official mission

HERE/NOW exists to increase and diffuse knowledge
involving the intersection of Dance and Music.

next installment

INSTALLMENT 13
DATE: TBD
LOCATION: Open Flight Studio (OFS) 4205 University Way NE / 98105
SEATING: 730-8pm
SHOW: 8-945pm
ENTRY: $8 suggested donation
BEVERAGES: inspired selection of healthy cans and bottles
MERCHANDISE: packaged DVDs of past installments

(Please read Legal Notice at bottom of right column prior to attending. Thanks!)

search HERE/NOW blogsite

Friday, December 16, 2011

HERE/NOW: Installment 11 review on SeattleDances blogsite

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Seattle-based choreographer, dancer, Pilates instructor, poet, painter, candlestick maker and Coriolis Dance Collective co-founder, Christin Call (pictured above), was in the audience on Saturday evening. Read her thoughts regarding Installment 11 on the SeattleDances blogsite.

Thanks!

Christopher & Paige
Creative Directors | Curators

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Installment 11 (12/10/11)

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Pictured above standing (l to r) are Ryan "COHOSH" Converse, Brysen "Just B" Angeles, Karen Nelson, Dave Proscia, Tari Nelson-Zagar, Salo, Dennis Rea and Marissa Rae Niederhauser and sitting (l to r) are Vanessa Skantze, Sarah Lustbader, Lorraine Siu Lin Lau, Neil Welch, Natalie Mai Hall, Robert Tyree, Pearson Wallace-Hoyt and Naomi Russell.

------------------

In no particularly particular order:

1. There was a large graffiti tag on the building that plainly read "OCCUPY THE NORTH POLE" and I think the bad-music-toting Santas meant it.
2. I had a bomb of a precise realization just about punch me in the face at some point during the second or third duet: HERE/NOW truly celebrates the gifts of "the individual" in the context of "the group".
3. That realization and its connotations feels very... American. And I think I'm somewhere between mystified and proud about that.
4. "Wow... did that just happen?!" X at least 16.
5. Someone was early. Someone was late. Everyone was on time.
6. Tears. As usual. Which can make "working the lights" very challenging.
7. Spacetimelessness. As usual. Which can make "working the lights" very challenging.
8. Happy that we have committed to full color printed programs.
9. Too much talent for such a diminutive number of square feet.
10. Tell me where all the other art-based events are that focus on Celebration as well as Art and Craft... name them, and I go. (please see one of my favorite animated short films, Creature Comforts, for line reference.)
11. How is it possible that we always sell more beverages in December than in June?
12. Another packed house. Thanks, Seattle.
13. To Olympia to pick up two Musicians. Back from Olympia. Back to Olympia to drop off two Musicians. Back from Olympia. I think I might've just doubled my total number of visits to Olympia. (Kidding.)
14. Excited about the sociocultural potential of the Post-performance Interviews video journal series that we now shoot at the end of each evening.
15. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will always hurt me.
16. I love creating the group portrait. Photographing all sixteen participants, eight standing and eight sitting, feels so innocent and simple... like a 3rd grade class photo for a pre-digital yearbook... questionable sweaters and all.
17. Did Marissa RAE Niederhauser (D) and Dennis REA (M) really get paired together? Only at HERE/NOW... only at HERE/NOW, folks.
18. PDX in tha house! (When I was much younger, I once explained to my mother what "in tha house" meant. She began using it whenever possible. And she pulled it off, bless her heart. Which is a phrase she once explained to me. I still have problems pulling it off.)
19. Christin Call was kind enough to review this installment on the SeattleDances blogsite. See the above post for the link.

~ Christopher

------------------

The evening's duets in chronological order:

1. Brysen "Just B" Angeles (D) + Dave Proscia (M)
2. Vanessa Skantze (D) + Salo (M)
3. Sarah Lustbader (D) + Ryan "COHOSH" Converse (M)
4. Robert Tyree (D) + Neil Welch (M)

INTERMISSION

5. Karen Nelson (D) + Natalie Mai Hall (M)
6. Marissa Rae Niederhauser (D) + Dennis Rea (M)
7. Naomi Russell (D) + Tari Nelson-Zagar (M)
8. Lorraine Siu Lin Lau (D) + Pearson Wallace-Hoyt (M)

------------------

If you attended this installment, please take a minute and share your thoughts. What did you feel was the most engaging moment of the evening? Whose duet resonated with you the most? How did you hear about HERE/NOW and why did you feel as if you wanted to attend? Were you familiar with any of the participants? Did the evening serve as a catalyst for discussion amongst friends?

