Abrons Arts Center and the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York's premiere French cultural center, present the world premiere of The Magic of Spectacular Theater, from FIAF artist-in-residence Gérald Kurdian, as part of the 2012 Crossing the Line festival and featuring stage design by Obie Award winner Philippe Quesne.
Having charmed festival audiences in 2011 with his evocative songwriting, extraordinary voice, and inventive lo-tech storytelling, the Paris-based artist returns to Crossing the Line with his new work, The Magic of Spectacular Theater-part of his ongoing THIS IS THE HELLO MONSTER! avant-folk music project. Blending performance, pop music, and magic interludes, the piece whimsically explores two prevalent contemporary views of magic: the mystical practices of sorcerers and astrologers on the one hand, and the illusionism of the more conventional conjurer on the other.
Performances of The Magic of Spectacular Theater will take place tonight, September 18 and tomorrow night, September 19 at 8pm at the Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street at Pitt Street, Lower East Side, NYC). Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of performance. $10 student rush tickets are available in-person only at 7:30pm. For more information, visit fiaf.org/ctl or call 212.355.6160.
Performer, songwriter and radio-artist Gérald Kurdian studied visual arts at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts Paris-Cergy before taking part in the EX.E.R.CE 07 contemporary dance program directed by Mathilde Monnier and Xavier Le Roy. His musical performances have been presented at the Fondation Cartier in Paris, the Centre Pompidou in Metz, the MDT in Stockholm, the Lieu Unique in Nantes, and at the Inaccoutumés, Steirischer Herbst, Tupp, and Uzès dance festivals.
Kurdian has collaborated with Mette Ingvartsen, Eszter Salamon, Xavier Le Roy, Eleanor Bauer, and Juan Dominguez as a musician and dramaturge.
From 2006 to 2010, he collaborated with Radio France's Atelier de Création Radiophonique, and produced several radio pieces involving sound composition and documentary, including Je suis putain (2006), 6 mois, 1 lieu et le comportement de l'ensemble (2009), and Archive Now (2010). Together with Caroline Masini, Kurdian was awarded the Phonurgia Nova research grant in 2010 for their musical Menace, Fantômes. Additionally, he composes love songs for This is the hello monster!, his avant-pop solo band. Their debut album was selected as one of the Best Albums of the Year by the French newspaper Libération.
Crossing the Line is the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)'s annual fall festival presenting interdisciplinary works and performances created by artists from around the world in New York. The festival provides opportunities for New Yorkers to explore the dialogue between artist and participant, examine how artists help re-imagine the world, and engage in the vital role artists play as critical thinkers and catalysts for social evolution. Curated by Lili Chopra, Artistic Director of FIAF, Simon Dove, Director of the Herberger Institute School of Dance at Arizona State University, and Gideon Lester, Director of Theater Programs at Bard College, Crossing the Line is initiated and produced by FIAF in partnership with leading cultural institutions and takes place this year from September 14–October 14, 2012.
Inaugurated in 2007, Crossing the Line has enjoyed increasingly strong audience response from diverse segments of the New York City area, as well as critical acclaim. The festival was voted "Best of 2009" and "Best of 2010" by Time Out New York, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. The New York Times has said, "The French Institute Alliance Française's annual Crossing the Line has carved out a particular identity as an invigorating, unpredictable, occasionally provocative mix of genres and disciplines…It's the artistic equivalent of a splash of water on the face."
FIAF's mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression.
The Abrons Arts Center brings innovative artistic excellence to Manhattan's Lower East Side through diverse, cutting-edge performances; exhibitions/artist residencies; classes and workshops for all ages, including pre-professional training for youth; and arts-in-education programming at public schools.