Five Questions: An Interview with Shey Rivera

fluxusMotif contributor Kim Kinzie recently spoke with local artist Shey Rivera about her upcoming Fluxus Cabaret.

Kim Kinzie: I’ve never heard of a Fluxus Cabaret.  What can one expect at one of your shows?

Shey Rivera: Expect the unexpected. Jason Curzake and I have created this interactive collective performance series in collaboration with Sussy Santana, Elizabeth Keiser and other artists. We bring together artists of different mediums and backgrounds. The audience is part of it and can jump in and perform if they feel compelled. It’s more than performance art – a sort of a “non-theater” experience, if you will. The artists are central to the performance, of course. They are the ones who decide what their pieces will be; we merely provide a theme and a flexible structure.

KK: You said “performance series.”  How many performances are you planning, and do they have a common theme?

SR: This is a four-part series inspired by the full moon in the farmers almanac, and the themes are ritual-oriented. We held the first ritual last December, when we hosted “La cena de la luna fría” (“The Feast of the Cold Moon”). The setting was a dinner party where we invited 12 artists from a variety of disciplines. Each artist was assigned a Tarot card from the major arcane as their cue to perform. The cards were called out at random. The stage was a large table, with food, candy, tools and non-edible props in the plates.

In February we hosted “La boda de la luna de nieve” (The Wedding of the Snow Moon). This event was slightly more structured and elaborate. Seventeen artists participated and guests were encouraged to come dressed in wedding attire – appropriate or inappropriate. The performances ranged from drag and stop motion animation to monologue, dance, and music. This time, people in the audience got involved and spontaneously engaged in different performances throughout the night; one of the highlights being when one of the guests began cutting her hair while she belted out a song. That was incredible.

Next we’ll host “La gallera de flores y leche” (The Cockfight of Flowers and Milk). The series will end with a Funeral in June, naturally.

KK: Death and weddings are rites of passage, so putting them together in a series makes sense. Why a cockfight?

SR: The cockfight is a ritual of sport, albeit a controversial one in the US. We are inviting people to come wearing a red or green mask and wear anything with feathers. Other than that though, you’ll have to come to the performance to see how it plays out!

KK: It all sounds amazing, though I’m slightly intimidated at the thought of performance art. Is this something for non-artist shmucks like me?

SR: Definitely! As a matter of fact, this series hopes to make this type of art accessible to everyone. Although audience participation is highly encouraged, it’s not required. It’s fine to just sit back and experience the multiple art pieces that will happen in the space. But, don’t worry if you can’t figure out what’s happening. It’s not a traditional show.

KK: Finally, here’s a question that has nothing to do with art. Which three items would you like to have with you in the zombie apocalypse? Please don’t say a paintbrush.

SR: Ha! That’s a tough one. Since I’m Puerto Rican, I’d take a machete for killing zombies and making things. Secondly, bobby pins for lock picking and looking good. Last, I’d bring a rope to make a hammock that hangs above the hordes of zombies. Gotta have a good sleep under the stars after the daily stress of the post-apocalyptic world.

If you’re interested in attending the Cockfight of Flowers and Milk, the performance is Sunday, May 18, from 6 – 8:30pm at 95 Empire at As220. Advance tickets are not required.

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