Don’t Be Shy, Man!

When 5 Dec 2014 - 6 Dec 2014
Where Emily Harvey Foundation
537 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
United States

A hybrid show inspired by Stuart Sherman’s poetry. Honoring Sherman’s work, each in their own manner, will be: Annie Berman with Natalia de Campos and Jing Wang, Mark Bradford, Yi Chen, Alex Delinois, Andrea Jean Dispenziere, Nicholas Elliott, John Hagan, Yolanda Hawkins, Ken Jacobs, Nisi Jacobs, Jahiliyya Fields, mugwumpseeker, Nina Linde, Ying Liu, John Matturri, Valeria Meiller, William Niederkorn, Sal P and Sean Bee, Ken Ross, Michael J. Schumacher, Slow to Speak, Daniel Tipton and Jamal Flaherty, and Philip White. With additional screen appearances by Hugo Genes and Greg Zuccolo.

It’s a cinch,
A waist
Of time’s a measured
Worm taped to a duck
Chaired by a committed tee,
All for golf,
But only one hole per ball.
- Stuart Sherman
04/18/01

Calculated and mischievous with a sharp poetic focus, Don’t Be Shy, Man! may be “a waist of time”. But why not?

Even when read or heard, it is hard to grasp all of the many intersecting associations of Sherman’s poems. So rather than explaining them, the evening will converge a multi-generational crew of artists, non-artists, musicians, dancers and filmmakers, each of whom will unpack and transmute one of his poems, working together to create a playful, object-driven, action-packed, and sonically rich abstraction.

A group of Sherman’s friends — Mark Bradford, John Hagan, Yolanda Hawkins, Nisi Jacobs, John Matturri, William Niederkorn, and Ken Ross – will bring to the task their perspectives of him as they respond to the poems in ways that makes them their own. Those for whom Sherman is new – Yi Chen, Alex Delinois, Nicholas Elliott, Nina Linde, Valeria Meiller, Daniel Tipton and Jamal Flaherty – will use their interests and experiences to directly filter Sherman’s words though their particular bodies, voices, and sensibilities.

Punctuating the evening will be all-emoting karaoke by media artist Annie Berman, art house cinema guru Nicholas Elliott, veteran experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs, feedback noise innovator Philip White, “damaged” techno singularity Jahiliyya Fields, and sound artist and rocker Michael J. Schumacher. Schumacher will also undo a poem in a live electronics set. And Sal P of Liquid Liquid and his partner Sean Bee will supply a poem with a percussive response. Individualacts will be interspersed by group numbers designed by Andrea Jean Dispenziere and Ying Liu. The evening will open with a mix by Kaatskills’ DJ duo Slow to Speak.

Handling the visual and spatial disruptions will be mugwumpseeker, Ken Jacobs and Ying Liu.

Few were the days when Stuart Sherman did not write. In his early twenties he mainly wrote short stories, with a gradual shift to poetry, exploring for extended periods a variety of idiosyncratic forms. His daily writing routine would continue almost to his death. Don’t Be Shy, Man! aims to celebrate the purity of Sherman’s dedication to language, perhaps with a bit of an addition of chaos.

Stuart Sherman was born in 1945 and died in 2001. Sherman is best known for object-based performance Spectacles, films and videos, and theater pieces, he also produced a large body of poetry and prose, drawings, collages, and a number of sculptures. Although his writing is less well known than his performances and films, he considered all his work to be a form of writing.

Participants’ Biographies:

Annie Berman sprang from nothing and will return to nothing, but in the meantime, likes to make things and think about things such as visual representation, devotion, and the effects of new technologies on the human condition. She takes the title artist not because she doesn’t wish to make a living, but because she can only live a making. Jing Wang’s multi- media art works comment on oppression in our contemporary society. She works as a freelance filmmaker and pursues her MFA degree in Integrated Media Art program at Hunter College.

Mark Bradford is an attorney working extensively in the arts, and is the executor of Stuart Sherman’s estate. He appeared in Stuart’s “Sixteenth Spectacle” (It’s a Musical!) at LaMaMa ETC in 1991, and assisted in the production of “Son of Scotty and Stuart” in 1994.

Yi Chen studies and teaches sociology. She makes good beef stew and instant oatmeal. She is happy to learn from Susan Miller that good opportunities will burst open in 2015 like a big, juicy coconut.

Alex Delinois has worked with director Richard Maxwell in numerous New York City Players productions; “Henry IV” (2004), “People without history” (2009), “Neural Hero” (2012) & Nicholas Elliott’s “Icarus” (2014).

Andrea Jane Dispenziere has been dancing and choreographing since childhood, staging performances outdoors, on the stairs, and in her parent’s hallway. Today, she strives to maintain that same playful curiosity in her work while musing and moving on new ideas. A fine artist with yoga chops, her process is about listening with patient awareness, and painting space with presence.

Nicholas Elliott is the New York correspondent for Cahiers du Cinéma and a Contributing Editor for Film for BOMB. He has directed three short films, which have screened at Rotterdam, Amiens, Chicago Underground, among others. He has worked in various capacities with Richard Maxwell and New York City Players over the last seven years.

John Hagan appeared in many works conceived and staged by Stuart Sherman, beginning with “Hamlet: A Portrait” in1982. He was a curator of the Sherman exhibition at NYU’s 80WSE Gallery in 2009 and directed the premiere of Sherman’s short play “In the Playroom” at the Emily Harvey Gallery that same year. Since 1983, he has played the title character in John Jesurun’s serial play “Chang In A Void Moon” and he appeared as The Speaker in the 2011 New York premiere of Robert Ashley’s opera “That Morning Thing.”

