On Wednesday, May 15th, 2024, I had the honor of attending Spare Change, an evening of experimental performance art curated by Max Martin, highlighting works in progress from various Los Angeles based artists. This spectacle of a show took place in the multi-purpose arts event space, studio, venue, and home of curator Max Martin named CRAWLSPACE. In the heart of the LA Arts District, CRAWLSPACE aims to be an accessible space for artists and performers. Offering rental fees on a sliding scale, CRAWLSPACE is built to be a resource to emerging artists in the Los Angeles community which is monumental and worth celebrating.

CRAWLSPACE audience - Photo by Jade Solus

CRAWLSPACE audience – Photo by Jade Solus.

The evening opened with a work created by Kensaku Shinohara and Sam Wentz which began with the exploration of a wooden slope like structure and a plank of wood. The performers wore work gloves which alluded to the idea of labor and its extremism. The movement, post-modern in nature, had moments of comedic relief paired with serious intent which was much appreciated as the piece was performed in silence. The two artists cohesively shared space with their props and each other in a way that felt natural and comfortable and was a pleasure to watch.

CRAWLSPACE - Spare Change - Kensaku Shinohara and sam wentz - Photo by Jade Solus.

CRAWLSPACE – Spare Change – Kensaku Shinohara and sam wentz – Photo by Jade Solus.

Following the opening act was an unforgettable performance by artist Wally. Two cinder blocks appeared in the space, and before the artist undressed himself, the audience was handed a small cage with live crickets to pass around and look at. Wally takes the space by claiming the crickets back into his possession and placing them in the center of his world of a performance. The piece was complex in meaning yet simple in execution, giving space to question meaning and intent through the artist’s choices. The labor of the repetitive movement Wally was showcasing with the cinder blocks truly reflected the universal difficulty that one might have in a seemingly ‘simple’ life such as a cricket. The ending of this piece came as a shock when Wally ended the lives of the crickets causing audible gasps from many in the audience including myself. I very much appreciated the risk and commitment in this work.

CRAWLSPACE - Spare Change - Max Martin and Jacob Wolff - Photo by Jade Solus.

CRAWLSPACE – Spare Change – Max Martin and Jacob Wolff – Photo by Jade Solus.

Up next was an incredible performance by Max Martin and Jacob Wolf which alluded to important themes of gender, dysphoria, queer representation, childhood, and community. The performers used a trash bag full of various pieces of clothing to use as vessels that initiated movement. Martin and Wolf made the very obvious choice to put on the clothing in a nonconventional way such as pant legs over your head, shirts worn as pants, and jackets worn backwards or upside down. Throughout the work, more props appeared to be used in ways that defy convention such as a pink children’s scooter and an electric guitar. Both items were used to create a soundscape that was uncomfortable, forced, and at times startling. The movement between Martin and Wolf was at times tender, sporadic, delicate, and strong. The two created a powerful display of performance art, one that was my personal favorite of the evening.

CRAWLSPACE - Spare Change - Cade Moga and Ironstone - Photo by Jade Solus

CRAWLSPACE – Spare Change – Cade Moga and Ironstone – Photo by Jade Solus.

To close the evening was a very important and poignant work presented by Cade Moga, Ironstone, and Aeon Lux. This work spoke to the ongoing humanitarian disaster taking place in Palestine and honoring the sacrifice of Aaron Bushnell who self-immolated as a form of protest. The work demonstrated a powerful use of movement with spoken work as the artists moved through the space with power and clear intent. It was a momentous way to close the evening as all proceeds from this event were donated to the nonprofit organization, Palestine Red Crescent which provides humanitarian aid to the ongoing crisis. It was an honor to be a part of such a diverse evening of performances in a space that actively uplifting the voices of artists. I look forward to attending more events at CRAWLSPACE soon.

To learn more about CRAWLSPACE, please click HERE.

Written by Rebecca Lee for LA Dance Chronicle.

Featured image: CRAWLSPACE – Spare Change – Wally Waliszewski – Photo by Jade Solus.