creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sublime Summer Solstice Experience!

Colorful cast takes a bow! All photos by Tony Coehlo/One City One Pride - click to enlarge
Vibrating with the weekend's performance thrillride. Gratitude abounds and fresh possibilities and ideas are flowering from the nourishment of a profound experience. 


It began with a fab afternoon in the hot sun listening & watching the hot fun festivities dreamed up by Apt 3F and PLANET QUEER's "A Midsummer Afternoon's Queer Wedding Reception" while helping guide audience in putting glitter make-up on. I mostly glittered up a lot of children who attended, girls who could not get enough and kept coming back for, more much to their parents bemusement (fortunately they could wash up in the venue's bathroom). A couple of them became my helpers and "knew" a lot more about make-up than I could imagine (such teachers they be in their free expression).  I even let one girl paint my head (she asked if she could, and I said, "Yes you may, it is a canvas.") 


And then the 7pm program, "Behold the Bridegrooms Revisited"...so much to say. Deep appreciation for the opportunity presented by West Hollywood's One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival. There is so much value in connecting with our ancestors as an ongoing part of our community and the importance of creating sacred, creative space for honoring their cultural contributions by presenting their artful contributions to contemporary audiences. The exploration of James Broughton has profound gifts for everyone and deserves wider recognition. Getting to “play” with his words and do so in new ways involving friends utilizing their talents is so priceless an experience to participate in and share with others. Since the festival theme was "I Do" in celebration of one year of marriage equality, I focused the show on the loving relationship and marriage of James Broughton to his partner Joel Singer.


There was so much magic there - James Broughton himself was orchestrating from beyond (he has indeed been busy at work all over the world with the various celebrations which have conjured up his arts). I was thrilled to meet visiting guest artist Mountaine Jonas, whose arrival in LA was most assuredly lined up by James so that Moutaine and I could perform the duet poem “This Wonder” in front of a slideshow of James & Joel. A stranger before this event, Mountaine simply said the “magic words” (befitting a man who online manifests as Merlin) -- he also just so happened to choose the very poem that I had hoped to perform (and still will someday) with my Alien Sister Sky Palkowitz, who unfortunately had to be out of town during the show (but was indeed present that evening with her wishes and previous acting coaching). I didn't think I would get to do it as part of the program, and at the last minute, magic happened. Mountaine’s expertise in James Broughton’s work guided me in the delivery of the poem in ways I could never have realized without his splendid knowledge. 


And then, OH - the dream come true of blending words with beautiful music and gorgeous dance with talented friends. James & Joel used Bach cello suites in one of their film collaborations, and I’ve used a Bach cello suite in my performance piece “ASH - Axis Mundi” - so I relished the connection and love for Bach by performing once more with the great mastermind’s music supporting James Broughton’s loving tribute to origins of his life with Joel: “Wondrous the Merge”. Having live cello played by a most talented friend, David Mergen, is a lifetime treasure. Add to that mix the remarkable dance talents and genius of Atasiea Kenneth L. Ferguson, and you have a goldmine of the soul. I had merely to create an outline and blocking, and he magically filled it with the most sublime movement and interpretation. Such a blessing to bring these gifts together and play, and, as James says himself in the poem, “Yes Yes Yes!” I definitely see more of this particular collaboration manifesting as a necessity.



Next, there was the poem, “Little Sermons of Big Joy” accompanied once again with  David on cello, because why not do one more while at it?! As indicated by the arrangement and playfulness of the text, I got to “busk and bounce” upon the stage while sharing James’s benediction to “inseminate with light, the wombs of mankind.” 


Finally, we shared the good fun and lyric beauty of James & Joel’s connubial masque with a staged reading  of their 1978 nuptials “Behold the Bridegrooms”.  Weddings are most definitely works of theatre, and the script of theirs is such a rich banquet of wondrous words. With the help of colorfully adorned friends, Clint Qlint Steinhauser, David Parke Epstein, David Lawrence, Rich Yap, Bill Mayer Atasiea (once more on stage this time as the puckish figure Hermeros in the prologue and epilogue), Blu Donald Richard Blues (as Joel Singer) and that cardinal co-progenitor of gay theatre Robert Patrick Playwright as James Broughton. Some have proclaimed we look like a Dr. Seuss book come to life —  indeed we had great fun with it and indeed James (while being a champion of bare flesh) was a lover of festive and outrageous regalia (as sublimely realized in his mock funeral procession in the 1974 film “Testament” and in his associations with the Radical Faeries and Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence). 



