The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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Brontez Purnell: Unstoppable Feat, The Dances of Ed Mock

Special preview on Friday, March 31, 2017
Final cut on Wednesday, May 31, 2017
8pm Doors / 8:30pm Film
$7 donation, no one turned away for lack of funds

During his residency at The Lab, artist Brontez Purnell created a documentary film and archive exploring the late San Francisco postmodern choreographer Ed Mock. 
Ed Mock died in 1986 at the height of the AIDS epidemic; his story continues to engage contemporary conversations. Purnell states, “I believe Ed Mock is the missing choreographic link between Alvin Ailey, Anna Halprin, and Bill T. Jones.  He is my direct predecessor, creatively. We – artists, black queers, Bay Area dancers, gay men - have to extract our collective past and create the historical record.” 

Purnell reimagined the work and life of Ed Mock through archival research, interviews, choreographic interpretations, music and film. The new and re-created choreography significantly expands Mock’s publicly accessible archives for future dance audiences. Purnell wrote, choreographed, produced and directed the final film.

Brontez Purnell is the author of the cult zine “Fag School,” Cruising Diaries, the front man for his band “The Younger Lovers,” and founder of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company (BPDC). Formerly a dancer with Gravy Train!!!, he has danced for Amara Tabor-Smith, Keith Hennessy, Eric Kupers, Nina Haft, and South African artist-choreographer Athi-Patra Rugra.  Purnell has presented original dance works at the Berkeley Art Museum, CounterPULSE, Kunst-Stoff Arts, The Lab, and others. With cinematographer Gary Gregerson and lighting designer Jerry Lee, Purnell produced, choreographed, and scored “Free Jazz” (2012), a 8mm B&W dance film. He was guest curator at Berkeley Art Museum in 2012, on Out Magazine’s 2012 Hot 100 List, and given a 2014 SFBG Goldie for Performance/Music. He earned a B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance at CSU, East Bay.

Brontez Purnell: Unstoppable Feat, The Dances of Ed Mock and these related programs were made possible in part by a grant from The Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund that also is supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and the Tides Foundation.

Photos taken by The Lab's photographer-in-residence, Robert Divers Herrick.