action hero news


Art Massage in Edinburgh 2011

This is a call out for artists who’d like to be part of a project we’re hosting at Forest Fringe this year at the Edinburgh Festival

Art Massage
Forest Fringe 2011

This year at Forest Fringe Gemma and James (Action Hero) are working with holistic massage therapist Blue Hesse at The Forest Café’s Sip n Snip Salon to bring Art Massages to the people of Edinburgh.

The idea is that participants sit for a 10 minute oil massage whilst listening to a podcast of an artist talking about/on/around their art. A nice little refuge away from the crowds. Time to meditate on what we’re doing and why we do it.

We’re looking for 10 minute long audio of you talking about ideas you’re interested in at the moment, or things that are inspiring you. This is totally open to interpretation, but the masseuse has asked that we don’t present anything too emotional as it will affect the massage. Just a chat about your inspirations in a relaxed way, a personal account of why and what you do or what you’re thinking about at the moment. It could be a piece of work in itself or some more philosophical thoughts about your art. We’re most interested in participants just being able to hear something interesting, calm and soothing as an antidote to the festival rather than a pitch promoting your work! Your name or the name of your company will be listed on a menu for the participant to choose from so don’t feel like you need to say who you are but you can if you like! If you want us to include a website or something on the menu then just let us know.

Send your audio files (any format is fine, all recordings need to be as close to 10 mins as possible) to info@actionhero.org.uk by the 31st July. You can try and use http://www.senduit.com (or a similar thing) if the file is too big.
We’ll try to use as many of the podcasts as possible, and will let you know if we’re using yours or not.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Thanks!
James and Gemma.

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The life of a crash helmet
July 12, 2011, 3:50 pm
Filed under: news | Tags: , , , , ,

I wrote this in pen on the back of a contract whilst I was bored on a flight from Bilbao to Brussels on 1st July 2011. I thought I’d write it up online.

Last night I made an unsuccessful attempt to jump a fountain of diet coke on a child’s bicycle for the 33rd time. The ramp was positioned too close to a pillar, I went over the handlebars and collided head first with the corner of the pillar. The sound of the collision provoked a gasp from the crowd followed by silence. I was unhurt though because I was wearing a crash helmet. I’m making one more jump with this helmet in Manchester before buying a new one., and the decision to replace it has made me look at it closely and I realise I’ve fallen in love with it as an object. It carries the marks from all the 33 performances its been part of. Big gouges and sweeping scratches scar most of one side. The traces left from Gemma’s high heels. The top is scalded and burnt from being set alight over and over. Its started to blister and flake and the number one that used to be emblazoned in the colours of the U.S flag on the front is almost all gone. A victim of the white spirit used to clean away the remnants of the flame gel. A new scratch marks the place where my head met the pillar last night. Like the show it reveals a dirty reality behind the spectacle. It looks worn, tired and faded. But there’s a glimmer of something heroic about it that makes me want to keep it or show it off. There’s something romantic about its unglamorous scuffs and burns. We’ve carried it with us on exciting journeys to New York, Paris and Barcelona but Its also been with us to Colchester, Chichester, Leeds and Crewe. Its been in the boot of a broken down car on the side of the A1 in January and unable to start in the fog and drizzle of the Pyrenees. Its been soaked in coca cola and gone moldy in the basement of an old police station in Bristol. Its life replicating the pathetic desperation of Evel Knievel’s broken bones in dead end mid-Western U.S towns. The subject of thousands of photographs taken by audience members it sometimes is the only thing you can see on the developed film, reflecting the light from a theatre rig in Aberystwyth, a tunnel in London, a club in Glasgow, a gallery in St Etienne. Like the surface level glamour of big jumps in Las Vegas and Wembley stadium you can’t see its burn marks and shoddy stickers peeling off.

