Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Motion Occupies Music: Stevie Wonder

Bits and Pieces:

There are few people I have had the pleasure to meet that have left me awestruck or as most would say star struck. One of these is Stevie Wonder.

I was working at 40 Park Ave. (36th St. and Park) in Suzanne Ciani’s 19th floor apartment studio. We were working on “Velocity of Love.” I think that was the second album we did together. Anyway, Suzanne was always on the cutting edge of procuring the latest electronic musical equipment, mostly through endorsements, whether it be from Roland or Yamaha, or in this case the Synclavier. The average person could identify this piece of equipment’s sound in the opening chords of Michael Jackson’s, “Beat It” (Wish I could insert a snip of it here.)

During the course of what was usually a 14hr weekend workday word came in that Stevie Wonder would be stopping by to check out the Synclav. I was out of my mind. I was going to meet Stevie Wonder!! Holy Shit!!
“Songs in the Key of Life” is still one of my all time favorite albums. Stevie Wonder, a true musical icon.

Sometime in the evening Stevie arrived with his brother and maybe one or two other people. I do not clearly remember. But what I do remember is him sitting down at the keyboard and riffing, going through the sounds and some tech talk as to the possibilities of the gear. Suzanne had the Synclavier print out Stevie’s playing and for one amazing, incredibly awkward moment, she somehow thought that he would be impressed with this printout. Stevie, being funny and gracious took the sheet of music from her and it was not until then that Suzanne realized what a foopah she had made. I watch the whole thing in horror, and could not believe what she was doing. Oh, well.

At some point, I wound up sitting at the dining table talking with him. He lived in Englewood, NJ at that time, and somehow we wound up talking bout Jersey. I had been reading Edgar Cayce, and somehow we got Into talking about Jersey vs. LA and earthquakes, and the fault that runs down the Hudson River, across Manhattan at 14th St. Kinda neat stuff. We were just chillin. Amazing!! What a great night. The only thing is that Suzanne’s camera strangely did not work that night, so there are no pictures. Hmmm, somehow maybe you just don’t have to “see” everything in order to hold on to the experience.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

nalick plus 3

undecided armor makes for unhappy prisoners so we wait wait wait until something miraculous happens, and until then ill be a big big bitch.

cause one bad appearance cancels out all the good ones and meaningless nights somehow define characteristics so unlike you but the pressure of unwanted neighbors in a diner provokes destination awareness and screams.

so we float on like dead fish awaiting their bone pickin' 
like maggots on rye they don't mind sucking your life.
sly messages mold foolery like clay.
we're like gumby.

green and ambitious we break on every bend 
pricking pulling pushing plotting
blotting thoughts to other thoughts inappropriate every time
for sex and curse words hide real brain waves of poverty 
and an emptiness foaming at the mouth.
what do you say when you don't care?

agree agree like nixon on water or bush on war.
just say yes to appease the silly minds floating in alcohol and hands
glued to jelly situations
they're going to slice your finger like Pinocchio's nose
lies make a warm habitat in a cold winter.
so just place your hand here and shoulder there
we'll carry on like everyone's happy.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Live Baking

"Live Baking" is a concept created by John, John Mayer.
And since my friends and I couldn't pull it together and we blamed it on the weather,
I've posted my baking results in preparation for xmas eve at the Mathus'.

^ The remaining melted chocolate...soon to be devoured by Brother & Co.

^ Watching the Coconut Indulgences freeze. Recipe courtesy of Emeril.
14 oz. coconut flakes.
5 oz. condensed milk
1 cup powdered sugar.
18 oz. semi-sweet morsels- double boiler.

^ The mess I began to create before knocking over a tray of cookies.
"You are Evil Knievel in the kitchen", my mother.

^ Placing cookies on the baking sheet. Haven't done this in years.

^ Small plate of finished product. 1 of 4 [big plates].

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

a court of nine

I recently found this whilst cleaning/sorting through my documents folder.
This piece of courtly literature is from over four years ago, with a group of friends on a random night in Spring.
I am thoroughly amused by the urgency, confusion, and absolute madness that was actually recorded (and taken extremely seriously) during a female sleepover. Note: all of the below did really happen, including the fungus.

