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Repairs are Being Attempted

GATZ by Elevator Repair Service, Directed by John Collins  at REDCAT, Nov. 28-Dec. 9, 2012 — We reach a point in dreams sometimes of sudden precarious flight, the unfolding of an odd, slow-motion knowledge that we have become untethered, the way participants in car accidents are sometimes launched through windshields, and we can imagine ourselves filled with a kind of instant nostalgia for the firm ground just left behind, and for the time before our weightless freefall. Even before we make impact with whatever surface approaches — hard, or if we are very lucky in our dreaming, soft and giving, a warm embrace perhaps, the arms of a wise and trusted elder perhaps, wearing a soft cardigan with leather patches at the elbows possibly, and … [Read more...]

A Larger Hunger

And God Created Great Whales, Rinde Eckert, REDCAT, January 2012 – Rinde Eckert takes to the stage, house lights on, sits at a piano-cum-surrogate-captain's-table strewn with post-its and and tinkers endlessly with what appears to be sheet music. The stage lights dim to black and then rise again, and Eckert appears now as Nathan, a hapless piano tuner, who, along with his imaginary muse Olivia, trace, tack and travail the last vestiges of Nathan’s memory in order to piece together his magna opera “Moby Dick”. Strapped around his waist and hung around his neck are color-coded tape recordings. These are Nathan's memory devices; they supply him with directives on how to complete his musical masterpiece, if only he could recall long enough … [Read more...]

In from the Cold: Winter Dancing at REDCAT

CalArts Winter Dance, The Sharon Disney Lund Dance Series, REDCAT, Los Angeles, California, 16 December 2011 – Four works were presented at the CalArts Winter Dance event for this year: first-performances of works by two CalArts choreographer-professors, followed by the renown Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. The evening revealed stark differences in approach, the first two works incorporating traditional and modern movements within a larger context, while the Naharin works used no conventional movement. Contemporary dance comprises a very broad range of styles, even at a school such as CalArts, known worldwide as a haven of experimental and avant-garde creativity. One of the two premieres of the evening, Los Angeles … [Read more...]

The Brokered Heart

Tim Crouch’s England, Skirball Cultural Center, November 9, 2011 – We’re in the atrium of the Skirball Cultural Center atop the Sepulveda pass in Los Angeles when the tall Englishman begins speaking to us. His voice is clear, his diction flawless, sharpened by the cheerfully aggressive precision of high British elocution. An Englishwoman is with him, and she speaks to us also, her voice equally clear and certain. The two of them describe their love of art. They both have a boyfriend who is an art dealer, and they talk about him too. After a few lines volleyed in this fashion, we realize they are two performers inhabiting the same character, and, listening as closely as we can, it remains impossible to know which of them is the “real” … [Read more...]

Three to Get Ready

New Original Works Festival, REDCAT, 22, 23, 24 September 2011 – An enthusiastic sold-out crowd saw a triple bill last week of two new dance works and an elaborate puppet/human operetta in the annual NOWFest at REDCAT, a three-week series that showcases new works by Los Angeles-based dance, theater, music, and multimedia performance artists. Michel Kouakou began the evening with his pseudo-solo Sack, in which he was the primary moving object. A large sack suspended from the ceiling functioned as the only prop — unless one also counts the several stationary dancers who also occupied the stage, all of whom had their shirts pulled over their faces for the duration of the 20-minute performance. Kouakou's movement cerainly contrasted … [Read more...]

Working Woman

Sandra Bernhard, REDCAT, Los Angeles, August 12, 2011 – Performances run through August 21. www.redcat.org Sandra Bernhard is back in L.A. for a two-week run at REDCAT to promote her recent album, I Love Being Me, Don’t You? Or perhaps the album promotes the tour--it’s hard to say since she included hardly any of the recorded material in her 100-minute performance Friday night. If you know Bernhard only through YouTube videos or guest appearances on talk shows, or even from her albums, you don’t know her vast range until you’ve seen her live. The show was a balanced blend of standup, stories, and music. Bernhard’s an assured, emotional singer, and the audience responded to the risk inherent in the intermixing of music and … [Read more...]

In Contact

Undone: androgyne, gender and humanism Choreography and Direction: Stephanie Nugent Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, June 10-12, 2011 – Los Angeles choreographer Stephanie Nugent presented new versions of several works in a three-day run at Highways Performance Space earlier this month. The Nugent Dance company—four women and four men—performed three varied, athletic, fresh, and valuable original works. Southern California dancers are perhaps most familiar with Nugent, a member of the dance faculty at CalArts, through her Hourglass concerts, during which audience members are invited to participate in the hour-long improvisational performance with a live music ensemble. Nugent’s compositions are informed by the history … [Read more...]

Inventing Awareness

50Collective, ARC (A Room to Create), Pasadena and The Sweat Spot, Silver Lake, May 11-13, 2011 – The improvisational dance ensemble known as 50Collective appeared in southern California earlier this month at several intimate venues, including Pasadena’s ARC studio and The Sweat Spot in Silver Lake. 50Collective was born in a 2010 workshop led by Venezuelan dancer/choreographer David Zambrano; eleven of the 50 original participants in that workshop are on this North American tour, demonstrating masterful spontaneous movement and supreme alertness as they conduct workshops and present hour-long performances. This reviewer participated in the Wednesday night workshop at ARC, and the numbers were just right: every member of the … [Read more...]

Revisiting Faith

Pat Graney Company: Faith, REDCAT, April 28th - May 1st, 2011 – Choreographer Pat Graney’s work is an unmistakably original artwork—fresh, timeless, and challenging. Graney is the recipient of dozens of awards for her choreography, including 11 NEA fellowships and the Alpert Award in the Arts. Her work presented at REDCAT recently is a re-creation of a 1991 piece that, in time, became the first segment of the Faith Tryptych, which, thanks to numerous grants, is being entirely resurrected this year. The one-hour Faith section stands on its own as a unique conception of movement and social commentary. From the start we are drawn into an unusual experience: we witness animated tableaux vivants representing … [Read more...]

Ageless Deliberations in Space

Eiko & Koma: Retrospective Project I: Regeneration, REDCAT, March 3 and 5, 2011 – Raven, performed at Danspace in 2010 The singular duo Eiko & Koma returned to Los Angeles for the first segment of their three-year retrospective based on 40 years of performing together, which have included many honors, grants, collaborations, and documentations. This Project I features one work each from 1976, 1984, and 2010. I attended two of their five performances at REDCAT. The newest of the three works, Raven, established the unwavering grim tone and largo tempo for the evening. Eiko & Koma build and modulate tension through magnified examinations of movement. While they do eventually arrive at new locations or orientations, it is … [Read more...]