Performance art just got a little edgier


With so much news of arts programs shutting down, it's refreshing to hear about one starting up. Testperformancetest is a multiyear program that will bring national and international performance work to Austin and occasionally commission new work performed in Austin. Arts patron Julie Thornton is the engine behind the program, which is no surprise if you know her work on the boards of Ballet Austin, the Blanton Museum of Art, Artpace in San Antonio, Performa in Manhattan, and Arthouse: She has a passion for cutting-edge art and will do what it takes to get the best of it shown in Austin. The first round of testperformancetest, which is being produced in conjunction with the Fusebox Festival, makes clear what that means. The four-performance series includes:

• Érection, an athletic solo performance choreographed by Pierre Rigal and directed by Aurélien Bory that tracks humankind's evolution from primitive life to Homo erectus. Thursday, April 23, 8pm, and Friday, April 24, 6 & 9pm, at AustinVentures StudioTheater, 501 W. Third. Free admission.

Maxi Geil! & Playcolt, a musical performance from the Brooklyn-based art-rock band fronted by Geil, the aggressively sexual, willfully perverse alter ego of performance artist Guy Richard Smit, who spoofs art-world pretensions. Saturday, April 25, 9pm, at Victory Grill, 1104 E. 11th. Free admission.

Maxi Geil! & Playcolt vs. Neal Medlyn, a musical showdown between rival performance artists who "desire each other's destruction." Co-commissioned by testperformancetest, Fusebox, and Arthouse. Sunday, April 26, 7pm, at the Blue Theater, 916 Springdale. Free admission.

• Geisha, a trio with a sexy, raw edge from contemporary dance troupe LeeSaar the Company. April 30-May 2, Thursday-Saturday, 7pm, at Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 Manor Rd. Admission is $15 (pay what you wish for artists and students).

In addition, LeeSaar the Company will be in residence during Fusebox creating a new work co-commissioned by Performance Space 122, Fusebox, and testperformancetest, with support from a Guggenheim fellowship for choreography. A free open rehearsal/public showing of the piece will be held Sunday, April 26, 2pm. The work will premiere in November 2009 at Performance Space 122 and be shown in Austin during Fusebox 2010. The company will also offer free daily training for dancers of all levels April 17-27. Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:30am.

For more information, visit www.testperformancetest.com.

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After a Fashion
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Stephen MacMillan Moser, April 24, 2009

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testperformancetest, Julie Thornton, Fusebox Festival, Arthouse, Neal Medlyn, Guy Richard Smit, LeeSaar the Company, Pierre Rigal, Aurélien Bory

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