Gotta say, I'm excited about this one. I watched rehearsal for the "Dark Side" portion yesterday, with EBC Artistic Director (and founder) Toni Pimble polishing up some of the choreography. Me, I'm not a Pink Floyd fan (to put it mildly), but the dancers made the music work. In addition to "Dark Side" (for which The Floydian Slips will play live, behind the dancers, on the Silva stage), the Ballet is also presenting "Common Ground," Pimble's collaboration with James Oliverio, and Duran's piece.
More on rehearsal and my interview with Duran later, but here's the video of rehearsal for "Without the Cover," by videographer Neil Moyer:
Hey y'all! It's that time, from 9 am to 1 pm today â€” the National Arts Journalism Summit! They say we can use our websites to stream (without taking up bandwidth ... hm, we'll see about that!). So here 'tis! You can also use Twitter to sign in or to follow the discussion, with the hashtag #artsj09. I'll be in and out, what with meetings and such, but I hope to take part in at least some of it! After the event ends, I believe you can watch rebroadcasts of it here as well. Enjoy, arts people!
For several years now, I've been trying to figure out how to have a job, a garden, cats, a relationship and STILL go to Portland for as much as possible of the Time-Based Art festival at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (that's PICA, and for some reason I adore the acronym, as if a cute little typeface term mated with a kitten ... oh, never mind. Too much soda near the end of the day).
A couple of years ago, we didn't make any performances but did hit a couple of art exhibits whose gentle impact lingers. One, and I can't find our photo/video of it, was a humungous rotating mobile in a factory somewhere on NW Johnson (maybe one reason I liked it so much was that the space reminded me of the lovely Dia: Beacon, which I hope to see again SOON).
Last year (the cat died in August & the relationship wanted to see as much of TBA as I did), we tried to get to performances, but let's just say that the handling of media passes was less intelligent than it should have been. We did go on this extremely cool if bizarre walk with artist Khris Soden called The Portland Tour of Tilberg. (Here's his description of it.) That is to say, in Portland, Soden acted as our tour guide to Tilberg, Netherlands; and in Tilberg, he gave a guided tour of Portland. Fun, funky and while occasionally disconcerting also entirely charming. We also saw some seriously crap art (y'all, come on; I LOVE conceptual art, but it needs to be, I don't know, GOOD) and the most incredible thing, a music/dance/fountain performance â€” Third Angle New Music Ensemble / The City Dance of Lawrence and Anna Halprin. That was unexpectedly tremendous, and I think most of Portland eventually came out to see most of it. Also, it was free and didn't require an early sign-up something blah blah blah. Also, again, it was TRE. MEN. DOUS. Come to think of it, other than the crap visual art, what I saw of last year's TBA was pretty great.
Today, I got an email from the new media guy at TBA (Sept. 3-13), and I *think* there might have been some ... feedback ... last year about how it went down. One paragraph begins, "Our box office has changed our press ticketing for this year ... " which, I *hope*, means that I can blog more about TBA for the Eugene audience. (As usual, our intrepid Brett Campbell will be previewing TBA for the print version of the paper, and I'll do a little more on the blog, I hope, when I'm inspired.)
Aaaaaanyway, point is, the big thing this year is Pink Martini's Oregon 150 celebration thingy. Which is described here and was moved to the Oregon Zoo for some reason (size?). Here is what the TBA website says, and it's a tad bit fulsome, but whatever (also, here is NPR's Scott Simon talking with Pink Martini's Thomas Lauderdale about the whole thing from our Actual Sesquicentennial Date back in February):
In 1959, to celebrate the 100th birthday of Oregon, the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company commissioned the Grammy Award-winning radio personality Stan Freberg to write a 21-minute-long musical comedy about the beaver state. The result was a hilarious tale of two explorers in 1859 named Harry and David, their encounter with a witch, and the subsequent birth of a state which must go back into the bottle after 100 years â€¦ that is, if the citizens of 1959 canâ€™t break the spell. Sound confusing?
Well hold on to your myrtlewood, because a team of Oregonians, including Metro President David Bragdon, Chariots of Fire conductor Harry Rabinowitz, Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini, PICA Flash Choirâ€™s Sarah Dougher & Pat Janowski, and the writers of Livewire! have teamed up to write a new Act IV, complete with brand new songs and rollicking plot!
With sets by Scrappers and an all-star Oregonian cast backed by the 234th Army Band - Oregon National Guard and Pink Martini, Oregon! Oregon! 2009 will debut at the Oregon State Fair, followed by performances in Bend and Jacksonville. The final performanceâ€”in Portlandâ€”will be co-presented by PICA at The Oregon Zoo for one night only!
You probably know Pink Martini, ubiquitous as they are, but just in case, a slightly blurry video:
Below is a video of the 234th Army Band's "Hymn to the Fallen." So ... that mashup will be interesting. I guess I'll be looking for tix to this (as will you, if you know what's good for you and you claim to love Oregon!).
The Eugene Ballet Company in front of their building, from the Dancers Act Now website
Got this email earlier this evening from the Eugene Ballet Company. Sounds serious ... the bolds are mine:
Eugene Ballet Company Dancers Launch Campaign to Save their Jobs
Eugene, OR, March 25, 2009
In fear of losing their jobs, the 21 dancers at the Eugene Ballet Company (EBC) have launched a Fundraising Campaign,"Dancers Act Now' to help their company survive these tough economic times. EBC officials say the 30-year-old professional dance company is now facing a $130,000 deficit because of reduced ticket sales. They say this deficit could potentially force them to reduce their number of dancers next season. Jackie LaRue, Development Director at the Eugene Ballet Company says, "The dancers are actually raising money to save jobs for dancers. They have been getting e-mails from dancer friends across the company asking if there is any work. Other companies nationwide are cutting weeks of work or simply closing their doors. Our dancers have decided to be proactive, and to prevent EBC from ever getting to that point they're doing this fundraising campaign to help the general operating budget."
