Category Archives: performance

Visual Aesthetic

Hello readers,

It’s been so long since I’ve posted on this blog! So much has been happening these days. In celebration of being active, I thought I’d write a short post on my own visual aesthetic. I got an MFA in Studio Art after doing my undergrad in Theater & Original Works because I knew the importance of both the theatrical and the visual in my work. I create objects for theater and theater for objects. When I write, I see images. This translates into performance and film projects (often both at once) that are stylized and visually bold. Below are a few inspirations that I use frequently in my work:

1) RED CURTAINS
Face Off
IMG_4588
Mamma Donna Falls in Love
MamaDonna
Buoj iz Jeb, Professional Figure Model
IMG_8972

2) POLKA DOTS & STRIPES
Isabel Jukes Karaoke
Isabel1
Red Blob Massacre
IMG_5836
Red Blob Massacre storyboard
Scene 4_1

3) Sexual Body Parts
Ode to the Boob
Photo 71
The Dick Tater
P1000671
Red Hole Circus

Buoj iz Jeb, Professional Figure Model
IMG_7538

4) Cardboard & Foam
Hot Ripe Burning Sex Parts
IMG_9262
Red Blob Massacre
IMG_4875
Beneath the Concrete
_MG_8835

5) The Grotesque
Red Blob Massacre
Red Blob Leg
The Shooting

Face Off
Sequence 1 010346;22

6) Influences
Food by Jan SvankmajerBe Nice to Me by Pipilotti RistLighting Strikes by Klaus NomiPsycho Beach Party

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Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, 2012

Love women? Love comedy? Then what better place to see both than at the first annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, which took place from June 6-10, 2012 at Stage 773 in Chicago, IL.

The female version of the long-running Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, CWFF was started by Jill Valentine, Stacey Smith and an awesome crew of mostly other females. Broadened to encompass a wide range of comedy styles, including sketch comedy, stand-up, musicals, one-woman shows and improv, the festival packed in 400 female performers from all over the U.S. for days of solid, bitch-talking, knee slapping, crazy female hilarity at its best.

The following account is my own experience as an out-of-town solo female performer, for which I performed as my alter-ego old man character Buoj iz Jeb, who has a knack for taking his clothes off in: Buoj iz Jeb Summer Swimsuit Edition 2012. Ahem, more about that in a bit.

Tech:

I arrive at the theater after a walk from the red line Belmont stop on a sizzling hot Chicago Saturday morning with a suitcase full of bathing suit props and a homemade man-suit.

Stage 773 is an impressive local theater joint, just down the street from the center of Belmont with its hip vintage clothing stores, funky bagel shops and fancy supplement joints.

Stage 773 breathes the sketch comedy scene that Chicago is famous for. Upon entering the theater, the first thing you come upon is a bar: something that all theaters should strive for if they haven’t already.

Audience + Alcohol = good, fun theater.

Brimming with three unique performance spaces, Stage 773 seems to have it all.

I leave my suitcase and man-suit in the green room of the Cabaret space, an intimate, small-stage performance space with glossy red theater couches and chairs at mini-tables. I am in love. What better place to peel off one swimsuit after another than for a beer-and-cocktail toting audience, to the beat of woozy Hawaiian music and sexy techno? Chicago, I have arrived. Or, better yet, Buoj iz Jeb has arrived.

Pre-audience. The place was packed later in the day!!

Panel: “Being Funny is Serious Business: A 360* Perspective of Women Doing It”

Sitting out in the lobby waiting for the Saturday, 2pm panel to start, I observe the crowd. A small group of mostly beautiful women, I’m impressed by the laid-back, friendly vibe. Jill Valentine greets me like an old friend: I admire her adorable bleach-blonde hair and pink-and-black striped tights. The ladies filter in wearing summer dresses and their free performer passes, along with a few men in jeans and t-shirts. The theater is a cool, welcoming environment off the sweltering Chicago concrete street.

The general style/air of most of the women present is creative, expressive and confident. One group of four practices a cheesy Chicago song while taking candid shots of themselves, while others participate in animated conversations. This much is clear: To be a funny woman requires confidence. And the willingness to fail.

