Pioneering in Detroit: The Hinterlands and New Hard Entertainment

kerstin November 8th, 2011

In November and December this year the The New Hard Entertainment film crew came to live as artist in residences in the FILTER Detroit house to work on their film project with Detroit artists and actors from out of town. As a site for their film they used the former Woods cathedral church building, which they first had to clean out before using it. With the support and help of Detroit’s arts community and the immediate neighborhood they transformed it  into an active space for live film shoots while hosting brunches or organizing parties.

After three months of intensive on-site work they finished their film feature “The Man of Dodge City“. A film that somehow is a documentary of time and place in Detroit. Take a look on Vimeo to watch the trailer. Just before Christmas the crew dismantled and backed to go their homes in Oregon, Washington State and New York.

End of December 2010 FILTER Detroit welcomed the new long-term residents in the house. One of the resdidents is Detroiter Anderson Walworth, also known as the vocalist, guitar and bass player of the Detroit rock band ICrime and IT- Coordinator of the Allied Media Conference. Anderson shared the house together with the performance couple The Hinterlands (Liza Bielby and Richard Newman), who just moved from Milwaukee to Detroit to look for a sustainable environment for their physical theater company.

After a few months of location scouting they found the perfect place to stage their newly developed theater piece at the historic Jam Handy Film Studio. After a hot summer of rehearsals and puppet making they premiered their their site-specific, psychedelic Western „Manifest Destiny (there was blood on the saddle)“ on the 4th of August in Detroit, followed up by three further sold out performances.

Manifest Destiny is involving the Wild West Show Culture as background material. The language of Cormac McCarthy and William S. Burroughs has inspired it. As a variety format of the Western tradition the Hinterlands involved different styles into the piece, from a puppet show to foot races – making it a participatory experience for the theater goers. As Richard Newman stated it was not a forced act, but rather gave the opportunity of participation- as a matter fact the audience had to move throughout the space to follow the play. A play that is looking at history, the western frontier, the pioneering and yet asks questions about this process and culture that extends into today’s engagement with and in the world. The Detroit audience was thrilled and if you want to experience and learn more about the multi-disciplinary work of the Hinterlands and their future projects check out their website.

Read also more about pioneering Detroit in July’s New York Times Article including the Hinterlands background and experience in the world of theater.

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