Archive for January 15th, 2011


Hurricane Floyd floods the streets with debris. Fringe organizers are frantic. Should they cancel? They decide no. I am reviewing Tere O’Connor Dance at 7pm.  Can I make it downtown in time? Kelly (still the East River Drive to me) Drive is closed and the Surekill is at a crawl. I decide I can get into town via Ridge Avenue and down through my old Fairmount neighborhood. At Ridge and Midvale I commit the driving sin I most hate — gaper gawking, rubbernecking, call it what you will — but the river has come almost up to Ridge Avenue and up to the chins of the traffic lights on the drive. In my whole life in Philly, I’ve never seen anything like this!

Though the winds are still high, the rain has died down to a spit. I wind through Fairmount around 2601 and cut over to Spring Garden where I park in my secret spot and walk down Second Street. (Despite the wind I detour past Findings to get my head, but the hurricane has kept it and many other shops and restaurants closed.)

The show goes on to a sparse audience. Wimps, I call the no-shows. Meanwhile, O’Connor’s six terrific dancers engulf the stage with tears and laughter.

The Painted Bride won’t comp me to see Danny Hoch, and on freelance wages I can’t afford a ticket. I pop down to Serrano for a beer and a bite at the bar before deciding whether to go home and write my review or see something else.  Sean is the new bartender there. Jude, one of the owners, introduces us. We get to talking. Turns out he’s the composer for a dance concert called Crush, on at 9:30. I rush over to National to see if its worth adding a sentence or two to my already circumscribed five inch review space. Hmm, sampled drum and bass type stuff (in my book usually not what I would call composing) but the choreography and dancing of Kate Watson-Wallace are terrific to take in and so is Rebecca Sloans harness work inside a strobe lit box. Very David Parsons a la Caught, but the box takes it to another dimension. I try to fit something into my review, but O’Connor gets all my space.

Wednesday, Fringe Fest opening day:

Making my way over from one reception to another I stop in Findings on Race Street. There I spy a rather abstract, faceless head. Turns out to be a Victorian hat mold.  I decide on the spot it’s one of the perfect gifts for my husband’s birthday. He loves Kandinsky and this head had a strange Kandinskyesque quality to it. Also it is made of balsam — my husband is a heavy thinker so I thought, hmm, maybe this’ll lighten him up. But I don’t buy it. Too bulky to carry around. I’ll come back Friday.

Later at Bald Mermaids most of the wonderful dancers who filled Smoke’s basement performance space with archetypal feminine imagery have shaved heads.  In one piece, as my colleague Miriam Seidel, put it in her review, They brought new meaning to the term couch dancing.”  Still I kept thinking of that hat mold.  I should go get it before it’s snatched by someone else.  But it gets late so my companions and I check out the Fringe opening party for the time it takes to down a beer and then we check out of Old City for the night…To be continued


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