Such an honor and a Big Joy to “Behold the Bridegrooms Revisited” in this way - thanks to all of those involved and all those who have supported the journey from afar or in person as audiences. Major thanks to all the people involved in the documentary film “Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton”, most particularly Stephen Silha and the movement to spread James Broughton’s “frisky gospel” to others by encouraging such performance events to occur. Special thanks to Mike Che, Andrew Campbell, and the City of West Hollywood’s One City One Pride for making this opportunity possible and to perform in the historic Fiesta Hall. The programs all month long have been so incredible and so important in supporting the arts and bringing various artist’s works to light. Very importantly, thanks to Joel Singer for his open heart both for inspiring the great genius of James to continue creating such beautiful works and in cheering on all these tributes. And of course, thank you James! 

I shall be posting more photos and video in time - and shall continue singing the praises of BIG JOY James Broughton. Your support as audience for these endeavors is appreciated and vital in fueling more to come! 

BLISSINGS


Jason














Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father Figure James Broughton

at Fiesta Hall in Plummer Park,  7377 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046
I’m really looking forward to presenting “Behold the Bridegrooms Revisited” on Summer Solstice! It’s truly a pleasure and honor to create a second show of James Broughton material for audiences - things I couldn’t include in the recent “ECSTASY FOR EVERYONE” because I wanted to keep that show under an hour. Now I get to fulfill a longtime dream of reciting luscious poetry over live cello music and work with a colorful cast of friends in presenting the lyrical beauty of wedding text to his partner Joel Singer. Saturday June 21 is going to be a fun time all day long, with a queer music festival produced by Apt 3F and Planet Queer outside Fiesta Hall during the day from 2:30-6:30pm, followed by the Bridegrooms show at 7pm. We’re even going to screen James & Joel’s film collaboration “Devotions” around 6:45pm as a warm up to the live presentation. And there will be delicious cupcakes to enjoy afterwards!

Performed live on June 12 in the Spielberg Theatre at the iconic Egyptian Theatre!
If you have not seen the documentary film yet - “BIG JOY: The Adventures of James Broughton” is now available streaming video on demand (www.kinolorber.com) and on Netflix.  Seeing the film is essential viewing to truly understand the story and journey of this remarkable artist who deserves greater recognition. I think sharing the film going experience with audiences for this film takes the journey to another level, but just see it whenever you can. And see it more than once. I’ve now seen the film 8 times and find new elements that inspire me each time.  I’ve enjoyed performing live alongside the screenings 7 times (as of this writing) in Palm Springs, New York City, and Los Angeles and look forward to more whenever the opportunities arise. I have a lot more stories to share about those experiences and the various synchronicities and “aha” moments that have come along with the journey. It has been so great to see the audiences react to both my poetry recital and his story in the film. 

In performance before the One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival screening on June 10

I am so grateful for the creators of the documentary film “BIG JOY: The Adventures of James Broughton” (particularly for Stephen Silha’s passion behind the project)  - for it is helping to bring James Broughton back into the light and sharing his amazing life and spirit with new audiences. I’m one of his new greatest fans as a result! While I had heard of him before, it wasn’t until the film that I dove into this body of work - and what a swim in gloriously fascinating waters it has been!

James Broughton has become a mentor and guide to me from the stars, he is a kindred spirit and father figure. While he may not have been a very present father to his birth children (the film covers the family issues quite well), he certainly has been a great father of gay spirit to many that have since been inspired by his wit, wisdom, humor, and fascinating history. I know that his words sing to me from the page, calling for me to perform them in various ways, and his films inspire me to delve back into my own background in film production. While he isn't physically around, his presence is definitely felt through the power of his art he's left behind and in the loving recollections of friends who knew him well. I still haven’t read all of his works, and am constantly being presented with new delicacies of writing and film to savor - which is great, because it means there are more grand surprises to come. The journey continues. As James says: FOLLOW YOUR OWN WEIRD!

