Yesterday was an amazing T:BA day!
By 8pm, I was glowing. By 10pm I was oozing delight!
It was just a wonderful day, of performance and life.
Well, this is a bLog; so perhaps I should wax bloggerific for a bit…
It was such a wonderful day, of getting compliments from a client on a project well done, and then to hear similar praise from the contractor, which is more unheard of in architectural work; I had two delightful and heart-felt conversations with people that I profoundly care about in my life, oh and I switched over to honey-nut crunch Total cereal, just for fun.
But, the most important part, or atleast the part that you probably would care more about as a T:BA blog reader, is what happened in the festival yesterday… and luckily for you continues on today / tomorrow so you can see it too!
The evening started by witnessing Deborah Hay’s “Mountain”.
Deborah, in my opinion, has always worked with her dancers to create wonderful expressions of the human form and subtle interpretive stories…

“Mountain” was no exception. There was a dreamy sense to the production that welcomed in the audience. Of course, in a post-Oklahoma festival, when the dancers began to express sorrow or pain in their face; the audience broke out in laughter, thinking that it was supposed to be ironic or funny. It will be unfortunate if we cannot shed this skin of simplicity to look again for deeper meaning an compassion in performance again.
Then, yesterday brought the luck, good fortunate, compassion of letting me become submerged in Crispin Spaeth Dance Group’s “Darkroom”. [] It is an incredible contact dance performance accompanied by the soft and eerie music of composer Yann Novak. There are three performances today and tomorrow at 3/4/5pm. Yes, it is completely sold-out. And was well before T:BA even began, but camp out for the entire time if needed! Get yourself in there!
If you do not, then I can only give you a sense of the beauty to be seen within.
Imagine that you are with Jock Cousteau, delving deep down to the bottom of the ocean’s floor. In the heart of this darkness, flowing with the tides are tiny jellyfish or photo-plankton seemingly dancing with each other in a phosfluorescent glow. Spaeth’s production is about contact dance. I say “about” and not just simply “is” contact dance, because at the heart of the dance form in the intuitive sense of movement between bodies, bodies that need each other, bodies that would become lost in our jet-stream world without reference and symbiosis between each other. If you have ever engaged in contact dance, or some other form of mutual bodily movement, there is a readiness to knowing that if you watch with your eyes, that you will be able to respond to your partner through visual cues even before they have been physically announced to you. But, if you close your eyes the entire time, moving in a realm of complete sensuous fantasy, then you will begin to understand Spaeth’s sense of beauty and passion.
CSDG’s show is completely in the dark, I mean you cannot even see you hand infront of your face Carlsbad Cavern’s dark. Before the performance, you are asked to keep your hands and feel in your seat, so that both you and the dancers are not seriously injured. This is no amusement park ride, but the same caveat’s apply. Then, you are given a single night-vision monocle and asked to not remove the lens cap until the entire space is dark. A single flashlight fades, and pitch darkness surrounds you with its familiar cloak. Peering through the monocle, you see one/two/three/four dancers, moving / swaying together as in a slow, meaningful tango. Watching their glow through the lens, you are struck, but wait… is this something really that special??? Then you pull away the lens. Darkness! Darkness everywhere! You cannot see anything. You cannot even see the person sitting is a seat not two inches away from your shoulder. Wait, oh my goodness… this means that the dancers, whom are moving so beautifully before you cannot see a thing either!!!
With a new-found amazement, you bring the monocle back up to your eye and watch in this ever wonderful voyeuristic manner. As a person, lonely and starved might watch lovers in another apartment across the way in NYC. As a sniper might watch their prey innocently moving through their unknowing sense of security. You arm tires, and switching to the other eye, the world goes black again for a moment. You are reminded of the darkness. The dancers continue, swaying with each other, crawling across the textured floor to an unseen end, spinning through the air to catch an “Eekkkkkkk” from the guy two seats down as the foot of a dancer comes within inches of striking him in the face.
Thank you for an amazing performance.
Thank you for expressing the true passion of contact dance.
Thank you for welcoming me into your world!
I would have been fine to end the day here.
I exited Brunish Hall oozing and glowing in delight.
I called friends to let them know just how amazing it was, and that they should be able to partake in it, if only through my description.
I had an hour and a half until Laurie Anderson’s films, as I had missed the first one the other night, as I was stuck with the Oakies, so I casually strolled down to South Park for a delicious salad with feta and candied walnuts and a glass of Jean-Paul Brun’s chardonnay. Dipping a heel of bread into olive oil, and was just glowing. It was a day that just makes you delighted to be alive, a day that makes you content with the choices you have made in life and that which you have manifested around you.
But, in proper T:BA fashion, we did not have to end there!
Onto Whitsell Auditorium to see Laurie Anderson’s “Hidden Inside Mountains” [], a film commissioned by EXPO 2005 Aichi, Japan. It is a bit of Laurie, a bit of Greenaway’s “Prospero’s Books”, a bit of Lolabell. The second film, which I watched the other day, is a wonderful tribute to the pop-culture we now think of in the MTv 80’s. But, it is all Laurie, and well worth watching if you are a fan.
I could have ended the evening there.
I could have gone home, happy, content, delighted, enthralled; curl up into bed and sleep a beautiful sleep with my thoughts of the day. But, I had mentioned to a few friends that I would meet up with them at the Works, as had apparently every other person in Multnomah County. It was packed. The bouncers finally had to earn their bucks last night, and keep people out of AudioCinema after fire capacity was well reached, the biergarten outside still swarming with hordes of other patrons.
Yeah, I probably should have gone home.
I should have just skipped the comedy hour at the Works last night: the “yeah, I’m naked… fuck you” gong show.
But, atleast there was a fun dj to end the night.
Fredrick Zal
Architect | Sculptor | Advocate

Dark Room | 2006
photo: Benjamin Kirby