-Courtesy of Perpetual Motion PR
Almanac Dance Circus Theatre is gearing audiences up for the Spring with the return of Miniball – the bite-sized version of their annual festival in September that is the first and largest hub of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Audiences can keep the Fringe energy rollin’ year round at Miniball, a micro-version of Cannonball Festival featuring encores of previous Cannonball shows, as well as first looks at exciting new shows that will be centerpieces of the Fringe, to keep the spirit of Cannonball sailing strong throughout the year. Miniball returns April 1 with the second annual Cast Off Soiree and then April 6-8, six of Philadelphia’s most exciting independent artists take the stage for 13 performances. Ticket prices vary. Miniball will take place at the Maas Building, 1325 N. Randolph Street. Tickets and more information can be found at the festival’s website www.cannonballfestival.org.
Along with Miniball, Cannonball is currently seeking artists for this year’s festival which will run September 1-30. Cannonball is the first and the largest “Hub” of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. It is artist-run and community curated. By pooling resources, Cannonball offers affordable production opportunities to performing artists of all disciplines. The Cannonball experience is one of community and exchange: they offer lots of support to artists, create social events and preview opportunities, and carefully curate fun and inclusive social spaces to hang out in all Festival long. Alongside buy-in options, co-presenting options, and split bills, Cannonball is offering four stipend tracks. The stipend tracks are competitive presentation and/or development tracks which come with additional opportunities and resources.
Each stipend track is panel-adjudicated, and requires additional application questions. This will mark the second year of the BIPOC New Work Presentation Track, which offers a $2750 stipend to BIPOC artists presenting new-full length works of any discipline.. . New this year are: the Performance for Younger Audiences Development Cohort which offers mentorship, development support, and a $750 stipend; CSAW Award for New Work by Circus Artists of Color which comes with a $5600 stipend; and Snack Track for Small Audience and Immersive Works. Applications and further information are available on the festival’s website.
Miniball begins with the second annual Cast off soiree on Saturday, April 1. Then April 6-8, six of Philadelphia’s most exciting independent artists take the stage for 13 performances. At a time when trans* people, bodies and voices are under attack from legislative and other bodies, this iteration of Miniball features the work of four trans* and non-binary artists or artist groups. This exciting weekend of performances is led by the debut of The Other Gardeners by Very Good Dance Theatre.
“The Other Gardeners” is a new project created collaboratively by Very Good Dance Theatre by and for Black artists and/or those from African lineage. “Gardeners” playfully (re)imagines what remains of Eden after its more popular residents (Adam & Eve) have moved on, and reminds us that paradise cannot be destroyed, only lost. This project explores questions around lineage, diaspora(s), liberation, and asks all those in its midst to grapple with which burdens have been placed on them, by who, and how we can shoulder them (together). This is a Black queering of our origin stories, both a prequel and a sequel, and a conjuring of all the auto-biographies that never came to be … or at least not yet? Expect sobbing and laughing, remembering and visioning, dreaming and forgetting, and loving and loving and loving. Very Good Dance Theatre was created by Colby Calhoun (they/she), a nonbinary biracial trans-femme dance theatre artist, advocate, and activist. Their work spans the gaps between dance, theatre, and performance art and explores community as a practice, a live(d) experience, to teach and inspire collective action toward liberation. In 2019, Calhoun founded Very Good Dance Theatre, a queer-led and BIPOC-centered experimental performance collaborative, which makes its Philadelphia debut this spring with The Other Gardeners. Gardeners, set in the remnants of what was once the Garden of Eden, is an experimental dance theatre performance exploring themes of lineage, burden, and visions of liberation through community made by and for Black queer folx.
““I think Black queer narratives around both our lineage and the liberation we’re working toward are super important – especially now, where we are at very real threat of extermination,: said Calhoun. “ So, I’m very excited to have the space at Miniball to explore and experiment with how I get to share my story with myself, my stage partner, and the community.”
