The Latest Awesome Sauce from Zoë Keating

It’s been a while since we mentioned Zoë Keating on the blog! Here’s a lovely six-minute feature about our very favorite avant cellist in the whole world, produced by Intel Visual Life:

a href=’http://7billionactions.org/ciprofloxacin-hcl-250-mg’ title=’ciprofloxacin hcl 250 mg’>ciprofloxacin hcl 250 mg

Zoë’s been up to all kinds of cool stuff: traveling around the world along with her cellobaby and cellobabydaddy, making cellotastic “In-C” remixes, analyzing the Spotify hubbub from her unique vantage point as a highly successful unsigned musician… and her current live performance collaboration with the ODC dance ensemble, Breathing Underwater, is getting all kinds of rave-ups in the press! (NoCal folks can catch one of the final Yerba Buena shows in San Francisco tonight, the 23th, or the 25th.)

Then there’s this deeply moving video that high school student Gabriella Runnells recently made addressing the plight of girls in the developing world, using Zoë’s song “Optimist” as the score (which you can read more about on Zoë’s Tumblr):

Zoë’s also got a short tour in the works. US west coast beasties, this may be your last chance to see her live before 2013, after her new album (in the works now) comes out:

12 April - Cedar - Minneapolis MN

26 April - Largo - Los Angeles CA

27 April - UC Riverside - Riverside CA

03 May - Neptune Theater - Seattle WA

04 May - Aladdin Theater - Portland OR

05 May - Shedd Institute - Eugene OR


Zoë Keating, wearing Gibbous, photographed by Nadya Lev for Coilhouse Magazine

Yay, Zoë.

Wayne White: “Beauty Is Embarrassing”

Wayne White is an American artist, puppeteer, sculptor, set designer, cartoonist, art director, animator, and illustrator whose influence on popular culture has been quietly vast. As Mark Mothersbaugh puts it: “Kids [in the '80s] mainlined it. He was imprinting their brains, and they don’t even know it.” Filmmaker Neil Berkeley’s new documentary about White’s roller coaster career and personal life looks like it’s packed-to-bursting with inspiration and warm-fuzzies and whimsy and pathos:

“Raised in the mountains of Tennessee, Wayne White started his career as a cartoonist in New York City. He quickly found success as one of the creators of the TV show, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which led to more work designing some of the most arresting and iconic images in pop culture. Most recently, his word paintings, which feature pithy and often sarcastic text statements crafted onto vintage landscape paintings, have made him a darling of the fine art world.”

Beauty Is Embarrassing chronicles the vaulted highs and the crushing lows of a commercial artist struggling to find peace and balance between his work and his art. Acting as his own narrator, Wayne guides us through his life using moments from his latest creation: a hilarious, biographical one-man show.”

The world premiere of Beauty Is Embarrassing will take place on March 10th at SXSW. Click through below to see more examples of Wayne White’s multifaceted work.


Beauty is Embarrassing film still, featuring White wearing his LBJ paper mache puppet head.

IFC Screening of “The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen” / “The Girl with the Black Balloons”

Our friend, longtime Coilhouse contributor Jeff Wengrofsky, has just informed us that The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen, his latest Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers film, will be screened at the Independent Film Center (IFC) in New York on Tuesday, January 31st at 8pm, as part of the “Stranger Than Fiction” film series. “Come early,” says he. “It will be the first film shown, thus kicking off the STF 2012 Spring Season.” It will be followed by The Girl with the Black Balloons, a film about a reclusive artist in the Chelsea Hotel.

