Photo Coverage: Joe's Pub Will Launch Vanguard Residency with First Honoree- Nona Hendryx

By: Oct. 16, 2017
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In 2018, Joe's Pub at The Public will launch The Vanguard Residency, a new award and yearlong monthly series that celebrates the work and influence of an icon of American popular culture but also responds to the music industry's diminishing revenue streams by offering a grant of $50,000. The inaugural recipient of this award is Grammy Award-nominated, art- and funk-rock pioneer Nona Hendryx, who is honored for her career as a performer, producer, writer, curator and mentor. Hendryx dedicates the series to fearlessness, revolution (creative and cultural), freedom of expression and innovation; the things that have defined her own career.

Hendryx's year will begin in January 2018 with several performances to be announced. Tickets will be available online, over the phone (212-967-7555) and in-person at The Public Theater's box office (425 Lafayette, NYC).

Hendryx accepts this award with great joy and responsibility, activating her "Fearless Manifesto." She will use the series to present artists and work that are "antithetical to the 'normal, expected and accepted,' the status quo. The fearless are creatively restless, they push the boundaries, provoke, shock, endeavor to achieve a transcending effect, an awakening, evolving into some-thing new. They look through the lens of 'what if' to explore lifes' beliefs, ills joys social interactions and politics."

Of the Vanguard Residency, Shanta Thake, Director of Joe's Pub, said, "In our mission to support artists at every phase of their careers, we created this award to celebrate the work and narratives of the iconic American artists of our time. As we developed the program, the name that kept coming up was Nona Hendryx. She is not only a vanguard artist who has changed the form and field of American pop culture but she is deeply connected to Joe's Pub and its larger community of artists."

The Vanguard Residency rounds out a slate of programs conceived by Thake for Joe's Pub to offer musicians alternatives of support in a constantly fluctuating music industry. While the Vanguard Residency honors an iconic artist, Joe's Pub Working Group is an artist development program for those early on in their careers and New York Voices is an initiative that commissions established musicians to create new works with theater artists.

The year under Hendryx's distinctive curatorial guidance will also include long-beloved shows like Mamafunk but also new shows like Berklee on Broadway, a showcase of Berklee students who take part in a spring break three-day trip to New York, immersed in Musical Theater & Caberet workshops, panels and performance; Women's Rock Fest; We The People, a PRIDE celebration; Black Top Beach, summer time in the city; a world-class commission with Carrie Mae Weems; and much more. Dates and information are to be confirmed and announced.

Revolutionary art-rock, new-wave goddess Nona Hendryx is a celebrated vocalist, record producer, songwriter, musician and author, Ambassador of Artistry in Music for Berkelee College of Music. Tackling social issues, love and politics, Hendryx's legendary career spans six decades of sound and style evolution. Longtime Nona Hendryx fans know her as one of the founding members of the 'girl group', Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles. In 1970, Patti, Sarah Dash and Nona morphed into the groundbreaking group Labelle, delivering a No.1 worldwide hit with 'Lady Marmalade' (Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi C'est Soir?)" In Parallel Lives, Hendryx lends the necessary gravitas to a striking rendition of Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit with a smoky vocal tessitura somewhere between funk and the end of the stratosphere.

A project of Joe's Pub at The Public, the Vanguard Residency is an award and yearlong residency that celebrates the career of a singular artist who has contributed to American life and pop culture and is a part of the Joe's Pub family of artists. This artist also sustains and leads their own artistic community while creating a body of work that stands apart from their peers. Additionally, the award answers to the music industry's widening gaps in funding. Joe's Pub offers a cash grant as well as a monthly performance series to be performed and curated by the artist.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride