People! The Mercury presents Your Holiday Office Party is gonna be soooooo fun! Silent Disco dancing, comedy, a Secret Santa raffle for charity, a business attire costume contest, a "make-out cubicle," a Xerox machine for taking pictures of your buttocks, BOOZE, and so much more!
BUT GET THIS! Buy your tickets today and you can get them for HALF-OFF. That's only $6 each (two per customer)! Simply hop over to merctickets.com and put in the code "cybermonday" at checkout time and you'll save, save, save! HURRY! TODAY ONLY!
BodyVox wraps up their production "Body Opera Files" this weekend, and, whether or not you follow dance, this show is delightful and definitely worth checking out. The troupe has teamed up with musical director Michael Papillo for the program. It’s a theatrical blend of live music, acrobatic dancing, and a poetic use of props. (The hybrid show is not an entirely new concept itself—it’s a revival of their well-received 2009 production "Foot Opera Files.")
"Body Opera Files" has an air of ‘50s noir—in the cocktail-dress costuming and moody overhead lighting. The piece isn’t performed in BodyVox’s slick studio, but, rather, in a more rugged warehouse. The score combines the tunes of folk and blues-inspired musicians: Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, and Sam Phillips, but, with less earthiness and more polish to its sound. It’s a collage of performances; there’s no through-narrative in the show's 17 vignettes. However there is a thread of noir themes: hubris, lustiness, exhibitionism, melancholia. The performance starts with a reel of home movies playing opposite of the seating in the warehouse; eventually the warehouse door reels up, and we see a hint of several dancers’ legs. Soon, they rush under the door and enter the warehouse in a confident frenzy. The audience is invited to take a seat on the opposite end of the warehouse.
Some of the best segments of "Body Opera Files" are the more stripped down sets. Tom Waits's song "Picture in a Frame" inspired a memorably sweet and ingenious duet. Performed by Daniel Kirk and Ashley Roland portraying a couple, the two danced with a bed frame on wheels, maneuvering their bodies around it, and eventually setting the bed upright, on its end, looking like a full-size picture frame, with Kirk standing in the center of it. Similarly inventive with props was Eric Skinner's choreography in the piece Baby Plays Around, which, is basically a duet between Skinner and a wheeling cart. BodyVox, who is in their 16th season, is noted for their playful choreography and performances; this show is especially so.
Do yourself a favor, and get your tickets here. NW Industrial Warehouse. 2448 NW 28th Ave. Oct. 24, 25, 26, 7:30pm. Oct. 26, 2pm.
As I mentioned yesterday, the world simultaneously squealed with glee over the possibility of seeing Dancing with the Stars' Elizabeth Berkley reenact her famous "I'm so excited/scared" caffeine pill freakout from her glory days on Saved By the Bell. (Watch that here.) And last night? SHE DID IT. And it is just as glorious and anus-puckering as you might imagine. Watch.
For those who remain even marginally interested, Bill Nye the Science Guy has been eliminated from Dancing with the Stars, giving us absolutely no reason to keep watching. Here's his final, pretty terrible robot dance—though in his defense, he did tear some knee ligaments while performing the paso doble last Monday night, and kept on dancing anyway. EFF YOU, PASO DOBLE! Here's his final DWTS performance.
While one should always put one's money on black Wonder Woman, both contestants and this dance battle are a goddamn thing of beauty.
So of all the so-called "celebrities" on this season's Dancing with the Stars, we know there's really only one: Bill Nye the Science Guy. Here he is in last night's season premiere, dancing the cha-cha-cha to Oingo Boingo's "Weird Science" (of course). He's charming in practice (1:00 mark), clumsy on the dance floor (2:44), and brave as the judges absolutely eviscerate him (4:30).
Check it out, and let's all move on with our lives.
That's right! Silent Disco is tonight, so get your tickets here and now, and save five bucks rather than getting your tix at the door!
In case you haven't heard, the Mercury's Silent Disco is an outdoor dance party on the roof of the Hotel deLuxe parking structure, where we'll have four DJs spinning (including the awesome DJ Beyondadoubt and DJ TJ) and you'll be wearing WIRELESS HEADPHONES so you can dance the night away as the city slumbers beneath you.
Plus, unlike most loud nightclubs, if you want to chat with your pals or that new special someone without screaming in their ear, simply take off your headphones and chitty-chat away! Then put 'em back on to rejoin the dancing fun!
Also, tonight's weather prediction is gorgeously clear and a balmy 69 degrees at dance time... so get ready for a gorgeous view of the city. It's gonna be a very special night indeed, so don't miss it!
