TBA dissected

Ethel: Ethel’s Greatest Hits, 09:14:04, 9PM

Billed as an “irreverent” string quartet whose performance mayhave been better suited for a stadium than an intimate auditorium,Ethel took the stage. The world seemed to expand around thefoursome as they began to play and the audience was suddenlytransported to the Mississippi Delta, steeped in a deep southernblues. Violinist Todd Reynolds alternately bowed and strummed hisinstrument, guitar like, coaxing from it sounds more akin toelectric slide guitar than violin.

Ethel’s wildly diverse program, mixed with the performerscomplete physical immersion into their sound, created a thrillingevening of music. Highlights included a requiem with jazzimprovisation; a tribute to East Indian music complete with sitarand a composition that could only be described as Bugs Bunny’sInferno. Ethel left their audience in a grinning buzz, wantingmore. PAC

ChamekiLerner: Visible Content/Hidden Form

We had come to the Lincoln Performance Hall to witness a danceperformance. It was a presumably challenging piece, which in artspeak translates to: “You’re not gonna’ fuckin’ understand thisone, brother.”

What unfolded in the first dance piece seemed to be an astuterepresentation of how the abuse of one human being can often becomea part of themselves, a way of identification. The action of thedance, forecast in the movement of a matronly dancer, played itselfout with a certain violence as two male dancers manipulated andcontorted a female counterpart who, before the lights went down,was subjecting herself to the abusive contortions.

The second piece began with a dancer gasping for breath, herbody rippling with hectic motions. As she moved with practiceddebilitation across the stage, her three companion dancers becamecaught up in their own frenetic movements. These movements weresoon recognized as motions that we make every day in the course ofour lives: waving, itching, checking ourselves in the mirror, butamplified to grotesque proportions and repeated to the point ofimmobilization. All of this played out over what felt like isolateddays beginning in horror and ending with a scream. Challenging?Sure. PAC

Joanie 4 Jackie – Film

In a Guild crowded with women from all walks of life, I waslucky enough to receive a Junior Mint from a Riot Grrl. I was alsolucky enough to be hit with the full force of human emotion fromwomen across the country as their anger, wistfulness, love, humorand pretension filled the screen in short intervals.

This video chain mail experiment has been in progress forseveral years now and we received the best. The short films coveredevery style. Black and white art house fare played nicely with slowmeditative experiments that contrasted with wacky, animated storiesabout lesbian legends and lice.

At one point a young woman alone in her room confronts us,simply telling the camera about the horrors of her young existence.”This is not art,” she says. “This is my life.” PAC

33 Fainting Spells: My Little Sunbeam- Straight AheadPerformance Art

How do you marry the US space program with Chekov’s Ivanov? Thequestion seems absurd but as 33 Fainting Spells attempts an answerin dance, song and theater, we find a certain sense ofdistance.

We are never really allowed to enter fully into Chekov’s storyas we are constantly detoured by the absurd, stuffed owls, heliumhuffing, floating meat product. 33 Fainting Spells seems to orbitIvanov, but finally lands us on a foreign planet, looking back atour world to admire the tragic beauty of our lives and wonderinghow we’ll ever make it back. PAC

Andrew Dickson: AC Dickson eBay Powerseller- Sarah Rudinoff: GoThere

What better way to spend the afternoon of September 11 than inthe Wieden and Kennedy Atrium with character performer AndrewDickson espousing the virtue of virtual commerce? His empoweringinfomercial-esque presentation was like a heavy sigh after amorning of television dripping with misguided patriotism.

AC taught me that I’m not what I do, but more so I am what Isell. However, there was a specter hanging between the lines in hismonologue, when Dickson would slip ever so slightly from the ACcharacter that made me feel ever so slightly uneasy.

At the Machineworks performance by Sarah Rudinoff the specterthat had floated over Andrew Dickson’s eBay tour de force finallymanifested for me. When we lost Spalding Gray this January I wasn’tsure how to handle it. I had no personal relationship with the latemonologue-ist cum actor, but his untimely death was perhaps theonly time a celebrity passing had really left me a lump in mythroat.

His pieces were so profound, and sad, and brilliantly funny thatthey left me feeling not like I had seen a performance but rathersampled humanity. Knowing he had died in such emotional distresswas crushing. The second Ms. Rudinoff began her one-woman lifestory/musical I was given over to it, looking for Spalding’s ghost.By the time she actually emerged as a character in her monologue Icould feel myself welling up. Ms. Rudinoff is VERY good at what shedoes, even if the rendition of Ariel’s theme from Disney’s “TheLittle Mermaid” was frighteningly earnest. CJJ

Pulse Program DJs

Following Sarah Rudinoff at Machineworks were the Pulse ProgramDJs, a Chicago/Portland collaboration that promised a cutting edgemix of video and electro cuts.

Oh…I’m sorry. I must have fallen asleep. When you said cuttingedge I was thinking’04 not’94. Any night at Holocene you can getsame thing, only the mix is better and the video more interesting.Very disappointing. CJJ

Meow Meow

Meow Meow’s performance Friday night at Machineworks was aspectacle of kitschy Berlin-style cabaret and awkward adolescenthumor. Her musical performances were spectacular, her voice epic inproportions and her choices resonated with mid-century Europeansadness and drama. Her presence was like a Lou Reed album come tolife, daring and brash, but with a seamless sexualsophistication.

Unfortunately, her between number banter and audienceparticipation reeked of frumpy drag queen antics. But where frumpydrag queens are generally as awkward as Meow Meow purported to be,for her it seemed unnatural, and a complete waste of her elegance.CJJ

Headlong Dance Theatre: Hotel Pool

A good friend of mine has developed a personal mantra that untilnow seemed vaguely outdated to me. “Trippy times call forpsychedelic measures” always seemed to be a holdout from a worldwhere trippiness was a day to day hazard and psychedelia was aviable escape, but after witnessing the Headlong Dance Theatre Isuddenly realized that trippiness is as much a threat now as itsever been. Granted, by 11 p.m. Saturday night anything would haveseemed surreal to me, but I had no idea what I was getting into asI entered the Portland Hilton six cocktails deep. Even sober, whathappened in Hotel Pool would’ve been overwhelming. There weremoments where synchronized dance in the Hilton pool seemed sillyand gauche, but I’d say overall the performance and its underwaterprojection was a (sorry about this) swimming success. CJJ