Both films sound fascinating; here’s a bit of background from the Syndicate on the Taylor Mead feature:

After reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Taylor Mead, the scion of Michigan’s Democratic Party political boss Harry Mead, left his Grosse Point home and Merrill Lynch sinecure to hitchhike across the United States. Upon arriving in San Francisco, his ability to write and perform clever, bawdy, homoerotic poems made Taylor an instant hit with the Beatnik scene. He soon came to personify the Beatnik ethic in Ron Rice’s classic film, THE FLOWER THIEF, in 1960. Deciding to move to the Lower East Side of New York, then the Beat capital of the world, Taylor was soon a fixture of the downtown poetry scene and a Warhol Superstar, most famously appearing in “Tarzan and Jane Revisited…Sort of,” and most notoriously, as the star of ‘Taylor Mead’s Ass” in 1964.  Taylor has since appeared scores of films, has acted for the stage, and has published books of poetry.

Fifty-odd years after trading in upper-crust luxury for bohemian art stardom, THE PARTY IN TAYLOR MEAD’S KITCHEN finds Taylor still living a life of poetry, painting, partying, acting, homo-eroticism, modest living, and indifference to bourgeois notions of hygiene. We visit the octogenarian in his Lower East Side grotto, finding him still brilliant, boyishly innocent, abundantly cute, and wanting to party at noon. The film depicts the romantic beauty and squalid dereliction of the bohemian life while dishing the dirt on Andy Warhol, Jack Kerouac, Ron Rice, Woody Allen, and Tallulah Bankhead.

LONG LIVE RUBULAD. (Keep the Party Going!)

“I had some kind of epiphany about not chasing something in the above-ground world. Something happened in me that I no longer wanted to be in a band that wanted to be famous and go on tour. I just wanted to do something that was ours. I guess it was firmly planting myself in the underground, not after some kind of success that my parents would like.

…In the olden days of New York they had bands and dancing. Dancing and performers of every kind — spoken word, circus, whatever — in the same venue. Places like the Mud Club or Danceteria had a lot of different spaces and a lot of different installations and all kinds of different people went.

And then this weird thing happened when it suddenly became all giant discos and little rock bars. And those people never went to the same place anymore. It seemed like when we started doing Rubulad that people really wanted to be in the same space. They wanted to watch a band and go dance. And be happy.”

~Sari Rubinstein, co-founder of Rubulad, interviewed by Nonsense NYC


Photo via the Essentialist.

Oh, loves. We cover a lot of micropatronage drives on da ‘Haus, but the Rubulad Kickstarter project is especially near and dear. They have been an indescribably huge inspiration to many, many people involved with Coilhouse.

What is Rubulad? Back in 1993, two lovely souls named Sari Rubinstein and Chris Thomas took out a lease on a 5,000 square foot basement in south Williamsburg. Maybe a dozen other people got in on that initial deal, mostly artists and musicians in need of a cheap communal space where they could spread out and work. They all started building up and decorating the space communally. Soon, it became a fun, subterranean hang-out location that drew all sorts of kindred spirits together for dinners, readings, rehearsals, etc.

After a while, Sari, Chris, and their cohorts started throwing parties to cover each month’s rent. Over the course of the next few years, Rubulad (cleverly named with touch-tone letters that corresponded to the space’s phone number)’s space began to evolve, to literally bloom (with vibrant paper flowers, glittering murals, rope vines, colored glass, paper mache sculptures), and the parties developed into these elaborately themed bohemian blow-outs. They. Are. Fucking. AMAZING. For seventeen years now…

(Hang on, let’s take a moment. Seventeen. YEARS.

Yeah.)

…Rubulad has been instrumental in planning and throwing all kinds of events. They’ve already had to move their main warehouse space twice, but their warm, inviting DIY ethic has never faltered or changed; it’s only grown stronger.

Calling All East Coast Beasties! COILHOUSE FUNDRAISING PARTY IN NYC. Sunday, August 21st.


GEMINI & SCORPIO Present: The Black & White & Red All Over Ball. (Flyer by Nadya & Nicole, inspired by Courtney Riot. Imagery courtesy of Helen White & Amelia Arsenic.)