Please take a few minutes of your time and enjoy this high school chaos.

re: lauren's court minutes:

Right hand, left…the truth and god…cheese and shitting, with lots of fungus. Court is in session. Thank you…prosecutor, lawyer cobos…grand jury, and me the typist! Sosa…is there something funny? Its serious? Whose house? Relationship? Charges….treason of friendship….girls IN, not out. Section 22. Jail time….10 years? Sosa, whose house> gabra? Relationship?BF. guy or friend? Friend. When u were invited. She asked me for a girl’s night IN. was it N9? Yes. Who is n9. friends except 2. Danielle is fired and daria is away. You are on the brink of being with Danielle. What did you do? What time did you arrive? 8:30-9. who brought yup? Ashley m. we got here, got tammy, got pizza, came upstairs, danced, smoked drank, chillin, I notice Maria is GONE…where did she go? Objection…she was inside. She was dealing with issues with BOYS. She has to answer the question. Chelsea talked to bf. I received texts from Joe. Then Melissa talks to her boy on phone. Jury no questions. Only 10 minutes for Chelsea…and Joe had planned to come over from the beginning. He stayed outside cuz it was late. Tammy escorted outside and then came back in 10 minutes later. That was the LIMIT! Not three hours! That’s longer than a movie. Gabra called to bring u in. blockbuster is not relevant. Nasty things are not good. No nastiness. You are a liar No I’m not. Closing arguments. Then another phone call in the middle of everything. Its been 365 days since ass. Well its been since surfs since a sleep over. Ringing phone. NO PHONES. Court trial in session. ORDER! No…you cannot answer. Instead of sleeping at MY grad party you went with your bf…you have had prior offenses. I remind the court that this is your second time where Lauren Sosa stayed on line talking to rob while we were in the other room, and JOE too while we were waiting. Then when you came back to watch pretty woman…we were asleep. Court will resume in 2 minutes…potty break for the criminal. One minute…GO! Back in session. Lets go…over you time! I need to change…no…no changing…those clothes are evidence. Court is back now! Melinda is up. The cheese bible! Tim out….mom is awake!

Ahh! 3 am! She is pissed says judge gabra! Lauren eats piss pizza. Shh! Raise hand swear for truth and god. Yes I do. Name? Melinda A M. relationship? N9 and friend. Relationship with Lauren. Used to be friend till she ruined night. True! Girl’s night? Prank phone calls talking Ghanem and girls…eating fungus with cheese, cigs and drinks. What about a boy for 3 hours? No…not a girl’s night in. BIG MISTAKE! The accused actions? HORRIBLE…needs to apologize and eat cheese fungus. Step down. Now Ashley mathus. Swear for truth and god. Phone rings again. Relationship? BF what did she want? Girl’s night for n9. haven’t had one in a long ass time. Lauren strips. When you got Sosa…did you think of treason? No. did she mention these plans? No. thank you…step down. Now judge gabra. No swearing. Group pf n9 close? Yes! Would u know the inside jokes? No! its not a game. Laughing Sosa…naughty! N9 best friends? Yes. We are one? Yes. What were words for Sosa? I feel like shit…mean bf…I need support of n9 for girls night in. did Sosa ask how you were? She kissed forehead? When Chelsea and I came in when you were crying did Sosa ask to leave? yes! Should a friend think about foreplay or should she be patient? No! we shake our heads! Did this hurt you? Yes. Thank you…step down. Melissa. Swear truth and god. Right…no left. Yes I swear. Thanks. Name? Melissa a m. nice name. fart. Phone rings AGAIN. More texts! Oh dear. Focus. What do you think of Sosa. Ill willed. I was sitting in the corner with my bf cuz he was upset. Everyone with their bfs stayed in the house and the longest was a half hour…no 3 hours outside! No physical contact with their mate! Except Sosa! You weren’t;/t here! Continue….I could still hear what was going on…she asks for Maria….Joes coming…I need to go outside…she was excited to SNEAK OUT! New point! Loudness gone for 3 hours! Savanna. Was she excited for n9 or Joe? Joe! Gabra has allergies…you wouldn’t know! Last…me…Chelsea. Is sworn in and says yup. Lee Richardson. Did not eat fungus remembers conversations girl bonding points out Lauren dramatically as the only one missing. Lauren thought we were sleeping, order in the court. Maria’s mom will kick our asses. Fungus could have killed us all. All Lauren cared for was easy fun Gaby says Richardson thought she used to be a very good friend till Maria needed us and someone left for 3 hours. Granted some had time for boys but she left for 3 hours didn’t call to check up completely forgot us and Maria’s poor troubles no no not a good friend. Phone keeps ringing,, Maria even got cursed off Maria we are here for u….Chelsea step down. Evidence of pants. Gaby gives to Melissa for judge to see. Evidence A,….Hollister jeans…size 5. wet residue. To the jury…do you see it? Yes! Omg….the judge wants to see do you see Chelsea? Yes. Its WET! Lauren asks to see the evidence. No…it is true! Unless it was pee…which I doubt. As you can smell…it smells like a man. Typist? Like a man!

