Sunday, February 4, 2018


Light Body/Shadow Body at Emersion - photo J Smilanic

2018 CVLA winter newsletter

Fe at BMA - photo by Debra Wood

Greetings from the misty winter mountains of North Carolina!

The past year has been an eventful one for Cilla Vee Life Arts.
This letter includes reports of:

X Fest USA 2017 in Holyoke MA

Nothing Fest at SVAD (School of Visual Arts and Design) Lahore Pakistan

Who’s Your Daddy? Trio at Wayne-O-Rama Chattanooga TN and Mammal Gallery Atlanta GA

AfterMAF (Marginal Arts Festival) Roanoke VA

Asheville Cesspool of Synths (2nd and 3rd meetings) NC

X Fest UK 2017 in the British Peak district

Skronk Series – London UK

Light & Shadow Tour – South USA (plus residency in Marfa TX)

Emersion performance installation event in Asheville NC

Asian Heritage Festival at BMA (Birmingham Museum of Art) AL

So if that piques your interest, please read on ….

Amalgamata Sonata at AfterMAF

X Fest USA
(March 2017)
2017 was the ninth year of the annual improvised music, dance, video, performance festival X Fest. Originating at 119 Gallery in Lowell MA as the brain-child of Walter Wright, the festival later moved to the City Hall ballroom of Holyoke MA and is run by a collective.
The format of the festival is to throw together various groupings of musicians, dancers, video and performance artists and allow them twenty minutes of playtime – on the spot.
This year however, Cilla Vee took on a different role – a collaboration with DJ Rob Kopi, who plays the most amazingly wonderful obscurities to be found on vinyl. In between the improv sets we performed as DJ Robo Rob & Cilla Vee the DaDa GoGo Dancer – with a costume change for every set!
(Thanx to Bonnie Kane and Scott Prato for being great housing hosts)



Flickr – images by Ras Moshe and Robyn Thomas

Cilla Vee the Dada Gogo Dancer at X Fest - photo Ras Moshe
Cilla Vee the Dada Gogo Dancer at X Fest - photo Robyn Thomas
Cilla Vee the Dada Gogo Dancer at X Fest - photo Robyn Thomas

Nothing Fest SVAD – and Pakistan
(April 2017)
To give some background for this event …
Going to Pakistan was a personal pilgrimage for me. I was born in Lahore in 1967, my Father was teaching there at Foreman Christian College during that time. We left when I was only a year old, so I have no conscious memories of the place. I have always desired to return and see the place of my birth, and my fiftieth birthday seemed the most significant time.
Most fortunately I have some dear Pakistani friends who were my peers at the Transart Institute- the international program through which I did my MFA.
One of them just happened to have a family wedding on my birthday!
Now Pakistani weddings go on for about a week! So I had the most exciting experience of a week in Karachi with a jam-packed wedding itinerary – including participating in the Mendhi dance.
But back to Nothing Fest …
Also amazingly serendipitous was the fact that my Transart connections led me to faculty members at the School of Visual Art and Design at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore. And that they just so happened to be having a festival during the time I would be there. And that they invited me to be one of their guest artists to present a talk and a workshop/performance.
The festival was entitled Nothing Fest. As well as a week of talks, workshops and performances by guest artists, the undergrad students were also exhibiting their final projects. I was impressed by the skill and scope of the student work there – it is a very high standard.  I was warmly received and welcomed.
(Big thank yous to Rashid Rana, Risham Syed, Rohma Khan, Unum Babar, Iman Sheikh, Mustafa Shah at SVAD as well as to all the Tariq Khan family from Karachi and Ayesha Durrani in Islamabad)


The Mariam Darwood School of Visual Arts and Design at Beaconhouse National University – School Website BNU SVAD WEBSITE

Video of my talk (almost half was cut due to images of nudity)
(double click to open video in order to watch it)

at SVAD Nothing Fest with festival director Rohma Kahn

workshop students performance at Nothing Fest

workshop student performing at Nothing Fest

Who’s Your Daddy?
(June 2017)
What happens when you put together Cilla Vee, Davey Williams and Evan Lipson?
And then what happens if you put them in a bizarre, surreal environment of larger-than-life cardboard beings? … Well take a look …
Wayne-O-Rama is a museum dedicated to housing the work of Chattanooga-born Wayne White – creator of such famous movie and TV sets as Pee Wee’s Playhouse!
We had a blast!
Here’s what Wayne-O-Rama had to say about us:
“We won't soon forget this wild evening of music, movement and madness (with potatoes, power tools and more costumes than you can shake a stick at)”
Presented by the Shaking Ray Levis Society.
A couple of weeks later, we continued the madness at Mammal Gallery in Atlanta.
(Thanx to Ernie Paik for all your work and for hosting us, thanx to Bob and Flo at Wayne-O-Rama and to Jeff Crompton and all the guys at Mammal Gallery)


