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Bio

Michel Alex

(aka MICHEL GIGOLO)

SYNOPSIS

MICHEL ALEX is a French-Portuguese writer, composer, performer and metteur en scène (play director). In parallel, his transdisciplinary work extends into other artistic areas, such as visual arts;, concepts of cultural entrepreneurship; artistic production; curatorships and international mentoring, namely on the Erasmus platform. He is one of the three founders of the Custom Circus company; Nirvana Studios - Alternative Cultural Center; Custom Café Theater; Band Boxes - Musicians Macro Community; Erasmus Hub; among other pioneer projects in Portugal also recognized in Europe. He was born in Paris - France in 1970.

LITERATURE and DRAMATURGY

"LE CABARET ROCK"

Novel - Preface and Curatorship by Júlio Pêgo

(Edições Trebaruna 2023, Dramaturgical Register 2008)

"POETS OF METAMORPHOSIS"

- Co-written with Daniela Sousa, and Rui Gago -

The Custom Circus Milestone Book

(Edições do Pelouro da Cultura da Câmara Municipal de Oeiras 2023) 

"ATLAND" 

Novel of the Atland series (vol.5) - With the seal of the Museu Nacional dos Coches - Lisbon (Editorial Divergência 2022)

"ENYGMA OEIRAS" 

Novel of the Atland series (vol.4) - With preface by Fundação Marquês de Pombal

(Editorial Divergência 2021)

"A FANTÁSTICA MALDIÇÃO GUTKIN - THE FANTASTIC GUTKIN CURSE" 

Biographical Chronicles (Edições Verbi Gratia 2020)

"WAGON VILLAGE" 

Novel of the  Atland series (vol.3) - With seal of the Fundação do Museu Nacional Ferroviário - Entroncamento (Editorial Divergência 2021; Dramaturgical Register 2016)

"RAUS HUMAN" 

Novel of the Atland series (vol.2) - With the seal from Nirvana Studios - ERIH - European Route Of Industrial Heritage (Editorial Divergência 2019)

"MEKANON" 

Novel of the  Atland series (vol.1) - Adamastor Grand Prize of Portuguese Fantastic Literature 2021 (Editorial Divergência 2019; Dramaturgical Register 2004)

"HERDEIROS DO APOKALIPSE - APOKALIPSE HEIRS" 

 Upcycling Art Manifesto

(Edições do Pelouro da Juventude de Oeiras 2016; Dramaturgical register 2005/2016) 

"A SAGA DA RODA - THE SAGA OF THE WHEEL"

Post Apocaliptic Novel

 (Editorial Divergência 2019; Edition Nirvana Productions 2004; Author's Edition 1988) 

COLLABORATIONS IN OTHER PUBLICATIONS

"Enciclopédia do Terror Português - Enciclopedia of Portuguese Horror"

(Edições Verbi Gratia 2023)

"Steampunk Almanac 2022" 

(Editorial Divergência) - Under the pseudonym Michel Gigolo

"BANG! Magazine - Theatrical article" (Edições FNAC / Saída de Emergência 2022) 

"Adolfo Gutkin, A Multicultural and Rebellious Utopia"

(Giostri Editions - Brazil 2019)

"Steampunk Almanac 2019"

(Editorial Divergência) - Under the pseudonym Michel Gigolo

"Nirvana Studios Tour eBook"

 (Play Store 2015)

MUSIC and DISCOGRAPHY

As music director of the company's original soundtracks, he has recorded that discography together with the Custom Circus musicians.

"ABATTOIR LULLABY" (2022) Album

"VOYAGES DE L'ÉMOTION" (2021) Album

"DIESEL PUNK" (2020) Album

"ABSURDIUM" (2017) Album

"BIZARRE CHIC (2014) Album

"LE CABARET ROCK" (2012) Album

"GIGOLO DANCE" (2008) Album

"CUSTOM CIRCUS (2007) Album

MISE EN SCÈNE, INTERPRETATION and PERFORMANCE

In these strands he has combined a journey that begins in the general dramaturgy of the company to the incarnation of his own characters on stage.

