Posts tagged with "Theater"

Sex Tips via Heron Agency for use by 360 Magazine

Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man

Voted the best comedy for couples, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, presented by Matt Murphy and Shawn Nightingale, has announced the cast for its Chicago debut. Starring Adam Fane as Dan, Emma Jo Boyden as Robyn, and Bradley Allen Meyer as Stefan, Sex Tips will preview April 8th and open April 23rd for a limited engagement at the Greenhouse Theater Center, located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue. Becoming Off-Broadway’s Longest-Running Comedy in New York and launching a national tour before making its Las Vegas debut, this “uproariously funny” show is finally bringing its “big laughs and naughty fun,” taking the audience on a hilarious and wild ride where no topic is taboo and the insider ‘tips’ come straight from the source: a gay man. 

“I feel incredibly blessed to get to work with such a talented and group of actors for our Chicago premiere,” said Matt Murphy, Playwright and Producer of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. “I have no doubt Adam, Emma, and Bradley are going to have the audience in stitches throughout our run and I can’t wait to see them shine on the stage!”

The play is set at a local university auditorium where the English department holds its monthly meet the authors event. Robyn is the shy and studious moderator of the event and this month’s featured author is Dan Anderson of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man.  With the help of a hunky stage assistant named Stefan, Dan aims to turn this meet the authors event upside down with a highly theatrical, audience interactive sex tip seminar.

Written and directed by Matt Murphy, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man features Adam Fane as seen in Rock of Ages (National Tour); Ms. Blakk for President (Steppenwolf) and Jersey Boys (Norwegian), Emma Jo Boyden, as seen in A Recipe for Disaster (Windy City Playhouse), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Drury Lane); and Hamlet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), and Bradley Allen Meyer, an actor who studied at the Atlantic Theater Company, known for Chicago Fire (2012), Soundtrack (2019), and Black and Blue (2018). The production features scenic design by Luke Cantarella, lighting design by Brian Tovar, costume design by Tilly Grimes, and projection and sound design by Randy Blair.

Hailed by critics as “one of the best date-night shows of the year,” Sex Tips has recently been showcased on television in three different reality series whose stars performed in the show, including Kendra On Top, Real Housewives of New York, and Shahs of Sunset. The popularity of this production is no surprise given its source material is the international best-selling book of the same title, which has been published in over 50 different countries and translated into 17 different languages. Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man will run at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue in Chicago previewing April 8 and opening April 23 for a limited engagement through July 2, 2022.

Black Out Photo via Allied Global Marketing for use by 360 Magazine

Blues for an Alabama Sky Performance

Center Theatre Group hosted its popular Black Out Night Performance for Blues for an Alabama Sky on Friday, April 8, 2022, at the Mark Taper Forum. Actress Wendy Raquel Robinson began the sold-out night with a pre-show address welcoming the audience into the theatre for this special performance of “Blues for an Alabama Sky” intended for Black theatregoers. Robinson, during the welcome, gave flowers to Pearl Cleage and director Phylicia Rashad for their continued excellence in the arts and for giving voice to cultural yet universal stories. Guests in attendance included: Susan Kelechi-Watson, Geffri Maya, Patrick Walker, Larry Powell and other notables.

The performance was followed by a reception on the Music Center Plaza featuring live music. Sip & Sonder provided coffee and Gwen’s Bakery provided desserts.

This revival of Pearl Cleage’s rich and beautiful work runs at the Mark Taper Forum from April 6 through May 8, 2022, with the opening night set for Wednesday, April 13, 2022. 

Tony Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad, who originated the role of Angel in the world premiere of “Blues for an Alabama Sky” more than 25 years ago returns to direct this timeless piece that was first presented in 1995 at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. She leads a cast that features Joe Holt, Nija Okoro, Dennis Pearson, Greg Alverez Reid and Kim Steele.

Set in 1930’s Harlem, Angel is a free-spirited Cotton Club singer who’s out of luck but never out of dreams. Guy is a costume designer waiting for Josephine Baker to invite him to join her in Paris. Delia, a young activist, is trying to give the women of Harlem a choice about their future. Sam, a prominent physician, is either delivering babies or out at the club letting the good times roll. And Leland, who recently arrived in Harlem from Alabama, is haunted by the wide-open skies and the lost love he left behind. The lives and dreams of these men and women converge with passion and politics as the art and celebration of the Harlem Renaissance give way to the harsh realities of the Great Depression. 

Tickets for all other performances of Blues for an Alabama Sky are currently on sale at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum. They are also available through their website. Performances run Tuesday through Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2:30 PM and 8 PM, Sunday at 1 PM and 6:30 PM Call for exceptions. Center Theatre Group’s first Black Out Night was created in February of 2022 for Jeremy O. HarrisSlave Play and was based on the event he created in 2019 during the Broadway engagement to provide a freeing environment for Black-identifying audience members to experience the unflinching new work free from the white gaze.

The MAACM illustration by Anh Hoang use for 360 Magazine

The MAACM

Designed to Inspire: The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement opens September 7, 2021 

The world’s first museum dedicated to the American Arts and Crafts movement showcases over 800 works of art from an era valuing craftsmanship, simplicity, and honesty

The highly-anticipated Museum of the American  Arts and Crafts Movement in St. Petersburg, Florida, will open its doors to the public on Tuesday, September 7, 2021. Founded and funded by local businessman, philanthropist, and collector Rudy Ciccarello, the museum is the first in the world dedicated to the movement.

The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (MAACM) will showcase remarkable examples of fine and decorative art from this important movement, which swept the country between about 1890 and 1930. A reaction against the mass production of the Industrial Revolution, the movement promoted simple and functional designs, handcrafted with quality materials.

“This museum will be the epicenter for the study of the American Arts and Crafts movement,” said Ciccarello. “Our mission is to preserve and share these beautiful works of art with the public and to teach future generations to appreciate hand-craftsmanship and honest design.”

MAACM honors the principles that guided the movement with its finely crafted 137,000-square-foot building, which is a work of art itself. Designed by award-winning Tampa-based architect Alberto Alfonso in close collaboration with Ciccarello, the five-story museum features incredible architectural elements such as a grand atrium, skylights, and a dramatic spiral staircase, with hand-crafted Venetian plaster, wood, metal, and stone finishes. The expansive museum includes more than 40,000-square-feet of gallery space, as well as an outdoor garden with period tiles and fountains. In addition to galleries, MAACM has an education studio, graphic studio, retail store, research library, theater, event space, café, and destination restaurant.

Located in St. Petersburg’s bustling downtown waterfront arts district, MAACM joins the thriving local art and culture community.

“The Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement is a welcomed addition to Downtown St. Pete’s continuously growing art scene,” states Steve Hayes, president, and CEO of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater.

