Tired of the standard club format, a Flatbush singer-songwriter is creating her own unique mash-up of music, dance and theater. Heather Christian is leading an avant-garde movement with her upcoming limited run of North, a visually stunning show offering an eclectic mix of multi-media elements set against a musical backdrop of pre-1700s classical pieces, post-1960s pop, and her own original songs. Its a very heavily musical theater piece, Christian explained. Its based around a set list. Theres no story per say but there are really strong scenes. The band has a story and we tell our own story. Its like what classic rock bands in the 1970s were kind of doing. Christian teamed up with local band the Arbornauts to present North after becoming disillusioned with the rigid way rock shows are presented at the citys clubs. Ive been performing on the live music circuit for five years, the singer said. Im really frustrated with the live music scene. People find it really hard nowadays with such short attention spans to sit in a room and listen to music. I was looking for a way to pump up the volume. So she came up with the idea for a show blending theater, dance, music and audio visuals and hesitantly presented it to an audience last spring. I just debuted this sort of conceptual, theatrical music show at La MaMa [Experimental Theatre Club in Manhattan] in a 20-minute piece in April and they were like, Wow, wow. Great. And I said, Really? she recalled. For added confidence, Christian turned to the DJs and musicians in her Flatbush community for guidance. I live in a Caribbean neighborhood so Im surrounded by people who make a very different kind of music, she said. Sharing tips and vocalizing it makes you explain yourself to another musician. I feel that its really helpful to say it out loud. Christian finds support and inspiration not just from fellow Brooklynites but from the borough itself. Prior to moving to Brooklyn three years ago, she spent half a decade in Manhattan. Both boroughs were a culture shock for the Mississippi native but she found Brooklyn to be the closest to her country roots. I was in Manhattan for five years and started to feel like my neuroses were about to give me an aneurism, she said with a laugh. Im a Brooklynite. I love Brooklyn. Its definitely different and more laid back than Manhattan. North, presented by Heather Christian and the Arbornauts, will be staged at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, located at 74A East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery. Performances run now to February 2 and are scheduled for Thursdays to Saturdays at 10 p.m. and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. They can be purchased by calling 212-475-7710 or visiting www.lamama.org. To watch a preview of North or listen to some of Christians songs, log onto www.myspac
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