Thanks!

Christopher & Paige
Creative Directors | Curators

Sunday, November 20, 2011

DVD - Installment 10 - NOW AVAILABLE!

|select image for enlarged version|
Please select quantity:

[TOTAL WORDS IN POST: 267]

If you have a friend or family member who is a fan of Dance or Music you should consider gifting them one or more of the HERE/NOW DVDs. They serve as living proof that very, very good things have the propensity to occur when one Dancer and one Musician are randomly paired and given eight minutes to improvise together, and also as an ever-expanding historical archive documenting the region's Dance and Music communities.

They are respectably packaged and authored and come with complete program concept information, contact/credit information, outtakes, Post-performance Interviews (starting with Installment 10) a group portrait with the names of all sixteen participants and, of course, all eight improvised duets titled and chapterized making it easy to jump to specific performances or view the entire evening in chronological order. They also feature the evenings' printed programs (starting with Installment 3) highlighting who was paired with whom. One part bio, one part interview, the printed programs are uniquely insightful and a direct reflection of the working goals of HERE/NOW.

We've tried very hard to make sure the DVDs have features that resonate with fans of Dance and Music and we're always trying to invent ways to make them even more engaging. We've also tried very hard to make sure that our asking price ($16 + shipping costs if applicable) is reasonable, affordable and fair. (Note: all DVDs receive free shipping if being mailed to a destination within the continental US.)

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Thanks!

Christopher & Paige
Creative Directors | Curators

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Post-performance Interviews: Installment 10

video

To view a higher quality version of this video, please visit our HERE/NOWtv channel.

The Post-performance Interviews video journal series is based exclusively on asking participants and audience members to "say a few words about your experience at HERE/NOW". Honest, insightful, gracious and at times humorous, the thoughts captured on-camera never fail to engage.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Installment 10 (9/10/11)

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Pictured above standing (l to r) are Jill Marissa, Paris Hurley, Daniel Mullikin, Chris Segawa, Pol Rosenthal, Beth Graczyk, Christopher "Space" Howe and Brenna Monroe-Cook and sitting (l to r) are Molly Sides, Rainbow Fletcher, Annie Hewlett, Jody Kuehner, Ivan Arteaga, Serge Gubelman, Douglas Ridings and Jeffrey "Ffej" Mandel.


------------------


This installment, for reasons I'm not totally secure in expressing as accurate, allowed me to more succinctly realize something that I had only been given hints of along the way these past 2.5 years. And that is this: when we choose to attend staged time-based performances (music, dance, theater, etc.) we acknowledge two things: 1. that someone has taken the time to create the staged experience with creator-specific artistic goals in mind as that experience was being developed and 2. as an audience member, we expect that our time witnessing this staged experience will be filled with a proportionate amount of energy as was put into its development... i.e., it will feel justifiable for the experience's creators to have spent that amount of time creating this specific experience.


And inside the seed carrying these two acknowledgements is, therefore, this: our proverbial expectation bar automatically rises when we know we are about to witness a performance that has been staged vs one that has not. It would seem that we are not simply more prone to earnestly qualitatively analyze the staged experience, but only prone to earnestly qualitatively analyze the staged experience consequently because it is staged.


(Expectations! You're on in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...)


By no means the only reason HERE/NOW is always such a fantastically engaging and dynamic event, but the idea that a spacetime of purposeful zero-judgment is formed due largely to the improvisation-based performance format does seriously expand the potential of such an event becoming consistently fantastically engaging and dynamic. And that's incredibly reassuring if nothing else.


~ Christopher


------------------


It was hot and sweaty at Open Flight Studio the evening of September 10. Everyone was collectively coping with the heat. To willingly bear through it together and experience live performance created a bond. This was the first HERE/NOW that during the intermission the entire audience, as if fleeing a catastrophe, emptied the space. They returned. They were committed to being there.


HERE/NOW's format has many random elements. For example, random audience members are selected to choose a random pair of participants to improvise together. However, the outcome of these random elements seems to frequently create serendipitously idyllic scenarios.


Douglas Ridings opened the evening wearing an ornate black feather mask while dressed in a dark tailored suit. There was a sense of modern poise with reverence to animal form. Christopher "Space" Howe created ambient quietude and spaciousness with his electric bass and symphonic recorder. His sounds enabled Douglas to cultivate a dark, humble and primitive mood through rhythmic, defiant and contorted motions. I felt I was watching a shadow morph between animal and human form.