Closing arguments. Lauren? I know I wasn’t the sweetest. My decision wasn’t thought out well, very selfish, but one thing to the next and time was lost and I told him I had to leave. We kissed. I’m sorry…forgive me! If you were here you would have known that you have no defense. Closing argument…she has committed the biggest act against us (after Danielle). Phone again. As I may bring,,,,sosa stated she lost track of time…for three hours?? I don’t think so. You must have noticed the diff between 3 hours and ten minutes….maybe h=an hour but not three. This was for gabra…and you picked you unholy needs before hers. Do we want this in an n9 member? Nay! Jurors go think of sentence. All stand. I would like to hear conclusion. What do you find her? Melinda? I find her guilty. Ashley? Guilty. Gaby? Guilty. One text to Joe, then no more phone for the night. Hit on bare booty with big mistake. You have to eat Tostitos in fungus cheese. Third. Sosa cannot chill with us…must sleep with tammy and dogs all night…no phone or comp….and if you don’t you are out of N9 and tammy will replace you! Gabra agrees with spanking and with cheese for bringing us together…and you are on probation for an hour with tammy….PROBATION. fine 20,….no….an hour with one text to explain what’s going on and that you cant talk to him for a while…actually ill write it for you and you can read it. When you come back you will realize friendship…then you can tell him goodnight its girls time! Court to a halt…do you accept your penalties? No…only some. Okay half an hour. Okay 20 minutes! Hour with phone….or 20 without. Half hour alone with phone when you get out…no phone the rest of the night. Fine…no more texting. Or 15 minutes alone…one text that’s it. It all includes cheese and spanking. Fine….15 mins in isolation with 2 texts…spanking…and cheese! Continue with spank! Ow…that stung! Now fungus cheese! Now the two texts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NYC Dance Happenings- Move: The Company

Trap Doors, Who Knew?
By: Ashley L. Mathus

Premiering this week at The Joyce is Western Canada’s popular dance troupe, Move: The Company. Created by young Artistic Director Josh Beamish, Trap Door Party is said to blend “traditional influences of court dancing and classical ballet, with a contemporary approach, this piece is an abstract narrative look at six individuals, as they leave behind all they know to create a utopian society.” The dancers are like chess pieces coming to life as they maneuver inside strict boxes created by Move’s lighting designer. Metaphors for trap doors of conformity within a choking society, the dancers appear stuck; yet they’re keen on finding their way in and through what’s behind their door. Beamish, choosing to quickly flip the lighting schematics, delicately decides how, where, and why the dancers exist within the party of hidden entrapments. The audience, sometimes left in the dark, doesn’t see everything, but what we see is executed brilliantly with sharpness and perfection- bringing utopia one step closer.

Electronic classical music constantly taps the time throughout; a deep tick tock collaborates with Beamish’s vision rather than opposing it. Sudden light changes will ignite rapid floor thrashing; it’s as if we are seeing a board game from above being played out. The dancers are finding their way from start to finish, overturning obstacles with deep lunges, or making decisions by weaving through floor patterns of intricate jerks, yanks, and athletic stubbornness. Flexed feet push away from some unknown force, and heads whip in every direction without hesitation but reveal a tangible angst. Lingering in darkness, the dancer’s ghost like appearances and disappearances creates austere visual effects. Their darkened world is searching for ways to maintain the light, to preserve what is true.

