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11/05/2015
VAN ALEN VARIETY SHOW

Photos: Kait Ebinger

Beneath the vaults of a vacant Clinton Hill church, we explored the city’s ever-changing periphery through a fast-paced evening of performance, provocations, and presentations ranging from the realms of design, comedy, art, and activism:

Artist Patrick Coyle delivered a new performance reflecting on historic and geographic associations of “the peripheral”

Erin Markey performed songs about life on the edge accompanied by Dane Terry

DW Gibson, author of The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification, was in conversation with the book’s interviewees: Dylan Gauthier, visual artist and co-founder, Sunview Luncheonette; Nefertiti Macaulay, New York Communities for Change; and Gita Nandan, principal, Thread Collective

Andy Ross, comedian, storyteller, and host of Real Characters delved into Chicago’s blurred neighborhood borders as defined by real estate brokers and Irish Catholic parishes

Artist Chris Soria presented “The Hidden Treasures of Brownsville” alongside collaborator Vanessa Hadox of Groundswell.

Event venue was provided by Splacer.

This event was designated for AIA CES (1.5 LU) and ASLA CES PDH/HSW (1.5 LU). 

Patrick Coyle is an artist working with spoken performance and writing to explore specific situations using alternative methods of communication. He completed MFA Art Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London (2010) and recently delivered performances at Nottingham Contemporary, Tate Modern, ICA London, and Wellcome Collection, UK.

Erin Markey is a performance artist, writer and comedian who makes music, shows and videos. She’s a Time Out New York Top Ten Cabaret Artist 2013-2015.  She has shown her work at BAM, Under The Radar Festival, New Museum, PS 122, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, New York Comedy Festival, San Francisco Film Society, and frequently at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater. She is the recipient of a 2014 Franklin Furnace Grant and a 2012 NYFA Cutting Edge Artist Award. She won an Eliot Norton Award for Outstanding Performance in 2013. She is a company member of Obie Award Winning Half Straddle and is performing in and co-composing music for the upcoming Ghost Rings at New York Live Arts in April 2016. Erin’s new musical, A Ride On The Irish Cream, will premiere at Abrons Arts Center in January 2016.

Dane Terry is a composer, performer and songwriter.  Terry’s songs are often surreal theatrical vignettes and draw on a wide range of musical styles and are usually woven between short monologues.  His solo shows include Bird In The House (La Mama),  A Chimebox Sermon (Dixon Place) and The Future Lies West (Bowery Poetry Club).  Apart from his solo work he has collaborated with many artists including writer, monologuist and songwriter David Cale in Hello, Cowboy(Dixon Place) and multi-media artist Yoshiko Chuma in π= 3.14… NOTHINg, or EVERYTHINg… (La Mama, Ellen Stewart).  He also music-directed and accompanied for Dan Fishback’s The Material World (Dixon Place) and Justin Sayre’s In My Girlish Days (Joe’s Pub).

DW Gibson is the author of The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the Twenty-First Century and Not Working: People Talk About Losing a Job and Finding Their Way in Today’s Changing Economy. His work has appeared in publications such as Harper’s, The New York Times, The Washington PostThe Village VoiceThe Caravan, and he has been a contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered. Gibson’s documentary, Not Working, a companion to the book, is available through Films Media Group. His directorial debut, Pants Down, premiered at Anthology Film Archives in New York. He serves as director of Writers Omi at Ledig House in Ghent, New York, and co-founded Sangam House, a writers’ residency in India, along with Arshia Sattar.

Dylan Gauthier is an artist and curator based in Brooklyn, NY, where he has lived since 2002. He is co-founder of the artist-boatbuilding collective Mare Liberum, and of the Sunview Luncheonette, an art and social center in Greenpoint. His work has been presented in museums and galleries including the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, MASS MoCA, The Walker Art Center, EFA Project Space, Parsons/The New School, Printed Matter at MoMA PS1, Flux Factory, the PsyGeoConflux Festival, the Wassaic Project, and the Neuberger Museum of Art. He has an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College, where he teaches in the Film and Media Studies Department.

Nefertiti Macaulay is a new lead organizer/community organizer for Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy for New York Communities for Change, a community-based organization. Macaulay works in the community five days a week speaking to people on issues such as affordable housing, gentrification, education budget, and living wages. These issues really hit home to people in low to moderate income communities, trying to keep a roof over your head while making little to nothing. Legislation needs to change, and one way to actually make an impact is to have power in numbers. Macaulay rallies members around their issues in order to see positive change in their neighborhoods, their city, and state-wide.

Gita Nandan is an architect, designer, educator, and community resiliency leader. She is a founder and principal of the award-winning design firm thread collective, LLC., chair of the Red Hook NY Rising Community Reconstruction Planning Committee (RH-NYR-CRP), and academic instructor at Pratt Institute and the School for Visual Arts. Nandan believes in resiliency as a holistic and supple approach, integrating social, cultural, economic issues with design to create net-positive urban environments. Working in the field for over 15 years, Nandan has overseen design and construction on a wide range of project-types from single family homes to the first farms on New York City Housing Authority’s low-income property. As a community leader in the neighborhood of Red Hook in South Brooklyn, she is exploring how innovative community-wide projects such as micro-grids, integrated flood protection systems and community investment funds can transform the physical landscape of a low-income waterfront neighborhood. In addition to her current work, Nandan has been involved in sustainable design policy and code creation in NYC serving as a member of the Homes Committee for Urban Green Codes Task Force; and the Building Resiliency Task Force.

A multiple Moth StorySLAM winner, Andy Ross has told stories on the Liar Show, How I Learned, The Soundtrack Series, and Told. Andy curates and hosts hosts the humor reading/storytelling series Real Characters at McNally Jackson Books in SoHo. Now in its sixth year, the series mixes writers from The New Yorker, The Colbert Report, and The Simpsons with storytellers and comedians from The Moth, This American Life, and Saturday Night Live.

Vanessa Hadox is a fundraiser, advocate, and ambassador for Groundswell, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit dedicated to bringing together artists, youth, and community partners to use art as a tool for social change. She holds an MA in Museum Studies from NYU with a focus on creative placemaking and arts education.