Monday, June 16, 2008

Nancy Keystone

While I was in Pasedena, I met up with the marvelous Nancy Keystone. She graciously picked me up from my hotel and took me to lunch and then on to her art show in Highland Park. Nancy has directed for Portland Center Stage, you might recall her ANTIGONE or WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF. Next season she will be directing all three parts of APOLLO, a multi-media collaborative exploration of the Apollo Space Program. She will be directing the World Premiere of all three parts at PCS with her ensemble The Critical Mass Performance Group, of which she is the founder and artistic director. If you don't know, APOLLO is a must see next season. I won't even talk to you if you don't go see it. Nancy is an incredible artist and you would be doing yourself a huge disservice if you did not witness this.

So naturally, being the young theater artist I am, I solicited Nancy on advice on how to survive in this crazy profession. Basically, I was just looking for light at the end of the tunnel. She gave me hope for better days, told me debt and graduate school are unavoidable and that you have to hustle. Alright, I'm still in.

After the yummy lunch and my spirit renewed, we headed on to Highland Park, which I thought was a green grassy place with trees. No wrong. Highland Park is an area in Pasadena, which Nancy explained, is becoming more gentrified. A local curator commissioned a group of artist to pick a shop on York Blvd. and create a work of art which would later be displayed in the shop. I believe it had to somehow incorporate the store and/or the neighborhood. Louisa Van Leer made a flag which represented the area and was hoping to have them adopt it as their own. Mary Beth Heffernan made a crazy armchair/log sculpture for the local upholstery shop. It was beautiful and frighting at the same time. Steven L. Anderson created a site-specific audio instillation outside of the weaving shop which sampled from Ghandi speeches and sounds from the shop. From the website: "Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock and Outpost for Contemporary Art are collaborating to organize Intersection 2008, which is a multi-sited public installation project that brings artistic interventions into businesses. This project features 17 temporary art installations by artists who live and/or work in North East Los Angeles." Nancy made a sculpture out of stuff she bought at Junior Discount Party Supply. I wish I had the picture of all the stuff she bought sitting on her table at home before she got to work. Her whole table was covered with very colorful goodies. She created two very beautiful chandelier type sculptures, which reminded me of the chandelier that we have at Portland Center Stage, which Nancy designed.

It was a wonderful way to spend my Saturday. I am so pleased that Nancy was able to take time out of her busy life and visit with me!

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