Trap Door Party is premiering December 18th-20th at The Joyce, 175 8th Avenue- and hosting a post-performance discussion on December 19th and 20th at 3pm. Tickets are $22, and $15 for students and seniors. Please visit www.movethecompany.com to explore the company’s history, flux of ideas and inspirations.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


DC grooves

DC friends

Thursday, December 11, 2008


SPIN Magazine's Top 5 [out of 40] Best Albums of 2008:

#5 Fleet Foxes , Fleet Foxes
#4 Fucked Up, The Chemistry of Common Life
#3 Portishead, Third
#2 Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
#1 TV On the Radio, Dear Science

Grammy Awards 2008- Album of the Year

Coldplay, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends
Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III
Ne-Yo, Year Of The Gentleman
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand
Radiohead, In Rainbows

Twas a fucking good year for music.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

el radio

It never ceases to amaze me how lazy the American populous is when it comes to music.
Damn the mainstream for playing into the people who can't research and/or care about the music they supposedly love, and just hear/listen to it when it becomes convenient and cool and popular on radio stations. I just heard Santogold's song, "L.E.S. Artistes" on a radio station in the tri-state area, and hello! that album was released in like May. This radio station can't even be classified under Santogold's genre, indie rock, or other underground shit- it is mainstream and I will retort to whoever decides to question my judgement. Now, everyone loves her. I want everyone to love her, but not because a radio station says it's okay to love her, or whoever else.

Monday, December 8, 2008

NYC Dance Happenings- Misnomer Dance Theater

Misnomer is Leading.
By: Ashley L. Mathus

Misnomer Dance Theater. Enough Said. Founded by Artistic Director, Chris Elam, Misnomer has made a quick and superb name for themselves. The New York Times recently featured Misnomer in their Sunday edition, and crowned them as one of the “Top Ten NYC Dance Performances” of 2006. Chris Elam has most recently directed the music video, “Wanderlust” for Bjork, and is deeply involved with audience engagement concepts, philosophies, and media transformation. Elam is a pioneer for connecting the audience to a choreographer’s work, podcasting and filming excerpts with bits of helpful information for the unknowing eye. This is revolutionary for the dance world, seeing as more often than not, audience’s “don’t get it”, or enjoy a piece without truly knowing why. Elam plans to evolve his concepts and make dance as accessible an art form as music or film. After receiving a grant of just over $1 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Elam’s dreams for dance on the web are coming true; as well as his wonderful vision on stage.

Misnomer is premiering their new work, Being Together, at the Joyce SoHo December 4th-7th and 11th-14th. Being Together is hard work and play, a constant motion and ever-changing alteration of space. The company presents three pieces, all of which have common themes of environment, relationships, and “togetherness”. Company members envelope and mold into shapely creatures, balancing with poise and purpose. Abstract choreography still maintains linear concepts and motions, creating awesome levels while incorporating all that’s difficult in people-to-people associations. The second piece, “Rock. Paper. Flock.” is an innovative work that explores Elam’s outside mission. While talking to the audience, live, about his choreographic process, the dancers structurally improvise on his instruction; leaving us with quirky attitudes, fresh gestures, and fearless partnering. Dancers do flock, and separate, and come together again in strange ways- both passive and aggressive. They technically sculpt their own legs and stiffly align their arms while maintaining a free-spirited vibe- like all of this is easy.

Each piece is glorified by the commissioned music; drums and cello’s form to the waves of undulating torsos and tougher-than-tough yoga poses. Knotting together like a marble statues, Misnomer toys with the audience, making us laugh, think, and evolve with them. A company filled with honest and wonderful eccentricities, it is truly a joy to partake.

Please visit misnomer.org to research this wonderful company, be in the know throughout live-feed performances, or read their blog at your pleasure. Also, please visit joyce.org to purchase tickets for “Being Together”. Be together with Misnomer.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Met the choreographer for "Wanderlust" last night, Chris Elam; also the choreographer & Artistic Director of Misnomer Dance Theater. Welcome to the bizarre world of drifting via Björk.

Misnomer company members, Coco Karol and Brynne Billingsley, are the dancers you see wandering in, between, and around Björk. In terms of Misnomer's recent premiere evening-length work, "Being Together", Coco is wonderfully agile, quirky, and intent on making the weird, weirder. I read, from her bio, she has been presented by AUNTS, New York Studio Gallery, and D.U.M.B.O. under the bridge arts festival- an artist in more ways than one. Brynne, in my opinion, was, technically, the best performer last night to grace The Joyce SoHo's stage. She has a quiet attitude and a focused face, standing out for her precision, balance, and poignant demeanor. Unlike Coco's twitchy, minimal hand gestures made noticeable by a tiny (super skinny) body, Brynne's solid frame and stoic personality enabled her to be the strongest ensemble member. More to follow on Misnomer and their off-center yet relatable yet technically superb movement oddities.

