The Long Table hosted by Lois Weaver

Join us for a special presentation of the Long Table with Lois Weaver herself, presented in collaboration with Progress and the Rhubarb Festival.

The Long Table is a dinner party structured by etiquette, where conversation is the only course. The project ingeniously combines theatricality and models for public engagement. It is at once a stylized appropriation and an open-ended, non-hierarchical format for participation. Both of these elements–theatrical craft and political commitment–are mutually supporting in this widely and internationally toured work. The (often-feminized) domestic realm here becomes a stage for public thought.

As an experiment in performance as a means of public engagement, the Long Table has been taken up by a vast array of of practitioners in a variety of disciplines as a way to encircle, question, and reflect in a performative, and communal way. Lois Weaver, the originator of the Long Table, hosts this special edition for Progress.

Progress is an international festival of performance and ideas presented in partnership by SummerWorks Performance Festival and The Theatre Centre. The festival is collectively curated and produced by a series of Toronto-based companies, operating within a contemporary performance context. Progress 2018 is curated by: SummerWorks Performance Festival, The Theatre Centre, Anandam Dancetheatre, FADO Performance Art Centre, Little Black Afro Theatre Company, Toronto Dance Community Love-In, and Volcano Theatre.

This event will be ASL Interpreted. All welcome. FREE.

Artist
Lois Weaver

USA
www.split-britches.com/lois/

Lois Weaver is an artist, activist and part time professor of Contemporary Performance at Queen Mary, University of London. She was co-founder of Spiderwoman Theater, WOW and Artistic Director of Gay Sweatshop in London. She has been a writer, director and performer with Peggy Shaw and Split Britches since 1980. Works includes: Miss America (2008); Lost Lounge (2009) and RUFF (2012). Split Britches’ collection of scripts, Split Britches Feminist Performance/Lesbian Practice, edited by Sue Ellen Case, won the 1997 Lambda Literary Award for Drama. In 2012, Split Britches was presented with the Edwin Booth Award by City University of New York in honor of their outstanding contribution to the New York City/American Theater and Performance Community.

Her experiments in performance as a means of public engagement (publicaddresssystems.org) include the Long Table, the Library of Performing Rights, the FeMUSEm and her facilitating persona, Tammy WhyNot. Tammy collaborated with senior centers in NYC on What Tammy Needs To Know About Getting Old and Having Sex which premiered at La MaMa ETC, NYC in November 2014. Lois was named a Senior Fellow by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics in 2014. She is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and a Wellcome Trust Engaging Science Fellow for 2016-2018.

Performance
What Tammy Needs To Know about Getting Old And Having Sex by Lois Weaver

FADO Performance Art Centre has a long history collaborating with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre to present the work of Canadian and international performance artists at the Rhubarb! Festival including: 2Fik (2011), Sian Robinson Davies (2012), Paul Couillard and Ed Johnson a.k.a Duorama (2014) and Staceyann Chin (2017). 

For the 39th edition of the festival, we are excited to be collaborating once again to bring the work of celebrated feminist performance icon Lois Weaver to the stage at Buddies. Weaver will be developing and presenting a Toronto iteration of her part-chat show, part-concert performance, What Tammy Needs to Know About Getting Old and Having Sex.

Performed in the guise of her alter-ego Tammy WhyNot, a “65-year old trailer trash blonde who left Nashville for a career as a performance artist”, the performance is created through a collaborative workshop process with local LGBTQ elders in the week leading up to the performance. What Tammy Needs to Know About Getting Old and Having Sex looks at intimacy, relationships, desire, and sex in people over 50. No matter your age, Tammy shows us that love, desire, friendship, sexual health, and losing your keys in your handbag are universal concerns. Several iterations of this performance have been developed with a growing community of seniors in the UK and around the world. Sharing their stories and her own, Tammy invites you to quite worrying why… and start thinking, Why Not?

ABOUT TAMMY WHYNOT
Tammy Whynot has accompanied Weaver since 1978 as Weaver’s alter-ego, performance partner and research associate. The character was conceived in The Lysistrata Numbah created and performed by Spiderwoman Theatre in 1978 and born again in a caravan under the Brooklyn Bridge in a show called Upwardly Mobile Home, written and performed by the Split Britches Theatre Company in 1984. 

Tammy got her start in show business in the late eighties as a solo artist on the New York downtown performance scene appearing at WOW, PS122, The Club at La MaMa and the Limbo Lounge. Following that, she has mostly appeared in the UK and around the world. 

She made her first international appearance as mistress of ceremonies for Club Girrls at the ICA in 1994. After that she toured the UK with cLUB bENT, presented in association with It’s Queer Up North and Gay Sweatshop. Her London appearances include, Saturday nights at Duckies, Club Deviance at the Almeida Theatre, Tammy WhyNot’s X-rated Xmas Xtravaganza at the Oval House and Tammy’s Art and Beauty Salon and East End Collaborations at Queen Mary, University of London. She has also performed in Helsinki, Warsaw, Buenos Aires, Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, Montreal, Sydney, New York and Los Angeles.  

Performance
Five Holes: reminiSCENT

reminiSCENT, curated by Jim Drobnick and Paul Couillard, is the third instalment in FADO’s performance series, Five Holes, which examines the significance of the body and the senses. 

If the sense of smell appears to have been eclipsed by the other senses in Western culture, there is one realm in which it retains an almost mythic stature—memory. reminiSCENT acknowledges the powerful relationship between smell and memory, and explores the artistic and cultural potential of this undervalued sense. Documentation in literature and science indicates that no other sense evokes memory as intensely as smell. For Marcel Proust, a whiff of madeleine conjured up the world of childhood; for Helen Keller, smell was a “potent wizard” that transported one across thousands of miles. Even newborns, after just a few days, recognize and remember their mothers via the distinctiveness of smell. As compelling as these olfactory experiences are, there is a tendency to regard smells purely on the level of immediacy.