Works of Art and Programs 

Curated from the museum’s own collection and the holdings of the Two Red Roses Foundation (TRRF), MAACM features a vast selection of art, including some of the rarest objects from the movement. Personally collected by Ciccarello over more than three decades, the TRRF’s holdings, exceeding 2,000 objects, are considered the most important private collection of the American Arts and Crafts movement in the world. The most noteworthy artists, craftsmen, and companies are represented by works including furniture, pottery, tiles, metalwork, lighting, leaded glass, woodblock prints, paintings, and photographs. MAACM’s permanent collection galleries and three temporary exhibition spaces will display thoughtful works created by notable movement trailblazers such as Gustav Stickley, Charles Rohlfs, the Byrdcliffe Colony, the Roycrofters, Tiffany Studios, Dirk van Erp, Grueby Pottery, the Saturday Evening Girls, Rookwood Pottery, Newcomb Pottery, Frederick Hurten Rhead, Adelaide Alsop Robineau, and Arthur Wesley Dow. MAACM’s one-of-a-kind period installations include a complete wood-paneled room designed by the architectural firm of Greene and Greene, a custom tiled bathroom, and boathouse floor by Grueby Faience & Tile Company, and a 600-tile mural from Rookwood Pottery.

Temporary exhibitions will illuminate the movement and its lasting legacy. Love, Labor, and Art: The Roycroft Enterprise, showcases over 75 works made by the Roycroft community, including printed books, furniture, lighting, metalwork, and more. Lenses Embracing the Beautiful: Pictorial Photographs from the Two Red Roses Foundation, another opening exhibition, features more than 150 pictorial photographs and rare books from around the world. These carefully composed, camera-generated images mimic the appearance of paintings through hand-manipulated effects, reflecting the larger Arts and Crafts context.

Complementing the art on display, MAACM’s slate of programs is designed to engage the community with the collection. The Education Studio will host MAACM Family Days on the first Saturday of each month, which includes art-making, performances, and family-friendly guided tours of the collection. Monthly Third Thursday programming will feature themed activities, performances, art-making, and demonstrations. MAACM’s Sunday Film Series, on the last Sunday of each month, will feature a cinematic presentation inspired by the collection or exhibitions, followed by a docent-guided tour.

Dining and Shopping 

After viewing MAACM’s captivating exhibits, visitors can refuel at the Arts Café and Ambrosia Bar and Restaurant. Arts Café diners enjoy premium espressos, house-made desserts, snacks, and lunch Tuesdays through Sundays until 4 p.m. Featuring the talents of award-winning Executive Chefs, Ambrosia Bar and Restaurant will serve elevated American cuisine and Italian favorites Tuesdays through Sundays. Designed as a seamless continuation of the museum experience, the dining spaces feature period-inspired architecture, warm and inviting antique furniture, and art throughout.

Guests can also bring a piece of the MAACM experience home from the Museum Store, offering a carefully curated collection of handcrafted gifts, merchandise, and jewelry inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement.

Meetings & Events 

As an immersive art experience, MAACM is a unique venue for weddings, corporate affairs, and social events. Its 3,700-square-foot banquet facility can accommodate up to 250 guests, a dance floor, and a stage for live music. Adjacent to the banquet area are the art-filled Collector’s Gallery and the Vintage Bar, featuring an 18-foot Brunswick Mont Oro bar from 1900, antique breakfronts, and hand-crafted pub tables.

For more information, such as pricing and hours of operation, or to reserve tickets, visit here

Illustration by Alex Bogdan for use of 360 Magazine

PA SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES ARTISTIC LEADERSHIP TRANSITION

Today, Patrick Mulcahy who has served as Producing Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) since 2003, announced that he will step down from his role at the Festival at the end of the summer 2022 season.

Mulcahy will work with the Festival’s Board of Directors, staff, and the Festival’s parent company DeSales University to support a seamless transition to its next artistic leader, determined through a national search in the coming year. PSF is the professional Equity theatre at DeSales University.

“While my professional roots are in Shakespeare and the theatre industry, I shifted in the 1990s to pursue a career in academia,” said Mulcahy, who joined the DeSales faculty as Head of Acting in 1996. “When PSF came knocking in 2001 and then again in 2003, I was reluctant because I was happy living my passion for education as faculty.”  Mulcahy eventually accepted the leadership position at PSF, reducing his faculty role, and has led the Festival for longer than any previous leader, including the founder Rev. Gerard J. Schubert, OSFS.

“Leading the Festival has been the honor of my life and has provided me with countless opportunities to continue to learn.  A few years back, my wife and I began to talk about my returning to the faculty full-time. The timing is right for us, and we will continue to champion PSF to ‘ascend the brightest heaven of invention’ as patrons and fans.” He added: “PSF has never been in a stronger position. In the arts, we’re in the ‘humanity business’ and I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished at PSF – artistically, institutionally, and in our communities — and am confident our stakeholders and staff will continue to ensure the Festival’s ongoing success. I look forward to continuing to lead PSF through the 2022 season and then bringing what I’ve learned in these nearly two decades back to our students at DeSales.”

Under Mulcahy’s leadership, PSF attracted its first Tony Award-winning artists to its summer seasons, expanded its offerings to include musicals, productions in repertory, and as many as three Shakespeare plays per summer season. The Festival doubled its attendance, served its one-millionth patron, quintupled its endowment, eliminated its debt, created a modest cash reserve, grew and diversified its Board of Directors and company, and secured its first and subsequent grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and other major arts grant makers. In the last decade, PSF has become just one of a handful of professional theatres on the continent offering this range of programming to destination patrons in a single summer season. He also supported added accessibility programming, championed PSF’s education programs, increased the reach of its school tours, and created a Shakespeare for Kids production each season. Recently, PSF successfully pivoted in the pandemic to offer a broad range of indoor, outdoor, and virtual programming for the 2021 season.

 “Patrick’s leadership of PSF is a fitting testament to his talents as a Renaissance man – – a courageous strategist, thoughtful visionary, attentive fundraiser, effective manager, artist, motivator, and friend. Rarely have I witnessed so many successes of a leader during his or her tenure of any organization, be it a diversified for-profit business or a nonprofit arts organization,” says PSF Board President Judy Harris. “We hold enormous gratitude for all that Patrick has built and nurtured while leading PSF to the brightest of futures. We bear equal gratitude to DeSales University for having fostered the creation and growth of PSF, and for ensuring that Patrick return full-time to its esteemed faculty.”

Mulcahy led the 2009 strategic planning process that resulted in PSF’s Vision 2030, a commitment to world-class professional theatre, and a body of work that garnered coverage in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playbill magazine, and The Washington Post. He led The Campaign for PSF in 2013-2015, which raised more than $4 million, primarily for endowment growth to support PSF artistic and education programming. Mulcahy also stewards PSF’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Anti-Racism Working Group and, with the support of the entire PSF team, has achieved increasingly diverse programming and summer staffing of artists and artisans.

