Horrible.  Rain again.  Found out yesterday my xray of last week shows I have a fractured kneecap from a fall more than a month ago.  I’m supposed to stay off of it.  OK, starting next week. On my way to review I Think I Ken, take my rental car back to the airport.  (This is not Enterprise.)  They’ve lost my records, can’t give me a receipt or release the hold on my credit card.  I make a stink.  They do it, but I miss my train back into town from the airport.  Finally at Market East I get a cabbie from Nairobi who insists on slowing down at the green lights even though he knows I’m in a hurry.  I jump out and run the rest of the way to the National, refusing to pay him.  At the National showroom the volunteer won’t let me in.  NO LATE SEATING ALLOWED.  I tell her to tell @dance why they didn’t get a review.  Before I leave the building, someone grabs me and they take me in.  Another reviewer tells me it got better since I arrived.  Show’s good.  Jokes fly faster than you can catch them.  Barbie tells Kira, the “Oriental” doll “You can’t drive,”  and I laugh louder than anybody cause I just yelled that at the cabbie.

Go to St. George’s for a Relache piece by Joe Kasinskas, a favorite composer of mine.  It’s last instead of first and we must sit through an excrutiating half hour of the Taylor/Madof Acoustic Trio — supposedly partly structured and partly improvised.  But I’ll be dadblamed if I could tell the difference.  I had shingles on my forehead 15 years ago and their music reactivated it.

Go to Cabaret with Jack D.  G Rich sings some songs and asks for a smoke machine.  Deborah and Diane get Camels (the venue’s sponsor — hey there were no kids there) and get down on their knees, puffing away.  I lean over to Diane and say, “Boy, Deborah really will do anything for her job.”  Diane says “Yeah but that’s her boyfriend.”  I say, “So, I guess she’s not just blowin’ smoke.”

Over the last 14 years many Philadelphians have come to partake of what is now called the Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe, but started out as the Philly Fringe and is still affectionately so-called, just as the Philadelphia Dance Company can’t escape being called Philadanco. Nicknames stick. Some audience buy tickets for multiple shows in an evening, swanning around town with stops at outdoor cafes, many of which have proliferated and prospered with the Fringe and First Friday events. With the festival spread out over wider parts of the city each year, it’s become more difficult for me to get to as many sites as I had in the past.

As a dance critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, I limit my review nights to just one show. Still, I have been out at some festival event or other for the last 17 nights and will head out this evening for the one I held out for my own Grande Finale, Brian Sanders’ Sanctuary. Sanders is a near perennial Fringe favorite and I’ll include Sanctuary in an omnibus review for Broad Street Review next week.  I most look forward to seeing Sanders work, not just because it is great dance, but because of his exuberance as an artist. He’s been living with HIV for many years, yet his devilish joie de vivre never fails to amaze and delight me. So this is just a little homage to one of the most imaginatively brilliant artists I know.

In the week before his show opened, Brian whooped my butt in a Facebook Scrabble game — 341 – 320 – my first game online and I’m hooked. I am calling him out for a rematch next week and look forward to many more years of his shows and Scrabble games.

Factor T

Posted Sat., Sept 6, 2008

By Merilyn Jackson

The Gdansk dance company Dada von Bzdülöw presents its second Live Arts Festival show inspired by a Polish writer. Last year it was Witold Gombrowicz; this year, the dancers make witty observations on another prankster author little-known here – Stefan Themerson, who first published the pataphysical works of Alfred Jarry in English under a press with a Latinized name for the Jabberwock. It helps to hear jabberwocky and Jarry clanging in your head to see where this show is going.

The wickedly playful intent of the piece kicked in with laborious lifts, and with company founder and dancer extraordinaire Leszek Bzdyl smiling. For the last year, Philly dancer Bethany Formica worked with the group for her role as a jaded ingenue in multiple, gorgeous costume changes. (Hiroshi Iwasaki designed the 1930s period costumes and Mikolaj Traska the jazzy music.) Katarzyna Chmielewska, also a founding Dada member, danced with reckless elegance in her schoolmarm-prim garb.

Mumpitz is German vernacular for “profound nonsense,” and Rafal Dziemidok solemnly brings things to that level. A big guy prancing bare-chested in suspendered pinstripe pants, he ends the piece baring his all, a perfect Live Arts/Fringe experience – if you know where it’s coming from.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/arts/20080906_Stitch__You_don_t_need_a_huge_tent_and_a_zillion-dollar.html#ixzz0ziwkuUn1


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