Sunday, December 28, 2008

WINTER 2008 - 2009

1. Sacred Dance Guild - Rememberance Day, Ottawa, ON - photo John Morrell
2. That From Which - with SPIRAL7, Gallery 119, Lowell, MA - video clip Angela Lampe
3. Colors Interactive - installation at Haven Arts, Bronx, NY - photo Fred Hatt
4. PUR-I-TE - installation at RiverSculpture, Asheville, NC - photo Michael Tracey
5. Sallimone - video peice, Wu-Media, Asheville, NC - video clip Charles Elmer

Dear friends,
Warm greetings to you this cold Winter (unless, of course, you happen to live “down under” - where Christmas intrudes on Summer!)

I am still residing in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. Plans to return to NYC are still on the horizon, but there has been plenty of creative activity to keep me busy and happy here for TWO YEARS now (time does seem to fly by faster once one hits 40!)


One of the highlights of this past Autumn (indeed, of the whole year) was performing at the 75th anniversary celebration of Black Mountain College; “The Spirit Of Black Mountain College”, held at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC in September.

At this weekend-long event, Cilla Vee – Life Arts presented “Modus Operandi”, a spoof scientific experiment conducted by a “professor”, a dancer and a musician who interpret titles created with words given by the audience. (Originally created and performed for Asheville's Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center, and thus recommended for this anniversary event.)
The cast for our project was myself, Asheville musician / composer Elisa Faires and Knoxville TN actor / poet Greg Congleton.

We were treated like royalty, put up in the Crown Plaza Hotel and ferried around to various receptions and dinners throughout the weekend.
It was a wonderful experience to be immersed in an overload of creative stimulation. There was such a variety of artists, poets, musicians, dancers –
I can now say I've kissed a Pulitzer Prize – winning poet, although I'm not sure if Galway Kinell would even remember it!



Noteworthy activities here in Asheville over the past season include a sculpture festival and a collaborative video project.

RiverSculpture is now in it's third year. My first exposure to it was last year, when I was invited to create a performance piece based on one of the sculptures. The Festival's season continues for about three months, during which there are performance events of dance, theater and music inspired by the sculptures which are spread out over a large park.

This years' contribution was a Motion Sculpture Movement Installation entitled “PUR-I-TE”, wherein I was painted from head to foot in silver and melded myself with a large silver archway. (
I am very excited about “Sallimone” - a music art video in collaboration with Wu-Media producer Charles Elmer and musician / composer Kima Moore.

Sallimone is an exquisite painted being. A mysterious, alluring yet sometimes almost sinister entity. A kaleidoscopic singularity in the black void of space-time.

Post production will be finished by the end of the year.


In November, I was on the road touring for two weeks (leaving on election day.)
My travels took me to Toronto and Ottawa in Ontario, Lowell MA, plus Marlboro and The Bronx NY. (The first leg being a straight eighteen hour drive - hardcore!)
In Toronto, I performed with Shakuhachi flute master Debbie Danbrook ( and Celina Carroll on Berimba at the notorious Gladstone Hotel.
Originally built in 1889, it is now a hotbed of artistic activity for the local scene. Each room is designed by a different artist (I was fortunate to be staying with the project manager for the Gladstone's artist designed rooms, Suanne McGregor – check out her own designed room at:
The same night as our performance in the “Art Bar”, there was also a film festival, a comic strip convention, a textiles exhibition and a jazz band occurring simultaneously in the building!
The next day, Debbie and I travelled to Ottawa to lead the Sacred Dance Guild in “Phoenix – Rising From The Ashes”, a weekend intensive workshop at Bells Corners United Church culminating in a Motion Sculpture movement meditation for the Remembrance Sunday worship service.
This workshop was a very profound experience for all of us (about 30 people); for myself as instructor / facilitator, Debbie as the (literally divine!) music maker and also for each participant who brought their unique responses to my guided imagery. It was a deep intertwining of artistic and spiritual experience – which, in my own heart, are inseparable anyway. (
Also in Ottawa, I taught my “Intensive Flexibility Program” at Natasha Royka's Dance Space 637 studio. (

