Thursday, April 18, 2019

Pivot Arts Festival: Preview, Works-In-Progress, Premiere Lineup May 31–June 9


Search Party
(Matthew Gregory Hollis)

Pivot Arts, which celebrates innovative, multidisciplinary performance, has expanded the lineup for its seventh annual Pivot Arts Festival, including five world premieres by playwright/director Seth Bockley, BraveSoul Movement, Chicago Fringe Opera, choreographers Ayako Kato and Erin Kilmurray, musician/actor Ahmed Moneka making his U.S. debut and more. The Festival runs May 31–June 9 at various locations in Chicago’s Uptown and Edgewater neighborhoods.
A Festival Preview Party fundraiser takes place May 22 at 6 p.m. at Francesca’s Bryn Mawr, 1039 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue. Festival artists join Pivot Arts board members and supporters for Italian cuisine, drinks and entertainment, supporting the Festival through tickets and a silent auction. The party also features the first-ever Pivot Arts Awards: the Award for Artistic Contribution, to playwright and artistic associate Isaac Gomez, and the Award for Community Contribution, to Francesca’s Bryn Mawr, which has supported Pivot Arts with significant in-kind contributions since 2014. Tickets are $55 in advance at or $60 at the door.

Po' Chop/Jenn Freeman 
(Greg Inda)

The Pivot Arts Incubator Program, a partnership between Pivot Arts and Loyola University Chicago’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts now in its seventh year, awards artists the opportunity to develop new, multidisciplinary works during a three-week period at Loyola. Artists receive a stipend, mentoring and, for the second consecutive year, a showing of excerpts from their works-in-progress during the Festival. A post-performance discussion with the artists follows each showing. This year’s showings include:
Jenni Lamb and Ethan Parcell, June 5 at 7:30 p.m., Loyola University Chicago’s Mundelein Center for the Arts, 1020 W. Sheridan Road. Lamb’s play Jumble of Bones uses movement and puppetry to tell the story of a friendship between a therapist-in-training and her client, exploring the ways we are all bound together on this planet. Parcell’s A Pleasant Come-Across, or A Dozen-or-so New Rags is a collection of new revisionist ragtime compositions, performed by an instrumental ensemble with a cartoonish commitment to silent-film slapstick and circus antics. Tickets are $10, $5 with student ID.
Po’Chop/Jenn Freeman and Courtney Mackedanz, June 9 at 3 p.m., the Edge Off Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa Avenue. Po’Chop/Freeman’s The People’s Church of the Ghetto is a multidisciplinary (dance, poetry and music) project that creates spaces to learn, edify and worship the legacies of black women. Clusterfuq, a new performance art piece by choreographer Mackedanz, portrays a group of friends who discover they change one another’s blood types as they disclose their personal traumas. Tickets are $10, $5 with student ID.

The previously announced 2019 lineup, comprising almost entirely world premieres,
follows with updated information and ticket packages.

Chicago Fringe Opera and Brave Soul Movement 
(William Frederking)

Chicago Fringe Opera and BraveSoul Movement present The Rosina Project: May 31 at 7:30 p.m., June 1 at 8 p.m. and June 2 at 7:30 p.m., Alternatives, 4730 N. Sheridan Road. A contemporary adaptation of Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville that mixes hip-hop MCs, opera singers and street-dance artists with a live DJ and beatboxer to perform an original story of female empowerment and interracial friendship as an immersive house party. Originally developed in the 2018 Pivot Arts Incubator Program at Loyola University. Tickets are $15.

Ayako Kato 
(Sally Cohn)

Art Union Humanscape presents “To the Shore: ETHOS Episode I” by Ayako Kato: June 1 at 11 a.m., June 2 at 1 p.m., Colvin House/Creative Co-Working, 5940 N. Sheridan Road, culminating at Thorndale Beach. This meditative performance combines dance, movement and music to illuminate the connection between everyday human gesture and wisdom from the past. Part one of a three-part project, ETHOS reflects upon how contemporary humans have evolved both spiritually and physically from ancient times. Tickets are $15.