Rainbow Fletcher introduced layered imagery. Her physical form alludes to different physical archetypes: a classically trained ballet dancer, a professional gymnast and a burlesque drag queen. She entered boldly and quietly with glittery high heels and lips. Her lean and strong muscular form shouted loudly while her gaze is soft and generous. After removing the high heels, she created long, elegant and sustained lines through space. Serge Gubelman played a small family of cymbals inducing a meditative experience. Time and sound seemed to pause in this piece.


Jody Kuehner and Jeffrey "Ffej" Mandel took me into a surreal dream. Jody wore dark makeup that emphasized facial creases and lines giving an old masculine impression. Contrastingly, she wore a long brown wig, short shorts with a halter-top giving a young effeminate impression. Her motions were small and contained, solely expressed through slight postural shifts and hand, feet and face gestures to Ffej's science fiction like electronic sounds. It was as if she had been possessed by an alien being and was beginning to understand how to move for the first time in a new environment... while being witnessed.


Jill Marissa athletically attacked the movement in response to Ivan Arteaga's saxophone. She began in a runner's starting position. Supported by her arms, she ran underneath herself while mimicking the saxophone’s flutter-like sounds. She induced a sense of awe in me, at how she expressed her physical strength and precision, similar to the awe experienced when watching horses race - raw power.


Brenna Monroe-Cook opened the second half of the evening with a sense of quiet grace. Her motions were precise, gentle, romantic and poetic.Paris Hurley's tape recordings and live violin initiated and echoed these qualities. There was poise to every movement choice, a delicate extension. Her movements and emotions were seemingly contained and then released at her choosing. Simultaneously, her movements and emotions were also overtaking her. This created a sense of internal tension, yet appeared to be a pleasurable experience.


Annie Hewlett listened to Chris Segawa's distorted, high frequency ambient guitar. The sounds made me think of the arctic; how I imagine icebergs breaking would sound. She mentioned after the evening that her improvisation was not visual and the experience existed inside of her ears. In hindsight, this made sense. Her pathways were direct, simple and repetitive which induced a trance-like state. This state was seemingly paralyzed at different moments and reset to start a new pattern. She was caught inside a sonic experience.


Molly Sides’ motions were held inwardly and released in an elastic suspension, simultaneously pausing and pulling, creating a dramatic physical story. Daniel Mullikin's sounds from his cello, including live sampling, supported and generated this quality. Molly's movements were low to the ground, haunting and organic and reminded me of a creature. This was highlighted by a moment when she pulled her hair and opened her mouth. She made me think of the book Let the Right One In, whose main character is a gentle vampire in love.


Beth Graczyk took on the moment with a courageous physicality. She followed an explosive physical impulse that was guttural, athletic and sensual. She engaged with Musician Pol Rosenthal physically and sonically asking, and at one point even demanding, to be covered by the sound. She tossed his seed-filled metal bowls around and Pol decided to dance. Together they wrestled on the ground together in an intimate entanglement - so much so that when they paused, Pol's shirt was almost completely unbuttoned - everyone laughed. It was a cathartic ending to the evening.


HERE/NOW provokes me to wonder: is there a subconscious connection that exists between people? The pairings between Musicians and Dancers are randomly selected but appear to be intrinsically connected. Are the participants unconsciously selecting their partners? Were they supposed to meet one another, or had they already but just did not know it?


~ Paige


------------------


The evening's duets in chronological order:


1. Douglas Ridings (D) + Christopher "Space" Howe (M)

2. Rainbow Fletcher (D) + Serge Gubelman (M)

3. Jill Marissa (D) + Ivan Arteaga (M)

4. Jody Kuehner (D) + Jeffrey "Ffej" Mandel (M)


INTERMISSION


5. Brenna Monroe-Cook (D) + Paris Hurley (M)

6. Annie Hewlett (D) + Chris Segawa (M)

7. Molly Sides (D) + Daniel Mullikin (M)

8. Beth Graczyk (D) + Pol Rosenthal (M)


------------------


If you attended this installment take a minute and share your thoughts. What did you feel was the most engaging moment of the evening? Whose duet resonated with you the most? How did you hear about HERE/NOW and why did you feel as if you wanted to attend? Were you familiar with any of the participants? Did the evening serve as a catalyst for discussion amongst friends?


Thanks!

