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Arts & Culture

Luminaria's fifth brings ghetto-blasted animal cries, light sculpture, and poetry

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Ya’Ke Smith, still shot from six-screen video installation

Inside the Women's Pavilion there will be an assortment of visual artworks by well-known local artists such as Michele Monseau and Ben Mata. Andrea Puentes, a student at Trinity University, is a newcomer whose work will also be on view. Like Sandy Skoglund (whose work The Cocktail Party was exhibited at the McNay Art Museum in 2011), Puentes follows the conventions of tableau photography to construct elaborate scenes that are recorded by camera. Unlike Skoglund, whose works sometimes consist of both the photograph and the sculptural work depicted, Puentes' constructions of dreamlike mountains, ethereal landscapes, and peculiar still lifes are made of hamburger meat and have no possibility of lasting to become museum exhibits. Puentes' earlier work dealt with the objectification of women; these new photographs seem to reverse the metaphor of the mating game as meat market by turning ground animal tissue into poetic pictures, pretty in pink. Or, perhaps not. Each to her own taste.

Born in El Salvador and inspired by Mayan headdresses and ritual, Irvin Morazan's Luminaria piece is based on a performance that he made at NYC's Times Square. It will feature the New York-based performance artist wearing a headdress and mask made from a ghetto blaster, the SA chapter of the all-woman Ladies on Wheels motorcycle club, and a dance company (or members of a martial arts school. Morazon was still considering 15 applicants at the time we went to press). Morazan planned the event from New York, but, as in most of his works, this performance has a strong local component. What to expect? "There will be motorcycles on my left and right. When I lift my arm, the motorcycles will roar," says Morazan. The ghetto blaster pumps out sound, too. But don't expect hip-hop, it emits animal calls. Lights will dance from the mask, crossing the motorcycle headlamps, the dancers, and the audience to make a fifteen-minute choreography that will be staged three times during the night at the Concrete Circle. "That ghetto blaster has travelled to almost every borough in New York, El Salvador, even Maine, some art biennials here in New York, and now it's going to Texas," said Marazan last week. If you forget to check the Luminaria map, just listen for a loud, grumbling noise to find the performance.

Not everything at Luminaria is scary-noisy (though the SA Symphony will be missing this year, almost three dozen musical groups will play throughout the night) or involves high-concept. "Come Play with Me" is interactive theater performance opening at 5 p.m. at the playground across from the Magik Theatre near the front of the park. Formed by Sasha Zeilig for Luminaria, the theater company consists of 11 cast members playing roles familiar in children's stories: a king and queen, knight, royal jester, a nurse, a troll, and the like. "It's sort of a Brigadoon that pops up once a year," says Zeilig. "This is role-play." The play, or game, involves a royal prisoner who pleads for rescue from the audience. Those brave enough to join the cast have a number of obstacles to negotiate to sneak past guards, find the key to the chamber, and make an escape. "For instance," says Zeilig, "the nurse is deaf in one ear, so you have to sneak by on one side to get past her to rescue the princess. We have memorized a number of roles and situations." Another hint: the troll knows where the key is. In rehearsals, says Zeilig, children caught on to the rules in a few moments. Their parents weren't so quick. But anyone can play. •

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