In June, cARTel's Negin Singh and Jack De Sena assembled an ensemble of fifteen artists specializing in various media to discuss the significance of birthdays and birthday celebrations and create art based on those discussions. The text, dance, film, music, visual art and performance pieces were curated into Birthdays: An Invitation, a derived theater piece exploring aging during our age.
Running for only four performances at the Hayworth Theatre between Aug 24 and 28, and selling out every single show, Birthdays: An Invitation gave the audience a multi-room, multimedia birthday party to end all birthday parties.
While being treated to pieces performed by cast members inspired by theirs and other’s memories of growing up, the audience was encouraged to participate in birthday games correlating to specific ages, allowing them to relive their most memorable birthday experiences.
All of this made for a truly remarkable and unforgettable night of celebration. As one audience member attested: “I wasn’t even going to come out tonight because most plays I get invited to suck. But this wasn’t a play, this was fun. It could’ve used more lazer tag though.”
Negin Singh is the co-director of Birthdays and the Executive and Artistic Director of cARTel. A 2008 graduate from the University of California-Irvine, she co-founded The cARTel Artists (now cARTel) as a way to express her frustrations with art-making conventions. She is also founder of Everybody Nose, cARTel's resident clown troupe. There, she also managed the award-winning improvisational comedy troupe, Live Nude People (With Clothes On!), and now plays with Los Angeles- based improv troupe, Token Boy at Ultimate Improv. She is a performance artist, director, clown, and producer. She has been the creator/co-creator and director of all the company's shows to date. Negin also submitted a video contribution to Two, cARTel's second birthday celebration.
Jack De Sena is cARTel's Chief Artistic Consultant and Artist Outreach Associate, and his original stageplay will be featured later this year as part of cARTel's annual Living Room Tour. Jack worked with cARTel during cARTel's first project, playing Todd in Pterodactyls. He has since co-directed and appeared in A Quiet Night of Chaos and Attraction/Logic. Jack also directed Epilogue, an original play that was toured through California and produced in living rooms. Jack is also a member of Everybody Nose, cARTel's resident clown troupe. Jack submitted a video contribution to Two, cARTel's second birthday celebration. He attended UCLA, where he studied theatre. As an actor, Jack has appeared in various film and television projects including Nickelodeon's All That and Avatar: The Last Airbender. As a swimmer, Jack cannot hold his breath for very long because he has asthma. He continues directing, acting, and performance-arting in cARTel productions.
Sebastian Kadlecik, cARTel's Head of Audience, Student and Artist Outreach, is an illustrator, an author, a spoken word artist and an actor. He was invited to join cARTel after performing in Attraction/Logic. He subsequently starred in the title role in cARTel's production of Agamemnon, which was performed on the Santa Monica beach. Sebastian next starred as Oliver in Epilogue, an original play produced throughout Southern California in living rooms volunteered by friends of cARTel. He is also a frequent performer and artist at cARTel' Community Pool events. Sebastian is originally from the Bay Area and came to Los Angeles after receiving his BA in Theatre from Santa Clara University and his MFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University. He is a big fan of charcoal artwork, children's books and site-specific theatre.
Sebastian Tovar is a visual artist born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and currently studies Art at Pasadena City College. Many of Tovar's artwork consists of large chalk pastel pieces done on cardboard, with sexuality being a constant theme in his work. Tovar began his interest in art during middle school where he decided to attend weekly Saturday classes held on the Cal State LA campus. It was here that he learned the essential tools in art and was exposed to both the historical and creative aspect. Recently he has taken a great interest in video and installation artwork and hopes to learn more about the processes and expression through that form. Tovar plans on transferring to an art school in Southern California in the fall of 2011.
Paige Lindsey White was born on April 15 - income tax, the day the Titanic sank, Lincoln died, FDR was buried and sometimes it's Easter. According to Portland Oregon, April is National Disappointment Month. So, Paige became an actor and befriended disappointment. She sets her standards really high all the time, and she'll expect a lot from you. Other than that, she got her MFA from UCLA in acting, and she is an active member of both The Actors' Gang and the Los Angeles Theater Ensemble. She likes cheese and beer - together or separately. She temps. Very nice to meet you.
