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My Diary: Secret Journey to Tipping Utopia // Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks

Revolutionary Implements: Nail Lacquer , installation by Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin

Revolutionary Implements: Nail Lacquer, installation by Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin

In the hot summer in July, Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks will crash into utopia at the Invisible Dog. My Diary: Secret Journey to Tipping Utopia is a composition created and designed by Yoshiko Chuma. This performance is based on twenty chapters that cross over within the frame of two hours. Musicians, dancers and designers interact, but not directly—a parallel to incidents of sound, text and action, a metaphor for endless continuous circles of life, fluctuating between utopia and war. While observing, the audience perceives the results of war—tipping utopia.

A utopia is an imagined community of society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens. One could also say that utopia is a perfect "place" that has been designed so there are no problems. 

Public Performance Dates
July 2 (Tuesday), July 10 (Wednesday), July 18 (Thursday), July 26 (Friday) 
Time: 7–9pm doors open at 7pm, fresh drinks provided for audience.
Suggested donation $10

Special dinner will be provided by Lucien Chef Ambition on July 26.

In 2014 at La Mama Galleria, Takashi Arai, a Japanese photographer/visual artist who is well known for his unique practice in contemporary daguerreotype, producted one photograh during each performance of Daguerreotype: Mirror With a Memory. Connected to that production, Elizabeth Kresch will paint one complete portrait for every performance of My Diary: Secret Journey to Tipping Utopia

Concept Design, Installation, and Direction: Yoshiko Chuma
Assistant to Yoshiko Chuma: Tess McCharen
Portrait Painter: Elizabeth Kresch
Makeup Artist:
Chisa Takahashi
Devin Braja Waldman
Trombonists: Christopher McIntyre, Steve Swell
Viola/Violinist: Jason Kao Hwang
Singer: Marissa Tornello
Actor: Dan Peeples
Dance Artists: zaybra, Emily Bartsch, Emily Marie Pope, Martita Abril, Nora Alami
Photographer: Alexis Ruiseco-Lombera
Videographer & Documenter: Andrew Kim
Light Desk Installation: Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin

Pop-up Choreographer and Musicians
Ursula Eagly (July 10), Miriam Parker (July 2 and 10), Ryuji Yamaguchi (July 10 and 18), Jason Kao Hwang (July 2 and 10), Yanira Castro (July 10 and 26), Vicky Shick (July 2), Chip Chapin (July 2), Chris McIntyre (July 2 and 10), Steve Swell (July 18 and 26), and more from the list of surprise veteran members of the School of Hard Knocks.

Portrait by Elizabeth Kresch

Portrait by Elizabeth Kresch

Yoshiko Chuma (conceptual artist, choreographer/artistic director of The School of Hard Knocks) has been a firebrand in the post-modern dance scene of New York City since the 1980s, has been consistently producing thought-provoking work that is neither dance nor theater nor film nor any other pre-determined category. She is an artist on her own journey, a path that has taken her to over 40 “out of the way” countries and collected over 2000 artists, thinkers and collaborators of every genre since establishing her company in New York City in 1980. The School of Hard Knocks was founded as a company of diverse backgrounds. Its purpose is to create, perform, encourage and sponsor experimental and multi-disciplinary and multi-media work. The School of Hard Knocks is an ongoing phenomenon—its shape as diverse as the situations the company performs in—from street performances to formal theatre/dance concerts to large scale spectacles. Company activities include an annual New York season, ongoing development and rehearsal of new works, and performances/residencies and collaborations with local artists on tour throughout the United States, East and Central Europe, Asia, Middle East, and South America. Over the course of the company's history, more than 2,000 people have performed under Chuma's direction. Notable international performers have been involved in the School of Hard Knocks over its 40 year history, including Stephen Petronio, Vicky Schick, Jodi Melnick, David Zambrano, Sasha Waltz, Sarah Michelson, DD Dorvillier, Allyson Green, Miraim Parker, Simon Courchel, John Jasperse, David Dorfman, and many others.

A transplant from the Midwest, Emily Bartsch is a movement artist currently based in New York City. She has performed in her friend's apartments, in studios, on balconies, in galleries, in converted silos, on stage, in parks, and in bars. She is currently an intern for the Movement Research Performance Journal, where she works at the intersection of movement and language. 

Chisa Takahashi was born in Yamagata, Japan and is now based in New York City. Her career began at the Shochiku Company Limited in Kyoto, Japan. She is a professionally trained make up artist and credits moving to London in 2007 as a gain in her artistry. She collaborates with Yoshiko Chuma at Asia Society. She recently worked with Devin Brahja Waldman in a music video.