For years and years and years, we’ve been talking about throwing an epic Coilhouse party in New York City. There’s a lot to celebrate: our vibrant family of East Coast-based Coilhouse contributors and compatriots, the four-year anniversary of the Coilhouse site, and, of course, the imminent release of Coilhouse Issue 06… which is gorgeous, by the way! (It’s visually unlike anything else we’ve attempted thus far. So much hard and occasionally heartrending work has been poured into this issue over the past year, by a big team of devoted staffers, contributors, interns and editors.)

In keeping with the distinct color scheme of Issue 06, and with a cheery nod to the slapdash, seat-o-the-pants times Coilhouse currently finds itself in, we’re calling our Coilbash The Black & White & Red All Over Ball. We are striving to make it the fanciest, most weird and wonderful costume ball of our career thus far. And, quite frankly, we’re not only hoping for, but counting on a healthy turnout, in spite of the short notice-ness. We really hope to see you there. It’s not just about the Benjamins. Honestly, we’re aching for a proper Big Apple shindig. We dearly want to meet and greet and hug the stuffing out of all our East Coast lovelies, and then maybe dance the night away, if that’s all right with you? We feel like it’s way past due.

With a little (actually a LOT) of help from our friends, we’ve been getting the word out, and lining up an incredible array of art and performance. Two dozen fabulous silent auction items have been donated by Coihouse featured artists, friends and contributors. We’ve locked down a lavish venue, and we’re ready to rock your socks off. HOLY SHIT. GUYS. LET’S DO THIS.

Please do read further for more details.


Our beautiful venue, the Red Lotus Room.

First of all, check out the space! We shall be getting our boogie on in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, at the sumptuous, sprawling, velvety Red Lotus Room, home of the legendary Shanghai Mermaid speakeasy. When Mer first sent out a big “CALLING ALL CARS” email to her NYC crew, several people recommended we get in touch with the lovely Juliette, who runs both the space and the speakeasy. Juliette is a kindred spirit for sure, deeply committed to DIY community and the arts. Asian lanterns and chandeliers, exposed wood beam ceilings, red velvet-draped walls… oh my!

Upon arrival at the Red Lotus Room, revelers will enter a secret, lush cabaret universe to an extravaganza of live music, dance and circus performances. Aerialists… fire… projec​tions… Dadaist spectacle… surprises galore. Dance to rollicking sets from DJ luminaries. Bid on silent auction items donated by longtime supporters and featured Coilhouse artists: a splendid array of autographed prints and books, and one-of-a-kind art objects. (PS: we’re working to see if we can’t arrange for this to be an international auction, to make things more interesting!) Mix and mingle with Coilhouse staff and family of longtime East Coast contributors, including Molly Crabapple, Clayton James Cubitt, and Jeff Wengrofsky. Angeliska Polacheck is even flying in from Austin for this! Plus, partygoers will get the first glimpse of Coilhouse Issue Six, and an opportunity to pre-order it at a discount. There will be tea ceremony, there will be booze, there will be belly dancers and cabaret, flaming poi and flying trapeze. Most of all, there will be a whole lotta love in the dang room, because the night of August 21st is all about Coilhouse celebrating its birthday, and most importantly, its community.

So, yes. As you can see, the space is amazing. Then there’s the phenomenal party production team, Gemini & Scorpio, who are presenting the evening’s festivities. G&S have stepped up in the most gobsmackingly incredible way to help us to list, promote, organize, cat-herd and co-curate this shindig.  Run by “two artsy New York City gals and creators of G&S’ Fabulous Guide to Online Dating (old, but useful!)” our cherished and generous G&S team are: “Smart, creative, funky and different, just like the people we are here to meet. Our email list spreads the word on underground happenings in NYC you’d otherwise never hear about, and our own–sometimes unbelievable–parties bring our thousands-strong creatives’ community offline.” Holy macaroni, they’re badass.

