This is an update to the post I finally decided to promote yesterday. Sometimes you know things aren’t good for you, and apparently daring to say that what’s racist is racist is one of them…when people decide that racism is okay. An overstatement? Yes, obviously. The point I set out to make is one that people either got and found uncontroversial, or didn’t get and apparently was objectionable because free speech. I don’t know exactly what to say other than to try to clarify how I understand the objection.
The post I wrote was an attempt to apply ideas from Stanley Fish’s essay “There’s No Such Thing As Free Speech” to understanding the tensions that exist over the actions–and responses to those actions–of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical and investigative newspaper targeted in early January by terrorists in response to that publication’s cartoons depicting a variety of subjects: first and foremost the Prophet Muhammad; second, mockery of traditional Islamic values through the Muhammad caricature; and third, a tendency towards racialized, stereotypical presentations in the service of the prior two points, as well as toward “terrorists.” I add scare quotes around the word “terrorist” because, among other angry interlocutors on the Internet, I was accused of not distinguishing between a religion (Islam) and a race (Arab…or maybe North African, depending on context) which are necessarily represented thusly. In any event, for this failure I sincerely apologize: I assumed people had seen the cartoons Charlie Hebdo published that caused such a fuss. Or maybe that they could grasp why portraying “terrorists” as grody bearded dudes in Aladdin costumes might seem racist.
In any event, I apologize; if you can’t see these points, you surely have bigger problems to deal with in this unhappy world than a critic pointing out the failings of your own critical faculties. Continue reading
Like many others, I’ve spent the last week and a half trying to wrap my head around the traumatic events that unfolded in Paris, when gunmen slew a dozen journalists and cartoonists in the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. I also watched as, predictably, a heated debate exploded online within mere hours following the initial assault (and well before the bloodletting ended in simultaneous sieges a couple days later) over whether Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoons mocking Islam (or, at least, targeting certain aspects of Islam and associated extremist practitioners and political ideologues, if you prefer) constituted racism or Islamophobia. Richard Seymour at Jacobin magazine made the first big splash by declaring: “I simply take it as read that — irrespective of whatever else it does, and whatever valid comment it makes — the way in which that publication represents Islam is racist.” The response to those suggesting that perhaps Hebdo was a problematic standard-bearer for the cause of free speech and expression was angry and occasionally near deranged in its outrage (consider Jorg Heiser in Frieze).
For my part, I was both troubled and didn’t, at first, want to try to respond by writing something. As a journalist and a critic, one of the things I’ve grown tired of to my bones is an Internet flame-war. I’m flogging a dead horse by pointing out that these days, reflection and reporting are out of fashion; it’s easier for writers to churn out several-thousand-word think-pieces in mere hours, apparently, than to grapple with the deeper and more problematic aspects of the issue they’re supposedly responding to. In fact, what we normally wind up with are puffed-up jeremiads about this or that–bloggers and opinion columnists yelling at one another across the web. This sad state of affairs will flame for a few days and then, when the news cycles on, the discussion will simply be dropped, regardless of whether it’s an important one to have.
Anyway, I had no desire to contribute to that, so I simply sat down and read Stanley Fish’s There’s No Such Thing As Free Speech (and it’s a good thing, too!) [PDF] and then thought for a while. Continue reading
The setting is of a cold January night in New York City, where a lonely critic sits hunched over his chickenscratch notes when begins to shake in disturbing fashion the cracked rectangle of obsidian black glass at his elbow, simultaneously emitting a tinny sad trill of bell-like tinkling. Pick it up he does, swiping a finger from left to right across the distressingly lattice-worked bit of glass, and to his ear to hear the squawking voice of the editor. Where’s the report? he asks. On its way, replies the critic, but the notes are a mess! Deadlines are past! replies the editor. It’s hopeless! says the critic. Surely there’s a subject? squawks the box. Too much, is the reply, and not enough at once! How was the trade-show? asks the voice. Outgrown itself, is the reply, and continues: Ouroboros-like, it eats itself–a trade-show pretending it’s the festival itself that the trade-show is meant to feed. To which the editor responds: Surely there’s a story there!? To which the critic responds: One that everyone knows! But there’s art! rejoinders the apoplectic editor. Of a fashion, replies the despondent critic. Surely it’s diverse? the critic is asked. As the Oscars! he replies, sardonic. What are these people paid for then? asks the editor. The critic: Paid? The editor: Yes, who pays them? The critic: Where are they from?
