Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April 1st, 2009

My excavation needs to keep me widdled in the ground, with a rake hitting the ankles with a sharp throb throb
Riddles of bones and diamonds, the way of the world was so much easier in a picture frame, an hour glass, a snow globe
Check with the lost and found, they may have your identification card: a picture of you screaming in the silence that follows copy machines and colored ink, Rayon, specifically. You're teeth are rotting. An oval mouth, the openness doesn't look good on camera. The silence swallows something, something is nothing because nothing is ever said.

Lay on, stack the layered hidden remains like Jenga, only in the dark, a metallic piece that gets lost among the Taboo cards of beauty and all future predictions that remain false
A frozen ground lifts to see the sun rising on the wrong side of the earth as the firebird waltzes to its bow, clever in its prance and even more clever in the smirk that aligns with a tender tondue

Dig earth body like a mean screw that can't get past the wooden wall next to the picture frame of lights on a dark parking lot, force the metal into someplace it doesn't belong
Now on is forever, a swan's wings, a pickle in a sticky situation,
stacked like a spice, pepper, nothing fun like paprika or saucy flavors
stacked and re-stacked and nervously stacked, shaking a foundation that was never meant to be built

Re: Stacks

Bon Iver:

This my excavation and today is kumran

Everything that happens is from now on

This is pouring rain

This is paralyzed

I keep throwing it down two-hundred at a time

It's hard to find it when you knew it

When your money's gone

And you're drunk as hell

On your back with your racks as the stacks as your load

In the back and the racks and the stacks are your load

In the back with your racks and you're un-stacking your load

I've twisting to the sun I needed to replace

The fountain in the front yard is rusted out

All my love was down

In a frozen ground

There's a black crow sitting across from me; his wiry legs are crossed

And he's dangling my keys he even fakes a toss

Whatever could it be

That has brought me to this loss?

On your back with your racks as the stacks as your load

In the back and the racks and the stacks of your load

In the back with your racks and you're un-stacking your load

This is not the sound of a new man or crispy realization

It's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away

Your love will be

Safe with me

Sunday, March 15, 2009

NYC Dance Happenings- Paul Taylor Dance Co.

Still Changing...

Last Tuesday, March 10, I was fortunate enough to sit in the orchestra at NY City Center and watch Paul Taylor Dance Company take over the stage.  I myself find it surprising that I had never seen this company perform live.  Throughout Taylor's 3-piece evening, "LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS (The Rehearsal)" (1980), "PRIVATE DOMAIN" (1969), and "CHANGES" (New York premiere), I was brought back to 2005 technique class at OSU.  The onetwothrees of over-curves and under-curves came back to my body rhythms.  Loopy, exact arm placement itched in my limbs, and the easygoing cleverness of what I remember from my Taylor technique class came alive on stage. 

Choreographed by Taylor, and the only premiere of the night, the last dance was highly anticipated "Changes".  Taylor describes the inspiration for the piece in the program:

"We remember the Sixties as being defined by the demand for radical change.  Rejecting politicians' fear mongering and their disastrous war in Vietnam, young people questioned authority and embraced liberation movements.  While this era seems singular, in fact it was not.  The more things change, the more they stay the same." 
Rock on.  I arrived to City Center at 8:05.  Running through the doors, I got to my seat as the public orchestra doors were closing.  Ushers impatient, I had no time to read my program. During the first intermission I read about "Changes" I barely managed to contain my excitement.  Reading the music credits  (John Phillips, The Mamas and The Papas, John Lennon/Paul McCartney, John Hartford) made me giddy- as if I got a chance to go back in time. Taylor has the uncanny ability to take his audiences for a joy ride into the past.  Because of his groundbreaking material and place in modern dance history, Paul Taylor's old age only adds to his demure position and clever point of view.  He has time on his side, enabling wisdom and age phrases to visually come true.  

I have been waiting and waiting for a choreographer to compare and reflect what went down in the 60's and what is going down now.  Most modern day modern choreographers aim to do this, but execute some abstract, defeated air bubble of time in a very obscure way; mouthing the words but never really shouting them.  Taylor is blunt, honest, and manages to maintain his integrity through a topic now so cliche and overplayed in the NY arts scene.  Seeing the two time periods come together (note the easy usage of a Beatles song) in front of varying degrees of generations in the audience made me feel alive and present.  I am here in this world, at this time, and I will remember it forever.  Older audience members heard music that was on the radio in their day, and I heard music that's on my laptop today.  Radical barriers that were broken many moons ago are questioned on news stations today.  I felt like I could relate to the 55 year old woman sitting next to me.

It was truly a pleasure watching the company sway, smile, and groove on stage.  The joy and energy the dancers were emulating was so catching I wanted to run on stage and prance in a circle with arms wide open.  The dancers were in Woodstock, on their happy trip, or listening to their favorite band.  They seemed so immersed in their element, at home in their bodies, and mentally at peace- all the while extending sharp legs with the contradiction of smooth arms.  Taylor dancers are in tune with one another, reinventing and reminding us why they're a "company". They dance together, bringing a serene-ness to unison phrases.  Emotions were appropriate, neither under or over stated.  They relayed tumultuous times with the despair of what is happening/was happening over seas without being dramatic, saving us all.

