ARTIST SPOTLIGHT 03: BRENDAN DRAKE
Get to know Brendan Drake, choreographer, and 3 of 10 presented artists during our upcoming performance series, Volume VI, Issue II: MOVEMENT CURRENCY from August 19 to 21, 2016. Brendan Drake's dark humored narratives tackle identity politics while poking fun at queer "villains". Learn more about Brendan on our Artist Spotlight and see his work in 02 LOSS // Saturday, August 20 at 7:30pm + 04 CREDIT // Sunday, August 21 at 7pm.
Three words that Describe your Choreography
Queer, Spectacle, Romance
Brendan Drake is the recipient of a 2015 CUNY Dance initiative grant and residency through Baruch College. His work has been presented at HERE Arts Center, Gowanus Loft, Triskelion Arts, The Tank, the CURRENT SESSIONS, and additionally, was a fall 2015 guest artist at UMass Amherst. In addition, Brendan choreographed the fall 2014 “Equality = Love” campaign for Adidas Originals/Pharrell Williams, and served as movement coordinator for editorial shoots with Elle Magazine, Cate Blanchett, and singer Lorde.
About Brendan's Creative Process
I am interested in the innately human nature of comedy and its capacity to tell a disturbing narrative. I want my audiences to feel entertained as well as disturbed by their own amusement by creating performances that are admittedly dark in their humor. Using choreography, I intend to pull apart the uncomfortable layers of identity politics, showing the world I want to live in while negotiating the difficulties of the one in which we inhabit.
What influenced the concept/work that you are presenting at the CURRENT SESSIONS?
ROPE is directly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 film of the same name which centers around two effeminate young men who strangle their classmate. I was interested in exploring this bizarre history of gay men being portrayed in hollywood films as sadistic villains… often with extreme camp. This concept is also used in films like The Maltese Falcon, Strangers on a Train, a handful of James Bond films and even the Harry Potter franchise (to say nothing of the vampire film genre).
The villains in ROPE embody a very specific stereotype: They are sarcastic, conniving gossip queens with a flair for fashion and fondness for their mothers. With this work, I am exploring how these characters trope and the scope of queer representation (and often exploitation) in film and pop culture affect queer sensibility.
Name three artists that you admire, and a small description why
Jack Ferver for his use of camp, Martha Graham because of her flair for the dramatics and Keith Haring for taking difficult societal themes and putting them on every surface of New York City (walls, t shirts, basketball courts, bodies).
In your words, what was the best performance/exhibition within the past year, and why?
Netta Yerashalmy’s Helga and the Three Sailors at Danspace Project. She really used the whole sanctuary of St Mark's church in such a calculated and visually inventive way.
When the Stars begin to Fall at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston. This was a beautiful exhibition of artists from the American south, many of whom are self taught. Honorable mention to Geo Wyeth's video installation Quartered.
See Brendan in Volume VI, Issue II: MOVEMENT CURRENCY in 02 LOSS // Saturday, August 20 at 7:30pm + 04 CREDIT // Sunday, August 21 at 7pm.