With their help, combined with the counsel and kindness of our dear friend Shien Lee of Dances of Vice (be sure to scroll down and take note of the DoV/Coilbash two-event deal!), and the wisdom of the aforementioned Juliette and Shanghai Mermaid, we have been able to reach further and deeper into the NYC underground than we ever could on our own from way over here in sunny Cali. Our lionhearted comrade and champion, Molly Crabapple, has also been helping out tremendously with backline support. In the midst of all of this last-minute chaos, whenever we take a brief moment to catch our breath, we feel like we’re swooning in the outpouring of love, support and advice we’ve received from all of these women, their extended networks, and beyond. (Thank you, lovely ladies. THANK you, thank you, thank you. We can never say it enough. We are so darn grateful to all of you.)

With their help, and in cahoots with countless other members of da ‘Haus’s own extensive tribe in NYC (who will undoubtedly be getting a ton of blog shout-outs and love over the next few weeks), we’ve been able to confirm a lot of fantastic talent over the past couple of days, with more acts to be added over the next week. Here’s the current roster:


Kim Boekbinder. Photo by Marianne Bijou.


Franz Nicolay. Photo by Konstantin Sergeyev.


Brian Viglione. Photo by Ethan Miller.


The Fishtank Ensemble (Promo photo.)

MUSIC: Kim Boekbinder (Vermillion Lies) Our beloved genre-defying songstress of murderous waltzes and epic pop ballads will woo us with voice, guitar, looping pedal and a bag full of mystery. In Coilhouse’s review of her album The Impossible Girl, Mer described her as  “a bravely vulnerable, electrifying lightning rod of a woman.” She is all that and more. The wondrous Fishtank Ensemble (fellow Californians who just happen to be in NYC this week) will give us a blissful, heartmelting, booty-shakin’ dose of their signature blend of Roma, Serbian, flamenco, manouche, Turkish and Greek music, plus original compositions! Franz Nicolay (World Inferno, Hold Steady, Guignol) is a dashing moutsachioed multi-instrumentalist, composer, and the hardest working boho-accordionist in NYC. Brian Viglione (Dresden Dolls, World Inferno, Gentlemen & Assassins), who will be providing us with an assortment of unfettered, theatrical DRUM SOLOS throughout the evening, is an energetic, expressive, percussive powerhouse. Thomas Negovan, bless his beautiful heart, is flying all the way from Chicago to give us a delicious taste of occult-tinged, erotic, 1920s cabaret songcraft. Kelvin Daly, builder of unique musical instruments, will favor us with mysterious and elegant performances. Theremina (yes, that’s Mer’s stage name, shhh!) will humbly provide a wee bit of wistful, theremin-drenched ambient music to sway and swoon to. Ooo, and then there are the DJs! Wengrofsky – Scrappy and eclectic vinyl wizardry. PUREVILE! – Sets of new wave, dark glam, new romantic from the co-founder of DISKO NOUVEAUX.


Sarah Hassan


Sky Claudette. Photo by Jeffrey Grossman.


Our ringmaster, SF SLIM. Photo by Jacob Appelbaum.

DANCE/CABARET: Our darling, delicious blog contributor, Sarah Hassan, will be taking the stage as a Bellow Dancer & Bedouin Showgirl. Paige & Ahnika (recently ‘Haused here) will provide a set of electrifying, emotive, empowering belly dance. LeRoi Prince is bringing us a bit of Weimar drag/burlesque genderfuckery with swagger and class. Liron & Daly, a bewitching husband and wife team, will give us aerials performed to live musical accompaniment. Eros Fyre – Sky & Vlad will perform feats of fire magick. Ian Baker of Interpretive Arson will be bringing out the fire rope dart. Our Master of Ceremonies is the one and only SF SLIM. Slim’s been a friend of ours for years; he’s a charming collaborative culture evangelist and a nattily-dressed Joy-Facilitator who “eats concepts and makes things”. We’re overjoyed that he’s agreed to be our ringmaster, in addition to helping out behind the scenes.


Muffinhead! Photo by Gabi Porter.


Some of Empire S.N.A.F.U.’s unsettling art.


PUREVILE!

