Thursday, April 9, 2020


Cilla Vee Life Arts – NEWSLETTER - SPRING 2020


2020 is proving to be a disastrous year so far for so many of us due to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to those seriously affected by the virus.
For Cilla Vee Life Arts a whole spring season of events has been cancelled and, at this time of writing, the prospects of our summer tour are very much up in the air.

However, this newsletter is to report the activities of 2019 – which were many and varied … so hopefully it will be entertaining for you!

Read on for information about:

Spring in the South West USA.
Teaching residency at NAU, plus other events in Flagstaff, AZ plus Santa Fe and Taos, NM

Golden Goddess North East USA tour.
NYC, Massachusetts, Maine, Philadelphia

AfterMAF festival in Roanoke, VA

Summer in Cyprus, Israel and Serbia.
X-Fest and Sesalac Butoh Retreat

Autumn Season in the South East USA.
Asheville local, Circle Modern Dance - Knoxville, TN and Surrealism in Birmingham, AL

SOUTH WEST USA – April and May

Performance: Art, Action, Life
There are some very lucky honor students at Northern Arizona University. Lucky to have such cool and radical professors as Rob Wallace and Will Cordeiro, who constructed a jam-packed full, intensive and fun course to introduce their students to Performance Art.
These are students who are not necessarily artists or performers – but got thrown in the deep end and swam pretty darn well!

I was invited to do a teaching residency for the class “Performance: Art, Action, Life.” Throughout the month, I corresponded remotely with individual students, advising them as they developed their performance projects – then at the end of the semester I spent an intensive few days with them in workshop sessions, culminating in a class performance.
The performance event was a riot! … The premise was:
Rob and Will were the “mad professors” creating Artificial Intelligence performance art robots. I was the Vanna White MC prototype “Presentia” who needed constant mechanical adjustments throughout the show.
Each student (robot) presented their creation with my crazed introductions in between. Eventually the whole thing crescendoed into total mayhem involving the on-campus food delivery robots and a meltdown wherein the professors became victims of their own creations!

Unfortunately there is not much in the way of documentation to prove all this, but this is what we’ve got … (thanx Kara Attrep, for the photos)

The Professors and "Presentia"
An NAU delivery robot in its staring role

While in Flagstaff I also enjoyed teaching a Living Art workshop at FALA – the Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy, to the high school students there.
And performed for the 8x8 – experimental silent film and music micro-fest. The 3rd annual festival presented by Flagstaff’s awesome Interference Series at Coconino Center for the Arts.
I was paired with the lovely Elizabeth Kennedy Bayer to provide live improvised vocal and flute sound for a film by PJ Koelbel.

Heroes of the Avant Garde
An evening in Santa Fe, having dinner, chatting, listening spellbound, exploring the studio of Woody and Steina Vasulka - together with Susanna Carlisle and Bruce Hamilton … What more can I say? … Honored!

The Sound of Movement at Ennui Gallery
may sound like an odd name for a gallery, but sure enough that’s what it’s called!
Taos is the cool, funky little mountain sister of Santa Fe – where people are nice. It was a First Friday open gallery night. I had a great time improvising with bassist Ben Wright and percussionist Peter Halter.
Montserrat Oyanedel Tolmo took some fabulous pictures!

More pix and vidz here:

Fairy Lights
Back to Asheville very briefly to gather myself for the next tour and to perform a Motion Sculpture Movement Installation “Fairy Lights” for a house party thrown by our local NPR radio show host Matt Peiken, who provides a great service highlighting regional artists.


A last minute addition, pre-Golden Goddess. Andrea Haenggi’s Spontaneous Urban Plants project at New Dance Alliance’s Performance Mix Festival.
I rolled into NYC after driving all night just in time to be a ‘Soilmate’ for this presentation at the historic Lower East Side University Settlement.
I’ve witnessed the development of Andrea’s project in various stages and it really is movement research in the truest sense of the term. Andrea has that essence of deranged genius!

Chashama Gala
Here’s where the Golden Goddess performances kick in…
Six hours of roaming Motion Sculpture Movement Installation at this huge gala event way up on one of the top floors of the One World Trade Center.
200 performers participated in this annual spectacle. Chashama is a one-of-a-kind arts organization that has access to Real Estate all over New York City – granting hundreds of artists residency, studio and performance spaces. They’ve certainly supported my work over the years.

Abandoned Bear Cages
Yes … there are indeed some haunting, dilapidated old bear cages from the post Victorian era just sitting there at a secret location in Jamaica Plain. People do secret things in there! I did a secret thing there with Stephanie Germaine, Damon Smith and Chris Strunk … and I liked it. Id M Theftable was also involved, but he did his own thing. Walter Wright and Emilie Mouchous did a thing too.
It was very dark – here’s the only picture where you can see a thing.

