On May 7th through May 9th, 2010, I performed Fudgie’s Death at Links Hall in Chicago as part of Banners and Cranks: A Festival of Cantastoria, curated by Clare Dolan and Dave Buchen. Fudgie’s Death is a neo-noir segment from Growing Up Linda in which the daughter of a famous ice cream mogul must come to terms with her troubled past. In Fudgie’s Death, I transform table-top pop-up books into full-screen cinema.
Fudgie’s Death was written with longtime collaborator, P.J. McWhiskers and Joel Egger with pop-up books created with Korean paper engineer, Eugean Seo. For this iteration of Fudgie’s Death, costumes were designed by Rachel Weir with specialty corseting created by Lee Vargas Perez and Hunter Wells. Kari Rae Seekons designed the sound, so that I was able to trigger cues from the stage, while Susan Simpson provided live video feed from a tiny security camera.
Banners and Cranks, was the first ever festival and exhibition of cantastoria art in the US. For three weeks, Links hall presented performers from around the country, while Packer Schopf Gallery displayed cantastoria art.
Also featured in Banners and Cranks were Great Small Works, Deborah Hunt, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Javier Maldonado-O’Farrill, Meredith Miller, Jenny Magnus, Beth Nixon, Tim Portlock, Peter Schumann, The Dolly Wagglers, Diana Slickman, Theater Oobleck, Blair Thomas, and Susan Simpson – who’s performance, Exhibit A, I also performed as the narrator of.
Cantastoria is the Italian word for a performance form originating in 6th Century India involving the display of representational paintings accompanied by sung narration. Cantastoria has taken many forms throughout the world, from Indian religious Par scrolls to the Indonesian Wayang-Beber to Persian Parda-dar entertainers. Other examples of cantastoria include itinerant European street performers selling broadsides, and the German banklesanger in Weimar cabarets.
From the Dave Buchen and Clare Dolan’s Curator’s Note in the Banners and Cranks – Weekend 3 Program:
Cantastoria is the Italian word for a performance form originating in 6th Century India involving the display of representational paintings accompanied by sung narration. It travelled the world and has taken on many forms, from Indian religious Par scrolls to the Indonesian Wayang-Beber, to Persian Parda-dar entertainers, to itinerant European street performers selling broadsides, to the German banklesanger in Weimar cabarets to the present day revival.
Banners and Cranks is the first ever festival and exhibition of Cantastoria art in the US. It brings performers from around the country together for three weeks of shows and art work from all over the world together for an exhibition at the Packer Schopf Gallery.
What is so exciting about this festival and exhibit is that it showcases this unique form in its many permutations, revealing how an ancient performance practice has inspired contemporary young artists, activists, and performers.
Founded in 1978 by three experimental choreographers, Links Hall serves as an artistic incubator and launch pad in Chicago.