Prisoner’s Song is a performance created by composer Gelsey Bell and visual artist Erik Ruin about the prison experience. Using shadow puppets and projections alongside a variety of musical idioms, the piece draws on historic ballads, poetry, audio interviews with people who have spent time in prison, and other primary sources to create a fragmentary encounter with the states of mind and heart prison engenders.
This event will also feature a talk by Benneth/Benny Lee of the National Alliance for the Empowerment of the Formerly Incarcerated, and proceeds from the show will go to support NAEFI
Erik Ruin is a Michigan-raised, Philadelphia-based printmaker, shadow puppeteer, paper-cut artist, etc., who has been lauded by the New York Times for his “spell-binding cut-paper animations.” His work oscillates between the poles of apocalyptic anxieties and utopian yearnings, with an emphasis on empathy, transcendence and obsessive detail. He frequently works collaboratively with musicians, theater performers, other artists and activist campaigns. He is a founding member of the international Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, and co-author of the book Paths Toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism (w/ Cindy Milstein, PM Press, 2012).
Gelsey Bell is a singer, songwriter, sound artist, and scholar, described by the New York Times as an “imaginative” “winning soprano” whose performance of her own music is “virtuosic” and “glorious noise.” Her performance creations have been presented internationally and she has released multiple albums. She is a core member of thingNY, Varispeed, and the Chutneys. She received a 2017 Foundation for Contemporary Arts award for music/sound, was the 2018 EtM Ridgewood Bushwick Composer-in-Residence, she and she has been an artist-in-residence at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY. Her works include Bathroom Songs, Scaling, Our Defensive Measurements, This Takes Place Close By(with thingNY), and the acclaimed adaptation of Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives (with Varispeed). She also wrote and performed music for choreographer Anna Sperber’s Wealth from the Salt Seas, Compagnie CNDC-Angers’s performance of Merce Cunningham’s EVENT, directed by Robert Swinston, and Kimberly Bartosik’s You are my heat & glare. Other performance highlights include Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 (on Broadway) and Ghost Quartet, Robert Ashley’s Crash, Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s River of Fundament, and Gregory Whitehead’s On the Shore Dimly Seen. She has a PhD in Performance Studies from NYU and is currently finishing a book about vocal music in the American experimental music tradition. She is the Critical Acts Co-editor for TDR/The Drama Review and the Associate Editor for The Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies. www.gelseybell.com
Born in Chicago on December 27, 1959, Marvin Tate is a performance poet, lyricist, published author, collected visual artist and educator.
In his many incarnations (Poet, Talk-Show Host, Performance Artist, Time traveler, Soul Agitator, Singer-Songwriter and Funk-Meister), Marvin has worn many hats in his twenty-plus career. He often calls upon all of his alter-egos to help him discover new foundation, with help from musical guests including: Mike Reed,Greg Ward, Ben Lamar Gay, Tatsu Akoi, Dave Boykin, Matt L, Khari Lemuel (The Black Monks of Mississippi) Dan Bitney, Fred Lonberg Holms, P Michael (Ono), George Blaize (D-Settlement) Adam Fitz, Avery R. Young and Angel Bat Dawid to name a few.