After six years in exile, PS122 has returned to the East Village in time to kick off its annual Coil festival. The avant-garde performance space’s home, a former school building on First Avenue, just underwent a $37 million renovation that resulted in a larger lobby, a new elevator, upgraded restrooms, and two brand-new theaters.
With the new digs comes a new name, Performance Space New York. But the venue– which has incubated Spalding Gray, Eric Bogosian, John Leguizamo, and others– remains committed to “artists from a diversity of backgrounds being free to make and share their work, the East Village community, audiences from around the world who seek risk-taking, provocative experiences, and the people and ideas that make up our history,” according to a letter from Jenny Schlenzka, the former MoMA and PS1 curator who took over as director in 2016.
To honor its home neighborhood and the “time of explosive creativity” that followed PS122’s occupation of an abandoned turn-of-the-century school building in 1980, the organization will present an East Village Series from Feb. 17 to June 30. There’ll be performances by local legends such as Diamanda Galas and Penny Arcade, as well as relative newcomers like the “deviance”-minded BRUJAS collective.
In the meantime, Performance Space New York’s “affordable, year-round programming” has kicked off with the 13th (and final) Coil festival, which runs through Feb. 4. Among the festival’s six works of experimental dance, theater, and storytelling is “Jupiter’s Lifeless Moons.” The self-described “surreal, sexual, cinematic romp through nocturnal America” pairs lights, sounds, and costumes with the music of Dane Terry, who has been called “the millennial Cole Porter” by none other than John Cameron Mitchell.
We visited rehearsals to find out what a romp through nocturnal America looks like, and spoke to director Ellie Heyman about the return of one of the East Village’s hallowed artistic institutions. Play our video for more.