Friday, October 19, 2007
Dance review: Donna Uchizono's Thin Air
Yesterday, since I wasn't going to a second showing of Appommatox, I was free to accept comps, from my old Youth Orchestra pal Rob Bailis, for a showing of Donna Uchizono's "Thin Air," which plays twice more at ODC Dance Theater (which Rob directs), tonight and Saturday.
"Thin Air" was the perfect antidote to my night at the opera, though at first I didn't recognize it as such. The piece started out with three dancers perched on ladders, bobbing their heads. They bobbed, then they kept bobbing, and when they were through with that they bobbed some more. I didn't think to check my watch but experientially it was about a quarter hour of bobbing. Then, very slowly, someone raised an arm. I thought Oh no. This.
Oh no quickly turned to oh my god. Somewhere early in the unfolding of her ideas (in my case, after the bobbing) Uchizono got our attention and she did not relinquish it until the house lights came up. She has a virtuoso sense of scale, zeroing in on riveting miniatures in one scene and zooming back out to big stark pictures in the next. Her use of video projection was actually poignant. I could try to describe some of her devices but choose not to, because there's so much pleasure in the surprise of watching them emerge.
That said, I'm going to go again Saturday and bring James. For the sheer concentration of interesting ideas, for the high success rate of its many experiments, you should go see this for yourself. So should the creators of Appommatox. Ticket information is here.
- Paul Festa’s first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen (with Justin Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Harold Bloom; screenings: Grace Cathedral, Barbican Centre, Library of Congress; “Remarkable”—The New Yorker; “Stunning”—Chicago Sun-Times; “Sublime”—Globe & Mail; numerous awards). Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his award-winning second film, The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy (“Enormous visual and musical inventiveness…full of pleasure and joy...Festa gives a bravura performance."—Film Threat). He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010, 80 min: with Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, Peter Coyote; screenings: Geary Theater, KQED; “Intriguing...entertaining...a valuable record”—Variety). Performances as violinist and actor: ODC Theater, Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff, TheatreFIRST, North Bay Shakespeare, Albert Fuller's Helicon Ensemble (Merkin Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall). US, Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on the “Betts” Stradivarius) premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and several anthologized essays, and has written for The Daily Beast, Salon, Nerve, and The New York Times Book Review. Current projects include a novel and Tie It Into My Hand (2014, ca. 80 min), a documentary feature that has screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at ODC Theater in San Francisco (with Alan Cumming, Gary Graffman, Peter Coyote, Mink Stole, Robert Pinsky; "A fascinating exploration of the artistic life, as rollickingly entertaining as it is insightful and stirring."—San Francisco Bay Guardian). Education: Yale (B.A.; prizes, honors, distinction), Juilliard (Cert., Adv. Cert., scholarships). Residencies: Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, Centre des Récollets.
- ► 2011 (27)
- ► 2010 (16)
- ► 2009 (63)
- ► 2008 (60)
- ▼ October (7)