Emily Marie Pope is a native of North Carolina, born into a family of architects, nuclear engineers, artists, and musicians. She moved to New York City in 1999 from Germany. Before Germany, she performed site specific work in Assos, Turkey for the last International Arts Festival. Before all that, she left home at 13 to study ballet at UNCSA, graduating with her HD in 1991. She has a BFA from OSU (1997 Summa Cum Laude) and an MFA from NYU Tisch (2007 TSOA). In her dance career, she has performed with/for Charleston Ballet Theater, BalletMet, Ann Carlson, Chimera Physical Theater, Bridget Moore, Gerald Casel, Johannes Wieland, Malcolm Low, Young Soon Kim, Yin Yue, Tamar Rogoff, Hilary Easton, Tiffany Mills, and Douglas Dunn. She formed her own multimedia performance lab HoverBound (2006) which has been presented at Chez Bushwick, Chen Dance Center, the TANK, St. Marks Church, 3rd Ward, Death by Audio, Dumbo Dance, and Galapagos. She has two film, three music videos, and one theater credit. She’s a certified IYI Yoga and Pilates instructor. She also has one incredibly talented daughter.  

Ursula Eagly has been working in New York City's dance and performance community since 2000. Her works are characterized by a “rabbit-hole logic” (New York Times), and her research considers the potential of porosity. She recently premiered a piece for psychosocial motor systems at Danspace Project, and her previous project, an iterative work performed in multiple mediums, is still available as a vinyl LP from The Chocolate Factory. Ursula has worked with Yoshiko Chuma and her incredible collaborators around the world since 2006.

Miriam Parker is an artist who uses sound, paint, light, movement, video projection, and sculpture to create media and performance-based works. Her work has been greatly influenced by her connection to free jazz tradition and her study of Buddhism, phenomenology, and kinesthetic empathy. Miriam has been developing work as a solo artist, and in collaboration with visual artist Jo Wood-Brown under the working name of InnerCity Projects, and video artist Christina Smiros. She currently works as a performer in collaboration with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks.

Ryuji Yamaguchi, originally from Japan, is a dancer and educator based in Madaba, Jordan. In 2007, Ryuji moved to Jordan as a founding faculty member at King’s Academy, a coeducational boarding high school with a strong local identity and financial aid program. With Yoshiko Chuma, Ryuji has produced six major productions in Jordan and Palestine, invited over 40 Japanese and American artists to the region, and worked alongside Jordanian and Palestinian artists. Ryuji also collaborates with Hungarian dancer Rita Gobi with their duo, Vibration.

Dan Kuan Peeples is an actor and a writer. He has spent the past three years living between Asia and New York City, performing with Yoshiko Chuma, The Brouhaha Theatre Project, Brooke O'Harra, and John Jesurun, as well as writing for Bamboom Productions in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

A Native New Yorker, Elizabeth Kresch grew up ensconced in the world of New York School artists. She studied painting at the New York Studio School, Sarah-Lawrence College, and everywhere she could drop in and has contributed work to group shows most of her life at among others Wendigo Gallery, Tactile Bosch in Cardiff for Paper & Canvas, Gershwin Hotel, and London Portrait Gallery. Both a firecracker and a beacon of perseverance, she plans to paint forever documenting the ephemeral and eternal but always immediate experience with a keen eye to the magic in the mundane and with strong intent to capture the beauty that is most often missed in a moment. 

Jason Kao Hwang (violin/viola) explores the vibrations and language of his history.  His compositions are often narrative landscapes through which sonic beings embark upon extemporaneous, transformational journeys. He recently released Blood by his quintet Burning Bridge. As violinist, he has performed with William Parker, Anthony Braxton, Karl Berger, Tomeka Reid, Reggie Workman, Pauline Oliveros, Patrick Brennan, and others. The 2019 El Intruso International Critics poll voted him Violinist of the Year. Mr. Hwang has received support from Chamber Music America, US Artists International, the NEA, Rockefeller Foundation and others.

Alexis Ruiseco-Lombera is a Cuban visual artist, performance artist, and writer. Prompted by the intersection between being trans and Cubanidad, Ruiseco-Lombera investigates the ontological labour of queer and trans bodies responding to their entanglements with trauma, contact, and intimacy. Ruiseco-Lombera received their BFA from Parsons and has shown works at Milk Gallery NYC, Leslie-Lohman Museum, 00Bienal De La Habana, Galleria Menjunje, The Andrew Freedman Home, has been awarded the En Foco Photography Fellowship, and has been featured in NEWSPAPER, VICE, WMag, and Nueva Luz. Recently they have performed at MoMA for Tania Bruguera, Adrian Piper, and Simone Forti, was a resident at the Marble House Project, and is a fellow of AIM 39 Fall cohort with the Bronx Museum.

