Bushwhacking in Bushwick

05/13/2009 4:00 AM |

To many, it probably does still seem a little like the wilds out there. But plenty of people had been calling it home for decades before the recent tide of arty types headed out Bushwick-way in the early aughts to scoop up industrial spaces galore for their dastardly deconstructive deeds. That said, there does seem to be an interesting trend in that area, spurred it seems in some part by the work of Jonah Bokaer, founder of Chez Bushwick, for actually engaging with the community and trying to address the shifting neighborhood dynamics head-on (Bokaer’s space recently got a big award from the Rockefeller Fund to keep up the good work in the community with a new project called Capital B). All this aside, the Bushwick Starr still wants you to feel like a little like an explorer as you head out to see their second annual Bushwhack Series (running from May 14 to May 23).

While there may only be a handful of arts organizations in Bushwick, the few that are there seem to have in a short time developed reputations not only for being engaged with the community in one way or another, but also for creating multi-form work, particularly on the performance side. Sure, there are people everywhere in the city mashing up dance and media and theater and more in a single creation, but that seems to encompass a huge portion of what’s being done in Bushwick, and this year’s Bushwhack Series is no exception.

There are five artists behind the work being presented in this year’s Series, and the nice thing about it is that you get to see something from all five every night instead of hoping you picked the one night that you’ll like the best. Two of the acts promise good old-fashioned entertainment – trapeze from Lollo Birgitta and comic films from Ryan Bronz of the perennially amusing National Theater of the United States of America. A touch of the serious is likely due with a new piece in development from 31 Down Radio Theater (pictured) whose work for the stage morphs out of the soundscapes they create. Then there’s Julia May Jonas who performs as Nellie Tinder, an autoharp wielding dancer who has told a few tales of family strife in her day. And finally Jake Hooker, another performer who incorporates the funk of dance into his work, and this time he’s funking up an early 20th century Swedish play in his wry style for your pleasure.

All this for the low-low Bushwick special price of $10. And they have a roof deck, so if the weather’s good you can not only afford the show but possibly a drink or two, or at least a few sips of the fresh Bushwick breeze.