Yolanda Hawkins is an artist, actor and director and the president of the True Comedy Theatre Company. Since she met Stuart Sherman in 1978 doing his makeup on a film he was in, she has appeared inseveral of his works (including “Chattanooga Choo Choo/ Für Elise”), directed him in her own work, and did make up, props, and costumes for him. She also co-curated “Beginningless Thought/Endless Seeing: The Works of Stuart Sherman” an exhibition at the 80WSE Gallery at NYU in 2009, and has directed his plays as well.

Ken Jacobs: Born, 1933, Brooklyn, New York; Studied painting with Hans Hofmann, 1956-57; Started making films, 1955; Created/Directed The Millennium Film Workshop, N.Y.C.1966-68; started the Dept. of Cinema at S.U.N.Y. at Binghamton, 1969; “Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son” named to the National Film Registry, Dec., 2007; “Optic Antics The Cinema of Ken Jacobs”, Edited by Michele Pierson, David E. James and Paul Arthur, Oxford Univ. Press, May 2011

Nisi Jacobs plays bass in diNMachine, the experimental rock band of Michael J. Schumacher. When she was a child, she participated in two of Stuart Sherman’s performances, one which included tap-dancing and filing matchbox cars in a rolodex case and in GROMMETS, 1977, at Jean Dupuy’s loft, loading grommets on a spindle and starting over many times. Stuart Sherman also babysat her, or rather, took her places with him on adventures. She doesn’t think he thought of it as babysitting because he seemed to really enjoy spending time together.

Jahiliyya Fields > Matthew Morandi > tracy chatter > NY > underground film scores > l.i.e.s. records > the history of ideas > {also in groups} WETWARE / Inhalants

Nina Linde. Made in Germany. Daytime scientist. And nighttime underground frequenter.

John Matturri walked into a rehearsal of R. Foreman’s “Vertical Mobility” and was greeted immediately by Stuart Sherman. In later years they walked down streets wearing pig noses, were locked in an arboretum after closing, engaged games of scrabble in which the played words became embedded in insults so vicious that Stuart had to stop playing in the interest of his spiritual development. . . He treasures Stuart’s gift of a wind-up chattering skull, retains his gift of a human tooth, and quickly got rid of the urinal cake. He is a visual artist, worked with Sherman on a number of projects, has written about his performances and drawings, and was a co-curator of the 2009 NYU Sherman retrospective.

Valeria Meiller has written and published three books of poetry in Spanish. Originally from Argentina, she works as an editor, translator and literary critic. She is currently pursuing her MFA in creative writing in Spanish at NYU.

mugwumpseeker was born into chaos and bred by war machines. it has been dissemenating disco-ntent for decades under various guises. it is the Transmogrifying Dildo.

William Niederkorn‘s association with Stuart Sherman extended at least as far back as 1982, when Stuart played the role of Friedrich Nietzsche in his play “An Antidote to ‘Parsifal.’ ” He subsequently aided Stuart’s theater productions occasionally with music or photography. He cofounded the True Comedy Theater Company, a nonprofit producer of original plays and performance art works in New York for 30 years, and has been its artistic director, writing, composing music, directing, and acting in his own works as well as with Phoebe Legere, Ivan Galietti, Jim Neu, Ann Wilson, and his longtime co-conspirator, Yolanda Hawkins.

Salvatore Principato AKA Sal P is a founding member and front man of the seminal punk funk group Liquid Liquid and has been a significant contributor to New York’s art and music scene for over 35 years. Sean Brennan AKA Sean Bee Is an audio archeologist, multi track master and vinyl librarian who spends his days mixing, mastering and restoring unreleased classic recordings from the vast Sony Music catalog. Currently Sal and Sean are active members of 178 Product, a funk jazz musical collective, and have collaborated on a series of remixes and original productions over the past 4 years.

Michael J. Schumacher is:
1. a radiologist
2. an oceanographer
3. somewhere in this room
4. a ballet dancer
5. all of the above
6. none of the above

Slow To Speak is the duo of Francis Englehardt and Paul Nickerson. They are the proprietors behind Kaatskills record store Preserved Instincts, former Dope Jams, located on Myrtle Ave in Brooklyn.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Daniel Tipton was always enthralled by notes of rap and dancehall blasting out of passing cars. He developed an eclectic taste for music, which led to his development as a producer, DJ, and MC. Jamal Flaherty is a dynamic Brooklyn based artist whose visual creations involve paint, anime, and graff, with musical talents in rap and in playing several instruments, and with a deadly barrage of skills as a martial artist. You may see him zipping through the city on roller blades, teaching kids flip kicks in the park or contributing to the arts and community collective “Clash House”.

Ken Ross is a NYC based filmmaker. He met Stuart Sherman in the ’70′s, shot two of his films and frequently programmed his performances at the Collective for Living Cinema. They often shared breakfasts and lunches together — as well as special dinners at the out-of-this world Princess Pamela’s kitchen in the East Village.

Composer, performer and improviser Philip White works with electronics at the intersection of noise, jazz and contemporary concert music. Current projects include R WE WHOR WE (with Ted Hearne), Colonic Youth (with James Igenfritz, Kevin Shea and Dan Blake) and duos with Chris Pitsiokos and Taylor Levine. His has been released on New Focus Recordings, Infrequent Seams and Tape Drift Records. He’s received awards and residencies from the Electronic Music Foundation, Harvestworks, High Concept Labs and the Rensing Center.

Born and raised in the Zhoushan Archipelago, China, Ying Liu prefers making her time-based work with tiny thoughts rather than big ideas.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s