by Jim Ridley
Tonight, the new multi-use performance space OZ Nashville unveiled its first season's programming at a gala people won't soon forget, from the splashy large-screen visuals to the lavish spread (halved, notched limes as taco support — genius!) to the Ozgener family's heart-swelling generosity in explaining the rationale behind the place.
But it's the programming that left people agape, ranging from season opener Wayne McGregor — the galvanizing British choreographer who's become one of the world's major figures in contemporary dance — to composer Philip Glass in performance with violinist Tim Fain. Ever thought you'd see a performance in your hometown staged by theater director Peter Brook, of Marat/Sade and The Mahabharata renown? Even if so, ever thought you'd see it in an industrial stretch of North Nashville best known for correctional facilities, trucking and TDOT?
Below, read the full schedule, including appearances by the Austin radio play-slash-comic book ensemble The Intergalactic Nemesis and beloved children's-music rocker Dan Zanes, as well as a monthly series curated by local artists. Then imagine what this will do for the city's arts scene — and let your imagination off the chain.
NASHVILLE’S OZ ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL 2014 SEASON
New Non-Profit Arts Institution in Converted Former Cigar Warehouse
Will Present Cutting-Edge Performing Arts Productions, February — August 2014:
· A performance of the kinetic and cerebral FAR, by Wayne McGregor and his Random Dance Company (February 13)
· The Intergalactic Nemesis’ “live-action graphic novel”/radio play Book 1: Target Earth (March 7—8)
· ETHEL’s Documerica, a multimedia experience combining the virtuosic string quartet with four new music compositions and environmental photography from the EPA (April 11). ETHEL + a one-off performance in collaboration with Nashville-based musicians (April 12)
· Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord’s moving and music-filled adaptation of The Suit, written by South Africa’s Can Themba and directed by the revolutionary Peter Brook (May 22—24)
· A concert evening with legendary composer and master pianist Philip Glass and formidable violinist Tim Fain (June 20—21)
· OZ Family Day, with creative activities and the fun folk sounds of Dan Zanes & Friends (August 9)
· Thursday Night Things (TNT), a monthly series of art, performance, food, and drink, guest-curated by Nashville artists
Nashville, TN — OZ is pleased to announce its inaugural season of performances, which will run February 13 — June 21, welcoming audiences to OZ’s elegantly minimal, flexible venue, housed in a former cigar warehouse. OZ will be the first contemporary art center of its kind in Nashville, providing a home for leading artists working across multiple forms: theater, dance, music, design, and more. With performances ranging from dance to music to a comic book come-to-life, OZ’s first season will introduce audiences to some of the most significant and innovative artists working today.
The programs will begin with multi-award winning choreographer Wayne McGregor | Random Dance Company, presenting FAR, an explosive 10-person dance inspired by science, history, and cognitive research. Following that, The Intergalactic Nemesis will “animate” a sci-fi graphic novel live on stage in the form of a rollicking and retro radio drama. Acclaimed new music string quartet ETHEL will investigate our fraught relationship with the landscape through ETHEL’s Documerica, blending new musical compositions with vintage photos from the EPA and follow up with ETHEL +, a unique collaborative performance specifically created for OZ and featuring a selection of hand-picked, Nashville-based musicians. In their final US performances before returning to Paris, Peter Brook’s Théâtre des Bouffes du Nordwill stage an inventive, moving, and music-filled adaptation of Cam Themba’s The Suit. Then, one of the most influential composers of our time, Philip Glass, will join the talented young violinist Tim Fain for a rare concert. The season wraps up with a come-one, come-all family day, featuring the music of Dan Zanes & Friends.
In addition to presenting celebrated national and international artists, OZ will serve as a platform and catalyst for local talents. The monthly TNT (Thursday Night Things) program will offer leading, Nashville-based artists an opportunity to collaborate and present their work at OZ, connecting audiences with the pulse of the local art scene. Each program will be curated by a local artist or collective, and programs will be announced on the OZ website (oznashville.com).
TNT will be just one of the many ways that OZ connects Nashville audiences with the artists and ideas behind the work. Their inaugural season will feature a Site-Visit Lecture Series with artists who will be developing future projects, and the quarterly in*sight publication will hold rich interviews with artists on their work and inspirations. In addition, audiences will have the opportunity to join The Vanguard, a select group of dedicated arts lovers who will enjoy exclusive access to OZ special events, pop-up dinners, private artists gatherings, artist giveaways and the OZ annual Fête.
Father and son Cano and Tim Ozgener established the non-profit OZ in the building that once housed C.A.O., one of the world’s foremost cigar companies, of which they were Founder and President, respectively. Under their leadership, OZ has been transformed into a column-free, 10,000 square-foot performance and installation venue nestled amidst vast and artfully landscaped grounds.
