BENEFITING: HEADSTRONG PROJECT INC
EVENT DATE: Feb 01, 2017
For our entire childhood we have no choice in what governs us. We are born into a predefined heritage, moral compass, and sense of loyalty. Since as far back as we can remember, our connections to people and places have driven patriotism in every sense of the word. Even if we choose to stray from our home we are encouraged to find another country or religious disposition to follow. We are not just encouraged, but required, to show our patriotism. Does this devotion truly exist anymore? Understanding the roots of patriotism, the repercussions of its delivery, and its role in today's society are all questions to which we seek answers. During the Great Depression, one American soldier and child of Broadway changed cinematography forever. He gave people a reason to get out of their homes and feel hopeful again. Busby Berkeley strived to make the ordinary, extraordinary in his films where the American underdog was heroic. His influence continues to inspire artists today as seen in the upcoming 2018 landmark sculpture "Vessel", a 15-story climbable structure by Thomas Heatherwick for NYC's Hudson Yards. It is my hope to use Berkeley's youthful visually captivating style, heavily saturated in patriotism, as the vehicle and backdrop for our work.
Are we proud of our country for what it does or are we proud of our country no matter what it does? What does it mean to be American? We plan to interview at least 100 people from a pool of 60 questions. Those interviewed will answer anything from "Where were you born?" to "What was your school mascot?" to "What do you do when you hear the the playing of the national anthem?" Individuals interviewed will range in age, race, location, occupation, and military experience. Through a mixed media installation performance, it is our hope to present audiences with a fresh perspective on issues plaguing our humanity. Issues which began with social influence and leave politicians today grappling with the difference between patriotism and nationalism. Over the course of several weekends, we are proposing to present a large scale interactive performance with 17 dancers and the use of of video projection. With the assistance of a film maker, costume designer, and lighting director, we will use information and footage from our research to achieve a highly theatrical modern expression of patriotism and social influence, under the Berkeley era. We are not intending to make declarative statements, but rather play between the literal and abstract in an effort to pose questions. By bringing awareness to current controversial issues surrounding race, immigration, and nationalism, under the umbrella of patriotism, we hope to spark a discussion which can create potential for social change.
We are planning a world premiere of "Buzz" in the spring of 2017, with 20% of all proceeds going to The Headstrong Project. Any amount that you can contribute, large or small, is truly appreciated and helpful in supporting this cause.
About The Headstrong Project:
"Founded in 2012, in partnership with Weill Cornell Medical College, one of the nation’s leading mental health care centers, we have developed a first of its kind, comprehensive treatment program for veterans in need."
Featured photo by Scott Shaw