Bait and Switch

The advance materials for a performance that will repeat today at 2 and 7 at Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art show Thomas F. DeFrantz dancing. True, the photo shows him dancing in the Ninth Street Dance studio, but one is led to think that DeFrantz himself will dance in the performance at the Nasher.

No.

SLIPPAGE: reVERSE-gesture-reVIEWed supposedly explores “the provocation of Kara Walker’s Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)” and maybe that is what the three dancers did, but most of the audience saw only a small fraction of the movement and the projections. DeFrantz was there, speaking cryptically in a tone suited to first year students in a classroom, and gliding about in his groovy multi-hued seersucker suit (yes, Virginia, it IS still January) and his white buck (heavy sartorial symbolism) shoes, but he did not dance.

DeFrantz is Professor and Chair of African and African American studies at Duke, and I had expected a sophisticated work, and was hoping for something as brilliant as Colson Whitehead’s recent book, The Underground Railroad. The use of technology was sophisticated (DeFrantz came to Duke from MIT), or maybe just cool, but neither the choreography nor the visuals were. What one could see of them.

I can think of three reasons for this performance to have been set up in an empty gallery, rather than in the museum auditorium. 1) They didn’t expect a crowd–didn’t think more than 10 or 15 people would show up–and that many would have been able to see. 2) The real purpose of the live performance was to create a video, so the audience didn’t really matter. 3) DeFrantz may have been trying to make a point about how difficult it is to see the whole picture and how few can actually do it. That is a point that one always must keep in mind.

But to lure people to a performance, people who are curious, and willing to look for what they have not noticed before–and not let them see it, strikes me as sadistic and self-defeating.

If you, like me, are really interested in “the place of Black women’s presence in the landscape of the Civil War,” you would do better to go back to Margaret Walker’s Jubilee. This 1966 book turned my head around when I was 15. The Durham County Library has four copies.

 

 

Get it While the Getting is Good

unspecified

One of the shadow devices intricately carved from water buffalo leather by artist Eko Nugroho for his production “In the Name of Semelah” performed by Wayang Bocor theatre company, at Carolina Performing Arts 1/20/17. Photo courtesy CPA.

OK, y’all. The time soon is coming when we will be severely restricted as to what artists we may see and hear from countries with Islamic cultures. Take advantage while you can.

A week ago, Carolina Performing Arts presented an amazing multimedia shadow play by an Indonesian contemporary artist, Eko Nugroho, in which peaceful Islam comes to Indonesia, bringing wisdom and kindness to a place where the existing Hindu kingdom has become corrupt and “hunger and poverty [had] spread throughout the kingdom and society was in chaos.” (Sound familiar?)

The story was told was incredible artistry, and afterwards, the audience (more than 1000) had the opportunity to go up onto the stage, behind the scrim and play with the shadow puppets! and talk with the artist–who was looking a little stunned, because usually a large show for him is a couple hundred people. It was totally wonderful.

unspecified-1

Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho backstage with his brilliant shadow puppets, after the performance. Photo courtesy CPA.

The show, and the one tonight, are part of CPA’s Sacred/Secular: A Sufi Journey series. You think such a thing will happen next year, or the year after that, or the next one? Even artists must have visas.

So: tonight, Friday January 27, 8 pm in the newly renovated Hill Hall auditorium, now named for former Chancellor Moeser–a mask dancer from Java, Nani. She’s a 7th generation dancer of the Topeng Losari, mask dances. Whether you go for the dancing, the mysticism, the masks or the gorgeous Javanese cloth, get up and go. We will not see the likes of this again any time soon.

As of 11 a.m., general admission tickets were still available. Entrance to Hill Hall from the main UNC quad.

16-17-nani_thumb-e1473355851658

Nani, in Topeng Losari. Photo courtesy CPA.

mhdekm

A topnotch WordPress.com site

peter harris, tapestryweaver

TAPestry And DESIgn

Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Grand Duke" -- Director's Blog

a countdown to the next performance, March 30 - April 2, 2017

Backstrap Weaving

My weaving , my indigenous teachers, my inspiration, tutorials and more........

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Not At Home In It

collections/connections

inkled pink

warp, weave, be happy!

warpologynotufos

Projects finished or in process by the Warpology studio

Peggy Osterkamp's Weaving Blog

"Weaving should be fun!"

SHUTTLE WORKS STUDIO

Studio Life of a Weaver, Spinner, Dyer

This Day in North Carolina History

The people and places of the Tar Heel state day by day.

Linda Frye Burnham

Laissez les bons temps rouler

Art Menius

Roots Music, Culture, and Social Change

Mae Mai

Boldly going where no cellist has gone before...

The Upstager

All the world's an upstage.

Literary Life in Italy

Looking at Italy through literature

The Five Points Star

Cultural criticism, news, schmooze and blues radiating from Durham, NC

Silvina Spravkin Sculptor

A sculptor who makes her art in different media, such as marble, stone, and mosaic, in Pietrasanta, Italy

The Reverse Angle

Just another WordPress.com site

%d bloggers like this: