The CAC's Fall Art Experience Returns October 5th!
CAC's Art for Arts' Sake returns to downtown, the CAC and the Arts District New Orleans on Saturday, October 5th! Created by the Contemporary Arts Center in 1980, Arts for the Arts' Sake has become a favorite fall tradition for art lovers in and around New Orleans and a showcase of the incredible multidisciplinary artists from our region. Admission is FREE and open to the public!
At the CAC, don't miss the final night of our IDENTITY MEASURES open call exhibition, featuring 23 regional artists! From 5:30 to 9:30 pm, explore art gallery openings on Julia Street and throughout the Arts District New Orleans. Gallery listing coming soon!
From 6:30 to 9:30, experience Southern Crossings, the CAC's annual showcase for three ground-breaking works by our performing artists in residence. Admission to these performances is free but capacity is limited: RSVP on this page!
Southern Crossings: A Showcase of the CAC's Artist Residencies
6:30pm - 9:30 pm at the CAC Black Box Theater
This year, featured works will include Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever by Leyla McCalla and Kiyoka McCrae at 6:30pm (Leyla will not perform at this year's showcase), Raw Fruit by Kesha McKey & KM Dance Project at 7:15pm, and Requiem for a Stranger by Vagabond Inventions featuring Renee Benson at 8:00pm.
About The Works
Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever by Leyla McCalla & Kiyoko McCrae (6:30 pm)
Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever is a multidisciplinary performance set to new music by Haitian-American singer-songwriter Leyla McCalla, exploring the legacy of Radio Haiti-Inter, Haiti’s first privately owned Kreyol-speaking radio station, and the assassination of its owner, Jean Dominique, in 2000. Through Leyla’s memories and her own discovery of Radio Haiti, we explore themes of exile and return and the complexities of what it means to be Haitian. For this presentation, Leyla McCalla will not be present but the audience will experience this multifaceted story through video projections, recorded music, and audio recordings from Duke University’s Radio Haiti Archive. Director Kiyoko McCrae will discuss the inspiration and the development process for this work-in-progress which will premiere at Duke Performances in March 2020 and be presented at the CAC in the fall of 2020. Note: Leyla McCalla will not be performing as part of this showcase.
Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever is supported by New Music USA and The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever is a National Performance Network/Visual Artist Network (NPN/VAN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, MDC Live Arts, Duke Performances and NPN/VAN. For more information: www.npnweb.org.
Raw Fruit by Kesha McKey & KM Dance Project (7:15 pm)
Raw Fruit is a multidisciplinary work in development led by KM Dance Project Artistic Director, Kesha McKey and Associate Director Catherine Caldwell. It is a collection of stories that reveal the essence of ancestral values which have been woven into the cultural fabric of our lives. This work examines legacy, identity, socialization, unity and friction inside the Black family dynamic. We delve deep to expose the impact of race, class, gender and sexuality on maternal relationships as well as reveal how the retention of cultural values, morals and taboos have shaped our current existence. These influences, which have defined our beliefs and actions, are explored through experimental dance theater and textile art to illustrate lineage, retention and history. As we celebrate the tricentennial of New Orleans, it is important to reflect on the elements that have contributed to our unique traditions and multifaceted way of life. From crawfish boils to second lines, living room altars to junior daughters, and bread pudding to pecan pralines, these experiences, rituals and ancestral contributions have created a web of lineage connecting our present experiences with customs rooted in the past. We recognize and value what we have acquired, what we release, what we hold and what we will share with those who come after us. The team of accomplished artists collaborating on this project have a diverse background in various styles of dance, theater, vocal music and visual art with a range of awards and recognitions including: featured Women in Dance, Dancing While Black Fellow, The Distillery CAC resident artist, Jacob’s Pillow scholarship recipient, Urban Bush Women’s Choreographic Center training and Summer Leadership Institute faculty, The Ailey School training, Bates Dance Festival Teacher Fellows and finalist for the 2018 international artist residency in Pennabilli, located in the picturesque Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. KM Dance Project is an emerging New Orleans based dance company presenting choreographic works that lie at the intersection of art and social justice and providing opportunities for emerging choreographers needing a platform to express ideas and issues that affect and impact marginalized communities.