In addition to having worked closely with Festival founder Fr. Schubert, and having acted and directed at the Festival in the late 1990s, Mulcahy’s tenure as leader of the Festival represents nearly two-thirds of the company’s 30-year history. In his dual role as producing artistic director of PSF and head of acting for DeSales University, Mulcahy has supported the career progression of both emerging leaders and developing artists, including many alumni who are now enjoying successful performing careers or leadership positions at other theatres. 

“It’s truly been an honor to work so closely with so many great artists, Board members, and staff. I will continue to support the Festival in any way I can,” says Mulcahy, “once I shift the focus of my attention to serving the students and the DeSales University Theatre Department. It will be a joy to come back full time to this Department, which is rich with distinctive offerings, and to working more closely once again with my gifted colleagues there.”

DeSales University President Rev. James A. Greenfield, OSFS, shared, “on behalf of DeSales University, I thank Patrick for his visionary and transformative leadership of PSF.  Its founder, Fr. Jerry Schubert, was famous for his exhortation: ‘Give beauty back.’ Patrick’s work at PSF’s helm has ensured that we will be giving beauty back to countless people for generations to come.  I am confident that Patrick’s creative collaboration with the PSF board has fortified the Festival for a transition that will greatly strengthen our future.”

 

Image via Capitol Music Group for 360 Magazine

Halsey × IMAX – If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power

IMAX EXPERIENCE HALSEY PRESENTS IF I CAN’T HAVE LOVE, I WANT POWER PREMIERES IN U.S. AUGUST 25 AND INTERNATIONALLY ON AUGUST 26

Tickets Go On Sale August 3

Halsey’s New Album, Produced By Trent Reznor And Atticus Ross, Set For August 27 Release

IMAX Experience: Halsey Presents If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power will premiere in select IMAX theatres in the U.S. on Wednesday, August 25, and internationally on Thursday, August 26, for one night only. See below for cities.

The hour-long film experience, set to the music of Halsey’s forthcoming album of the same name, was written by Halsey, and directed by Colin Tilley. View the new trailer HERE.

Tickets will go on sale to the public on Tuesday, August 3. For further details, visit the website. Set for August 27 release via Capitol Records, Halsey’s new album was produced by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Halsey penned all of the album’s songs. If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is available for pre-order now on Halsey’s store.

About Halsey

Halsey has amassed more than 31 billion combined global streams to date, including more than 12.5 billion U.S. streams, and sold nearly 17 million adjusted album units worldwide.

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power follows Manic, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Current Albums chart. It was the first album of 2020 to be certified Platinum in the U.S. and attained Platinum certification in numerous other countries also.

Halsey continues to push creative boundaries, exerting an influence and impact beyond music. Her first book, I Would Leave Me If I Could: A Collection of Poetry, debuted on The New York Times Best Sellers list last November. Named as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020, they have won over 20 awards, including an AMA, MTV VMA, GLAAD Award, the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Hal David Starlight Award and a CMT Music Award. Halsey recently introduced about-face, a multi-dimensional makeup line for made for everyone. Halsey continues to speak up for important causes such as disenfranchised youth, women’s rights, mental health and the LGBTQ community.

About IMAX Corporation

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you’ve never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios are utilizing IMAX theaters to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways, and, as such, IMAX’s network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto, and Los Angeles, with additional offices in London, Dublin, Tokyo, and Shanghai. As of June 30, 2021, there were 1,654 IMAX theater systems (1,569 commercial multiplexes, 12 commercial destinations, 73 institutional) operating in 85 countries and territories. Shares of IMAX China Holding, Inc., a subsidiary of IMAX Corporation, trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the stock code HK.1970.

IMAX, IMAX Dome, IMAX 3D, IMAX 3D Dome, Experience It In IMAX The IMAX Experience, An IMAX Experience, An IMAX 3D Experience, IMAX DMR, DMR, IMAX nXos and Films to the Fullest are trademarks and trade names of the Company or its subsidiaries that are registered or otherwise protected under laws of various jurisdictions. More information about the Company can be found at IMAX’s website. You may also connect with IMAX on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Follow Halsey via her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Image courtesy of Infamous PR for use by 360 Magazine

RZA’s 36 Cinema Screens Five Deadly Venoms

36 Cinema Reveals Next Screening: Five Deadly Venoms, Next iteration of Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater on June 12th With live commentary from RZA and Dan Halsted, New Bobby Digital Single to be Unveiled During Screening

RZA’s kung fu streaming series – Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater – returns this Saturday (June 12th) with a highly anticipated screening of the 1978 Shaw Brothers’ classic: Five Deadly Venoms. The film will be streaming live on 36 Cinema, with live commentary provided by kung fu aficionados RZA and Dan Halsted.

Widely regarded as one of the most influential and enduring films of kung fu cinema’s heyday, Five Deadly Venoms tells the story of a dying kung fu master who instructs his final student to check on the activities of five former pupils, each of whom he taught a deadly style of kung fu: Centipede, Snake, Scorpion, Lizard, and Toad. The student must then team up with one of the other good pupils to destroy the evil ones. Greed, treachery, grueling training sequences, and jaw-dropping fight scenes ensue!

Five Deadly Venoms was actually the first kung fu flick RZA ever saw, introducing him to a genre of film that would have a profound impact on his life. RZA first saw the film at 42nd Street theater in Manhattan in 1979 with his cousin Ol’ Dirty Bastard; they eventually got their hands on the VHS and proceeded to watch the film countless times throughout their adolescence. RZA has credited Five Deadly Venoms for sparking his initial interest in kung fu cinema and culture, which would become a life’s passion and a major aspect of Wu-Tang’s brand and aesthetic.

RZA even sampled dialogue from Five Deadly Venoms on Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ from Wu-Tang’s debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers): Toad style is immensely strong, and immune to nearly any weapon, when it’s properly used it’s almost invisible.

Five Deadly Venoms is the second iteration of Saturday Afternoon Kung Fu Theater, following the initial screening of Heroes Of The East, another Shaw Brothers classic, in April. With several more screenings slated throughout the summer, RZA will continue to spotlight some of the perennial films of kung fu cinema on 36 Cinema: a first-of-its-kind digital screening platform.

During Saturday’s screening, RZA will also unveil a brand new single from a forthcoming solo project due out later this year. The new single will follow the release of Pugilism, RZA’s first solo single in 13 years, which was announced during the Heroes Of The East screening.

Five Deadly Venoms will stream on 36 Cinema on June 12th starting at 3pm ET, buy tickets here. The screening will be replayed at 9pm ET.

Five Deadly Venoms posters and t-shirts are available to purchase in the 36 Chambers show here.

