Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Triple Goddess birthing from the cosmic web.

Warning: I’m about to make a sports analogy—this seldom works.

Every fall, teams of elite athletes gather to prove their physical prowess. Fans and alumni everywhere rejoice. Last Saturday, was the pre-season shoot-out, a preview of the regular fall season. No it wasn’t football. (I sense your surprise.) It was Momentum “Untold Stories,” Ririe-Woodbury’s annual alumni performance. A bonus evening of dance before the regular seasons start next month.

The show features works choreographed and performed by current and past members of Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. It’s generally a mixed bag of contemporary dance performance. This year’s show had more good than bad. Take a boy ina Box treading water Watching a bird play scrabble pt. 1. Yeah that title tries way too hard and features capitalization that could only have been imagined by a 14-year-old girl (shouldn’t a heart dot that second i?). But the duet choreographed by Liberty Valentine delivered a new style of movement with an intricate intertwining of bodies.

Less successful was Tammy Metz Starr’s Saffron Days, which felt like a mash up of Singin’ in the Rain and the Care Bears. It was definitely saffron.

Intermission brought Beyond Movement/Moving Beyond, a site specific lobby installation featuring knitted yarn, organza veils with oil paint and screen prints, three dancers, and “the Triple Goddess birthing from the cosmic web.” Yeah, I snickered too. The performance was awkward and I wrote it off. (Disappointing because the piece was imagined by one of my favorite Ririe-Woodbury alumnus, Javier Cordoba.) But wait, as intermission ended the three female performers, nearly naked except for Asian-inspired markings and make up, moved oh so slowly into the theater. Then they magically stepped into the first piece of the second half. The effect was haunting, setting the stage for a beautiful performance of Cordoba’s Letting Go.

The show ended with two exceptional works. Uncongealed Vitality choreographed and performed by Aaron Draper took street dance and elevated it to an impossible, mesmerizing level. And the final duet (broken Regained) choreographed and performed by Juan Carlos Claudio and Jill Voorhees Edwards reminded me how rewarding it is when two bodies move together with such intent.

Damn liberals.

That's right, it's the Democratic National Convention in Denver. I generally find the conventions tedious and largely meaningless. But at least this year I'm getting an insider's view. My friend (and one time resident of Salt Lake City) Steven Rivas just happens to be an actual delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Steven now lives in Austin, Texas (damn conservatives) and the Austin Chronicle asked him to report from the convention for their Gay Place Blog.

A warning: Steven's one of those crazy Hillary supporters and I think he's still a little bitter about Hillary's loss. So if you're a Barack supporter, be kind; we're still healing. And if you're a McCain supporter, visit the blog and send Steve a "Hillary Supporters for McCain" t-shirt or something. What have you got to lose?

You can read the blog here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Darling indeed.

My friend Kara said I need to start writing on my blog again. So Kara, this one's for you.

Since I'm always looking for a reason to hang out with the lesbians (and lured by the promise of an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet from The New Yorker), last Friday I headed over to "The Party On the Patio" at Paper Moon. The Paper Moon is one of Salt Lake's most popular lesbian nightclubs.  I have to say, the promoters grossly underestimated lesbians' appetite for seafood. We arrived thirty minutes into the affair only to discover the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet was already eaten.

But that's not the point of this story. We came for the floor show featuring the Voodoo Darlings. Who are the Voodoo Darlings? They're a group of sexy ladies (and a couple of random guys) who are part of Salt Lake City's burgeoning burlesque scene. Yes I said burgeoning burlesque scene. After all, the Slippery Kittens are in the finalists of ABC's America's Got Talent.

I'm not going to pretend to remember all the ladies' names. Nor even the details of their performances. But they're certainly worth a blog entry, for two reasons. First some of the ladies were good. And hot too. I was particularly enchanted by the dark and mysterious secret spy lady in her slippery black trench. Who knew garter belts were so hot?

And if the acts weren't fun enough, you also got to watch the lesbians. Since the burlesque dancers were working for tips, there was a built-in meter for which acts got the crowd most excited. Take the hula-hoop performer. She was OK, I guess. But wow, the ladies in the audience went crazy for her. I saw dollar bills stuffed in places that surprised even the performer.

The show was fun. The lesbians were fantastic. I'm calling the VooDoo Darlings a hit.