POWER BALL PRE-PARTY EXPERIENCE
Centerpiece by Sarah Keenlyside
7 PM – 9 PM
Sarah Keenlyside is a visual artist and storyteller, creative collaborator, and co-owner/creative director of Toronto Restaurants La Banane, CXBO Chocolates and Man Ray bar à vin (opening soon). Her body of work crosses widely disparate disciplines, but shares common threads. Blurring the line between reality/historicity and artifice, her work is always immersive and often incorporates performances and props. It can take the form of a culinary experience, a video or light installation, a box of chocolates, or a re-creation, as in her popular Ferris Bueller's Bedroom installation.
For Power Ball: 21 Club, Keenlyside will present Centerpiece; a reimagining of the dining experience. At its best, the intricate choreography of classic restaurant service can go virtually unnoticed. Wine glasses mysteriously never empty, exquisite dishes uncannily appear at the perfect time, and leftover crumbs are whisked from the table never to be seen again, all as if by invisible hands. Servers often wear all black—the colour of shadows—blending into the dimness of a dark and shimmering dining room. A great meal can unfold like a dream, effortless and ethereal, largely due to the talents and hard work of a team of cooks and servers toiling behind the scenes.
At the 21 Club, the reverse is true. The invisible becomes visible. The background becomes the foreground. Guests are whisked through a clandestine back door and transported into a space where the glorious dance of service forms the centerpiece of an epic meal —an orgyistic, Busby Berkeleyesque, celebration of the craft of service.
Cuisine by Man Ray Bar à vin, Restaurant La Banane and CXBO Chocolates
POWER BALL PARTY
Artist Projects by: Bruno Billio, Chelsea Culprit, Max Streicher and The Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency
9 PM – LATE
Bruno Billio is a Canadian artist working from an interdisciplinary background. At once an installation artist, a sculptor, and a designer, Billio creates challenging works informed by his command of each of these practices. Currently living and working in Toronto, he has been the resident artist at the Gladstone Hotel for the past decade. Billio has exhibited internationally in Milan, London, Miami, New York and Los Angeles.
His artistic practice is informed by the active displacement and staging of the found object, a contemporary art strategy with a historically established lineage. The everyday is reinterpreted through its spatial and contextual re-appropriation by the artist, who presents himself by proxy as both an interventionist and an inventor. By de-familiarizing the everyday object, Billio effectively reinterprets the material and social valence of the object in space. Whether it’s the object’s utility or physical context that is thrown into question in his installations, Billio forces the viewer to confront the fragility of material determinism and the utilitarian dictates of the familiar commodity. The conventional use of the commodity is literally evacuated when sculpturally monumentalized as installation. Thus, Billio’s practice is at once an emptying of meaning and a renewal of the proscribed object.
The architectural tendencies in Billio’s work are revealed in the structural play and whimsy of many of his installation pieces. Whether a fireplace seemingly elevated by women’s shoes, or columns of books creating literal textual armatures in an interior, the ironic negotiation of utility, culture, and aesthetic is always seemingly at the forefront of the artist’s imagination. Nickel plated suitcases, and perforated suitcases illuminated from within, reveal a tendency towards the investigation of interiors and exteriors, structural combinations and compromises, all informed by an aesthetic sensibility which is fuelled by his sophisticated sense of design.
Chelsea Culprit explores the understanding of bodies mediated, colonized, disfigured and transformed by the flows of global capital, and in particular, its signs. In her new works Culprit elides narrative, emphasizing a formal deconstruction of the linguistic and visual codes that lend intelligibility and meaning to form, color, and the body (the body itself a sign to be performed and transmitted).
Culprit lives and works in Mexico City. Recent solo exhibitions include Right to Remain Elegant with Galería La Esperanza at Barba Azul, Mexico City and Fishnets at Uma Certa Falta de Coerencia in Porto, Portugal. Select group exhibitions include Dwelling Poetically: Mexico City, A Case Study at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Pintura Reactiva at Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; Roman Road, London; Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco; Foxy Production, New York; and Galerie Ophdal, Stavanger.
