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I'dRatherChoke Image 1

Sam Tower + Ensemble present I’d rather choke than be a quitter

I'dRatherChoke Image 1
photo credit: Tess Kunik 

From March 4 -8, SAM TOWER + ENSEMBLE will present I’d rather choke than be a quitter; the result of a dream-team mash up of local emerging artists, including art collective Plant Me Here, electronica musician Shakai Mondai, and visual artist Sam Whalen. This exhibition, which is the culmination of Director/Producer Sam Tower’s winter Artist Residency with up-and-coming performance venue, 1fiftyone gallery + art space, combines a full-length dance and live sound performance with a gallery installation of the visual work that inspired the process. Tower’s residency is the first in 1fiftyone’s new programmatic effort to support early to mid-career artists by providing a home for experimentation and creative growth through a curated Artist Residency.

About the Project
I’d rather choke than be a quitter is an étude of growth and decay. It is momentary and eternal. A portal to a more magical world. It’s our obsession with bending space and time. It lives underneath layers of grotesque brush strokes. It floats away on a dreamy electronic sound score. It throws itself into the air, expecting to never come down again. It’s the song and dance of our inevitable departure.

I’d rather choke than be a quitter is co-created and performed by three members of Plant Me Here; Emma Arrick, Tess Kunik and Caitlin Dagle. Three bodies hell-bent on escaping time and space, they thrash and writhe feverishly in and out of unison while splashes of color and memory cloud the air. The dancing herd is accompanied by Shakai Mondai’s original sound landscape, which loops, sparkles and flies as if it could be scoring your dreams.

Sam Whalen’s gallery features an installation of her recent and early works, exploring themes of hypochondria, trauma, rigor mortis and the damage that creative materials undergo. The gallery will open one hour before each performance, and stay open afterwards so attendees may continue to engage with Whalen’s beautifully grotesque visual expressions on plastic, paper and fabric. Additional gallery hours will also be offered before the performances on Saturday, March 5 and Tuesday March 8 from 3pm-7pm.

The seamless partnership of these elements positions this exhibition at the physical intersection of visual art and performance, immersing the audience in the rhythmic and emotional oscillations of the time-based art experience.

About the Company
SAM TOWER + ENSEMBLE creates otherworldly dance theatre that is psychologically driven and ripe with supernatural imagery. Our perspective is surreal and dreamlike, often taking a sinister approach to matters of the heart and soul. Non-verbal expression grinds up against extreme dramatic specificity, resulting in an exploration of fantastical realism. Razor sharp attention to rhythm and composition infuses our creations with an evocative physical musicality. We are obsessed with bending time and testing the laws of proximity. We create site-inspired environments that explore the intimate minutiae and the vast expanse of existence by introducing the audiences to strange, yet familiar worlds. Our work is a portal to a more magical universe.

With headquarters in Philadelphia, the company assembles to develop new work on a project-by-project basis, using this platform to create thrilling performance and experiment with bold models of producing. Our process is informed by the cinematic nature of the imagination. We draw source material from visual art, film, music, poetry, and spectacular objects. We regularly invite artists from other disciplines to collaborate with us on auxiliary projects to expand our practice beyond the theatre.

I'dRatherChoke Image 2
photo credit: Emilie Krause 

I’d rather choke than be a quitter
Friday, March 4: 8:00pm
Saturday, March 5: 8:00pm
Sunday, March 6: 5:30pm
Monday, March 7: 5:30pm
Tuesday March 8: 8:00pm
1fiftyone gallery + art space, 151 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia
$15 General Admission; Tickets online at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2498624

Gallery opens one hour before performance.

Additional Gallery Hours:
Saturday, March 5: 3:00pm -7:00pm
Tuesday, March 8: 3:00pm -7:00pm (closing)

I'dRatherChoke Image 3
photo credit: Tess Kunik 

Director/Producer………….…..…………….……… Sam Tower
Creator/Performers.….. Tess Kunik, Caitlin Dagle, Emma Arrick
Sound Composition………………………………. Shakai Mondai
Visual Art Installation………………….…..………. Sam Whalen
Costume Design…………………………..……….. Emilie Krause
Stage Management………………………………….. James Haro

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