Some of the 21 professional full-time dancers for EBC who perform four showsannually in Eugene, and about 60 tour shows along the West Coast, say they have even had to take on other roles in the community outside their contractual duties with EBC because of this financial crisis.
But in their fight to keep their passion for dance and their world-class performances alive in the community, the ballet dancers have launched the website Dancers Act Now to increase awareness about the urgency of their situation. They are asking for donations and encouraging people to attend their upcoming events.
And to generate funds to help sustain their company, they are also selling T-shirts and tickets at the EBC headquarters in West Eugene for their upcoming fundraising event "Casino Night with the Ballet". The entertainment-filled evening at the Downtown Athletic Club will include live ballet performances, a jazz singer, appetizers, wine and more.
The Eugene Ballet dancers are also urging community members to support them by purchasing tickets for itssecond-ever performance of the adventure-filled children's version of Peter Pan at the Hult Center of the Performing Arts on April 18th and 19th.
We saw Swan Lake and enjoyed a lot of it. (I know it's expensive to have live music, but dance is *so much better* with live music ... guess I'll have to hit up next season's Sleeping Beauty or Nutcracker!) We've been planning to see Peter Pan. It might be good if the rest of Eugene joined me, looks like.
A clip of Peter Pan:
There's always something dancey about Feist's music videos. Her music never makes me want to dance, but somehow the spritely Leslie Feist manages to choreograph some dance number to her folk-pop songs. "My Moon, My Man" picks up where Dustin Hoffman left off in The Graduate, imagining a red-eye connection on the people-mover.
Key Moment (2:50): Probably the most choreographed of the entire video. Outright smoothness.
Of course, there's Feist "seen a gazillion times" video for "1 2 3 4":
And what would an installment of Dance Dance Dance so close to Christmas be without a dancing Santa?
THURSDAY, DEC. 18
Cajun & Zydeco dance, feat. Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters, 7pm lesson, 8pm dance, Rock â€˜n Rodeo, 7th & Willamette. $10 adv., $12 door.
FRIDAY, DEC. 19
Eugene Ballet Company presents The Nutcracker, 7:30pm today; 2pm & 7:30pm tomorrow & Dec. 21, Hult Center. $22+.
Middle Eastern Dance Guild of Eugene, feat. Raven, 8:30pm, Cozmic Pizza. $5 sug. don.
Waltz open dance w/lesson, 8:30pm, StaverDanceSport. $10.
SATURDAY, DEC. 20
Barn dance for seniors, feat. Country Club Band, 7pm, Petersen Barn Community Center. 682-5521. $2.
Winter Ball & Showcase, formal attire required, 7:30pm, StaverDanceSport. $15.
Classic dance video: Take three gorgeous, talented dancers and choreograph a high-energy number with a steady floor tom beat and hand-claps galore. Shoot it in black-and-white, use tricks of light and shadow, keep the camera moving, go easy on the jump cuts and dress the women up in heels, one-pieces and robotic arms (WTF?!!). A video like this reminds me why musicians/vocalists who make dance music better sure as hell be amazing dancers.
Key Moment (2:23): The dancers run up an invisible ramp (as if they didnâ€™t already look as if they were floating dance machines).
FRIDAY, DEC. 12
Eugene Youth Ballet performs The Nutcracker, 4pm & 5pm, Downtown Library. FREE.
Bolero social dance with lesson, 8:30pm, StaverDanceSport. $10.
SATURDAY, DEC. 13
Hosanna Dance Studio presents Adventures in Narnia, 1pm & 7pm today; 4pm tomorrow, Performance Hall, LCC. www.hosanna-foundation.org $10-$15.
Hot Flash Dance, 5pm-9pm, Diabloâ€™s. $8.
Contra social dance, 7:30pm, Roosevelt Middle School gym, 680 E. 24th. $7, $6 stu.
SUNDAY, DEC. 14
Coalessence, social dance in the ecstatic dance tradition, 10:30am, The Tango Center. 343-2246. $5-$10.
Adventures in Narnia continues. See Saturday.
THURSDAY, DEC. 18
Cajun & Zydeco social dance, feat. Cedryl Ballou & the Zydeco Trendsetters, 7pm lesson, 8pm dance, Rock â€˜n Rodeo, 7th & Willamette. $10 adv., $12 door.
And of course there's always dancing at The CLUBS.
One of the first dance videos to blow me away was this clip for Daft Punkâ€™s â€œAround the World.â€ Like the song itself, itâ€™s a mishmadsh of mummies, B-Boys, synchronized swimmers and skeletons, all dancing to the steady, repetitive Daft Punk beat, and it kicks off Dance Dance Dance this week.
Key Moment (2:25): Dancing skeletons commingling with bubbly, bouncy ladies in swim caps.
FRIDAY, DEC. 5 Samba dance (social dance) with lesson, 8:30pm, StaverDanceSport. $10.
SATURDAY, DEC. 6 Square dance (social dance), featuring Molasses String Band, 8pm, Fir Room, EMU, UO. $3-$5.