Raja Feather Kelly | the feath3r theory
On view now through January 2022; Opening reception with complimentary refreshments: Nov 19th, 5pm at New York Live Arts
This installation is part of Live Arts 2019 – 2020 Randjelović/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist Raja Feather Kelly’s world premiere WEDNESDAY, Dec 1-4 & 8-10, 2021.
Concept: Raja Feather Kelly
Design: Raja Feather Kelly and Kate Enman
Photography: Kate Enman
Video: Laura Snow and Raja Feather Kelly
Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American biographical crime drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Al Pacino, John Cazale, featuring Chris Sarandon. It chronicles the events following a bank robbery by John Wojtowicz and was inspired by a 1972 Life magazine article “The Boys in the Bank” by P. F. Kluge. The hook of the story for many was that Wojtowicz was robbing the bank in the hopes of getting the funds for his partner Elizabeth Debbie “Eden”. To this day Al Pacino character, Sonny Wortzik, and his partner remain two of the highest profile LGBTQ characters in film history, but what about Eden?
40 years later, Dance, Theatre, and Media company the feath3r theory began a search for the true motivations and outcome behind the bank robbery in a production they are calling WEDNESDAY. Their theatre veritè live documentary dismantles the film in an attempt to re-center the story on Raja Feather Kelly’s relationship to Eden, for whom the character Leon in the film is loosely based.
This Mural titled Eden: Me/Us/Her is designed with the thesis of the production in mind. Who Gets to tell whose story? and can Raja Feather Kelly and the feath3r theory carve out space for for Eden without Eden.
Kelly started this project when he wrote an essay for himself titled, Who Gets To Tell Whose Story. In this essay, Kelly contemplates and criticizes identity politics in performance culture and a fear that both his and Eden’s particular and specific LGBTQ identity has no place in popular culture.
Eden: Me/Us/Her features photography from Kate Enman of the feath3r theory’s process of creating WEDNESDAY from 2018 -2021. Enman has been working as a member of the feath3r theory design company since 2015. The photos are both a reflection of the companies process as much as they are an intimate document of how the show developed. The video design for this installation, created in Collaboration with and edited by Laura Snow (who joined the feath3r theory in 2009 as it’s first member) features a similar intimacy with documentary footage she captured since the company’s inception, exploring, how the feath3r theory has come together to create this work and what tore them apart. The video also traces the trajectory of Eden’s story in Popular Culture. Video includes trailers created for the marketing of the production Wednesday; Man-on-the-street interviews that look at the real-life robbery location as well as where where Dog Day Afternoon was filmed; a recent interview between Chris Sarandon who played Leon (Inspired by Eden) and Raja Feather Kelly; excerpts from media that has inspired the creation of the show. All combine to create a unique Video Essay that both celebrates and critiques LGBTQ Representation.
WEDNESDAY is Commissioned, Produced and Presented by New York Live Arts as part of the Randjelović /Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist Program (RCA), with lead support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
WEDNESDAY was created in part at The Watermill Center, a laboratory for performance, in September-October 2019. Additional support provided by Creative Capital, a creative retreat at The Wheelhouse, and a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship grant from the Jerome Foundation. Additional support from a Residency at The Wheelhouse, and The Mercury Store.