Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We hire Artists, not Acts

"We hire Artists, not Acts"
-Gregangelo, Velocity Circus

 Cast of Gregangelo & Velocity Circus' "Age of Asparagus" Show
Photo credit -Hiromi Yoshida


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gregangelo Interview for The Muse Studio

Restraint and Revolution Artist Bio

Whirling dervish, artist, artistic director Gregangelo Herrera is a native San Franciscan of Lebanese Mexican descent, born to working class parents in the urban wilderness of the city on the great Pacific. Since the age of fifteen, he has developed his signature version of the enigmatic dervish ritual tailored for a secular audience. All of the mysticism, knowledge, and wonder of the ancient ritual are encrypted into his contemporary show stopping version.

The performance contemplates humanity and our place in the universe.
All elements from micro to macro are whirling, from spinning subatomic particles which make up the revolving cells and atoms of all matter, to the wonder of a human’s circulatory system, to the rotating of the planets and stars, to the infinite orbiting solar systems, to the majesty of spiraling galaxies to the eternal realm of a recycling universe…This is the story of the whirling dervish.

Gregangelo has a natural talent in sharing: whether it be entertainment, experiencing his multi sensory installations, or as an artistic director of a circus helping hundreds of artists in his community to find viable work and opportunities to do what they love for a living, he completes a cycle of contribution back to the community.

Gregangelo, like all genuine artists intuitively falls through the bureaucratic cracks of the system by creating works that are not easily governed.

At one point I ask Gregangelo about his awesomeness, he looks into the deliciously tiled mosaic walls and floor bewildered, polka-dots are sprouting with color and imagination from every corner of the room, his eyes search for an answer beyond the simple magnificence in every inch of the house he’s worked on since he was seventeen, as if all the decor is transparent and the inner workings of the cosmos, one living breathing entity thrives somewhere in the thick of the room’s plastic bubble shaped contours. Finally he comes up with an answer, “Talk about my awesomeness?... That’s ridiculous.”

On sex: “No one sees a whirling dervish and thinks sex. Being a whirling dervish isn’t exactly a chick or dude magnet. Personal carnal experiences have been sacred, yet scarce, as explosive as a super nova, as profound as the contemplation of the meaning of the universe, but as short lived as the life of a gnat. It’s almost disturbing,” he admits, “like a surge of electricity.”
Gregangelo tends to be aroused from the heart by more earnest games- such as­ the process of creating art and shows with diverse casts of artists, connecting with audiences one person at a time- like provoking guests who have been married happily for years to insightfully compliment one another (often against their will), “that is what really excites me.”   

On environment: Gregangelo’s beliefs are painted in gold, emerald, and azure blue; his beliefs are strung together in beaded oceans and starry eclipses, “I believe everybody and everything are all part of one living organism, from every living creature to every speck of dust in the universe.” He is aware of the blunt contradictions in his artwork, “I’m creating work on the environment with plastic shit.” Gregangelo intends to make harsh messages with intoxicatingly beautiful designs and arrangements; which are indeed toxic. Most visitors don’t even contemplate what is in front of them, therefore they become part of the message, their naivety is the glue piecing together fake mother nature, and in a sense eroding their connection to the natural world. 

On Politics: “I don’t like politicians; however t­­­he optimist in me hopes that someday a politician will prove their self to be a benevolent leader.” Gregangelo once roller skated past a polished white toothed, designer suit clad politician distributing pamphlets to a non caring public. Just behind the oblivious politician were two homeless men publicly masturbating. Gregangelo rolled by him, exclaiming “you just lost my vote; you don’t even see where you are in the moment.” Politicians barely come out from behind their security while campaigning; they can’t make a serious impact on a world they are unable to materialize correctly. Artists do that.

“Live Healthy, Eat Honestly! (Reverse that) ”—Gregangelo

Commentary - Zola Hjelm, poet/writer
San Francisco Ruth Asawa School of the Arts

Friday, July 5, 2013


ENTRY FOR VELOCITY BLOG - by Rita Abrams, Composer/ Writer

I had a perfectly fine childhood, but I can't remember much magic in it--at least not the kind of magic that dazzles me every time I walk into one of Gregangelo's Velocity rehearsals.  And I'm just talking about the rehearsals,  not even the actual shows! 

    I see taut, trained bodies balancing and bending in remarkable ways, hanging and spinning with amazing agility.  And all with laser focus, dedication, and discipline.  These are obviously beings who are born to, and one with, their art.  It comes as naturally to them as walking or sitting comes to the rest of us.  And when I'm sitting in the midst of it, I feel like I've been taken to another planet and surrounded by aliens--but entertaining aliens.  I am overcome with a child's delight, and an adult's gratitude, for the privilege of being in their company. 

    Leaving the rehearsal, I re-enter a world that now looks too mundane and ordinary, and I find myself hoping I'll be able to return to the magic of the other one soon. 


High Velocity GREGANGELO - CCA Glance

View from the Terrace, April 2009