Photo by Jaime Carrera
In conjunction with the third manifestation of the Artists in Storefronts project, which creates temporary art installations in Whittier neighborhood storefronts, performance artist Jaime Carrera is heading up the new performance arm of the project. The Outlet Performance Festival takes place in a basement underneath Los Amigos, and feature artists from multiple disciplines including dance companies Hijack and BodyCartography Project, and musicians Ghostband/Visionquest and the Funeral and the Twilight. Carrera will perform as well, both with Cock E.S.P. and in a piece for the final show in February. We got in touch with Carrera over email to discuss his thoughts about the festival.
Photo by the artist
What is your vision for this festival?
As a multidisciplinary artist, I live my life in several artistic social circles. I've met and befriended an impressive number of incredibly talented artists throughout the years, all of them with various degrees of experience and recognition. My hope is to shed a spotlight on these artists on the same playing field, and possibly cross interests with their audiences.
I also want to expand the perceived notion of what performance is. People tend to limit it to a few things -- like modern dance and such -- but these artists all have a very strong sense of the sonic and visual elements of performing.
How does the performance aspect fit in with the Artists in Storefronts project?
I've been very excited and pleased to see Joan [Vorderbruggen]'s AIS project grow and expand with each incarnation. When I suggested my idea to her to add the element of performance for the third run, it just made sense to both of us in the grand scheme of what this project is doing, which is giving any artist the opportunity to present their work in an unconventional -- but accessible -- environment. Plus, my idea for the festival totally fit in with the whole DIY aspect of the AIS vision. I feel a great sense of affinity with Joan.
How did you go about picking the artists?
It was a dream list of folks whose work I've seen and really admire. Luckily, everyone I asked said yes and jumped at the chance to be in this festival. I also picked artists who could thrive in a space that didn't have a theatrical set-up. In my own artistic career, I've often had to contend with raw, open spaces to create performance work. I think I've created some of my best work in those conditions. I wanted to present that challenge to artists of various backgrounds, and see what they could create in that kind of environment.
What are you most excited about?
Seeing the shows! Some of the artists are creating brand-new work for Outlet. Also, seeing who shows up. There's quite a range of performers in this festival, each with very distinct audiences. I'm expecting very fun crowds that run the gamut of tastes.
Do you envision having similar performance festivals in the future?
Yes! Now that I've curated a few highly-successful shows with established artists (such as Peligro at Patrick's Cabaret and Sensation at the Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater), I feel confident in taking on this massive project on my own. If it goes as planned, I'm sure I will organize a second version of it sometime in the future, as well as curating one-off shows at other venues.
What's the relationship between your artist self and your curator self?
I think as an artist I'm often preoccupied with certain things, like ideas and creating new work. As a curator, it's usually a lot more freeing because I can take care of incidental things (which, luckily, I'm really good at) such as PR, design, staging, and people wrangling. It's a lot more fun for me because I have 100% faith in the artists in the shows I put together. I get to be fan in a really cool and nurturing way.
What else are you up to these days?
Normally I tend not to include myself in whatever project I'm curating because I like to showcase the artists I've picked. For Outlet, not only am I opening the festival as part of Cock E.S.P., but I'm also closing it with a new 30-minute performance piece I've just now started working on. I've been currently obsessed with the idea of terribleness. It all started when I happened to inexplicably watch this Katie Couric interview with Taylor Swift on television while I was really stoned. It opened up this weird floodgate (well, that and some other things). It's hard to explain in a few words, but that's where my mind is at. In fact, I feel like I just recently closed a chapter on a certain body of performance work and I feel like this piece for Outlet is the beginning of a new kind of work for me.
I'm also about to direct a long-form music video for my friends the Funeral and the Twilight (who are also playing the festival). They are about to record a new album they've just written which is going to be about 20 minutes in length total. I'll be making an art film with all the new music, which will be the same length as the record. It's going to be kind of intense and fucked up.
The Outlet Performance Festival
Opens 7 p.m. Saturday, December 8 with Transitional Species and Cock E.S.P.
Shows are weekly (barring a brief break during the holidays)
$10 suggested donation
28th and Blaisdell, beneath Los Amigos restaurant
Check out the website for more details