Since its founding in 2008, the Summer Festival at Mount Tremper Arts (MTA) has been making quite a name for itself as an incubator for new works by groups and individuals at the cutting edge of the art world, especially the performing arts. Now the Catskills off-season retreat for the avant-garde is poised to become a host site for year-round programming, to be known as the Watershed Laboratory. “Guided by the metaphor of the Catskill Mountains as the primary watershed for New York City, the Watershed Lab positions MTA as the artistic headwaters for partnering organizations downstream: artworks developed here gather momentum as they travel to New York City and beyond,” writes MTA artistic director Mathew Pokoik in announcing the program, which he also envisions as “strengthening our commitment to the local community.”
The first season for this new model of operation, incorporating year-round residencies, performances, and institutional partnerships, will run from July to December. The inaugural event being offered this Saturday, July 16 kicks off at 7 p.m. with one of MTA’s trademark Art-B-Q gatherings, followed at 8 p.m. by a spoken-word performance by DarkMatter, titled #ItGetsBitter. DarkMatter is the trans South Asian performance art duo Alok Vaid-Menon and Janani Balasubramanian. Expect poetry, comedy, fashion, storytelling and a purposefully chaotic mixture of all of the above as Vaid-Menon and Balasubramanian share stories of navigating the world as trans South Asians, delivering stinging critiques of the personal and political while also imagining new ways of being and resisting together. Tickets to this program, presented in partnership with the Abrons Arts Center, cost $20.
Subsequent shows in the Watershed Laboratory series will include the theater group 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s The Fever on August 13 and 14; David Thomson’s dance/installation piece he his own mythical beast on September 10; Yackez, a/k/a Larissa and Jon Velez-Jackson, in The Yackez Dance on October 8; Alex Rodabough’s dance/theater/training event AmeriSHOWZ on November 12; and on December 10, MTA regulars the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) return to perform Ashley Fure and Jim Findlay’s Please. Please. Again. Again.
For more info on Saturday’s performance or upcoming events in the Watershed Lab series, call (845) 688-9893 or visit www.mounttremperarts.org. Mount Tremper Arts is located at 647 South Plank Road in Phoenicia.