Sep 27, 2018 • 10:00 AM

BRIC, the pioneering NYC arts-and-media organization celebrating 40 years as the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, announces eight projects selected for its 2018-19 BRIClab residency program at BRIC House (September 2018-May 2019)—the organization’s award-winning 40,000SF Downtown Brooklyn home.

BRIClab is a commissioning and residency program that offers local artists time and space to explore and expand the possibilities of their work in music, dance, theater, and multidisciplinary performance. Work-in-progress showings, presented with moderated artist-audience dialogues, open artists’ process and creativity to BRIC’s diverse public.

Residency artists of the 2018-2019 BRIClab season include The New Wild with Johnny Walsh & Qais Essar, Rev. Yolanda Roger Anthony Mapes and Justin Taylor, Janeill Cooper with Eric Parra & Wendell Gray II, Eliza Bent with Annie Tippe, Laura Anderson Barbata with Tamilla Woodard & Katherine Freer, Bex Kwan and Sophia Mak, Tendayi Kuumba and Courtney J. Cook with Greg Purnell, and Wendy S. Walters and Derek Bermel. 

The season at BRIC House—its first under newly appointed BRIC President Kristina Newman-Scott—highlights the central idea that has animated BRIC’s identity from the very beginning: that to create the future we want to see, artists must be supported in their role as civic leaders and citizens must be empowered to speak in their own creative voice. The season also deepens the organization’s inclusive approach to both local and global discussions, and the places where they intersect.

BRIClab 2018-19 Season

Tear a Root from the Earth (work-in-progress)
September 27 & 28 | 7PM
September 28 | 2PM
Artist Studio at BRIC House
$8 Adv /$12 Day-of-show
General Admission Seating

Music by Johnny Walsh and Qais Essar with Gramophonic, Lyrics by Johnny Walsh, Book by John Bair, Directed by Marina McClure.

Tear a Root from the Earth is a new musical that uses both American and Afghan folk music to portray three generations of an Afghan family as they navigate the American and Soviet invasions of Afghanistan. The piece is epic in scope and specific to Afghanistan, but also universal in its themes about the impossible decisions facing people in war. It features an on-stage band composed of instruments from East and West. From Afghanistan, virtuoso and co-composer Qais Essar plays the traditional rabab alongside Afghan percussion. From the West, co-composer and lyricist Johnny Walsh and Americana band Gramophonic lend folk, bluegrass, and rock rhythms to the captivating score. This combination of sounds and styles offers a unique perspective on Afghanistan and America’s legacy there.


The Church of the Alien Love Child Presents the Passion of Reverend Yolanda (work-in-progress)
October 11 & 12 | 7PM
Artist Studio at BRIC House
$8 Adv /$12 Day-of-show
General Admission Seating

Based on the true life of Rev. Yolanda Roger Anthony Mapes
Book by Justin Anderson Taylor
Lyrics by Rev. Yolanda Roger Anthony Mapes and Justin Anderson Taylor
Music by Rev. Yolanda Roger Anthony Mapes
Additional music and arrangement by Phil Carroll
Additional music by Eric Tipler
Directed by Shaun Peknic

The Church of The Alien Love Child presents its annual passion play about its founder, "The Passion of Reverend Yolanda." Discover the five names, five lives, five deaths, and five resurrections of Rev. Yolanda, a trans-femme genderqueer interfaith music minister from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Inspired by Passing StrangeFun Home, and The Rocky Horror Show, Yolanda, backed by her band and the Alien Love Choir, guides the audience through an immersive, musical church service and play about her journey toward her true self. Bluegrass, gospel, rock, folk and Yolanda’s unique country-kirtan sound take us through Yolanda's odyssey and deliver us to a trans-scendant gender land.


after the credits (work-in-progress)
November 15 & 16 | 7PM
Artist Studio at BRIC House
$8 Adv /$12 Day-of-show
General Admission Seating
Directed and facilitated by Janeill Cooper in collaboration with Eric Parra & Wendell Gray II.

after the credits questions how human existence itself is inherently subject to high levels of visibility. We are often exposed, but seldom seen. In the realm of this dance work, being seen can be defined as being acknowledged, accepted, listened to, understood, held, loved, and supported in the most genuine ways. It is the connection to other people, from strangers to kin alike, that when missing, can have detrimental effects on a person mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Featuring three men of color, we explore the intersections between trauma, identity, and personal histories as recorded in the physical archive that is the human form.


Bonnie’s Last Flight (work-in-progress)
December 6 & 7 | 7PM
Artist Studio at BRIC House
$8 Adv /$12 Day-of-show
General Admission Seating
Written by Eliza Bent and directed by Annie Tippe

Bonnie’s Last Flight is a three-part play set on a plane. Our audience makes the trip as passengers: sitting on a tarmac before take off, floating at cruising altitude, and buckling down for the wild and rocky descent back to land. It’s Jan’s retirement flight. Everyone knows, except for Greig, Jan’s best friend and co-worker of many years. As Greig waxes nostalgic, Jan worries about life post-retirement. LeeAnne, a klutzy newbie flight attendant with a dark past, must avoid her ex who’s on the plane while Captain, a waggish pilot with a weakness for unlimited Bloody Mary Brunches, is caught in a love triangle, and Erik, the co-pilot with a heart of gold, can’t get a word in edgewise. In this comedy set on everyone's least favorite mode of transit, we must reckon with our crew's dreams and regrets and ask ourselves: What is the best way to live and how?