Here are the deets:
THE PORTLAND MERCURY'S SILENT DISCO
Today, Friday, Sept 13, 10 pm - 3 am
Rooftop of Hotel deLuxe Parking Structure (SW 15th & Yamhill)
(Headphones included with admission)
GET YOUR TICKETS NOW AND HERE! QUICK! DON'T BE LEFT OUT OF THE FUN! Rrrrowwrrr!
Don't forget! Tomorrow night is the Portland Mercury's Silent Disco—an outdoor rooftop party with FOUR DJs, where you wear wireless HEADPHONES... that way you can dance your ass off till 3am AND whip off the headphones when you want to talk to friends!
OH MY GOD, SO FUN.
Silent Disco is tomorrow night (Friday, Sept 13) from 10 pm - 3 am on top of the Hotel deLuxe parking structure (so you can see the whole city while you dance) and the weather is going to be PERFECT.
THIS THING IS SELLING OUT FAST, SO GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.
Or I'm giving out three pairs of tickets... because I really want to see you there. Email me here by noon tomorrow (Friday), include your name, and put "HEADPHONES" in the subject line. I'll pick three winners (and their dates) at random, and we'll email your tickets tomorrow.
Again... OH MY GOD, SO FUN.
See you tomorrow night at Silent Disco!
Mercury pals! This Friday's Silent Disco is selling out fast... that's why I quickly snagged three pairs of tickets to give away on Blogtown! Do you want to come? You should, because it's gonna be ba-zonkers.
Silent Disco is a outdoor rooftop dance party—on top of the Hotel DeLuxe parking structure—with FOUR DJs (including DJ Beyonda and DJ TJ). How can we get away with that? By giving everyone HEADPHONES. Slip them on and the music (which you choose) will be wirelessly sent to your ears, so you can shake your ass until 3 am and not disturb a single neighbor! Even better? If you want to chat with your friends or cozy up to someone cute, there's no need to shout. Just take your headphones off and talk in comfort as the craziness goes on around you!
The Mercury's Silent Disco is THIS FRIDAY NIGHT (from 10 pm -3 am) and if you don't wanna be left out of the fun, get your tickets now and here.
Or take your chances and email me here by noon tomorrow (Tuesday), put "SILENCE, PLEASE!" in the subject line, and you'll be entered to win one of three pairs of tickets to Friday's Silent Disco! I really hope to see you there, because it's gonna be a certified blast! (A noiseless one!)
Silent Disco is coming! Wait—how can a dance party be silent?
It isn't silent, really. On Friday, September 13, the Mercury and the good folks at Hotel deLuxe are hosting Silent Disco on the roof of the Hotel deLuxe parking garage—the same spot where the Top Down screenings are held. Here's the buzz:
In a “silent disco” you'll dance to DJs via wireless radio signals transmitted to headphones you receive upon arrival. The idea was born from European clubs, where dense population and noise pollution complaints made headphones a permanent feature of some party venues—but guess what? They also found out it was super fun!
Headphones allow you to adjust your own volume or you can remove them to easily speak with other partiers. Each headset also has two channels so you can switch between them and shake it down to either of the DJs spinning that night including DJ Beyondadoubt, DJ TJ, plus two special guests. But perhaps the best part of all, when a popular song comes on the entire crowd starts singing the words together and that's when you realize that Silent Disco is a fun and sweaty one-of-a-kind experience.
In other words, it's the dance party where you can talk to your friends or get those digits from that special someone without getting blown away by the DJ. Tickets just went on sale, and they'll go fast; go over here to get 'em. It's a Friday the 13th dance party under the stars, and since all the music is inside your headphones, it'll go straight into the wee hours!
Silent Disco, Hotel deLuxe Parking Structure Rooftop, SW 15th & Yamhill, Fri Sept 13, 10 pm-3 am, $20 advance, $25 at the door
After just 12 days of rehearsal, The Snowstorm was presented at the Portland Actors Conservatory last weekend. It’s still a work in progress, but worth noting. A dance-theater work by Drammy-Award winner Eric Nordin, The Snowstorm is lovely. The music is a compilation of Sergei Rachmaninoff piano solos—however the script is original, written by Nordin and William Sam Gregory; the piece takes place in 19th-century Russia.
The Snowstorm marries delicious 19th-century melodrama (see: unrequited love, ghosts) with conservative Russian dress and the occasional ghoulish mask. The music is live (played on the piano by Nordin). The dance (choreographed by Jessica Wallenfels), is a modern response to the Romantic tunes of Rachmaninoff; laundry is folded and snapped in time to the music; two friends throw themselves on a bed in delight, exposing the legs beneath their conservative skirts.
