La MaMa Will Present GENERATOR: PESTILENCE PART 1
La MaMa in association with Allied Productions Inc. presents GENERATOR: Pestilence Part 1, the first of a three-part cycle and the most ambitious live art creation in the 35-year partnership of Jack Waters and Peter Cramer. Known for their challenging and innovative interventions in art and politics, GENERATOR is a homecoming, a return to Waters' and Cramer's theatrical roots at La MaMa where two of their earliest performance works premiered in 1987. Conceived by Waters, this multi-perceptual happening at the intersection of art, performance and AIDS is led by the queer skinned "kitchen band" NYOBS (pictured). Performances begin February 20 at La MaMa where this immersive, environmental production will take over the entire downstairs.
Expressionistic and experimental, GENERATOR: Pestilence Part 1's narrative begins with a spark of energy triggering life on the planet. A cluster of single celled organisms develop and evolve into clusters of pre-humans. Science and mythology merge to create an origin narrative. GENERATOR climaxes in a lyrical expression of language sung by the African spider god of stories, Anansi.
A meditation on the AIDS epidemic as cultural phenomenon, The Pestilence Trilogy is about how a virus can infect and affect us all. Pestilence is a cycle of beginnings and endings. It merges art, social practice, and technology by combining theater, moving image, light, sound, music, choreography, drama, immersive interactive media and even fragrance. Pestilence was conceived in 2006 at the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice, Italy. In the following decade 10 Studies for Pestilence were staged in Venice, Berlin, and New York as preludes to this theatrical premiere.
GENERATOR stars Davi Cohen (Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge, David Greenspan's Old Comedy... at CSC), Bruce Payne, Maddie Schimmel and JC Augustine, as well as the members of NYOBS. The production team includes Jack Waters (concept /writer/producer/director), Peter Cramer (concept, direction, visual design, installations, lighting, and stagecraft), John Michael Swartz (music/sound composition, installations, interactive media), Mike Cacciatore (music, sets, props, and moving image design and facilitation), Christopher Roberts (co-design, fabrication, and coordination of sets and props), Rodrigo Chazaro (co-design and fabrication of sets and props), Austin Windels (co-design and fabrication of sets and props), Susan Salinger (production resource development/projection visuals), Barbara Hoon (production resource development/pilates trainer), Stefani Mar (costume/set consultant), Ethan Shoshan (olfactory score), Tim Cusack (consultant on dramaturgy and production) and Sylvie Degiez (consultant on tone, frequency, cultural anthropology, philosophy, magic).
NYOBS is the musical heart of GENERATOR: Pestilence Part 1. NYOBS' trance lyrics and primal screams pierce the restive soul with mind-blowing audiovisual inducements of synthesthesia that tap all six senses. NYOBS is the alternative experimental free association queer skinned "kitchen band" born at the Punk Island Festival Staten Island. Nurtured at the queer Hot Fruit party at Brooklyn's Metropolitan Lounge, their home base is Le Petit Versailles garden. Performance highlights include: The Whitney Museum, Memories That Smell Like Gasoline (a tribute to David Wojnarowicz), Mercury Lounge, La MaMa, Microscope Gallery (a séance For Jonas Mekas), Performance Space New York (preview of Exposition Of The Prophet for GENERATOR: Pestilence Part 1), Apres Avant Garde Festival, Day de Dada, BWAC (with the legendary 3 Teens Kill 4), Incarnata Social Club at Berlin, and From The Ashes, Rise at WRRQ Collective. soundcloud.com/nyobsnyc or vimeo.com/nyobs
La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. La MaMa's 58th Season celebrates the centennial of its founder, Ellen Stewart, whose vision of nurturing new artists and new work remains as strong today as it was when she first opened the doors in 1961. La MaMa has presented more than 5,000 productions by 150,000 artists of all nations, cultures, races and identities. Cultural pluralism and ethnic diversity are inherent in the work created on our stages. Here, artists find a supportive environment for artistic exploration, and audiences are part of the development of an artist's work over time. A recipient of the 2018 Regional Theater Tony Award, and more than 30 Obie Awards and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has been a creative home for thousands of artists, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Ping Chong, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Warren Leight, Michael Mayer, Tadeusz Kantor, Bette Midler, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman
GENERATOR: Pestilence Part 1 runs February 20 - March 1, 2020. Thursday - Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 5pm. Running time is 90 minutes. The Downstairs at La MaMa is located at 66 East 4th Street, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery - closest train is the F at Second Avenue. Tickets are $25 general admission or $20 for students and seniors + $1 facility fee. The first ten tickets are available for every performance for $10 each as part of La MaMa's 10@$10 initiative. Tickets may be purchased at the door one hour prior to curtain. To purchase tickets in advance, call 212-352-3101 or visit www.lamama.org.