"POETS OF METAMORPHOSIS" - (2023)

"LE CABARET ROCK" - Reloaded (2022 - present)

"GOING CRAZY" - (2021-2022)

"ART FOR PEACE" - (2021)

"LOCO'MOTIVE" - (2020 - present)

"ABSURDIUM" - (2017-2019)

"A VIAGEM" - Best Of (2015-2017)

"HERDEIROS DO APOKALIPSE" "The Performance" - (2016-2019)

"BIZARRE CHIC" - (2014-2015)

"LE CABARET ROCK" - (2012-2013)

"GIGOLO DANCE" - (2008-2011)

"FIRE PERFORMERS" - (2007-2008)

"PRISONERS OF THE BLUES" - (2006-2007)

"THEATER ON WHEELS - (2005-2010)

"CUSTOM PARTY" - (2004-2010)

"FULL MOON" - (2004-2006)

"CUSTOM PARADE" - (2003-2009)

"A SAGA DA RODA" - (2002)

ART - MAIN EXHIBITIONS

He was one of the three co-creators of the following projects:

- A COLECÇÃO PARADOXAL -

"SAGA CARAVAN"

Resident piece at the Museu Nacional Ferroviário - Entroncamento, curated by Manuel de Novaes Cabral - Since 2021

"LOCO''MOTIVE"
Resident piece at Nirvana Studios, curated by Silvana Bessone - Since 2020

"ATLAND MONOWHEEL"

Resident piece at the Museu Nacional dos Coches - Lisbon, curated by João Mendes Rosa - Since 2019

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LIMBUS INFINITUS

Vernissage at STRANGE Gallery in 2020
Curated by the Fundação do Museu Nacional Ferroviário by Maria José Teixeira and Carla Alexandra Serapicos


HERDEIROS DO APOKALIPSE - Time Capsules

Since 2016 - Vernissage at Oeiras Marina
Curated by Fátima de Llera


NIRVANA STUDIOS - OUTDOOR ART GALLERY

Opened since 2004


TELEVISION

LE CABARET ROCK (2023)

60-minute television episode produced by West Coast Films. International representation by the distributor Lukarn France
Imdb TV Special
He was one of the main protagonists of this episode


PROJECTS, CULTURAL SPACES and MAIN CONCEPTS

He was one of the three co-creators of the following projects:

"CUSTOM CIRCUS" 

Transdisciplinary Theater and Visual Arts Company 

Conceptualized in 1988 - Founded in 1996 - Consolidated in 2002

"NIRVANA STUDIOS" 

Alternative Cultural Center 

Conceptualized in 1996. Founded in 2003

"BAND BOX - BAND BOXES" 

Macro Music Community

Founded in 2003 - Patented in 2010

"CUSTOM CAFÉ THEATER"  
Transdisciplinary Performance and Concert Hall
Conceptualized in 2004 - Started in 2008 - Opened in 2012

STRANGE GALLERY
Pluridisciplinary and Experimental Gallery
Inaugurated in 2004 - Called Black Box until 2012

CUSTOM VILLE
Residencies for Artists and Students
Opened in 2017

ERASMUS HUB 
International Reception Platform for Cultural Internships 
Inaugurated in 2022

ART EXPRESS 
Wall of Fame 
Cosmopoiltan Artist Residencies   
Inaugurated in 2008


TUTORING 

He has been a tutor for cultural courses since 2008, working with several universities, polytechnics and professional schools, nationally and internationally, collaborating mainly in the Erasmus program.


OTHER ACTIVITIES


"Oeiras Fora da Caixa" - Editorial coordination (since 2017)
"OBS - Oeiras Band Sessions" - Host Jury (since 2009)
"STRANGE Gallery" - Has been one of the resident curators (since 2006)
"EFO - Escola Flamenca de Oeiras" - Cultural Consultant (since 2006)
"Nirvana Studios Festival - Open Day" - Artistic direction (since 2004)


CHRONOLOGY

(1994 - 2004)


Was field manager at "Expo'98 - Lisbon" and "Lisboa'94 - Capital of Culture" in the areas of Street Theatre and Avant-garde Performances, collaborating with the production company Eutaxia-Assessoria Cultural, among others.

In 1996 he co-founded the Nirvana Produções company, where he started his career staging corporate events and multimedia theatrical happenings for film and album releases for the studios Warner, Polygram,,BMG, Sony, Universal, among others. In this  same corporate, he worked with several artistic companies, designing exclusive events in the multinational panorama. He closed this cycle in 2004, after staging several events for emblematic periods such as the "Euro 2004".

In 1997 he was co-creator of the "Digital Award of the Portuguese Phonographic Association".

Between 1996 and 1997, in the production company Nirvana he co-created and co-produced in the ex-Aquaparque do Restelo the two editions of "GML- Grande Meeting de Lisboa", which was the 1st Portuguese event dedicated to Custom Culture in its entirety.


(1990 - 1994)

In Lisbon at "Faculdade Moderna" he studied law with two interruptions between 1990 and 1993; one because he was mobilized by the French army during the Gulf War, opting to serve in the  Portugal army under his 2nd nationality; and the other due to his passion for show business, a fact that led him to drop the law course.

Was an assistant at the "IFICT- Instituto de Formação e Investigação Cultural e Teatral" from 1991 to 1992. 