It was an answer as much as a question.
Silence on the line. The discussion is at an end. Deadlines are past, repeats the editor, story’s due. The notes are shit, is the critic’s pathetic response. And there’s silence again.
The Brazilian assumes that the point is that, by taking similar (rather than dissimilar) narratives and collapsing them together in a confusing scenario, new meanings can emerge (they don’t). The Argentinian assumes that the point is that, if you provide the subjective back-stories for multiple films, new meanings can emerge (rather than humdrum social commentary). Theatrical devices are employed in the presentation of these rather conventional narrative theater pieces, which is why it’s so sad in the end: If only they’d known that instead of bothering to try to stage complicated filmic narratives, they could have just made (mediocre) films, everyone would have been happier!
“Забей на это дерьмо,” says Eisenstein. Alas, they don’t quite understand.
“Estúpido de mierda ruso,” says the Argentinian (according to Google Translate).
“Você não entende saudade,” says the Brazilian (according to Google Translate).
“Вы не понимаете, как сделатьхороший театр,” says Eisenstein (according to Google Translate). “Это не монтаж То есть просто рассказывать историю.”
But everyone who can’t read this exchange without Google Translate went home happy, because intercultural exchange happened.
Thursday past, or rather early, early morning Friday past: H. and B. wander into an LES top-shelf whiskey bar to meet C. and Other-B, who are curators. C. is dancing in lively fashion with Tat. A bear-hug is initiated with B. Flights are too early but deference must be paid. Welcome to the hyperjetlagged international performance art jet-set. Pleasantries are exchanged. Nominal discussions of art unfold. Old acquaintances rekindled in proper trade-show fashion. New acquaintances made. Email addresses exchanged. Others depart. C. and Tat are the first as needs must. The gate is dropped halfway and everyone smokes indoors. January in New York.
On 38 Young(er) Slovenian Singers
Recalling the day following the previous vignette, it was–at least in the estimation of one of our guests–beautiful. Carmina Slovenica, a Slovenian choral performance group, arrived at St. Ann’s Warehouse as part of the Prototype Festival. For a piece called Toxic Psalms. It’s quite lovely. It has to do with how people in a social situations defer to power. Wars in the Balkans are referenced, as are the Milgram Experiments. The chorus is invited to develop the piece, and the banality of influence takes over (the irony of deference to power thus lost). They produce a choreography worthy of a youthful imitation of Pina Bausch, happy to please a scenographic imitation of Robert Wilson.
The singing is good.
Saturday night and the intrepid correspondents, in need of release, sojourn down to the TriBeCa Grand for a party hosted by a certain Kunt. At which a surprising number of heterosexual males, incapable of grasping the subversive spelling of the host’s name, came in hopes of finding their way into some of the titular good by night’s end. Which was confusing to most others.
The dancing is fun.
A Joke, Part 2:
A woman not wearing pants walks onstage and tells a rape joke. For an hour. Two guys dressed as ancient Egyptians go onstage and do karaoke versions of a crazy mass murderer’s “I hate women” rants, as well as videos of young women worrying about their appearance.
Everyone agrees this is the best work anyone’s seen so far this week.
[The drummer awkwardly begins to rimshot, then doesn’t know what to do, and elects to smoke what we assume is tobacco.]
Setting: Late night, near the individuated bathroom stalls of an LES bar. One man holds a plastic bag containing a contraband substance. Along with another, he wanders into one such stall. The following is overheard:
Man 1: So what do we do with it?
Man 2: There’s really only three options, and I don’t see lighting it on fire as a good idea.
They pursue the remaining two options with equal aplomb.
Outside WMFU’s Monty Hall
Radiohole has minutes before completed a reprisal of Myth (or maybe meth), a text written by the late Tom Murrin. The event is a gloriously and disastrously marvelous, prompting questions such as: “Did he really just puke inside his box costume?” [yes]; “Did the constant slipping on food detritus distract from textual fidelity?” [possibly?]; and [this author’s favorite], “I’ve never seen this one before–which part did they fuck up? Because something was definitely fucked up there.”
Cigarettes alight outside Monty Hall (where the staff seem increasingly concerned about the sort of New York art-world riffraff permitted inside their fine establishment), B., a performer from whose costume crustacean-nethers audiences recently witnessed a green-jello roe being consumed, comments that, “This is like the dudes’ version of Untitled Feminist Show.” Which elicits a lengthy conversation about how best to present a marathon evening of Myth (or maybe meth) alongside Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show and, most lately, Straight White Male. The primary point of contention is the potentially best order in which to program said three shows.