In the Cabaret space the panel discussion begins. A group of successful and inspiring women sit at a table on the stage. They include (from left to right): Panel host Brian Posen (Executive Producer – The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival), Susan Messing (co-founder of Annoyance Theater and Improv Master), Ana Belaval (WGN News), Beth Kligerman (Director of Talent – The Second City), Marisa Paonessa (President/Agent), and Charna Halpern (co-founder of iO) . The panel discussion put the entire CWFF into context, and offered a unique perspective Chicago comedy scene.

 Here are some of my favorite quotes from the panel:

Question: What is comedy?
Answers: “Everything you relate to that makes you laugh.”
“You know it when you see it.
“It doesn’t have to be cruel, but risk-taking.”
“Throw it in the middle of a room and paint it red. If you fail, you fail.”
“Dealing with pain: humor & sarcasm (i.e., it’s personal).”

Question: Why now an emphasis on whether or not women are funny?
Answers: “It fluctuates.”
“We here in Chicago don’t talk about it that much.”
People are funny.”
“People just need something to fucking focus on again.”
“There are women in comedy, stop saying there aren’t.”
“They want funny women, Chicago’s where it’s at.”
“Women are dominating now (i.e. women are smarter).”
“In general, there is a bigger variety of people/colors onstage. Which is good.”
“We can play just as dirty as they can.”

Question: Is there a different between women & men funny?
Answers: “No.”
“Men laugh at men things (i.e. peeing in the bathroom). 

Question: How do you judge funny?
Answers: “It’s instinct, taking risks. You just know. Some are just natural.”
“A good team player, a wild one.
“Is it good writing, is it timely..”
“There’s so much talent.”
“How are they improvising, writing, acting, are you funny? (i.e. was there laughter in the room?)”

Question: How do you stay successful?
Answers: “What is success?”
“Go with the flow. Embrace different opportunities and enjoy it.”
“We get to make up shit. That’s successful.”
“There’s never a 3-year plan, just keep loving what you’re doing.”
“It keeps feeding itself.”
“In Chicago, it’s one big community.”

Question: Words of the wise?
Answers: “It’s Chicago, they don’t come here for stick-figure models.”
“They want you to succeed (i.e. are desperate for someone to go onstage and have a good time).”
“Try it all, go with your gut.”
“Put it out there in any shape or form (youtube, etc.- not tv or stage only).
“The more you relax yourself in the moment (as opposed to tensed up and ‘ready’), the better.”
“Failure: something better could happen (one door closes, something else opens).”
“Be nice!”
“Don’t look to your right or left (i.e. put your blinders on); don’t compare yourself to others.”

Performance:

I got so wrapped up in my own performance after that, that I didn’t write anything about it, and in fact would prefer instead just to show you the pictures and video clip below and let you judge for yourselves. The performance took place at 6pm in the Cabaret Space on Sunday, June 10. There was an audience of approximately 20 people, and the bill was shared with Chicago performance artist, Becky Poole. My performance lasted approximately 28 minutes. I will say that it was a LOT of fun:

Buoj iz Jeb Summer Swimsuit Edition 2012:

Video Excerpt (5 minutes of a 28-minute performance):

Images:


A Few Final Thoughts:

I’m so glad I participated in this event. It was fun, laid-back, and full of great women and amazing performers. Furthermore, in addition to performing and watching other performances, I also had a great time people-watching at the Chicago beach 🙂

Red Blob Massacre: a silent horror film and live performance

Dear Readers,

Hi. How are you? I’m fine, thanks. Well actually, no I’m in freak-out mode. I’m in total spasm art mode. I’m in the wind-up mode until my graduate thesis project finally explodes in the eyes of the public next Thursday & Friday night, April 5 & 6. And then it will all be over. Well, almost anyways.

It’s interesting to track a project from its beginning all the way through to its current fruition. I say current fruition because even though next week this project will extend its long limbs out into the public sphere, it most certainly will continue to grow and develop into the future- be that at the international film festivals I intend to submit it to, as well as the art shows and live performance events I hope to present it at. In many ways, what’s special about this project is that it can fit into various modes of transmission. That, I hope, will transform the many, many hours that I and many others have put into this project into something greater than itself.