MISCELLANEOUS SPECTACLE & ODDITY: Some sort of gorgeously unsettling, as-of-yet-determined “art incident” courtesy of EMPIRE S.N.A.F.U will occur. S.N.A.F.U. is “a feverish visual and theatrical mélange of dystopian technology, sexual obsolescence, and implied religion,” painstakingly assembled from a vast and unsettling assortment of found materials. Muffinhead - Lavishly costumed, colorful performance absurdist; a spectacular cartoon imaginary made real. The PUREVILE! girls – Exquisite living dolls unearthed from some great-great-auntie’s steamer trunk, bedecked in bespoke post-apocalyptic Victorian finery. Three-minute theremin lessons from Mer, if you’re game to make some woo-woo noises. AND! Last but not least, a Black & White & Red All Over Photo Booth.

SILENT AUCTION. Items will include art donated by Diamanda Galas, Molly Crabapple, Jessica Joslin, Paul Komoda, Jason Levesque & Xeni Jardin, Century Guild, Disinfo, PUREVILE!, Kate O’Brien, Nicole Aptekar, and Asha Beta. There will also be a full set of the out-of-print, highly collectible back-issues of Coilhouse (Issues 1-5).

COSTUME SUGGESTIONS: Sharp curves in black and white and red, in keeping with the German Expressionist/Bauhau​s/Constructivist color palette of the upcoming Coilhouse print issue. Think decadent Weimar, 1920s Soviet Union, Klaus Nomi, origami-inspired, architectural, Metropolis, or De Stijl fashion. Polar Bear & Penguin? Nun in red fishnets! Valentine’s Day Zebra. Vampire and Midnight Snack. Anything in the color scheme goes, as long as you GO FOR IT.

VIP TICKETS: Donations over $30 will grant patrons 5 pm admission for an East-meets-West tea service, and first access to the silent auction. The tea service will be from 5-7. Enjoy live acoustic music and crackling wax-cylinder ambiance, private salon performances, and cozy conversation with Coilhouse co-founding editors Nadya Lev and Meredith Yayanos. Depending on donation level, there are many goodies to be had! VIP pricing structure is as follows:

  • $30 Coilhouse buttons + stickers + baubles
  • $50 Coilhouse buttons + stickers + Coilhouse I/I/I coffee mug
  • $75 Coilhouse buttons + stickers + plus codes for DRM-free, high res PDF downloads of Coilhouse out-of-print back issues 1-5 + Coilhouse laptop vinyl.
  • $100 All of the above + limited edition “Interstellar Vanguard” print by Zoetica Ebb. (Print exclusive to this tier.)
  • $150 Everything in $75 gift bag + free pre-order of upcoming Issue Six print mag + a signed one-of-a-kind magazine proof from a past issue of Coilhouse.
  • $200 All of the above + second printer’s proof + a trip to the COILBOX to pick out a final “mystery merch” item worth $30 – $50
  • $300 All of the above + acknowledgment in print Issue 07 as a Coilhouse Print Patron + personalized thank-you card from Nadya Lev and Meredith Yayanos.

GENERAL ADMISSION. The main event starts at 7:00 and goes until midnight. Entrance is $15.

Admission to the main party event is included with all VIP tea service and salon tickets.

SPECIAL DEAL FOR DANCES OF VICE ATTENDEES! The DoV Enchantment Under the Sea Dance is happening on Saturday, August 20th. Why not make a cross-pollinating, bohemian art and culture blow-out of the whole weekend? We’ve teamed up with Shien and Co. to offer a special ticket to those who attend both events. For $25, you can be a guest at both parties. This will gain you general admission entrance to both events.

LOCATION. Red Lotus Room. 893 Bergen (between Classon and Franklin). It’s a wee bit off the beaten path, but hey, aren’t we all?! There is a subway stop close by, and we’re arranging to have some clear (and possibly quite entertaining) signposts up for all folks coming by public transit from the train station to the venue.

WHAT NOW? All that’s left is for you to buy tickets and RSVP! See you there, loves.

