Amok Festival 15

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$5,450 raised of $5,000 goal
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Karen Yates's project was funded on October 26, 2015
    • 3Arts matched
    • 109% contributed

In a Nutshell

Amok Festival '15 debuts the performance work, Amok, and a series of related events inspired by the show as part of a weekend-long festival taking place December 4-6 at Links Hall. Focusing on Indonesia, my ensemble theater piece, Amok, weaves together actors, movement, digital sound, and live Javanese gamelan music into a dynamic tapestry that investigates colonial history and the spice trade, capitalism, and geoscience—both the 1883 explosion of Krakatoa and the 2004 tsunami. Using the nightly Amok performance as its anchor, Amok Festival will present events that elaborate on the show, including a gamelan rave with electronica elements presented by Friends of the Gamelan, traditional Javanese and modern dance, Dutch-Indonesian food by chef Chris Reed, specialty cocktails, art showings, and cultural presentations. I am seeking funds to help cover the costs of this ambitious production and programming so that an audience member can see the Amok performance and also become part of a connected multifaceted experience. Join the Facebook invitation!


The Full Story...

The historic spice trade has interested me greatly for years. I knew as I put cinnamon on my oatmeal or nutmeg in my eggnog that there was a time when the value of the spice bottle I held in my hand exceeded the cost of a car. Several years ago, through a chance viewing of a documentary, I became obsessed with the explosion of the Krakatoa volcano in 1883 in Indonesia and the epic devastation it inflicted, and then the 2004 tsunami 120 years later from the same geological phenomenon—the plate tectonics of the Java Trench. Suddenly these two interests came together: the Dutch East India Company running amok with its spice trade in Southeast Asia and the same region being upended by geological catastrophe. I knew then I had a very big project on my hands, one that would be my focus for a long time.

Originally I began developing Amok as a stand-alone performance work and it has received enthusiastic support through a 6-month residency at Links Hall, a DCASE “In the Works” residency, and grants from the Puffin Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Over time, as I have become interested concurrently in event creation and community interaction, I see that Amok must engage an interconnected network of partners for the project to reach its full expression. The complex nature of the piece demands that an approach be taken in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To that end, the Amok Festival allows the main performance work to be nestled within an intriguing assemblage of Indonesian music, food, drink, art, and science over a period of two and a half days. Your donation to this campaign will help make this festival possible by augmenting stipends for the many contributing artists, increasing production value, and strengthening promotion efforts. 

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25 - Personal thank-you on social media.
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50 - Free download of the music composition “Oceanic Trench” by Thomas Dixon, sound designer for Amok, and acknowledgement in the festival program.
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $150 - All of the above, plus 2 tickets to a Friends of the Gamelan concert occurring within the next year.
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $300 - Acknowledgement in the program, two tickets to an Amok evening performance and programming, plus a fitness consultation and private training session by Carrie Drapac, ensemble member and owner of Comfy Fitness in Chicago.
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500 - “Producer” acknowledgement in the festival program, plus two tickets to an Amok evening performance, a ‘meet-and-greet’ with the cast, and 2 tickets to Chef Chris Reed’s Rice Table Amok event November 1 (or another Rice Table event in calendar year).
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $750 - “Gold Sponsor” acknowledgement in the festival program, plus 2 festival passes, a ‘meet-and-greet’ with the cast, and 2 tickets to Chef Chris Reed’s Rice Table Amok event in November (or another Rice Table event in calendar year).
    ($0.00 is tax deductible.)
Karen Yates image
Chicago-based multidisciplinary artist Karen Yates has developed an expanded international practice that includes performance creation, stage direction, writing, acting, digital sound art, and social engagement. Her live ensemble performance pieces ...
  • Update 1: Ruth Margraff to Join Amok!
    Posted on September 28, 2015

    Respected writer-musician Ruth Margraff is joining Amok Fest ’15! Margraff most recently performed in the US-Serbian devised show Previously Blue. I have directed several plays of Ruth’s, most recently Stadium Devildare at Red Tape Theater.

     You will see her work every evening as part of the Amok performance bill, Dec 4-6. Stay tuned for more announcements!

    Update 2: Composer Eric Reda to create original composition for Amok!
    Posted on October 05, 2015

    Chicago opera composer Eric Reda, founder of Chicago Opera Vanguard, will create a short percussion and vocal work for Amok's evening's performance bill. He and I will be singing together, a first for the two of us!

    Update 3: Friends of the Gamelan is now a sponsor of Amok Fest!
    Posted on October 14, 2015

    Friends of the Gamelan (FROG) the oldest Javanese gamelan group in Chicago, has just come on board as an event sponsor. FROG will be playing at Amok Fest on the afternoon of Saturday Dec 5. A smaller ensemble of FROG musicians will be performing each evening, Dec 4-6.

    FROG conducts ongoing sessions at their location in Hyde Park and welcomes new members. They perform a varied repetoire and perform regularly in the Chicagoland area.

    Update 4: NY Filmmaker Matt Dunning to show work at Amok Fest!
    Posted on October 19, 2015

    New York filmmaker Matt Dunning will be screening several of his short documentaries at Amok Fest on Saturday Dec 5 and Sunday Dec 6, including The Stirring of a Thousand Bells (Sekaten), chronicling gamelan in modern Java, and Srimpi Muncar, which examines current dance practices. Here's a trailer!

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