Third Space Network presents
Alice Travels to Wonderland
Sunday, May 19th, 5:00pm ET
An Online Tribute & Gathering for Alice Denney
Co-hosted by the Washington Project for the Arts
Cabaret Elektronica :: Alice Travels to Wonderland is a new online music theater work presented by the Third Space Network (3SN) and co-hosted by the Washington Project for the Arts (WPA). Cabaret Elektronica is a tribute to the late DC art maverick Alice Denney, founder of the WPA, who recently passed away at the ripe old age of 101. The work captures Alice’s rebellious spirit of art + DADA adapted to a 21st-century digital rendering of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The event takes place Sunday, May 19th, 5:00pm ET.
Cabaret Elektronica is created by media artist and composer Randall Packer, broadcasting from his high-tech underground studio bunker in Washington, DC. The work is performed by mixed-media artist Melissa Ichiuji, tenor Charles Lane, and performance artist Katie Magician, who will be staged remotely from their studios in downtown Los Angeles, Front Royal Virginia, and Washington, DC. The performers will be green screened into virtual mediascapes evoking a trip down the wondrous rabbit hole of Alice’s legendary life, capturing her spontaneity, absurdity, and anarchy in challenging traditional art and life.
Cabaret Elektronica draws inspiration from the historic Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich and the DADA movement it gave birth to in the early 20th century through the “slightly mad” antics of song, movement, costume, masks, and spoken word: updated in otherworldly digitally-rendered third space scenic environments.
A post-show online gathering, Drinking About Alice, provides a virtual café atmosphere for conversation between artists and audience and assorted spirits.
Cabaret Elektronica is supported by a Project, Events, and Festivals grant from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities.
Randall Packer, 3SN Creative Director
Randall Packer is an interdisciplinary media artist and composer. Born and raised in the Bay Area during the social revolution of the 60s. Packer’s sensibilities were shaped by the period’s counterculture, which infused his work with an exploratory spirit and a penchant for challenging conventional forms. Trained as a composer at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of California, Berkeley, Packer expanded his artistic purview to include dance, theater, performance art, visual art, and new media. Influenced by such diverse artists as John Cage, Richard Wagner, and Nam June Paik, Packer’s work continually blurs boundaries, probing the liminal spaces between humor and seriousness, spiritual yearning and nonsense, the real and the virtual. In 2016, Packer established the Third Space Network (3SN), an internet broadcasting platform that explores the concept of the “third space,” staging new performance works with live remote actors, musicians, and dancers in online virtual environments. Packer’s career is a testament to his continuous reinvention and exploration of new artistic terrains. His work leverages technology not just as a tool, but as a transformative medium that expands the possibilities of artistic expression, challenges audiences’ perceptions of reality, and fosters a sense of community in an increasingly digital, networked world.
Melissa Ichiuji creates figurative sculptures and performances that are stunningly confident, bold, aggressive, playful, and original. They are full of sexual puns and possible allusions to larger traditions of Surrealist and contemporary works. Her dance experience enables her to relate to the body in a unique way and for her, the body and the creative act are always connected. A native of the Washington DC area, Ichiuji began her artistic career as a dancer and actor. After attending the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in DC, she performed in NYC with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. While later studying at the Corcoran College of the Arts, she began experimenting with performance art and her first public performance, entitled STRIPPED, staged across from the White House, garnered national press and acclaim. In 2023 Melissa launched her first series of Digital Collectable videos titled “Faces of Kali” at SCOPE Art Show in Miami during Art Basel week and last summer opened her own independent gallery as a venue to exhibit her work, collaborate with other artists, and provide learning opportunities to the community. Melissa Ichiuji Studio Galley is located in Front Royal, VA where she resides in the Shenandoah Valley.
Charles Lane tenor, is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, where he began his career pushing the boundaries of live performance and the interdisciplinary arts. He is at home both on the opera stage, as a member of the Los Angeles Opera and LA Philharmonic Chorus, as well as in contemporary new music, experimental theater, film, dance, and performance art. While singing angelically as a soloist in the Bach Mass in B Minor while a student at CalArts, Charles met composer Randall Packer forming a decades long collaboration, which led them both to the depths of the inferno in Death Valley where they created Packer’s music theater work A Season in Hell. Together they have presented new works in diverse venues and site-specific locations including CalArts, Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City, San Jose Stage at the Zero One International New Media Festival, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC, the Gospel Pilgrim Cemetery in Athens, Georgia, and online on the virtual stage of the Third Space Network. Charles has performed and premiered new works by numerous composers, including Mel Powell, John King, Gerhard Stabler, and John Adams, as well as working under the baton of LA Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.
Katie Macyshyn (they/she) is an artiste and creative play practitioner. Their new media art uses retro consumer aesthetics and camp theatricality to explore mental health, alienation, and reconciliation. They are inspired by adolescent performative play where more is more and bodies are awkward. In collaboration, performer and audience create one-of-a-kind multimedia rituals in pursuit of connection and deeper self-acceptance. Macyshyn has been featured in various performance art festivals, DIY venues, online via the virtual stage of the Third Space Network and galleries such as Arlington Arts Center, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, VisArts, and Transformer. They are also an art instructor and songstrix specializing in queering classrooms and the therapeutic benefits of creative play in early childhood. Macyshyn is a regular at experimental performance venue Rhizome DC, DCPL’s drag story time, is a resident artist at Project Create, DC, and is a member of DCAC’s Sparkplug Collective. She lives in Mount Rainier, MD and is from Toms River, NJ.
Alice Denney, who invigorated the staid if not stodgy arts scene in Washington as one of the city’s first and most prominent champions of the avant-garde, died Nov. 20 at a hospital in the District. She was 101. She looked beyond the classically beautiful and politically bland, challenging curators, collectors, donors and the public to embrace art that was new, daring and at times provocative. Relying in large part on her personal charisma, Mrs. Denney set about opening galleries, organizing “happenings” and recruiting artists including Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to exhibit and in some cases perform their works in Washington. Mrs. Denney’s most enduring creation was the Washington Project for the Arts, an organization that she founded in 1975 to provide workshop, exhibition and performance space for experimental artists. Of the personal art collection that occupied much of her time when she was not helping build that of the city of Washington, Mrs. Denney once explained her philosophy. “You have to keep looking, always looking,” she said. “And have the courage to go with the things that speak to you.” (from the obituary by Emily Langer of the Washington Post)