The Source for Media Coverage of The Arts in Miami.
Articles, reviews, previews and features on dance and music performances and events.
Sign Up
No one logged in. Log in

My Barbarian Takes a Wild Ride on the ‘Bride of the White Widow’


Photo: My Barbarian (from left Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alex Segade) as mermaids who escaped from “The Voyage of the White Widow."
Written by: Celeste Landeros
Article Rating

 

My Barbarian wanted to take Miami on a boat ride. “We wanted to interact and be out in the public,” Alex Segade reveals over the phone from Los Angeles, where he just got out of rehearsal for My Barbarian’s first Miami show, coming up this Saturday at the Miami Light Project, as part of Miami-Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design’s “Living Together” performance series this season.

Though new to South Florida, Segade and his collaborators, Malik Gaines and Jade Gordon, have been bringing their bawdy, yet brainy, brand of performance art/musical theater/dance party to all the art world’s best shows for 18 years.

For a 2015 commission by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, My Barbarian created Double Agency, an artworld version of the Mission Impossible television series, where museum curators and tour guides act as spies engaged in a dangerous game of decoding the meaning of great artworks. In one hilarious episode, Gaines is disguised as a nude, flute-playing faun who tries to thwart Segade’s character’s attempt to infiltrate the “elite Non-White Commission on European Beauty and Excellence.”

For the Whitney Biennial in 2014, My Barbarian reenacted excerpts from the 1994 MTV Real World: San Francisco, featuring former Miami resident Pedro Zamora as he bravely changed audience views about people with AIDS. My Barbarian enlivens its deliberately deadpan delivery of the dialogue among Zamora, his wary roommates, and season douchebag Puck, with club-worthy dance numbers that lift lyrics from a critical essay by the late Hialeah-bred queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz.

For its Miami debut, My Barbarian is repurposing “Voyage of the White Widow,” a performance commissioned by the gallery De Appel, in Amsterdam, 10 years ago. “We decided this year we would revive older pieces,” Segade explains. So “Bride of the White Widow,” he jokes, “is a sequel, like Bride of Frankenstein.”

In both the Miami and the Dutch versions, My Barbarian plays sailors on a ship during the so-called Age of Discovery. A girl joins the crew disguised as a boy. As the captain, Segade confronts a mutiny, while perhaps abducting human cargo from West Africa or plundering the “New World” of gold. (“I can’t tell you everything,” Segade teases).

As Segade recalls, creating the Dutch performance began with “conversations about myths around first contact and historical events such as the slave trade.” Then the trio incorporated ideas from Dutch thinker Johan Huizinga, who “looks at how play happens in cultural performance, like law and war.” This idea of culture as play “helps us structure the action” of the performance. That idea also opens up “a lot of opportunity for the audience to interact,” he continues, even promising that one lucky audience member in Miami will win a $100 cash prize by the end of the evening.

When planning the sequel, My Barbarian’s vision of performing this piece on the high seas gave way to the reality.“The boat would have been rad,” Segade muses, “but there were things that would be hard to do on the yacht and it would be a small, small audience.”

So My Barbarian took a “virtual tour” of the Miami Light Project’s warehouse in Wynwood and mapped out a mobile performance. The voyage will take the audience from a “ballroom dance” experience in the Light Box theater to a video installation flashing images of Empire in the adjacent white-curtained gallery, to a “party beach resort” in the parking lot, which, Segade promises, will offer entertainments such as a “wet underwear contest” before ending in a “climate disaster.”

In place of the solemn beauty of the paintings of the masters of the Dutch “Golden Age,” My Barbarian is exploring here what they consider to be an “aesthetic of Miami.”

On visits to the Magic City, “for the art fairs and other times,” Segade observes, “we were always attracted to that space between Art Deco and Versace, and to all the Latin cultures and Caribbean cultures there.”

However “Bride of the White Widow” is adapted for the Miami show. Hopefully, My Barbarian will keep the club song “Golden Age.” In a video the group posted nine years ago, the trio, dressed as sailors, leads the audience through a dance sequence that mimes “hands in chains,” “work[ing] the mines,” “cook[ing] and serv[ing],” and finally, “drop[ping] down low like you got no soul,” before posing the question in the chorus: “Who put the gold in the Golden Age?” (https://vimeo.com/1460691)

If the aesthetics might shift, Segade suggests that the White Widow’s political themes have grown even more urgent in the years between 2008 and 2018. “It’s about power, empire, masculinity, historical atrocities, and racist policies,” Segade observes. “What’s there to change in that?”