OZ’s first season is programmed by Artistic Director Lauren Snelling, who comes to the organization following posts at the Park Avenue Armory in New York and the Melbourne International Arts Festival in Australia. She has engaged the artists in collaboration with one of the world’s foremost curators, Kristy Edmunds, Executive and Artistic Director of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA and previously the Consulting Artistic Director for the Park Avenue Armory, the Artistic Director for the Melbourne International Arts Festival, and the Founding Executive & Artistic Director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) and the TBA Festival (Time-Based Art) in Portland, Oregon.
Snelling asserts that, “OZ will have a unique voice in Nashville, as we commission and present significant works by artists who are testing and shifting the landscape of their fields. The hum and energy of artistic expression in Nashville has long been its life force, and I believe with the creation of OZ, artists and audiences will be asked to lean forward and actively engage with art in new and exciting ways.”
More information on OZ’s 2014 season programming is below. Tickets and further details will be posted to oznashville.com.
OZ 2014 INAUGURAL SEASON PROGRAMMING
Wayne McGregor | Random Dance Company
February 13, 2014
Wayne McGregor—“one of the most celebrated and sought-after choreographers of his generation” (New York Times)—has pioneered a groundbreaking approach to performance that crosses dance, science, film, music, visual art and technology to produce a string of exceptional works. Inspired by the philosophical inquiries of the 18th Century and French polymath Diderot’s first encyclopedia, FAR explores an era that first placed ‘a body in question.’ Ten incredible dancers confront the distortions, sensuality and feeling of the ‘Age of Enlightenmnet’ to a haunting score by the critically acclaimed composer Ben Frost. Staged in a mesmerizing environment of shadow and light created by rAndom International and lighting designer Lucy Carter, FAR binds cutting edge design with choreography developed through a radical cognitive research process.
Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is a Resident Company of Sadler’s Wells in London and winner of the South Bank Show Award for Dance, The International Theatre Institute’s Award for Excellence in International Dance, The Movimentos Award and the Critics Circle Award. McGregor is the Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet. In January 2011, he was awarded a CBE in the New Years Honours List.
The Intergalactic Nemesis
Book 1: Target Earth
March 7-8, 2014
This one-of-a-kind all-ages performance blends the theatrical magic of a radio drama with the high-octane energy of a science fiction comic book. The year is 1933 and Pulitzer-winning reporter Molly Sloan, her intrepid assistant Timmy Mendez, and a mysterious librarian named Ben Wilcott face the most serious threat Earth has ever known: an impending invasion of sludge monsters from the planet Zygon. This period-sci-fi-horror-suspense-comedy-romance is presented in a whole new format: more than 1,000 hand-drawn, full-color, blow-your-mind comic-book images blast from the screen, while three actors, one Foley artist, and one keyboardist perform all the voices, sound effects and music live.
When The Intergalactic Nemesis Live-Action Graphic Novel premiered in 2010 in Austin, Texas, more than 2,100 people turned out. Shortly thereafter, it was featured on NPR and Conan O'Brien. Now, in its third touring season, the production has hit more than 80 venues around the US, UK, and Canada, including a run at the New Victory Theatre on Broadway and a sold-out showing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The New York Post called it, “[A] happily retro multimedia extravaganza!” while collider.com declared it to be, “Something you simply must experience if you are a fan of awesome.”
April 11, 2014
Acclaimed as “indefatigable and eclectic” (The New York Times), “vital and brilliant” (The New Yorker), and “one of the most exciting quartets around” (The Strad Magazine), ETHEL invigorates the contemporary music scene with exuberance, intensity, imaginative programming, and exceptional artistry. Their latest performance draws inspiration and imagery from a forty year-old archive of images commissioned in 1971 by the then-newly established Environmental Protection Agency. The resulting tens-of-thousands of photographs captured the state of the environment over a decade and its impact on society.
Directed by Steve Cosson, ETHEL’s Documerica juxtaposes manipulated vintage visuals with contemporary musical compositions performed with electrifying virtuosity by ETHEL. Big sky vistas, ghost towns, mountains, and slices of urban environments accompany this musical meditation, capturing America’s complicated relationship to its land. New music by the members of ETHEL, as well as by acclaimed composers Mary Ellen Childs, GRAMMY Award-winning jazz drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr., Jared Impichchaachaaha’ Tate (Chickasaw Nation), veteran-activist and blues maven James “Kimo” Williams, is paired with stunning visuals by renowned projection artist Deborah Johnson.
