Friday, October 18, 2013

Quixotic - Experimental Performance Group Comes to Homer!

Trying out aerial silks at Homer High School with two members of Quixotic and other Homer gals.  I won't be joining their group any time soon, but it was great fun and now I really look forward to seeing them perform!

If you have the opportunity to enjoy a performance by the experimental group Quixotic who are based out of Kansas City, SEE THEM!! 

Below are a few photos I took along with a feature I wrote on the group before they arrived in to town.


Last month they performed in India.  Last year they performed in Bahrain.  Soon, they’ll perform in China, but next week, they’ll perform in Alaska.  They are Quixotic.

A multidisciplinary ensemble of musicians, composers, choreographers, dancers, aerialists and costume and visual effect specialists, Quixotic is a group of artists who explore nontraditional movement, sound and multimedia.  Pushing beyond the boundaries of conventional performance art, they are quickly garnering national and international acclaim.

Quixotic will be in Anchorage on October 12, in Homer October 14 to 18 and in Fairbanks October 20.  While in Homer, the group will offer school assemblies, public workshops and two evening performances. 

This unique arts collective is based in Kansas City, Missouri and was founded by Artistic Director Anthony Magliano.

“I grew up a musician and learned its power to connect with people. I extended my artistic reach into the visual arts and discovered the power of storytelling. I want Quixotic audiences to be challenged, to feel a little unsettled, to feel like it’s a little bit dangerous, to be excited and to be moved by what they hear and see,” Magliano said.

For Quixotic's Associate Artistic Director, Mica Thomas, the Alaska performances are a return to his roots. 

“This is a special trip for Quixotic and for me personally,” Thomas said. “Homer is where the foundation for my passion was built and the opportunity to return to share this passion with my family and friends is a rare treat.”

Thomas graduated from Homer High in 1997 and was introduced to the theatrical arts as a youth, during Jazzline and Nutcracker performances and during Pier One Theatre's summer camps.

“When I was very young, I started doing lots of performance art work at Pier One Theater’s art camps, “ Thomas said.  “In Junior High, I dove right in to lighting.”

Lance Petersen, Artistic Director of Pier One Theater and Lynne Roff, former Theater Manager of the Mariner Theater, recognized Mica’s talent early on.  They and others in the community encouraged Mica to develop this passion for theater.

Mica was a theatre techie who put in the long hours necessary to support the staged activities,” Ken Castner, 25-year producer of the Homer Nutcracker Ballet, said. “He built the first fiber optic curtain in Alaska. I’m incredibly enthused to see that Mica’s lived up to his potential.”

“Lance Petersen encouraged Mica to apply to the Shakespeare Summer semester for High school juniors,” Thomas’s dad, Gary Thomas, shared.  “This experience opened doors for theater beyond Homer.”

Mica Thomas graduated from Homer High in 1997, got his BFA in Lighting Design from Southern Oregon University in 2001 and went on to grad school at Penn State.  It was while working with the Kansas City Ballet in Colorado one summer that Quixotic founder Anthony Magliano asked him to join his project.  That was 8 years ago.

“When he was young, I told Mica to find something that he loved to do, that he would do for free and find someone to pay him to do it,” Mica’s mom, Gail Radcliffe said.  “Mica has a very unique way of looking at the world. This path hasn’t always been an easy one for him, but he’s doing what he loves.”

Quixotic began as an art project with one show a year, with the artists collaborating in old, abandoned buildings. After 3 years, they rented a theater and started doing yearly shows then added smaller shows and were soon hired to do shows nationally.  Now they perform all over the world.

During his 8 years with Quixotic, Thomas has moved up the ranks from lighting design to Associate Artistic Director.  Part of his job is to coordinate show logistics.

“One of the coolest calls I ever got was from Richard Saul Wurman, the creator of the TED talks. Wurman said, ‘Hey, I’m sitting here with Yo Yo Ma and Moshe Safdie. We’d like to hire Quixotic.’ I still have that message saved in my voicemail.”

Homer Council on the Arts has worked hard to bring Quixotic to Homer.  They received funding from a National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Fast-Track grant as well as the Harper Grant Touring Fund through Rasmussen. Other support has come from Era Alaska, the Ocean Shores Motel, Chevron, WESTAF, anonymous donations and in-kind donations of food, services and transportation.   

“There has been overwhelming support from the community,” HCOA Director Gail Edgerly said. “People are excited that we’re bringing back a talent that was discovered and developed right here. We want to inspire youth about what is possible here at the end of the road.”

“Seek out different things of interest and engage in them,” Thomas shared.  “You have no idea where they can lead.”

In Homer, Quixotic will perform for grades 3 to 12 students from Homer and the Russian schools, as well as High School seniors from Port Graham, Nanwalek and Seldovia. The school assemblies will be held during the day at the Mariner Theatre on October 14, 15 and 16.

Quixotic will present evening workshops for the public in contemporary dance, aerial silks and ballet on October 14 and 15. The fee is $30 for two-day workshops in one discipline.

Quixotic performs at the Mariner Theatre at 7pm on October 17 and 18. Tickets are $20 youth/senior (October 17 only), $30 HCOA members, $40 general admission and $45 at the door, on sale through HCOA or the Homer Bookstore.

For more information, tickets and to register for the workshops, stop by or call the Homer Council on the Arts office, 235-4288

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