(L) 1940s family photo courtesy of Brittany Harlin; Brittany Harlin (By Melissa Morely)

Brittany Harlin presents Don’t Forget Your Mother: June 6 at 8:30 p.m. and June 8 at 8 p.m., the Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. Harlin’s choreographic memoir is dedicated to her mothers here on Earth and her ancestors beyond. Using storytelling, poetry, song and dance, accompanied by a live band, the performance by four dancers and four musicians connects Harlin’s personal experience with trauma to pieces of African Diasporic culture, granting herself the heritage that threatens to be erased over time. Tickets are $15; a combined ticket for Don’t Forget Your Mother and Search Party on June 6 is $30.

Search Party 
(Matthew Gregory Hollis)

Search Party by Erin Kilmurray: June 6 at 7 p.m., June 8 at 9:30 p.m. and, closing the Festival, June 9 at 8 p.m. at the Edge Off Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa Avenue. This live dance work by Kilmurray, creator of The Fly Honey Show, exists somewhere between a nightclub and a sports arena. Featuring a group of women, this performance relentlessly challenges and reconstructs the boundaries we face during this charged political moment by investigating agency, freedom and societal expectations. Tickets are $20, $15 with student ID; a combined ticket for Don’t Forget Your Mother and Search Party on June 6 is $30, and a combined ticket for Search Party and Gilgamesh and Enkidu on June 9 is $35.

Nancy Garcia Loza and Isaac Gomez

Girasol: An Evening of Latinx Performances curated and hosted by Isaac Gomez and Nancy Garcia Loza: June 7 at 9 p.m., the Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. Girasol is a 90-minute cabaret-style event featuring comedy, poetry, music and more in celebration of the robust and pivotal work of Latinx artists in Chicago. The lineup to date includes comedian Melissa DuPrey; poets Davon Clark, Keren Diaz de Leon and José Olivarez; and storytellers Jasmin Cardenas, Wendy Mateo and Karari Olvera, with musicians to be finalized . Tickets are $15, $10 with student ID; a combined ticket for Girasol and Gilgamesh and Enkidu on June 8 is $30.

Ahmed Moneka (L) and Jesse LaVercombe in Gilgamesh and Enkidu 
(Bruce Silcox)

TRIA Theatre presents Gilgamesh and Enkidu by Ahmed Moneka (U.S. debut), Jesse LaVercombe and Seth Bockley: June 7 at 7 p.m., June 8 at 3 p.m. and June 9 at 6 p.m. at the Edge Off Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa. A collaboration between Toronto-based musician/actor Ahmed Moneka, an internationally acclaimed artist from Canada, where he sought political asylum, and actor/writer Jesse LaVercombe with Chicago playwright and director Seth Bockley. This two-man epic reanimates the world’s oldest written narrative with maqam-style Iraqi music and 21st century biography, highlighting Moneka’s own exile from Baghdad. Gilgamesh and Enkidu fuses highly physical theatre, soul-filled musical expression, ancient text and intimate storytelling, illuminating the tale’s eternal mysteries of mortality and the universal balm of friendship. Tickets are $25, $15 with student ID; a combined ticket for Gilgamesh and Endiku and Girasol on June 8 is $30, and a combined ticket for Search Party and Gilgamesh and Enkidu on June 9 is $35.

Storytown Improv 
(Courtesy of the artists)

In a special event for families, Storytown Improv presents Ice Cream and Improv! (Well, Custard...) June 9 at 11 a.m. at Lickity Split Custard & Sweet Shop, 6056 N. Broadway, featuring an interactive kids’ improv show plus custard and sweets for purchase. Tickets are $10.
Tickets for the 2019 Pivot Arts Festival are on sale now at
Pivot Arts, which produces and presents contemporary and multidisciplinary performance on Chicago’s far North Side, envisions a vibrant community where collaborations between artists, businesses and organizations lead to the support and creation of unique performance events. Pivot Arts supports multidisciplinary artists through its arts incubator program and fosters the creation of imaginative performance events. In addition to the Festival, Pivot Arts hosts a Live Talk series that includes performances and discussions and creates site-specific works throughout the year.
Pivot Arts is funded in part by the Alphawood Foundation, FLATSstudio, Loyola University Chicago, the Illinois Arts Council, the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Gilgamesh and Enkidu was developed in partnership with Tarragon Theatre, Guthrie Theatre and the support of Canada Arts Council. Gilgamesh and Enkidu is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Illinois Arts Council and the Crane Group.

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