Saturday, November 28, 2009

Harrods - a Spiritual Home away from Home

A Day & a Half-ish in London: Hot off the Heathrow express (should have got the tube really - next time when I'm back to try on the dress, see left), we lounged around Harrod's for the afternoon, like two children in a toyshop. It was amazing! Dollhouse cafes, Egyptian Sphynx staircases, Willy Wonka-style yum yums, Sushi if you want it, basically - whatever your heart desires! The furniture, the anitiques, the grandfather clocks, the fashion! This incredible dress, which I think would be perfect for a Marina Carr play (plastic feathers, bird-like) is by a new Dutch designer Harrods are launching called Iris Van Herpen. It only costs £10,000. Another one was £15,000. I was so tempted to try it on, which the sales assistant was inviting me to do "Why don't you try it on?" she offered. But by that stage we had wiled away so much time in the other dimension known as "Harrods", that if we didn't leg it right away we risked missing the show we had come to London to see - Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre's breathtaking Rite of Spring at London's Coliseum. The old man I sat beside in the Upper Balcony (we were just 2 of a 2,700-strong audience) shared that the other 2,698 were a much younger audience than usual, which (according to him), is usually a sea of grey hair.

Here is a link to more info on Iris Van Herpen's "Radiation" philosophy of this dress:

Here, I'll quote some:

"RADIATION INVASION: We are all surrounded by invisible radiation waves, a fact that is both frightening and very interesting according to the designer. What if, in the near future, we could see these radiation waves? Van Herpen draws inspiration from this theory and the ability to control (attract and reject) the radiation waves around our bodies. There is an underlying beauty to this whole new external dimension and van Herpen translates her fascination for radiation waves into a future beauty image.

“ I think that in the future people will find ways to be able to see radiation which will develop a new dimension apart from the body. Imagine we could attract and reject radiation waves as a magnet. “Being beautiful” will then get a totally new and more extended form” says Iris van Herpen."

PS: Tacky, but sad, below that's a statue of Dodi & Diana, near Harrod's left-luggage staircase, with the title "Innocent Victims". Sorry so out-of-focus. Can I blame my iphone? I think so!

Random Pop Life Images, and a Curious London Street SIgn.

Daniel, Morgan John. Damian Hirst 1992. Identical Twins in Pop Life, Tate Modern

Una & I stumbled upon these two dudes at the Pop Life exhibition, Daniel and Morgan John, and guess what, they were part of an art work! A talking, breathing, moving, living art work. Talk about interactive... They said the chairs are rather uncomfortable, but that's probably how Damian, who they haven't yet met, wants it. He cast them via photographs. This art piece is worth £1.2m?! I was wondering what it would be like having this art piece in my living room. Ha ha! I mean, you'd probably have to feed them and everything. It would be a little more work than a house-plant! Would you have to sing to them? (You know how some people sing to their plants). They were reading a hospital study about identical twins, which they were part of. One of them showed me the top sheet of his multiple-choice questionnaire twin study, but declared he didn't want me to see the page about bowel movements (!). I wouldn't blame him, neither would I. They didn't divulge what they do for a living, but they did tell us that another set of twins (they do 4-hour shifts), were both CEO's in an insurance company. They wore their own clothes - one of them had two identical suits, so they wore that "to keep costs down". I thought it would be rude to ask them how much they were getting paid for it, but look below, everything is a discreet google away these days. £7.60 per hour. They have to wear identical socks, shoes, everything. I didn't ask them about the undergarments, but you'd imagine that would be part of the overall aesthetic too. Ha ha it's brilliant! Una, very astutely, came up with the bright idea that Damien should now cast Jedward in the piece. Well, they're at a loose end, aren't they, and love the whole celebrity circus? Perfect synergy! Remember it was Una Kavanagh who came up with the idea though. This was a great exhibition. If you are in London - pop in.

"London's Tate Modern museum is mounting an exhibition on Pop and post-Pop art (titled, appropriately, Pop Life), and one of the pieces, a pair of street art-crusher Damien Hirst's dot paintings, requires a rotating cast of identical twins. The Tate is willing to pay you and your twin £7.60 per hour (approx $12.66) or £30.40 per four-hour shift (approx $50.67), pending your sufficient verisimilitude, enthusiasm and (if applicable) consent from your parent or guardian.

