MCASB’s On Edge Festival

Posted on Oct 12 by SEASONS Magazine

Courtesy MCA Santa Barbara

Courtesy MCA Santa Barbara


Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) brings internationally renowned performance artists to Santa Barbara for the second annual, four-day cultural celebration, On Edge Festival. The festival will take place Thursday, October 15 through Sunday, October 18.

Launched last fall, the festival is a consolidated form of MCASB’s historically popular 1st Thursday program, Forum Lounge, which exposed hundreds of Santa Barbara audiences to the best in contemporary performance art practices from around the world over its ten year history. This fall, On Edge Festival continues to offer a wide variety of cutting-edge performance art events, from operatic theater to contemporary dance to new genres in multimedia work. The festival is an all-ages extravaganza, featuring 11 spellbinding performances at local venues, including the MCASB galleries, The Goodland, Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA), Center Stage Theater and more. Almost all of the performances and educational events will be completely free of charge.

The four-day weekend kicks off on Thursday, October 15 with an exciting opening night party co-presented by New Noise Festival, featuring site-specific work by Austin-based multimedia artist Luke Savisky. Exploring the spectrum of the human experience through film and art, Savisky stretches the limits of visual media using sculptural forms and unusual projection surfaces in unlikely environments. Savisky will transform the unique organic architecture of the iconic Ablitt House into a glowing column of light, color, and dynamic imagery against the Santa Barbara night sky, reflecting the natural beauty of the area and its unique cultural contrasts. This engaging kickoff event for the On Edge Festival also includes a commissioned musical composition and ethereal sound accompaniment by Savisky’s friend and collaborator Brian McBride, founding member of ambient icons Stars of the Lid.

The festival also features Minneapolis-based contemporary dance choreographer Rosy Simas, whose work draws on her Seneca heritage and investigates how culture, history, and homeland are expressed through the body; Seattle-based choreographer and performing artist Heather Kravas, whose 2011 work The Green Surround was named one of Artforum’s top ten choreographic works of the year; and a special projection and soundscape performance at The Goodland by electronic music duo Quindar, a collaborative project of Mikael Jorgensen, a member of the Grammy award-winning alternative rock band Wilco, and James Merle Thomas, a Los Angeles-based musician, curator, and arts scholar.

In addition, there is an operatic, high-drama theater work from Jennifer Vanderpool and Elizabeth Paige Bossier; and comedian-artist Dynasty Handbag performs her live, one-hour hybrid talk show, Good Morning Evening Feelings, recently presented at The Kitchen in New York. Performances by Devin Kenny and Xavier Cha, which coincide with MCASB’s Then they form us exhibition, will explore the impact of digital culture on identity and corporeal experience.

These are all complemented by ancillary public programming that allows audience members to explore the history of performance art. This includes a special performative talk from prestigious author and USC Professor Josh Kun that focuses on California-Mexico border music and sound, from Herb Alpert to electronic music and narco-ballads. The performance is presented in collaboration with Santa Barbara Museum of Art at the SBMA Davidson Gallery. The festival also brings Los Angeles-based performer Luis Tentindo to Santa Barbara for an artist workshop at The Goodland Hotel, in addition to a presentation of his object-theater performance titled Liquid Past. There will also be a celebratory “play with your food” interactive brunch held at The Goodland, where attendees can meet the On Edge Festival artists while taking advantage of a do-it-yourself crepe and bagel bar, creating food portraits, and listening to music by a surprise guest DJ poolside. A cash bar with signature cocktails by resident mixologist Chris Burmeister completes the lively Saturday morning event.

MCASB Executive Director Miki Garcia says, “We are thrilled to present the second iteration of the On Edge Festival this October, a program that exemplifies MCASB’s commitment to providing world-class, accessible programming as a stalwart of cultural happenings in the Santa Barbara community. The festival represents MCASB’s mission to encourage new forms of creative expression and increase public engagement in today’s ever-changing cultural landscape, establishing the museum as a relevant and articulate champion of contemporary art. On Edge Festival provides a platform for unconventional practices within the burgeoning field of performance art and, in doing so, marks Santa Barbara as a city that is at the forefront of experimental and new genres of art.”

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