Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pina Bausch - Ahnen

The first half of this piece was probably the favourite Pina Bausch work I've ever seen. I was really wowed by it, and somehow at the end of the night I didn't want to break the spell by writing down things on the way home, I wanted to let things stew over. So the list may not be as long as for other works - do add moments I missed off in the comments.

25 performers
stage with sand in the back and large cactii
jumping through a hoop and crashing into the wall
eating salad, nervously, little bits and lots of quick chewing
a woman with a big heart drawn on her face, sitting cross legged, obsessively grating chalk (or soap? couldnt tell) and stopping to put her hand on her knee
a woman in a large dress walking around, admiring the scenery, a man following her - first holding a tray with something wrapped in white cloth on it, then the same man is swirling around, she runs to escape him
a song about the Shinkansen train
tutus worn as headdresses
a wind machine and blowing newspapers
a woman carrying bricks in a wheelbarrow, noisily emptying them at the back of the stage (on the sand), building a wall
a walrus
a walrus saying a joke and clapping
a pianist and a saxophonist
a punk in a kilt
on the side of the stage, a woman in sunglasses eats very slowly, takes out a gun and shoots (surprising and making us jolt us every time!)
a jackhammer
a blindfolded samba/mambo dancer, who uses a towel to fan himself while dancing
three men on sun chairs, one is singing Carmen (L'amour est enfant de boheme...), the second one translating the words in English to the third, deadpan
wiping the floor in rhythm
a remote-controlled helicopter
an alarm

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

C'est intéressant w/c 20 Apr

Interesting, intriguing, exciting, amusing, enraging, fascinating things I recommend.

Music: Goldroom - Mykonos
According to my husband, I am a terrible music fan. He is a "let's listen to the whole album" kind of person ("this is how it's meant to be listened to"). I am a "Repeat song" ad infinitum sort of guy. If I like a song, it can take over my ears and mind completely. I will listen to it all afternoon at work, hitting replay every 3min28 on youtube. If I somehow forget and notice the absence of that melody, I jerk myself up and put it back on straightaway. I will listen to it on my commute home. I will put it on spotify and have it on repeat until my other half comes home and my obsession has to be  on hold until the next morning. (I may sneak in another listen before going to bed, while he brushes his teeth). 
My current obsession is this rework of Fleet Foxes's Mykonos, by Goldroom, a guy who makes sun-kissed grooves and takes the original folk version into completely new territory: French-touch, Ace of Base, tropics, that sort of thing. At my current rate of listening, my memory will imprint spring 2015 into this song. 

TV: BBC Young Dancer competition (BBC4)
The BBC has launched a Young Dancer competition (like they have a young opera singer one). I watched the first 'category' final (there will be 4 in total: contemporary, hip-hop, south asian, ballet) and was bloody impressed by the talent in the contemporary category, particularly those with their own choreography, or those made by their friends. I really liked this duet, by Jason Mabana. It made me think of Akram Khan and Sidi Larbi Cherkoui's works, and Hofesh Shechter in the second half too, without seeming like a rip-off, still feeling original.
You can see all the clips here. Get past the swooshy graphics, it's great.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pina Bausch - Auf dem Gebirge hat man ein Geschrei gehört