While These Visions …. (did appear)
This was quite magical.
In the middle of rural Maine near Portland, the grounds and a big old barn at Two Diamond Art Farm house the quirky and lyrical metal sculptures of Patrick Pierce.  Patrick and I collaborated a number of years ago at a residency and it was a joy to creatively re-connect.
For this Summer Solstice event we produced an evening of dance, music and verse with sculpture that was based on Midsummer Nights Dream. We recruited local talent to create work in response to the sculptures – then the audience was guided across the grounds from one sculpture to another to view the performances. (Performances by Esme Goldfinger, Joie Grandbois, Jennifer Bourgeault and Cilla Vee with Dei Xhrist)
We are planning to make this an annual event (although this year 2020 is still a little uncertain at the time of writing!) ... (Thanx to Kathleen Pierce, for the pix.)

Gathering the audience for "While These Visions ..."

Setting off
Esme Goldfinger at Two Dimond Art Farm

Dark Matter
A very enjoyable evening of spontaneous improvisations with Kit Demos – Bass, Junko Fujiwara – Cello and Joe Musacchia – Percussion (Cilla Vee – Movement) at Kit’s Dark Matter series at The Outpost in Cambridge ,MA.
(If I can get the video footage from JOE, I’ll post it … ahem!)

Bats From Pogo
Oh what a joy to just make some noise! How I loved this crazy trio with Bats From Pogo (Andrea Pensado and Walter Wright) at a Noise event curated by Steve Davis at UnchARTed in Lowell, MA.

The Thursday Experiment
A series run by the force known as Bonnie Kane at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, MA.
Bonnie and I performed a duo – my Golden Goddess with her Transcendent Winds. A very satisfying meditation of movement and sound. Bonnie and I have quite a collaboration history and it feels good to have it constantly evolving.
Videos –
Thurs Exp. Set 1:
Thurs Exp. Set 2:

Jack Wright
Oh Jack Wright! … For those who know him, no more needs to be said!
Three nights with Jack.
Friday at the Newark Bike Project, Newark DE
Video - (Thanx to Robin Glanden)
Saturday at the Book and Puppet Co. Easton, PA.
Sunday at the Random Tea Room, Philadelphia, PA.

Golden Goddess Tour – a compilation of pix and vidz from all events:


Cilla Vee has been involved in the unique Marginal Arts community of Roanoke VA for a number of years now. Over the past couple of years, efforts are being made to broaden this affiliation to encompass more of the Asheville associates of CVLA.
Last year, a group of nine Asheville artists made the trip to participate in the annual AfterMAF festival at Art Rat Studios in Roanoke. Cilla Vee, Chloe Harnett-Hargrove, Julie Gillum, Geo Lynx, Ivan Seng, Kima Moore, Richard Brewster, Diana Brewster and Grayson Morris (who also lives in LA). Each of these artists presented work as well as performing in a group “AVL All Stars” collaboration.
My solo contribution this year was a series of “Random Acts of Dada” dispersed throughout the weekend. These included: a puppet show, an operatic rendition of Jim Leftwich poetry in the bathroom, a fireworks display and various spontaneous environmental interactions.

Cilla Vee video -    

AVL crew at AfterMAF 2019 – compilation of pix and vidz:


X-Fest Cyprus
Petreon Sculpture Park, just outside the village of Mazotos, Cyprus is the love child of sculptor Savva Koulendros, who quit his “day job” to devote the rest of his life to its creation. After his passing, his sons now take care of this enchanted and enchanting place. One of them, Christos, happens to be musician (as well as continuing his Father’s stone sculpture work) who spends most of his time now teaching in Lowell MA. He is a key figure in the experimental music scene there – where X-Fest has its roots at 119 Gallery.
When X-Fest Europe producer Y Sok was seeking interesting venues for the 2019 festival, Christos offered Petreon as the perfect place.
Approximately thirty artists congregated in Mazotos for the weekend from Europe and the USA. Performing with the immense stone sculptures in the balmy air under the Mediterranean stars was nothing short of idyllic.
It was a joy to collaborate with artists such as: Phil Minton, Victoria Shen, Mia Zabelka, Afroditi Psarra, Arnaud le Mindu as well as long time collaborators such as Audrey Chen, Walter Wright, Andrea Pensado and Bonnie Kane – plus Christos himself.

Festival documentation compiled by Afroditi Psarra:

Video of set with Bonnie Kane, Walter Wright and Clive Graham:

