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Posted by: Jim Radosta
Photo by: CaroleZoom
The past few days have been packed with so many TBA performances, I’ve had trouble finding a spare moment to reflect on and write about the experiences. In the interest of saving both your time and mine, here are some ADD-friendly thoughts on the highs and lows.
Afrobeat Tribute to Michael Jackson (09.07.09): As I have written about previously, the King of Pop’s sudden death in June really shook me. And I’m not the only one–the silver lining of this cloud was that, after Jacko’s demise, it instantly became safe again to admit that you admired his music. So I was eagerly looking forward to a public celebration of his contributions to pop culture…but I have to admit that I just wasn’t grooving with Portland composer Ben Darwish’s liberal reinterpretation of timeless classics like “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Billie Jean.” Despite the undeniable talent on display at The Works, I came away feeling that it’s simply too soon to mess with perfection.
Meg Stuart (09.04.09): The audience member who booed at the end of the West Coast premiere of Maybe Forever got me to thinking, “Who decided that booing is only allowed on American Idol, The Price Is Right and sportscasts?” As a nameless Wikipedestrian suggests, does “the combination of booing and applause help keep the quality of public performance high, by emotionally rewarding the good and punishing the bad”? Good question. This performance at Newmark Theatre wasn’t my cup of tea–it felt sparse and stretched out at 90 minutes long and would’ve been better served at a more intimate venue–but I chose to express my disinterest by (blush) nodding off.
Tyler Wallace and Nicole Dill (09.07.09): This is precisely the kind of site-specific TBA installation that keeps me coming back for more every year (pictured). The simple concept of Between Us–two women park their car in a field, allowing the audience to listen in on their chatter–belies the profound revelations hidden in their seemingly mundane conversation (friendship, family, death). It wasn’t until the performance’s abrupt ending that I realized how captivated I was at this subversive form of eavesdropping.
Brian Lund (09.06.09): Drawings inspired by Busby Berkeley’s choreographed dance sequences and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street? Sorry, I didn’t get it.