Howl Arts Presents Janie Heath &Friends

Visual Arts

February 1, 8, 15, and 22, 2022 at 8PM

Expect the spontaneity of a party when Howl Arts gives Janie Heath an open channel to introduce her work and that of some of her fascinating friends. Heath hosts the &Friends series every Tuesday in February. Howl’s signature &Friends programs feature weekly shows curated by one notable creator—with the voices, commentary, music, art, films, and writing of friends they work with and admire.

I wish I could give out refreshments through the screen! Seriously, I think of this event like a party. I know Howl viewers are interesting, unconventional, talented people. It is as if I am saying, ‘You remember this person, and you have wanted to meet this person, and you will just love this person, and wait—look who just flew in from out of town!’ —Janie Heath

Like an old-fashioned TV variety show, Heath will showcase writers, musicians, and others who express their own unique qualities through a diverse but contemporary range of work. “The emphasis is on literature, but anything might happen with this crowd,” she says.

Joining her on the program are friends Rhona BitnerTom ColeMaggie DubrisRobert ForsterLeah HennesseyWanda PhippsKid Congo PowersGregg ShapiroPhilip Shelley, and Dana Wachs.

We ask our &Friends resident artists to respond to the question, “What does collaboration mean to you?” Heath said:

Collaboration to me is a bit of shock at this time in my life. It requires me to gingerly crawl out of my cave—my isolated working life as a writer, which has been all the more isolated due to the pandemic. It’s a beautiful shock, and a gift from the very special team at Howl!, which for years has been like a home away from home to me. I get the precious and exciting chance to receive energy and inspiration from some of my many talented friends, and to have the privilege of sharing them with a new and wider audience. I am so grateful for the people I know. I have always thought myself lucky—I love people, but I also love solitude. I want it all! And I want to share it with my friends in Howl TV land.

Janie Heath’s writing has been published in Big BridgeMr. Beller’s NeighborhoodBoog CityBrink, and Whiskey Tit Journal. An essay she wrote appears in the liner notes for the box-set G Stands for Go-Betweens Volume 2. She worked as a reporter for her hometown daily newspaper before moving to New York in the mid 1970s to get her BFA in film production at New York University. She worked on movies—a rock ’n’ roll-themed feature and a now-cult slasher—before her love of music led her to live in a London squat until she landed a job with an indie record label. She now lives back in New York, writing fiction and giving public readings.

Howl! Arts Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the past and celebrating the contemporary culture of the East Village and Lower East Side. Based in New York City’s East Village, Howl! Arts curates exhibitions and produces events that invite active participation of the community to circulate ideas, generate discussion, and celebrate the fearless innovators who continue to influence new generations. The organization encompasses dynamic cultural spaces and community-centered programming.

Rhona Bitner
Rhona Bitner is a native New Yorker. Her work has been widely shown in the United States and internationally. In the U.S., her work is included in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; Bayly Art Museum at the University of Virginia; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; University Art Museum, California State University, Long Beach; Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College; and Whitney Museum of American Art. Her work has appeared in publications including ArtforumBeaux ArtsThe Brooklyn RailThe New YorkerThe Nation, and Rolling Stone. She was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 2020. She is on the faculty of the School of the International Center of Photography in New York.

Tom Cole
Tom Cole is a writer and artist living in the Lower East Side. His work has been presented at Participant Inc, Le Petit Versailles, Thread Waxing Space, Art on Air, Clocktower Gallery, ICA Boston, Performa, Oni Gallery, and the Boston Center for the Arts. He is a three-time MacDowell Playwriting fellow, and a 2015 Albee Foundation Playwriting fellow. Cole heads the New Play Commissioning Program at True Love Productions, where he has commissioned new work by Heidi Schreck, Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas, Craig Lucas, Nathan Alan Davis, and Sheila Callaghan, among others. He co-curates Experiments and Disorders, a literary series at Dixon Place. He has collaborated extensively with Anohni, most recently appearing in She Who Saw Beautiful Things at The Kitchen.

Maggie Dubris
Maggie Dubris’s latest book, BrokeDown Palace (Subpress), is drawn from her work during the 1980s, 90s, and early 2000s as a 911 paramedic in New York City and the hospital—now closed—she worked for. It is currently being adapted into an opera with the creative team of Dubris, composer Andy Teirstein, and choreographer Donald Byrd. She is also the author of Skels (Soft Skull) and Weep Not, My Wanton (Black Sparrow Press), and is a musician (Homer Erotic, Lulu Revue) and sound artist.

Robert Forster
Robert Forster is an acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter and former founding-member of The Go-Betweens. As well as the nine albums with that band, he has also made seven solo records. In 2005 Forster began writing music criticism and in 2006 won the Pascall Prize for Critical Writing for his columns. In 2009 a collection of his writings was published as The 10 Rules of Rock and Roll: Collected Music Writings 2005–09 on Black Inc. books. Over the last four years Forster has been busy. His latest solo album, Inferno (Tapete Records), came out in 2019; he curated for Domino Records two volumes of what will be a three-volume box set anthology of The Go-Betweens; and his memoir Grant & I was Mojo and Uncut magazines’ book of the year. He continues to publish music journalism, play concerts, and never stops writing beautiful songs.