DVD - Installment 9 - NOW AVAILABLE!

|select image for enlarged version|
Please select quantity:

[TOTAL WORDS IN POST: 244]

If you have a friend or family member who is a fan of Dance and/or Music you should definitely consider gifting them one or more of the HERE/NOW DVDs. They serve as living proof that very, very good things have the propensity to occur when one Dancer and one Musician are randomly paired and given eight minutes to improvise together, and also as a means by which to archive the Pacific Northwest's ever-vibrant Dance and Music communities.

They are respectfully packaged and authored and come with complete program concept information, contact/credit information, outtakes, a group portrait with the names of all sixteen participants and, of course, all eight improvised duets titled and chapterized making it easy to jump to specific performances or view the entire evening in chronological order. We've also decided to insert into each DVD case a neatly folded copy of the evening's 8.5" x 14" printed program detailing who was paired with whom in addition to engaging information about each participant in a part-bio, part-interview format.

We've worked very hard to make sure the DVDs have features that resonate with those that are fans of Dance and/or Music and we're always trying to think of ways to make them even better. We've also tried to make sure that our asking price ($16 + shipping costs if applicable) is reasonable, affordable and fair. (Note: all DVDs receive free shipping if being mailed to a destination within the continental US.)

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Gratefully,
Christopher & Paige

Creative Directors | Curators

Thursday, August 25, 2011

HERE/NOW awarded smART ventures Program Grant!


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As Steve Jobs has said approximately 2.7 million times (incidentally: also the number of iPhones sold per hour) regarding the Apple product de jour, "it just works." The same could be said about HERE/NOW. And like most if not all Apple products it's also exciting, engaging, easy to navigate, community-oriented, dynamic and well-organized underneath the surface. And while we have felt very proud of what we have been able to build in the 2.5 years HERE/NOW's been an active quarterly event, a good idea tends to feel a whole lot better when it receives some variety of hefty external acquiescence. And, so, after many purpose-refining conversations and time spent crafting the program into clear and robust terms has come the full support of the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs in the form of a one-time special projects smART ventures Program Grant. The grant was used to produce Installment 9 and represented the first time HERE/NOW was not strictly an out-of-pocket production. This is a profoundly important step for us, one that we hope will lead to our being able to attract and retain diverse and sustainable funding sources as well as create good and lasting bonds with value-sharing community partners. Which, in turn, will enable us to expand the breadth of HERE/NOW in ways that will exponentially add to the tack of our mission statement: to increase and diffuse knowledge involving the intersection of Dance and Music.

Special thanks goes to Paul Rucker... artist, musician and friend... for helping us in our attempt to receive this grant. His steadfast advocacy of the HERE/NOW program and its working as well as future goals is a testament to his dedication to growing the reach and impact of performance-based art within Seattle's communities. He is a valuable asset to earnest artists everywhere in this city through his honest and transparent leadership within the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. If you see him around town and are so inclined, please take a minute and thank him personally for the vital role he has played in helping us ensure HERE/NOW's place in the arts calendar. We couldn't have done it without you, Paul. Thank you.

We also couldn't have done it without any of you either. If you are someone who has made a point to be a HERE/NOW patron, thank you for choosing to spend your evenings with us. In fact, this grant was able to be applied for with any amount of confidence because of your effort, your vote for HERE/NOW as a vital art-based event a direct reflection of your patronage. If you have participated in HERE/NOW as either a Dancer or Musician, it goes without saying that we have loved having each and every one of you there, representing your specific artistic interests, and we thank you deeply for being courageous enough to do so.

Finally, if you are someone who feels the HERE/NOW program plays an essential role in the contemporary sociocultural dialog, or you are an advocate of Dance or Music, or you are interested in potentially creating a professional working partnership with HERE/NOW, or you share the belief that willingly experiencing randomness enriches the fertile ground from which life itself develops and therefore you feel compelled to further our cause by making a personal contribution to HERE/NOW, please contact us and we will make time to speak with you.

Gratefully,
Christopher & Paige

Co-Creative Directors | Co-Curators

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Installment 9 (6/18/11)

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Pictured above standing (l to r) are Scott Bell, John Dixon, Leyya Mona Tawil, Mark Johnson, Colin Pulkrabek, Dean Moore, Markeith Wiley and Mark Schlipper and sitting (l to r) are Rebekka Goldsmith, Devin McDermott, Peggy Piacenza, Mônica Mata Gilliam, Danielle R. Hammer, Alfredo "Free" Vergara, Eric Chappelle and Rosalynn De Roos.

