On the evening of Saturday, December 5th, guests begin pouring into Greenpoint Gallery for Mirrors and Smoke, a celebratory dual release event for two Brooklyn-based artist collectives: Experimental Bitch Presents (EBP) and 2F Collective. Co-founded by NYU Tisch experimental theater grads Wednesday Derrico and Shelby Brage, EBP is a socially motivated group of artists practicing across all mediums who believe in radical inclusion, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the responsibility of artists to “confront the present, respond to the past, and develop the future.” Since founding EBP in early 2015, Derrico and Brage have been busy writing, directing, and collaborating on productions nonstop. 2F, a 12-person collective of musicians, singers, and underground DJs, spin everything from bedroom-produced cloud rap to acid house and hard-style techno, with a little R&B thrown in to boot. The collective, made up of Nick Fraser, Henry Ott, and Spctra (to name just a few), is named after an apartment many of the members shared in Brooklyn. Some still live there.
Billed as an “epic romp of performance and music,” the night is just that. Scores of paintings line the walls of the two-room gallery, which features a small elevated stage to the left upon entering. The second room hosts a bar, where one of the space’s regular tenants (the gallery is alternately a 12-person studio apartment and exhibition space) tends to the influx of young creatives. The bar room has a home-y vibe to it, featuring fish tanks, red and purple disco lights, and a smattering of worn-in couches. The air is thick with cigarette smoke.
The evening kicks off with experimental music from 2F Collective member Henry Ott that leads into his live score of EBP Co-founder Wednesday Derrico’s immersive theater piece. The small room quickly swells to over a hundred guests. In the midst of the crowd, The Induction of Lady M begins. The piece was devised collaboratively between Derrico and her actors, and is a progressive, feminist take on vignettes from Macbeth. The actors mingle with the crowd, introducing different forms of ritual: moon circles, court dances, lit sage. Derrico intended to “bring a more classical piece of literature to a party-oriented scene, and allow that to become a temporary space for poetry.” The cast is composed primarily of NYU Tisch alumni with backgrounds in physical-based acting training. EBP member Matt Phillips assisted Derrico with the movement sections, the highlight of which was a tangle of multiple women shrouded in pale pink translucent fabric, who moved as a knotted whole.
Henry Ott, 2F Collective member and collaborator on The Induction of Lady M, co-organizes the whole shebang. After Derrico’s contemporary female-centric take on Macbeth concludes, 2F Collective’s music begins. First to take the stage is Dr. Bones, a.k.a., Ruben Dax, who uses a “pleasantly even mix of organic and computerized sound” to create “futuristic hip-hop-flavored tracks.” Next Spctra steps up, a Philippines/NYC repping beatmaker who slaps smooth bass and cleverly cut tracks. Adding a little vocal energy into the mix is Francesca, a contemporary R&B singer who performs original songs from her new Sanity EP, which is officially released at the event. Rapper Tai Free hops onstage while Francesca is up, turning things into a hip-hop duet. He raps while she sings soulfully alongside. Rounding out the night is Nick Fraser, a Brooklyn-based DJ specializing in techno and ambient music. Francesca’s Sanity EP, along with a whole slew of 2F member EPs and unreleased tracks, were available for sale on custom 2F Collective USB sticks at the door.
The night was an exciting mix of new ideas and refreshing energy. Amidst the music and merriment, two all-white Siberian huskies emerged as the evening’s stars, walking around the space with unattainable levels of nonchalance. We later learned there were really five of them.
Keep your eyes and ears on these two collectives as they keep those ever-so-juicy creative juices flowing.