A City of Artists: Blown Away by Rachel Klein & Brian Ermanski

Every so often these "I’ve seen it all” eyes see something that flabbergasts me. This weekend, it was Rachel Klein‘s work. Her choreography for a performance at Eric Schmalenberger’s Blunderland event left me speechless and that’s, as you well know, is impossible. So mark this on your calendar, get a babysitter, empty the cookie jar, and if necessary kick the reluctant lover to the curb and attend the world premiere of Rachel Klein’s Symphony of Shadows: A Tale From the Land Beyond the Veil. It will be at Dixon Place starting this Thursday, June 7th. In case you’re planning on hearing me DJ at Hotel Chantelle this Thursday and can’t make the show, there are additional 7:30pm performances for the whole month, on June 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 22, and 23. It’s $15 for an evening of enlightenment and fun. It will take your breath away. I asked Rachel about it:

"This piece is the biggest, craziest production I have ever put together! There are so many elements involved, between the dancers, the aerialists, the live musicians, and the larger-than-life costume design elements. Symphony of Shadows is going to be a gigantic spectacle. It started out smaller in its original concept – it was just a movement-based show depicting night terrors and sleep paralysis. Upon doing research, I found so many fantastic images of sleep paralysis depicted as demons haunting a sleeper, and nightmares portrayed as a person being attacked by a slew of terrible creatures, such as rats, insects, and snakes. As the structure of the show grew to showcase this sort of imagery, the cast and concept grew as well.

I am thrilled to be at Dixon Place, not only because it’s a big beautiful space, but because they have been so welcoming to my ensemble and I. This show has been an enormous artistic journey for the ensemble and I in terms of collaborating with such a large cast of talented creatures from other collectives and backgrounds. I am thrilled to have my own RKP superstars Eric Schmalenberger, Scooter Pie, Megan O’Connor, Brian Rubiano, Freddy Mancilla, Kristen Lee, and Elizabeth Stewart and Michael Porsche doing their silent-film acting amazingness. My principle soloist, Danielle Marie Fusco, brought with her Danny Mendoza and Abdiel Jacobsen from the Martha Graham Company, and collaborators from fellow extraordinary companies including The Love Show, Desert Sin Dance, The House of Yes, the Muse Art Space, Circus Warehouse, and the Skybox.”

There was a time not too long ago when Nolita was cool. You didn’t have to blow by rude congregating French or Italian tourists, and I knew everybody in the hood. It was an afternoon stop-and-chat with Vinny Vela, the mayor of Little Italy, and you could get a seat and a slice at Ray’s, the actual original one. Now it’s boutiques and bores and neighbors who don’t know their neighbors. A fixture of Prince Street was young stud artist Brian Ermanski in his painted jeans and with his beat box. A hundred "ICE" paintings scooped up by gents and fools alike. An occasional pause to kick a soccer ball around (he’s good) or to chat up a neighborhood hottie, Brian has the kind of charisma that even a dictionary definition falls short in describing. Like most everyone else of substance in Nolita, we were driven away by gentrification. Sure, you can still chat with the always-gentlemanly Gabriel Byrne, and Ruby and Squirrely are still holding down the fort at Ina, but Brian and the rest have moved away. This Wednesday at the Tribeca Grand from 6pm till 1am, Brian will show his exhibit “Lipstick & Looselips” and I will be there to catch up with the old crowd.

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