My Barbarian performs Bride of the White Widow at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 20, at the Light Box at Miami Light Project, 404 NW 26th St., as part of the MOAD series of performances. Tickets cost $5-$15.

Go to

http://www.mdcmoad.org

                                   for more information and tickets.

 



Leave a comment...
Must be Logged in
No one logged in. Log in
Leave a comment...
Was this helpful?
No Very

Captcha Image

About The writer

{module_webapps,16730,i,{tag_writer_id}}

When the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater returns to town this week, Miami native son Jamar Roberts will take center stage. As one of the company’s star dancers, he has long shined as a performer. B..

He says his dance comes from his dreams. French-Algerian choreographer Hervé Koubi’s most recent work, “What the Day Owes the Night” combines Sufi rhythms with cutting edge b-boy moves, class..

A world premiere always comes with a drum roll. And, throughout the years, Miami City Ballet has brought to light its fair share of resounding new works. Still, Brian Brooks’ freshly-minted O..

Wednesday night at the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall the South Florida Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with the Martha Graham Dance company presented “Appalachian Spring Suite” and “The R..

Cooking may be Dan Froot’s favorite thing. This is saying a lot since Froot is also a composer, a dancer, a sax-player, a play-wright, an oral-historian -- an all-around performance artist an..

With the closing of Tigertail Productions last year, Miami lost one of its preeminent artistic champions. Under the direction of founder Mary Luft, Tigertail brought an endless parade of boundary-..

Anytime would be a good time to devote a dance program to the works of Jerome Robbins, our most versatile and celebrated American-born choreographer. But, given that 2018 marks the centennial..

Due to winter storms in the Northeast impacting travel, with great regrets the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company announced the cancellation of the Saturday, Jan. 6 performance. At age..

It is fitting at this time of the year that our thoughts often turn to what connects us not what divides us. Whether we are driven by religious or secular motives, many of us are in the spiri..

The end of the 19th century was a golden age for ballet. In 15 years of collaboration, two great Russian geniuses – choreographer Marius Petipa, and composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky – produced ballet st..

Here’s a riddle – name the 1892 box office flop panned by critics for lack of seriousness and for casting too many kids, which has now transformed into a force of nature timed to occur yearly..

It happens every year, right around Thanksgiving, productions of the Nutcracker pop up from coast to coast, marking the start of the holiday season. But on Saturday, Miami audiences have the ..

As Art Week approaches, Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick’s Alma Dance Theater is getting ready to add its distinctive voice, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Flowers” at the C..

Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..

Great friendships can nurture and prod an artist to make greater work. Think Pablo Picasso and Wifredo Lam, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Such is also the case fo..

It’s a tall order to present a season as surprising as it is moving, as disturbing as it is delightful. Miami-Dade College’s Live Arts 2017-2018 season -- Ojala/Inshallah: Wishes from the Mu..

It was only a few decades ago that finding a professional, locally produced performance was an aerobic dance in itself. But after the Miami City Ballet (established 1985), the New World Schoo..

A 50th anniversary calls for gold in celebration. But Balanchine’s “Jewels”­—a sublime marriage of music and choreography from 1967—brings Emeralds, Rubies,and Diamonds. Those pre..

When the Limon Dance Company returns to Miami-Dade this weekend, it brings with it the powerful vision of founder José Limon. He was a man deeply concerned about and connected to the humanity..

When Cardi B, with her trademark no-filter attitude, raps in her recent hit “Bodak Yellow” – Now I don’t got to dance/I make money move – she has something to sing about, with her smash hit N..

Despite a packed show schedule, including performing with the Frankfurt Opera in “Rinaldo,” Sarasota native, dancer and choreographer James McGinn had a chance to discuss the upcoming dance-opera ..

Anniversaries usually celebrate the success of a partnership with symbolic gifts of crystal, china, silver and gold. For the Arts Ballet Theater of Florida, the company celebrates 20 years of..