Wayne-O-Rama Website WAYNE-O-RAMA

Facebook Event 

Press – Chattanoogan WHO'S YOUR DADDY? TRIO - PRESS

Flickr – images by Ernie Paik

YouTube (complete set 1) – video by Ernie Paik 

Who's Your Daddy? trio at Wayne-O-Rama - photo Ernie Paik

Who's Your Daddy? trio at Wayne-O-Rama - photo Ernie Paik
Who's Your Daddy? trio at Mammal Gallery

AfterMAF (Marginal Arts Festival)
(July 2017)
Who’d ever have thunk that lil’ ole Roanoke, Virginia was the home to one of the most genuine pure and true old-school Dada/Futurist (minus the fascism)/surrealist scenes to be found?
Originating as the Marginal Arts Festival, based at the Community High School where most of the production collective members teach, it grew into a citywide event supported by local funding. However, much of the work being presented at the festival was becoming more and more edgy and less suitable for the school audience where it was based. Subsequently, the past four years have produced a smaller but more focused event – AfterMAF.
Cilla Vee has been part of this event both before and after the change – albeit sometimes remotely. This year I was able to participate in full body!
For this festival I spontaneously altered my original plan about half an hour before the performance to utilize the fabulous industrial setting of the venue – (Art Rat Studios)
(Thanx to Ralph Eaton for hosting me, Crank Sturgeon and Jack Wright – FUN!)


Art Rat Studio Facebook Page ART RAT STUDIO

Archive Press – Roanoke Times  

YouTube – excerpts of Cilla Vee's Amalgamata Sonata – video by Catherine Mehrl Bennett  

Amalgamata Sonata at AfterMAF - photo Catherine Merhl Bennett
Amalgamata Sonata at AfterMAF - photo Catherine Merhl Bennett


Asheville Cesspool of Synths
(July and August 2017)
Back in 2011, Senator James Forrester condemned Asheville NC as a "cesspool of sin" - Since then, many Ashevillians have proudly owned that title - making T-shirts and other merch to declare it!
Asheville also happens to be lousy with synths! .... You can't go anywhere without some kind of amazing synthesizer action - from Moog to Make-Noise.
So this event celebrates both aspects of Asheville ... its Cesspool-ness and its Synthy-ness! It began last summer in my garage as a meeting pool through which individuals could share, present, experiment and synthesize. This year there were two meetings, both well attended and eclectic.
(Thanx to Mark Hosler, Richard Brewster, Xambucca/Chandra Shukla, Vincent Wren, Auracene/Liz Lang, Kima Moore, Dave Jones, the infamous Block Rainbow/Elisa Faires & Cheryl Barnes – and all who came to share your stuff!)


Meeting #2 Facebook Event 

Meeting #3 Facebook Event

X Fest UK
(September 2017)
X Fest has become transatlantic – thanks to the love life of one of the original board members!  Y Sok from X Fest’s home in Lowell MA USA married a man from Manchester UK, together they started a Cambodian restaurant and vinyl record store in Stockport and are now producing X Fest Europe. Each festival will take place in a different European country and serve as a vehicle for US and European artists to network and collaborate. The first one being just outside of Manchester in England’s beautiful Peak District.



YouTube – Saturday afternoon (complete set) Cilla Vee, Michael F Dailey, Sue Lynch, Jeff Lipsky – video by Jess Schumann 

YouTube – Friday night (short excerpt) Cilla Vee, Jack Wright, Anton hunter, Adrian Northover – video by Jess Schumann

(Further credits given on YouTube site)

(September 2017)
Straight from X Fest, saxophonist extraordinaire Bonnie Kane and I headed down to London. We had been in touch with Rick Jensen, who runs the Skronk series at New River Studios. There are a number of different Skronk series, depending on the genre of performance – so far all of them sound/music based … but inspired by the idea of music and dance collaboration that we were proposing, he decided to start a whole new Skronk series; Skronk Dance  - and our show was Skronk Dance #1.
(A shout-out to our host Billy Hautot – thanx)


Skronk Series Facebook Page SKRONK FACEBOOK PAGE

Light & Shadow Tour / Marfa Residency
(November 2017)
The Archaeology of the Frivolous is a book by philosopher Jacques Derrida, it is also an artist residency in Marfa TX founded by two Transart Institute alumni Allen Ferguson and Andrea Spaziani.
But more on that later ….
Going to Marfa TX was the impetus to create a tour. I wanted to continue celebrating my fiftieth year and travelling, creating and collaborating seemed like a good way to do it! I’ve been looking at the effects of simple light and shadow recently and wanted to explore that as a theme for my work on this tour. So I packed up my old Saturn Station Wagon with various gadgets, objects and costumes and hit the road.