stage covered with soil
25 dancers + a brass band
a man in red pants, black shoes, red swimming cap, an elastic band over his face that squashes his nose, red sunglasses. he picks up balloons from his pants and blows them up until they explode, again and again. after 4 or 5 he stops blowing them too much and ties them up as one would.
a man lying on the floor, another man trying to put balloons under his body so he floats up, but some balloons explode.
a man and a woman chased by groups of men, and being made to kiss
a typical Pina walk dance, made only of flicking hands
a song about a hunchback ('bossu') and his wife, and somehow a turtle ('tortue') as well
a woman as a dead weight, being lifted by a man and moved energetically left to right so her arms fling about and hit another man
a woman, slowly walking down stage, back combing a piece of her hair, and saying "Pourquoi t'es pas calme? Calme-toi! Pourquoi t'es pas calme?"
a man yelling 'I want to kill! I want to spill blood!'
a woman walking slowly upstage, the auditorium gets very dark, the light is very dim. she wears a black dress, a black veil, we can't see her face. she carried a shovel and a chair. she starts burying the chair under soil
"la tete... comme ca! les jambes... comme ca! plantees! la taille hop la poitrine flack! tu meurs! tu meurs!"
song: parlez-moi d'amour, dites moi des choses tendres
25 spruces brought on stage, looking freshly fallen
a dancer singing, her long black hair being painted white with chalk by a man
a dancer in a black negligee running in circle, running, running, repeating an arm movement: right hand pushing the left to the side, then both hands coming back to her heart, then the right arm is flung forward as though she is trying to catch something. she then lies on the floor
someone who seems to be drowning
a woman chasing a man, who has her dress "why did you take it? give it back! why? why? give it back!". when she gets it back, he stands behind her and holds two chunks of her hair up (as though pulling it). she screams for a long time
double cartwheels
a dancer, bent down, her long hair parted forward so you can't see her face, dancing, lying on the floor, being marked with a slash of lipstick by a man
a man moving like he is playing drums, but the drum kit is actually four people's bottoms which he slaps
the male dancers running onto the stage like ballet princes, head high, one arm bent in front of them (hand to the heart), the other extended out, stopping and running on again

Monday, April 13, 2015

C'est intéressant w/c 13 Apr

Interesting, intriguing, exciting, amusing, enraging, fascinating things I recommend.

The Guardian: most disturbing novels list
The Guardian asked its writers and readers what novels unnerved them the most. Replies include Brett Easton Ellis, Murakami and many more. I'd add to the list Hubert Selby Jr's Last Exit to Brooklyn (the violence and self-hate, heightened by the stream-of-consciousness writing style) and David Vann's Legend of a Suicide and Dirt. Those really shook and it took me a good few days to get over them. I reckon it will be another 5 years before I read another Vann novel.

Music: M.O - Preach (Cahill Radio Edit)
This popped up on my soundcloud stream. The original has a sleek, mid-tempo beat, a la Aaliyah/TLC, and the video, while low on production values, emphasises the connection with baggy outfits and classic hip-hop moves. I like it a lot, but not as much as this pumping remix by Cahill. After 15 seconds I was like 'oh ok...' and wanted to be on a dancefloor where I could take my top off. And it made me miss some very good friends who now live way too far away... It's set to be my summer theme tune.

Food: Fennel, feta and bean salad (Leon)
Super simple, quick to make, and delicious. Perfect for when temperatures hit the twenties in the UK next week (no, we don't know why either... well..).

Music: Michelle Williams - Say Yes live feat. Beyonce and Kelly Rowland
Because a Destiny's Child reunion, even if only 7min long, will always have a place in this blog.

Monday, April 06, 2015

A book to make you scream in frustration and disbelief

I've just finished reading And The Band Played On, Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic, by journalist Randy Shilts.

Randy Shilts was a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle through the 70s and 80s and, as such, was in the eye of the storm. His account is very researched and detailed, focusing on key protagonists in the discovery of and fight against AIDS, starting from one of the earliest cases (a female Danish doctor who had worked in country hospitals in Zaire in the the 70s) up to the revelation to the public that Rock Hudson, one of Hollywood's biggest male stars of his era, was dying of AIDS, in 1985.

It is a gripping story, and sadly, a real-life one.

Reading the movements of Patient Zero (an Air Canada stewart who was at the centre of a cluster of victims in San Francisco, LA, NY and other cities), you can't help but gasp at the guy's refusal to believe his diagnosis and change his lifestyle.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

On my grandmother

10 years on, here is what I never want to forget about her:

- her cooking. Hearty, simple, epitomised in her ‘salmis de palombe’ (a stew of wild doves my granddad would have hunted) and her pasta with cheese gratin (so crusty on the top, so cheesy in the middle. I have never managed to replicate it)
- the blue/purple/flowery colour of the blouses/aprons she would always wear over her clothes. Always useful for cooking, gardening etc
- her habit of wearing lots of layers of clothes and cranking up the heating. Gosh we were always so hot in her house in winter!
- the self-deprecating way she always said she just knew nothing: ‘enfin tu sais moi je n’y connais rien!’
- her evening TV ritual: 6.30pm = quiz show ‘Questions pour un Champion’. That show is still running and everytime I hear the jingle, I am transported back into my grandparents’ front room again.