The Woodshed


On View: May 11-May 12

The Kitchen at Westbeth (163B Bank Street, 4th Floor Loft)


12-9pm. There are no advanced ticket reservations; $5-25 sliding scale tickets available at the door for Part One (12-4pm) and Part Two (5-9pm) of the program, on a first-come first-served basis.

The Woodshed is an all-day performance program co-organized by Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, Taja Cheek, Harmony Holiday, and The Kitchen in conjunction with Harmony Holiday: BLACK BACKSTAGE.

Convene and jam together alongside SCRAAATCH, Rena Anakwe (12-4pm), Contour, Melanie Charles, and Amani Fela (5-9pm).

*Please note that The Woodshed will begin at 12pm on May 11, 2024 through 9pm. The program will be divided into two sections: 12-4pm and 5-9pm, with an hour break in between. During the hour break, the loft will be cleared so that we can reset the space. There are no advanced ticket reservations; $5-25 sliding scale tickets available at the door for Part One (12-4pm) and Part Two (5-9pm) of the program, on a first-come first-served basis.

The gallery will be closed on Friday, May 10 in preparation for the performance program. Regular gallery hours will resume on Tuesday, May 14.

The Woodshed, the act of shedding, the several expansive efforts by jazz musicians to create autonomous workshops and schools; the consistently strenuous rehearsal practices of these same musicians; the calls from Miles or Mingus to join the band; the urgency of the first practice; the non-performative showmanship of it. Where does it go, how does it linger and haunt current music-making?

Is it different now? Do we know how to carry and pursue these dreams after decades of interruption and deferral and codification of what was once improvised into a set of givens? Reciprocal in that we wanted to study and shed skins together with or without an audience, in preparation for the stage, but also as a manner of rejecting the spotlight's hold on the music.

This is a day-long endeavor to hold these things together as practices, the root of any live event, and conversations / conventions that happen on the margins and in the specter of the stage, backstage. Where we return to ourselves before and after what is called a show; where we go to question and uproot the trappings of showmanship by being intensely casual and candid. Maybe this is one aspect of the future of Black performance, that practice becomes main event. We'll see.

Rules of Engagement


The Woodshed is a jam session that invites Black musicians and sound artists–especially those interested in noise, bleep bloops, experimental music, the avant-garde, and as of yet undefined genres–to convene and make music together alongside an unannounced group of musicians and artists invited by the program organizers.

Please show up early to sign up to play. There will be a sign up sheet available in the loft space upon entry to the program.

There will be two invited artists / performers, and a house band during each program section. The Woodshed hosts will call your name to invite you on-stage to perform. You will be performing on-stage with other musicians on the sign-up sheet and members of the house band.


The Woodshed prioritizes listening, and as such, the audience is a crucial part of the program! Positive feedback of all kinds is strongly encouraged (clapping, snapping, short shouts of encouragement).

Anyone disrupting or giving negative feedback to the performers (booing, trash talking) will be asked to stop, and if necessary, asked to leave. Have fun, stay engaged!

We encourage you to review the downloadable Rules of Engagement and Manifesto PDFs for additional insights about tech backline and participation alongside the program's framework.


Doors open at 11:45am and Part One of the program begins at 12:00pm. Part Two doors open at 4:45pm and the program begins at 5:00pm. There will be a one hour break at 4-5pm, where the loft will be cleared to the space can be reset.

We ask that you arrive 15 minutes before showtime to ensure a smooth check-in process. There are no advanced ticket reservations; $5-25 sliding scale tickets available at the door at The Kitchen at Westbeth (163B Bank Street, 4th Floor Loft) for both sections of the program. Re-entry is allowed, but not guaranteed based on capacity.

PLEASE READ COVID REMINDER: If you are feeling sick, please stay home. Thank you for your cooperation and commitment to keeping our community safe.