And thus art was served.
From the full story at Culturebot:
Then the screening began. The film begins with footage of Yanukovych’s legendary press-conference, where he breaks a pen. Literally seconds later, special agents [police] appeared, the lights were turned on, and they announced that there was information suggesting a bomb had been planted, and requested that we immediately evacuate the premises. While this was happening, the special agents who’d been impersonating audience members, and those who’d entered when the screening had been halted, demanded that the proceedings not be photographed or filmed in any way. It got to the point where cameras were being openly knocked out of [audience members’] hands. In the basement’s exit, those who were being “rescued” from an explosion were stopped by at least 5 special agents, who’d organized a check of documents and a search of possessions. We requested that they explain whether their operation was to save us, or to detain us.
I’m going to miss Tom “Rampant Lesbianism” Coburn, Oklahoma’s recently retired senator. I mean, there are so many great things he’s done! True, he lacked Sam Brownback’s visual-aid skills, and has always lacked the high-minded intellectualism of James Inhofe. Nevertheless, I always got a kick out of Tom Coburn, and in particular his annual Wastebook, where he calls out all kinds of wasteful spending those liberals get up to. Such as, in the 2014 edition, The TEAM, for RoosevElvis which received $10,000 for “their next run of RoosevElvis at a still-to-be-determined date before May 2015.” Which you can come see as part of the 2015 COIL Festival, where it plays the Vineyard Theater.
As Arizona’s Senator Jeff Flake–for whom bipartisanship is literally a Survivor-esque contest–notes, in the sort of pull-quote most theater companies can only dream of: “What in San Juan Hill is the federal government doing funding this hunk-a-hunk-a-burnin’ waste?”
Truly one for the press kit.
For more recommendations on shows coming up in January, see here.
Like many people I know, the last few weeks have been a matter of spending fairly large amounts of money on tickets to shows in January for Under the Radar, COIL, American Realness, and so on. Or, well, let me clarify: Under the Radar. As a critic I tend to have the opportunity to receive review comps. But for various reasons I usually wind up buying my own tickets to Under the Radar shows. Which makes me one of the lucky ones, to be sure–the cost would be staggering otherwise. Anyway, a Facebook friend threw this up this morning and it cracked me up:
As he pointed out, $25 for a 15-minute performance works out to a little over $1.66 per minute of performance. Which, for some reason, does seem expensive. $25 for a downtown performance is a little higher than average I want to say, but still solidly within the expected price range. But for only 15 minutes? It’s an odd bit of math to do: what is the value of a minute of performance?
The economics of production dictate that the fixed costs (design, set construction, load-in, etc.) are more or less the same for a show regardless of whether its run time is five minutes or 5 hours. If I were James Surowiecki writing in The New Yorker‘s financial page, I’m sure I’d have some pithy little analysis based in social science research that would provide a concrete language regarding why it is that–even though I know why the prices are the same for a short performance or a long one–that it seems somehow unfair to have to pay the same for a show that’s short as for one that’s long. Instead, I just decided to start running the math on various shows based on ticket prices I’ve paid (or would have paid had I been forced to buy them):
- Nature Theater’s Life and Times Episode 1-4 at UTR/Soho Rep ’13: $0.16 per minute (at $25 per ticket/4 tickets, over 10 hours)
- Einstein on the Beach, BAM ’12: $0.29 per minute (at $80 per ticket, over 4 1/2 hours)
- Daniel Fish’s A (radically condensed and expanded) Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (after David Foster Wallace) at the Chocolate Factory ’12: $0.13 per minute (at $20 a ticket, over 2 1/2 hours–which is a full hour longer than the reduced version being shown as part of Under the Radar ’15)
- 600 Highwaymen’s The Record at the Invisible Dog ’13: $0.26 per minute ($15 suggested donation at nearly exactly 57 minutes–if Abby or Michael feel so inclined, they can provide exact run-time for the most accurate cost-per-minute analysis here)
- TR Warszawa’s 4.48 Psychosis at St. Ann’s Warehouse ’14: $0.75 per minute ($45 per ticket, 60-minute run-time)