The Eye of the Beholder (work-in-progress)
February 21 & 22 | 7PM
Artist Studio at BRIC House
$8 Adv /$12 Day-of-show
General Admission Seating
Created and Written by Laura Anderson Barbata
Developed with and Directed by Tamilla Woodard
Multimedia Design by Katherine Freer

Victorian Mexican Indigenous mezzo soprano Julia Pastrana was billed as ¨The Ugliest Woman in the World¨. A title given to her by her manager-husband Theodore Lent, she was exhibited by him and others in the United States and Europe during her life and after her death for 150 years. Chronicling 10 years work to have Pastrana’s body repatriated to Mexico for burial, renowned(?) artist Laura Anderson Barbata conducts audiences through a series of stories, exercises and thought experiments towards an experience of radical empathy and a re-examination of the value of a human life.

Composed of elements of TED Talk, flash workshop sessions, dance, music, and multimedia, The Eye of the Beholder is a participatory performance mashup asking audiences to close their eyes and see (re-envision) the world from a different place.


Double Yolk Moon (work-in-progress)
March 14 & 15 | 7PM
Artist Studio at BRIC House
$8 Adv /$12 Day-of-show
General Admission Seating

Created by Bex Kwan and Sophia Mak

Double Yolk Moon is an auto-ethnographic cross-disciplinary performance told in shadow, sound, and movement, that is currently in workshop. The piece delves into the friendship of two queer trans masculine Chinese people, Bex and Sophia, who people kept confusing for each other even though they had just met. Lit only by overhead projectors, the performers play with shadow puppetry and archival audio to form dreamscapes that explore collisions, contradictions and revelations in their stories such as their relationship to sexuality, wealth, and ancestors. The performance is a site of tender resistance and rebellion, unearthing secret histories of foreignness, family mythologies and kinship in East Asian communities in the United States.


FLUXX Part 2 (work-in-progress)
April 4 & 5 | 7PM
Artist Studio at BRIC House
$8 Adv /$12 Day-of-show
General Admission Seating
Created and performed by Tendayi Kuumba and Courtney J. Cook with music by Greg Purnell

A Black woman's life has always held close the seed of spirituality. FLUXX Part 2 cuts into that seed as an interrogation of personal memories and those of mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, and what it can look like to take it to the stars.

This is an embodied performance and musical journey. It creates space to capture that essence of the ultimate intergalactic BLACK nurturing, healing, leading, diva spirit in all her glory.

This piece aims to capture the dissonance between the difficult internal dialogues backstage/behind closed doors, to the journey ethereal feelings, hopes, & dreams. A creation from a NEW world, where all her demise and discombobulations reveal tireless beauty and strength.


Golden Motors (work-in-progress)
April 18 & 19 | 7PM
Artist Studio at BRIC House
$8 Adv /$12 Day-of-show
General Admission Seating
music by Derek Bermel
lyrics by Wendy S. Walters
directed by Johanna Mckeon  

Golden Motors is a music theater work in development with story and lyrics by Wendy S. Walters and music by Derek Bermel, set in 1980s Detroit during the collapse of the American automobile industry. The story highlights the struggles of working-class people trying to safeguard their future against enormous economic odds. After a murder at an automobile plant sets off an unexpected chain of events, security guard Henry Loving is forced to confront the risks and rewards in his life, while his friends, co-workers, and daughter Charisse forge their own uncertain paths towards a more secure future.


About BRIC

BRIC is celebrating 40 years as the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn, and one of the largest in New York City. The organization presents and incubates work by artists and media-makers that reflects the diversity of New York. BRIC programs reach hundreds of thousands of people each year.

BRIC’s main venue, BRIC House, offers a public media center, a major contemporary art exhibition space, two performance spaces, a glass-walled TV studio and artist work spaces.

Some of BRIC’s most acclaimed programs include the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park; groundbreaking media initiatives, including BRIC TV, BRIC Radio, and Brooklyn Free Speech; and renowned contemporary art exhibitions. BRIC also offers education and community-building programs at BRIC House and throughout Brooklyn.

In addition to making cultural programming genuinely accessible, BRIC is dedicated to providing substantial support to artists and media makers in their efforts to develop work and reach new audiences. BRIC is unusual in both presenting exceptional cultural experiences and nurturing individual expression. This dual commitment enables BRIC to most effectively reflect New York City’s innate cultural richness and diversity.

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Press contact: Blake Zidell, Rachael Shearer, or Ron Gaskill at Blake Zidell & Associates:,, 718.643.9052