The project is a silent horror film and live performance titled Red Blob Massacre. 

Honestly, I wish I had the time and energy to explain all about the concept and research and inspiration and so on, but even just starting this blog post in the midst of it all makes me feel stressed out about all the things I should be doing to actually MAKE THIS EVENT HAPPEN.

So, for the time being, I’m going to include some screen shots below, and direct you to a few links which will at least introduce you more to the project until I come back in two weeks or so to tell you how it went. I’ve put a LOT into this project. And I’m more excited about it than anything I’ve worked on for a while. And as I mentioned before, so many great people have been involved with it. I hope, if you have the time, that you’ll visit the links I’ve included and tell your friends all about it. Thanks so much for your support.

Synopsis: A silent horror film and live performance. Maddy Blitz is a young woman with horrendous-looking teeth. Maddy’s nightmares of not fitting in clump together to form a giant RED BLOB that confronts her tormenters, eventually growing so big that it……..

Collaborators:

Written & Directed by: Emilia Javanica (me!)
Assistant Directors: Ian MacInnes & Jan Trumbauer
Director of Photography: Jessica Renée Lee
Assistant Director of Photography: Alan Torres
Lighting Design: Matt Infante
Puppet Design & Art Direction: Emilia Javanica
First Assistant Camera: Walter Lin
Grips:Joe Reed & Brett Firlik
Sound Design: Simon Alexander-Adams
Location Sound: Mike Chen, Rolando Palacio, Živan Rosić, Wes Swartz & Eric Lundgard
Green Screen Videographer: Jacques Mersereau
Green Screen Lighting Design: Jeff Alder
Editing & Stop Motion Animation: Emilia Javanica

Cast:

Emilia Javanica, Jan Trumbauer, Skyler Kragt, Taylor Henkin, John Kannenberg, Jeffrey Kaplan, Jeannine Thompson, Ali Amine and the RED BLOB

Red Blob Massacre blog site: http://redblobmassacre.wordpress.com/

Interview about process with Mark Maynard: http://markmaynard.com/2012/03/emilia-javanica-on-the-red-blob-massacre-and-what-its-like-to-shoot-ones-first-independent-film/

Red Blob Massacre on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/RED-BLOB-MASSACRE/360836520597395

Red Blob Massacre on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/RedBlobMassacre

And last but not least, the poster for the premiere, which as I mentioned above, is happening NEXT WEEK!!!:

The Accentuated Body: artistic creations of another self

Some of my faves:

Lucy McRae & Bart Hess: 

I would include every single one of Lucy McRae and Bart Hess’ amazingly fabulous body sculptures, but instead you should most definitely visit Lucy McRae’s website here: http://www.lucymcrae.net/home/. The image link below also has many other fantastic examples of impressive body architecture.

.

Big Mouth Body Paint Costume:

A brilliant example of the body accentuated with a little bit of body paint.

.

Hyungkoo Lee, Objectuals Series:

Hyungkoo Lee is an artist who lives and works in Seoul, Korea. More info and examples of his work can be viewed here: http://www.minch.org/hklee/objectuals/objectuals.html

.

Clarina Bezzola: 

As described in Stamp Gallery, where Clarina’s work was exhibited in a solo exhibition titled Structure: Clarina’s unconventional garments, in her own words, “question and redefine the role of the garment. Wrapping the body to reveal instead of conceal.” A Swiss performance artist, Clarina Bezzola currently resides in New York. View her impressive website here: http://www.clarinabezzola.com/index.html

.

Louise Bourgeois:

While most of Louise Bourgeois’ amazing sculptures were not wearable sculptures, nearly all of them captured elements of the the body in various ways, many of them grotesque. This is a picture of the artist in the ’70s in her ‘performance costume’.

.

Mette Sterre, Long Tongue Sally:

Mette Sterre is a performance artist I recently became acquainted with who creates astonishing costumes and installations. For her piece “Long Tongue Sally”, Mette strapped a real cow tongue to her face- an amazing accomplishment for a vegetarian. To see Long Tongue Sally in action, view it on Vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/24221381. Also do be sure to visit her website: http://www.mettesterre.com/.

.