Energy. Being the vessel responsible for containing this force is about as close to a thankless job as could ever exist. But it is an undeniably important one: energy always striving to break free of its vessel and the vessel always striving to keep energy within its shell, perhaps the ultimate struggle for balance, for a kind of neutrality, a peace. Recent events in Japan radically illustrate the fragility of this expand-contain relationship that energies have with their respective vessels.

Einstein captivated the world when he equated the energy of a body at rest with its mass times the speed of light in a vacuum squared. This mass-energy equivalence exhibits relativistic effects when the body is not at rest relative to the observer. Provocative then, infinitely leaned upon today.

I once watched a video online of a talk given by Bill Gross of Idealab. He presented his company's flower-shaped solar energy collector and Stirling engine redux. An inventor since his high school days, he concluded by talking about how we are very casual about our energy use in our day-to-day lives. And he allegorized this notion by pointing out that just the lights above the stage that he was on were equivalent to approximately 15 horses running at full speed. With this in mind, how much energy is required for each HERE/NOW installment?

Vessels in their eternal battle of containing/releasing the energy held within them. Bodies in motion relative to their observer. Management and allocation. Installment 9, more than any other installment so far, made me really think about the larger topic of energy... how it is employed and for what causes, how it is stored and why, what are the root factors causing it to be so fantastically present in some moments and so ominously void in others, how it is transferred, willing or otherwise, from one vessel to another.

Installment 9's vessels did not seem satiated idly containing their innards. It was very much an atomic free-for-all like that, a bulky birthday cake in celebration of honesty and creation.

~ Christopher



ENTRY

John Dixon responded to the lights fading in.


Markeith Wiley walked in wearing three jackets.


Peggy Piacenza felt compelled to directly address the audience regarding her artistic intentions.


Devin McDermott and Rebekka Goldsmith stared intimately at one another while standing toe to toe.


Danielle R. Hammer began on the other side of Dean Moore’s gong.


Alfredo "Free" Vergara began with a kneeling posture on the ground.


Leyya Mona Tawil verbally expressed excitement at having been paired with Mark Johnson.


Mônica Mata Gilliam stepped close to Colin Pulkrabek.


EVOLUTION

John Dixon emotionally engaged with circumstance. Memorably, the coos of his baby watching from the front row while in the comfort of its mother's lap made him laugh and he affectionately bonded with one of audience member Lila Hurwitz's boots.


Markeith Wiley took off his jackets in the style of stop motion animation to Mark Schlipper's deep electronic rhythms. After they were removed, he precariously moved low to the ground. His power seemed to take him by surprise.


Peggy Piacenza, dressed in all black with red lipstick, sang that she was leaving on a jet plane while holding an onion. She paused a few times in a pose reminiscent of the dying swan from Swan Lake. At one moment, she took off a layer of clothes and began to move in chaotic spirals. In this moment, she no longer spoke and Scott Bell's violoncello raged. I witnessed a dark comedy that was vulnerable and highly personal.


Devin McDermott and Rebekka Goldsmith slowly walked away from one another as the lights fully faded in. I observed a physical exploration about following internal impulse. She paired spacious and undulating spinal motions with precise, strong and balanced foot gestures. Rebekka's voice both led and supported her exploration.


Danielle R. Hammer's hand began to quiver to Dean Moore's quivering sounds. I watched her physically manifest his sounds. She trembled, inwardly collapsed and explosively jumped. There was quiet build to her explosive movement. The experience was cathartic.


Alfredo "Free" Vergara and Eric Chappelle engaged in a palpable dialog. The violin evoked lyrical, playful and folkloric dance styles. Alfredo's expression of contemporary b-boy power moves and low to the ground Capoeira-like motions inspired Eric to play the violin rhythmically. Together, they expressed a duet filled with curiosity, joy, grace and expertise. Memorably, some of Eric's twangy sections inspired Alfredo to pretend to be riding a horse!


Leyya Mona Tawil started her duet with an iconic rockstar-worship pose toward Mark Johnson. Her motions pulsed and vigorously shook while in that kneeling posture. She tried to move away and change this idea but persistently returned as if consumed by adoration.


Mônica Mata Gilliam and Colin Pulkrabek engaged in a flirtatious dialog. At one point, while Colin was standing, Mônica was in between his legs, moving them, as if trying to transport him across the room and simultaneously knock him off balance. Colin's trombone inspired Mônica to move in a social swing dance style mixed with abrupt leg gestures that were long and elegant. I laughed when she mimicked the trombone's sounds with wild facial expressions while wrapped in the studio's curtains, like she was trying to scare someone on Halloween.


