By VITTORIA BENZINE August, 2020
Internationally renowned New York City based drummer/composer Rodney Green has launched a new live web series. At a time where live performances are impossible and tours have been cancelled around the globe, Purgatory Perceptions stands firm as a cultural salon committed to fostering new relationships and meaningful discussions across the creative community.
Purgatory Perceptions recaptures the spontaneity lost amongst shelter-in-place and social distancing. Like a night out at a new bar or house-party, Purgatory Perceptions is a curated entertainment experience where cool kids can still meet other cool kids despite the state of society.
The show harnesses Green’s rich artistic network; guests range from hot upstarts to established talents. Blurring the border between mediums, Purgatory Perceptions intermingles musicians with visual artists, aestheticians, intellectuals, and the rogue dilettante. Each episode, after speaking to their individual endeavors, the eclectic cast of characters joins a roundtable discussion without limits.
From its inception, Purgatory Perceptions has sought to buck every available stereotype. Recalling his decision to give the show its provocative name, Green notes, “I really hated the idea of everything being called ‘quarantine this’ and ‘COVID that.’” He didn’t want to contribute to the circumstances’ over-exaggerated sense of power by playing into their prolificness. ‘Purgatory’ pokes fun at the absurd limbo we’ve all found ourselves entrenched in. ‘Perceptions’ places a positive spin on the matter — “What is it teaching me?” Green longs to inquire. “How am I going to flip the situation into something positive?”
New York-based Poet Whitney Graham serves as the show’s host. Graham’s work has been published by HopeIRL and October Hill Magazine, but those who have seen her feature performances at Bowery Poetry, Brooklyn Arts Fellowship Gallery, and 11th Street Cafe know Graham’s powerful voice is best heard in real time. Graham compares her vision for the show to “a physical manifestation of James Baldwins’s argument concerning artists as witness.”
As it embarks upon its second episode, Purgatory Perceptions also continually seeks a new model for creative production. Rather than leaning on advertising or sponsors, Green and his team have focused on crowdfunding. The show will stream over Patreon, and viewers can tune in for the low monthly fee of $12. By contributing in this way, viewers become a part of the process, eradicating the need for outside money and exercising their own voice in the program’s continued development. Empowered creativity drives Purgatory Perceptions.
The show’s second episode will feature music from Julius Rodriguez, a multi-instrumentalist and composer who bonds a deep sense of history with an appetite for the unknown. Rodriguez’s work has been praised by JAZZIZ magazine, The New York Times, Paste and Vanity Fair. He has performed alongside Wynton Marsalis, Keyon Harrold, Ben Williams, Jazzmeia Horn, A$AP Rocky, Meshell Ndegeocello, Braxton Cook and the late Roy Hargrove.
In addition, rising darling of the New York street art scene Stephanie Grajales will share her visual gifts. Grajales has become a force with her pop art pieces, featured on canvases, stickers, and shirts. A Bushwick native and pastry chef by profession, Grajales is a go getter sure to add her hit of sweet spice to this episode’s confection.
Showrunner Rodney Green is a hustler, simple as that. From humble beginnings as a church drummer in Camden, NJ, Green has toured internationally with saxophonist Bobby Watson, served a two-year tenure in Diana Krall’s band, and collaborated with a versatile roster of musical legends. These accomplishments are not random. They are a product of the same expertise and elbow grease that will also make Purgatory Perceptions a quarantine classic.
Viewers can tune into the second episode of Purgatory Perceptions on Saturday, August 29th at 4:00PM. To participate in this movement, tell the team your purgatory perceptions from these unprecedented times by tagging your IG video @purgatoryperceptions and DM’ing them the video. They’ll post it to their IG page and keep the community growing! WM
Vittoria Benzine is a street art journalist and personal essayist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her affinity for counterculture and questioning has introduced her to exceptional artists and morally ambiguous characters alike. She values writing as a method of processing the world’s complexity. Send love letters to her via: @vittoriabenzine // firstname.lastname@example.org // vittoriabenzine.com
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