Nora Alami is a Moroccan-American performance artist based in Brooklyn. Her choreographic work has been presented at International Center of Photography, Center for Performance Research, New York Live Arts, Movement Research at Judson Church, Gibney, Ponderosa, and Chez Bushwick. She was a 2017-18 Fresh Tracks Resident Artist at New York Live Arts and a 2017-18 Diversity + Leadership Fellow for the Alliance of Artists Communities, and holds a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from Colorado College. She has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, River to River Festival, and FOCUS: 2018 Young Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Choreographers at the InEquilibrio Armunia Festival and LaMaMa Umbria Spoleto Festival. She currently works in collaboration with film-maker Jenelle Pearring and is a member of Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks.

Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin are Houston-based interdisciplinary artists and a married couple. They have had solo shows at the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art, the Invisible Dog Art Center (Brooklyn, NY), Art League Houston, Aurora Picture Show (Houston, TX), and Devin Borden Gallery (Houston, TX). They have presented performative artist lectures at the Alley Theatre (Houston, TX) and Hartford Stage (Hartford, CT). Recent exhibitions in LGBT community spaces include Tahlequah, Oklahoma’s 2018 pride festival and gay bars in Houston. Nick & Jake are recipients of a NYFA Fellowship, a Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and grants from the MAPFund, the IdeaFund, the Houston Arts Alliance, and Mid America Arts Alliance. Nick & Jake are members of the theater company The TEAM with whom they have created six devised works, and they frequently collaborate as visual designers with choreographers Faye Driscoll and Yoshiko Chuma.

Devin Brahja Waldman is a New York saxophonist, drummer, synthesizer player, and composer. At the age of ten he started playing with his aunt, poet Anne Waldman. Waldman has performed with Yoshiko Chuma, William Parker, Patti Smith, Nadah El Shazly, Malcolm Mooney, Thurston Moore, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. He leads the ensemble BRAHJA and is a co-founder of groups Notable Deaths and Ziad Qoulaii Allstars; also a member of Heroes Are Gang Leaders and Land of Kush. As a youngster, he learned about life and music from pianist Paul Bley. Waldman was nominated by The American Academy of Arts and Letters for an award in composition in 2018.

Martita is a performer, choreographer, curator, and teaching artist from the border city of Tijuana, México. She’s worked with dance artists and companies throughout Mexico, South America, and the US, including projects and performances with Lux Boreal Danza Contemporánea, Allyson Green, Cristina Baquerizo, Rebecca Davis, Daria Fain and Rober Kocik “The Commons Choir”, Mina Nishimura, and Will Rawls. She is currently working with Kim Brandt, Yanira Castro, Cori Olinghouse, and was recently a performer in Simone Forti’s Dance Constructions at the Museum of Modern Art. She’s been a PECDA Scholar as a “Young Creator” and received a national fellowship from FONCA 2013 for her project in New York City. Martita was selected for the Fresh Tracks Residency at New York Live Arts and she was a mentor for the NYFA Immigrant Artist Program in 2015, 2016, and 2018. Her work has been commissioned by New York Live Arts, and presented at “Sunday Service” at The Knockdown Center, Movement Research at the Judson Church, New York Foundation for the Arts, HERE Art Center, The Lumen Festival, David & Dorothea Garfield Theater, San Diego State University, Potiker Theater at UCSD, Casa de la Cultura, Instituto de Cultura de Baja California, and site-specifics throughout NYC and Tijuana.

zaybra performs, creates performances and is a lighting designer from Bovina. zaybra explores physical expression while generating cathartic movement experiences and bodily poetics in solo work which has been presented at Triskelion Arts and TREVORSHAUS. In the performance works of others, zaybra has performed with FlucT at MoMA PS1, in a work by Mariah Maloney at NY City Center, and in the performance psychology experiment, Authority Figure, at the Knockdown Center. Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone and zaybra recently formed a movement collaboration that was presented at Center for Performance Research this past spring. zaybra enjoys working with and in the expansiveness of Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks.

Yanira Castro is a Puerto Rican born interdisciplinary artist making work in New York for over 20 years. In 2009, she formed the collaborative group, a canary torsi, an anagram of her name. Castro’s work borrows from dance, performance, theater, and visual art, often utilizing interactive technology to form hybrid projects. The work takes different forms—performances, installations, online and site-based projects—negotiating complexities of sources, authorship, and practice with a team of collaborators (including the audience) to build the work as a communal act.