Then onto Lowell, MA for a repeat performance of “That From Which” multi-media project (based on the philosophies of Ernst Bloch) with Spiral7 at Gallery 119. This is the same project I began with them in May and the event served as an opportunity to go deeper into developing aspects of the performance and also to record more video footage to be used in the final video version of the project.
Plus – it's always so nice to have an excuse to stay at 119, run by Walter Wright and Mary Ann Kerns. They're willing to take risks to make good art happen! ( (
After that, my next stop was Marlboro NY – a very small village just off the Hudson.
My very dear friends and collaborators Junichi and Megumi Matsuzaki (with baby Chihiro) moved there from the concrete jungle of Bushwick about a year ago.
They discovered “The Man” who is making “It” happen in Marlboro – Tony Falco. Tony took it upon himself to single-handedly create the Arts & Entertainment scene for the whole town! He organizes a music festival there every Summer – but he also runs an Arts Center in a barn that he built in his back yard! It's a very beautiful and sophisticated barn with stained-glass windows and parquet floors too.

I performed with Jun and Megumi's project “Joyful Sonic Wash”. Ambient world and electronic mix.
There was quite a good crowd that came out – including locals and other random individuals such as an Australian music professor who is guest teaching at Boston's Berklee School of Music! (
And for the grande finale of the tour – the Big Crazy Mayhem at Haven Arts Gallery in “SoBro” - South Bronx NYC. (This is my old stomping ground and it was so good to be back there again.) The mayhem consisted of seven dancers, seven musicians, a media artist and various photographers, videographers and visual artists participating in an installation entitled “Colors Interactive”.
......Imagine.......a raw – but hip, concrete gallery space. A long rectangle striped with black support columns next to the walls. Tied to these columns and dispersed throughout the space are long slashes of brightly colored and textured fabrics. Meshed into which, creating landscapes of color and form, are dancers suspended in slow Motion Sculpture movement. Around the edges, lining the walls, are musicians - plus an entanglement of gear; electronic, acoustic, melodic and percussive instruments - creating an ambient soundscape. Visual artists sketch, while photographers and videographers document the scene – live feeding into a digital media projection on the walls. Pretty wild – huh?

All of the artists involved in “Colors Interactive” were frequent collaborators of Cilla Vee – Life Arts who I have not seen for about two years now, but everything just fell into place as if it were only yesterday we had been working together. I love it when that happens!

This is a little out of date – But I'm proud to declare that I am an official Twisted Hillbilly “Hill Betty” of the month .... it's just that the month was October!

To see the whole site (which is pretty wild and run by two very dear friends of mine – one of whom I used to be married to!) - go to the home page: (

If you just want to go straight to pictures of me in leather pants at Asheville's famous Grove Park Inn - then go to this link: (
I'm in issue 12.

I believe I've reached the end of my epistle now –
thank you for sticking with me on our journey together through this letter!

And please do get in touch – I would love to hear from you.

For up-coming events – check out: (

Peace and Blessings for the coming year,

Claire Elizabeth Barratt

Cilla Vee – Life Arts

Monday, September 15, 2008

NEWSLETTER - Summer 2008

*ADF - gallery reception for Lara Hanson, Duke University, NC.
*"Tree Spirit" (can you see me?)- random act of Motion Sculpture at the Sacred Dance Guild Festival, Connecticut College. Photo by Anita Bondi.
*"From The Soul - MELT" at Remic Rapids on the Ottawa river with the rock sculptures of John Ceprano. Photos by Lorne Finley, Wendy Stevenson, Frank Martin.
*"Marigold & Butterfly" at HerbFest, Almonte. Photo by Brian Hand.

Dear friends,

I hope the end of Summer is finding you well & in good spirits.
Much of my Spring & Summer has been spent traveling.