Entry: There are stairs or ramp access to an open door marked with The Kitchen's name, behind which there is an elevator accessible to the public. The elevator enters directly into the loft. Seating: This is a standing program. There will be intermittent seating available in the loft on couches, and floor cushions, to encourage a comfortable environment for both performers and audiences. We are happy to accommodate and adjust for individuals who require wheelchair access. Exits: The space can be exited via elevator or stairs that take you to Bank street. Restrooms: Our restrooms in the loft space are gender neutral. There is an additional ADA bathroom available for use outside of The Kitchen's loft. We encourage folks to use the bathroom prior to entering the loft space.

If you have any questions specific to access needs please contact if you require additional support.

How To Get To 163 Bank Street: It is a ~10 minute journey on foot and a ~5 minute car ride from both the 14th Street A/C/E subway station (the station has elevator access) as well as the 14th Street 1/2/3 train subway station to Westbeth. It is a ~5 minute journey on foot from the M20 bus stop of 8 Av/Bleecker Street and a ~10 minute walk from the Christopher Street Path Train Station.


Harmony Holiday is a writer, dancer, and experimental filmmaker whose work surveys music, ancestry, death and rebirth, and celebrity. She is the author of 5 collections of poetry including MAAFA (2022), and also curates an archive of griot poetics and a related performance and conversation series at LA’s 2220Arts. At the core of her practice is a pursuit of visual and literary vocabularies that might best express the melancholic hope endemic to Black American social life. As Holiday navigates the depths of Black remembrance and loss, she sets her sights on the relationship between “the new”, “the archival,” and the spaces between them that defy linear time. She treats these energies as collectively improvising ensembles in which prose and poetry sit by turns comfortable and chaotic, next to images cribbed from Black artistic and private life. Most recently she has received awards from the Silver’s and Rabkin foundations, and is completing a memoir Love is War for Miles, a biography of Abbey Lincoln, and collection of poems.

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste’s work, spanning roles as both artist, composer, and performer, considers errant relations that push toward the limits of subjectivity. Tousiant-Bapiste’s fellowships and awards include the Camargo Foundation Core Program Fellowship; Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Sound Artist-In-Residence; Bessie Award for Outstanding Music Composition and Sound Design, the Jerome Foundation Airspace Residency at Abrons Arts Center; and the Rauschenberg Residency 381. Recent exhibitions and performances include The Institute of Contemporary Art at VCU, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA; Berlin Atonal, Berlin, DE; MoMA PS1, Queens, NY; Performance Space, New York, NY; The Kitchen, Brooklyn, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY.

Brooklyn-born and based musician, experimentalist, and multi-instrumentalist Taja Cheek, aka L’Rain, is mapping the enormity of how to change. Cheek has dipped her toes in every corner of the arts, through her work at some of the most prestigious art institutions in NYC and collaborations with the likes of Naama Tsabar, Kevin Beasley, Justin Allen, and others in the contemporary arts. Heavily blending genres (thus making new unnamable space for herself) including but not limited to gospel, jazz, and neo-soul, L’Rain fractures and mends our expectations of what musicians, especially Black women musicians, are categorized to do versus what they need to do (and actually do). Her music demands introspection from ready ears with an array of keyboards, synths, and hauntingly delicate vocals that create a genre entirely her own. L’Rain encourages us to listen, laugh, mourn, hum, linger, realize, know, accept, and release who we are, who and what we can be when we allow movements of change to be a necessary component of—not an antithesis to—rest.

SCRAAATCH is a collaborative pair that creates multimedia performance, experimental music, and hybrid DJ sets. SCRAAATCH consists of E. Jane and chukwumaa, aka MHYSA and lawd knows. SCRAAATCH focus on Black diasporan intra-communication, generational traumas, social upheaval, and the social conditions of urban environments. They source sounds, images, and physical objects that represent ever-morphing urban and digital landscapes, reflecting on the socio-political dynamics within these spaces. Originally from Prince George’s County, Maryland, and based in Brooklyn, New York, SCRAAATCH has performed and exhibited experiments at venues including MoMA PS1, The Kitchen, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, and the New Museum in New York, Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, and Les Urbaines in Switzerland. Releases include Teardrops EP (2019), and the one-off tracks “u don’t kno until u come” (2020) and “blue light” (2021) contributed to the “Sermon 4 Anniversary” and “Virgō” compilations, respectively.’

