Downtown's Contemporary Arts Center announced Monday (Feb. 10) the lineup for the second iteration of its performance and arts festival This Time Tomorrow. Unfolding over five days (April 22-26), the fest includes several "cutting-edge" regional and North American premieres by artists from across the globe, as well as local creatives.
The first This Time Tomorrow kicked off last April with nine main performances at venues across Cincinnati. Like last year, the fest, according to a press release, seeks to engage with "crucial themes that speak to our contemporary time."
Described as a "five-day fever dream of imagination, experimentation, urgency and connectivity" by Raphaela Platow, CAC's director and chief curator, TTT originally grew out of the center's Black Box series, which has offered boundary-breaking performances since its inception in 2011, bringing around a dozen performances to Cincinnati each season. (Last year, because of the inaugural TTT run, the series was condensed to six shows.)
“(This Time Tomorrow) allows for improved opportunities for audiences to dig deeper into an artist’s practice and to understand the industry as a whole,” Drew Klein, CAC's performing arts director, told CityBeat last year. “That’s one of the big things we’re trying to accomplish.”
Like last year, the fest will include the Goetta Institut, a free morning discussion series of conversations with artists participating in TTT. As the name implies, guests can also eat goetta (vegan options will be available!) and sip on coffee.
Here's the lowdown on what shows are slated for 2020's This Time Tomorrow, as cited on their website:
- Choreographer duo jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham's will perform the CAC-commissioned This is a Formation, the latest work in their Let 'im Move You series, which draws from J-Setting dance performance — a style popularized by the Prancing J-Settes of Jackson State University's marching band — to "confront conceived notions of black queered bodies in public assembly." This will be its regional premiere.
- Catch the North American premiere of Portuguese artist Raquel André's Collection of Artists, another CAC commission and also a part of a larger Collection of People series. Through this work, she has collected stories — which she will tell — from artists worldwide.
- Brazilian choreographer Alice Ripoll will present the North American premiere of aCORdo, a "movement-based, interactive rumination on social stratification and police violence", as performed by Cia REC, a group made up of four black dancers from Brazil's favelas (a slum or shantytown located on the outskirts of larger cities).
- Elegy, from artist Gabrielle Goliath, is described by frieze.com as "multi-channel, open-sound video installation" featuring a group of female vocal performers who, according to the TTT release, "collectively enact a ritual of mourning." It is described as an "iterative commemoration of female and LGBTQI+ individuals subjected to fatal acts of violence" in Goliath's home country of South Africa.
- A music-based performance in partnership with 21c Museum Hotel is I Got Life, And I Got Freedom: Exploring Personal & Social Change Through the Music of Nina Simone, in which Nigerian-American multihyphenate Sharon Udoh — who grew up in Cincinnati and works under the moniker Counterfeit Madison, her Art Funk project/band — will present a live performance that explores and recontextualizes the music of the legendary singer Simone. Counterfeit Madison released a Nina Simone tribute album in 2016.
- In partnership with Price Hill Will, musician Jens Lekman will perform with youth orchestra MyCincinnati. As Lekman states on the TTT lineup's website, he previously performed with the group in 2015. He says that the show became one of the most "memorable moments" of his whole career and he's dreamed of returning since. After conversations with Eddy Kwon, the local orchestra's co-founder and artistic director, Lekman expanded the idea to a coast-to-coast tour, with him and Kwon playing with youth orchestras "in every corner of the USA" — including a Cincinnati return on April 26 for TTT.
- Another performance in partnership with the 21c, local creative studio Intermedio will return to the fest with another interactive, participatory musical work: Oscillators. "Audience-activated swinging glass pendulums create an evolving musical texture that turns collective actions into sound," the show's description states. "Each pendulum’s movement is used to generate a live musical score that is continuously performed by an electronic player piano." The oscillators will translate the audience's collective physical actions into "distinct rhythmic trajectories and pitches." Their performance last year, On Touching, fielded similar intersections of sensory information.
- Head over to the Mercantile Library for local artist Britni Bicknaver's yet-to-be-named performance, which will reoccur every 10 minutes. In reference to the Merc's rich history, Bicknaver will examine the space by way of sound, "weaving the personal with the public and the didactic with the surreal." Audiences will experience interconnected stories and facts meant to point at the concept of a community's collective history and the purpose of shared public spaces, such as the library.
- Artist and singer/songwriter Jay Bolotin, a Kentucky native and longtime Cincinnati resident, will present The Darktown Sermons, described as an "evening of song and moving pictures." Sharing the stage with him will be an animated preacher voiced by Will Oldham, better known as Bonnie "Prince" Billy.
- Dubbed an "immersion in music, literature and movement," The Practice of Love will see Norwegian musician, composer and writer Jenny Hval exploring the connection between life, art and the nature of creativity as she performs alongside experimental musicians, vocalists, dancers and video artists to create an immersive soundscape that draws inspiration from 1990s trance music. The performance is based on her 2019 album of the same name.
- Josh Fox's one-man show The Truth Has Changed hones in on America's current era of misinformation and propaganda, from the 9/11 attacks and Iraq war to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and all the way to Donald Trump's presidency. An environmental activist, film director — his 2010 documentary Gasland was Oscar-nominated — playwright and reporter, Fox gleans details from his experience on the frontlines of these modern events.
- In partnership with Wave Pool is Mark Harris and Yoshi Nakamura's Timberland.
Tickets are on sale now. For more info on This Time Tomorrow, visit thistimetmrw.com.
Read CityBeat's reviews of the TTT shows in 2019 here.