Uh-Oh: A Whoop Dee Doo Thing
GALLERY CA: Baltimore, MD
Curated by Deana Haggag, Catherine Akins, and Matthew Spalding
Youth Group: 901 Arts
Number of Whoop Dee Doo artists
brought to Baltimore: 14
Length of stay: 17 days
Youth groups: 2
Community groups: 12
Open to community: yes
Live shows: 2
Show length: 45 minutes
For our large-scale project with the City Arts Gallery and the Maryland Institute College of Art, Whoop Dee Doo traveled twice to Baltimore, Maryland and created a large-scale project involving several community and youth groups in Baltimore, as well as the immediate community surrounding Gallery CA.
Whoop Dee Dee artists Matt Roche and Jaimie Warren traveled two months prior to the opening of the show to research the community and to have artist talks and round-table discussions with the Masters Curatorial Program and MICA students.
Whoop Dee Doo immediately began cultivating collaborations, and started conversations with a wide range of performers including a youth polka duo, the Baltimore Police Honor Guard, Balinese performer Mourine Supartha, the Eastern Wrestling Alliance, Watoto from the Nile, Charm City Cakes, The Towson University Step Team, Nepali superstar Prem Raja Mahat and the Raynfall Dancers, and Miss Baltimore and Miss Washington D.C.
Fifteen Whoop Dee Doo artists traveled to Baltimore and worked for over two weeks to collaborate with the surrounding community of Gallery CA, the MICA student community, 901 Arts, Muse 360 and our community performers.
The theme of this show was “science and royalty”, and Whoop Dee Doo artists created workshops with over 60 young children at Muse 360 to create alien plant-life for the set of our show. At 901 Arts, a community-based youth arts center, Whoop Dee Doo artists worked with twelve young students almost daily to create alien plant costuming for a fashion show at the live event.
Whoop Dee Doo artists created a unique set from scratch at the City Arts Gallery, working night and day for two weeks to make a live story about the planet Andagaar and Queen Jumbo, who came to show Baltimore the amazing talent they would take back with them. Giant puppets, tableaux vivants, shadow puppetry and storytelling, combined with the performances and creations from the Baltimore Community, all amidst a floor to ceiling set, created a wild and unforgettable experience.
Some of the incredible collaborations included Balinese performer Mourine Supartha, who worked one on one with pageant winners from Baltimore to re-create the Saman “dance of a thousand hands”, as well as her own performance of the Cendrawasih dance. As this performance focused on eye movement, Whoop Dee Doo artists created giant eyeball puppets to follow her movements in this historic dance. Charm City Cakes, the well-know cake bakers created an alien-themed performance and exploding volcano cake as a collaboration with our artists and youth groups. Nepali superstar Prem Raja Mahat (“the Napalise Usher”) worked with the Raynfall Dancers to create a new performance for our show, and the very generous Baltimore Police Honor Guard collaborated with our show, allowing us to alter the National Anthem to our alien theme, and present our “colors” in a staggering performance.
Our presence in Baltimore ended in a giant block party, celebrating the neighborhood and community that made the show possible. It was our most collaborative project to date, calling on the work of over 300 youth, neighbors, performers, artists and students.