Compliments Jun 8, 2014
by Dylan Ward
I went to the main stage show at NorthWest New Works last night and here is what I saw and some compliments about them:
The Pendleton House
Distressed women cut in half by lines and trains. Underneath a subway. The fun thing about this piece is the unabashed devotion to the aesthetic of it. The piece is on the surface, and this is a compliment. Each curved hand, balled fist, dropped foot into the floor, train sound, color, each means what it means, and does so frankly. It is dance and it is music and it is distinct.
I’ve never seen Kyle; and because of his title (Ham Sandwich) I thought the piece would be funny. Like a Ham Sandwich would talk and he’d sing along. Or something.
This is not what happened. Kyle’s movement, under Kate Wallich’s direction, stole EVERYTHING from the room, it felt. Lights shone into my eyes but all I wanted was to watch Kyle, straining through the blink, to see his tiny hands and movements disintegrating the ham sandwiches into puppets and parts and piles of meat. It felt like murder.
Pennington + Bishchoff + Reker
It’s always amazing to watch people be themselves, not like BE THEMSELVES, which gets obnoxious, but simply let all snark and sarcasm out. A man in a clown suit performs like he was at the Larimer Lounge in Denver, CO, in room filled with beards and beer and cigarette smoke and older teenagers hoping for careers in the art world. I felt like I was at a silly house show again. This is a huge compliment.
This performance was pop songs and balloons. It’s hilarious. (Not a great description but we’ll move on because it really is hard to describe in words but essentially imagine Klaus Nomi from the Y generation.)
Okay, so I was technically in this one. (I’m the boy in the film who gets beamed from outer space and whose guts glow in a forest amidst magic horses and aliens with a white ski mask on. That was a super fun day.)
I’d never seen the film though, so that happened while I was watching. The dancing was hieroglyphics, slightly tongue in cheek, joyful and strong. The energy of this performance was much wilder; audience members cheered for what I assume where their friends. Thematically, what I understood was a birth/dying ritual, that we are all made of stardust; Rainbow has used a narrative of alien ascension to point to a cosmic struggle, and also has made it look super awesome fun sexy.
Go see the show! Northwest artists are moving forward. This is important to know and to witness and to draw from