NYC Dance Happenings- Cirque Mechanics

A Whacky Factory
By: Ashley L. Mathus

Willy Wonka meets Cirque du Soleil in Birdhouse Factory, a performance by Cirque Mechanics. Watching the production is like being an eleven year old again, walking into a funhouse of trickery and suspense. It’s gymnastics with a 1920s spin. Created by Cirque du Soleil veterans, Birdhouse Factory takes the exciting innovations of machines invented in the early twentieth-century, and fashions an assembly line of circus acts. The set and costumes have a rustic appearance, rewinding the audiences’ memory to simpler days. Dancers, clowns, contortionists, and acrobats swing in an out of dusty silver wheels, weaving the set like a black and white film.

What makes a perfect birdhouse? Well, we think it depends who you ask, though “birdhouses” seem a thing of the past. Cirque Mechanics successfully bridges the gap between past and present, aspiring to pay a tribute to “a time gone by”. New Yorkers will be entranced by Cirque Mechanics’ vision and timely twist on the tight-knit definitions of ‘circus’. The company wields and yields talent into an original art and learning experience. Backhand springs, aerials, parallel bars, and over-sized props stimulate the factory’s energy, thereby initiating excitement in a work environment that is usually monotonous. Dramatic lighting techniques paired with the simplicity of overalls takes away all pretension, a clown instead of an executive approaches technology. The San Francisco Chronicle has said, “A superb integration of circus skills and music, light and choreography…the glory is in the excellence of its performers.” Birdhouse Factory has been traveling the states for some time, and they’re reigning in NYC until December 14th. A fun-loving and exceptional show for children and adults alike!

Please visit newvictory.org for ticket information. The New Victory Theater is located at 209 W. 42nd St., right in the heart of Times Square. Priced at only $15 a seat, we think Cirque Mechanics will fit right into your holiday budget.

NYC Dance Happenings- Bebe Miller Dance Company

It’s Necessary.
By: Ashley L. Mathus

Bessie Award winning choreographer, Bebe Miller, will be touring with her new evening-length work, Necessary Beauty. Believe us, this is obligatory. Coming to New York City November 11th-15th, Dance Theater Workshop will be hosting this extraordinary company. Miller paraphrases Einstein in comparison to her choreography, “The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious”. Six dancers, including Miller, digest what makes what beautiful, exploring literal intricacies of space, time, and emotion. Innovative Miller travels through her world via text and imagery reflecting deep personal recollections. Miller says, “Video and animated imagery will be projected on a series of free standing surfaces along with theater walls and floor, and the sound score will be played live by composer Albert Mathias.”

Following her award-winning piece Landing/Place, Necessary Beauty fragments the dancers agile movement qualities, repelling and engaging Miller’s introverted persona. Necessary Beauty premiered on October 1st in Columbus, Ohio at the The Ohio State University’s Mershon Auditorium stage. Barbara Zuck, of the Columbus Dispatch says, “Like the work overall, the choreography functions on several levels. Miller's style is changed somewhat in this work. Though her signature movement vocabulary is still very much in evidence, it is far less heavy-handed, less brutal than one is accustomed to seeing in her pieces. It is subtle and reserved, lending the piece a look of unaccustomed elegance.”

Dancers free-spirited release and passion enable fluid yet stark choreography. Arms fling and twitch while feet and knees cling to the floor, sturdy in every way possible. Her sectionized choreographic gestures reveal an inner struggle while accurately depicting an order behind the chaos. Miller’s set often changes, open doors imply ideas to the past and future, chairs insinuate some sort of comfort level within a home, and frames are projected, which contain bitter and sweet memories. Spoken text successfully breaks through the congruence of unison, leaving behind a trail of individual beauty. Her world informs ours, and we watch with wonder and awe. She has done it again.

Other notable choreographers perform with Miller, including Kristina Isabelle, director of Kristina Isabelle Dance Company and High Jinks Productions, in Columbus, Ohio; and Kathleen Hermsdorf, choreographer and performer living in San Francisco. Please visit dancetheaterworkshop.org for ticket information or bebemillercompany.org to research the company’s history and their vision for this groundbreaking work.