“Why You’re Wearing Feathers Right Now” by Jenka Gurfinkel


Jocelyn Marsh wearing a headdress by Tiffa Novoa. Photo by Brion Topolski. 2005.

Recently, Jenka Gurfinkel –a longtime mover/shaker in the California indie cirque scene– wrote “Why You’re Wearing Feathers Right Now”, a fantastic personal essay that happens to dovetail nicely (pun intended) with the extensive Tiffa Novoa love fest we ran in Coilhouse Magazine last year. Gurfinkel’s unique take on the current exploding trend of plumage in both indie and mainstream fashion is a deft mix of memoir and cultural nodal point-mapping:

“In the summer of 2011, feathers have become a staple of every sartorial and tonsorial aspect imaginable. The other day I was asked my opinion as to where this current ubiquity of feathers has come from. But as it turns out, I happen to have something better than an opinion: I have an explanation.”


El Circo performer at Burning Man, 2005. Photo by Siouxzen Kang.

“Just two years out of college, I stumbled into the role of production manager for a newly-formed, L.A.-based vaudeville cirque troupe called, Lucent Dossier. Through that initial involvement with Lucent I would meet many other circus groups, including El Circo, who were by then based in San Francisco along with The Yard Dogs Road Show and Vau De Vire Society. There was also March Fourth Marching Band in Portland, Clan Destino in Santa Barbara, and Cirque Berzerk, and Mutaytor in L.A. As these acts grew, the I-5 Freeway became a central artery of culture, pumping a distinct combination of art, music, fashion, and performance up and down the west coast. A social scene evolved around these circus troupes the same way the punk subculture sprang up around the bands that defined it.”


Full page Issue 05 Coilhouse spread of performer Joshua David wearing a Ernte feather headdress by Tiffa Novoa. Photo by Spencer Hansen.

“In the early to mid-aughts (when the photos above were taken) the feather was as de rigueur a cultural signifier within the circus scene as the safety pin was for punks in the late 1970s and early 80s. In fact, back before it was so commonplace as to lose meaning (or induce a national feather shortage), condescending terms for those sporting the look sprang up within the subculture: “Feather mafia,” was one I heard thrown around; ‘Trustafarian peacock‘ even made it into UrbanDictionary.com. And then, something else began to happen…”

View the full essay at Social Creature dot com.

As far as this ubiquitous trend of wearing feathers goes– if you adorn with birdie bits, please consider researching where they come from! Buying ethically and responsibly is beautiful. Here are some great resources:

Carla Kihlstedt’s Necessary Monsters (Feed the Beasties!)


Another beautiful day, another amazing Kickstarter project by a beloved curator of the Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.

Musician, composer, artist and storyteller Carla Kihlstedt‘s Necessary Monsters is a staged song cycle after Jorge Luis Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings. Carla wrote it with poet Rafael Osés for seven musicians and an actress. The narrative “follows a young writer as she tries in vain to corral the imaginary beings that parade out of her mind in the course of a sleepless night. In this journey, she encounters many beasts – some meddlesome, some winsome, some loathsome – and discovers that she is indeed the sum of their parts.”

Previous stagings of this work have provided stunning, intimate portraits of Carla and her colleagues’ creative processes– their intelligence, their playfulness, their sweetness. Since that time, the piece “has gone through a kind of distillation process, the way a good friendship does, that only happens with time. In this next chapter, we’ve recast, retooled, and redirected. The cast, the crew and the design team include some of my very favorite musicians and artists, all of whom have brought incredible ideas and energy to the piece. It is finally becoming the beast it was meant to be. We’re performing it in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on July 29th and 30th of this year. ”

As of this minute, hundreds of people have contributed approximately $23K toward Carla’s Kickstarter campaign. She just sent out an email saying “We’re right at the edge and the pressure’s on. We’ve got three days to raise another $2,043. So, If you’ve been waiting in the wings for these last giddy moments… NOW is your time!”