Leah Hennessey
Leah Hennessey is performer, writer, and filmmaker from the Upper West Side. Most recently, she debuted her film Byron & Shelley: Illuminati Detectives at the Biennale de L’Image en Mouvement in Geneva, a pilot episode for a show which imagines the romantic poets as undercover agents of the Enlightenment in a science-fiction-weird world. The film is a collaboration with her artistic partner Emily Allan, with whom she has performed the critically acclaimed play Slash at MX Gallery and Joe’s Pub, and Star Odyssey at MoMA PS1. Leah is currently working on her debut solo album, a collection of songs written under the influence of possession by Lord Byron.

Robert Leslie
Robert Leslie is an indie-folk artist known for performing on streets across Europe, North Africa, and New York City. His alluring voice, soaring melodies, dense poetic imagery, and freewheeling approach to life have garnered him a large and loyal following. Born in New York City, raised in London and Amsterdam, Robert left home at a young age and spent two years supporting himself as a traveling street performer, ping-ponging with the seasons between northern Europe and Morocco, finally winding up in Brooklyn. Since arriving stateside he’s made himself a well-known figure in both the venues and streets of New York, and has been featured in the New York Daily NewsTime OutDeli Magazine (voted upcoming artist of the month), and various other blogs and publications. He’s toured across three continents and yodeled his heart out to crowds large and small. Robert’s fourth LP, Halfway Home, is due for release in the spring of 2022, and is his first collaboration with industry heavyweights. Until his ship comes in, you’ll find Robert enjoying a desperate, hand-to-mouth existence in Brooklyn.

Wanda Phipps
Wanda Phipps is a writer, translator, and editor. She is the author of seven books, including the full-length collections Field of Wanting: Poems of Desire and Wake-Up Calls: 66 Morning Poems, and the recently released Mind Honey. Her poetry has been translated into Ukrainian, Hungarian, Arabic, Galician, and Bangla. She has received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Theater Translation Fund, and others. As a founding member of Yara Arts Group she has collaborated on numerous theatrical productions presented in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Siberia, and at La MaMa E.T.C. in New York City. She has curated reading series at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and written about the arts for Boog CityTime Out New YorkPaper Magazine, and others.

Kid “Congo” Powers
The legendary Kid Congo Powers, the premier voodoo guitarist for seminal sexy swampy bands like Gun Club, Nick Cave and The Cramps, is a restless aesthete. He used his early solo efforts to explore vocals and mix genres. With DRACULA BOOTS, Kid came back to his roots as a crackerjack guitarist playing the primitive music that inspired him; the raw sounds of garage and early Chicano rock. He has written a soon-to-be-published memoir.

Gregg Shapiro
Gregg Shapiro is the author of eight books, including the forthcoming poetry collection Fear of Muses (Souvenir Spoon Books, 2022). Recent and forthcoming lit-mag publications include Exquisite PandemicRFDGargoyleLimp WristMollyhouseImpossible ArchetypeRed Fern ReviewInstant NoodlesDissonance Magazine, and POETiCA REViEW, as well as the anthologies Moving Images: Poems Inspired by the Movies (Before Your Quiet Eyes Publishing, 2021), This Is What America Looks Like (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, 2021), and Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology from Middle America (Belt Publishing, 2021). An entertainment journalist whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBTQ+ and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in South Florida with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.

Philip Shelley
Philip Shelley is co-editor of Whiskey Tit Journal, an offshoot of the Vermont-based independent press, and his writing has been featured in publications including PitchforkSad Girls Club, and Words & Images, and in the Word Portland anthology Ungatherable Things. He came of age as the guitarist and principal songwriter for influential New York City all-teenage art-pop band Student Teachers (recently the subject of KCRW’s Lost Notes podcast). The first chapter of his upcoming novel, Willett, received the Andre Dubus Award for short fiction.

Dana Wachs
Dana Wachs is a Brooklyn-based composer and audio engineer who performs under the name Vorhees. She studied cello and electric bass from an early age, and joined the D.C. hardcore group Holy Rollers (Dischord Records) when she was 19. Audio engineering would define the following 20 years of her life while working at Greene St. Recording studio in New York, and then touring the world with St. Vincent, Grizzly Bear, and MGMT among many others. Vorhees’ debut EP, Black Horse Pike, was released in 2016 via Styles Upon Styles (Brooklyn). The EP was written, recorded, and produced by Dana Wachs in her Brooklyn home between tours. February 2019 saw the release of her latest work, Tracks for Movement, a compilation of scores for dance and film. Currently, Dana is in pre-production of her first score for a feature film, Confession, directed by Dayna Hanson (whose directorial credits include HBO’s Room 104 season 1, episode 6, “Voyeurs”).


For additional information, interview requests, and images of artwork, please contact:

Andrea Bruce
Blue Medium, Inc. 
+1 (212) 675-1800