Watch the Five Deadly Venoms Trailer here.

About 36 Cinema

36 Cinema is a first-of-its-kind ticketed experience that brings together film screening with live in-depth commentary with directors, actors, critics and super fans. The intent of 36 Cinema is to provide viewers with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the films that have inspired and influenced generations of cinephiles. 36 Cinema is distinguished from the VOD/streaming marketing in that the screenings are live events. Audience members are also able to submit questions which the hosts answer live during the screening. All events are ticketed with licensing deals in place with the accredited rights-holders.

Previous hosts of 36 Cinema screenings include director Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog, Coffee and Cigarettes), actor Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite, Tyson, Why Did I Get Married), actor and martial artist Scott Adkins (The Bourne Ultimatum, Zero Dark Thirty etc.), film archivist Warrington Hudlin, comedian Donell Rawlings, stunt actress Shaina West, among others. The platform also partnered with key cultural institutions such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art in DC and the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens.

Follow RZA, Bobby Digital and the rest of 36 Cinema via their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, their website and YouTube.

World Art Day illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

World Art Day Travels

In honor of World Art Day on April 15, 2021, here are some of the best destinations and hotels for curated art experiences from around the world. Whether it be an outdoor mural scene, a hotel’s private art collection, an artist-in-residence program, or new exhibits scattered throughout a country, there are many ways to celebrate World Art Day! And while safe travel may not be possible yet for everyone, virtual experiences are a great way to show appreciation and support. 

DOMESTIC

Hamilton Princess & Beach Club – Hamilton, Bermuda

Known as “The Pink Palace” from its iconic pastel exterior since 1885, it’s the interior of Hamilton Princess that is inside the hotel that makes it fit for royalty. A little-known secret is that the property is home to one of the most comprehensive contemporary art collections in the world. The vast and ever-evolving collection has an estimated multi-million dollar value. There really is no other resort where you can see an 18 ft tall KAWS sculpture or an original Banksy up close. Hamilton Princess has created the Escape Artist Package which includes a private tour of the contemporary art collection including pieces by Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Banksy, KAWS, Julian Opie, Yayoi Kusama, and Ai Wei Wei ,  complimentary passes to the island’s art museums with private tours upon request, complimentary Twizy electric car rental to get to and from the museums, and an assortment of art-inspired amenities and gifts, including a limited edition Mari Andrew print. 

St. Pete/Clearwater

Quickly becoming a museum mecca with 30+ museums in the destination, downtown St. Pete also boasts over 500 outdoor murals created by local and international artists throughout the hip Central Arts District. The newest additions are showcased during the annual mural festival SHINE St. Pete and can be experienced with a guided walking tour. This alfresco art experience has also been modified for COVID-19 safety as travelers can now discover them independently with this comprehensive, ever-growing list and through the app, PixelStix. And not to be forgotten, the most popular museum in the destination, The Dalí Museum, will continue to host the immersive Van Gogh Alive exhibit through June 13, 2021. The exhibition features more than 3,000 Van Gogh images at an enormous scale, viewed through high-definition projectors and synchronized to a powerful classical score. Advanced-purchase, timed-tickets are required to visit. 

Providence, Rhode Island

Known as Rhode Island’s creative capital, Providence is one of the country’s most diverse and vibrant cities for the arts, due in large part as the home to The Rhode Island of School of Design (RISD) which cultivates a creative community. Providence’s artistic offerings are best experienced on foot via Avenue Concept, Rhode Island’s first privately funded public art program. They offer two self-guided tours offering comprehensive stops with dozens of murals and sculptures to visit in Downtown and South Side/West End. As of August, a new latinx-led public art banner project honoring the healthcare workers who have helped manage the COVID-19 crisis has launched throughout the city. 

New Orleans – The National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum’s newest special exhibit “SOLDIER | ARTIST: Trench Art in World War II” explores the unique military pastime of creating art, souvenirs and tools out of the discarded materials and waste of war. Featuring more than 150 artifacts, many of which have never been exhibited, the collection also includes a background on the creators, providing a rare glimpse into the circumstances of war and the ingenuity and resourcefulness of servicemembers in the field. Such items range from souvenirs, such as ashtrays and jewelry made by servicemembers for their loved ones at home, to forbidden items like radios and musical instruments made by prisoners of war. The exhibition will be open to the public through January 2, 2022.

Daxton Hotel (Birmingham, MI) 

Opening in April 2021, Daxton Hotel features a monochromatic palette in rich, saturated color to showcase avant-garde lighting and furniture in bold shapes. This backdrop is juxtaposed with an art collection of over 400 pieces curated from across the world by Saatchi Art. The thoughtful collection is inspired by the street art found throughout the city of nearby Detroit and reflects the movement and energy of Motor City’s local scene. In addition to the distinctive art originating from across the world including Peru, Macedonia and South Korea, each guestroom is outfitted with a custom headboard backdrop from local floral muralist, Ouizi. Art in public spaces includes the restaurant Madam’s large-scale painting series of 12’ portraits in a feminine, a suspended wire installation in the conference room encouraging dialogue, a full-sized mechanical horse and 9’ pink metallic bunny. Art tours for the building are offered the first Friday of the month, providing the opportunity to engage and experience some of the Daxton Hotel’s significant works. 

The MC Hotel – Montclair, NJ

Located just 45 minutes outside of NYC, the 159 room MC Hotel is at the intersection of culture and community in the heart of Montclair’s thriving artistic community. With art curated from established and up-and-coming artists in every room, the hotel is part art gallery, part meeting place. Currently on display are pieces from painters Ryan Chin and Siona Benjamin-Kruge as well as mixed-media artist Basia Goszczynska to name a few. At guest check-in, travelers will be met by a sculpture of a flower from Karen Kimmel that stretches across two walls. The sculpture features textiles that were meticulously hand-punched then painted onsite. On the lobby wall of the bar, guests will see a sculpture from Goszczynska which is made from salvaged oyster farming bags, marine rope and steel wire. He also continues this unique interpretation of upcycling to shelves of the bar which displays Rainbow Collections, a piece featuring crowdsourced microplastics and salvaged baby food jars.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – Atlantic City, NJ

Within a two-hour drive of New York and an hour drive of Philadelphia, head toward the Las Vegas of the East Coast known for its bustling boardwalk, glitzy high-rise resorts, five-star restaurants, four-mile-long boardwalk, and six-mile-long beach. In search of an indulgent escape, this fast-paced resort is an art lover’s dream. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa features numerous extravagant glass sculptures that seem to drip effortlessly from the ceiling and rise majestically from the resort’s floor. Those colorful works of art are none other than world-famous Chihuly glass, created by master craftsman Dale Chihuly, and some of our guests come to our resort just to take in the signature pieces by the American artist. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa houses a number of stunning Chihuly pieces across the property, from the main entrance of the casino to the corridor connecting Borgata to The Water Club. Take a look at the gallery of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s Chihuly, and the next time you visit, play a game of trying to find all of the signature artwork throughout the resort. As the artist himself one said, “Glass has the ability, more than any other material, to bring joy and a certain happiness to people.” Chihuly, who was born in Washington in 1941, has had countless exhibitions of his work across the globe, from Venice to London to the Netherlands, and blew his own glass until he had a tragic car accident in 1976. Afterwards, due to challenges with his eyesight, Chihuly began serving as a director of a team of artists, who have created hundreds of massive glass installations found in buildings across the globe. 