END

Regardless of what was occurring when the lights faded out in each duet, it always felt like the ideal moment. I thought that there were three decidedly striking endings: Peggy (with puzzling eyes, searching the room while eating an onion), Alfredo (chose to freeze, referencing a classic b-boy move) and Mônica (trying to play Colin’s instrument while verbally expressing that she was there for him, like they had been through a challenging experience - and they had!)


After Installment 9, I walked away with many questions. How does the artist prepare to perform for an event that by definition does not seek preparation? How does this preparation impact their improvisation? How does an artist trust that they are already prepared? Observing the Entry, Evolution and End of each duet provided me with some interesting insights yet few if any conclusions. However, I was able to conclude that how an artist interacts with the unknown moment is a sincerely intriguing predicament.


~ Paige




The evening's duets in chronological order:

1. John Dixon (D) + Rosalynn De Roos (M)
2. Markeith Wiley (D) + Mark Schlipper (M)
3. Peggy Piacenza (D) + Scott Bell (M)
4. Devin McDermott (D) + Rebekka Goldsmith (M)

INTERMISSION

5. Danielle R. Hammer (D) + Dean Moore (M)
6. Alfredo "Free" Vergara (D) + Eric Chappelle (M)
7. Leyya Mona Tawil (D) + Mark Johnson (M)
8. Mônica Mata Gilliam (D) + Colin Pulkrabek (M)



If you attended this installment take a minute and share your thoughts. What did you feel was the most engaging moment of the evening? Whose duet resonated with you the most? How did you hear about HERE/NOW and why did you feel as if you wanted to attend? Were you familiar with any of the participants? Did the evening serve as a catalyst for discussion amongst friends?

Thanks!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

DVD - Installment 8 - NOW AVAILABLE!


|select image for enlarged version|
Please select quantity:

[TOTAL WORDS IN POST: 244]

If you have a friend or family member who is a fan of Dance and/or Music you should definitely consider gifting them one or more of the HERE/NOW DVDs. They serve as living proof that very, very good things have the propensity to occur when one Dancer and one Musician are randomly paired and given eight minutes to improvise together, and also as a means by which to archive the Pacific Northwest's ever-vibrant Dance and Music communities.

They are respectfully packaged and authored and come with complete program concept information, contact/credit information, outtakes, a group portrait with the names of all sixteen participants and, of course, all eight improvised duets titled and chapterized making it easy to jump to specific performances or view the entire evening in chronological order. We've also decided to insert into each DVD case a neatly folded copy of the evening's 8.5" x 14" printed program detailing who was paired with whom in addition to engaging information about each participant in a part-bio, part-interview format.

We've worked very hard to make sure the DVDs have features that resonate with those that are fans of Dance and/or Music and we're always trying to think of ways to make them even better. We've also tried to make sure that our asking price ($16 + shipping costs if applicable) is reasonable, affordable and fair. (Note: all DVDs receive free shipping if being mailed to a destination within the continental US.)

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Gratefully,
Christopher & Paige

Creative Directors | Curators

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Installment 8 (3/12/11)

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Pictured above standing (l to r) are Paul Matthew Moore, AJ Lindner, James DeJoie, Andrew McInnis, James Whetzel, Ericka Kendall, Kelli Frances Corrado and Michael Maricle and sitting (l to r) are Wylin Daigle, Alex Ruhe, Jessie Smith, Hendri Walujo, Lila Hurwitz, Mary Margaret Moore, Linda Austin and Nathan Dryden.

I.
There are very few if any art-related topics, issues, situations, angles of approach that haven't been addressed at some point by someone or a group of someones simultaneously on various levels to varying degrees shedding rainbows of prismatic light spewing in every possible direction, blinding countless innocent onlookers, audiences, subscribers, colleagues. But as a composer, musician and performer I feel there's one I personally need to address.

Now.

Here.

Hahaha... sorry, I couldn't resist.

Seriously, seriously... what needs addressing? This: at what point does sound itself become violent, the act of producing such sound an act of violence, and what are the very real and/or perceived ramifications given that that sound is occurring during a live performance where there is no button to push to make it stop? Well, not at the simple disposal of the non-performer anyway.

