Choreographer and Manga Artist Scratch Underbelly of Japan's "Cute" Culture

Nov 24th 2009

Choreographer Jeremy Wade and Manga Artist Hiroki Otsuka Strip Japanese "Cute" Culture to its Grotesque Core in World Premiere Commissioned by Japan Society

there is no end to more

3 Performances Only! December 3-5, 2009, 7:30 pm, at Japan Society

New York, NY -- Japan Society presents its world premiere commission work, there is no end to more, from Bessie Award-winning American choreographer Jeremy Wade. The final installment under the 2009 season theme Japan Transatlantic: Tokio-Berlin, there is no end to more offers a playfully cynical look at Japanese "cute" culture through an intense juxtaposition of movement, text, animation and video of original manga drawings by artist Hiroki Otsuka. This production runs Thursday-Saturday, December 3-5, 7:30 pm, at Japan Society.

Jeremy Wade's there is no end to more centers on Japanese kawaii (cute) culture—from the infantile fluff of Hello Kitty to the teenage doe-eyed love portrayed in anime—exploring its ubiquitous influence on contemporary culture. Walking the line between societal norm and aberration, consumption and delusion, Wade peels the layers of kawaii to reveal something more sinister and grotesque beneath. The result is a disembodied spectacle in the style of a children's television show following the theme of a man's relationship to the "endless more" and all that exists just beyond grasp.

Performed by actor/dancer Jared Gradinger, there is no end to more was created by an international team headed by choreographer Jeremy Wade and including Brooklyn-based Japanese manga artist/illustrator Hiroki Otsuka, Berlin-based video artist Veith Michel, musician Brendan Dougherty, lighting designer Andreas Harder and architect Henning Ströh. The text is co-authored by Wade, Jared Gradinger and visual artist/writer Marcos Rosales.

Hailing from a small mill town in the American northeast, Jeremy Wade has created work in New York City for over ten years, actively participating in the New York nightlife scene and the downtown dance community. Currently, he splits his residence between New York and Berlin. Wade was an original member of Chez Bushwick, a live/work loft for the performing arts and a hub for emerging artists. He attended the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam, graduating in 2000, after which he returned to New York City. His pieces have been presented in theaters, galleries, nightclubs and lofts. In 2006, Wade premiered his first evening length work Glory/Fiction at Dance Theater Workshop, for which he received a Bessie Award. Wade's first group piece, …and pulled out their hair, premiered at the Hebbel Theater in Berlin in February 2007 and enjoyed a successful New York run in September 2007. His latest production, MARY, premiered at Les Subsistances in Lyon, France in April 2008. The New York Times notes Wade "has cultivated an extreme physical grotesquerie... He is both abject and sinister. He frightens."

Japanese artist Hiroki Otsuka produces deeply provocative and unsettling work depicting an unstable landscape of sexuality in contemporary Japan. Otsuka, using the sumi ink employed by traditional calligraphers, renders young women in helpless poses, hermaphroditic baby doll monsters and nymphs, and strong squared-off katakana characters. Straight, gay, trans-gendered or otherwise, these works speak to the diversity of sexuality as much as they portray unspeakable acts or hidden fantasies. Otsuka honed his crafts over a decade of drafting and inking comic book cells for a variety of publications he authored under the pen name “Pirontan.” He began illustrating for a number of major Japanese publications in 2004, including the gay-themed magazine Badi and the straight-leaning manga series Erotics, Rabumani and Hi-5. In 2007, Otsuka's work was featured in Japan Society's exhibition Making a Home: Japanese Contemporary Artists in New York, curated by Eric Shiner. The New Yorker notes, “Otsuka recycles motifs dear to the otaku set – sexy waifs, unsettling undercurrents of violence. . . accompanied by vague existential musings (and, incidentally, owing plenty to such traditional Japanese graphics as ukiyo-e).”

Since the inception of the Performing Arts Program in 1953, Japan Society has introduced more than 600 of Japan's finest performing arts to an extensive American audience. Programs range from the traditional arts of noh, kyogen, bunraku and kabuki to cutting-edge theater, dance and music. The Program also commissions new works, produces national tours, organizes residency programs for American and Japanese artists and develops and distributes educational programs. "At once diverse and daring, the program stands toe to toe with some of the most comprehensive cultural exchange endeavors today" (Back Stage).

Japan Society launched its performing arts season theme Japan Transatlantic: Tokio-Berlin in September. Productions in the 2009-2010 season focus on Japan-themed performances developed in Berlin by international artists in collaboration with Japanese artists based outside of Japan. With a strong emphasis on visual art elements, often incorporating multimedia components, these works harness the power of performers' pure physical technique and individual abilities, representing a remarkable cultural hybrid with a unique reflection on their Japanese roots.

Established in 1907, Japan Society has evolved into North America's major producer of high-quality content on Japan for an English-speaking audience. Presenting over 100 events annually through well established Corporate, Education, Film, Gallery, Language, Lectures, Performing Arts and Innovators Network programs, the Society is an internationally recognized nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that provides access to information on Japan, offers opportunities to experience Japanese culture, and fosters sustained and open dialogue on issues important to the U.S., Japan, and East Asia. On the occasion of Japan Society's 2007 centennial, American Theatre noted: "For a hundred years now, the Japan Society of New York has been a think tank for policy works, entrepreneurs, diplomats and Japanophiles. But the jewel in its crown has always been the performing arts program."

there is no end to more runs Thursday-Saturday, December 3-5 at 7:30 pm. Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First & Second Avenues. Tickets are $20/$15 and may be purchased by calling the Box Office at 212-715-1258 by visiting www.japansociety.org. General information at 212-832-1155 or from the website.


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