- Philippe Quesne’s Bivouac at Performa 13: $1.50 a minute? Maybe? ($20 for a 30-minute…90-minute… Wait, if the bus ride was part of the performance, do I have to figure out how long it was supposed to take if the driver hadn’t gotten lost? And do I subtract the period during which the performance was interrupted to make us all stage a scene for a different performance Quesne was making? Fucking performance art…)
- Jim Findlay’s Dream of the Red Chamber in Times Square ’14: $0.00 per minute ($0.00 ticket for up to 12 hours; at zero cost it’s not worth debating the validity of whether you experience performance while you’re asleep for the purposes of calculation)
- Fernando Rubio’s Everything by my side at Crossing the Line/PS122 ’14: $0.33 ($5 for 15 minutes…though I actually think the “performance” was much less than 15 minutes)
- Gerald Kurdian’s The Magic of Spectacular Theater at Crossing the Line ’12: $0.50 per minute, or $0.30 per minute, or $15 for nothing, depending (Assumes $15 ticket purchased in advance for the performance that started 20 minutes after scheduled curtain due to artistic crisis, which in turn led to the artist not actually performing the intended show. So pricing is based on whether you assume the show started late but you accepted the alternate performance of a few songs; or whether you accept the artist’s statement that what took place onstage was all a matter of conscious decision, which means the show didn’t start late; or whether you assume you didn’t actually get the thing you thought you paid for at all)
- Elevator Repair Service’s Gatz in Seattle in ’07 or NYC in 2010: $0.06 per minute, or $0.41 per minute (depends on whether you paid $24 for the show at On the Boards in 2007 or $160 top price at the Public in 2011)
To get an idea of where I‘ve been with this, you check out this narrative more or less covering (actually, dancing around) my project with Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey. In 2013. Not the 2012 part, not the 2014 part. Just 2013. This is the morass I’m working way through right now–hours of interviews, hundreds of photos, pages upon pages of writings, dozens of emails. All to produce a definitive document of the making of BeginAgain, which will be returning (in mainstage form) to NYC as part of PS122’s 2015 COIL Festival, at Baryshnikov Arts Center.
And that’s just what I’ve been through. Think about the artists! All that work! Unfortunately, for all this work to come to fruition, the company needs to replace a massive, hand-made, delicate paper cut-out backdrop by Celeste Cooning. Which was literally lost in the mail. And which FedEx did not cover the cost of replacing. So let’s all help cough a little bit to let us see this amazing design the way it was meant to be seen.
So yes, the entire January shit-show thing is coming back and whatnot, and personally I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all. There’s tons and tons of mainstage, head-lining shows to see that are new (or largely new) to New York audiences. But for better or worse, the entire reason the entire January festival season thing is a shit-show is precisely because it’s a showcase of work from New York and around the world–for audiences from around the world. So, in the interest of serving what few readers this blog occasionally has, I thought I’d throw out some really strong pieces that should not be missed this January, based on my knowledgeable critical opinion, which may or may not be of interest to you. The list is preliminary and by no means exhaustive, but what follows is a group of artists whose work I’ve followed with engagement and interest, and I’d be remiss not calling them out.
Temporary Distortion’s My Voice Has An Echo In It (COIL Festival)
Kenneth Collins is a relentless sort of artist. He had something good (commercially, if that’s the right word) going with his trilogy of film deconstructions: Welcome to Nowhere (on road movies), Americana Kamikaze (Japanese horror), and Newyorkland (cop films and TV shows). However, as I reported in a lengthy feature on Collins in Chance magazine earlier this year, the entire progression left him cold. From a beginning as an artist interested in arresting but largely static situations, the engagement with film tropes kept inviting in the terror of narrative, until–despite commissions and opportunities–he felt he had to turn his back on it all. A couple years of false starts and deep artistic exploration later, he and his company return with My Voice Has an Echo In It, a durational installation performance piece which takes his Minimalist-sculpture-inspired box aesthetics to new heights. It’s not to be missed.