Fitler Club, Philadelphia, PA

Fitler Club is Philadelphia’s ultimate “work/stay/play” destination, where hotel guests are granted exclusive access to all the club’s amenities for the duration of their stay. The club encompasses 136,000 square feet and includes a world-class gym and spa, a 14-room boutique hotel (The Rooms at Fitler Club), collaborative workspace (Offsite), indoor pool and a movie theater. Art lovers will enjoy the Fitler Club’s Collection, which has works by famous artists featured throughout the property. The collection includes pieces by Damien Hirst, Alex Katz, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Pamela Hanson, Mel Bochner and more. Fitler Club’s Artist In Residence program, bringing the work of Philadelphia artists, acclaimed and up-and-coming, to people’s everyday lives. Fitler Club assembled a vast collection by local artists, within a non-traditional gallery space that is Offsite, Fitler Club’s expansive workspace. Artists include King Saladeen, Eileen Neff, Elizabeth Osborn and more. Each of the artworks are on loan by the artists and every piece is for sale. In addition, those who are unable to visit the gallery in person can still enjoy the collection through an interactive virtual experience on the club’s website, which gives information on each piece located throughout the property. 

California

California is gearing up for a culturally enriching year, as various art happenings are slated to open throughout 2021. Peppered across the state, here are some key art events that visitors may enjoy for a uniquely artistic and local experience, showcasing the history and vibrancy of California:

  • Desert X + Outdoor Art in Greater Palm Springs: The third installment of the internationally acclaimed biennial art exhibition, Desert X, returns in 2021, starting March 12 through May 16. The 2021 artist lineup includes a diverse group of 13 artists ranging from locals like Kim Stringfellow to international representatives like Zahrah Alghamdi. Visitors can explore these new outdoor art installations across the desert region for an exciting socially distant experience. While in the region, be sure to check out the region’s booming art scene by walking or driving through various neighborhoods to check out artworks like the “PS I Love You” Sculpture, permanent pieces created for Coachella Music Festival, like “Etherea” and more. Find additional outdoor art in the Greater Palm Springs area here
  • The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA): The OMCA will unveil its newly refreshed garden and outdoor amphitheater space in spring 2021 as part of its multi-phased campus improvement project. This beautiful renovation will include updated outdoor sculptures, revitalized landscaping with native California plantings, new ADA accessible ramps and a permanent stage for outdoor performances- encompassing the Bay Area’s natural beauty. 
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art:The Santa Barbara Museum of Art will reveal a new, multi-floor wing in spring 2021 that will be home to new photography and contemporary art galleries, as well as renovated galleries, as part of its multi- year, $50 million renovation. The museum hired Kupiec Architects’ Bob Kupiec, who is known for his projects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Times Square, Bryant Park and more. 
  • Carmel Mission:To mark Carmel Mission’s upcoming 250th anniversary, the Carmel Mission Foundation is renovating the Mission’s main entrance and restoring a 100-year-old adobe museum that sits adjacent to the renowned Basilica. Additionally, The Harry Downie Museum at Carmel Mission is also planned to open in October 2021, showcasing “the Evolution of Carmel Mission” photography exhibit.
  • San Francisco Music Hall of Fame:Slated for this spring, the halls of the music-themed Music City Hotel will feature a gallery of transcendent local musicians including a curated collection of photographs from Getty Images, The San Francisco Chronicle and numerous local, respected photographers. A dozen local and national music writers were hired to create original one-of-a-kind gallery text that accompanies each photo. Visitors can listen to a playlist of songs by artists featured in the gallery, which includes a guided audio tour with local DJ Mike Waterman.

Texas

The art in Texas is top notch, specifically noting the art of the major cities along with other safe havens for creatives such as Marfa and which have recently gained traction. A few examples of the major cities and more of the unknown include: 

  • San Angelo, an oasis in West Texas off the beaten path, has quickly grown as a Texas art hub, with a lot of the art outdoors and accessible to the community at all times. Highlights like the Chicken Farm Art Center, where local artists are set up in refurbished farm buildings, as well as Paintbrush Alley, where over 50 artists have donated their time to create artwork in the downtown alley, are stand-alone destinations worth checking out when in San Angelo. Lastly, the Pop Art Museum which is also outdoor murals has been positively received by the community, with 31 pieces done by local artists throughout a former bowling alley, including a piece from James Gill who worked directly with Andy Warhol at the forefront of the Pop Art movement. 
  • The diversity and affordability of Houston has created an internationally acclaimed art scene, home to graffiti parks, modern museums and everything in between. Highlights include: 
  • James Turrell’s Skyspace Structure, an interactive installation which will test your perception of light and color. Wednesday through Monday weekly, the “Twilight Epiphany” sequence will take place, changing colors of lights from the built-in LED system. Guests can peer through the roof’s square-shaped aperture and into the darkening sky. Admission is free and seat reservation can be made in advance
  • Sawyer Yards, a creative campus located in Houston’s historic First Ward is set in a working train yard and made its home in a former industrial complex with several rice silos at the complex’s center. On the second Saturday of each month, the warehouses are open to the public allowing for individuals to meet the artists and explore their work, varying from paintings to sculptures to jewelry. 
  • Many people don’t often think of Dallas as an art-centric destination, but the cosmopolitan city is home to the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation. Though to experience art in Dallas one never has to enter a gallery; during a quick trek through any of the city’s walkable neighborhoods murals and iconic sculptures will reveal themselves. Here are a few:
  • Fair Park is home to many well-known works of public art, but the Crystal Chandelier at the Music Hall, by artist William Martin is often cited as a favorite.
  • Dallas City Hall Plaza boasts the large bronze sculpture The Dallas Piece by renowned British sculptor Henry Moore. It was given to the City in 1978 by W.R. Hawn in memory of his wife.
  • Deep Ellum is known for its eye-catching murals. The murals give life to otherwise mundane walls and buildings and reflect the life and times of the residents. As a result, Deep Ellum has evolved into its own exhibition of sorts and visitors have enjoyed exploring and discovering them all. Click here for a look at some of the murals and this map provides directions.

