GALLERY > To Gather;

Installation and Participatory Performance Event
FiveMyles Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

To Gather; collected performers and architectural artifacts from a cross-section of social spaces in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Part event, part installation, and part gathering place, the artwork brings a local perspective to urban flux and raises questions about varying perceptions of authenticity in a rapidly changing community. The installation in the gallery’s street-facing garage space includes a stoop constructed of cement blocks, a makeshift pulpit as a nod to the neighborhood’s disappearing storefront churches, and a simple barbershop, all referencing important community social spaces before the current gentrification tsunami hit. As a counterpoint, the opening night of the exhibition included performances by a talented group of artists, poets, musicians, and comedians I met in the “new” social spaces of Crown Heights — mainly coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. During opening night, members of the audience were encouraged to give their own impromptu performances. For the remainder of the exhibition, visitors were encouraged to hang out in the installation and use the artwork as their own gathering place.

PERFORMERS:

Ah-Na (Luis Lopez) and Enonymous (Manny Dominguez) are DobleFlo, a New York Hip-Hop duo focusing on the daily struggles of life in modern urban America, writing and producing music in collaboration with The Brooklyn Label. Their self-titled debut EP masterfully blends thoughtful lyrics and classic Hip-Hop beats with Latin, Middle-Eastern, and Rock. The duo was featured in and wrote music for public television’s Get the Math, an educational program for middle and high school students. Independent Media Magazine says of the Brooklyn-based duo, “If you’re looking for some substance, style, and originality you might want to look into DobleFlo. They display a passion and grittiness in their voice and vocals that the rap game is sorely missing.“ DobleFlo won the prestigious Platinum Auddy Award for their song “Lights Out” on their debut EP.

The multi-talented Erik da Barber can be found at Experience Unisex Salon on Franklin Ave in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Specializing in natural cuts, locks, and twists and with a keen eye for fashion, Erik’s the man to help you look your best.

Noted for her rich vocal color and range, Malesha Jessie Taylor is a versatile artist of both the operatic and concert stages. She has performed throughout Europe and the US, including the Boston Pops Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera and the Los Angeles Opera. Malesha has worked with numerous notable conductors including John Mauceri, Steven Mercurio, Dean Williamson, John DeMain, John Alexander, Keith Lockhart and Placido Domingo. Malesha is founder of the arts networking platform Muse Salon Collaborative and Opera Open-Stage nights, which she hosts at various venues throughout New York, including Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe.

Lynne Procope is a Cave Canem fellow and a former National Poetry Slam champion. She is co-author of the collaborative collection, Burning Down the House (Soft Skull). Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Drum Voices Review 2000, Poetry Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry, His Rib: Women’s Anthology, 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution, So Much Things to Say anthology from the Calabash Literary Festival, Affilia Journal of Women & Social Work, Storyscape, decomP, Quarter After Eight, and Washington Square Review. She is curator of the Gaslight Salon Series, co-founder and managing editor of Union Station Magazine and executive director of the louderARTS Project. More of Lynne’s recordings can be heard online at Poets & Writers.

Elon James White, is a comedian, writer and host and Editor in Chief of the award-winning web series This Week in Blackness, a satirical look at race, politics and pop-culture in a so-called “post-racial” America. Elon has been a featured commentator on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, VH1’s Black to the Future and The Great Debate. His commentary on race and politics has been featured on CNN.com, Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, Giant Magazine, Alternet and The Root. Praised as “The perfect comedian for the Obama era, talking race while exploding racial stereotypes” by Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry on Politco.com and as “Precise, thought provoking and hilarious” by Daily Show creator Lizz Winstead, White continues to win accolades from critics, academia and audiences alike. White was the recipient of four 2009 Black Weblog Awards, including Best Humor Blog, Best MicroBlog (Twitter), Best Video Blog and Blog of the Year. He has been featured in The NY Observer, NY Post, Gothamist, Newsweek and Gawker and has appeared on ComedyCentral.com and Sirius Satellite Radio. Elon is a featured contributor on Salon & Newsone.