zoe | juniper’s BeginAgain (COIL Festival)
Similar to Temporary Distortion, my engagement with this piece began critically and journalistically. For two years, I followed the company’s development of the piece, as choreographer Zoe Scofield and designer/visual artist Juniper Shuey attempted to further the aesthetic considerations that had informed their work for years. Juniper’s design has always been beautiful and arresting, but Zoe’s choreography–to be blunt–has been divisive amongst choreographers I know. The dominance of conceptualism in contemporary dance makes Zoe’s highly technically accomplished work a little outside the mainstream as it resolutely refuses to move toward either contemporary ballet or deconstructive conceptual performance. Instead, in this piece, Zoe and Juniper attempted to design a development process that would challenge them to collapse their aesthetic concerns further, subtly shifting the site of spectacle from the dancer’s body (the balletic quality Zoe was so known for) while at the same preserving and furthering Juniper’s exploration of design/installation as a means of lyrical and fluid expression, rather than a conceptual/deconstructive environment or, worse, a “set.” Those who might be tempted to write off the company’s return to Baryshnikov as part of PS 122’s COIL–based on the fact they were here in May with the Joyce Theater (off-site at 3LD)–should be aware that the earlier New York appearance was a reconceptualized “installation/performance” considerably different from the stage version I saw opening weekend in Seattle in March. So even if (or particularly if) you caught the 3LD version, come back. It won’t disappoint.
Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble’s The Art of Luv (Part 1) (Under the Radar)
Ah, the ROKE! Consistently challenging and irreverent, Royal Osiris (the brainchild of theater artist Tei Blow and visual artist Sean McElroy) defies description. Nominally based on characters with a dramaturgically solid (if narratively irrelevant) backstory, Royal Osiris defies traditional categories, as much deconstructive performance art as immersive theater. Blow and McElroy create performances through archaeological excavations of media that ranges from relationship advice shilling to New Age spirituality shilling to…karaoke. But the “shilling” is the important part. Below what at what first blush seems a wormhole of odd-ball YouTube videos (most of which are actually too rare to appear on YouTube) is an indictment of the nightmarish way the ever-increasing prevalence of media self-help, buoyed by a surprisingly solid foundation in business management theory, warps our perceptions of love and self-worth. Also operative in the above is the statement “at first blush”–at first blush, Royal Osiris may not seem to be your thing. Give it a second blush (whatever that euphemism actually means); let them surprise you.
Tony Torn/Dan Safer/Julie Atlas Muz’s Ubu Sings Ubu (No festival, at the Slipper Room for two nights only!)
When Ubu Sings Ubu premiered at Abrons this past April, well…I think it more or less did well, but it sort of avoided the popular (or rather, scene-y) downtown performance consciousness. For a few reasons. Despite having been a member of Reza Abdoh’s company for a series of seminal works, Torn was sort of an unknown in the contemporary. Couple that with Dan Safer, who I think sometimes suffers (unfairly) from the sense that if you’ve seen one Witness Relocation show, you’ve seen them all. And then there was the play itself–Alfred Jarry’s seminal Ubu Roi, a play everyone knows, many people did shit versions of in college, and no one can think of good production of. Oh, and the amazing Julie Atlas Muz? Ubu Sings Ubu opened less than two weeks following the closing of the surprise hit that was her turn in Beauty and the Beast. All of which is really sad, because in this piece, the artists, all bringing their distinctive voices to the production, realized the most effective and original version of Jarry’s oft-neglected text imaginable. Paired with the music of proto-punk outift Pere Ubu, Torn and Muz bring ear-bleeding ferocity to Jarry’s tale of the brutish and ignorant would-be king of Poland. Dan Safer will do some full-body wrestling as the bear. It will stink to high-heaven of kielbasa. And the video/animation design by Kaz Phillips Safer is wonderful.
Not that I usually indulge in very personal blog posts, but today has been a rather interesting and—in a good way—emotional day. Getting up earlier than I rather would on a Sunday morning, I rushed into the city to meet friends at MoMA to see the Matisse cut-outs exhibit. Matisse is not particularly one of my favorites, but a good friend is very fond of his work, and so me and her and her husband had made plans to see it, and finding a time (it’s a ticketed exhibit) proved tricky.
While I have to admit to being touched by the Matisse exhibit, the emotional part came more through visiting MoMA with someone who’d never been there before. For someone like me, an embittered critic (or something) whose job it is to tackle some of the more thorny intersections of labor, artistic production, and art presentation, I have all manner of complicated responses to an 800-pound gorilla in the room like MoMA. But mostly what I was reminded of—wandering the fifth floor permanent collection after our time with Matisse—was how spell-binding MoMA was the first time I went there. March 1997, me on a trip with my high school drama class from Portland, Oregon. I was nearly 18 years old and the entire affair was very, very exciting. It included mostly Broadway shows—Rent with the original cast, and Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum with Whoopi—but on our one free day, while most of my friends either shopped for knock-offs in Chinatown or entertained themselves by wondering what it was like inside the strip-clubs that still lined Times Square that precious few of us could enter, I went off, by myself, to MoMA.