And why at this moment? Because: during two duets in Installment 8 (one far more than the other, truth be told) the Musicians made very conscious efforts to create sound that very purposely could be felt to be tapping on the volume ceiling. And anytime a Musician creates sound that taps on the volume ceiling there is one reaction, almost ubiquitous it's so universally present, that appears like a knee-jerk response... like blinking when something has found its way into our eyes that shouldn't be there. And that is, of course: PLEASE PLACE ONE OR BOTH HANDS FULLY OVER ONE OR BOTH EARS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

II.
The thing about sound that is consciously created to tap on the volume ceiling is that it falls into one of two categories. One: sound created by a very attuned Musician to produce a quick climax, meant only to linger for a few seconds, to cause all listeners to "wake up" and to experience a momentary shock to their nervous system. Two: sound created by a very attuned Musician to produce a lasting sensation, meant to linger for several minutes, to cause all listeners to "tune out" and to experience a "deep tissue charge" to their nervous system. Both are employed in hopes of using the sheer spatial power of volume as a protagonist in their performance, another layer into which is injected just as much art and craft as, say, tonality or rhythm. And with this element comes a profoundly new definition of "foreground". Well, not as much a new definition, I suppose... more a new placement, a new location in the transient sonic experience. And where is that new "foreground"? Exactly: inside you, the listener. Literally. And, I'm sorry, but how awesome in the purest sense is that?

III.
Volume, in and of itself, has little to do with any physical damage, per se. The culprit is more precisely the duration of exposure. In other words, yes, there is such a beast as a sonic version of the drip... drip... drip... drip of water torture, and it comes at you just as quietly and just as discreetly. Over time, a lot of time, sound of almost any volume harbors a very real ability to cause irreversible aural injury (please see ultra classic aural injury case study Pete Townshend, electric guitarist for The Who). But (and here's the beautiful catch, the one that those conscious Musicians will employ if and when appropriate) there is a volumatic range, a window so to speak, where sound can be heard and immediately perceived to be "dangerous" and "too loud" but in all reality it is neither. Uncomfortable? Perhaps. Jolting? Perhaps. Confusing? Perhaps. Disorienting? Perhaps. Inherently in bad taste or dangerous or violent or amateurish? Not at all.

(Sidenote: it's interesting to consider: when was the last time really great Music played loudly was a bad thing? When was the last time really crappy Music played loudly was a good thing? Conclusion: it's not the volume, it's the Music itself that does or does not deserve to occupy that much space in the first place.)

Truthfully, no permanent aural damage will likely ever come from the potential volumes from a typical amplifier being used at any HERE/NOW installment. In fact, it would take stadium-like speakers to ever hope, on average, to even begin to harbor enough wattage to cause any serious aural injury via amplified sound. Also, each duet is only eight minutes in length... not nearly enough time for damage to occur even if such sound levels were being maintained during the entire duet.

IV.
So, what's my point? Sit back, remove your hand or hands from your ear or ears and allow the sound to penetrate your consciousness, let it resonate as it is designed to do, let it become an engaging aspect to a performance that you might otherwise be inclined to deem "too loud" and, most of all, trust that a Musician, regardless of appearance, age or instrumentation, knows exactly what they are doing and is trying to give you, the listener, a kind of gift via their art that is a very rare treat indeed: an actual aural experience in the most fearless way possible: the dynamic sculpting of sound waves. But be careful... it's beautifully addictive.

Ask past participants AJ Lindner (professional audio engineer), Kelli Frances Corrado, Timm Mason, Briana Jones, Beth Fleenor, noisepoetnobody (aka Casey Jones) or myself. All of whom would be happy to elaborate on the topic I'm sure. In fact, you just might get an earful. Wah wah wah.

V.
Exit. Stage wherever.

~ Christopher



For me, Installment 8 brought up questions about personal thresholds. What compels performers to push thresholds, their own as well as those of the audience? What can be gained from witnessing and experiencing the perception of a personal boundary being pushed? Installment 8 opened with a shock. Within the first minute of Wylin Daigle (Dance) and Michael Maricle's (Music) duet, Wylin completed a back handspring into the splits - while wearing socks! My eyes jumped out of my head, and I uttered to myself, "Wait a minute! Did that just happen?" I had no idea that she had formal training in gymnastics. Toward the end of the duet she launched into an aerial and her head was an inch off the ground. While it was obvious these movements were known, there was a slight unfamiliarity in their execution, like they were a past experience that unexpectedly came for a surprise visit. The charged setting of HERE/NOW summoned this risk. It invited her to push a personal threshold.