We have to replace the helmet because its started to fail. For so long it has stoically deflected the kicks from Gemma’s left and right feet while I’ve felt nothing except a disconcerting shove. No pain, no headaches. But recently it hasn’t felt quite so tough. I can feel the heel when it strikes and it sends a gasp of air from my lungs. I can hear the crackling of the fire as it burns above my head. Once it can’t take a beating anymore its useless. So we’re looking for a shiny new one to take to Edinburgh in August and because the old one no longer has a role to play in our home made stunt show its made its last fly. But I feel like I can’t throw it away. I feel attached to it. I want to exhibit it on a plinth and celebrate its life spent protecting my head from self-inflicted idiocy. Its such a wonderful document of our show but also of our life in the last few years. The absurdity of jumping over mentoes fountains off a wooden ramp for a living. Standing in front of a room full of strangers, getting my head kicked in over and over again while people take photos and grin. I’ve poured 64 litres of coca cola into my partners mouth. I’ve been put out by a fire extinguisher, I’ve run around naked from the waist up and bleeding trying to pick up ping pong balls from under the feet of clubbers on a dancefloor in Glasgow. I’ve watched Gemma break her arm in Newcastle, sat on the side of a Spanish motorway in +30 degree heat watching smoke stream from the bonnet. I’ve washed cola out of my jeans in the laundromats of New York, France and Wales. I’ve had beer bottles thrown at my head, I’ve been stood on by a drunk, I’ve loaded a ramp and a child’s bicycle into my car and unloaded it and loaded it and unloaded it and loaded it and unloaded it and carried it on a subway and loaded it again and unloaded it over and over again. The helmet has been with me all the way and when I look at it now it looks completely ridiculous, completely stupid, completely brilliant.



Watch Me Fall Edinburgh 2011

We’re going to be showing Watch Me Fall as part of the British Council Showcase in Edinburgh this year from 22nd-27th Aug at 11:45pm. Once again we’re collaborating with the brilliant Forest Fringe and also with Summerhall (a great new project in an ex veterinary school). We’ll also be showing (at forest fringe) a collection of the images taken by audience members on cameras we’ve given them when we’ve performed watch me fall.

You can reserve tickets for Watch Me Fall here or pick them up in person at Forest Fringe or Summerhall anytime.



Flare Festival Manchester

After New York, Paris and Spain we come back to the UK to show Watch Me Fall at the brilliant Flare Festival. Flare grew out of a festival we worked with a few years ago in Manchester called MIST which was an international student festival where we saw some of the most extraordinary work we’ve ever seen (made by university students) including a show called “Live tonight” by some German students under the name “Monster Truck” which I’ll never forget, and a beautiful piece by some Leeds students directed by Swen Steinhouser

We’ll be showing Watch Me Fall at Contact theatre for the launch party

Monday 4th July 7pm

I’d recommend coming and seeing as much as you can through the week (it coincides with the Manchester International Festival so we’re also going to catch the Robert Wilson piece) but make sure you’re there for the opening!



stuff about Frontman online

Here are some online articles from coverage of Frontman at Inbetween Time Festival in Bristol and Fierce festival in Birmingham. We hope to be showing it again in the UK fairly soon so we’ll let you know when and where as soon as we know….

http://www.dontpaniconline.com/magazine/arts/fierce-festival-2011

http://www.thisistomorrow.info/viewArticle.aspx?artId=727

http://www.themediumof.org/2011/03/frontman-2010-watch-me-fall-2010-action-hero/

http://www.realtimearts.net/article/101/10133



gigs in May and June

A Western – May 3rd at Seven Arts in Leeds

Watch Me Fall – June 1st – June 2nd at PS122 New York

Watch Me Fall – June 14th – 16th at Theatre de la Ville Paris

Watch Me Fall – June 30th at Intacto festival, Spain



Frontman at Inbetween Time, Bristol

So Frontman is almost finished. Our first showing will be at IBT on 4th December at 9:30pm

Its going to be at Circomedia, and we spent a day there last week setting up and playing with the space and the sound and it got us really excited. The piece has been on a really interesting journey and we’re really intrigued to see what happens when it meets an audience. Unlike our previous two shows our works in progress haven’t really revealed much of what will happen on the 4th Dec so a lot of it remains terrifyingly unknown but we think we’ve made the show we set out to make so we’ll have to just wait and see….

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we’ve experimented with some sound technology which we’re now excited about unleashing, its very simple use of some pretty lofi sound tech and an analogue synth but its something completely new to us! The performance will take place on a small bit of staging made from steel deck surrounded tightly by audience on three sides with Gemma spending most of her time up there with just a mic and some tambourines for company and me controlling the sound from behind. We’ve just got two weeks now to pull it all together and our focus is now on nurturing the meanings that have evolved from what we’re doing and refining the relationship between us and our audience in relation to that. So lots of working through the text and the staging and drawing out exactly what we want from the performance. I’ve also got to finalise which bits of wire plug in where and which nobs need twiddling when, and Gemma’s got a lot of text to memorise……

…..but tickets are available now so if you want to join us on the opening night then be sure to book