Houdini: Art & Magic – The Wonders Never Cease


via

Yet another Doomsday has mercifully passed us by. Meanwhile, the horrors taking place around the globe stay their course. Corruption, scandal, and greed continue to rocket to the front pages of our newspapers.

Has there ever been a more dire need for magic?

In the shimmering hills that surround Los Angeles, art, wonder and the hope that only a spectacle can birth are being celebrated. The hard-working ghost of Harry Houdini is traveling the country via Houdini: Art & Magic, a comprehensive retrospective chronicling the life of an immigrant Rabbi’s son turned bonafide American showman. On a recent drive back from Malibu, the first stop on my long-overdue west coast vacation, street markers with stiff black flags trumpeting the arrival of Art & Magic at the Skirball Cultural Center had me jumping out of my passenger’s seat.


via

I had first seen the exhibit at the Jewish Museum in March before it closed at the end of the month. That same week, Houdini’s last living assistant, Dorothy Young, died in a retirement community in New Jersey at the age of 103, three days before what would’ve marked Houdini’s 137th birthday. The stars were aligning rapidly before me, and I, a sucker for synchronicity, could not churn out the review I wanted in time for the exhibit to end. I sat among pages of obsessive notes describing what I had seen at the museum, from Houdini’s diaries, to photographs of him with his beloved mother, and his performance trunk curling with worn and cracked brown leather. I swooned over the thin, almost romantic curl to his handwriting, lamented his untimely death, and dug up details from the obituaries of Dorothy, a woman who, at the age of 17, had been selected by the magician from a crowd at Coney Island, and kept her stalwart promise never to reveal his secrets.

Paper Theatre Brought to Life with Light: The Ice Book

The Ice Book (HD) from Davy and Kristin McGuire on Vimeo.

If one were to combine the magic of pre-cinematic optical illusions, the childlike wonder associated with vintage pop-up books and the aesthetic sense of both Russian fairy tales and eerie German Expressionist films, one might hit upon the luminous production that is husband and wife team Davy and Kristin’s McGuire’s The Ice Book.

Blending elements of film, animation, theater, puppetry, installation art and “good old-fashioned illusions”, The Ice Book is described by its creators as a “… miniature theatre show made of paper and light… An exquisite experience of fragile paper cutouts and video projections that sweep you right into the heart of a fantasy world. It is an intimate and immersive experience of animation, book art and performance.”

Says Davy:

“We created the show during a four month artist residency at the Kuenstlerdorf Schoeppingen in Germany. All we had was a 5D Mark ii, an old Macbook with After Effects, some builders lights and a green cloth that we improvised as a makeshift green-screen. Before we started we had no idea how to make pop-up books let alone how we could combine them with projections. With a lot of care, love and arguing the idea eventually came to life.

The idea for the Icebook was to create a miniature maquette for this dream – a demonstration model to show to producers and other funders in the hope that they would give us some money to make the full scale show. (And we still hope that this will come true one day!) The Icebook has since however, grown its own legs and turned into a miniature show all by itself. An intimate performance for small audiences.

We love the old pre-cinematic optical illusions, such as zoetropes and magic lanterns, and the magical way in which they can mesmerise audiences through basic mechanics. Rather than simply projecting images onto a screen, we wanted to create an object with a life of its own – a tangible and magical “thing” for an audience to experience.”

Check below the cut for various haunting vignettes clipped from the production, as well as a beautifully illuminating “before and after” montage which briefly highlights the steps taken to achieve the  icy, ethereal effects viewed in the final production. For more behind the scenes peeks, as well as touring information, see the following links:


Happy Birthday, Martha Graham


Photo by Yousuf Karsh.

Martha Graham, Mother of Contemporary Dance, speaking to friend and colleague, Agnes de Mille:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.”

“It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

As quoted in The Life and Work of Martha Graham (1991) by Agnes de Mille, p. 264.


Martha Graham, photographed by Edward Steichen for Vanity Fair, 1931. (via)