Israel was kind of an experiment. I had ten days between X-Fest Cyprus and Sesalac Butoh Retreat in Serbia. There were two places I was interested in going to that were close to Cyprus – in both of which I had contacts: Lebanon and Israel. I put feelers out in both directions and got more bites from Israel – so that’s where I went.
I did not book a big tour or take lots of touristy pictures or video document. This was an exploration for me – to investigate how to operate in and understand something of this unique culture.
I stayed in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. I had the opportunity to meet with a number of people from various backgrounds and listen to individual life stories, as well as some creative exchanges. Three of which I will report on here.
A couple of years ago I went to a local Asheville screening of the documentary film ‘Hebron’ by Palestinian filmmaker Yousef Natshawho by virtue of marriage to an American, was living in NC at that time. He and his wife work at CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams) in Hebron. I was fortunate to be able to spend a day with them there. Hebron is a unique and very tense situation where both Arabs and Jews share heritage at the site of the tomb of Abraham. There is a border between the Israeli settlement side and the ancient Palestinian market town. Either side of the border are two separate entrances to the tomb. The day I was there was extremely quiet, as it was the Eid holiday time. I spent the day talking to people and taking in the experience.
Yad Lebanim Learning Center
While staying in the Northern region at Haifa, I visited the remote countryside spot of Ramat Yishai to teach a workshop at the Yad Lebanim Learning Center.
This set up was something new to me .. a place of learning for all generations – with classes for everyone from pre-school to seniors – wow!
Through my outreach trail, I had corresponded with musician Yiftah Kadan, who teaches music at the learning center. He reached out to a dance teacher there – Tamar Lerner, and together they arranged a community workshop for me.  I facilitated a Sound of Movement workshop for a multi-generational group of beautiful beings of all backgrounds – from professional musicians and dancers, to children to seniors.
Unfortunately I was so wrapped up in being present with them that I did not take a single picture! But here is a quote from one of the musicians, Harel Gal, who commented “You have made a space in which all the participants could feel free to explore and express themselves in a joyful way.” Another lady gave feedback that I had created a “compassionate space” – a comment I found particularly touching.
The Zimmer, Tel Aviv     
I find that, when touring, the best way to connect with as many folks from the local creative community as possible is to produce an event and invite them all to participate.
In Tel Aviv, the fabulous experimental arts venue The Zimmer was gracious enough to host such an event for Cilla Vee Life Arts. It was entitled “Mix + Match”. A simple formula wherein names are pulled out of the “hat” to be paired in improvised duos.  And then a second formula where all are free to dive / float in and out of the scene for an extended duration. I am sharing the Facebook link to this event because it tickles me that the venue decided to use this Teletubbies image!
Thanks to Roy Osengar and all at Zimmer, to Daniel Baranov for photographs and to all who came to participate.

at Zimmer, Tel Aviv, Israel - August. Photo: Daniel Baranov

Sesalac Butoh Retreat

Adam Koan is an instigator who is rocking the Butoh dance world at the moment.  Not as a diva front-and-center performer (although he’s not shabby in that department either) – but as a mover and shaker who manifests events. Sesalac Butoh Retreat is one such an event … approximately eighty international Butoh dancers gathered in this remote beauty spot at the Voice of Nature Eco Village – camping out in huts and tents.
Workshops and performances took place for two weeks in various sites around the Sesalac Caves and meadows.
I was one of the Butoh Guides and taught four Living Art workshop sessions as well as a site-specific, interactive performance installation at the children’s playground area “Playtime For Barbie”.
I was grateful to also have the opportunity to study with Butoh Masters such as Tebby WT Ramasike and Ken Mai.

"Playtime For Barbie" durational inter-active performance installation at Sesalac Butoh Retreat

Images below from my Living Art workshop sessions.

Cyprus, Israel, Serbia – Summer pix and vidz:


Wrapping up the year with some local South East regional events.

Home from Europe just in time to dive straight into a night of improvised sound and movement duos produced by A Eithne Hamilton of Pipsissewa Movement Project right here at Static Age in downtown Asheville. So happy to finally have an opportunity to collaborate with one of my local favs – guitarist Tashi Dorji.

Duo with Tashi Dorji at Static Age, Asheville - September. Photo: A Eithne Hamilton

Back to Circle Modern Dance in Knoxville TN, where I served as Co-Founding Director throughout the 1990s. A joy, as always, to work with the multi-talented Rachel Shlafer-Parton for the 29th annual Modern Dance, Primitive Light winter concert at the Laurel Theater.  We presented a series of “Golden Goddess” vignettes throughout the show.

Golden Goddess at Modern Dance Primitive Light, Knoxville TN - December. Photo: Brynn Yaeger 

Golden Goddess at Modern Dance, Primitive Light 2019:

And to round off the year, a fun, playful collaboration with father and son SI Reasoning and ‘U’u for the closing reception of the surrealist show Polymorph Bodyshop at EVA (East Village Arts) in Birmingham AL. Other Birmingham celebrities were involved … LaDonna Smith, Hunter Bell, Susan Hefner (with Michael Evans) It was the first time I was able to get down to Birmingham since the local experimental music legend Davey Williams passed away – and it felt good to re-connect with the community there.

Surrealist performance at East Village Arts, Birmingham AL - December 

Video – (Cilla Vee, SI, ‘U’u. Reading from a Surrealist Women anthology)

So that concludes our creative happenings report from 2019.

Additional Cilla Vee Life Arts announcements:

We have a fabulous new Administration Assistant – Chloe Harnett-Hargrove.
Chloe was a student of mine for a number of years and began to get roped into various CVLA events as a volunteer as well as a performer. She is an intriguing graphic artist, designer and writer. Welcome aboard Chloe and thank you!

CVLA Admin. Chloe Harnett-Hargrove

Please check out our fundraising blog for current campaigns:

We appreciate your time and attention in reading this letter and hope it has provided an enjoyable diversion.

Please feel free to connect with us – you can send an email to Cilla Vee Life Arts at:

All our best wishes,

Claire Elizabeth Barratt
Director – Cilla Vee Life Arts

CVLA Director Claire Elizabeth Barratt