Max Streicher’s work typically consists of inflatable forms that are sustained and animated by the force and movement of air. Like balloons, his works exist in a literal state of tension. Both consist of air pressurized against a taut membrane. And, like balloons, while they can inspire playfulness and delight, the fact of their vulnerability only heightens their sense of mystery and magic. His works are always shifting between a playful occupation of space and a sad or troubling sense of deflation, shrinking and absence. In these works, Streicher is interested in pushing what is typically a whimsical and ‘harmless’ medium towards the awkward and unwieldy, to places where its physical tensions can speak even more to existential tensions.
What distinguishes his inflatable works from their commercial counterparts is his interest in the ‘kinesthetic’ potential of the medium. More than kinetic, his works evoke qualities of physical memory, such as the appearance of breath in a moving, swelling form. How this sense of breathing is felt depends on what the viewer brings to the experience. This may be a joyful recollection, recalling laughter, singing, a birth or it may also feel like constriction, suffocation or a loss of control. Streicher’s works are created in recognition of the characteristics we share with these objects: a mysterious, powerful but tenuous, animating inner force.
Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency
The Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency is the first intergenerational artist-in-residency program for LGBTQ2+ visual artists in Canada, operating since 2013. It offers studio space as well as free room and board to juried applicants for the duration of the residency. Residents also receive mentoring and studio visits from critically acclaimed artists and curators.
By exploring Canadian art history and artistic practice through a queer lens, while supporting artists and art production, we foster communication across generational lines. Through this community building initiative, artists highlight the trajectory and longevity of LGBT persons, both historically and reaching into the future.
Since 2013, Tobaron Waxman has directed the Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency as a combined curatorial, relational/live art, and socio-political praxis. Waxman lives and works in Toronto and New York as a curator, artist and vocalist and his work in video, photography and performance interrogates how borders and notions of citizenship make moral and ethical claims on our bodies.
The Power Ball Party will feature performances curated by the Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency, including Carlotta Carlisle, Gay Jesus, Dainty Smith and Zyra Lee of Les Femmes Fatales burlesque, Tynomi Banks and Drag King Flare, with a special installation by Residency alumni Michel Dumont.
Michel Dumont is a queer Metis, disabled, two spirited artist. He currently resides in Thunder Bay. He enjoys breathing new life into discarded vintage tile by making mosaic pieces. He also works in wearable art, using packing tape, mylar, cellophane and LED lights.
Dumont has shown at Queer Landscapes, Queer Intersections at the John B. Aird Gallery (Toronto) and the Queer and Peace Vernissage at the Peace Centre at Dawson College (Montreal).
DJ Phillippe has been filling queer dance floors in Toronto for over a decade now with monthly residencies at Tapette, Fit and regular guest sets at The Black Eagle, DFMO and new spaces across the city. He also happens to host Musical Bingo at Soho House Toronto, Miami, LA and New York; is co-founder of Yohomo.ca (the city's only destination for everything LGBTQ+ in arts, nightlife and culture¬); is known as Dancing Phil on YouTube and is also the Programming Director for Pride Toronto this summer. He knows how to get a dance floor twirling with big, uplifting beats, feel-good vocal anthems and songs that will keep your hands in the air like you just don't care. Bring your dancing shoes—you've been warned.
Since 2014, Toronto duo Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist have been sending pulses through the underground as Ice Cream. One part DNA, one part 1999, with a live show that vibrates between cold stares and raw sensuality, Ice Cream are soundtracking a dance party for dark times.
Their debut long player, Love, Ice Cream, produced with Ben Cook (Young Guv, Fucked Up) and Tony Price (Actual Water), was released on Bad Actors to critical acclaim. With Moog synthesizers, angry bass guitars, distorted drum machines, and the sly humour of their lyrics, they wrestled with what it means to be a woman in late capitalism. No wonder they’re frequent collaborators with some of Toronto’s most interesting musicians: Crist appears on both U.S. Girls albums Half Free and In a Poem Unlimited, Bezic lent her bass playing skills to Slim Twig's live band in support of his album Thanks for Sticking With the Twig, and both Crist and Bezic shred in Toronto “supergroup” Darlene Shrugg.
Ice Cream are working towards the release of their new album in Fall 2019.