NYC Dance Happenings- 3LD

Seminal Dogs
By: Ashley L. Mathus

New York City may need a new word for contemporary. The Three Legged Dog Art & Technology Center is a non-profit theater and media group focusing on large-scale installation artwork, experimental staging and performances. Multiple artists of various genres have flocked here to gain audiences, while creatively adapting their work to a pretty damn cool space. Their liberal attitude is inviting and globally raises the bar for multi-media artists.

Walking into this visionary space, one might think of a spaceship, an underground laboratory, or a Disney World ride. But the great this is, it’s all real. The translucent white walls and incongruent angles play tricks on the eyes, making playtime a job anyone would want. Run by the community and artists alike, Three Legged Dog “provides complete production and presentation facilities for emerging and established artists and organizations that create large-scale experimental works, many of which incorporate and create new tools and technologies.” If you are an emerging choreographer, designer, musician, or have an interests in theatrical lighting, sound synthesis, or robotic objects, you might want to check out this downtown gem. Located at 80 Greenwich Street at Rector Street, their re-built location is easily accessible and a trendy enough for a Friday night.

This past summer, BODYART, a city-based dance group performed at 3LD, molded the already intimate studio space by altering choreography to maintain steady dancer-to-dancer relationships. Onlookers stood or sat not a foot away from the tape, which determined performer and audience, enabling unique and relative perspectives from every position. Post-excerpt, one rotated 180° (with a firm hold on that PBR or wine glass) and watched emerging indie rock and folk bands jam. With three studios, ranging in size, stop by 3LD’s next event, October 17th, for a late night dance party, admission after 9PM. All you technology savvy people would love the Troika Ranch MIMA Workshop, happening October 27th-31st. Please check out 3ldnyc.org for more info on upcoming and current residencies, installations, projects, and fun.

NYC Dance Happenings- Rafael Amargo Dance Company

You Love the Drama
By: Ashley L. Mathus

Tempted to stomp your feet towards love triangle fiascos, cliques, or instigating bla-bla-wha…but can’t? Too mature, we know. Flamenco infused, Rafael Amargo Dance Company will dazzle till you drool in the American premiere of Tiempo Muerto. Coming to America just after the Madrid premiere, Rafael Amargo is brewing, squeezing, and exploiting passion with arousing, explosive choreography. Translating to “Dead Time”, the company will probably stall drama-dimensions as gallant pulses, intensity, and clarity entrances you. Flamenco, a Spanish historical and traditional form of music and dance is often characterized by intricate footwork and a bit of, ahem, flare. Amargo’s confidence disperses through boundaries of costumes and space, echoing beyond his heels and toes, telling the floor a story of lust.

Complex rhythms intermixed with an exciting point of view enables Rafael Amargo to be one of the most anticipated choreographers of the 2008 season. Amargo, “critically acclaimed for bringing flamenco into the 21st century”, will not disappoint with late September performances at Town Hall, located at 123 West 43rd Street. Jesús Rafael García Hernández created the dance company in 1997, with the desire and ambition to experiment in new techniques, taking risks with the already dramatic genre. Clever averted eyes, charismatic hand positioning, and knowing smirks instigates the sexiness of this traditional practice. Arms graceful as precious royalty swoosh rapidly down and back up again, dancing like eagles’ wings. As Hernández’s locks whip back and forth, he alters dynamics between musician and performer, tempting the eye to visit both artistic forms simultaneously. He encourages audience participation, similar to a rock star initiating ‘the clap’, acknowledging observation. Barricading forth walls and segregating space is not an option; Hernández enables both down and upstage to be equal, rather than treat the two like separate bubbles.

Only in New York for two days, spare some dough, and parallel tension and passion. Rafael Amargo Dance Company is presenting September 20th at 8 pm and September 21st at 3 pm. Please visit the-townhall-nyc.org for more information. If not, you might have to fly to Europe.

