Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Calling all City Creatures...

Here's my latest:

I'm embarking on a multi-month exploration of our personal relationships to cities. Working title: City Creature.

I don't need to say much about the changes that are sweeping San Francisco right now; that's a part of my impetus for doing this, as a matter of course. But there's lots more to explore, and I'm excited to begin.

My exploration will take many forms... at the moment I'm fascinated by the ways in which we imagine the places we live to be living beings, and the relationships we have with these imagined creatures. As a first step, I'm collecting the imagined creatures of others. Your imagined creatures.

These creatures have seen a lot of changes in the Dogpatch

I love worksheets and forms, so I've created one that you can use to describe your city to me:


I'd be delighted to hear from you.

You can follow micro-blogged moments of my exploration on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and the like with #citycreature -- you can use it to add to the conversation as well.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

O Best Beloved

I should probably let you know about www.obestbeloved.org and the current status of our summer tour: it is on! August 3 through Sept 14 at a park or public space near you, aboard our mobile stage (currently a work-in-progress) named FluxWagon.

FluxWagon in transit. Model by Joan Howard.

FluxWagon unfolded into theatrical glory. Model by Joan Howard.

We have two new ensemble members and are having a spectacular time getting to know their characters, Arby Darby and Princess Gwen, devising new bits for all the characters, and working on two new stories to share.

Friday, May 30, 2014

"Meltdown Fugue" @ HATCH

Photos by the wonderful Serena Morelli of "Meltdown Fugue" at the HATCH Festival of Devised Performance, April 24-27, 2014.

Soren Santos, Christy Crowley and Julie Douglas in "Meltdown Fugue."
Link to the full set of photos on Flickr

"Meltdown Fugue" was a structured improvisation, set to J.S. Bach's Prelude & Fugue in E-flat minor, BWV 689. Christy Crowley, Julie Douglas and Soren Santos performed it at HATCH; the week prior, Maria Leigh, Soren and Julie performed it at the Theatre Bay Area Directors' Showcase, minus the 'preshow' element of the three actors milling about in the audience, periodically melting down.

The piece started each evening, and the three performers delivered whatever curtain speech was necessary, in the midst of another meltdown.

I think "Meltdown Fugue" might become a performance recipe. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Artistic Inspiration week

This week is Artistic Inspiration week. As of a short time ago, it occurs during the first week of every month, and consists of actively (or passively) seeking put some art form that is not my own. So maybe I go to an art museum, or treat myself to a book of poems, or a concert.

Yesterday, at City Lights Bookstore, blessedly open til late as befits an urban bookseller, I found (with help from the other half of Idiot String) Grapefruit by Yoko Ono (labelled "poetry" but not shelved there, thankfully), and this book for students of architecture and urban planning. I couldn't put it down because of the way it so purposefully included public artists as designers/editors of urban spaces, and spoke of the narratives constructed in and around urban spaces as part of the communities there. Simple stuff, perhaps, but exactly the stuff that floats my boat.

And for Yoko Ono... Well, so far my favorite instruction/piece is to tie gifts with cassette ribbons of never-listened-to recordings of falling snow. Also simple, also beautiful.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The development of "Meltdown Fugue" - my piece for the Hatch Festival

So what the heck am I creating for the Hatch Festival?

I'm calling my piece "Meltdown Fugue" -- but I don't want to give too much away by describing it. Instead, I'll share some of my inspirations and fascinations....

In particular, I'm intrigued by the ways we make metaphors. Since 1979, according to etymonline.com, “meltdown” describes not only the literal melting down of a nuclear reactor core, but any incident of quick and castastrophic collapse. Financial systems, emotional stability, organizational structure… How do these behave like a molten reactor core? And after the meltdown, what is left?

I’m particularly fascinated by dictionary definitions, encyclopaedia entries, and scientific tracts. I invite you to create your own definition of “meltdown” here.

I've done some studio explorations with the other Hatchlings as well as some outside collaborators, including Julie Douglas, Maria Leigh, Soren Santos and Marlene Yarosh. We've taken imaginative forays into ice cream, hot summer days and volcanic lava, and a literal foray to Bernal Hill park.

[Soren, Emlyn, Marlene & Julie at a HATCH studio day.]

Finally, I've decided to get radically simple with the concept, exploring literal substances that melt, and the most common use of the "meltdown" metaphor, to refer to emotional collapse.

Please come see what results at the Hatch Festival, April 24, 26 & 27!