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Avant-Anna

Amongst a psychedelically patterned backdrop enter five dancing fembots. Their faces are brushed white with dense makeup, contrasting fervently with bright red lipstick, cobalt eyeshadow, and fluorescent, multicolored wigs. Four of them move and sway robotically to the beat in their fetish friendly getups, while the fifth swings lazily back and forth from the rafters [...]
Danny Hamen

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Amongst a psychedelically patterned backdrop enter five dancing fembots. Their faces are brushed white with dense makeup, contrasting fervently with bright red lipstick, cobalt eyeshadow, and fluorescent, multicolored wigs. Four of them move and sway robotically to the beat in their fetish friendly getups, while the fifth swings lazily back and forth from the rafters on a large aerial hoop, achieving a truly strange and titillating performance that seems almost too bizarre to be real life.

Anna and the Annadroids feels like an Andy Warhol fever dream—a surreal and visceral multi-media performance, combining dance, original music, and video production, fusing the avant-garde qualities of Dadaism with thoughtful post-modern criticism. While the show may leave you with a temporary LSD flashback and a handful of unanswered questions, Columbus-to-San Francisco transplant Anna Sullivan’s vision has more substance than just a few flashing neon lights and scantily clad dancing Annadroids.

“I think that sexuality is a natural part of our primal being—you should be able to explore that,” Sullivan said. “In our culture you can be sexy, but not too sexy—if you are then you’re a slut…so how does that work out?”

Sullivan explores these double standards, as well as a variety of other themes in her newest production Faux(pas)bia. Between 2005 and 2011, Anna and the Annadroids made their home in Columbus, benefitting from funding from Greater Columbus Arts Council and the Ohio Arts Council, staging countless performances around the town, from private parties to fetish friendly events like Trauma and Comfest.

“My time in Columbus really helped me develop something that would not only be artistically satisfying but satisfying for audiences. Dance tends to be just heavily academic—it doesn’t usually have that level of entertainment, so I want to try and combine those two…to make something that is deep and intelligent, but at the same to leave inspired and want to come back. I feel like being in Columbus really helped me formulate that idea.”

In 2011, Sullivan moved to San Francisco, wasting no time securing grants, putting on new performances, and building a Rolodex full of determined creatives to join her team, including a CCAD illustrator, Uko Smith, for her accompanied graphic novel, and her trusted technical director Alexi Alexaieff, who has helped conceptualize the delicate intertwining of dance, video production, and originally composed music.

“The different aspects of the multimedia have really come together for this production— the aerial dance is a huge component to adding to the entertainment quality of the piece, as well as the video environments. Having [Alexaieff] join as a collaborator has really upped the level of the productions for sure.”

Although her shows often posses jubilantly childlike imagery of dancing androids doing silly things in skimpy skirts, Faux(pas)bia, uses fear as the central thematic device. According to Sullivan, considering the tumultuous and fearful state of our country, the timing was just right.

“Fear and phobic situations are being pushed in our face constantly. You can’t even open your Facebook without being like, ‘Oh my God, are we all gonna die?’ It’s gotten so bad, so I feel like it’s really relevant. Faux(pas)bia resonates with me so deeply. You can choose to be afraid of something or not, and I think, for me, that I struggle with the not. I am admittedly afraid, so the challenge is figuring out how not to be. That’s why I am inspired to create art based on the mechanisms that I make up to cope with my fear.”

In a time where fear and anxiety are more prevalent than ever, we look to escapism as a means for positive outlook, to momentarily view the world through the lens of an artist.

“Performance art makes people feel less isolated. I feel like it’s our way of sharing how we are coping with the world, allowing the audience to join in.”

Faux(pas)bia will be debuting in Columbus March 30. For more information on ticket prices and show times, visit capa.com.

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Q&A: Columbus artist Mandi Caskey wants to bring us together

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Context plays one of the most important roles in our understanding of art. For instance, if you saw the unveiling of Columbus artist Mandi Caskey’s latest masterpiece, you’d probably equate the message to the daily protests that have been held in Columbus over the past week.

When the mural on the abandoned highway overpass near Scioto Audubon Metro Park was started, that wasn’t the case. It was a message meant to distract us from the hardships that COVID-19 flooded our lives with.

