Bassem Youssef

Bassem Youssef, dubbed the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was the host of popular TV show AlBernameg – which was the first of its kind political satire show in the Middle East. Throughout its three season run, AlBernameg remained controversial due to its hilarious and bold criticism of the ruling powers. During its final season, the show achieved unprecedented ratings before Youssef announced its termination due to overwhelming political pressures on the show and the airing channel.

In 2013, Youssef was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and was awarded the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). He was a reoccurring guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. In 2016, Youssef hosted a digital series titled The Democracy Handbook for Fusion Network. He is also the star of the world-renowned documentary, Tickling Giants, directed by Sara Taksler. In 2017, Youssef released a book about his experience called Revolution for Dummies: Laughing Through the Arab Spring. In 2018, Youssef hosts a podcast on CAFE called, Remade in America, where he interviews his guests as they explore what it means to be an outsider in America.

Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned — and daring — creative pioneers. She is best known for her multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology. As writer, director, visual artist and vocalist she has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theater and experimental music.

Her recording career, launched by “O Superman” in 1981, includes the soundtrack to her feature film “Home of the Brave” and “Life on a String” (2001). Anderson’s live shows range from simple spoken word to elaborate multi-media stage performances such as “Songs and Stories for Moby Dick” (1999). Anderson has published seven books and her visual work has been presented in major museums around the world.

In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA which culminated in her 2004 touring solo performance “The End of the Moon.” Recent projects include a series of audio-visual installations and a high-definition film, “Hidden Inside Mountains,” created for World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. In 2007 she received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for her outstanding contribution to the arts. In 2008 she completed a two-year worldwide tour of her performance piece, “Homeland,” which was released as an album on Nonesuch Records in June 2010. Anderson’s solo performance “Delusion” debuted at the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad in February 2010. In October 2010 a retrospective of her visual and installation work opened in Sao Paulo, Brazil and later traveled to Rio de Janiero. In 2011 her exhibition of new visual work titled “Forty-Nine Days In the Bardo” opened in Philadelphia, and “Boat,” her first exhibition of paintings, premiered at the Vito Schnabel Gallery in New York. She has recently been appointed as a three-year fellow at both EMPAC, the multi media center at RPI in Troy, NY, and PAC at UCLA. Anderson lives in New York City. For more information regarding Laurie’s work, visit her artist website here

Machine Dazzle

MACHINE DAZZLE has been dazzling stages via costumes, sets, and performances since his arrival in New York in 1994. Credits include Julie Atlas Muz’s I Am The Moon And and You Are The Man On Me (2004), Big Art Group’s House Of No More (2006), Justin Vivian Bond’s Lustre (2008) and Re:Galli Blonde (2011), Chris Tanner’s Football Head (2014), Soomi Kim’s Change (2015), Pig Iron Theater’s I Promised Myself To Live Faster (2015), Bombay Ricky (Prototype Festival 2016), Opera Philadelphia’s Dito and Aeneus (2017) and Spiegleworld’s Opium (Las Vegas 2018). With Taylor Mac, Machine has collaborated on several projects including The Lily’s Revenge (2009), Walk Across America For Mother Earth (2012) and the Pulitzer Prize-Nominated A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (2016-Present). Conceptualist-as-artist meets DIY meets “glitter rhymes with litter,” Machine was a co-recipient the 2017Bessie Award for Outstanding Visual Design and the winner of a 2017 Henry Hewes Design Award.

Ohad Naharin / Batsheva Dance Company

Batsheva Dance Company has been critically acclaimed and popularly embraced
as one of the foremost contemporary dance companies in the world. Together with its junior Batsheva Ensemble, the company boasts a roster of 34 dancers drawn from Israel and abroad. Batsheva maintains an extensive performance schedule locally and internationally with over 250 performances and over 100,000 spectators per year.

Batsheva Dance Company was founded in 1964 by the Baroness Batsheva de Rothschild, who enlisted Martha Graham as its first artistic adviser, a role that she held until 1975. Ohad Naharin assumed the role of artistic director in 1990 and propelled the company into a
new era with his adventurous curatorial vision and distinctive choreographic voice. Naharin is also the originator of the innovative movement language, Gaga, which has enriched his extraordinary movement invention, revolutionized the company’s training, and emerged as a growing international force in the larger field of movement practices for both dancers and non-dancers.

The Batsheva dancers take part in the creative processes in the studio and create themselves
in the annual project “Batsheva Dancers Create” supported by the Michael Sela Fund for the Cultivation of Young Artists at Batsheva.
Batsheva Dance Company is company-in- residence at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv. For more information on Batsheva, visit the company’s website here. 

 

Philip Glass

Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.

The operas – “Einstein on the Beach,” “Satyagraha,” “Akhnaten,” and “The Voyage,” among many others – play throughout the world’s leading houses, and rarely to an empty seat. Glass has written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as “The Hours” and Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun,” while “Koyaanisqatsi,” his initial filmic landscape with Godfrey Reggio and the Philip Glass Ensemble, may be the most radical and influential mating of sound and vision since “Fantasia.” His associations, personal and professional, with leading rock, pop and world music artists date back to the 1960s, including the beginning of his collaborative relationship with artist Robert Wilson. Indeed, Glass is the first composer to win a wide, multi-generational audience in the opera house, the concert hall, the dance world, in film and in popular music — simultaneously.

He was born in 1937 and grew up in Baltimore. He studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland , Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar. He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble – seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer.

