Living & Working: Brontez Purnell & Sophia Wang

Living & Working

Living & Working: Brontez Purnell & Sophia Wang

By Art Practical Editors May 15, 2019

How does one survive and thrive as an artist in the San Francisco Bay Area? Living & Working is a multi-platform column focusing on the experiences and strategies from those who continue to live and work in the Bay Area.

Living & Working is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency.


Living & Working: Brontez Purnell & Sophia Wang
Monday, April 22, 2019 - 8:00-9:00pm
Shawl-Anderson Dance Center
2704 Alcatraz Ave Berkeley, CA 94705

For our live event series, we invited artists to speak to a specific location or site that holds significance to their practice or experience living in the Bay Area. Join Brontez Purnell and Sophia Wang for a late-night conversation at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, where the two of them met and later co-founded the Brontez Purnell Dance Company. We’ll hear about the communities have shaped their practices, and how the two work together through dance and movement.

Brontez Purnell is a zinester, writer, dancer, and musician who lives in Oakland, California. Originally from Triana, Alabama, Purnell has been publishing, performing, and curating in the Bay Area for over ten years. Brontez has written for various publications, including Cakeboy, San Francisco Weekly, and Maximum Rock & Roll. He is the author of Fag School, The Cruising Diaries, and Johnny Would You Love Me If . . . (My Dick Were Bigger). He is the front man for the band The Younger Lovers, and co-founder with Sophia Wang of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company (BPDC). Composed of movers and artists of all disciplines, the company builds works that combine punk rock subversion and free jazz improvisation.

Sophia Wang creates and performs movement-based works in collaboration with performance artists, writers, and visual and sound artists. She is co-founder of the biotechnology company MycoWorks and of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company, and has danced for artists Xavier le Roy, Tino Sehgal, Jérôme Bel, Xandra Ibarra, and Amara Tabor-Smith. She earned a PhD in English from U.C. Berkeley, and integrates her research and performance practices through writing and curatorial projects focused on critical somatics: thinking with and as bodies. Since 2015, she has co-produced Heavy Breathing, a discussion and movement workshop series led by artists working at the intersection of performance, visual arts, and pedagogy.

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