April 12, 2014
At the heart of ETHEL is a collaborative ethos—a quest for a common creative expression that is forged in the celebration of community. In this one-night-only, just-for-Nashville performance, ETHEL + invites a select group of Nashville-based musicians to jam with the quartet and discover new sounds. Please check oznashville.org for an announcement of the guest local musicians performing with ETHEL.
Peter Brook / Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord
May 22-24, 2014
Renowned director Peter Brook brings to life a moving and music-filled adaptation of The Suit, a bold fable with strong historical reference to life under Apartheid by the talented and tragic South African writer Can Themba. The Suit centers on middle-class lawyer Philemon, his wife Matilda, and the eponymous garment left behind by Matilda’s lover when Philemon catches the illicit couple in the act. As poignant punishment, Philemon makes Matilda carry the suit as a companion in her daily life, feeding it, entertaining it, and parading it in public as a reminder of her adultery. With a small cast and an innovative staging that pulls the musicians on stage and into the scene, The Suit fills a powerful old story with new life and energy. “This is theatre as it should be,” raved the UK’s Daily Telegraph, while The New York Times declared that, “Everyone onstage is pretty close to perfect.”
Peter Brook was born in London in 1925 and has achieved distinction throughout his career across the disciplines of theater, opera, and literature. He has directed numerous Shakespeare plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company and in 1971 he founded the International Centre for Theatre Research in Paris with Micheline Rozan, which opened its permanent base in the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in 1974. Brook first adapted Themba’s novel for the stage in a French-language version in 1999. Working with his long-time collaborator Marie-Hélène Estienne and composer Franck Krawczyk, Brook has translated the play for an English audience and set it to music from sources as diverse as Franz Schubert and Miriam Makeba.
Philip Glass & Tim Fain
Jun 20-21, 2014
Famed minimalist composer Philip Glass will join adventurous young violinist Tim Fain for an intimate evening of new classical music. The program will feature solo performances of Glass compositions by both Fain on violin and Glass on piano, as well as a few remarkable duets pairing their talents.
The Boston Globe has called Fain “a charismatic young violinist with matinee idol profile, strong musical instincts, and first-rate chops.” A graduate of The Juilliard School, Fain has captivated audiences with debuts at the Baltimore Symphony, Lincoln Center’s Most Mozart Festival, and with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, among others, in addition to performing as a featured soloist with the Philip Glass Ensemble at Carnegie Concert Hall in a concert version of Einstein on the Beach. Fain can be heard on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for the film Black Swan.
Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times. In the past 25 years, Glass has composed more than twenty operas, large and small; eight symphonies (with others already on the way); two piano concertos and concertos for violin, piano, timpani, and saxophone quartet and orchestra; soundtracks to films ranging from new scores for the stylized classics of Jean Cocteau to Errol Morris’s documentary about former defense secretary Robert McNamara; string quartets; and a growing body of work for solo piano and organ.
FAMILY DAY AT OZ
Featuring Dan Zanes & Friends
12—4:00 p.m.; performance at 2:00 p.m.
Family Day at OZ is an annual, full-day event of indoor and outdoor arts activities for young people and families, designed to spark creativity and expression. Dan Zanes (of indie legends The Del Fuegos) and his Brooklyn-based band highlight the days’ activities with a family-friendly concert featuring music from their Grammy-nominated children’s albums. The audience is always invited to sing along and join in the dance party, and you never know who might show up to join the band in Nashville!
Dan Zanes has been on a mission to bring great music that families can enjoy together to communities across the globe. His exuberant and inventive original music has sparked collaborations with Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, Sheryl Crow, Nick Cave and Natalie Merchant. The New York Times Magazine has said that, “Zanes’ kids music works because it is not kids music; it’s just music—music that’s unsanitized, unpasteurized, that’s organic even.”
TNT (THURSDAY NIGHT THINGS) AT OZ
Artists To Be Announced
Every Third Thursday (Feb 20, Mar 20, Apr 17, May 15, Jun 19, Jul 17, Aug 21)
OZ will host a monthly program curated by Nashville-based artists representing multiple disciplines of performing and visual arts. Rather than observing a performance, audience members will get a glimpse into the artistic process of Nashville’s diverse and artistic talent in a relaxing setting, complete with signature cocktails, food trucks and conversation every third Thursday.
Housed in a newly-renovated former cigar warehouse in Nashville Tennessee, OZ is a flexible and expansive performance and installation space that enables artists from multiple disciplines to present brave new art in a non-traditional context. OZ adds to the cultural landscape of the region and the world by offering a diverse program of performing and visual arts events, and by inspiring curious audiences of all ages. Established by Cano and his son Tim Ozgener in the headquarters of their former business CAO Cigars, OZ is a gift back to the city and country that have been so hospitable to them as first-generation, Turkish-Armenian immigrants.