The new musical style that Glass was evolving was eventually dubbed “minimalism.” Glass himself never liked the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” Much of his early work was based on the extended reiteration of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry. Or, to put it another way, it immersed a listener in a sort of sonic weather that twists, turns, surrounds, develops.

There has been nothing “minimalist” about his output. In the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty operas, large and small; eight symphonies (with others already on the way); two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris’s documentary about former defense secretary Robert McNamara; string quartets; a growing body of work for solo piano and organ. He has collaborated with Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, and Doris Lessing, among many others. He presents lectures, workshops, and solo keyboard performances around the world, and continues to appear regularly with the Philip Glass Ensemble. Visit Glass’s artist website here.

 

Robin Frohardt

Robin Frohardt is an award-winning artist, puppet designer, and director living in Brooklyn, NY. Frohardt’s performance and puppetry-based work has been presented at St. Anne’s Warehouse and HERE in New York City, as well as national venues including the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts and the NEXTNOW Festival in Maryland. Her films have been screened at the Telluride Film Festival, Maritime Film Festival, and the Parish Museum. Her original play The Pigeoning, which debuted in 2013 and was hailed by the New York Times as “a tender, fantastical symphony of the imagination,” continues to tour in the US and abroad, and has been translated into German, Greek, Arabic and Turkish. She has received a Creative Capital Award and a DisTil Fellowship from Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina; has been the recipient of Made In NY Woman’s Fund Grant Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and MacDowell Colony Fellowship; and was the first artist in Residence at Olson Kundig, a renowned design and architecture firm in Seattle. In addition to directing her own work, Frohardt’s puppetry and props have also appeared in TV shows such as Orange is the New Black and 30 Rock as well as Radio City Music Hall’s Spring Spectacular.

http://www.robinfrohardt.com/

Taylor Mac

Taylor Mac (who uses “judy”, lowercase sic, not as a name but as a gender pronoun) is a playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director and producer.  “A critical darling of the New York scene” (NY Magazine), judy’s work has been performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center, The Public Theatre and Playwrights Horizons, London’s Hackney Empire, Los Angeles’s Royce Hall, Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre, the Sydney Opera House, Boston’s American Repertory Theatre, Stockholm’s Sodra Theatern, the Spoleto Festival, San Francisco’s Curran Theater and MOMA, and literally hundreds of other theaters, museums, music halls, opera houses, cabarets, and festivals around the globe.

Judy is the author of seventeen full-length works of theater including, “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music”, “Hir”, “The Walk Across America for Mother Earth”, “The Lily’s Revenge”, “The Young Ladies Of”, “Red Tide Blooming”, “The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac”, and the two-man vaudeville judy co-created with Mandy Patinkin and Susan Stroman, “The Last Two People On Earth”.

Sometimes Taylor acts in other people’s plays. Notably: Shen Teh/Shui Ta in The Foundry Theater’s production of “Good Person of Szechwan” at La Mama and the Public Theater, Puck/Egeus in the Classic Stage Company’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”, and the M.C. in Cabaret at Playmakers Repertory.

Mac is currently creating a Dionysia Festival of four original plays (to be premiered separately and eventually performed in repertory), which deal in some way with our cultural polarization and that include:  an all-ages play called, “The Fre” (commissioned by the Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis, premiere date TBD); a kitchen-sink tragedy named, “Hir” (which received its world premiere at the Magic Theater in Feb 2014);  a dance-theater play, “Prosperous Fools” (premiere date TBD), and a performance art romp consisting of nothing but entrances and exits, performed by an ensemble of fifty clowns (premiere date TBD).

Mac is a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama and the recipient of multiple awards including the Kennedy Prize, a NY Drama Critics Circle Award, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim, the Herb Alpert in Theater, the Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, 2 Obies, and the one judy is most proud to be associated with, an Ethyl Eichelberger Award.  An alumnus of New Dramatists, judy is currently a New York Theater Workshop Usual Suspect and the Resident playwright at the Here Arts Center. In 2017, Mac was named a MacArthur Fellow.

For more information, visit Mac’s artist website here.

Ushio Amagatsu / Sankai Juku

Sankai Juku is a Butoh dance company founded by Ushio Amagatsu in 1975. The company has premiered a new piece approximately once every two years at Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, a center for contemporary dance. Sankai Juku is one of the few dance companies that Théâtre de la Ville, Paris has commissioned continuously for 35 years.

Ushio Amagatsu, artistic director, trained in both classical and modern dance before he became immersed in Butoh. For Amagatsu, Butoh expresses the language of the body. In the 1970s, Amagatsu drew mostly on his own individual experience for inspiration. During the 1980s he spent most of his time working in Europe and the inspiration for his work became more universal. In his works, Amagatsu presents an abstract vision of the infinite and explores evolutionary movement. Major themes that he examines are the relationship of the body to gravity and the relationship between gravity, the earth and the environment.

In 1980, Sankai Juku was invited to perform in Europe for the first time. The company went to the Nancy International Festival in France with the firm conviction that Butoh would be accepted. This engagement marked a major turning point and made a name for both Sankai Juku and the term Butoh throughout Europe. The company has toured internationally since 1980 and performed in over 700 cities in 45 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. They have been highly praised in different cultures for over 35 years which is atestament to the universal nature of Sankai Juku’s work. While crossing over geographic boarders and appealing to diverse audiences, the company has been developing the themes of their work while searching for and moving towards new realms. Sankai Juku received the Japan Foundation Award in 2013. Sankai Juku will return to North America in the Fall of 2019.

To learn more about the company, visit their artist website here.