Emilia Javanica (me!), Buoj iz Jeb:

A character I often play, named Buoj iz Jeb, has a naked body that he flaunts for various occasions- particularly through is work as a Professional Figure Model, and in other occasional escapades including a Swimsuit Modeling session. His body is made out of a nude bodysuit, cotton, foam, steel wool, nylon and a couple of golf balls. To view a video of this particular performance, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJGQjEkMarM. You can view more pictures of his activities on my website here: http://emiliajavanica.com/section/206765_Buoj_iz_Jeb_Professional_Figure_Model.html, and here: http://emiliajavanica.com/section/264998_Buoj_iz_Jeb_Professional_Swimsuit_Model.html.

 

IMAGE LINKS:

http://www.creativetempest.com/installation-conceptual/lucy-mcrae-and-bart-hess/ (Lucy McRae and Bart Hess)

http://costumefail.com/2012/02/02/big-mouth-body-paint-costume-win/ (Costume Fail)

http://www.ignant.de/2010/12/03/blog-kunst-hyungkoo-lee/ (Hyungkoo Lee)

http://stampgallery.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/clarina-bezzolas-structure/ (Clarina Bezzola’s Structure)

http://andytoad.wordpress.com/tag/louise-bourgeois/ (Farewell My Lady)

http://www.galerie10.nl/exhibitions/coming-exhibition-title/ (Mette Sterre & Inge Aanstoot)

Face Off

Well, tonight was the opening of my newest video installation piece, titled “Face Off”. I have to say, it is one of the most vulnerable pieces of art I’ve ever made in my life. And I’m still not sure how I feel about showing it. But, these past two weeks of preparing the installation have been the most inspiring two weeks of action and direct result than I have experienced in a while. There’s something about having a deadline and just going for it; putting all the energy you have into it to create something to the best of your ability. All in all, I’ve learned a lot from this process. I still feel vulnerable, but sometimes letting your vulnerability show itself to the world is just about one of the best things you could do with it.

Here are a few pictures of the video aspect of the piece. More from the opening and installation to come soon…. :

 

Face Off

Die Tomato, Die!!!

Last night I performed a piece, Die Tomato, Die!!! at the Performance Laboratory, which is a bi-monthly performance event I co-curate at the Contemporary Art Institute Detroit. The theme for this month was Death.

I performed Die Tomato, Die!!! for the first time last April in a seminar in grad school, then titled Tomato Smashing. Here are some pictures from that performance:

It was a successful performance, and I made a lot of discoveries by doing it. One of them was that smashing tomatoes with a hammer was more difficult than I thought (they roll off the table, especially if they’re not ripe enough). Another, that the juice sprays everywhere, including on the audience, who in that particular space space (an empty studio space) was in close proximity. As they were sprayed with squirts of tomato juice, my peers grabbed a plastic sheet on the floor that just happened to be there, and used it to protect themselves from the bursts. There were plenty of  yelps and squeaks as I worked away with my hammer. It was hard to be serious even though I was trying to be- I really didn’t know what would happen, and everything was unfolding in the moment.

The performance was aimed to be an exploration of the RED BLOB, which has been a theme I’ve been experimenting with in my work over the past year. I’ve done all kinds of experiments around the idea of what the red blob might represent, without wanting to define it too specifically as one particular thing. In the tomato smashing context, the tomato represents food and cooking (and a female doing it), there is something quite gorey about it as it is smashed, and it has an interesting context in a performance, especially with me, as the performer, smashing it. Usually it’s the audience members who throw the tomato at the performer…

So, with all these things in mind, I recreated this performance last night at the Performance Laboratory for The Death Show. And it went really well! In the context of death and horror (two other themes I’m working a lot with right now), I wanted to continue with the seriousness of the piece, choosing atmospheric ‘scary’ background music. I chose a costume that was a bit more ‘glamorous’ than the previous one, and was a red color just a bit deeper than the tomatoes, but would be partially hidden behind my white apron. I also added a timer, that I set to 10 minutes long, which is the duration limit for each piece at the Performance Lab. I added rubber gloves, which accentuated the horror effect and made a lot of people laugh in nervous anticipation. And lastly, I handed out plastic bags to the audience members in the first row, who were in close proximity to my table. Oh, the anticipation!!!! AND, I waited to enter for added suspense- just the audience staring at those shiny red tomatoes and a hammer with plastic bags on their laps, waiting for something to happen….

