After two years of online showcases and limited capacity performances, BOOM Charlotte will return on April 22 for two days of fringe arts, breaking away from its original Plaza Midwood locale to arrive at Camp North End in 2022.
The annual BOOM Charlotte festival features art of all types — with a focus on the unusual or avant-garde — including theatre and film, music and dance, spoken-word and showcases that blend genres or defy them altogether.
This year, BOOM’s fifth, sees the return of what could be called the BOOM binary: the “Fringe” shows, which feature experimental original art performed in intimate indoor settings such as Boom Move (featuring dance) and BOOM Speak (spoken-word performances); and the “Intersection” shows, which will take place in a central outdoor setting and be free for anyone who attends BOOM or just so happens to be strolling around Camp North End.
In the Fringe
BOOM Fringe performances cost $10 each, and some will be live-streamed for the same cost. Or you can spend $50 for a weekend pass that grants access to all Fringe shows and the afterparty on April 23. We’ve picked out five interesting Fringe artists to check for during this year’s festival.
In the world of theatre, The Again/+ (pronounced “The Again And Or Plus”) is throwing out the script. Local artist Matthew Barnes and his troop of actors will perform three shows — all improvised from audience suggestions. Of course, each show will be different, as they won’t know beforehand what to expect from the audience. They will also perform a poetry reading (not improvised). The Again/+ will perform at Dupp and Swat on April 22 from 7:30-8:30 p.m., and April 23 from 3-4 p.m.
William Stephen Davis is a man of many hats: artist, educator, songwriter and producer. He is also the founder of local arts advocacy group Small Creatures and director of the Film Studies Program at UNC Charlotte. For BOOM Charlotte, he’ll be wearing a different title, one that’s known well in Charlotte’s music scene: Rasmus Leon.
Carried out under that moniker, Davis’ multimedia performance called “Foothills” uses elements of music, projection and storytelling to explore complex emotions. The performance, according to the BOOM Charlotte website, “is an intimate burrowing past the landscaped skins of self into a universal cosmic fray.” You can watch Rasmus Leon perform in the mign room on April 22 at 6 p.m., and April 23 at 7 p.m.
Moving Body Dance Company, founded by Erin Bailey in 2018, will perform a dance called “Under,” which “explores the complex relationships between the good and bad, the clean and unclean and the notion of innocence and guilt,” according to BOOM’s artist bio, and invites the audience to tackle such questions as, “How can shame unpack itself in the body and keep you under? How do you attempt to dig yourself out?” all through the medium of dance.
The performance will be shown in the Camp North End Event Space on April 22 from 7-8 p.m., and April 23 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
For those who might not be able to make it to the in-person festival, A Poet Named Superman is here to save the day. That’s the moniker used by spoken-word artist Greg Murray, whose poetry explores personal experiences, social injustice, and finding one’s purpose.
“He’s here to save the world … one word at a time,” says their BOOM Charlotte artist bio. MacFly Fresh will host Superman via Zoom on April 22 from 7:30-8:30 p.m., then in-person on April 23 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
CineOdyssey Film Festival will host a multicultural showcase of various short films by local, national, and international filmmakers titled BOOM Shorts, curated by Tre’ McGriff of CineOdyssey. Like A Poet Named Superman, BOOM Shorts will feature a Zoom live-streamed broadcast as well as a live viewing.
Tre’ McGriff is the founder/director of the CineOdyssey Film Festival, and has produced several indie short films. The live viewing will be at Dupp and Swat on April 22 from 9-10 p.m., and April 23 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. The Zoom broadcast will be later in the day on April 23, from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
At the Intersection
BOOM Intersection will feature free performances in a central outdoor area at Camp North End. This is the space where attendees are invited to walk around and see what they can find, to be immersed in art and sound and new experiences occurring all around them.
Here are just a few of the nearly 40 free showcases.
Deaf Andrews is one of the music offerings at Intersection, and the indie-rock quintet’s performance comes as they finish recording their first full-length album, according to the BOOM Charlotte website. Their sound is influenced by blues, classic rock and funk.
