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