Ensemble members chime in about their favorite experiences from 2023!
Jen Adams (Performer in The Maids and The Chairs. Shared work in The Magic of the Mundane)
Musical performance- Kadey Ballard at Petras but also Paramore at Spectrum :)
Best theatre- Hit the wall QC Concerts and A Dolls House Part Two
Art Event- Lady Fest Clt 2023 Goodyear Arts
Movie- Past Lives
Show- Fellow Travelers
Kadey Ballard (XO Director of Training)
Movie: Passages, at the Independent Picture House
Book: Molly, by Blake Butler
Theatre: Will You Miss Me, The Hinterlands
Album: Feel Good, Jaime Wyatt
Live Music: Jessica Lea Mayfield, Black Mountain NC
Dance: Motive Forces
Poetry: Reading by Xavia-Margrith Miles
Arts Event: Multiverse, Goodyear Arts Annual Fundraiser
Restaurant: Beef and Bottle
Laura Scott Cary (Performer: Permanence, Widdershins, The Watchers, The Chairs. Curator: Magic of the Mundane, Playwright: Shotgun!)
Art: glassrain by Rúrí at the National Gallery of Iceland
Book: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard or Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Album: blondshell self-titled (but 1989 taylor’s version is close second)
Podcast: who shat on the floor at my wedding?
Theatre: Will You Miss Me? (The Hinterlands), The Effect by Lucy Prebble (National Theatre London)
Restaurant: Kindred in Davidson
Matt Cosper (XO Artistic Director)
Fiction Read: Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarzchuk
A doorstop of a book that lays out the story of a sect of Jewish heretics in 18th century Poland with wit and humanity and gorgeous prose. An instant classic from the world’s best living writer.
Fassbinder: thousands of mirrors by Ian Penman. A magical little book of fragments meditating on the life and work of the prolific filmmaker known just as much for his consumption of cocaine and qualuudes as his darkly glamorous and artfully janky dissections of the persistence of a mutated fascism in postwar Germany.
Movie: Sorcerer at the Independent Picture House. I have never been more tense in life and it’s never been so much fun to be so tense. Wonderful to experience this film for the first time on a big screen in a packed theatre.
Performance: Avant Goodyear Dance Featuring Jesse Factor and Mercury Carter. Jesse Factor’s deconstructed elaboration on the myth and work of Martha Graham was hilarious and moving. Mercury Carter really didn’t seem to want to be there but sounded great regardless.
Album: Billy Woods Maps or Kadey Ballard Sybils. Billy Woods got me back into rap after a long time away. Kadey Ballard is a beautiful genius.
Live Music: Kadey Ballard and Band at Visart. I was sick as a dog but man what a great band and what a great room. Hampton Crump and Brenda Gamble’s string work provides the perfect sonic atmosphere for Ballard’s unearthly vocals.
Restaurant: El Rinconcito Chilango (off Eastway). I have forgotten the name of the dish but it’s basically a little boat made of masa filled with the meat and the cheese and the peppers. ¡Aye de mi! ¡Que Suerte!
Shannon Hager (Sound Design and Composition The Maids and The Chairs)
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Godzilla Minus One, Regal 4DX at Regal Stonecrest
Album (Remastered and unreleased bonus material):
Beauty Pill - Blue Period
Album (new): [tie]
Corvus Corone - Abandoned in Spring
Bell Witch - Future's Shadow Part 1: The Clandestine Gate
Boris, Melvins [40th anniversary], and mr.phylzzz at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC
Live theatre, touring:
Will You Miss Me?
The Hinterlands at Mint Museum Randolph
Live theatre, local:
POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive
Charlotte Conservatory Theatre at Booth Playhouse
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr by Filipe Andrade and Ram V Ram (The Deluxe Edition was released this year so I count it)
Sure, I'll Join Your Cult: A Memoir of Mental Illness and the Quest to Belong Anywhere by Maria Bamford. Narrated by Maria Bamford
Restaurant: My answer has been the same since 1997…Lang Van
Best glimpse of future “Best of” entries for live theatre, writer, actors, and venue:
The staged reading of Laura Scott Cary’s play Shotgun! by Lauren McDowell, Chloe Shade, Margeaux Sholz, and Nilaja Williams at Visart Video.
Kate McCracken (Performer The Maids, Curator The Magic of the Mundane)
The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky
TÁR / Kiki’s Delivery Service
Performance: Emma Rice’s Wuthering Heights (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) / Michael Arden’s Parade (Broadway)
Album: The Record by boygenius /Surrender by Maggie Rogers
Live Music: Dawes at Thalia Hall in Chicago.
Restaurant: Fridas in Evanston! My friends and I like to spend the little money we have there with a feast every week.
José Posada (performer in Permanence and The Chairs, Curator The Magic of the Mundane
Book: No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai
Album: Morning by Chu Kosaka
Performance: Will You Miss Me? The Hinterlands
Movie: Godzilla Minus One
Restaurant : Jaleo
Will Rudolph (production design The Maids and The Chairs, performer Widdershins, The Magic of the Mundane, The Children’s Crusade)
Theater: Will you miss me? (The Hinterlands), The Chairs, Doll’s House Part II
Albums: Reset by Panda Bear and Sonic Boom and Joy as an Act of Resistance by IDLES
Book: Foundations of Mechanical Accuracy by The Moore Tool Company
Restaurant: Lang Van
Movie: Past Lives (at the independent picture house)
Bill Reilly (Performer All The Dogs and Horses, Widdershins, Shrimp Dance, The Magic of the Mundane, #CAKE)
Book: Solenoid by Mircea Cartarescu.
Album: carry them with us-Brighde Chaimbuel Performance: parvathy baul at the just love festival,
Movie: The boy and the heron
Restaurant: leah & louise.
Jeremy Shane (performer The Bald Soprano, ThomThom, The Chairs, Costume Design The Chairs.)
Movie: querelle (1982) by rainer werner fassbinder/ not a new movie but new to me/ an exceptional queer ballet of masculinity. Also there were Big castles that looked like dicks.
Music: jennifer vanilla’s castle in the sky (expanded) jennifer vanilla is the world I aspire to vibe in. it grounds me, xcites me and calls you to play your own “body music”
Book: the bhagavad gita Easwaran, Ehnath/ indian religious text the story of Arjuna and God. God tells him to fight his family or not, but either way imma gonna eat you! :) hungry god is a hot god, DAD BOD GOD!
NEW SELF. NEW WORLD (recovering our senses in the 21st century) by philip Shepard/ the book offers a lot of theory from the perspective of not just the singular body but the collective. It can be flipped thru and offer advice on a daily basis.
Theatre: Vampire Lesbians of Sodom by Paperhouse theatre/ I found myself craving some tight space backroom buffoonery this year and Paperhouse offered that up in just the right amount, flesh, drag and tomfoolery! Ashby really did that!
The Chairs by XOXO and YES BECAUSE I WAS IN IT. If i wasn’t trapped in a hot room or offering commentary on body odor I was enjoying the universe experiencing itself in that very way. Namaste.
Shen Yun: my friend took me and said it was a cult. SO WHAT IF IT IS, AT LEAST THEY DANCE PRETTY TO DISPELL THE LIONHEADED GOD OF ILLUSION! If i didnt know better i would say that was sophia boy!
Restaurant: The Pizza Bar at Harris Teeter