According to their bio on BOOM’s website, “Deaf Andrews is on a mission to explore sounds that compel the feet to move and the head to bang, and reward the ears for getting closer to the music.” You can see their performance at the Boileryard Intersection Stage on April 22 from 7:25-7:55 p.m.
Spoken-word artist Poetry Fox, the moniker of poet Chris Vitiello, offers poems for you to take home, written on-demand in an interactive experience. From inside The Writing Cabinet, Poetry Fox will sit click-clacking away at a typewriter while the audience will be invited to write down their hopes, dreams, fears, or whatever emotion it may be so Poetry Fox can write an impromptu poem in response.
Vitiello is also an award-winning arts writer and has published three collections of poetry — most recently Obedience on Ahsahta Press. You can encounter Poetry Fox in his Writing Cabinet at the Boileryard Intersection Living Room on April 22 from 6-9 p.m.
Nubia Jones’ ArtIs2B showcase is also an interactive art experience in which attendees will watch her create art in her unique dotted style. Her work is all about love, healing and the meditative nature of art itself.
According to her artist bio, “Nubia has coined her dotted style of art to be meditative heARTwork, where her renderings come out as pure as water, placing each dot onto the medium of choice with no agenda and no pre-planned finished product.” You can watch her live painting at the Boileryard Intersection Stage on April 23 from noon-1:40 p.m.
For a different kind of live art performance, you can check out self-taught artist Elle Walsh, whose showcase features live chalk art that is “historically based,” according to her bio. “Her goal is to raise awareness about current events and honor a history untold through the creation of thought-provoking public art.” You can see Walsh create her chalk work at the Intersection on April 23 from noon-3 p.m.
The Garrison Experience is a dance group founded by local dancer, choreographer and teacher Kyle Garrison Shawell. They offer a dance called “Bohemia Revisited,” which explores themes of life, heartbreak and happiness. Their style and performance are rooted in elements of jazz dance. Blink and you’ll miss ’em; they’ll be at the Boileryard Intersection Stage on April 23 from 3:15-3:30 p.m.
BOOM Speak and BOOM Move are smaller subsets of Fringe, and feature only a select few indoor showcases.
Alexandria Nunweiler and Ashlea Sovetts perform as a dance duo whose work “10 Recalling-20” offers a look into the lives and stories of interviewees ranging from ages 4 to 85 and reflects on the emotions and changes of life we all experience. You can see their performance in the Camp North End Event Space on April 23 from 1:30-2:30 p.m and at a later evening show the same day from 7-8 p.m.
TwinNation are two twin brothers whose dance performance “God’s Work” is also part of the BOOM Move showcase. “God’s Work” tells the story of friendship and jealousy in the inner city.
According to their artist bio, the twins taught dance classes at the Blumenthal for eight years and performed in the 2021 Super Bowl Halftime show with The Weeknd. You can see their Move performance at the Camp North End Event Space on April 23 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. and later in the day from 7-8 p.m.
Kathleen Finch is part of the BOOM Speak showcase. Her performance, “Your Voice,” is a blend of spoken-word and digital projection featuring photos of people and individual words that hold meaning to them.
“Her artwork and poetry focuses on illuminating the breath of human emotions in all its splendor,” says her artist bio, and “[s]he holds dearly the philosophy that seeing the worth in it all, brings us one step closer to peace.”
You can see Finch perform “Your Voice” at Dupp and Swat on April 22 from 6-7 p.m., and on April 23 from 8:30-9:30 p.m.
Husband-and-wife duo Kia Flow and Jerm747 will offer a spoken-word performance called “Flow Town.” The story is one of an artist “who has elaborate visions of her grand performance someday with thousands of people in the audience cheering her name,” says the artist bio, and while she “still has a nine-to-five, is a full-time student and is still trying to figure this thing called life. In the process she enjoys creating and has enlisted the help of her companion in her latest endeavor.”
The audience is invited to see how the story unfolds from there at Dupp and Swat on April 22 from 6-7 p.m., and on April 23 from 8:30-9:30 p.m.
BOOM Charlotte is back, and after two years of boiling in the virtual world, this year’s in-person return seems ready to burst with live artists. BOOM 2022 is shaping up to be not just a bursting of talented artists, but of people stepping out into the sun and saying, “Isn’t it good to be back?”
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