Holly Bass


Sat, Oct 24
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Sporting a pompadour, a bedazzled cummerbund spelling out $€X, and golden orbs amplifying her backside, Bass draws inspiration from James Brown, “the hardest working man in show business” and Sarah Baartman, the South African woman who became world-famous as the Venus Hottentot. Over the course of twelve hours, Bass will dance to a soundtrack of songs and speeches spanning the last century, including excerpts of speeches from Shirley Chisholm, Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X and other voices of Black liberation.

Part political commentary and part celebration of social dance, Moneymaker interweaves a lineage of Black artistry with a satirical critique of the history of exploitation, commodification, and objectification of Black women. Taking place on October 24, the first day of early voting in New York, Bass’s performance also calls to mind the long and very relevant struggle of voter suppression in America.

As part of ForFreedoms’Awakening 2020 campaign and RuckUS’ day of action, this socially-distanced performance will also serve as an activation site of civic engagement. Attendees are encouraged to drop completed, New York absentee ballots off at Live Arts (219 W 19th St., NYC) during the duration of the performance (8am – 8pm), which will be promptly delivered to the County Board of Elections Office.

Following current Covid-19 safety measures, the performance itself will take place inside the Live Arts glass front entrance vestibule and be visible from the sidewalk outside. Between 3:30 and 4:30 pm EST on the day of the event, New York Live Arts will be included on the route of the RuckUS parade-style march, highlighting Bass’ performance. Additionally, a 3-hour portion of the 12-hour performance will be made available to livestream from 2pm – 5pm EST for free, RSVP required. Full event details and RSVP information can be found here.

RuckUS was born from conversations among “the Breakfast Club”: revered musicians LaurieAnderson, ArtoLindsay, and RyuichiSakamoto, along with noted branding consultant IainNewton. Inspired to find a way for artists to engage with voter advocacy, they invited legendary rock/jazz bassist MelvinGibbs and BillT. Jones, Live Arts Artistic Director, as well as cultural curators from Joe’s Pub, The Blacksmiths, Town Hall, and HONK NYC to help coordinate this extraordinary multi-borough, pro-voting extravaganza.

During the event we will be collecting New York mail in ballots to be hand delivered to the Executive Office of the Board of Elections.