Interests include dance, music, and culture of all -brows. Join me on my journey to compelling prose. (Twitter: @_ajohnny)

Mill/Lady was, for me, a back door into Brittany Bailey’s work. I first watched Light Dance with Girl a few months ago and wasn’t sure what to make of it. She’s a super articulate mover, and I’d guess her work searches for the places where an intense devotion to clarity (rather than, say, perfectly-timed execution) pulls a performer away from the task of rote recitation and toward an experience of movement ‘in its own right.’ I couldn’t have told you any of that, though, before watching Charlie Birns’ Mill/Lady (in which Brittany Bailey figures as the choreographer and the lead actor).

Dance for camera, in my opinion, tends to do a bad job of handling dance’s strangeness; it may overtake familiar sites and feature recognizable figures, but it almost never acknowledges the fact that people don’t tend to move like dancers when they’re not in a studio or on a dance floor or on a stage. And here, that conflict is both what defines the Lady as a character and outlines her relationship with the strange Man who shows up late in the film. The whole thing presents the relationship between ‘natural’ and ‘choreographed’ movement in a way that sounds clearly and richly both through the characters in the film and to dance film as a form. It’s definitely one of my favorite dance films at this point. (If you could call it that, which you needn’t.)

Also check out Charlie Birns’ WEASEL, another movement-heavy collab with Bailey.











You can’t tell me Black people aint magic



that was AMAZING

bruh if only i could do that on a pole…. $$$$$$$

let’s not forgot this was on a moving fucking train like damn

the development of Black culture is fucking ridiculous. i lovelovelove being Black


damn im sitting here amazed what in the hell they over there moon walking on the ceiling and shit

I never get quality entertainment like this on public transportation. Really cool, and not at all what I was expecting.


(Source: demaulished)

this grosses me out juuuust a little bit

this grosses me out juuuust a little bit

If you don’t have the sort of friends who share top-shelf material like this with you, then you need to rethink your life

One of the most interesting effects in this presentation occurred when Borton introduced an image made from two slides that had been joined together with colored gelatin placed in between. As the glass slides heated up in the projector, the gel melted and began to move, providing the spectators with the nineteenth-century visual equivalent of the lava lamp. If memory serves me right, I believe I heard oohhs and ahhs when these images were projected on the moving fabric of Sperling’s dancing robes.

dance scholars gone wild

(from Traces of Light: Absence and Presence in the Work of Loie Fuller by Ann Cooper Albright)

So last night the Center for the Art of Performance's dance season opened with Lucy Guerin’s Weatherwhich, as I and a few other colleagues described it, was “pretty okay.” My current advisor admitted she wasn’t too psyched about CAP’s dance offerings this season, and after last night I don’t blame her. Still, I hope her prediction doesn’t hold too much water; Susan Marshall’s latest piece, Play/Pause, is next up. And I’ve got skin in this — well, not really, but by extension and in my heart — since she’s the current director of Pton’s dance department (and was my dance thesis advisor!), so of course I’m hoping it goes over well. I was abroad while some of the students in the department were helping develop it, but I saw the results in the spring and they gave me pretty high hopes.

Anyway, this is part of the project. It doubles as a music video for Buke & Gase’s “Revel in Contempt.”


Man Dances Madly at Willie Nelson Concert (by Formoving)

I’m a little confused as to why some people are complaining that the video for “Ego Free Sex Free” doesn’t “do the song justice.” Besides dismissing it as “boring” (or, in one case, “conceptual”…which often feels like a hoity-toity way of saying boring) a few of the Youtube and Facebook comments argue that a song’s lyrics should be a video’s primary motivation. Even among those rushing to his defense, it’s implied that the kookiest or headiest of videos should be appreciated because it will illuminate a song’s lyrics by filtering them through another kind of experience.

I wouldn’t disagree with that first claim. Obviously p much all music-video crews keep a song in view while they’re building its visual compliment. But I don’t understand why the music video experience has to both start and end with the song? Or maybe I do — if there’s any lesson we ought to’ve learned this summer, it’s that a music video can completely warp your reading of its source. That’s a mistake. A video should be treated as what it is: its own arm of the production process, with its own telos. And it’s especially cool to consider (or at least begin considering, because I don’t even know the implications of this line of thought) how music videos destabilize and/or conserve the relatively coherent image an artist cultivates for each new project — and, of course, how that image persists between projects.

Maybe I’m contradicting myself when I say that music videos seem to hold both too little and too much sway in the evaluation of a musician’s output, but in any case they rarely seem to be treated as productive features in their own right? Does that make sense? More fundamentally, it seems to make a whole lotta sense to realize that music videos necessarily add something new to a song because, well, music doesn’t come with its own visuals? And that said additions shouldn’t be treated as something ultimately beholden to the music? Even people who are really keen on psychologizing an artist or digging into biography realize that the ‘work’ and ‘everything else’ are constantly in conversation…yet when it comes to videos, interpretation is a one-way street. 

And, well, just sayin’, but it’s no surprise that this kind of interpretation is all over a video that’s primarily movement-oriented. Nothing’s more slippery than a bunch of “peeps walkin around like robots the entire time,” as one Facebook guy puts it. (I kinda like that description but am not so keen on the “but that’s all there is?” idea.)

About two or three years ago, Autre Ne Veut put out a call for “a brilliant choreographer and a slew of enthusiastic modern dancers.” Nothing happened. Now we’ve got this video. Choreographer Moriah Evans (whose work I’ve been meaning to write about on here for a long time) has finally helped turned that dream into a great and appropriately bizarre reality. One of the reasons I’m continually impressed by Autre Ne Veut is because he himself has a surprisingly keen sense of movement. Just check out any of his publicity photos. One of my earliest encounters with his music was a grainy fifteen-second cell phone recording of his live show, during which he literally rolled around on stage.

Music and dance have rarely crossed paths in independent music — unless the tryst was over-the-top ironic, as was the case with electroclash, or simply a less hip-hoppy version of the same relationship — and, well, Autre Ne Veut isn’t exactly experimental dance’s answer to Michael Jackson, but I’m excited by an artist who at least recognizes movement’s potential to make a productive contribution to his work.

(also: I’m gonna pretend this video was directed by the Bangs)

After we finished cutting the grass, I had to gather the stray clippings and drop them into a trash barrel. A breeze sent the dirt wafting away as I rushed to toss everything into the can — all I needed was a Bach chorale playing in the background and it would’ve been a Pina Bausch piece