Psychobotany at Beauty Supply

Photo Credit to Jenny Yang

(copy pasted from the program)

a set by Michael Shrader
with original live music by brother’s quarrel with David Samas, Kevin Corcoran, Michael Schrader, movement by Fenner, Andrew Gabriel Rose, Annikah Peabody, and live projection art by Katarina Countiss
about psychobotany
this is a container– the movement is based on authentic movement and contact improv– the music, movement, light and shadow combine for a sensual experience of a kind of dreamlike state that’s never the same twice

Special Thank you
to Beauty Supply for hosting this event in their new space in Downtown Oakland. They are a valuable resource for the local arts scene.
:: About the opener
Michael Shrader of Santa Fe, New Mexico will be presenting a lighthearted soundscape using a variety of sound therapy instruments with digital augmentation. The intention in mind is to gently journey you through a subtle shift in consciousness, gently assisting your landing into wherever your mind may choose.
Very excited to present: Kevin Corcoran and David Samas will be performing live music for psychobotany
David Samas is a composer, curator, conceptual artist, instrument inventor, and social sculptor with a background in shamanism and magics. A queer, native San Franciscan from mixed immigrant/refugee roots, David got his a BFA from the SF Art Institute in conceptual art in 2000 and studied poetics at the New College of California and Naropa. He performed with the SF Boys Chorus, SF Opera and SF Symphony, receiving a GRAMMY in 1994 for Best Choral Performance. His artworks hang in the Di Rosa collection and showed at the Diego Rivera Gallery,Canessa Galleries and the SF Asian Art Museum. He has performed at the Exploratorium, Grace Cathedral, YBCA, Cal Shakes, Bing Hall, the Asian Art Museum, Oakland Museum of California, CCRMA, the Lab, and Center for New Music, where he also curates the Window Gallery for Invented Instruments. He served as artistic director of the Turquoise Yantra Grotto (a house concert series of free improv and ethno-modernism), the Meridian Composers in Performance series, MicroFest North, Thingamajigs Festivals, and is the director of Pet the Tiger Instrument Inventors Collective and the Harmonic Series Gamelan. He gives back to his communities by teaching math and physics through inventing workshops with Thingamajigs (Oakland) and advocating for the legal personhood of all sentient beings.
Kevin Corcoran works with percussion and field recordings with an open interest in sound as medium as it moves through contexts of art, music, ecology, and communication. As a drummer/percussionist he is most interested in techniques which extend the sonic possibilities of the instrument emphasizing textural sound, atonal sympathetic vibration, sustained tones without audible attack and the use of found objects.
As a recordist he collects sounds in urban and rural locations. These sonic environments are presented displaced from their origins with an intent to create temporary imagined acoustic places and are often combined with percussive sounds and used in installation artworks.
He has performed throughout the United States, Europe and East Asia collaborating with artists working in various disciplines.
:: psychobotany has featuring a recurring mover, Annikah Peabody
Annikah Peabody
Mixed media artist, landscaper, and sad sad clown.
:: psychobotany has featuring a recurring mover, Andrew Gabriel Rose
If Martha Graham was the mayor of Baltimore and they found a magical wish-granting emerald in an underground chamber beneath city hall that the mayor could only use with the help of 13 juggalos from the future, together they might wish for something like Andrew Rose to come and build a marble and granite funk academy with his bare hands on a new island, conjured by his dancing in the harbor, where funk professors from around the world might gather to teach the world to love. Furthermore, fuck Milton Friedman.

:: psychobotany has featuring a first time mover, Fenner
Fenner is an performer, director and producer living in West Oakland. Trained in ensemble devising processes, clown, Suzuki and ancient Japanese theater, they also frequent axis and butoh dance halls. Around and sometimes with theater Fenner is also an adventure cyclist, musician and host with the most.
:: psychobotany has featuring a live projection artist, Katarina Countiss
Katarina Countiss is an Oakland based multimedia artist-designer. Keywords: zines, embroidery, Instagram, drawing therapy, psychedelics, autofiction, petals, performance making, improv uke, overhead projector, art nites

Bill Russell was the documentarian of the night. A big thank you to him for without him these videos would not exist. He was at the SF Fringe psychobotany as a documentarian for that. It was great to feel the sense of evolution and continuity.

The movers: Andrew and Annikah were a part of the original team from Psychobotany at Safehouse and the fringe shows. It was great to have Fenner on the team for the first time. I worked with Annikah and Fenner on The Boy Who Cried “Naked!” It was great to see them again and working with each other. The chemistry is lovely.

David Samas, leader of the Brother’s Quarrel, is the composer and live musician of psychobotany music so far. His enthusiasm and reliability as well as music magic was appreciated. The additions of Michael Shrader and Kevin Corcoran were harmonious.

As far as event producing goes, this was my most ambitious event yet. I reached out to the venue/team, Beauty Supply with a proposal. It was great feeling like I had control over the timeline and who I was booking and the space. In previous psychobotanies, we had to leave pretty much right after the show, so it was nice having some time to come down from the thrill of performing.

There was an element of something that I don’t want to publicly mention, but for my own sense of the show’s memory, that it was magical, and mostly safe, though I learned some lessons about labeling and supervision that I want to be more conscientious of in the future.

Also, I would add as a sole-producer– I would make the note of being more upfront about when payment is happening and making sure that all artists get some kind of photographic/videographic/aural documentation. It was an oversight for the opener not to have something after the show for their use.

The experience of the show: it was exciting to feel nervous, it was sad to feel that not everyone who is important to me came to see it, it was ecstatic to see the elements coming together. It was a miracle– I loved the stories that emerged from the movements on stage. The thing about this show is that the movers are instructed to move “authentically.” The free associative quality makes the show a treat for me because I don’t know what’s going to happen and I know most about what’s going to happen. The stories were amazing. I had my stained glass window silhouettes and Annikah wore a full veil, so there was a mystical church storyline and overall, it felt like Holy Mountain because of how stately some of the action was.

My role of lighting artist was a treat. It’s always great to be in control of a machine that makes colors and textures happen with ease. It’s an overhead projector, old school style– it feels like a microscope, it feels like a spotlight. I feel like I’m dancing with them, picking up on the stories and vibes and adding and being inspired. An interplay of responding, and sponding. There were parts like, I’m done looking at that story, moving to another area of the stage, and other parts where I think Andrew was talking to me, like he knew I was out there looking at him and said here’s this projection surface for you.

I’m excited about doing more psychobotanies. I feel like it has a lot of benefit for experimentation. The timing of the show was 2 30-minute cycles instead of a 45 minute with 5 9-minute sections. It was a different dynamic and at first I thought, what makes it psychobotany if not for the timing, but it felt like psychobotany.

I was telling my therapist about how much I love this show and how it feels like a crystallization of a lot of my interests. Thank you to all who came to witness it in person. Thank you to everyone who held space for it.


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