Posted by: Ariel Frager
I brought my nephews to Tiny TBA again this year. Hoping to avoid a repeat performance of an all out meltdown, I coerced their father into joining the festivities. As we wandered the halls of Washington High School, I imagined Ethan, a newly anointed first grader, finding his way around a high school of his own in eight short years. He stuffed himself into an old locker and both his dad and I hoped that wasn’t a sign of things to come.
Other than excursions with me, my nephews haven’t been exposed to much art, apart from the animated sort. When 3 year old Jack walked into the former classroom that held, C.L.U.E. (color, location, ultimate experience) a video installation by robbinschild, he said, “This isn’t art. This is T.V.” He sat himself down in front of the monitors that held various video programming he did seem mesmerized the way only art and TV can do.
After painting the truck and painting their own flip flops and feet, a short attempt at diorama creation and a slight gorging on healthy kid friendly snacks, we entered the old auditorium. Seattle based avant garde dance troupe locust were warming up for their rehearsal time. We waited and waited as the dancers swung their legs every which way. The boys became a little fidgety as we waited. As far as I know, they had never seen a dance performance of any kind, let alone one of the progressive genre. Finally we were told that we could watch the beginning of the performance but then we would have to give locust their space in preparation for the début performance at TBA later that evening. When locust originator Zeke Keeble walked on stage and picked up the microphone, the boys were unusually quiet. Then Keeble, a human beat box, started making the most unhumanly of noises, loud sounds impersonating a grasshopper scampering across a field, I knew the kids were hooked. They watched as Crushed unfolded in front of them. Video, live sound creation and dance filled the space. Once we were kicked out of the auditorium they said to me, “Wow Auntie Ah, that was cool.”
I returned later to see the rest of Crushed. Even with the Tiny TBA preview, the piece felt exciting and new. locust’s particular brand of performance, an all encompassing edgy visual and auditory assault embodies all that I love about this festival. Full of life and energy, I felt myself fall into their piece as if I belonged there. I found myself bobbing in rhythm to the music, with the rest of the audience, all of us slightly swaying to the strong beats. I didn’t once look at my watch, I didn’t question what it was about. I just watched, and appreciated. The movement was so contagious that I briefly thought of jumping on the stage with them, if only I was also wearing a grasshopper green hoody.