Rena Anakwe is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, poet and healer working primarily with sound, visuals, and scent. Exploring intersections between traditional healing practices, spirituality and performance, she creates works focused on sensory-based, experiential interactions using creative technology. Currently, she is part of the 2023-2024 Lincoln Center Social Sculpture Cohort with her durational, public art project “Lifting the Ground Up [iter.02]”, she was awarded a 2022 Art Matters Artist2Artist Fellowship, a 2021-2022 MacDowell Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Arts, a 2022 Jack Nusbaum Artist Residency at BAM and the 2021 Canadian Women Artists’ Award from NYFA & the CWC of New York. Rena has collaborated, produced, and shown work at (select list): Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Serpentine, ‘Arts & Ideas’ (UK), The Guggenheim Museum, SCAD Museum of Art, Creative Time/Governors Island Arts, New Forms Festival x Lobe Studio (CAN), Counterpublic, The Momentary, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Basilica Hudson, TFNA (Theatre for a New Audience), Park Avenue Armory/NY Live Arts, En Garde Arts/Brookfield Place, Weeksville Heritage Center and the Dia Foundation. Under the moniker ‘A Space for Sound,’ Anakwe released her album “Sometimes underwater (feels like home)” through RVNG Intl’s Commend THERE Label in Fall 2021. She is based in Brooklyn, New York, by way of Nigeria and Canada.

Khari Lucas is a songwriter/musician (most often releasing work under the alias Contour), scoring composer, writer/poet, and occasional programmer in both digital and real space. His work, grounded in Black musical traditions (i.e. jazz, soul, blues), follows in the footsteps of artist-expressors throughout history, and seeks to honor these traditions while carrying them through the present and into the future, as well as offer provocations, invitations, and tools for Black listeners to contextualize their own emotions and experiences. His songwriting explores themes including grief, love, violence, labor, and the inner emotional landscape at large.

Melanie Charles stands out as one of the few artists whose sound captures the sentiments of a generation. Raised by a Haitian mother in Brooklyn, her upbringing shaped her dynamic engagement with various forms of Black American music, from jazz to soul to experimental genres, giving an eclectic edge to her sound. At LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, she honed her skills in flute and vocals before furthering her studies at The New School's School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. Embraced by a diverse array of artists, from Wynton Marsalis to SZA, her genre-bending style captivates audiences. Notable appearances include NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert in 2021, solidifying her reputation as a formidable vocalist, flutist, arranger, producer, and band leader. Last year, she contributed to Terri Lyne Carrington's Grammy Award-winning album "New Standards" and collaborated on "Hotel San Claudio" with Mark De Clive-Lowe and Shigeto, which led to a run of successful Jazz Is Dead shows curated by Adrienne Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Committed to nurturing emerging talent, she mentors aspiring singers at the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, where her own journey began. And she sits on the board of The House Foundation for the Arts, the organization of her mentor, artist Meredith Monk. Her latest album, "Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women," released in 2021 under Verve/Universal, showcases her versatility, creativity, and dedication to community. Through it all, Melanie has remained committed to making music that pushes listeners to consider new possibilities—sonically and politically.

Amani Fela, a multidisciplinary artist from Brooklyn, with a passion for cultivating culture, organizing community, and experimenting within the arts. Music is Amani's primary mode of expression, where he explores the boundaries of genre and sound. Outside of music, Amani is deeply committed to organizing and empowering communities. Whether through grassroots initiatives, collaborative projects, or cultural events, he strives to create spaces where people can come together, share their stories, and build connections. As a trailblazer in the New York arts scene, Amani continues to push the envelope, using his talents to cultivate a more inclusive and equitable society for all.


The Kitchen’s programs are made possible in part with support from The Kitchen’s Board of Directors, The Kitchen Leadership Fund, and the Director’s Council, as well as through generous support from The Amphion Foundation, Inc., Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Aaron Copland Fund for. Music, The Cowles Charitable Trust, Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts, Inc., Howard Gilman Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, Marta Heflin Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund, a fund of Tides Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Open Society Foundation, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, Ruth Foundation For The Arts, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Simons Foundation, and Teiger Foundation; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.