By Karla Casique
Worlds merge and create new realities at NextNOW Fest, featuring some of the most talented and intrepid artists from almost every corner of the world. Drenched in the growing map of the human soul, the performing arts festival ignites The Clarice Performing Arts Center with dance, music and theatre performances that challenge audiences to lose their expectations.
All acts are free and open to the public. Events start at midnight with Living Umbrellas on Friday, Sept. 9 and end at 9 p.m. with Silent Disc-Glo, in partnership with Student Entertainment Events (SEE).
“The line up is super diverse,” said NextNOW Fest’s curator, Megan Pagado. “That was one of my main focus that there’s a variety of voices and that we were bringing artists that were really giving voice to their own stories and their own experiences.I’m really really proud of this line up and I can just imagine where we’ll go in the future.”
The Clarice has partnered up with a lot of departments on campus, such as the Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy office, LGBT Equity Center and WMUC 88.1 FM radio station.
“There’s not that much collaboration between student and administration settings and that’s really important to start building it to make it more relevant to the students and the university,” said Christopher Bugtong, senior computer science and film double major and the general manager at WMUC. “I think it’s a really important thing to foster diversity in the community.”
“We want students to discover us and experience the creativity by the students, the music and theatre. But also, the creativity of those across campus,” Pagado said. “The festival can be about putting acts on stages, but to me it’s really about creating experiences and building community.”
In partnership with WMUC 88.1 FM, the DIY indie rock artist Mitski Miyawaki will once again tear the fabric of normalcy with her vulnerable lyrics and unprecedented vibes. This isn’t the first time she has performed in College Park—she visited WMUC almost two years ago and since then, a handful of students at this university have become loyal fans.
The partnership between the station and The Clarice started when “WMUC really wanted to get involved with the MilkBoy+ArtHouse project, which is set to open in March 2017. We essentially polled the radio station and asked what they wanted to see in terms of availability and popularity; it ended up being Mitski,” Bugtong said.
One of the reasons why Mitski is a great addition to NextNOW Fest is that she has broken barriers by being an Asian-American woman artist.
“Mitski is a half-Asian, half-white female on stage and that’s something that you don’t see often and it gives a lot of people — a lot of Asian people, women, people who don’t really have idols in that scene which is a white male dominated setting. It gives them outlet to really look up to,” said Bugtong.
She will perform on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. in the Kogod Theatre. She will return to the D.C. area on Nov. 18 at the Black Cat.
The definition of limitless, Bandaloop is an aerial dance company that combines spectacular choreography with a strong dose of fearlessness, using any and every surface as their canvas. There’s nothing left to the imagination as dancers possess buildings, historic sites, museums and many more structures showcasing the art of vertical dance performance.
The main focus of Bandaloop is to warp people’s perception of space, to use their surroundings and see what their connection is to it. They have brought their passion to over 17 countries, from the Americas to the Middle East.
After their success as BØRNS opening act on Sept. 2, the electropop group will end their summer tour at NextNOW Fest on Friday, closing the first day of the festival. After seeing their contagious set and obvious chemistry shine on stage, I’m sure I am not the only one who is interested in experiencing the talented students dominate and captivate the audience. Songwriter and singer Dean Emerson is also a part of WMUC 88.1 radio station.
Make sure to check them out at 7 p.m. at the Grand Pavilion. Their music is available on Spotify and Soundcloud.
Collaborating with the Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy (MICA) office, TOTUS students will perform their spoken word pieces revolving around identity and social justice. The class, which means ‘whole’ in Latin, has been a great opportunity for students of marginalized communities to express their art and challenge each other to see the wide spectrum of their peers’ experiences and enhance voices that are often silenced.
TOTUS alum Opeyemi “O-Slice” Owoeye will perform during this program.
Featured Photo Credit: Joey Antico of Todo Mas during their opening performance for BORNS at Ritchie Coliseum. Joey is a senior jazz performance and music education major. (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Photographer)
Karla Casique is a junior journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.