Vicky Shick has been involved in the NYC dance community for four decades performing, teaching, and making dances. She was a member of the Trisha Brown Company for 6 years and has collaborated with many performers, artists, composers, and choreographers. In the NYC area she now mostly teaches for Movement Research and the Trisha Brown Company, but has also taught at many colleges over the past 20 years. She has shown her work, set Trisha Brown's dances , made student works here and abroad, including Budapest, her home town.

Andrew Kim is a videographer and documenter from Austin, TX. He has interned at Movement Research investigating dance and movement-based forms through his camera. He received a BFA in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin. Since 2018, Andrew has resided in Brooklyn, NY with his black cat Stella (새벽이). 

Chip Chapin engages a vocabulary of dance, writing, and curation to negotiate current terms of desire. Through a process of personal espionage, heritage maintenance, and participation in collaborative, queer, intergenerational spaces, gestures move to rupture habituated hierarchical enclosures; unearthing possibilities for kinship around collective labor, resource distribution, and mutual care. Chapin currently lives and works in Enfield, NY, where they work on a CSA farm, read Capital, and operate c.h.a.m.p.s. (i.e. come here and move people slowly). In Fall 2019, they will return to NYC to complete their MFA at Hunter College.

Christopher McIntyre leads a varied career in music as a performer, composer, curator/producer, and educator. He interprets and improvises on trombone and synthesizer and composes for TILT Brass (Co-Founder and Director), UllU, Ne(x)tworks, and Yoshiko Chuma. McIntyre is a member and curator for Either/Or, has performed with ensembles including SEM, Talea, The Knights, the Tri-Centric and Flexible Orchestras, and in composer-led projects of Zeena Parkins, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Fast Forward, Elliott Sharp, Nate Wooley, David Behrman, James Fei, and John King. He toured with Merce Cunningham Dance Co. (Legacy Tour, 2011) and TILT Brass performed during MCDC’s historic Park Ave Armory Events. He has recorded for Tzadik, New World, XI, Edition Modern, POTTR, Mode, Edition Modern, and Non-Site Records. Curatorial work includes projects at ISSUE Project Room (Syncretics Series), The Kitchen, Guggenheim Museum, The Stone, and Artistic Director of MATA Festival (2008-10). McIntyre teaches brass chamber music at Mannes School of Music at The New School.

Steve Swell has been an active member of the New York music community since 1975. He has established himself as a premiere leader and sideman of some of the most exciting groups ever assembled, giving performances at festivals, clubs and theaters in Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. His composing talents have been recognized the world over. His “Suite for Players, Dreamers and other Listeners” was voted number 2 in the 2006 Cadence Reader’s Poll. Swell’s curiosity and need to create has led him to becoming a much heralded sideman affording him the opportunity to participate as an integral part of groups led by some of the most renowned musicians in the jazz and improvised worlds. The Downbeat Critics Poll has selected Steve for the Trombone category every year from 2010-2016.

Marisa Tornello is an interdisciplinary composer, singer-songwriter, and performance artist born and raised in NYC. Studying music in college, Marisa's passion in the performing arts is widespread, dabbling in a variety of genres, including early music, musical theater, minimalism, songwriting, bodypainting, durational performance art, and improvisational movement. Marisa has performed chorally on the stages of Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, the Prudential Center, and Palau de la Musica. She has had the opportunity to perform with many artists, including Peter Yarrow, Andrea Bocelli, Renee Fleming, Anna Netrebko, and the Met Orchestra. Marisa is an alumna of the Trinity/La MaMa Program, and made her New York debut performing the ensemble piece Searching for Home at La MaMa in 2012. In 2015, Marisa composed, wrote, choreographed, and directed an original musical called Keeping Perfect Time, a piece that shines a spotlight on the relationship between music therapy, dementia, and caregiving. In 2018, Marisa premiered the piece blank, a durational performance dealing with the body, paint, and mental health, at the Baumann and the Tank. She most recently performed COWBOYSCOWGIRLS at JACK Brooklyn in November of 2018 with Pioneers Go East. She has performed her original music at Judson Church, La MaMa, and Vital Joint for the Exponential Festival.

Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Tess McCharen moved to New York to complete the Certificate Program at the Peridance Capezio Center after training at the Colburn School in Los Angeles for five years. She has performed works by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Rudy Perez, Katherine Helen Fischer, Larry Kegwin, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, Julie Magneville, and more.

Public Performances
Tuesday, July 2, 7–9pm
Wednesday, July 10, 7–9pm
Thursday, July 18, 7–9pm
Friday, July 26, 7–9pm

Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks in Residence
July 1, July 2, July 9, July 10, July 17, July 18, and July 26

Suggested donation: $10

The Main Gallery
51 Bergen St.

Earlier Event: June 21
Sabbath Queer: Pride & Present
Later Event: July 11
Treiber Farms at SAM