Saturday, March 12, 2005

PAC/edge Fest

The PAC/edge festival here in Chicago opened quietly last night.

I have a good number of gripes about the way the festival is presented and organized but never the less as I enter the third year of the festival I realize that during this month in March is the only time I really feel like their is energy in the performance community in Chicago. I feel artistically excited and at home.

Not that everything will be great, but there are going to be numerous experiments, small scale works and a mix of installation, theater, performance art, and dance that you wish the MCA was doing all the time.

This year I am not performing and have mixed feelings about not being involved more but I have several friends putting up shows.

Kata Mejia opened a piece last night, I Draw You You Draw Me In. She won a commission from PAC for last year to produce it and I think it is interesting and typifies the PAC/edge Fest performance right now.

Tonight my friends in Weather Talking present the opening of a collaborative piece.

Kim of Morganville has hurt her leg and hopefully they won't have to cancel their show.

Also Deva Eveland has built a box to blow up balloons in.

Goat Island is performing one of their rare performances.

Malin Lindelow has an installation you can wail in.

Julia Rhoads/Lucky Plush presents Surrelium, which was a nice piece when I saw it in a version a year or so ago.

Nomy Lamm is someone I know from my days in Olympia, WA. She has been quiet since moving to Chicago but now she's giving it up one night only at PAC.

Hopefully this year will go well and the organizers will start to get it in the festival artist should be getting free passes to the festival shows, the volunteer system could use a revamp, and the opening night party priced itself out of an audience. And so on.

Right now they seem like they are trying to make due as they establish themselves. Maybe the money will start to flow in and they won't lose their audience in the meantime.

They have a fancy new entrance-way featuring a nice video projection of a swimmer by the way.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

so Erik, do your gripes extend beyond the volunteer system, artist passes, etc.? I suspect they do, although you may not want to get into dishing a bunch of dirt. Since, as you say, this is the one time of year when there's a lot of performance energy and events going on, you can quickly end up biting the hand that feeds you.

March 21, 2005 11:45 AM  
Blogger Erik Fabian said...

i guess i can say what i like cause i am not in the show and someone needs to say something both publicly and privately, while still couching it in the understanding that fundamentally it is a good thing for us that they are doing anything at all.

i suppose the question is what is useful to say.

i would say i feel they have a problem when my girlfriend goes to buy a ticket and the sales guy is in such a bad mood that he sneers at her.

i suppose you are fishing for thoughts on the aesthetic choices. that is delicate and should be talked out carefully. i think a great deal of the production/management choices effect the aesthetic impact of the festival though and are representative of a point of view towards art and artists as well. it may be easier for them to fix the production problems first.

a lot of it is probably a money thing.

thanks for asking Deva.

March 21, 2005 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came to your site accidentially, but found it very good to read. Thanks.

March 27, 2005 9:56 PM  
Blogger Erik Fabian said...


March 28, 2005 6:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, came across your blog by accident but agree with much of what is said and feel compelled to add to your comments. The ogres who run the Athenaeum should NOT be supported. They are mean, inefficient and awful people. I don’t know why they are in the business if they don’t want to help performing artists. I know many artists and groups who have rented space at the Athenaeum and have horror stories to tell. But that is just one of the problems. Though many wonderful artists are involved in the PAC festival, it is not a true representation of the performance scene in Chicago. There is NO application process. There is NO panel of artistic peers/experts to help select the participants. There is an overly large number of artists who have come from the School of the Art Institute. The whole thing is terribly inbred. Most of the artists know each other and many artists present multiple works. That’s silly. I don’t even want to think about the racial/ethnic breakdown of artist representation. I think it’s a curatorial mess. Many people I know are of the same opinion. And I don’t feel any sort of ‘energy’ around this event. They are the same people who show work all the time all over the city. The only difference is they are doing it all at once at the same place. Big deal. Perhaps the festival will mature into something more worthwhile.

April 05, 2005 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We were involved in PAC/edge this year and it was the last time we will ever work with these people. PAC KNEW THEY WERE GOING UNDER BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER THE EVENT! But they chose to dupe a group of artists into kissing their asses only to take over $100,000.00 (read the Sun Times article), put it in their pockets and run. They are liars and theives.

May 20, 2005 4:55 AM  
Blogger Erik Fabian said...

Anonymous...I am interested in your comment. I don't know how exactly they "duped" you into kissing their asses and I understand it sucks to feel misled but what exactly was your investment in PAC, how did they mislead you? You did perform didn't you? you got you shot and a audience. What more were you hoping for?

May 24, 2005 4:22 PM  

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