Dressed in costumes straight out of "Dazed and Confused", the eleven dancers moved gracefully in their bell bottoms and wigs.  Michael Trusnovec, Taylor's current puppet, wore a long blonde free-spirited wig- "California Dreamin'" can't even describe it.  Annmaria Mazzini, another brilliant muse, demanded the stage.  Striking poses of elation and protest, she skipped and carved through space beautifully.  When watching these dancers, the atmosphere turns into a displaced swing from an urban landscape.  The ups and downs of the dancers bodies are never jarring, and always bouncing off a unheard of musicality.  When there's a pause in the music track, a dancer will pull up an eyebrow or flex a foot; During a completed sequence of instruments, dancers use each other as piano and guitar strings, constantly playing with the energy and pace of everything in their atmosphere.  

The only thing missing was the protesters on the street and the smell of incense in the air.  Why do we have to be in a theatre to re-live this atmosphere?  We should take a note from Taylor and his dancers and try to take their energy to the streets.

Please visit the Paul Taylor Dance Company website to find more about company tour dates, history and inspirations.  

"Protect Me From What I Want"

As the elevators door opened onto the forth floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art on 75 and Madison, my eyes were bombarded with dizzying topaz, my ears flooded with Imogen Heap's "Speeding Cards", and my hands grasped to remember my first experience with LED lights and music last August.  "For Chicago" (2008) has hit New York with a silent bang, fitting perfectly into our speeding island of non-stop lights, party, money, fame, champagne, and a little bit of funny business.  There is no hesitation for Holzer not to be here- as NYC is the most imitated metropolis to date.  Our own familiar Midtown LED lights- though cheesy Americana hot dogs in thought- somehow fit-in only on the streets of Manhattan- managing to make copiers look tacky and unoriginal.  Holzer focused her efforts on "Redaction Paintings", "Electronic Signs", and "Lustmord"- a German word meaning rape-slaying. Jenny Holzer's new exhibit, Protect Protect, showing at the museum until May 31 (plenty of time!) was the perfect juxtaposition to the gray-skied nature walk I had would soon embark upon.  
[Why ask a question you already know the answer to? My answer: I have no idea.
I knew pictures weren't allowed, but I asked the guard anyway.  I should have just taken a picture and been scolded by the security guard in sunglasses (sure to have experienced a surge of sea legged-ness in recent days). Therefore, these images are, sadly, not mine.]

Ego aside, I was quite jealous that "For Chicago" wasn't for New York. Ten electronic LED signs with amber diodes was the living space for text speeding along like cars on Highway 61. Holzer's text ran vertical and horizontal and at different speeds, making the difference like a friendly giant- intimidating at first, but comfortable after a calm observation.  The viewer can step away and look at the entire picture of the opening room: Amber reflecting off the white walls, yellow pulsating upside down like a disco in a club, real colors from beyond the glass window being overshadowed by synthetic elaborateness.  Or the viewer can dare to read the text, immediately swallowing Holzer's heavy words with a bright contradiction of happy, consumer orderliness.  Conveniently reflecting what New Yorkers tend to stumble upon everyday, why does this light look so good minimally?

By this point, if you do not know, I am a big fighter/fan/experimenter/not-yet-innovator of text within art, dance, color, and music.  Ms. Holzer's exhibit not only made me happy to see Holzer's own personal thoughts literally made into rays which project loudly, maybe obnoxiously to audiences everywhere; but also encouraged people like me that one really can be heard, in a city SO B I G, via sight.  

Brewing a blinding-white with a sunset-purple, Holzer constantly contradicts what is synthetic and what is raw. Both colors exist in our natural world, but are hardly ever combined to produce such an effect (see above). 

Green Purple Cross (2008) and MONUMENT (2008) had to be my other favorites.  Holzer spread her neon expressions throughout the entire floor- blending simplicity with color.  The repetition of the amount of lines of light was absolutely spot on.  I became stuck gazing at one electronic sign raised higher than my height (my initial reaction always to look up).  After realizing I wasn't on my own horizon (via neck cramps), I started staring at one neon sign at my own height and the room seemed to become smaller, less grand.  I kept alternating how I was looking at the lights/installations.  Each time I changed my own focus, the room changed- significantly altering how surrounding objects and people appeared.  The light had a complete effect on my world at that present moment in time and space.  What if all the lights turned off? 

Here's a description from the exhibit that shows Holzer's ever- inspirational contradictions between color and emotion: "Purple includes autopsy reports of detainees that dies while in American custody, documents detailing various events and conditions at Guantanamo Bay, a series of policy documents regarding the treatment of enemy combatants..."

What does this say about the color of war as we see it?  How do our TV's portray it?  When you think of war what is the first color you think of?  I visually associate Vietnam with a murky green- I think of a marsh and camouflage.  When I think of Iraq I visualize a murky brown and camouflage- the same murky green that faded and became old.  Repetition losing color again and again and again.