NYC Dance Happenings- Ballet con Breakdancing

Bunheads and B-boys
By: Ashley L. Mathus

Typically, in films dancers are often portrayed within segregated genres of movement. The ballerina is too stiff for the hip-hop teacher, or the modern dancer may appear too free spirited for the strict ballroom duo. However, this is rarely true. Dancers most often are inspired by other genres, and frequently try to manipulate different techniques to fit their own unique style or choreography. Dancers dive into many music styles, experimenting with sound scores and bridging the gap between what one hears and what one sees. To further prove our point we recommend going to Ballerina Who Loves B-boy. Ninety minutes of nonstop pull and push allocate tempered controversy amongst two different dance communities.

The 2007 B-boy World Champions Extreme Crew ignite the stage with Yerkes, Power moves, and Battle Cyphers, complimenting the ballerinas graceful arabesques and port de bras. Hailing from Korea, the production speaks for itself, “The classic art of ballet combined with the hard core street styles of break-dancing is breathtaking to watch on stage…You take these two forms of dance, neither of them more ‘right’ or more ‘focused’ than the other and you collide two opposite worlds of discipline.” Going to the club, you may have already seen a Cypher sans the technical name, but a battle between ballerinas and b-boys is something rare to catch. What’s fantastic is that this production is not dramatized, but brings attention to what young dancers may think while training at a young age, which can sway them to make a choice, rather than embracing both art forms as something to be respected and admired. This live production is better than any film because one can witness the energy and passion live, rather than the diluted screen version.

Preview tickets are only $26.25, which is a great deal compared to the regular prices ranging from $59- $69. Student rush tickets are available, and the production, which runs until December, is located at 37 Arts, 450 West 37th Street. The 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival chose Ballerina Who Loves B-Boy as the show of the year. The tumultuous relationships of both genres might teach you something about cultures we rarely get-to-know from the inside.

NYC Dance Happenings- Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company

BAM- there’s your flavor.
By: Ashley L. Mathus

A tasty borough experience. Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company never cease to impress, and their latest performance series is, of course, wonderful. Bill T. Jones, inspired by a Jane Bowles play, “A Quarreling Pair”, has created an evening-length performance by the same name. Recently performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Avenue) provided the space while Bill T. Jones brought the moves. Jones says of his chosen inspiration, "This short but powerful play has been on my mind for nearly 20 years as I have ruminated on the idea of partnering, onstage and off."

“A Quarreling Pair” brings forth a playful side of the company, mimicking Bowles’ scenes with animated qualities and facial expressions, burlesque attitudes, and comedic, trivial conflicts. Silhouettes of the dancers resonate a 1920 Charlie Chaplin approach to movement, simplifying gestures with a genius orientation to time and over-the-top literal analysis. Trio’s glide across the stage, going go back to basics with eschapes and ragtime leg techniques; while duo’s partner in unison, flipping and turning too fast for average pedestrians. Musical selections gravitate towards an old-time cabaret or saloon, including grand and enthusiastic presentation qualities you would hear at a carnival. The dancers nail double pirouettes and inversions with the precision and clarity Jones’ company is famous for. Gaudy red and yellow costume gowns quickly change to fragmented choreography in underwear and baseball socks, sculpting an enjoyable night of endless surprises. Jones has said, "We want to clown, sing, dance. We want to explore the spirit of vaudeville, even as we keep our eye firmly on the serious dance aesthetic that has shaped the Company." They do just that, taking us back in time, better than any carnival ride.

BAM’s Next Wave Festival features avant garde works, including dance, cinema, art, music, theater, discussions with the artists, and event receptions. To purchase tickets to upcoming dance venues or view their extraordinary lineup of artists, please visit www.bam.org. BAM’s artistic selections have the poof of unexpected surprises, yet always makes sense after the initial shock.

next generation

Zack [my little brother]: Hey Ash, what does M.I.A. look like? I've never seen her.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

eleven last day

you were down the shore with me and my family.
everyone was there, but we were eating out for a change.
the restaurant was covered in dark wood and smelled like a damp forest, but the ocean sounds made us realize we were still at the beach. we clinked glasses and shouted over the not so loud music. we clapped and enjoyed each other's company, like we were all childhood friends who had been silent for ten years. what was different about this night? if I had to compare this place to any place, it would be Tuckers- wavering with the flow of the bay, waiters on a ship, glasses always with a comfortable aftertaste of sea salt. You could see sailboats chattering to each other outside the round window by the door- an escape to blue. The people in this local pirate joint felt like outlaws, excited by their own disappearance; but really they're all rich snobs trying to get away from something or someone. they lacked mustaches and cigars and scraggly shirts. here, they were always clean, polite, and ready- but adventurous, so solidified in their nature no one dared to steal their treasure.