Sensei Lāna’i, A Four Seasons Resort

Set within the secluded island’s 90,000 acres, Sensei Lāna’i, A Four Seasons Resort is a one-of-a-kind wellness retreat, founded by Larry Ellison and Dr. David Agus, with the goal of helping people live longer healthier lives. At the heart of the retreat is the Sensei Way, which distills preventive health science, data and research into three simple paths for everyday living: move, nourish, and rest. These principles go beyond just healthy eating and exercise, encouraging guests to nourish their mind, body and soul, starting with an extensive art collection that inspires a creative spirit and enhances relaxation. With design envisioned by Todd-Avery Lenahan of TAL-Studio, the resort blends a sense of seclusion with wide open spaces surrounded by the forests in the spiritual uplands of Lāna’i. Intentionally placed among expansive garden foliage, the retreat houses a premier outdoor sculpture garden that includes larger-than-life pieces from renowned artists like Botero, Plensa, Lobo and more. As guests venture further, Ju Ming’s “Tai Chi Arch” opens to an onsen garden and Robert Indiana’s iconic “Imperial LOVE” sculpture ignites a sense of joy and rejuvenation. The artwork throughout the hotel was commissioned expressly for the retreat and here, art-loving guests will encounter these pieces for the very first time, stimulating thought and reflection. Other featured artists include David Ellis, Miya Ando, Haure Shimomoto, Sky Pape, Brooks Shane Salzwedel and Lauren Collin.


Rapid City, South Dakota

In the small town of Rapid City, South Dakota, where there’s no shortage of bucket list outdoor art experiences, you’ll find Art Alley,a functioning alley that was transformed into a place for artists to create and share their work with the public. The walls are covered in pieces from local artists, many anonymous, and are constantly changing as new works pop up, providing a new experience every visit. Before this area became known as Art Alley, local artists used to hang canvas artworks on the walls and eventually this evolved into painting murals. It wasn’t until a group of passionate artists and community members worked with city officials to nurture this organic art form into the Art Alley we know today. Other art-centric experiences in Rapid City include the City of Presidents, a collection of life-size bronze sculptures of past presidents placed along the city’s streets and sidewalks, the Dahl Arts Center and more.

Hewing Hotel(Minneapolis, MN)

Since opening its doors in 2016 the 124-room luxury lifestyle hotel has provided an unmistakable all-Minnesotan experience in the bustling North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. The former farm implements showroom and warehouse built in 1897 has been reborn as a cultural center for the community retaining its original brick and timber rustic charm. Immersing guests in Minneapolis, the hotel offers unique experiences with Minnesotan flair such as a monthly music series, Alley KAT! Perkins Pop Up Concert in the adjacent alley with season 6 The Voice semi-finalist Kat Perkins. The visual art of the area is on display through regularly rotating installations of local artists. The current collection includes works from Minneapolis-based artists Roko and Toni Gallo reflecting the beauty and talent within the area. 

INTERNATIONAL

Costa Rica

Mesoamerican, South American and Indigenous influences are reflected in Costa Rica’s rich art history and colorful culture. Visitors can explore Costa Rica’s capital city and cultural hub of San José which is home to some of the country’s most important art museums, consisting of diverse collections of painting, drawing, sculpture, pottery, wood carvings and more. 

  • Museo de Arte Costarricense: The Costa Rican Art Museum offers free admission and boasts a permanent fine arts collection of over 6,000 pieces from Costa Rican artists, spanning almost two centuries. One of the most intriguing displays at the museum is the outdoor sculpture garden, where visitors can see works by renowned Costa Rican artists like Jorge Jiménez Deredia, Edgar and Francisco Zuñiga, José Sancho and Max Jiménez. 
  • Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo: Costa Rica’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MADC) is situated on the site of the country’s old national liquor factory. MADC has four exhibition rooms for rotating and permanent collections of contemporary hispanic art, an auditorium and an open-air terrace for performances and events. There are approximately 900 pieces housed in the museum’s permanent collections. Currently on display at MADC is the “Inferno Tropical” special exhibition, which consists of works by six Latin American women artists from Costa Rica, Cuba, Venezuela, Panama and Brazil. Inferno Tropical is part of a series of exhibitions called “Female Voices of Latin America,” representing the largest mega-exhibition of living Latin American women artists in recent times.

Dominica

Presented by The Waitukubuli Artist Association (WAA) “WhoOosh!! 2” virtual exhibit is the first of its kind in Dominica, showcasing photography, sculptures and paintings created by local artists. The exhibit was filmed using a 360° camera in the abandoned Roseau Anglican Church, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The exhibit is an immersive experience that allows the audience to experience this real place from afar. Just like in a video game, virtual attendees can look around in any direction, interact with objects and people and examine the art up close. The exhibition is themed around the impacts that recent hurricanes have had on the artists’ way of life, interpreting their very own experience of resilience in various artistic forms. To attend, head to kubuliarts.com.

Victoria, Australia

With its brightly-colored bustling laneways, world-class theater district and inspiring art and cultural museums, Melbourne is a city fit to fulfill any art-lovers dreams. The city’s laneways are works of art in themselves while also leading inquisitive city strollers into quirky bars, old-school restaurants and hipster eateries, and hidden art galleries where there’s even more art to absorb. Those looking for a grander stage can find jaw-dropping performances in Melbourne’s theater and musical stages like the Princess Theater and Her Majesty’s Theatre in the East End Theatre District, or the inventive Malthouse Theatre. Melbourne’s art museums span the gamut – from Aboriginal art at the Birrarung Gallery or Ian Potter Centre, to modern and contemporary art at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art or National Gallery of Victoria. When it comes to art – whether it be public, modern, Aborginal or performance – there’s always something inspiring to view in Melbourne, Australia.

Argentina

Known as South America’s capital of culture, Buenos Aires, Argentina, was appointed as UNESCO’s first City of Design with the opening of the Metropolitan Design Center.  Not only that, but the city was also the birthplace of Tango, which first originated in Buenos Aires dance halls in the 1880s. Now, travelers can witness world-class tango each year during the city’s International Tango Festival and World Cup. In 2013, Argentinian artist Alfredo Segatori painted what was then the longest mural in the world, located in Barracas. And, finally, if you didn’t need more artistic inspiration to visit this lively city, Buenos Aires also hosts the world’s most important collections of Latin American art. The Museum of Latin American Art is home to the Fundación Costantini art collection which consists of 400+ masterpieces including paintings, sculptures, photography, and engravings by famous 20-century Latin American artists. 

Illustration for 360 Magazine by Rita Azar

San Francisco Ballet Virtual Benefit

San Francisco Ballet (SF Ballet) announces details for its first-ever virtual benefit, Leap Into the New Year, to be held online via Socio on Thursday, January 14, 2021 to mark the opening of SF Ballet’s historic 88th Digital Season.