Was a seasonal roadie free lancer of pyrotechnic FX at the front of the stage of the "U2" and "Dire Straits" tours from 1991 to 1992.

In 1992, at the invitation of the Argentine director Adolfo Gutkin, he joined the company "Eutaxia - Assessoria Cultural" for the tour of the company Archaos (Italy-Spain-Portugal). But due to the dissolution of that French troupe that same year, he continued with Gutkin in the tours of the companies La Fura Dels Baus and Els Comediants. As an assistant and ad hoc disciple his professional relationship with the director and producer Adolfo Gutkin extended until 1999, as a member of his directing and production teams in more than a hundred shows with the following companies:

Ana La China (ES)
Arturo Toscanini (IT)
Bolshoi Ballet (RUS)
Kirov Ballet (RUS)
Minsk Ballet (RUS)
Bederen Bat (ES)
Brunchu (ES)
Chick Corea (USA)
Christophe Berthonneau (FR)
China National Circus
IFICT Company (PT)
National Argentine Company
XPTO Company (BR)
Cossacks of Russia 
Elena Obraztsova (RUS)
Els Comediants (ES)
Gelabert Azzopardi (ES)
Groupe F (FR)
Guirigai (ES)
Jacka Maré Spino (FR)
Jêrome Deschamps (FR)
Karmen Larumbe (ARG)
La Cuadra de Sevilla (ES)
La Fura Dels Baus (ES)
Marcel Marceau (FR)
Marimbondo (PT)
Michael Nyman (UK)
Mummenschanz (CH)
Pupi & Fresedde (IT)
Olissipo (PT)
Kiev Opera (RUS)
Pekin Opera (CHN)
Bulgarian National Opera
Tarbes Orchestra (FR)
Pirotecnia Minhota (PT)
Pirotecnia Oleirense (PT)
Plan K (BE)
Plasticiens Volants (FR)
Semola Teatre (ES)
Ta Fantastika (CZ)
Teatro do Ornitorrinco (BR)
Theatre du Mouvement (FR)
Titanic (FR)
Transe Express (FR)
Tricicle (ES)
Turbo Unit (UK)
UR Teatre (ES)
Vol Ras (ES)
Xarxa (ES)
Zyriab (ES)


CHRONOLOGY

(1980 - 1990)


(1989 - 1990): Was one of the assistants of Portuguese sculptor Luis Valadares

(1988): Greatly influenced by Post Punk Industrial, French intervention theater and avant-garde circus that was exploding at that time, he wrote the book "A Saga da Roda-The Saga of the Wheel" that would later give rise to Custom Circus.

(1984 - 1989): Attended courses in Art, Design and Physical Education in general education, intermittently between France and Portugal.
 

(1982 - 1988): Began youth acting in Paris at the théatre amateur of the colonie de la Porte de Versailles. Later in post school activities he attended multidisciplinary performance workshops, nouveau cirque and plastic arts with the street artists of the Centre Pompidou and at the Colonie d'Issy Les Moulineaux. He learned piano and later blues harmonica, playing in garage groups in the underground scene.

OTHER FACTS and CURIOSITIES

He was conceived in 1969 by existentialist parents. With an almost hippie older sister as his spiritual guide, he lived a free Tom Sawyer-style childhood divided between the banks of the Seine and the Tagus. Thanks to his parents' work in 5-star hotels, events, and theaters in Paris, he was an adorable child who occasionally imposed his annoying presence on artists like Bob Dylan, Elizabeth Taylor, or Salvador Dali.  With the family also being part of the premiere cheerleaders of mythical halls like the Moulin Rouge,

Olympia, Folies Bergeres, Crazy Horse, Calcutta, Lido, L'opera, and Le Chatelet, he also grew up amidst sets, projectors, actors, dancers, and musicians.

As an adolescent he strongly connected to the underground 80's scene. His many influences were explosive cocktails of Punk, Gothic, Blues, Psychobilly, bohemian and anarchic shows, Cabaret, Russian Theater and Rockers & Bikers gatherings, in a condensed mix of Ramones, Edith Piaf, Joy Division, Muddy Waters, The Cramps, Mad Max, Johnny Cash, Easy Rider and Stanislavsky. 

Constantly challenged and tormented by a restless soul, he experimented outside show business with various professions and lifestyles. He was an entrepreneur, craftsman, publicist, market vendor, antique dealer, truck driver, translator, activist, free surfer, and 1% biker in the Road Runners from 1994 to 2002, the year he became a father and his responsibility focused more in that direction. All these life trajectories helped him in an empirical way to trace the course of his "Atland - Custom Circus" literary saga.

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