About the Grant

$37,000 to support A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (MAP 2016)
$8,380 to general operating support for St. Ann's Warehouse

About the Project

Equal parts artist, community organizer, searing social critic and Elizabethan fool, for 18 years Taylor Mac has created award-winning performance events that provoke and embrace his diverse audience.

His new ambitious work A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is a durational performance piece in which Taylor, his collaborators - director Niegel Smith, music director Matt Ray, designers John Torres, Mimi Lien and Machine Dazzle, and dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke - and audience together create a subjective history of America through the last 240 years of popular music. This dazzling mash-up of music, history, performance and art will delight audiences with its razor-sharp wit and musical brilliance.

Developed over five years of collaboration and experimentation, this ritual performance work is about how and why, under difficult, dire, and trying circumstances, we create community. It consists of 240 popular songs written from 1776 to 2016 with original text and audience participation. Each decade contains its own micro theme or whole narratives emphasizing the experience of outsiders in America and the history of alternative communities. Pieced together the 24 decades creates an experience of kinship, endurance and community and exposes our cultural fascination with virtuosity and imperfection.

At St. Ann’s the production will be performed in eight three-decade acts culminating in a 24-hour, one time only non-stop grand finale of the full 24-decade production. More than 100 dancers, choirs, marching bands and a 24-piece-orchestra will join Taylor on stage as well as the audience, which plays its own role in the turbulent past.

Related Websites

St. Ann's Warehouse

Taylor Mac

Machine Dazzle

Niegel Smith


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