Saint Genet is for G's May 17, 2013

by Heidi

So, I thought I would try to get hella drunk and write this but, I couldn’t get as drunk as I wanted to because I just don’t have the will power.  Or maybe Genet would have won (why? I don't know).

If you want to really get into my review, please also listen to this song while you read which I've had stuck in my head for days so it is the background music for my blog, naturally.

Here I am, back at my lucky coffee shop, Black Coffee, the anarchist coffee shop on Pine where I felt the most luck writing and researching about Saint Genet, a band of artists called after the namesake of Jean Genet, someone who, in the history of theater and writing, was pretty anarchic.  Did you know Jean Genet later wrote for the Palestinians and the Black Panthers?  I like to think of Genet as like a Paul of the Bible type character.  Like, he was a criminal, a total dick, but not for no reason, his thievery was holy, and his criminality or his turning criminals into heroes opened the door for him to support the oppressed later in life.  I believe he really was consumed by the investigation of the wound he believed we all carry as humans (whatever makes it) and eventually that investigation lead him to a more humanitarian cause than absurdist theater and super subversive writing (although it was really good writing and theater and a part of the process).  I don’t know if I believe that the artistic collective Saint Genet is investigating that hard. Like, I don’t know if they are just making hipster art and think Genet is cool or have their own vision. Sorry bros. I guess time will tell.

Ok, but for what it was, it was pretty cool.  Even if it was hella long and I don’t actually know if I believed in it 100%. 

I will make a list of some of the elements of the piece (my attempt at a summary?)  

1. This really bomb, moving wheat field.

2. Really beautiful lighting 

3. Frequently beautiful kind of ambient music.

4. Best part! Strobe lit double dutch to some heavy beats.

5. Other best part! Can’t tell ya.  It’s good tho.  Stay till the end.

6. Cute bellies! 

7. Reno Nevada!

8. Dicks!

9. Golden butt holes! 

10. Boobs!

11. Oh yeah . . . Leeches!

12. Spitting in faces! 

13. Getting stoned, doing whippits, shotgunning beers!

14. Recounts of Oscars won since like 1940 or something weird like that!

15. Spinning in circles for a long long time.

16. The part with the gorrilla and the alien/aligator monster masks and the guy with a face painted white!  (a very good part) 

17. the usual: honey gold and bloooodddd. . . 

18. Ghosts

19. A weird black snake mask queen in the background.

20. Gold moving grave.

21. Gold and silver dandelion-seed-puff like head pieces on cut young men. (so dreamy!) 

Some pretty cool stuff.  Everyone's favorite nightmare/dreamscape stuff.  I was making jokes about the movie Gladiator in the beginning but by the end I'd put the imagination and viscerality of SG amongst the prowess of my two favorite directors, Peter Greenaway and Guillermo del Toro. The inventiveness of the costuming and environments--how much transformation happened on the stage, and how characters were hidden in plain sight, like a long note was being held the entire piece you couldn't hear until the end.  Woah. Cool to be the audience.   

Maybe I wasn't so sure of the end though.  During the 3rd act, as I grew kind of tired, I was just thinking about . . . Saint Genet as some sort of strange and serious lover.  And I was flipping between the sensuality, the draw of believing in what was happening, and then the absurdity--like sex detached from real love or with a lover you just can’t connect to.  And I was kind of like at that point where you don’t care at all if you O or not, you are just like, “maybe if this ends soon, I can still get a good night’s sleep and wake up and go to that yoga class in the morning.” Hear me?

So what does that mean? I was riding my bike up Pine thinking about how my reaction was a little like that scene in Amelie where she imagines all the people orgasming at that moment and all of their cartoonishly absurd faces. . . And I was also thinking, during the performance, about this British guy talking about why so many software companies started in the US. . . he thought it was because we have this sweet kind of acceptance of ideas here in the states, or sort of still have this raw imagination that people are willing to support so ideas don’t die as fast here and people are simply more willing to have ideas in the first place. Um. And I thought about that in the end of this piece.  I was like, how very . . . at least . . . it was willing to try to be vulnerable.  And serious.  It didn’t really protect itself.  Like how you would protect yourself with analysis, or sarcasm.  It kind of unprotected itself with whipits and booze.  In a way. So even though I was having a hard time connecting to it because I kept jumping outside of the scenario and kind of seeing it as absurd, I did appreciate the straight stare it was trying to deliver. 

And I don’t think it was bad absurd, like I was down with the absurdity.  I think at times the piece had too much to say, like your friend who can’t let you listen to the whole song when they’re holding the ipod because they are too excited about the next song and (mostly at the end) I was not keeping up or something.  

Also my cynical self was thinking about where I could go to find all of the elements of the performance in different hip venues around seattle.  Golden pyramids? Cairo!  Dead bird things? Linda’s! Baby powder and beer slick floor? Talcum at Chop Suey! 

I think tho, it was beautiful.  I was so into the wheat field.  It transformed the stage at OtB, gave it this miraculous depth.  The piece was like an ever changing painting.  And it was nice to have the performers with me for so long.  I started to know them in a more personal way.  And whatever Ryan Mitchell has said about the building of his company, it’s insularity and privacy, it aided them.  The bond between members was obvious.  They were a beautiful group of performers, and there was this kind of humility and kinship that really allowed for aesthetic completeness: nothing above the other, all for the good of the greater aesthetic whole.

Yeah guys!  Go see it.  It’s worth seeing for sure-zies.