Flickr – Light & Shadow Tour project images

(Photo credits given on Flickr page)

Archaeology of the Frivolous flier

everybody at Archaeology of the Frivolous in Marfa TX

Chattanooga TN
Frequency Arts in Chattanooga is a grass roots local gallery that presents experimental work. They hold regular performance events that often present both touring artists and local talent. I was part of a night of noise music and visual projections produced by Chocolate ChooChoo and collaborated with the audio-visual duo Tape Baby and Tape Canvas.
(Thank you Ann Law and Bruce Kaplan at Barking Legs Theater, for hosting me!)



Light & Shadow at Frequency Arts - photo Ernie Paik

Birmingham AL
Here I spent a delightful evening with LaDonna Smith at a studio session in her basement, which is fully equipped with a permanent sound installation of instruments from all over the world. Joining us were percussionist SI Seasoning and his ten-year-old musical genius son Aidan (or ‘U’u).

New Orleans LA
A “Serious Convergence” (as NOLA musician Rob Cambre described it) happened in New Orleans – at Mudlark Public Theatre on Bonfire Night. The show was on November 5th, which is British Bonfire Night – so I wanted to combine my touring theme of Light and Shadow with the idea of Flame and Fire. How it all came together is a long and convoluted story … suffice to say that the result was a convergence of Cilla Vee Life Arts with Death Posture (Rob Cambre, Donald Miller and Chris Robert) and NOLA based dance artists Cypress Atlas and Emmalee Sutton, as well as some familiar faces on the improv music circuit – Jack Wright, Evan Lipson and Zach Durrap – touring as Roughhousing. With video projections of work by NOLA artist Kook Teflon. It was a night of fire-spinning and magic!
(Thanx Pandora Gastelum for having us)


The Mudlark Public Theatre Facebook Page  


Bonfire Night in New Orleans - photo Cree

Austin TX
A quick stop to check out the scene and see Roughhousing play a gig.

Marfa TX
Archaeology of the Frivolous (the residency) continues in a similar vein to Transart in that its objective is pedagogical and its format is a schedule of artist presentations. Presentations can take any form of experience for the participants: a talk, workshop, demonstration, performance, meditation, field trip – you name it. Whatever it is, it’s a shared experience through which learning and development occurs and a good time is had by all. Put that together with Allen’s Hard To Watch film festival every night and delicious meals shared in the kitchen, it was well worth the trip. The venue, Building 98, has a fascinating history as an old fort, housing for German POWs and the International Women’s Foundation. Marfa TX itself is quite surreal – the Native American and Hispanic cultures are mixed with a modern history of Hollywood Westerns and, more recently, the contemporary art world – thanks to Donald Judd. (If you see the TV series I Love Dick, you’ll get the picture!)
Other artists included: Allen Ferguson, Andrea Spaziani, Christopher Danowski, Susan Obermeyer, Meagan O’Shea, Fatimah White, Brian Coleman – music by Adam Torres – Skype session with Linda Duvall – visit from Marion Wasserman
(Thanx Fergie-Spaz!)




Fatimah White's workshop at AOTF

Andy Spaziani's workshop at AOTF

Andy in the courtyard at Building 98

For the residency I created a series of Light & Shadow explorations to be performed for one hour on separate days at different times of day.
One of these was to create an interactive Shadow Installation where shadows moved on a wall during the hour before sunset entitled Late Afternoon Long Shadows.

Fatimah White at Late Afternoon Long Shadows shadow installation

Allen Ferguson at Late Afternoon Long Shadows

Paul Ferguson at Late Afternoon Long Shadows

Santa Fe NM
A visit with a dear friend and a trip to Meow Wolf. (Thank you Ana McArthur)

Flagstaff AZ
A cool scene is happening in Flagstaff AZ – it’s called Interference. The Interference Series is run by Rob Wallace, Owen Davis and Tyler Neidermayer. From what I gather, venues can vary but events happen mainly at The Hive – a funky downtown venue, often in conjunction with a talk or workshop at Northern Arizona University in the case of visiting artists – like me. In the morning I gave a Lecture-Demonstration that focused on my Sound of Movement project and history of improvised dance and movement collaborations and methods of working. In the evening was a performance at The Hive, where I lead some audience participation explorations on Light/Sound/Action and then enjoyed what felt like a mythical journey with Rob Wallace on percussion.
(Thank you to Rob and Kara for being fabulous hosts)




Interference Fall 2017 Newsletter INTERFERENCE SERIES NEWSLETTER

Facebook Event


conversation with Rob Wallace before our performance at The Hive - photo Tyler Neidermayer


After all that I spent a day at the Grand Canyon before hitting the I-40 to take me all the way back to Asheville.