Requiem For A Stranger by Vagabond Inventions featuring Renee Benson (8:00 pm)
Come into the candlelight. I’m not afraid
to look the dead in the face. When they return
they have a right to stand there in our gaze
the same as other things.
Come here; and we’ll be quiet for a bit.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke, from his poem Requiem for a Friend
Requiem for a Stranger is a devised work in development by physical theater company, Vagabond Inventions in collaboration with Singer/ Composer Renee Benson. This new, devised creation explores the nature of grief – both personal and cultural – by giving form to how this experience, repressed culturally, exists in the heartspace of humans.
Requiem will take the form of a ritualistic theatrical installation, combining a trio of materials: a vast space, the bodies of the performers in movement, and mountains of shredded newspaper. The work is a theatrical conversation between intimate loss that both VI Director Jennifer Sargent and Renee Benson have experienced in life and a deep exploration of the anthropological and psychological understanding that exists around the human experience of grief and the intuitive need to give shape and meaning to our most painful losses.
Requiem proposes shining a light on the grief that the landscape and the people around us already hold, to transform the stage into an expanse for sacred ritual that will gently invite participation from the audience. In doing so, the Vagabond ensemble hopes to create a space that holds our communal and individual loss and invites the healing, transformative power of community connection. The ensemble features performance and music by Renee Benson; performances by Jennifer Sargent, Grace Booth, and Tricia Anderson; Set Design by Jeff Becker, and Costumes by Lee Kyle JENNIFER SARGENT (Co-Creator/ Performer/ Movement Director) is a New Orleans-based physical actor, creator of devised work, and the Director of theater company Vagabond Inventions. She has originated and co-devised nine original shows and recently co-produced Definitive Figures, a FemFest of performance in New Orleans (hailed as a 2018 "highlight" by the Gambit). While working in NYC for 10 years, she performed original work at leading experimental venues including The Chocolate Factory, HERE, Abrons Arts Center, and The Brick Theater. Her work has been supported by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Network of Ensemble Theaters, NACL’s Deep Space Residency, Gibney’s “Sorry I Missed Your Show” series, and many other organizations. Jennifer received a Classical Arts Award nomination for "Outstanding Dance Presentation (Short)" for her 2018 work, Jitterbug And The Aftermath. Vagabond Inventions’ current show in production, A Kingdom, A Chasm, will tour to 5 states in the summer of 2019. Jennifer completed the 2-year training program at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris.
RENEE BENSON (Co-Creator/ Performer/ Music Composer) is a New Orleans based singer, songwriter, poet and composer. As a singer (jazz, hip hop, soul, funk, gospel, reggae and more), she has been featured on TV, Radio and film. She has performed internationally and in 2016 performed at the world famous Glastonbury Music Festival. She performed as part of the Austrian entry for Eurovision and at the LifeBall in Vienna. Renee is the lead voice for the experimental jazz and hip hop collective, "No Home For Johnny," labeled as the highlight of the 2015 Popfest festival in Vienna. She also teaches songwriting, voice, experimental vocal sound, and musical direction around the world with a number of institutions including: Girls Rock,Young Audiences of Louisiana, NOMA, the Caravan Stage Theater Co and has built an arts intensive program in the South Bronx for young women called IN MY WORDS. July and October will take her to Austria with the Vogelberg Jazz Orchestra as the performing vocalist for a commissioned original experimental opera she co-created with the rising star composer Vincent Pongracz. In November, she will join an impressive roster of faculty members as a vocal coach at the BANFF Center of the Arts. As an independent recording artist (under the name Sister Raie), Renee is thrilled to spend her Winter indoor producing the release of her solo debut album "Malshun.”