Sunday, May 01, 2005

Rimasto Orfano e Cinema Antica

It's been a while since I wrote about art, beyond the nasty self-absorption and IP theft that occasionally attends collaborative efforts (see earlier posts for specifics). On this glorious spring Sunday afternoon, when I should be out making mudpies, I'm pleased to have something more inspiring to report.

Last night we attended a performance of "Rimasto Orfano" by European choreographers Emio Greco and PC. As I have little interest in dance, I rarely attend performances and have few standards of comparison, but all that aside, I found the piece riveting. The dancers (three of each gender) wore gauzy floor-length dresses and used a kinetic vocabulary that owed little to ballet, with a few exceptions including one amazing long pirouette. I have no idea what the narrative structure was (which is, I don't mind telling you, frustrating), but just watching the dancers move kept me and the rest of the audience almost motionless for an hour ... and I am a world-class fidgeter. I deeply enjoyed the score, by Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon.

If you're reading this in a city that may soon host this startling performance, go. Barring better PR or smaller venues, you probably won't have any trouble getting in; UCLA's Royce Hall was about half-full. Not half-empty.

Window on a World

In other entertainment news -- or what passes for it in these celeb-free precincts -- pop just sent me a link to this slightly hokey "virtual cinema," which affords the high-bandwidth websurfer unlimited access to Steven Spielberg's collection of antique films about Israel and other topics in Jewish history. As I type, an early color-process travelogue entitled "Springtime in the Holy Land" (1939) unspools to the right of my MS Word window, and an English announcer describes in orotund tones such picturesque relics as "the arrival of the trains, ships waiting ready at the quayside, the loading of the citrus boxes, the bustle of the porters at work, Arab and Jew, all as part of the great trade in citrus fruits that Western civilization demands in increasing quantities from the land which was one of the earliest cradles of civilization." Uh, Sumeria?

Yes, it is hard to concentrate while watching a movie, even if it is playing on a three-inch screen. But everyone who knows anything knows I'm a multi-tasker from way back. It's that flexibility and focus that have enabled me to build this heavily trafficked blog while managing a $20 million Malaysian import-export business and raising prize whippets on the grounds of this estate I share with a vegan acrobatic and arts collective.


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