Thursday, March 06, 2008

"You know nothing of The Dance!"

If you didn't yell out the title of this post with your nose in the air and one hand upraised in haughty ire, you didn't do it right. Try it again, louder and faster. Feels good, doesn't it? I can't remember where I first heard it, but I'm ashamed to say it applies to me. Years of building sets for theatres put me in contact with the odd summer dance series, and I've even bought tickets to a Pina Bausch piece now and then, but in the main it is a language impenetrable to me. So when I got a call for a job involving an experimental dance company, I walked into our first meeting with the same mindset I'd bring to a discussion about a bathroom renovation or a new deck.

Within minutes, of course, I was in love with these crazy kids and their ambitious, outrageously underfunded idea of mounting a mixed media dance performance at two locations simultaneously, one a funeral home, one a local park, the audience shuttled between by rickshaw.


After the "kids" remark I should probably point out at least one or two of the company are at least as old as I am, but when you hear of a plan like that, proposed in the wettest month of a cold winter, who could help but get all "aww, shucks....those crazy kids and their fists full 'a giddyyup..."?

Their plan involved building a shed with three huge plexiglass windows, a floor and a ceiling platform for audio equipment, two stand alone benches of different heights, and at a distance, a sound muffling box for the generator used to power the audio and a few lights...

In one day.

Clearly, they knew those were odds I could not resist. The fact this "one day" needed to happen within the next few days, one being a holiday, all to be windswept and frigid, did indeed complicate matters, so I charged them...half my day rate. One could look at this as yet one folly more in the perpetual farce that is my history with business decisions, but I prefer to view it as a temporary romantic lapse. Business is business, true. And building things is how I pay for other things, like booze and health insurance. But building those things for rich people is-as they say in congress-what it is, and nothing more. Helping artists accomplish their folly...there is something more there, at least to me. Something worth something. At least for a day.

The slide show beneath contains two sets of pictures, one set from my camera on the-very long, very cold, very fun-day of the build and one set of production photographs sent to me by the dance company, bluemouth inc. I'm afraid they came without credit so I cannot pass that credit on. The show is called "Death by Water" (be sure and click on the poster) and is playing through Sunday, right down the street, including Fort Greene Park. I've seen it, and this philistine would recommend it to anyone in the neighborhood.

From Around the Web:

They apparently arrested Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in Thailand yesterday. (If Thailand isn't careful, they are going to lose that "I can always just put a bunch of cash in a bag and lay low in Thailand" reputation: 1, 2, 3 ) I only mention this because the guy is quite a character and the story is amazing. Imagine a more African-centered "Syriana" but instead of an interlocking cast of characters, you meet the one guy who deals with all of them.

A very small number of you may have seen the uneven Nicolas Cage vehicle-redundant on a good day, I know, I know-"The Lord of War." This guy was the inspiration for the book that inspired the movie.
If you are sitting in front of your computer with some time to listen to the story told, check out this episode of NPR's "Fresh Air".


  1. That is cool--that they thought to do something so different, and that you helped them.

    As far as bad business sense goes, you can screw over the next customer. It's been a long time since I took economics, so I can't think of the technical name for what that is, it's not a loss leader.

  2. By helping the "crazy kids" you've enriched your soul.
    Nuthin' but good karma, man.