Grand Canyon south rim - photo Claire Elizabeth Barratt

Emersion – Acting Like Humans
(December 2017)
Light Body / Shadow Body is a performance installation about the liminal moment of the human soul leaving the body … will it go to the shadow? Or will it go to the light? Except there’s something different about this scenario – it’s a robot experiment on the subject! … And it’s just one of many robot explorations of humanity taking place simultaneously in a book store – at Downtown Books and News in AshevilleNC.
Grayson Morris is the creative mind behind the Emersion series. Inspired by surreal performance installation experiences like New York’s Sleep No More, she recruits a cast of performance artists to create self-contained installations based on a theme and then structures an audience experience. For Acting Like Humans, she joined forces with Cory Howard of Campfireball to co-produce the event.
(Thanx to Diana Brewster, Nina Furrini and Chloe Harnett-Hargrove for being my robot assistants!)




Flickr – images of entire event by Bren Photography

Flickr – images of Cilla Vee by J Smilanic and Bren Photography

YouTube – video of Cilla Vee by AD Weighs 

(Sound, installation and performance by Cilla Vee)

Light Body/Shadow Body at Emersion - photo J Smilanic

Light Body/Shadow Body at Emersion - photo Bren Photography

Fe – (iron) – Birmingham Museum of Art
(January 2018)
Butoh has been happening in Birmingham AL for about twelve years, thanks to Deborah Maudlin and Bearing Light Butoh. For this year’s Asian Heritage Festival, the Birmingham Museum of Art invited Bearing Light to give a Butoh dance presentation of Butoh in Birmingham. As a guest artist for this event I had to consider what about the city I felt inspired to respond to. I knew I wanted to collaborate with ‘U’u (Aidan – the gifted child I’d played with at the studio session there in November). Having been to Sloss Furnaces there several times – including an iron sculpture festival where I got to witness the spectacle of the iron pour, I thought that something a ten-year-old boy and I could both get really into would be being “iron people” – representing Birmingham’s iron industry by embodying the element of iron itself. We performed this as an installation as the audience was entering the auditorium to begin the show.
(Thanx to Johnny Williams from Alabama Arts Casting for a fabulous tour of the old ironworks at Tannehill and for the loan of iron pieces. Thanx to Alan and Debra Wood for hosting me.)


BMA Website Event 

Flickr – images by Debra Wood FE (IRON) FLICKR IMAGES

YouTube – video by SI Reasoning FE (IRON) YOUTUBE VIDEO

Fe at BMA - photo Debra Wood

Fe at BMA - photo Debra Wood

Artistic events of note:

A visit with Linda Montano – who was my MFA project advisor and a guru in the practice of Living Art. After X fest in Massachusetts I drove over to Saugerties NY where Linda has her home and archives. We spent a wonderful couple of hours laying on the floor in a conversational visualization meditation and then having homemade potato pancakes.

A talk at UNCA – to Dr. Wayne Kirby’s Intermedia class, giving examples of my work in performative intermedia collaborations. Dr. Wayne was especially excited to see a piece I’d performed at Phil Niblock’s Experimental Intermedia in NYC, as he had attended some of the early shows there back in the day!

Ballet classes – I continue to teach an Adult Beginners Ballet class at Weaverville Yoga Studio, where I am blessed to be able to use the studio for my own practice and presentations. (Thank you so much Barbara Schauer)

The immediate future holds a lot of screen-staring, as it is now priority to up-date websites and administrative information.
But look out for more Cilla Vee Life Arts projects soon …..

Additional THANK YOUS for fundraising, support and assistance:
Janet & David Barratt
Alan & Debra Wood
Patricia & Paul Jamie
Diana & Richard Brewster
Anita Durst
Y-Sok & Jonathan Scofield
Myk Rushton
Steve Lansford
Emma & Gary Watt
Gerry & George Bedard
Greg Congleton
Marc Dale
Kraig Grady
Lesley & Russ Howell
Laila Alamiri
Randi Janelle
Igor Roussanoff
Samir Bitar
Tracey Schmit
Tina Cook
Chandra Shukla
Elisa Faires

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I enjoyed exploring your Newsletter. What a dynamo you've become. I am not only impressed but inspired. Since losing my Mom over the holidays, I am finally free to travel overseas again. Your travels are most interesting. I hope we can meet next time I am in the Asheville area. Sorry I missed you when you were here. Happy trails, to you. xxBarry Bailey