Artist, performer and filmmaker JACK WATERS most recent video Eye,Virus was commissioned by Visual AIDS for Day Without Art. It premiered December 1, 2019 at the Whitney Museum of American Art with nationwide and international screenings and it is now streaming online at ARTFORUM.com. He received accolades for his starring role as Jason Holliday in the critically acclaimed controversial 2015 film Jason And Shirley directed by Stephen Winter and co-starring writer Sarah Schulman. Juilliard trained, Jack also composed the music and choreography for Jason's nightclub sequence in the film. Appropriate to GENERATOR's run during Black History Month, Jack's leading hand in the show shatters prevailing perceptions of the dearth of black proponents of the avant-garde, as did Ellen Stewart's radicalization of American theater in her founding of LaMaMa.
PETER CRAMER (aka Peewee Nyob) is a Performer, multi-media artist, co-founder of the art garden Le Petit Versailles and non-profit arts umbrella organization Allied Productions, Inc, and a member of the band NYOBS. His films, performances and installations have been presented by Anthology Film Archives, Danspace Project, ABC No Rio, MIX NYC, Hermann Nitsch Museum, Microscope Gallery, FRISE/ Künstlerhaus Hamburg, Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Deitch Projects, Visual AIDS and Venice Biennale. Collaborations with artists include Barbara Hammer, Geoff Hendricks, Lorraine O'Grady, Jack Waters, Kembra Pfahler and Carl George. Further histories are included in Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Generation by Sarah Schulman. Peter is also an interview subject conducted by ACT UP Oral History Project (#50) and Art Spaces Archives Project of the Smithsonian Institution/Archives of American Art. Film/performance/visual works are viewable at the FilmMakers' Cooperative, Visual AIDS, NY Public Library of Performing Arts, Fales Downtown Collection, Museum of Modern Art, and Allied Productions' archives.
John Michael SWARTZ is a multidisciplinary, multimedia artist. A classically trained cellist and pianist, John is a self-trained vocalist with a background in experimental computer music composition and instrument building. John brings his skills in improvisation and performance from interdisciplinary collaborations in dance and theater to the composition and performance of the Pestilence score. His background in independent and alternative audio engineering, record production, and installation with an emphasis on digital and networked technologies create the bridge to the GENERATOR as a hybrid of theater and gallery art. As a technical consultant and sound recording engineer John scored the electronic segments of the opera "No Sound The Earth Owes" by composer Alexander Vassos. John collaborated with artist Jeanine Oleson for her experimental opera, "Hear, Here" (2014). He toured nationally from 2009-2012 with filmmaker Brent Green as a live sound cellist for the film "Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then". John began collaborating on Pestilencein April 2013 at Harvest Works Digital Media Arts Center. His Sourdough Bread Yeast reaction was exhibited in May 2013 for the staging of John Cage's HPSCHD with The Pestilence team at EyeBeam, NYC. In October 2013 John's 12-channel, whisper-quiet digital granular synthesizer designed and built as a musical instrument and set-piece was exhibited for Pestilence In Process at Emily Harvey Gallery, NYC.
MIKE CACCIATORE did his undergraduate studies in English and Fine Arts at NYU where he connected with folks in the downtown experimental theater scene, which led to fruitful collaborations (most extensively as audio designer/sound FX elf for "A Good Year For Hunters" with Jess Barbagallo/Chris Giarmo). Mike spent several years touring and cutting an album with the band Griffin and The True Believers (as bassist/guitarist), as well as performing at the New Museum and Joe's Pub with members of the Half Straddle theater company. He's a self-taught electronics tinkerer and builder of unconventional instruments. Mike is interested in the connecting thread between entirely digital and entirely acoustic instruments (plus their hybrid offspring) and how they inform one another in the sonic domain.