the restaurant somehow turned out to be a buffet, but instead of selling salad, they said you could sell whatever they had in stock. as we sat down to eat you stared at me from your little stand, towering over it like a adult who kindly visits lemonade booths in the suburbs. your figure was looming but welcoming, anyone would buy fruits or drinks from you. you had done this before, that was obvious, but why is what I didn't bother to ask.
i wanted you to come dine with my family, but I was also happy you found pleasure in observing from afar.
you wanted to watch and understand without listening. i liked that.

the stands alongside you started to melt together in bland colors- grey, brown, beige- and all I saw was you watching this family, calm because they were down the shore. it made you smile, not because it was something you were missing, you had that family, but because I was living it. Right then, now, see that moment! it was alive for me, something that was rare and raw, but smelled nice, like lavender on dew.
you eventually came over, at the perfect time, of course, and held my hand under the table like you just found me after i had been lost for a week in the dark. your smile was as fresh as morning seashells, and gleamed like the 5am sun. no one noticed but me, and that's all that mattered- it wasn't for anyone else. there was this unspeakable bond that I couldn't shake, nor did I want to. You were effortless in conversation, as if it was your own family, as if you hoped it would be someday. It was nice for you to have some money in your pocket and still be in the warmth of late summer. breezes weren't sharp yet and lifeguards were still on duty. There was an impending time zone in which this would end, but I couldn't figure out when the clock would strike. Not by midnight, I knew that! But maybe in a few days you would slip from my fingers, like you left to early with warning. the warning, though unspoken, was in your smile. you tried not to linger, but the creases alongside your left and right crevice showed a limit. not to be blamed, but just accepting reality as it came. soon enough, the alarm would rise beside us and it would be winter. and we would be alone, without families, without each other. i wasn't mad, how could I be if you were there, I only wished it wouldn't fade. Oh and that I wouldn't remember that smile in the morning! like melted sprinkles, the rainbow was a mess in my hands.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Turning Point

As we [I] get older I have to inevitably face events that are bound to happen whether I choose to ignore them of not.
I am talking of marriage.
And my dear friend, Daria DeMarco, who I've known for nine years, is getting married in April 2009.
She will be entering a new faze in her life, full of wonderful experiences and memories, and I will be entering a new faze/fad/facade of my own, better known as: the bridesmaid.

I am thrilled to have been asked to be a part of her wedding, and would'nt have it any other way. I will be preparing and planning with three of my closest friends, and celebrating a momentous occasion with the people I love. As I think about this (because it just happened) I think about where "we" are in our age-defined life, and am I little shaken that I am at the appropriate stage where dress sizes, silver shoe styles, and party gifts really do matter. It isn't going to wait five, ten years; it's happening now. I wonder after this wedding how many other weddings I'll be in, and if I ever choose to get married, when I will pick my beloved bridesmaids. Maybe I thought, when this time hit, I'd be taller, more fully developed, wiser, or had a boyfriend. Maybe I thought I would be living in Boston with my cat and studying in libraries all day with coffee after coffee rhyming with the poetry in front of me. I'm not too sure where I thought I'd be when this cycle began, but I'm me now, and is it enough? Am I where I'm supposed to be? Am I on the right path to getting older, wiser, or richer? Where will I be when another one of my friends gets married? I'm not too sure, but the adventure of guessing can become quite amusing. I'm thrilled Daria is getting married away from home (Jersey) and we all have to fly to Kansas to celebrate. I think location weddings are fantastic, and guilt-free- a.k.a. you don't have to invite everyone you "know" because they live less than ten miles away from you. This extravangaza is also difficult to wrap my head around because it's the first. The first of many happy eves and toasts and messy skirts. It being the first defines a lot without my control, which is fine, but fairly new. Out of college, I am just learning how to control my own path- maybe not control but at least contort the patterns I like. Now, life is happening and I feel like I have to catch up. Like I missed the big secret someone's supposed to tell you post-graduation. What am I missing? Am I missing anything, or is this all anxiety built up around a straggling economy? Questions, ugh. For the time being, I will toast a glass of pinot to Daria, in my kitchen, and smile at the good things to come. Time to plan for the turning point.