“That From Which”

In May, I spent a week in Lowell, Massachusetts (hometown of Jack Kerowack ! – just outside Boston) I was invited to be part of a multi-media project with SPIRAL7, directed by composer & technical designer Philip Lampe. The piece is entitled “That From Which” & is based on the philosophies of Ernst Bloch. The set was an installation of hanging translucent fabric strips, through which video projections hit each layer, creating a perspective of extreme depth. The scenario was of a life journey, a passage through phases of human emotions. Together with percussionist Grant Smith & clarinetist Glenn Dickson, Philip composed a score blending world instruments with electronic sound. My role as movement artist was to portray the human element. The organic – juxtaposed, yet interweaving with technology & texture. The venue was a place close to my heart – Gallery 119, run by the very dear Walter Wright & Mary Ann Kerns. “That From Which” is both a performance & a video piece. The video will be available in the near future.


In July, I had the opportunity to perform at ADF – the long established mainstay of American modern dance “American Dance Festival” on the Duke University campus in Durham, NC. Artist Lara Hanson, a good friend & collaborator I worked with in New York, was the designer for this years festival T-shirt ! She had an exhibition of her work in one of the campus galleries & asked me to perform at the reception. Lara works within a performance, capturing a dancers gestures with brush & ink. We were joined by local singer Kelly Colbert in a performance where each of us crossed over our boundaries of movement, voice & drawing. (Actually, Kelly & I didn't do any drawing!)

Sacred Dance Guild Festival

I had the privilege of being on the faculty for the Sacred Dance Guild's 50th anniversary festival, held at Connecticut College. I led a workshop entitled “Motion Sculpture: Movement Installation as Divine Meditation”. The participants performed as part of a Labyrinth walk (designed for meditation, prayer & reflection). Many of the Labyrinth walkers began to interact with us & afterwards commented on what a powerful & peaceful presence we brought to their Labyrinth experience. Throughout the festival, I also practiced random acts of Motion Sculpture, appearing in various costumes, times & places around the campus - that was fun!


After that was a hop across the border to Canada.
First stop Ottawa, where I'm adjunct faculty at Dance Space 637, run by Natasha Royka (we met as roommates at Jacobs Pillow dance festival 10 years ago!)

My first event there was my 3rd “HerbFest” at The Herb Garden in Almonte. an annual all day family event including vendors of everything herb, chef demonstrations & entertainment. I re-worked last years “Marigold” character with the addition of “Butterfly”, danced by Madeleine Jullian – and we flowered & flitted our way through the Herb Garden all afternoon!
From The Soul
Next was my fourth annual “From The Soul” project. Workshop sessions at Dance Space 637 culminating in a presentation on the Ottawa river at Remic Rapids Park with the stoic rock sculptures of John Ceprano. John pulls up huge rocks from the river bed & gives them a new life as art!
This years “From The Soul” was entitled “MELT” - an exploration of the cycles of construction & deconstruction of the human psyche. In the workshop sessions, we focused on movement portraying concepts of deconstruction; melt, dissolve, disintegrate, crumble, fragment. Then developed ideas of building new structure. Uncannily, John's sculptures seemed aware of the subject theme & some of them decided to dis-assemble themselves during the performance! - This has never happened before!
Then I was on to Toronto to perform improvized collaborations with some of the city's leading experimental musicians. At “Somewhere There”, guitarist Ken Aldcroft organized an evening with two other musicians – Allison Cameron, playing objects such as toy instruments, & Jean Martin on percussion. The next day, I went to “the island” (accessible only by ferry) with Shakuhachi flute player Debbie Danbrooke, who had been one of the SDGF musicians. We did some “guerilla performance” in the park there before going on to perform at a lovely event in a private garden, arranged by guitarist Michael Keith.

So often I find that these private “Salon” soirees are the most fascinating occasions, quite intimate gatherings of the most kind, warm-hearted, interesting, intelligent, eccentric folk ! They seem to harken back to the old fashioned “parlour gatherings” & could be the way of the future in this day of artistic budget cuts!

