Michelle Handelman, Hustlers & Empires, 2018; photo: courtesy the artist


Hustlers & Empires
Video Installation

Part of Michelle Handelman’s Hustlers & Empires

Drop into the Gina and Stuart Peterson White Box to immerse yourself in Michelle Handelman’s newly commissioned work Hustlers & Empires (2018). Existing both as a three-channel video work and a live performance, the video installation will be open to the public all week.

Hustlers & Empires interweaves stories of three aging hustlers from different time periods who each find themselves pushed out of their own game and forced back to confront what their lives have become. Inspired by Iceberg Slim’s Pimp (1967), Marguerite Duras’s The Lover (1984), and Federico Fellini’s Toby Dammit (1968), Handelman draws on the stories of three real and imagined hustlers. Handelman re-contextualizes these historical and literary characters through three legendary performers — Shannon Funchess, John Kelly, and Viva Ruiz — in a queer, feminist framework, opening up questions of survival and belonging, intersecting with issues of race, class, and gender.
This three-channel video work features original songs written by Funchess, Kelly, and Ruiz commissioned specifically for this piece.

Hustlers & Empires Credits

Starring: Shannon Funchess, John Kelly, Viva Ruiz
Producer: John Morrow
Co-producers: Kenneth Filmer and Thomas Burr Dodd, Brooklyn Fireproof Films
Cinematography: Ed David
Costumes: Karen Young; Zaldy; Neon Music
Set design: And Or Forever
Sound design: Quentin Chiappetta
Still photography: Mr. Means
Original music: John Kelly and Carol Lipnik; Viva Ruiz and BEARCAT; Shannon Funchess; Jonathan Kreinik