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Performance Artists to Take Over Staten Island Ferry on Sunday

By Nicholas Rizzi | September 27, 2017 7:41am
 A group of performance artists will perform interactive pieces on the Staten Island Ferry as part of  Day de Dada's
A group of performance artists will perform interactive pieces on the Staten Island Ferry as part of Day de Dada's "Après Avant Garde Festival."
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

ST. GEORGE — All the world's a stage, including the Staten Island Ferry.

More than two dozen artists will take over the ferry on Sunday to perform a variety of interactive pieces as part of Day de Dada's "Après Avant Garde Festival" celebrating the 50th anniversary of a similar event. 

Planned pieces include dancers performing in pots, artists dressed as the Statue of Liberty, a giant turtle and musicians writing songs with lyrics given to them by commuters.

"This isn't the kind of event where people are going to stand and watch you do something," said Vivian Vassar, founder of Day de Dada. "They're going to watch you do something with somebody else and it's your turn next."

(Courtesy of Day de Dada)

The festival kicks off at 1 p.m. at Borough Park in St. George, then the artists will move to the ferry and ride it to the Manhattan. Organizers plan for performances at both terminals and to ride the ferry back to Staten Island at 4:30 p.m.

Vassar, whose performance will be asking commuters to tell her good news in their life, said they have a loose plan for the day but expect more artists might just show up on the day. There's no set schedule for performances.

"It's organized chaos but that's what Dada is," she said.

The event will celebrate the 50th anniversary of a similar festival held by avant-garde musician and performance artist Charlotte Moorman.

For 15 years, Moorman ran the annual Avant Garde Festival of New York and in September 1967, the festival took over the John F. Kennedy boat for 24 hours of performances.

Day de Dada — which includes player who were part of later Moorman festivals — was inspired by that event after performers watched a video of the original one.

"It's almost like a moving parade of performers who will be greeting people and doing interesting things and inviting you to join them," Vassar said about her event.

The group, which launched in 2002 and has held performances all around the area and even in Europe, previously held smaller shows at the ferry terminals but this will be its first large one on the boat, Vassar said.