The plot follows a tangled story of a widower, a young boy, and a jilted young woman. Dreams bleed into reality; dancers serve as the weather in a choreographed scene of a storm. All the meanwhile are the achy, sweepy tunes of Rachmaninoff, a la this. The production is developed partially through the support of PAC LAB (a program of Portland Actor’s Conservatory); funds from a RACC grant have helped make it possible.
The workshop performance is promising—a fuller performance will debut in 2014; stay tuned!
Well, Google Glass is already paying dividends. Check out this fairly disorienting video shot from a dancer's perspective at new burlesque/strip venue the Kit Kat Club. Turns out being a stripper would maybe make me want to puke? Dig those cane maneuvers, though!
(No nudity, but probably unwise for the workplace. Also, again: DISORIENTING.)
Thanks, Ryan, for the link.
If your Sunday is still free and you’re feeling adventurous, check out this unusual performance. It’s an improvised dance performance at Disjecta’s great, new(-ish) courtyard. It’s a good cause: the show benefits the local, annual dance publication FRONT—in its third year, FRONT is a rallying point for number of great names in dance and performance. The show is 4-hours long, which, for a Dada-like dance sounds admittedly purgatorial, but the line-up is redemptive.
Among the names are both the fresh and the familiar: Linda K. Johnson, three FRONT co-founders Noelle Stiles, Tahni Holt, and Danielle Ross, and Kaj-Anne Pepper. I watched the latter perform at Conduit’s Dance+ Festival last year. He was fabulous; there were glitter explosions.
Here's a clip from last year's Collision performance:
Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate, August 11, 5-9 pm, $10-50
Oregon Ballet Theatre capped their season with big news. Several OBT dancers are retiring; Anne Mueller has stepped down as the company’s interim artistic director—Kevin Irving was named the new artistic director earlier in June, and the search continues for an executive director. This weekend was the final performance of the season; they rounded out their season this year with the program Celebrating Balanchine.
The show was both rich and technical, honoring the 20th century choreorapher George Balanchine on the 30th anniversary of his death. OBT added the biblical tale of the Prodigal Son to their repertoire. The piece comes from Balanchine's early years, from his studies with the notorious Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes; the set is vivid and bold, with scenes of feasts and dramatic skies; the dancing is feverish and exciting, with an incredible and convincing performance by Chauncey Parsons as the wayward Prodigal Son. Parsons runs up an angled table, then slides down it; the piece is punctuated by intense acrobatic moves that string together the narrative of the boy's descent into debauchery. The show began however with a lithe, precise performance of Balanchine’s "Square Dance," deemed an “audience favorite,” and ended on a soft note, with "Stravinsky Violin Concerto" and impressive grace.
The show began the minute you entered the door, with a performance-installation by Dawn Stoppiello, who is dancing by herself to the song “Dancing with Myself.” This weekend was the second Pacific Dance Makers showcase, which brought together six female choreographers of the Pacific Northwest for a pleasant, intimate show at BodyVox. Included was Carla Mann’s work, Displaced (originally part of Ten Tiny Dances in 2006) a distorted projection of her dancing alone, on a stage, her shadow looming behind her, growing and shrinking; it goes on a bit too long, but that helps to give the work its effective fever dream feeling. Rachel Slater’s work is also concerned with the interior—looking at the nature of panic attacks. Anna Conner’s “Nest," of my favorites, focuses on two women (Anna Conner and Julia Cross). In undergarments, the two dancers keep an intense squat. Gyrating, it starts out sexual but the motion is so repetitious it crosses over to the grotesque and eerie.
Choreographer and dancer Éowyn Emerald Barrett is the organizer of Pacific Dance Makers; she choreographed the first piece of the night, I Asked of You (originally part of the BodyVox-2 winter premieres show). Featuring four dancers in lace tights and nude tops, it's all grace and lithe movements, and a pleasure to watch.
The showcase was one-night only, but still seems worth a mention—a few of the performances will have later incarnations, including Barrett’s, which will appear at the Fringe Festival in Scotland this summer.
Blogtown Consulting Detective (and boogie-down dancing enthusiast) Graham alerted us to this must-see video aptly entitled "How to Properly Dance to [Daft Punk's] Get Lucky." I second his motion, and request that this be immediately taken to the dance floor for a vote. All in favor? AYE!!! All opposed? (*crickets*).
To all the costly facets of the new Sellwood Bridge, add paying rent.