I’m not sure why, exactly, visiting today affected me so. I go at least a few times a year for one reason or another. Hell, I once did a power visit for Boris Charmatz’s Musee de la Danse: Three Collective Gestures, just to score a print of Jim Fletcher re-enacting a Vito Acconci performance (sort of) piece. Which still hangs on my wall. Anyway, today, while standing in front of Van Gogh, and glancing to my left, through the archway to where Desmoiselles d’Avignon hangs, I was rather affected by the entire experience, as much tied to the passage of time as to anything else, and have been in a weird sort of fugue ever since.
Right after I had to rush north, up to the Park Avenue Armory, where I was hosting a rehearsal by Susana Cook in the space I had to vacate immediately after in Company I on the second floor, Sister Sylvester’s home over the past four or five months. The space was courtesy of Sasha Frere-Jones (of the New Yorker and whatnot), who was the proper artist-in-residence there and on whose behalf we performed The Fall: A Performative Screening on November 12 as part of the Armory’s “Under Construction” series. Sasha opened with a passionate and intelligent plea that organizations like the Armory avail (some, at least) of their space and resources to emerging artists like us.
It was quite hard to lug that last box of materials out of the Armory (not least because it contains various BDSM-y implements, including a four-foot-long closet rack with leather neck-chokers, which attracts more than its fair share of attention on the subway). This was a sort of home-away-from-home for some time. Depositing a few spare beers I found inside one of the regimental lockers in the second-floor kitchen refrigerator, I was reminded of sitting in that kitchen desperately trying to finish a draft of a bizarre essay on Suzanne Bocanegra, Sibyl Kempson, and Big Dance Theater’s Ich, Kürbisgeist, which was just published in Chance magazine, of which I’ve become an editor. I need to pick up my copy at our Union Square offices this week. This edition also includes a photo spread of Sister Sylvester’s The Maids’ The Maids, shot by the amazing Maria Baranova (the best in the business says the editor–hire her).
Maybe my entire seasonal nostalgia trip began a few days ago, when I heard from Performance Space 122, asking me to serve on the invite committee for the annual Red & White Party in January. How time does fly! How much has happened since last January. When I was also on the invite committee, from which I learned to flog—and flog hard!—the event as early as possible. (See how clever I was, there? $30 a ticket or contact me! January 11–ping pong again!)
With my good friend and collaborator Kathryn Hamilton, I’ve developed two full productions (Dead Behind These Eyes and The Maids’ The Maids) and two work-in-progress showings (Make Like Its Yours and The Fall: A Performative Screening). With Chance, I’ve written a lengthy profile of Kenneth Collins and his transitional durational work My Voice Has an Echo In It (part of the 2015 PS 122 COIL Festival); completed research on zoe | juniper’s BeginAgain (also part of PS 122’s COIL Festival—I’ll be busy this January!); the aforementioned critical inquiry into the nature of authorship (you just have to read it) about Ich, Kürbisgeist. Four shows with Kathryn and Sister Sylvester. Two shows (Immersion and, opening last night, Lisa and Her Things) with Sans Comedia. I’m in discussion with my friend Steve Valk and his frequent collaborator Michael Klien about a forthcoming project in New York. I’ve written lengthy profiles and features on admirable artists like Mimi Lien (in American Theatre) and Dan Safer and Tony Torn (for Culturebot), whose fantastic Ubu Sings Ubu may well be coming back to NYC stages (if Facebook hints are to be properly analyzed and believed). And I watched Mallory Catlett—whose This Was the End blew me away on its opening weekend—sweep awards in the city for her and her collaborators’ brilliant work.
All things considered it’s been a fantastic—if troubling and problematic and everything else—year. And as November slips uncomfortably into December, the weather gyrating between pleasantly autumnal and brutishly cold, I’m looking back on time elapsed, another year older (and thereby closer to death, world death rates remaining constant at 100% despite best efforts), wiser (maybe?), happier (who knows?), but certainly more jaded.
Which was why it was nice to visit MoMA today. To be reminded of the very genuine experience of discovery and awe. When I first visited that lonely morning around 18 years ago, it had never occurred to me what it would mean to truly feel like I was a part of the world of the arts. I may not be super important, I may be stumbling (or fumbling, awkwardly) forward like everyone else I know in this field, but as much as I sometimes miss the feeling of what it was first like to be overwhelmed by art, I nevertheless am ecstatic to have wound up the little cog in the machine I now am.