Here are pictures from the performance:

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I have to say, this is definitely one of the most satisfying performances I’ve ever done in my entire life. There is something so incredibly liberating about covering an audience in tomato juice. And even though it was a serious piece, there was a lot of laughter, a lot of participation, and a continuous dialogue between me and the audience. This is still a work-in-progress, and I plan on continuing to develop it for more future performances. I feel so thankful to have the Performance Laboratory as a continuous forum to try things out and experiment. I couldn’t have asked for a more willing and accepting audience, one willing to get covered in tomato juice for the sake of good and experimental art. I don’t know if this would happen everywhere… it would certainly have to depend on the context, and the space that I performed it in.

You can read a review of the Performance Laboratory’s Death Show on the Midwest Theater Review: http://midwesttheatre.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/detroits-performance-laboratory-journey-to-the-interdisciplinary-fringe-a-review-by-edmund-lingan/

For more info about the Performance Laboratory, please visit our facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Performance-Laboratory/139602749441643. I co-curate this event with collaborator Carrie Morris. It takes place at the Contemporary Art Institute Detroit (CAID) every other month, featuring short works by artists and performers that explore what performance is, and what it can be.

On second thought, food IS art.

So after I wrote my blog post yesterday about how I was much more inclined to cook up some food than make some art, I realized that I had neglected the fact that food, indeed, is a bona fide ART FORM. In the context of yesterday, food was more about EATING for me than making anything artistic. However, I agree that food in itself can be an awesome outlet for artistic expression.

In lieu of that, today’s blog post is dedicated specifically to the amazing ART of FOOD. Included below are some impressive food art examples:

Artist Carmen Wong’s pizza in a pill, part of her artwork Tactile Dinner Car, an immersive interdisciplinary art and food experience:

For more information about Tactile Dinners, visit this website: http://www.banishedproductions.org/portfolio/tactile-dinner-long-view-gallery/, along with a review: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/14/AR2010051405170.html.

La Figa Visions of Food & Form by Chef Tiberio Simone with photography by Matt Freedman:

Tiberio is a friend of mine from Seattle and has been working on his La Figa book project for several years. Born in Southern Italy, Tiberio runs his own catering business La Figa Catering, wowing arts and public audiences alike with his amazingly delicious food creations and artistic sensual food visions. Find out more about his book here: http://www.lafigaproject.com/the-book, along with his catering company: http://lafigacatering.com/home.html.

Food Fight: An abridged history of American-centric warfare, from WWII to present day, told through the foods of the countries in conflict:

Not only is this video an excellent combination of food and stop motion animation, it also provides a breakdown of the actual battles portrayed in it. For the breakdown, visit the creator’s website: http://www.touristpictures.com/foodfight/index.htm (tourist pictures). AND, stay tuned for more stop motion and food amazement down below.

Here are a few more images of the ways that food has been artistically manipulated:

And lastly, I can’t go without including the work of one of my favorite artists of all time, Jan Svankmajer, who amazingly explores the themes of food and consumption in most of his work:

Jan Svankmajer: Food, Part 1 (1992)

Jan Svankmajer: Food, Part 2 (1992)

I LOVE Jan Svankmajer’s work. It’s absolutely amazing. I could watch his Food videos over and over again.

And that, my friends, is my blob post dedication to the ART of FOOD.

Image Links:

http://eyelevel.si.edu/2011/09/luce-center-pizza-in-a-pill.html (Luce Center: Pizza in a Pill?)

http://kate-campbell.blogspot.com/2011/08/food-as-form-decorating-human-body.html (Food As Form: Decorating the Human Body)

http://www.worldoffemale.com/food-as-art/ (Food as art)

http://weirdspy.com/food-art/ (Food Art)

http://www.digitalbusstop.com/greatfood-art/ (Great Food Art)

http://www.deepfun.com/2004/03/edible-art-and-aesthetics-of-fun.html (Edible Art and the Aesthetics of Fun)