In 2015, Object Collection reached out to me, asking to do a January show at Silent Barn, because they wanted to get that sweet APAP audience, but the APAP festival world was not really supporting NY-based experimental artists.
Object Collection rules, so…
Object Collection had a wild and packed-out show in Gravesend Recording Studio at Silent Barn. So packed that the door could not open onto Stanwyx. So packed that Kara had to restage some stuff based on audience members squeezing onto the floor.
In April/May 2015, Title:Point ran their new show Biter (Every Time I Turn Around) and Eliza Bent ran Toilet Fire.
Like most shows, the first performances were all, “Will anyone come and if only one person is there, do we do the show??”
Then, Helen Shaw wrote a review that blew our shit up.
Due to the fact that our shows overlapped, Eliza and I did not see each other’s shows.
BUT, we did meet up in June to have drinks in my kitchen on East 5th Street.
A few boozes in, we asked each other, “What if we did our shows in January 2016? So that I could see yours and you could see mine and it could sorta be like an APAP thing?”
There ya go.
The Exponential Festival was born.
I had also joined The Brick curatorial team in that same month. And they had nothing programmed in January and considered it a “dead month”.
So, we started adding participating venues, thinking – why the hell does APAP not have more Brooklyn representation?? This is where the real shit is happening!
Between June and December, so many venues and shows joined, dropped, joined, dropped… and it was fine! People are more important than projects. Period.
But we did it and we got all sortsa crazy press.
It felt silly to be considered next to Under the Radar and COIL and other festivals.. But I was happy that light was shining on all the places and people in Brooklyn whom I love.
And if the idea did not work out, we would never have to do it again.
2020 was our 5th year. Officially.
And, turns out, presenting NY-based artists in Brooklyn venues during January, has had a lot of value. Not just theater. Not just theater spaces. Dance, performance art, comedy, music, all the glorious hybrids.
We will keep figuring it out for as long as it makes sense.