Or, as Multnomah County legalese terms it: a "settlement of condemnation litigation associated with the Sellwood Bridge Project."[PDF]
The County Board of Commissioners tomorrow will vote on a proposed settlement with the owner of several parcels of land at the bridge's east end. Officials need the land—both to widen Tacoma Street and to use as a staging area—so they're buying it off owner Diana Richardson for almost five years, she said today. The county will return the land 57 months later.
"We've come to an agreement," said Richardson.
Neither Richardson nor a county spokesman would discuss how much the settlement is worth, saying the arrangement has yet to be finalized. Richardson said she'd be paid fair market value for the land.
The parcels currently include a number of businesses, including the Riverside Corral Strip Club (NSFW). Blogtown needed to know: Was the county going to own the Riverside Corral?
"We're not in any way, shape, or form operating a strip club," said County Spokesman David Austin.
The settlement instead only involves a portion of the Riverside Corral's property. Richardson said the business will remain open during bridge construction.
The county also will temporarily purchase a vacant lot south of Tacoma Street for storage.
"Eventually I want to build something there," Richardson said. "I had planned to do it sooner, but this came along."
On a lovely Portland night like this, you might not want to find yourself sitting in a dark, chilly theater. However, Northwest Dance Project totally makes it worth it. Tonight is the final run of Spring Performances.
Not surprisingly, Northwest Dance Project impresses with their talent (two of their company dancers have been awarded the prestigious Princess Grace award in recent years). The performance features three different works, two of which are world premieres. The standout may just be Casual Act, by NWDP's artistic director Sarah Slipper. Five dancers take on Harold Pinter’s preeminent play Betrayal; the dancers rotate through different permutations of couples, fueled by passion and infidelity. Casual Act also features one of the most striking element of all of the performances: a large, white, minimalist set, which revolves in the center of the stage—it has three walls, a rectangle cut out to suggest a window, and a rectangle cut out to suggest a door. It’s simple, but affective. It serves as a subtle suggestion of domestic space and as a descriptive suggestion of the events within that space. As the dancers move and rotate the set, it suggests change, loss, and instability; the tangled web of love and lies unravels. The dancing is desparate, sometimes clingy, but also steamy and athletic. The push and pull between performers is extreme: the physical tension imparts emotional tension.
It’s high drama and cinematic, which, on that note, comes my one complaint of the work: at times the music is too forceful with emotions (the speakers pour out sweeping, wrenching tunes from Max Richter and Yann Tiersen). However by and large it's an overwhelmingly involving work, expertly danced.
As mentioned yesterday, you have about an hour left to enter our ticket giveaway for tonight's very special Mercury "Shut Up & Dance" party hosted by DJ Gregarious at Rotture (315 SE 3rd)! I'm giving away 10 slots on the guest list ( with your plus one), but you gotta email me here (with "No, YOU Shut Up!" in the subject line) by NOON.
But even if you don't win, come anyway! DJ Gregarious will be playing all your dance faves from the '80s to now, and you look really sexy when you dance. SEE YOU THERE!
GUYS! Winter's almost over and it's time to drag yourselves out of your hovels and shake the rust off your bones! That's why we'd like to cordially invite all of you to join us for tomorrow night's (Fri, March 15) special Mercury-edition of "Shut Up and Dance" at Rotture (315 SE 3rd)! As you know DJ Gregarious is a longtime friend and supporter of our little news rag, and as a exercise in mutual back-slapping (and to celebrate his recent move to the East side), the Mercury gang will be showing up for some drinking and dancing fun!
WANT TO WIN TICKETS TO GET ON THE GUEST LIST? Email me here by noon tomorrow, and I'll choose ten lucky people (and their plus one) to win free admission and party with us.
Again, that's the Special Mercury Edition of "Shut Up and Dance"(with DJ Gregarious) featuring your fave booty-shaking hits from the '80s to now! HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
Be honest: You’ve made a Harlem Shake video by now and you watch it ALL THE TIME.
Well the men and women who patrol our streets haven't had the time, people. They are busy — depending on your outlook — protecting you while you sleep or stripping you of sundry inalienable rights.
But it's not a party if the cops don't show up to wreck it, right? They're late, sure. Everyone's passed out or gone home and the Gin Blossoms are playing from a lonely computer speaker. But they made it.
Today is the final performance of MOMIX’s Botanica. Sensational and bright (with colors), with awe-inspiring intentions, Botanica is like one of those motivational posters from the ‘90s, set in motion.