With a performance curated by Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer Helgi Tomasson, the event includes delivered items, such as a meal, caviar, and gifts provided by McCalls Catering & Events; and wine provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards. The evening’s programming includes the SF Ballet performance debut of two of the Company’s new Principal Dancers, Nikisha Fogo and Julian MacKay, in the Act III pas de deux from Don Quixote, and an excerpt from a new work by Helgi Tomasson created on members of SF Ballet’s corps de ballet—click here to see a video about this work.

Leap Into the New Year also includes a newly produced prelude to Mrs. Robinson by Cathy Marston, featuring Principal Dancers Sarah Van Patten and Joseph Walsh, and excerpts from the Digital Season’s additional world premieres, Wooden Dimes by Danielle Rowe and a new work by Myles Thatcher. Complete programming and casting are included at the bottom of this release.

Proceeds from Leap Into the New Year will benefit a wide range of SF Ballet artistic initiatives, including new works, accessible digital content, scholarships and financial aid programs for San Francisco Ballet School students, and community education programs for youth, families, and seniors. The event begins at 6 pm with access to private virtual tables; a wine education session with the event’s wine sponsor, Rodney Strong Vineyards; and behind-the-scenes content from rehearsals, followed by a 7 pm performance.

Ticket holders at the Artistic Director, Principal, Producer, and Soloist levels will enjoy VIP programming, including the pas de deux from William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, rehearsed by Forsythe on Soloist Sasha Mukhamedov and Principal Dancer Aaron Robison, and the White Swan Pas De Deux from Helgi Tomasson’s Swan Lake performed by Fogo and MacKay.

Under the direction of Music Director Martin West, San Francisco Ballet Orchestra recorded music for the event using approved safety protocols at Skywalker Studios, 25th Street Recording, and the SF Conservatory of Music, which was produced, engineered and mastered by Leslie Ann Jones.

The evening is hosted by SF Ballet Soloist Madison Keesler, who will be styled by Neiman Marcus. All table guests will enjoy a private, virtual meet-and-greet with a Company dancer during the event and will have access to a virtual social wall where they can share photography and messages with other benefit-goers. Artistic Director and Principal level table guests will also have the option to request an on-site, socially-distanced photo-op with Drew Altizer Photography.

Tickets to the event start at $3,000 for a pair of guests or $1,600 for a virtual table of four for ENCORE! members. Guests who wish to receive a meal, wine, and gifts delivered to their home day-of must RSVP by December 31, 2020. Reservations may be made online or by contacting Emma Lundberg, SF Ballet’s Special Events Manager, at elundberg@sfballet.org or 415.865.6629.

LEAP INTO THE NEW YEAR’S PERFORMANCE PROGRAM 

Premier Presenting Producer

Osterweis Capital Management 

Presenting Producers

Frederick and Shelby Gans

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Linnea and George Roberts

Denise Littlefield Sobel

Excerpt from new work by Helgi Tomasson 

Composer: Jean Phillippe Rameau

Artistic Director Sponsor: Dr. Sunnie Evers

Featuring: JULIA ROWE, LEILI RACKOW, BIANCA TEIXERIA, NATASHA SHEEHAN

DIEGO CRUZ, LUCAS ERNI, LUCA FERRÒ, LLEYTON HO

Dedicated To… by Yuri Possokhov

Composer: Victor Osadchev

Artistic Director Sponsor: Jennifer and Steven Walske

Featuring: YUAN YUAN TAN 

Excerpt from Wooden Dimes, Danielle Rowe’s world premiere

Composer: James M. Stephenson

Artistic Director Sponsor: Alison and Michael Mauzé

Featuring: LUKE INGHAM, DORES ANDRÉ, MAX CAUTHORN 

Pas de Deux from Coppélia by Arthur Saint-Léon

Composer: Léo Delibes

Artistic Director Sponsors: Richard C. Barker; Yurie and Carl Pascarella

Featuring: MISA KURANAGA, ANGELO GRECO 

Excerpt from Myles Thatcher’s world premiere

Composer: Steve Reich

Artistic Director Sponsor: Christine Russell and Mark Schlesinger

CASTING TO BE ANNOUNCED 

Short film of Mrs. Robinson world premiere by Cathy Marston

Composer: Terry Davies

Artistic Director Sponsor: Fang and Gary Bridge

Featuring: SARAH VAN PATTEN, JOSEPH WALSH, LUKE INGHAM 

Act III Pas de Deux from Don Quixote by Alexander Gorsky and Marius Petipa

Staging and Additional Choreography by Helgi Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov

Composer: Ludwig Minkus

Artistic Director Sponsor: Diane B. Wilsey

Featuring: NIKISHA FOGO, JULIAN MACKAY

Pas de Deux from In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated by William Forsythe (VIP ONLY)

Composer: Thom Willems

Artistic Director Sponsor: James C. Hormel and Michael P. N. Hormel

Featuring: SASHA MUKHAMEDOV, AARON ROBISON

White Swan Pas De Deux from Swan Lake by Helgi Tomasson (VIP ONLY)

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Featuring: NIKISHA FOGO, JULIAN MACKAY

ABOUT HELGI TOMASSON

Helgi Tomasson, one of the most venerated classical dancers of his generation, embarks on his 36th season with San Francisco Ballet in 2021. Born in Iceland, he danced with Harkness Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and New York City Ballet, where he distinguished himself as a dancer of technical purity, musicality, and intelligence. Tomasson assumed leadership of SF Ballet in 1985. Under his direction, SF Ballet has become a company widely recognized as one of the finest in the world.

Tomasson has balanced devotion to the classics with an emphasis on new works, cultivating frequent collaborations and commissions with choreographers such as William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Trey McIntyre, Cathy Marston, and Mark Morris, among many others. He has choreographed more than 50 works for the Company, including full-length productions of Swan LakeThe Sleeping BeautyRomeo & Juliet (taped for Lincoln Center at the Movies’ Great American Dance), Giselle, and Nutcracker (taped for PBS’s Great Performances).

He conceptualized the 1995 UNited We Dance festival, in which SF Ballet hosted 12 international companies; the 2008 New Works Festival, which included 10 world premieres by 10 acclaimed choreographers; and 2018 Unbound: A Festival of New Works. Tomasson has also connected SF Ballet to the world, through co-commissions with companies including American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet, and Dutch National Ballet; and major tours to Paris, London, New York City, China, and his native Iceland. In 2020, Tomasson received the San Francisco Arts Medallion, created by the Museum of Performance + Design to recognize those individuals whose leadership, action, and generosity have benefited the cultural life of the San Francisco Bay Area.   

ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO BALLET

San Francisco Ballet, long recognized for pushing boundaries in dance, has enjoyed a long and rich tradition of artistic “firsts” since its founding in 1933, including performing the first American productions of Swan Lake and Nutcracker, as well as the first 20th-century American Coppélia.