In the following duet between Jessie Smith (Dance) and James Whetzel (Music), Jessie slid onto stage with a chair in hand, unable to walk because she had an injured left foot. She arrived to the event on crutches, curious about how her limitation would create new possibility. I partially held my breathe while watching Jessie not only push the limitation of her injured ankle but also the healthy ankle by letting it constantly give way as if both legs were debilitated. There was a willingness to overcome a perceived fragility. While watching her move, I saw a struggle between the desire to explode into a virtuosic physical dance and the real limitation of her ankle injury. James performed on the sarod, an instrument primarily used in classical Indian music, and it poignantly highlighted this struggle. It was a cinematic sound weighted and introspective. Incidentally, it exposed and supported the honesty of the dance and the internal world of the dancer.


During the fourth duet of the evening, AJ Lindner (Music) created sound from modular and home-built analog synthesizers at a frequency and amplitude that was both exhilarating and physically challenging. The music was invigorating because it felt all consuming and immersive. I was not so much listening to but feeling it. My chest vibrated, my blood circulation increased, my ears pulsed rapidly. He improvised with Mary Margaret Moore (Dance), and as the HERE/NOW format seems to continuously produce, I found them to be a perfect pairing. While watching Mary Margaret, I could see her mind explore and work. There was an unusual sync between thinking and physical expression, so much so that I wanted to know what her mind was doing in the same way that I could see the movements of her body. The duet was an experience of loud, penetrating sound and dance imagination. AJ provided the dense electric current that was both a vital impulse and a cumbersome obstacle for Mary Margaret, who curiously navigated through and around this inspiring impediment.


Alex Ruhe (Dance) and Andrew McInnis (Music) also pushed boundaries. Influenced by Butoh, the dance was confined mostly to one space and explored inner emotional and energetic states. Andrew's percussive sounds excavated and brought to life Alex's internal landscape. Together they created a suspenseful and supportive environment, which reminded me of taught aluminum wire. Alex mentioned beforehand that he normally wears white makeup and decided not to for HERE/NOW, which felt vulnerable. Normally the makeup enhances Butoh's concepts. Conversely, in this performance, no makeup lifted a veil to expose dynamic and volatile human states.


I am continuously reminded that the HERE/NOW format is itself uncomfortable and creates a heightened listening and responsive state, which leads to the creation of a charged and honest experience. The format itself pushes boundaries. In this process of boundary pushing, change occurs and new possibility emerges.


~ Paige


The evening's duets in chronological order:

1. Wylin Daigle (D) + Michael Maricle (M)
2. Jessie Smith (D) + James Whetzel (M)
3. Lila Hurwitz (D) + Kelli Frances Corrado (M)
4. Mary Margaret Moore (D) + AJ Lindner (M)

INTERMISSION

5. Linda Austin (D) + James DeJoie (M)
6. Hendri Walujo (D) + Paul Matthew Moore (M)
7. Alex Ruhe (D) + Andrew McInnis (M)
8. Nathan Dryden (D) + Ericka Kendall (M)



If you attended this installment take a minute and share your thoughts. What did you feel was the most engaging moment of the evening? Whose duet resonated with you the most? How did you hear about HERE/NOW and why did you feel as if you wanted to attend? Were you familiar with any of the participants? Did the evening serve as a catalyst for discussion amongst friends?

Thanks!

DVD - Installment 7 - NOW AVAILABLE!


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If you have a friend or family member who is a fan of Dance and/or Music you should definitely consider gifting them one or more of the HERE/NOW DVDs. They serve as living proof that very, very good things have the propensity to occur when one Dancer and one Musician are randomly paired and given eight minutes to improvise together, and also as a means by which to archive the Pacific Northwest's ever-vibrant Dance and Music communities.

They are respectfully packaged and authored and come with complete program concept information, contact/credit information, outtakes, a group portrait with the names of all sixteen participants and, of course, all eight improvised duets titled and chapterized making it easy to jump to specific performances or view the entire evening in chronological order. We've also decided to insert into each DVD case a neatly folded copy of the evening's 8.5" x 14" printed program detailing who was paired with whom in addition to engaging information about each participant in a part-bio, part-interview format.

We've worked very hard to make sure the DVDs have features that resonate with those that are fans of Dance and/or Music and we're always trying to think of ways to make them even better. We've also tried to make sure that our asking price ($16 + shipping costs if applicable) is reasonable, affordable and fair. (Note: all DVDs receive free shipping if being mailed to a destination within the continental US.)

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Gratefully,
Christopher & Paige

Creative Directors | Curators