Holding James's golden flying phallus recreation with artist manager, Marc Arranaga,
and film producer/co-director Stephen Silha after the One City One Pride screening




Saturday, May 10, 2014

HOT Couture

April Hava Shenkmen invited people to a performance "inside herself"

A theme for this month is HOT Couture, with various friends (& multimedia artist colleagues) displaying their custom fashion creations for gallery openings and performances. 

It started off when I made a quick cosmic cape for R. SKY Palkowitz, the Deulsional Diva's opening night of "Pancakes & Booze Art Show" the two day big crowd-pleasing art party, known for showcasing a lot of artists while serving up drinks and deluxe mini-pancakes (this time they had red velvet - my favorite). I had some pink sparkling and neon lime green fabric pieces just lying around waiting to be made into something out of this world, and Sky's showcase of her alien art was the perfect occasion to whip up some fun. I enjoy making my own unusual theatrical wardrobe designs from time to time, and am glad to put my modest sewing skills to use (coming soon: a new costume for "Planet Queer: Asteroid of Misfit Toys" on May 19).

SKY in front of some of her alien artwork
Then came international performing sensation Yozmit Avalokita's picnic in the park to celebrate his birthday. The surprise twist came when guests arrived to discover our picnic was taking place upon one of her very own custom made dresses. It's a great example of combining worlds of high fashion and performance art into a sublime transcendent experience, something Yozmit has made a great career of doing over the years. (check out http://www.theyozmit.com/ or search keyword "yozmit" in my blog for my artist profile and photos).

Yozmit prepares some homemade sushi for guests

And then there was the opening reception for the Iam8Bit gallery exhibition "Grace & Ritual: Hidden", in which April Hava Shenkman created a monument sized tent-like version of herself called "inside herself". She then invited guests to enter her giant dress, where a cute theatrical space existed for her to amuse audiences with an intimate durational performance piece. It was part stand-up, part cabaret, part Alice-In-Wonderland experience that was a major highlight of the gallery show. So wonderful to see her performance art merge with visual art and take it to a grand scale. 
(Again you can search my blog for a profile on her body of work.)

Once "inside herself" April delivers some of her trademark improv performance

The LA creative scene is always finding imaginative ways to combine fashion and performance. More HOT couture moments to come!
April comes from a very creative family


Jared Whitham: fiancé/creative genius/ technical supporter

Gathering for Yozmit's birthday celebration

Dogs were welcome and love picnicing on Yozmit's dress too
The Delusional Diva usually paints herself as colorful as her art




Friday, May 2, 2014

Announcing: Behold the Bridegrooms Revisited!

“Behold the Bridegrooms Revisited”
FREE
Saturday, June 21 at 7pm
Fiesta Hall – Plummer Park
7377 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
     
“Behold the Bridegrooms Revisited” is a poetic celebration of the wondrous words by award-winning filmmaker and poet James Broughton. Performance artist Jason Jenn brings to life some of James Broughton’s most inspiring, love-infused poetry set to live cello music by David Mergen followed by several guest artists (full list TBA) recreating a colorful staged reading of Broughton’s 1978 marriage to partner Joel Singer. The wedding text is full of lyric beauty and splendor that stands as a monument to queer love and sexual liberation.

2014 marks Broughton’s centennial year and this program is part of bringing greater awareness to this California cultural figure alongside the recent documentary “Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton.” Broughton was an original member of the Radical Faeries, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and a pre-beat poet who was part of the San Francisco Renaissance movement. 
More information and the movie trailer can be found at www.bigjoy.org. There will be a special screening of “Big Joy” at 8pm on June 10 in The West Hollywood Public Meeting Room Council Chambers, 625 N. San Vicente Ave. Free (but donations encouraged).

The June 21 presentation will include a slide show of rarely seen photographs of James & Joel. “Behold the Bridegrooms: A Connubial Masque for James and Joel” originally took place on board the hundred-year old ferryboat SS Vallejo belonging to the Alan Watts Society for Comparative Philosophy. 

“Behold the Bridegrooms Revisited” is preceded by “A Midsummer Afternoon's Queer Wedding Reception” in the Fiesta Hall courtyard hosted by Apt 3F & Planet Queer from 2:30-6:30pm, so it will be a fully festive Summer Solstice program of events to remember.

This event is presented as part of the City of West Hollywood's One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival, which this year celebrates marriage equality with the theme 'I Do' between May 22 - June 30, 2014. To see a full roster of events please visit www.weho.org/pride.