MOMIX, the brainchild of choreographer Moses Pendleton, is brought to us by White Bird and has been in business (unlike a lot of dance companies, MOMIX is a for-profit organization) for over 30 years. They started in 1981, and, as already hinted at, the '80s and '90s definitely left their mark on the troupe.
The show is called Botanica, it’s not totally about nature or plants, really. It’s a lot more about illusions (a theme of the '90s—think magic eye craze ), MOMIX hinges on fancy props (credit to Portland’s Michael Curry) and costumes; they have lots of tricks up their sleeves. Some tricks include: Isolated human fists that glow in the dark and transform into baseballs being tossed across the stage; a body that looks like a kaleidoscopic, rolling on a slanted mirror; a puppet triceratops—that either devours or molests a female dancer (still unclear on that).
Of the big clients (see Hanes and Target) that MOMIX has worked for, the most telling is IMAX (they were featured in one of IMAX's first movies, from 1993, Imagine)—the visuals are impressive, nifty, and immersive, but not super affecting.
Tonight is the final performance of Compagnie Marie Chouinard’s The Rite of Spring (it’s a full month for White Bird Dance, which has a show nearly every week this February). The troupe puts on a great show—masterful and absorbing—but one that's hard to like, necessarily.
With one of the most sensual and renowned histories in dance, 2013 marks the 100-year anniversary of the original performance of The Rite of Spring. The choreography is since lost (Chouinard’s troupe presents their 1993 version of the piece), but Igor Stravinsky’s famous, mercurial score lives on. Read about the work’s tumultuous history, beginning with the Russian Ballet, here; in short, it’s a dance that caused near-riots in France during its debut, with its references of ‘primitive’ rituals and a young maiden who dances herself to death.
Marie Chouinard delivers. The French-Canadian company presents a piece that is ridiculously athletic, demanding, and relentless. At the same time, maybe don’t expect to enjoy it—it’s irritating, discordant, and bizarre.
Tonight was the final run of Camille A. Brown’s Mr. TOL. E. RAnCE, presented by White Bird. Too bad, because it’s really something more people should see. The dancers are incredible—dynamic, demanding, and emotive, for 45 minutes straight—accompanied by live, virtuosic piano playing (Scott Patterson), the troupe takes you through hip-hop, vaudeville, tap dancing…minstrelsy. Which brings it around to the heart of the matter (and there’s a lot of heart in this show): it sticks with you.
In one sense, the obvious sense, Mr. TOL. E. RAnCE is a study of racial types in the media (read: stereotypes—the thug, the video vixen) throughout the ages. The show starts with Patterson, alone on stage, playing incredibly, ragtime jazz; a video projection takes us through the credits, which star animations of famous black entertainers (Whoopi Goldberg, Dave Chapelle). This projection gives way to jerky archival footage, African Americans dancing in suits and corsets, in sepia tone. The dancers take to the stage, miming minstrelsy (the show is largely influenced by Spike Lee’s Bamboozled), tap dancing like madmen, and, later, slinging insults at one another, street posturing.
Huge news in the local arts community this morning: Oregon Ballet Theatre's longtime artistic director Christopher Stowell just announced his resignation from the company he's helmed since 2003.
Here's the statement from this morning's press release:
“After careful consideration and thoughtful reflection, I have submitted my resignation as Artistic Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre effective at the end of December. OBT’s Board of Trustees has determined that the organization must adopt a new business model and, after much thought, I have come to the conclusion that I am not the best candidate to lead OBT into that future.
To our dedicated audiences, I want to say thank you for your support of my work during my time at OBT. I believe that classical ballet, as an art form, has a great deal to offer this community and hope that you will continue to support OBT as an audience member and donor for many years to come. It has been the greatest honor of my life to work with everyone at Oregon Ballet Theatre. As I move on to new challenges and new frontiers, my experiences at OBT will go with me and for that you have my thanks.”
Read between the lines: Money troubles. (Just three years ago, the company went begging to the local and national dance community to stay afloat.) For more analysis of Stowell's legacy and his departure, you're gonna wanna hit Oregon Arts Watch, where Bob Hicks has an in-depth piece about the announcement.
A tangentially related bit of news that got lost in the weekend holiday shuffle: On Friday Artists Rep announced that Jon Kretzu will resign as Associate Artistic Director, alongside departing Artistic Director Allen Nause. This is really interesting news, especially given that much of the criticism of Artists Rep over the past few years—from me and others—is that they need to let someone other than Kretzu or Nause direct a dang play. Can't wait to see who they tap to replace the pair, as it'll have huge implications for Portland theater in the coming years.
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