Yet fragrances also bear complex social meanings. How, what and why we smell are subject to many cultural influences—one only has to consider hygiene, and the myriad ways in which the body is bathed, cared for and scented, to appreciate the way smell plays a role in embodying and transmitting culture. In short, smell is as much a learned, cultural practice as it is a physical act of perception.

The five projects in reminiSCENT focus on both of these aspects of scent, as a practice and a physical act. Smell and memory can interact in diverse ways, especially when memory is considered via its multiple dimensions: personal, cultural, social and historical. How, for instance, do odours affect the self and the narrative of one’s life? How can scents symbolize or mark political moments and historical eras? In what ways are aromas significant to the creation of cultural memories and identity? How do power and status play out on an olfactory level? Such questions are implicitly raised in the performative installations of reminiSCENT.

Through faux marketing campaigns, quasi-scientific experiments, intimate encounters, unrehearsed rendezvous, and indecent appropriations of public space, these artists engage with the spectrum of smell from the everyday to the abject. Using organic substances, synthesized scents, perfumes, ambient odours, fragrant language and aromatized bodies, these projects foreground the diverse potential of smells in discourse, experience and culture. Visitors may feel their olfactory abilities being tested and their preconceptions about the sense of smell challenged as the role of scent is foregrounded in the contexts of race, tourism, perfume, domesticity and sexuality.

While the main premise of reminiSCENT concerns the role of scent in memory, there is also a more general imperative to recollect the sense of smell itself and its place in culture as a whole. The progressive deodorization of homes, buildings and public spaces since the nineteenth century has created what one geographer calls “blandscapes,” contemporary places that are sensorially numb and devoid of perceptual interest. The artworks of reminiSCENT symbolically and viscerally reconnect visitors with the smell of natural processes and material existence. Even with the rampant commercialization of olfaction in the past decade, evidenced by the profusion of commodities imbued with scents and the appropriation of aromatherapy for air fresheners, it is important to remember that smell has a meaningfulness outside of corporate marketing and brand-name identity. Smell is often declared the oldest of the senses, and this curatorial project rediscovers its capacity for art, knowledge and social significance.


ABOUT THE PROJECTS

Pull Up To The Bumper, by Clara Ursitti, occurs in a white stretch limousine, the acme of celebrity display and mobile partying. For selected performance-goers and chance passers-by, an intimate conversation and olfactory experience awaits as they cruise the streets of Toronto. The limo’s sensuous, private interior, complete with refreshments and other luxury comforts, is a chamber redolent with the spirit of seduction. In this gender reversal, a woman holds the balance of wealth, status and sexual agency as the artist inquires into the dynamics of stardom and urban prowling.


On The Scent by Helen Paris and Leslie Hill, in collaboration with Lois Weaver, reconfigures an apartment with olfactory performances and interventions. Visitors journey through a series of visceral encounters that infuse the residence with heightened experiential potential. A trail of scents leads to stories and confessions wafting unexpectedly through the space and secreted away in compartments and corners. Reflecting upon the significance of smell in everyday life, this aromatized environment intensifies the role scent plays in identity, emotion, place and memory. Each performance lasts 30 minutes and is performed for 2 audience members. Please reserve your spot, there are a maximum of 40 participant spots in total.


Cheli Nighttraveller’s untitled performance addresses racism operating at the level of the body and hygiene. Since the era of first contact, the so-called “odour of the other” has served as a pernicious means by which European colonizers stigmatized First Nations peoples. Reflecting at the edge of a fountain in Berczy Park, Nighttraveller recalls an episode in the life of Quannah Parker, the last chief of the Comanches, who once caused a stir by bathing in a public fountain. The artist will satirically confront the misconceived but persistent fiction of “cultural stench.”


Inspired by the legendary exoticism and adventure of The Seven Seas, Millie Chen and Evelyn Von Michalofski provide an occasion for virtual travel with The Seven Scents. Cruise ship deck chair recliners face the waters of Lake Ontario and invite bystanders to lie back, relax, listen to a series of soundscapes and inhale the ambiance of distant locales. Like spa therapists, the artists will gently facilitate each lounger’s sensorial reverie. Distilling together sound and scent, romance and reality, the piece evocatively contemplates the fantasies of escape and the economic actualities of tourism.


Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan’s Scentbar promises unique, personalized scents scientifically tailored to each client’s memories, anxieties and desires. Trained technicians will tally the answers to visitors’ scent-questionnaires and concoct custom-made perfumes in their laboratory cum parfumerie. Drawing from a top-secret odour palette, their potions transcend the use of scent for fashion or flirtation. These one-of-a-kind distillations connect the wearer intimately and olfactively to the complexities of the contemporary world—they are fragrances for troubled times



SCHEDULE & LOCATIONS

Pull Up To The Bumper by Clara Ursitti
Street intervention: September 18, no set times
Exhibition and limo tour: September 20 @ 6:00-9:00pm
Karen Schreiber Gallery, 302-25 Morrow Avenue, Toronto

On The Scent by Helen Paris & Leslie Hill (with guest artist Lois Weaver)
September 19–21, please register to experience this performance
168 Simcoe Street, Toronto

Untitled by Cheli Nighttraveller
September 20 @ 12:00pm
Berczy Park, Front Street, Toronto

The Seven Scents by Millie Chen & Evelyn Von Michalofski
September 20–21 @ 12:00pm–4:00pm
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Scentbar by Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan
September 20 @ 6:00pmKaren Schreiber Gallery, 302-25 Morrow Avenue, Toronto

Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer