I must be obeyed! First, if you haven’t seen Play yet, all I can say is holy mother of god you’re obviously going to go. My wife said that Shatala Shivalangappa was the most beautiful dancer she’s ever seen. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui has more flow than any man since Biggie Smalls–his body is like liquid. And more than one staffer here had tears in their eyes after the last sequence; I’m not naming names, except for mine. Play had true joy to it–a rare thing indeed.
And three other particular recommendations. Keep in mind, this is not to the exclusion of all the other awesome stuff this weekend, but rather where my aesthetic sympathies lie, at least as I’m typing this. And I have longer stories in the works about each of these performances, but want to make sure you don’t let my struggles to write like a grown-up (as opposed to like a mutant fish, which is about where I’m at this afternoon) slow you down:
The Radio Show. Fresh off an appearance at Portland’s TBA Festival, where they garnered such praise as “the revelation of the weekend, heck maybe the decade, was Kyle Abraham and his small company of crackingly good dancers,” Abraham.in.Motion takes the stage at the Zellerbach Theater at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. We’re saying that it’s the sexiest and most infectious dance show of the festival, but it’s also inspired by Kyle’s father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s, the disappearance of African-American radio stations, and an investigation of what voices you can’t live without. Tonight and tomorrow, 8:00 p.m.
The Seer. At AUX, Vox Populi’s performance space, Anisa George’s Penn Dixie Productions is putting up The Seer, a devised theater work about the life of poet Arthur Rimbaud, performed by a LISPA-trained troupe. I know, right? Quoth Anisa: “It grew out of living in Yemen, where Rimbaud had lived. I saw this sign saying ‘RAMBO’s house’–spelled like Rambo, so I asked, and the concierge said he was a French poet. I went in, and saw picks of a young dashing Frenchmen. He lived in what was a more refined hotel for expats. He worked for a coffee-trader, then traded guns, eventually. it really moved me that here was this great French poet who had completely cut himself off from his former life to this isolation.” Tonight at 9:30, tomorrow at 2:00 and 8:00 pm.
More Mouvements für Lachenmann. Talking with Dustin Hurt (of Bowerbird, this show’s co-presenter): “Xavier’s a molecular biologist–he didn’t really train as a dancer. It’s given him an interesting analytical approach to movement, but he’s very poetic and human in the scale of his work. He’s interested in exploring the relationship between the spectator and the performer. It’s about trying to unpack the complex relationship of what the person sees and what the choreographer does. On the surface level of this piece, if you’re interested in just a visceral level–it’s really exciting. Lachenmann’s music has this aggressive or violent tone at times, but then really pulls back to be sparse, twinkling, sensual sounds on these instruments. The piece itself is pretty mesmerizing, with all the visual cues and charismatic performers, it’s easy to respond to. But after the piece happens, it’ll be interesting to learn how it sits with people, and what layers are revealed, even for me.” At Arts Bank tonight and tomorrow, 8:00 pm.
Oh yeah, a fourth pick, this guy named Josh McIlvain is doing this show that’s supposed to be funny.
But regardless of what you see, let’s meet up at the Festival Bar Friday and Saturday. Doors at 10:00 each night. As you know, RUBA goes late, and so do we. Come prepared.