SF Ballet is one of the three largest ballet companies in the United States and currently presents more than 100 performances annually, both locally and internationally. The mission of SF Ballet is to share its joy of dance with the widest possible audience—in its community and worldwide—and to provide the highest caliber of dance training in its School. Under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, the Company has achieved an international reputation as one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world.

Griffin Matthews Photography By Carson Davis Brown

Q×A With Griffin Matthews

By Justin Lyons

360 Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with actor, Griffin Matthews, to discuss his successful career. Matthews has been able to work on shows such as Dear White People, Ballers and The Flight Attendantas well as co-writing a successful musical. We were able to discuss his future career plans as well as his activism in the community.

Among acting, writing, directing and other creative positions, which one do you like the best, and which one allows you to best express your own creativity?

I love acting. I love writing. But I ultimately think I’m a director through and through. The responsibility of guiding the entire vision is so exciting to me. It’s such an honor when I get to direct because every story is a little baby that needs to be nurtured properly and guided along her way. And guess what? I’m such a dad. 

How has working with streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max changed the way you address your audience?

When you work on Netflix or HBO you get to really find your unedited voice. You get to be risky, controversial, imperfect, fabulous, complicated, political…I’ve been so lucky to get to work on Dear White People, Ballers and The Flight Attendant because I always felt like I could fire from all cylinders on day one. I did not need to ask for permission. I got to bring my entire self to each role. I got to curse. And kiss boys. And wear g-strings. And travel the world.

How do you use your experience acting in productions like The Flight Attendant to inform and influence your ideas on the stage?

I will always go back to the theater. I’m a theater kid. It’s where I honed my talent. So every experience that I have, I think about how I will translate that to the stage. I was lucky enough to travel the world and meet incredible people and see exotic places while we were shooting The Flight Attendant. I spent afternoons alone rummaging through the Bangkok market and got lost in the streets of Rome. I made friends with strangers and made peace with being a grown man and also homesick. As a writer, I’m a sponge. I soak up life and then look for an opportunity to let the water run out all over the stage.

How do you approach the assembly of a theatre show differently from how you approach the direction of a concert?

I approach concerts the exact same way that I approach theater. When I directed Shoshana Bean and Cynthia Erivo’s holiday concert at The Apollo, we had endless conversations about story and themes and vulnerability. All of those things make for an exciting night in the theater! I think a lot of concert directors only think about pyrotechnics, but I like to think about the heart of the performers. The message. The mission. And let all of those things spill out…and of course, we add some pyrotechnics, too!

How does your activism influence the projects you choose to be involved in or choose to create yourself?

Activism is such a sexy word these days. It seems like everyone claims to be. For me, my personal pledge is to be an activist when everyone’s looking, but more importantly when no one’s looking. That pledge always checks my motives and my ego as I navigate projects and stories that I want to be a part of it. Every time I sign on to a project, I bring my whole self, my whole truth, the parts that are great and the parts that are ugly. That’s what I’ve learned running a nonprofit for over 15 years. So much of the work is tough. It’s messy. But it’s real.

What are you most excited about with your career in the near future?

I’m currently developing a musical series with Ester Dean that will center black queer voices. It’s really exciting because I’m a fan of Ester and her work (Pitch Perfect, songwriter of Katy Perry’s “Firework” and Rihanna’s “Rude Boy”). She’s broken many ceilings in this industry as a songwriter, actor, musician, and host. We both want to create a show where young people (who look like Ester and I) will see their truths accurately and joyfully reflected on screen. I’m also directing a film called The Amish Project by a playwright named Jessica Dickey. When I tell people that I’m working on it, it can raise eyebrows because people don’t often hear about black directors working on pieces that don’t center black narratives. But here’s the thing: black directors want to direct EVERYTHING. And we can. And we will. And I’m excited to finally get my shot!

What is a creative role you haven’t taken up that you’d like to at some point in your career?

I really want to direct for TV. For some reason, the thought scares the hell out of me! There’s so much to manage: logistics, people, locations, safety, technology, performances, but I’m fascinated by it. It’s time for me to tackle that fear and get behind the camera ASAP. 

Wink World: Portals to the Infinite Fall Launch

This fall, Chris Wink, co-founder of Blue Man Group, will bring “Wink World: Portals To The Infinite” to AREA15, the experiential entertainment complex opening in Las Vegas September 2020. The development marks Wink’s most ambitious art and entertainment project since departing Blue Man Group in 2017. It will draw upon Wink’s well-honed skills as an experience designer, a music composer, and overall purveyor of high-impact visual entertainment.

Wink designed the 1,500-square-foot experience to take the entertaining fusion of whimsy, color, art, technology and music he pioneered with Blue Man Group to the next level. Visitors to Wink World will walk through six infinity-mirror rooms, each one featuring a stunning production number that draws upon Wink’s love of black light and other dynamic stage effects that evoke “life force” and inspire wonder. Wink’s penchant for transforming everyday objects into art or entertainment will be on display as well, as ceiling fans become transformed into kinetic art and children’s toys like Slinkies and Hoberman Spheres become elevated into a chorus line of dancers and entertainers.

Described by Wink as “equal parts psychedelic art house and carnival funhouse,” Wink World will explore the concept of infinity in a variety of conceptual and aesthetic ways. On a technical level, it charts new territory as it attempts to solve a standard problem with infinity mirrors: they always promise a glimpse into the infinite and yet the viewer always stands in the way. Wink purposely designed rooms enabling guests to “get out of their own way,” eliminating the viewer’s reflection from the equation, thereby offering a less obstructed view of infinity.

“I’ve always been a fan of infinity illusion boxes and infinity rooms, such as those by the artist Yayoi Kusama,” says Wink. “In the last few years, I’ve become obsessed with the idea of adding motion, music, and whimsy to this already aesthetically arresting format. With Wink World, I’m aspiring to introduce visitors to a fantastical world full of vivid color, surprising changes of state, and surreal, mind-bending imagery that I hope will be more than just entertaining; I also hope it will be inspiring, and perhaps even a bit mind-expanding.”

Wink employed the talents of psychedelic artist Alex Aliume, a rising star in the art scene, to bring this first installment of Wink World to life. Aliume created a custom painting for the entrance, featuring one eye that is open, looking out at the world, and another closed one, looking within. Meanwhile, one hand is raised in reverence, while the other gives the finger out of rebellious defiance—and to introduce a dose of humor. This combination of elements illustrates the sublime, yet playful sensibility embodied in all of Wink’s work. Fans of Aliume’s popular black light paintings will be in for a visual treat when they enter the sixth and final room, which will contain 30 stunning new Aliume kinetic artworks.

Wink World’s fall 2020 opening date will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information about Wink World and to inquire about purchasing tickets, follow on Facebook and Instagram @WinkWorldOfficial.