Recap: “Storefront Diva” Performance on Bleecker Street

Posted on: December 30th, 2011 at 7:28 am by

Veering slightly off our usual neighborhood paths, we ventured over to Bleecker and Thompson Street the other night to check out renowned experimental pianist Kathleen Supové’s latest performance of Storefront Diva. Crowned the “Downtown Piano Queen” by The New Yorker, Supové has also curated music programming for local venues including The Flea Theater.

This image has been archived or removed.

Performing inside the empty storefront at 159 Bleecker, formerly the famous Circle in the Square, Supové emerged in a white costume designed by Marija Plavšić (who also created the set), in an all-white room, alongside a white Yamaha piano. The only accents were Supové’s signature flame colored ‘do, matching nails, and a lone red flower suspended from the piano.

This image has been archived or removed.

Supové started with a horsehair of a different color. We’re referring to what appeared to be part of a violin bow dyed vibrant green which she manipulated between the piano wires, basically creating a new instrument. From there, she took her seat at the piano, reverting to the keys for the next few hours.

This image has been archived or removed.

Through the glass front doors, the crowd could hear the unamplified music by composer and director Joan La Barbara. The performance was inspired by a dream fragment from the artist Joseph Cornell’s journals, in which he sees composer Claude Debussy playing piano through a store window. Seeking to “explore our fascination with private lives,” the setting encouraged the crowd to take photos and video. At the same time, both the audience and Supové were being recorded by filmmaker Aleksandar Kostic, who had created video projections in the storefront installation as well. The recently-shot video will be used in the next phase of the project; edited portions will be projected onto Supové while she performs live at the Flea Theater in June.

This image has been archived or removed.

Despite the rain (thank goodness for the old Circle in the Square marquee which kept us all fairly dry), Supové attracted quite a crowd, many just stumbling upon the performance. The stunning all white room and Supové’s striking presence garnered a lot of attention on an otherwise gray day. We quite enjoyed the reactions of unsuspecting passers-by (surprise, glee, awe, excitement).

Our favorite overheard comment was from a man who was walking by while conversing on his cell phone. Giving his non-present friend a running commentary, he at first sarcastically said, “What’s going on here? Oh, wow, it’s, like, conceptual art!” A beat later, he changed his tone: “Hey, man, this is actually pretty cool!”

We couldn’t agree more.

And some video of Storefront Diva, courtesy of I Care if You Listen:

Writeup and photos by Lori Greenberg

Recent Stories

An Art Show to Benefit the Educational Alliance

A new art exhibit to support the Educational Alliance and its Manny Cantor Center kicks off this weekend. Drawing inspiration from the recently-deposed Hester Street Fair, “CONTINUE TO BE” is a celebratory show welcoming the warmth and hope of springtime in the city, featuring both new and old work from local photographers who have documented life […]

Clayton’s Corner: Shine a Light on the Dark

Since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, nights are especially dark on the streets of the Lower East Side. Fewer businesses, less activity, less overall light. In this latest installment of Clayton’s Corner, the neighborhood documentarian shines a light on the darkness.

City Officially Breaks Ground on $1.45B East Side Coastal Resiliency Project

After an initial delay, the contested $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency Project is set to break ground in the coming days. All against a backdrop of legal filings and vociferous community opposition. “Building a recovery for all of us means fighting climate change and investing in resilient communities,” Mayor de Blasio stated in a […]

The ‘Goodnight Moon’ House on Orchard Street

On lower Orchard Street, there was a telephone, and a landlord tycoon, and an art show depicting … Goodnight Moon. Hosted by Fort Makers, the new exhibit at 38 Orchard brings Margaret Wise Brown’s 1947 children’s book Goodnight Moon to life, via a three-dimensional installation. “Goodnight House” is the work of fourteen commissioned artists who […]

Grassroots Campaign Afoot to Remove Susan Stetzer from CB3 District Manager

Clearly, someone has a personal vendetta against Susan Stetzer, the longtime district manager of Community Board 3. Several wheat-paste posters surfaced on street surfaces around the neighborhood this week, demanding “Susan Stetzer out now” and to “clean up CB3.” The action appears part of a larger (anonymous) campaign to educate the neighborhood about the toxicity […]