Five Questions for: Bertie Ferdman

bertieName: Bertie Ferdman
Title/Occupation: Performance Artist, Scholar, Teacher, and Curator
Organization/Company: Ex.Pgirl, MESTC/CUNY, Adjunct Lecturer (theatre) at City College, CUNY and Manhattanville


1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?

I grew up in Puerto Rico. I ended up in Brooklyn because where else can a French-married Latin Jew live?

2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?

I saw Victoria Chaplin’s and Jean Baptiste Thieree’s Le Cirque Invisible many many many years ago and that blew me away. I still remember Victoria’s hair as she flew on that giant swing and Jean-Baptiste’s zebra costume, and his socks. I have rarely seen such poetry on stage.

3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?

I wish I had a skill to cure people. I figure out what is wrong, and I can either fix it, or even do surgery on it. And take people’s pain away or disease.

4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.

I teach. I am also an “instructional technology” consultant. I’ve worked in academic technology for many years, helping professors at CUNY integrate technology in their courses. I don’t have a normal day!

5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?

Yes: everyday. I don’t really choose, I just do what I can, on a day to day, and project to project basis. I also have two children, so that is a big part of the equation. The outcome: ten thousand jobs on my resume (which I “pile” according to the search) and 5 full length pieces; oh, and two big curated symposiums which I am also very proud of.

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