Now, to some people, the mural’s message, which stretches over 400 feet, takes on a new meaning.

(614) caught up with Caskey to find out the inspiration behind the piece and how she feels about subjectiveness in art. Check out a brief Q&A below and some incredible aerial footage from photographer/videographer John Thorne.

Obviously a project this big can't be tackled alone. Who all helped bring this idea to life?

From what I've read, it seems like your idea for this was greenlight very quickly and easily. Why do you think people responded to the idea in your message so strongly?

What roadblocks did you run into during the process of creating the mural?

How do you think art helps people during times of unrest and uncertainty like we're in right now?

I think there's something to be said about how the mural was made on the basis of the coronavirus pandemic and bringing people together and now it can take on the meaning of the social change that needs to happen in this world. What are your thoughts on that?


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Columbus artists employed to paint boarded-up downtown for #ArtUnitesCbus

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The Columbus arts community has really stepped up to the plate when it comes to trying to unite and inspire during tumultuous times. One of the latest efforts from visual artists around the area includes CAPA and Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) latest partnership, #ArtUnitesCbus.

“When I do these projects, I try to remember to have fun and enjoy my loved ones. Even though it’s a bad time, there’s always room for love,” visual artist Hakim Callwood said.

The creative venture will exist to employ around 20 Columbus visuals artists. Their job will be to paint murals in place of the broken windows at the Ohio Theater and GCAC office. 

The art installations are expected to be finished by the end of the week.

“#ArtUnitesCbus is just one small way the arts community is trying to help. These murals are not the answer, simply a message that we ALL can, and must, help heal our community,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, President & CEO of the Arts Council, in a GCAC press release on Monday

Now more than ever is an extremely important time to give our community artists a platform. 

“The Columbus artists are more of a family than I think people understand,” Callwood said. “Whether we all talking every day or hanging out together; it doesn’t matter. When there’s times of need we always use our talents to support.” 

Check out the progress of their murals below.

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Weekend Roundup: 5/29 – 5/31

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With Ohio slowly starting to fully reopen, initial in-person gatherings have trickled into our news feeds.

Below are a few things you can check out over the weekend if you’ve been itching to leave your house and are capable of following COVID-19 guidelines.

Friday

Fair Food Weekend @ Oakland Nursery

One of the most disappointing summertime cancellations was the axing of the Ohio State Fair. For those still wanting to get their elephant ears or deep-fried oreo fix, Chester Foods will be bringing a pop-up food truck to the Oakland Nursery. Corn dogs, funnel cakes, fried oreos, fresh-cut fries, and lemonade shake-ups will all be on the menu. Fair food will be set up on both Friday and Saturday.

Time: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. | Address: 4261 W. Dublin Granville Rd.

Saturday

Sonic The Hedgehog/Jumanji: The Next Level and The Hunt/The Invisible Man @ South Drive-In

With movie theaters in Ohio still closing their doors, the drive-in revival has been sweeping the state, nation, and world. Once drive-ins were given the go-ahead by DeWine, South Drive-In began to provide the double feature experience to eager moviegoers. Admission is $9.50 on Friday/Saturday and $7.50 on Sunday for those 12+, $2 for ages 5-11, and free for those under 4.

The showings for this weekend are as follows: 

Screen 1:

  • 9:05 p.m. Sonic The Hedgehog (PG)
  • 10:53 p.m. Jumanji: The Next Level (PG-13)
  • 12:56 a.m. Sonic The Hedgehog (Friday/Saturday only) 

Screen 2:

  • 9:25 p.m. The Hunt (R)
  • 11:05 p.m. The Invisible Man (R)
  • 1:09 a.m. The Hunt (Friday/Saturday only)

Check out the South Drive-In website to see what social distancing guidelines need to be followed.

Time: Arrive 1-2 hours prior to first showing | Address: 3050 S. High St.

Sunday

Reggae on the Patio @ Skully’s Music-Diner

If you’re in search of a relaxing Sunday, look no further than Skully’s. The music venue/bar will be opening its patio for those to have socially distance hangs, drinks, and wings. Skully’s will be setting the mood perfectly for a chill Sunday by spinning reggae music all night long. Get yourself out of the house and go catch some island vibes.

Time: 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. | Address: 1151 N. High St.

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