Next week is a big week for Strange Freaks.
First, on Tuesday, Stew and Heidi Rodewald, the creators of the musical Passing Strange and longtime collaborators in the rock band The Negro Problem, are making a public appearance to talk about their artistic partnership joys and concerns of their longtime artistic partnership Summer Scoops Live with The Wall Street Journal.
On a porgram titled pARTners, They’ll talk with WSJ reporter Wendy Bounds before an audience at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. Also involved in the conversation are the creative team behind the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Artistic Director Bill T. Jones — who’s bringing his own musical, Fela!, to Broadway this fall — Associate Artistic Director Janet Wong and Creative Director Bjorn Amelan. The talk starts at 7 pm on Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the Walter Reade, 165 West 65th Street, Manhattan. General admission tickets are still available and cost $25. Buy them here.
Then, on the following night, Stew and Heidi return to make music at Lincoln Center Out of Doors as Stew and Heidi Present: The Broadway Problem. The show in Damrosch Park, at the southwest corner of the Lincoln Center Campus at West 62nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, opens with a set by Nunavit throat singer Tanya Tagaq. Admission to the outdoor concert is free and starts at 7 pm.
Keep reading for even more news about Stew and Heidi.
Finally, next Friday, the Spike Lee‘s Passing Strange movie opens for a theatrical run at the IFC Center downtown before it becomes available as an on-demand feature on many cable TV systems. The IFC Center is at 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street. Call (212) 924-7771. Click here for more schedule and other information.
Here’s Stew’s take on the movie:
I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that this crazy little thing me Heidi and Annie cooked up just for the hell of it is actually going to live on as part of the PBS canon. I really cannot wrap my head around that yet. PBS changed my life a number of times as a teen – for instance, – like or not Robert Hughes’ politics, his “Shock of the New” series was a watershed moment for me as a kid who wanted to be an artist for life. That doc made art making seem heroic, suspenseful, important and downright necessary. After seeing it I went out and bought a canvas, some oil paints and tried to be Munch for a few months until a painting I made looked so much like a guitar (and a woman) that I realized where I should be hanging my focus. And there it has remained.
And so the idea that PS is going to be there for some unsuspecting teen (so that she may realize that shes not alone in thinking that there’s gotta me more to life than what she’s been handed by her community) and some equally unsuspecting Mom (who will see that we who run away with the circus do eventually get it, albeit too late sometimes)…is just all quite alot to fathom for a singer in a rock and roll band.
Still more to come
Stew and Heidi aren’t sitting still. As of last week, Heidi told me she was spending most of her time in her NYC studio working furiously on the score for Punk Princess, a musical co-composed with Stew, with a book by their friend Yasmine Lever. The show gets two developmental readings on Oct. 14 at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Tickets are available to the general public starting Sept. 1. Click here for more information.
And even farther ahead, next February, comes Making It, an autobiographically titled concert presentation by Stew and Heidi at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. Tickets for this show also go on sale Sept. 1.