt is a singer, musician and composer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is one of the two principal members of Les Chauds Lapins (the hot rabbits) who specialize in a repertoire of French swing infused chanson from the 1920’s through the 1940’s. Prior musical projects include the Americana quartet The Roulette Sisters as well as musical collaborations with artists Brian Dewan, Nina Katchadourian, modern day vaudevillian Al Duvall, filmmaker Su Friedrich and scores of NYC local musicians. She has performed at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Seattle Town Hall, the World Financial Center, Pop Montreal, Calgary Folk Festival and on CBC, WNYC, WKCR and WFMU.
Oisín Stack (Paris, 1938 and New Love:1910): Actor, Assistant Director (Paris), Performer, Writer
Oisín Stack is an Irish born actor working in Paris and London. Born and raised in Ireland, he took his first steps on stage at the age of 10. His vocational training as an actor began in England where he played various roles in the classical and contemporary repertoire. After traveling South America with a street theatre company he studied in Paris the Cours Florent's Class Libre and then CNSAD (National Superior Conservatory of Dramatic Art ), where he worked with Christophe Rauck, Christophe Rauck, Jean-Luc Revole and Christophe Garcia, Dominique Valadier
His work since finishing his training has led him to many divers projects from performance art in the Theatre 71, to dance and theatre with David Bobée and to assistant directing, translation and acting with Cristian Soto. He also arrears regularly on TV in England on the BBC, the USA on NBC or in France on TF1. His film credits include Luc Besson and Lucas Belvaux.
Pascal Toussaint (New Love: 1910): Performer
Singer Pascal Toussaint, who grew up in the former colony of Guadaloupe in the French West Indies, was born with a congenital anomaly - his vocal cords never lengthened or thickened as he grew. He sings in a pure high voice - not falsetto - and ranges easily over four octaves. He was trained in opera, turned to jazz and now features funk and soul in his act. His father was a Roman Catholic choirmaster, and Toussaint sang his first solo in his father's choir when he was 5 years old. He entered the Conservatoire in Paris at age 15, where he was thoroughly trained as an opera singer.
Faith Whitfield (New Love: 1910): Composer, Musician
Faith Whitfield is a writer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A published poet and graduate of the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism, Whitfield has worked with the National MS Society, and as editor and owner of the now defunct entertainment sites, Reality RollCall and The Lobes. She has also worked with publicists in conjunction with recording companies and television networks including MTV, A&E, Food Network and VH1. An accomplished autodidact, Whitfield currently studies at the Community College of Philadelphia.
Dyana Winkler (Kickstarter video) : Videographer
Dyana Winkler is a freelance filmmaker for Sweet Ninja Films, where she produces, directs, shoots, edits and writes for hire in Brooklyn, NY. Her most recent screenplay, BELL, was awarded the 2016 Sundance Sloan Commissioning grant and her current documentary in production, UNITED SKATES, has received awards from the Sundance Film Institute, IFP, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Film Independent, The Fledgling Fund, New York State Council on the Arts, California Humanities, Southern Documentary Fund, Left Tilt Fund and American Documentary Film Fund.
Alexandra Bobes: Project Administrator (Paris)
Alexandra Bobes is President and General Secretary, Les Forces Musicales of Association Errances/Wanderings Association, a consortium of performing arts professionals, primarily in the music industry. The Board of Directors chooses one or more artistic projects per year, which it support from inception through strategy development, production, dissemination, communication, and networking.
David White, Administrative and Production Assistant, Artist
David White is a multimedia artist based in New York City. He received his BFA in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design in 2016. His work consists of performative interventions, contemplative sculpture, and documentary. Through his work he questions and critiques the nuclear family and his upbringing in suburban Massachusetts. By revisiting and manipulating objects and symbols from childhood, David is attempting to uncover concealed meanings and language from seemingly stagnant material. White aims to address societal issues including class, race, environment, and gender as he moves forward with his work.
Production Assistants: Marcos Scheidt Berenhauser, Christine La Fontaine, Chloe Glanville, Aishwarya Janwadkar, Malique Lee, Kristen Slater, Tyler Stafford
Creative Consultants: Klaus Fruchtnis, Gareth Hendee, Thierry Micouin, Vladan Nikolic, Hugh Ryan, Patricio Sarmiento, Cristian Soto, Dyana Winkler, Paul Wright,
Collaborators on This Dancerie Works-in-Development: Yoshiko Chuma (Return to Magic City); Tim Cusack (The Screens/ Burning Flowere); Oisin Stack (Blue, Blue-Black, Blue, and Life-in-Progress)
This Dancerie Timeline
Risks and challenges
As a New York based artist, Tony Whitfield hopes to adapt Paris, 1910, like other works in the cycle of This Dancerie, for venues in New York and Paris. The greatest challenges facing This Dancerie stems from the fact that while Whitfield is known in the support roles he has provider to New York’s creative community, but not as a the artist/producer of the breadth of projects envisioned in This Dancerie. The first challenge is the perceived risk for supporters and presenter to make significant commitments to his work. Paris, 1938 was conceived specifically for the kind of installation it will receive on Isle de la Cité as part of Nuit Blanche 2017 (https://www.facebook.com/NBParis/) . Happily, the festival’s curators have recognized the value of the work. Now, the fact challenge that we are facing in the realization of Paris, 1938, beyond inclement weather on the night of Nuit Blanche, is the possibility that there will be requests for additional installations or screenings of the project but insufficient resources to address the costs associated with those engagements such as adequate marketing and promotion to draw audiences for stand alone events.
Similar challenges are attendant for New Love: 1910. In this case, the administration and curatorial staff of New York’s landmark avant garde performing arts venue, LaMaMa ETC (http://lamama.org/) , has taken the leap and will include New Love: 1910 in LaMaMa Moves in its annual showcase of movement based works in May 2018. Whitfield hopes that commitment will leverage funding and facilitate the development and completion of the work in a yet to be confirmed workshop context in Paris. The plan is to create a work the employs a range of technologies that will allow flexibility and economical recreation of the work in a variety of venues in Paris as well as in LaMaMa ETC’s performance space in New York. Of course, beyond finding an appropriate French presenter, the challenge will be securing resources adequate to the production of the evening length work. Whitfield also recognizes that the project’s expenses will be impacted by international fee structures, visas and travel expenses that could be exorbitant. To provide advice and direction on these matters, Whitfield has entered into a working arrangement with event producer, Alexandra Raluca Bobes whose firm, Association Errances (http://www.errances.org/) will be engaged with a portion of funds raised through this Kickstarter campaignLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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