Thank you for reading my newsletter. I would love to hear from YOU.
Please stay in touch & check my calendar for up-coming events.

One very exciting event coming up soon is:

The Spirit of Black Mountain College 75th anniversary celebration
More info:

Happy Autumn,


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Cilla Vee – Life Arts / Claire Elizabeth Barratt NEWSLETTER: WINTER 2008

Dear friends,
I'm a little late to bring you greetings for the new year, so I'm afraid “Happy Valentines Day” will have to suffice.

I have been based in Asheville, North Carolina for about a year now.
Originally, my goal was to bury my head in administrative duties. These ARE being accomplished steadily. However, I have become more active in the local arts scene than I had anticipated. There really is quite a thriving arts community here and it would just be silly not to be involved in it!

New Cilla Vee project:
The biggest and most recent Cilla Vee – Life Arts project is entitled “Modus Operandi”
This is in collaboration with Asheville based composer Elisa Faires (an old student of the late, great Robert Moog and a visionary of experimental arts in the Western North Carolina region)
This project is in the guise of a spoof scientific experiment. A “professor” takes specific types of words from audience members as they enter the venue. These words are then built into sentence structures from which we create in-the-moment compositions. For example, we have received such inspiring titles as:
“A Greedy, Invisible Boomerang in a Hair Salon”
“A Dusty, Dried-Blood Maroon Fruit-bat in a Jackson Pollock” and the unforgettable;
“A Slithering, Granny- Smith -Apple Green Alarm Clock on the Inside of Keith Richard's Nose”!!!
We even received a grant for such insanity – from Meet The Composer's Creative Connections award.
We performed Modus Operandi in December as part of Circle Modern Dance company's Modern Dance / Primitive Light concert in Knoxville, TN.
And also at one of Asheville's most quality arts organizations – The Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Center.
This establishment is for the purpose of presenting the work of those legendary artists of the renowned Black Mountain College and also of those contemporary artists who are keeping the spirit of it alive.
Modus Operandi was part of an evening entitled “A Night Out with Bob & John”, presenting performative work reminiscent of Rauschenberg and Cage.
We shared the evening with a project by Dr. Wayne Kirby, an accomplished composer who is presently chair of the UNCA Music department. (And just happens to have a history with a certain Debbie Harry – back in the day!)
To fulfill the grant requirement, we also taught a workshop hosted by the UNCA Music department at the on-campus Lipinsky auditorium. This was attended by a refreshing mix of folks who wholeheartedly entered into creating experimental sound and movement scores. It was quite fun!

Other Performance work:
Besides my own work, I am also performing in a piece created by “Butoh Legacy” director Julie Becton-Gillum. This will be presented at the North Carolina Dance Festival at the end of February.
In this piece, I tie myself up in knots with white bandages and there is a video of hip-replacement surgery!

Steady Employment:
I have somehow found myself in the position of being an (unqualified) Art Therapist!
I'm working through an organization called Easter Seals, who pair staff members up with disabled clients. I have been paired with a very sweet, middle-aged, mentally retarded woman, whose home I go to every weekday afternoon and do art projects with her. I am frequently inspired by her ideas.

“Red Headed Stepchild” is an article I wrote about my experience of existing in the world as a performance artist! The magazine is The Improvisor, produced out of Birmingham AL by the wonderful LaDonna Smith – musician and instigator of creative occurances. click onto Articles or What's New – you'll find me in either.

Meet The Composer – Creative Connections grant awards.
You'll find a listing for the Modus Operandi project with composer Elisa Faires.
If you don't get to the link, go to the home page, click on METlife Creative Connections event calendar then click on Jan 2008 events.

And ....... drum roll.... TA DAA..... Cilla Vee – Life Arts NEW WEBSITE!!!
This website is still under construction – so nothing's set in stone yet (strange analogy to use for a digital image!) It is designed by Philip Lampe and I love the overall look of the site.