Incidentally, don't miss the video of Hirst explaining what the job entails to The Guardian, and then, if you're not put off by his comment that "Identical twins are kind of like a crazy aberration," click over to the Tate website to apply. There's no mention of visa requirements, so presumably American twins could head to London and spend the winter earning a living as art."


& for more:

Noam Chomsky - my hero.

Monday, November 16, 2009

David McWilliams & Contemporary Dance? Yes, Actually.

An unlikely combination, but here they are, side by side, in a paper I gave at Dance Research Forum Ireland's 1st International Conference at University of Limerick in June 2006 entitled "Freeing the Body, Freeing the Nation". So much has changed in Ireland since then, that it's high time for a follow-up paper on "the body" of our new negative equity nation... Believe it or not I first set eyes on this publication last Friday, November 13th (lucky for some!), at the launch of DRFI's 2nd International Conference Proceedings in the swish new Millstream Common Room at University of Limerick, by Davide Terlingo. Well - better late than never! Click twice on the pages to enlarge them, (please bear with me while I figure out how to master the layout issue) and join me in mulling over what the sequel to this paper would be...

Monday, November 9, 2009

The amazing Julia Judge in Film Ireland

How lovely to be reminded of my good pal from Rockaway, NY, Julia Judge, by her friend Pat Schneider who's in Dublin for a visit. I brought Pat for a glorious November stroll on Dunlaoghaire Pier, watching the glistening changing light on the water, the sailboats, and Howth head way across Dublin bay yesterday. As we were walking back in, one of those cute little sailboats we were admiring must have got performance anxiety or something, lost the run of itself, flapped. and crashed into the pier. (!) A crowd gathered. I tried to think of advice (take down the spinnaker? trim the sails?), but luckily the two young guys had pushed off again before I had to utter. They seemed oblivious to the round of applause they got from the assemblage of Sunday strollers. I was glad it wasn't me in the boat! On the way back into the big city, we dropped into the amazing box in the docks, and perused Wunderkammer of Curiosities. More water glistening, and Boland's Mills. We wandered through Martha Schwartz's Disco dancing light sticks, ogled Daniel Libeskind's Grand Canal Theatre, and then Pat offered that Santiago Calatrava's new Samuel Beckett Bridge was like a harp, piano strings, or, um, yes - a wishbone. Yeah! It's pretty nice, and now that you mention it Pat, rather poetic. What can I say, my neighbourhood is shaping up alright...

Here is the interview I did with Julia for Film Ireland, many moons ago (who's counting?! Certainly not me!). Julia is a film fiend, who has produced films, run film festivals, and worked as assistant to the one and only Marty Scorsese for many of his masterpieces. Julia took me for a stroll that day, a little while back, around that fountain at Lincoln Center Theatre (where she works), just like in The Producers. (Sorry this is an old photocopy with some of the edges shaved off, but you can get the gist of it):

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Drama Review/ The People Have Never Stopped Dancing Review

Volume 53, Number 4, Winter 2009 (T 204)

E-ISSN: 1531-4715 Print ISSN: 1054-2043

The People Have Never Stopped Dancing: Native American Modern Dance Histories (review)

In lieu of an abstract, here is a preview of the article.

The poignant title of Jacqueline Shea Murphy's excellent and enlightening book refers to the notorious and controversial late-19th-century Ghost Dance phenomenon. Promising to invoke a peaceful end to white American expansion, the Ghost Dance, an apocryphal Christian/Native hybrid, was adapted in various guises among several Native tribes. Some Ghost dancers wore "ghost shirts" decorated with magic drawings purported to make them invulnerable to bullets—a notion of invincibility that contributed partly to the tragic death of 153 Lakota Sioux at the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. Challenging what seemed like defeat, Shea Murphy sets up her framework by quoting "trickster lawyer" Wilson Weasel Tail's theory that "it was the Europeans, not the Native Americans that expected results overnight" (1). Shea Murphy thus initiates us into this alternative worldview of "complex understandings of time, causation, ancestral connection" (1), as opposed to the prevalent Eurocentric one of causality and finitude. By exposing them, she encourages the reader to shake off the orientalist tendencies that have gotten in the way of understanding Native American dance.

Tracing the link between government policies, anti-dance policies, and the acquisition of Indian land, Shea Murphy explores the complex role of religion in Native American dance. She alludes to transitional late-19th-century Delsartian theories—which advocated dance as a tool for accessing an inner truth, and hence de-demonizing Native dance: "movement and