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Variety Show

Photos: Kait Ebinger
Photos: Kait Ebinger

What is disruption, anyway? The term has been cast as a tech market tactic, a cultural trope, and a belief system of near-theological proportions. In an evening of performances and provocations, we considered many definitions of this watchword. Presenters offered perspectives of radical change ranging from activism and technology to equity and design:

Participants: It’s Showtime NYC subway dancers; Kimberly Drew, @museummammy and associate online community producer, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Riley Hooker, editor, Façadomy; E. Tammy Kim, editorial staffer, The New Yorker, Jonathan Lee, design manager/lead, Google Design; Oscar Nuñez, program coordinator, Center for Urban Pedagogy; members of Picture the Homeless; Steven Thrasher, U.S. writer-at-large, The Guardian; and critic, editor, and curator Mimi Zeiger

This event was designated for AIA CES (1.5 LU) and ASLA CES (1.5 LU) 

It’s Showtime NYC celebrates and promotes New York City street culture, providing performance and professional development opportunities to street and subway dancers, many of whom have created a unique NYC art form—“Lite Feet”—mixing acrobatics, hat tricks, and Breakdance elements. The program includes opportunities to perform in NYC parks and personal development in choreography, teaching, production, and administration, enhancing the dancers’ inherent talents and skills in developing viable and sustainable career paths. Acclaimed Hip Hop artists Kwikstep and Rokafella serve as Artistic Advisors and mentors. It’s Showtime NYC is a joint program of Dancing in the Streets and the Mark Morris Dance Group, and is supported by the NYC Mayor’s Office and the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Kimberly R. Drew is the founder of the blog Black Contemporary Art. She has delivered lectures and participated in panel discussions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Performa Biennial, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art Basel, the Brooklyn Museum and elsewhere. Drew is currently the Associate Online Community Producer at The Met.

Riley Hooker is a graphic designer based in New York and editor of Façadomy. The publication’s inaugural issue, Gender Talents, explores the landscape of self-determined gender. Hooker’s work has been exhibited in the New New Museum for Contemporary Art, The Queens Museum and The Shanghai Biennale.

E. Tammy Kim is a writer and editorial staffer at The New Yorker magazine. She worked previously as a staff writer for Al Jazeera America, a fellow at the Ms. Foundation for Women, and an attorney at the Community Development Project of the Urban Justice Center.

Jonathan Lee works on the Material Design team at Google, a group focused on a unified design framework for Google’s products, services and platforms. In addition to designing software products his team also leads Google Design, an outreach that seeks to connect Google’s resources, designers and their stories with the creative community around the world. He lives in Brooklyn and San Francisco and enjoys sandwiches in both cities, equally.

Oscar Nuñez is an NYC-based urban planner and DJ whose work is committed to building equitable cities through communities’ active participation in education, arts, and culture. He is currently a Program Coordinator at the Center for Urban Pedagogy and one of the organizers of Papi Juice, a nightly event in celebration of queer and trans people of color.

Picture the Homeless is a citywide, multiracial, bilingual organization whose constituency includes homeless people living in shelters as well as those living on the streets and in other public places. The organization opposes the quality of life laws that criminalize homeless people in any form by the city, state and national governments and works to change these laws and policies as well as to challenge the root causes of homelessness. Picture the Homeless’ strategies include grassroots organizing, direct action, and educating homeless people about their rights, public education, changing media stereotypes, and building relationships with allies.

Steven W. Thrasher (@thrasherxy)  is Writer-At-Large and Senior Opinion Columnist at the Guardian US and a Henry M. MacCracken doctoral fellow in the department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, where he is completing a PhD in American Studies. In 2016, Steven is among the top 10 Guardian authors worldwide in having his work shared on Facebook; and, out of 12,000 writers who have written for the Guardian website since 2006, he is among the top 10 recipients of reader comments so abusive they have to be deleted. As a Contributing Editor at BuzzFeed, Steven won the 2015 Al Neuharth Award for Innovation in Investigative Journalism for his story on Michael Johnson (“How College Wrestling Star ‘Tiger Mandingo’ Became An HIV Scapegoat”) from the Gannett Foundation and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA). Steven has previously been awarded a Courage Award from the Anti-Violence Project, a James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism from Hunter College, and NLGJA’s 2012 Journalist of the Year Award for his writing in Out magazine, the Village Voice and the New York Times. Steven sits on the board of the American Sociological Association’s journal Contexts and has forthcoming academic articles in that publication, Radical History Review and the Journal of American History. His most enjoyable writing assignment ever was authoring the liner notes for the Decca Records album Valentina Lisitsa Plays Philip Glass.

Mimi Zeiger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and critic. She covers art, architecture, urbanism and design for a number of publications including The New York Times, Domus, Dwell, and Architect, where she is a contributing editor. Zeiger is author of New Museums, Tiny Houses and Micro Green: Tiny Houses in Nature. She’s lectured internationally on “The Interventionist Toolkit”, a series of articles on alternative urbanist practice she wrote for Places Journal. Zeiger is editor and publisher of loud paper, a zine and blog dedicated to increasing the volume of architectural discourse. She is a founding member of #lgnlgn, a think tank on architecture and publishing. The group’s work has been shown at Urban Design Week, the New Museum, Storefront for Art and Architecture, pinkcomma gallery, and the AA School. She is currently adjunct faculty in the Media Design Practices MFA program at Art Center and co-president of the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design.