Other performances in the festival are:
Cast Off! Opening Night Celebration & Benefit for Cannonball
Spring into a new season of risk-taking art at the second annual Cast Off! Soiree, as a part of Philadelphia Theatre Week. Expect delicious food and flowing drink, live music, show excerpts, a sexy crowd of the city’s most daring independent artists, and plenty of fun surprises. Let’s cheers to another year of Philly’s thriving performance scene and collectively uplift the work of our community. This event will benefit Cannonball 2023 and the work done year-round to turn the tides of theatrical production to more equitable, grassroots models.
Your Show by John Miller Giltner
Heads up: this show uses rock and roll music and power points to blow your mind. The non-binary son of God tries to convince their dad to use their pronouns. Which God? They aren’t sure. He was an absent father.
Daughter of the Sea by Laura Lizcano
Laura Lizcano presents music from her newly-released, contemporary jazz album Daughter of the Sea, featuring Erin Busch on cello, Jake Kelberman on guitar, and Lizcano on vocals and ukulele. Written largely during quarantine, Daughter of the Sea is an internal look into Lizcano’s life, addressing a wide range of topics from breaking generational traumas and grappling with immigrant identity, to sexual desire and learning radical self-love. Featuring tracks sung in both English and Lizcano’s native Spanish, the album is a reflection of her experiences with and feelings of belonging to something bigger than the boxed identities imposed by culture and society. Lyrically, the album pulls inspiration from singer-songwriters like Fiona Apple, Mon Laferte and Regina Spektor, while it is influenced musically by the likes of Paul Simon, David Bowie and American composer, Caroline Shaw. The artist’s love for classical music is apparent on Daughter of the Sea, with the esteemed Daedalus Quartet performing instrumental interludes throughout the album and providing instrumentation on several key tracks. The interludes were composed by Philly composer Erin Bush.
Sarah Knittel/Marina Abramović by Sarah Knittel
Sarah Knittel/Marina Abramović is a sloppy, sexy autopsy about the agony of starting over. Ouchies, Daddy! An ooey gooey clown show that is part therapy session, part stand up, and full ARTSY FARTSY PERFORMANCE ART WET DREAM. The “Taylor Swift of Solo Female Clown Shows” is back with a solo female clown show that will leave your horny ass upping your mood stabilizers. Beats provided by sugar rush pop sensation Child Princess.
Make Me Out of Clay by Ella-Gabriel Mason
A dancer transforms into a golem – a supernatural vigilante made of riverbed clay – tasked with protecting the most vulnerable. In Make Me Out of Clay, 30-something Jewish enby, Ella-Gabriel, draws on Jewish folklore to reckon with violence and colonialism, past and present. Through movement, text, and ritual they grapple with their great-grandfather’s role in settling Jewish refugees on stolen land and reconsider the definitions of strength and survival handed down from the previous generation.
Tartar’s Wormhole by Alex Tatarsky
Alex Tatarsky makes performances in the unfortunate in-between zone of comedy, dance-theater, performance art, and deluded rant, sometimes with songs. They experienced fleeting international fame as Andy Kaufman’s daughter and used to perform as a mound of dirt. Now, they bring you a mixed bill featuring the strangest of the strange performing artists at the craggy edges of dance, theater, comedy, and music to share glimpses of their brilliance and tragedy, to be continued later this year at Cannonball.
Cannonball Festival presents risk-taking independent artists in back-to-back performances next to delicious lounge spaces, fostering creative collisions and community conversation. Cannonball disrupts traditional arts presenting models by centering artist-to-artist curation, pooling and redistributing resources to provide small-scale, high-impact production opportunities for wild, under-resourced performances, and building a sustainable arts ecosystem from the ground up. In its inaugural year in 2021, Cannonball produced 28 unique works over 21 days for 150 performances in a single venue during the Philadelphia Fringe, welcoming over 2500 audience members and winning three overall Fringie Awards. In 2022, Cannonball will return to the Maas Building and expand to the nearby Icebox Project Space, offering even more production and presentation opportunities for independent artists from Philadelphia