What a Year!
THANK YOU to all of our amazing team members, volunteers, artists, venues, partners, sponsors and audience members for making the 2013 BEAT Festival so exciting and fun.
I’m already psyched for next year AND have a few cool ideas already in motion (mums the word on those though).
An announcement soon (before year’s end?) about 2014, an event in the spring & then full locomotive-steam ahead for September 2014: year 3!
I wanted to share this video taken on Opening Night by our absolutely awesome videographer David Allen (view time – 2:47). Enjoy:
2013 BEAT Festival Recap
The second annual BEAT Festival featured 10 Brooklyn-based artists performing in 4 unique communities for a total of 20 performances from September 12th-21st. We were proud to partner with such a dynamic group of Brooklyn community leaders such as the Brooklyn Museum, Congregation Beth-Elohim, Bed-Stuy Restoration, Brooklyn Historical Society, St. Boniface Church and MetroTech Commons.
Part of our challenge is in creating works of performance within non-traditional spaces which puts an extreme importance on having strong partnership relationships. We are so grateful to our esteemed venue partners this year in working with us to create such a dynamic and expansive festival!
The opening weekend of the second BEAT Festival focused on multiple MashUps in both the Brooklyn Museum and MetroTech Commons. The Museum MashUps invited the audience to move freely between multiple acts occurring simultaneously in differing locations and led to our first ever review in The New York Times. These events proved to be a fascinating study in creating works of performance in a large, public institution. We hope to build on this in the years to come.
The MetroTech MashUp featured Nicholas Tamagna (countertenor) and Storyboard P (dancer) performing back-to-back on a platform in the Commons. In the middle of the performance, Story took the stage to improv to Nicholas’ final song. The result was a breathtaking high-wire act as both soloists were suddenly faced with the challenge of performing in time with another working in an entirely different medium. Kudos to both artists for brilliantly responding to this very unique challenge.
The lone Monday evening in the festival witnessed the return of the Freestyle Mondays Gameshow Battle, enacted on this occasion at Congregation Beth-Elohim. The brainchild of iLLspokinn and Mariella, FSM features local MC’s dueling onstage with topics chosen via various classic, gameshow elements (Plink-Yo, for example).
This event drew a massive crowd, and led to yet another victory by the incomparable Rabbi Darkside. The event was brilliantly opened by CBE’s own Rabbi Marc Katz (a REAL Rabbi) and it led to Freestyle Mondays now being a permanent fixture in Brooklyn, at Spike Hill in Williamsburg.
Ping Chong + Company’s Brooklyn ’63 then took center stage, being performed in three different communities including the Billie Holiday Theatre in Bed-Stuy and the new stage at the Brooklyn Historical Society. Brooklyn ’63 was presented in partnership with our dear friends at 651 ARTS, led by the amazing Shay Wafer.
The performance at BHS was concluded with a rousing Q&A with the cast & Ping Chong himself led by scholar Mark Naison. We were so proud to christen a new space with such a timely and Brooklyn-focused performance. If you have yet to view a program at BHS’ new space, click here to view the upcoming schedule.
Third Rail Projects then took center stage, performing its site-specific “Roadside Attraction”. “Roadside” is a multi-disciplinary work which takes place in and around a 70’s era Coleman Camper. Third Rail’s endless talents are on full display in this piece as company members dance, sing, act and even play live music. For its final performance, the show drew a crowd of over 200 people in the MetroTech Commons.
The final Saturday opened with Odyssey Works’ newest performance for an audience of one. OW created a Brooklyn specific performance for a man named Rick (last name purposely omitted to protect his anonymity) which took him to all parts of Brooklyn, including a large scene in the MetroTech Commons which included over 100 people. Odyssey Works’ interest in a dramatic reshaping of the artist/audience relationship is of great importance to us and we were honored to include their exciting work in this year’s festival.
The 2nd BEAT Festival closed with a massive party at Congregation Beth-Elohim which featured our dear friend Lemon Andersen performing from his new piece “ToasT”. Other 2013 festival artists included Yanira Castro (a canary torsi), LeeSaar the Company, Brave New World Repertory Theatre & recent Brooklyn College PIMA MFA graduates, The IPA.
We are left excited and motivated to continue building this platform here in Brooklyn. So many artists need visibility to take their careers to the next level. We are also proud to announce that dancer Storyboard P was listed as one of the “Best in Dance” by The New York Times and will be seen at Jacob’s Pillow next year.
Our audience sizes nearly tripled this year and we are very grateful to those of you who came out and saw a BEAT performance. This year, we launched a unique ambassador program which featured local leaders coming forward to endorse the festival while helping us to reach further into the vast and diverse communities here. We also expanded our free performance programming with exactly half of our shows being presented with no charge to the public.
These important endeavors cannot be sustained without the help of the extraordinary believers in our cause. Can you help us continue? Please consider a donation (click here to give).
If you wanted to review the photography from this year’s festival, please check out The BEAT Festival Flickr page where we currently keep all of our images. Or, to view video footage, check out the BEAT Festival’s YouTube Channel.
As always, if you have suggestions on artists to consider for next year, venues to check out or anything else we should know, feel free to post here on the blog or email me. Also, if you want to stay in touch via social media, I’m tweeting daily at @beatstephen or follow us on Facebook here.
Have an awesome winter!