Equality. Free Speech. Democracy’s Body. The Bay Area. The West Wave Dance Festival. In the future everyone will have 15 minutes of fame. In the West Wave Dance Festival each choreographer had five minutes on the big stage at Yerba Buena. Three programs. Thirty-five companies. An equitable and representational form of democracy that celebrates a utopian correction to the cultural segregation of most of our daily lives. This kind of democracy is also championed by the Izzies (the Bay Area’s Isadora Duncan Dance Awards) and might even be considered a San Francisco or Bay Area ‘Value.’...Read More
The stage is filled with the remnants of past performances, stuff that seems to have lost either its meaning or function. Objects from theater prop rooms: mannequin parts, black cubes, an old fridge, a child’s desk, a vintage gurney, a bike, a mirror, and even the kitchen sink, ba da ba. This is the trash of representation, stuff that looks like or evokes or locates… The appearance of the sink suggests a hint of vaudeville, that US American entertainment fusion of dance, comedy, circus, sideshow, and cultural performance...Read More
Chicken Shit (meditation is supposed to make you less crazy)
Performance by Kirk Read
Kirk Read walked on stage carrying two milk crates. He was wearing a short white shirt-dress or choir robe that read ceremonial. The robe was closed at the throat but open to the torso, revealing gold lame bikini pants. A voice over of Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield’s trance inducing monotone introduced us to some kind of meditation practice. A wall-sized video projection of someone, someone white, touched and then later licked a small brown-skinned doll. The effect of the close-up fondling was creepy but almost camp, especially in contrast with what we hear...
A movie by Spike Lee documenting Passing Strange, a Broadway musical with lyrics and book by Stew and music and orchestrations by Stew and Heidi Rodewald.
Before my brief comments on this concert/play/movie, here’s the synopsis from wiki:
“A young black musician travels on a picaresque journey to rebel against his mother and his upbringing in a church-going, middle-class, late 1970s South Central Los Angeles neighborhood in order to find "the real". He finds new experiences in promiscuous Amsterdam, with its easy access to drugs and sex, and in artistic, chaotic, political Berlin, where he struggles with ethics and integrity when he misrepresents his background as (ghetto) poor to get ahead...
What Men Want
Scott Wells & Dancers
May 31, 2009
Part of the 2009 SF International Arts Festival
Scott Wells makes wonderful dances for men and women and sometimes he makes wonderful dances for men. Wells treats modern dance like a sport in a postmodern fusion of relaxed lyrical dancing, physical comedy, and surprisingly tender partner acrobatics. The leaps, catches, cat like landings and spiraling falls to the floor reveal the company’s roots in the dance known as contact improvisation...Read More
Modern dance, beginning with Isadora Duncan’s bare legs, uncorseted breasts and critical rants about women, socialist Russia, dancing children and free bodies, has always been political. Acknowledging the influence of formalism, minimalism, and various styles of abstraction, contemporary dance continues to engage social issues or pose socially resonant questions. But a dance about genocide and international law? Would it be doomed to disappoint or just depress? Despite Liz Lerman’s national reputation, I wasn’t surprised that they were giving tickets away in last minute email blasts to the local dance community. Who wants to see a dance about targeted mass murder? How can a dance meaningfully address horrors of this scale? With four free tickets, I could only convince one friend to accompany me...Read More