The songs are familiar; the love story is also familiar but made fresh in “On Your Feet!,” the musical biography that comes to Miami this week. The narrative of Emilio and Gloria Estefan meet..

Dance lovers in Miami know that for the past two decades the International Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) has made the city in September a magnet for the brightest stars in the world of bal..

Orlando Taquechel, dance critic for two decades at the El Nuevo Herald (and now a contributor to Artburst), will have a book signing and discussion of his new book, “La danza in Miami (1998-..

The name Flamenco conjures the machine-gun snap of heels, arms arched overhead, the flick of red fabric and laser-like glares from beneath the starched black brim of a Cordobes hat. At the ed..

Watching Neri Torres rehearse is a study in focus and concentration. She demonstrates each step with an ease developed from years of immersion in the study and performance of Afro-Cuban ..

In the music of Las Cafeteras and Orkesta Mendoza, presented by Fundarte at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center Saturday, the border is no place for walls but rather, a moveable feast. ..

Performance Hall at New World Center was packed Saturday, Feb. 3 for the New Work program, which NWS conductor and artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas introduced as “one of the more adve..

Having grown up in Buenos Aires with a strong interest in music, one would think that Jaime Bronsztein (http://jaimebronsztein.webs.com/) would have slid down the well-lubricated tracks towar..

A creepy old king ogles his beautiful stepdaughter. Powerless to stop him, her mother, the queen, protests drunkenly. The girl, age maybe 12 or so, falls for the only man who does not lust af..

At first their sound is reminiscent of Bob Marley. Just as plaintive but with added punch. But listen longer -- the more familiar the music feels, the harder it is to pin down. This is t..

People often imagine new artwork is the product of the solitary artist genius slaving away in lonely studios. The South Florida Symphony’s 20th anniversary program foregrounds a different vis..

At an age when many are winding down their working lives, Ignacio Berroa eagerly anticipates a new stage in his career. It would be understandable if the 64-year-old drummer, recognized a..

We know it’s the holiday season when trees light up, menorah candles start to burn, ubiquitous Christmas carols pipe through drugstores, “The Nutcracker” plays on every stage – and in recent ..

Late last year, on Dec. 20, 2016, Romero Britto and Mark Bryn hosted the Great Artists Series Cocktail Reception at the Britto Fine Art Gallery to celebrate the legendary impresaria, Judy Dru..

Después de una serie de actuaciones muy exitosas en varias ciudades del Este del país, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) llega a Miami para ofrecer seis presentaciones del jueves 22 ..

La ofensiva espontánea protagonizada por BalletBoyz y Cie. Herve Koubi el fin de semana pasado en teatros de Fort Laudedarle y Miami, con dos propuestas artísticas absolutamente fuera de seri..

La atracción principal del tercer programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) que se presentó el fin de semana pasado en el Arsht Center fue el estreno mundial de One Line ..

Llegados en vuelo directo desde Inglaterra, BalletBoyz (Premio Nacional de Danza 2013 a la Mejor Compañía Independiente) ofrecerá el sábado 10 de febrero una función patrocinada por Culture Shock ..

Por dos noches consecutivas, el Miami City Ballet (MCB), que dirige Lourdes López desde 2012, abrió las puertas de sus instalaciones en Miami Beach para ofrecer un encuentro Open Barre con e..

El segundo programa de la temporada 2017-2018 del Miami City Ballet (MCB) dedicado a los 100 años del nacimiento de Jerome Robbins (1918-1998), el gran coreógrafo norteamericano que triunfó ..

2017 fue un buen año para la danza en Miami. El Flamenco Festival nos permitió volver a ver a Jesús Carmona, el Internacional Ballet Festival of Miami (IBFM) sobrevivió al huracán Irma, Dance..

El Miami City Ballet (MCB) presentó por fin en el Arsht Center la nueva producción de su gran espectáculo navideño, el “Cascanueces” de Tchaikovsky y Balanchine, ahora con diseños origin..

La tradicional temporada de Cascanueces del Miami City Ballet (MCB) tendrá algo nuevo este año. La compañía que dirige Lourdes López ha decidido renovar los diseños de la superproducción que..