Photography & Dance — East Meets West
By Rebecca Pikus
You know how I love to write about opposites attracting — or juxtapositions, Yen/Yang, or something we can call ‘Divine Intervention”. Such is the case with Peter Palladino, of Italian/English descent, from New York — and Simeon Den, Hawaiian descent from (of course) Hawaii. And where did they meet? Even though both lived & studied in NYC, but never crossed paths there, but on the streets of Los Angeles, Ca of all places! Peter was looking for a roommate, & Simeon was looking for a place to live! The rest is history for this dynamic couple!
Peter Palladino is a fine art Celebrity Portrait & Fashion Photographer, master printer of B&W silver Gelatin prints, and specialist in Digital Illustration. He studied photography at UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and has exhibited internationally with collected works in the Los Angeles Center for Photographic Arts, LACMA, and in the permanent collection of the Quentin Crisp Archives in NYC. His celebrity clients include Stevie Wonder, Cindy Crawford, Michael York, John Waters, Frenchie Davis, and Drag icons including Lypsinka, Jackie Beat, Coco Peru, and Andy Warhol superstar, Holly Woodlawn.
Peter’s most recent exhibit, “SNAP!” is a subversive socio/political visual treatise on transexuals and trans-gendered people, including iconic drag performers and the ironic characterizations of Hyper-Femininity and Hyper-Masculinity portrayed by biological men– gay Porn Stars and trans-gendered women. His current and ongoing projects are an exhibition of fashion & beauty images of Fabulous Women over 60 and a book of formal Environmental Portraits documenting residents of Cathedral City Cove where he now resides with his partner, Simeon Den. Talk about Cutting Edge — this is why I love Peter & Simeon!
Simeon Den is an Interdisciplinary Artist, — Photographer, Choreographer/Dancer, Educator, & Yoga & Meditation Guru! He studied Fine Arts at the University of Massachusetts, photography at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, and is a 2005 Magna Cum Laude graduate of UCLA from the Dept. of World Arts and Cultures School of Arts & Architecture. He specializes Lifestyle Images Photography, Portraiture, Headshots & Event Photography. Simeon’s fine art work is represented by Skidmore Gallery in Los Angeles.
As for his love of Dance, Simeon was trained in NYC at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. He has performed concert dance internationally, as well as on the Broadway stage with such luminaries as Shirley MacLaine, Rudolph Nureyev, Lena Horne, & Yul Brenner. Simeon has also worked with legendary Directors, including Hal Prince, Gower Champiom & Jerome Robbins, and has appeared in several Broadway shows, including Stephen Sondheim’s “Pacific Overtures”. He also was owner & Director of Danceworks Honolulu for 2 decades & has taught at CalArts, UMass, UCLA, & the American Musical & Dramatics Academy. Simeon is on the faculty of the Musical Theater University at Rancho Mirage High School, sponsored by the Carol Channing Foundation. He also teaches Yoga in Cathedral City & Palm Desert, as well as private Meditation sessions.
Simeon is the Artistic Director of the Cathedral City-based “DiosGracias VoceDans” Theater, which produces site-specific, collaborative, & improvisational works. In addition, he is the Creator & Performer of “Butoh Dance”. Butoh Dance is best described as “moving sculptures” — it is a Japanese avant-garde art form that emerged from artists response to the devastation of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. “The slow movement of Butoh Dance challenges the viewer to simultaneously appreciate the visual beauty of the elaborate costumes, fantastic make-up, & the Zen aesthetic, as well as reconsider one’s perception of Time & Space and the concept of non-linear narratives.” The hybrid of Butoh Dance that Den creates & performs honors the traditional, but subverts the style by utilizing the entire body as the performing instrument — integrating classical ballet, Modern, & Contemporary dance forms with the full range of vocal production including singing, recitation, & vocalizing.
Peter Palladino & Simeon Den own and live in the historic house in Cathedral City Cove built by Agnes Pelton, the posthumously celebrated desert painter — they are the Founders of the Agnes Pelton Historical Society. They lovingly restored the home & studio, and created the beautiful Zen-inspired Agnes Pelton Sculpture Garden in 2012. Peter is the President of the Agnes Pelton Society, an Arts and Arts Education advocacy organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of Agnes Pelton, supporting local artists and providing educational opportunities for children and the Arts. In addition, Peter & Simeon are the creators of the Cathedral City Cove Tour of Artists Homes & Studios, a successful annual Event (the 3rd Annual Event just took place in Feb., 2014). Simeon is also on the Advisory Committee of the First Annual Rancho Mirage Tour of Artists Homes/Studios, to be held on Sat. April 12, 2014. In 2013, Peter & Simeon’s Sculpture Photography was published in the book “The Sculptural Art of Mario Pikus” (Blurb Books). Peter & Simeon’s amazing photographs can be seen at www.PalladinoDenPhotography.com
Peter Palladino’s Photography can be seen at UCR in Palm Desert, Ca. at the “Let’s Face It” Exhibit, curated by Karen & Tony Barone, Thursday, March 27, 2014, 5:30-7:30pm. Simeon Den’s “DiosGracias VoceDans Theater” will be featured at the La Quinta Arts Festival and a formal company debut is scheduled for May 17, 2014
For more Info, contact Simeon Den at (310) 801-6538 or Simeonden@gmail.com