Peter Rocknroll Beruber has dedicated his life to the performance arts. He continues to train in as many styles as he can and spends most of his time creating original pieces for both theater and film. There are so many incredible artists involved in this project. Peter would like to take the time to thank them for their passion and for keeping art how it was meant to be; a creative expression of the human experience.
Brianna Johnson has lived through 20 birthdays, becoming more and more excited about legal drunkenness and the ever-growing variety of cakes with each passing year. Brianna is a photographer and also loves exploring different mediums of art. She will be graduating from UC Riverside this year with a degree in Art History. Though often told it is an impractical major, she hopes the combined forces of karma, serendipity, and fate will lead her to a fulfilling career where she can continuously enjoy a camaraderie with art.
Andrew Pearson originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, began dancing at age twelve, and choreographing shortly there after. After high school, he furthered his studies at the University of California, Irvine where he graduated with BFA's in both dance performance and choreography. While at the University, Andrew had the pleasure of working with and studying under many esteemed faculty members and choreographers and had the pleasure of performing the role of Sissy Boy in Donald McKayle's Games, as well as in West Side Story, for which he was dance captain. Since graduating, Andrew has performed in a wide variety of genres and venues. He played Pouncival in Cabrillo Music Theatre's production of CATS, he danced the role of the Spanish Cavalier in California Riverside Ballet's the Nutcracker, he's performed with Montana's Headwaters Dance Company and LA's BodyTraffic Dance Company, and can be seen on the Disney Channel in a promotional video for Camp Rock 2. In addition to performance Andrew has lent his talents to the Laguna Beach School District and Riverside Ballet Arts as a dance teacher and choreographer. He has also recently began using his expertise in the field of theater and drama, acting as movement consultant and movement choreographer for the University of California, Irvine's production of Cymbaline this past spring. It is this new endeavor that eventually led him to cARTel, which he is very grateful to have found and to be a part of. He hopes to continue to grow and expand as an interdisciplinary artist.
Anne Brashier is about to Assistant Direct Katie the Curst at The Actor's Gang, Directed by Lisa Wolpe of LA Womens' Shakespeare Company. She has performed with the following cool theater companies in Los Angeles:The Actor's Gang, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Groundlings, IO West, Bruce!!, Teatro de Facto, Rouge Artists Ensemble and Upright Citizen's Brigade. Anne got her BA in drama from UC Irvine, where she was in lots of shows, including the improv company Live Nude People (with clothes on) and the musical Hair (with clothes off). Anne was nominated by the LA Weekly for Best Choreography for her work with Monkey Madness at LA Theater Ensemble. She choreographs lots of funny things, including a Hot Topic commercial Flash Mob! She spoofed Grease! for the award-winning webseries Blue Movies, and spoofed Jerome Robbins for the award-winning short film West Guild Story. She has many superpowers.
Lisa Bierman is a Southern California native and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied at both the Atlantic Theater School and the Technical Production Track. While in NY, she performed in off-off Broadway shows at The Brick and The Ohio Theater. She recently moved back to LA and is outrageously excited to be working with cARTel for the first time! Since discovering that shares a birthday with both Al Capone and Betty White, she has been trying to live her life according to their precedents. Expect to be held up and made fun of on your way out of the theater.
Miles Marsico enjoys propagating the notion that the extremes of human existence are somehow more real or artistically valid than the middling areas.
Chad Kenney is currently a senior at UCLA studying the craft of acting in the school of Theater, Film & Television and is honored to have been selected to work with cARTel on such a unique project. Although a thespian at heart, Chad's true passion lies in the realm of mixing and producing music. Working hard as a DJ in the LA electronic music scene, he assumed the name 'GOJ!RA' as an homage to the badly-dubbed Godzilla flicks he watched as a child. GOJ!RA has performed with such artists as DJ Felli Fel, Brazilian Girls, and Blackalicious. He is currently working with his friend Stephen Corwin on the formation of a record label from the popular music blog Uh Oh Disco [uhohdisco.com]. The label recently teamed up with shoe company Sneaky Steve and threw an dance music event labeled 'The Pilot' in Hollywood. The label also throws a dance event every Tuesday night called 'Brewco Bass' at the Westwood Brewing Company.