Dec 022011

I also visited Paradis Latin, and here are my notes from that show.  At the end of the evening I rode a ‘velib’ – a bike you can rent in the street, to my friend’s flat to say goodbye to her before she travelled back to Berlin.  Just some context for you!

Paradis A La Folie: Madness in Paradise.  Tourist crowd, same one as Nouvelle Eve.  No style.  Gaggles of women in 20s.  Couples in groups in 40s, boring looking.  2 x couples alone in 50s.  Blouse and purple knit jerkin.  Australian bus load of 20s in semi-smart clothes (but a bit townie too).  And audience on holiday, relaxed, drinking, speaking English.  Large Indian family.  Lower-middle class demographic?  Professionals, skilled workers and students?  Banquet tables.  Large groups of women. Sparkly diamante hair-band.  A straight audience?  A photographer comes round, I say no.  It’s strange how on the metro if I saw these women I see around me, I’d feel an affinity with them, but not now, in this context.  The lights dim.  Video projected.  Roses outfit, 5 girls, 4 nudes, t-bar tan shoes, all short brown hair, 5 boys.  Compère lowered on to stage, a pale pink top hat and tails.  Rose nude lowered from ceiling long hair and flower thong, ballet flats, nude with leaves.  Ballet pas de deux.  Female singer enters from back of auditorium.  Rose coloured long dress with large rose neckline.  Singer with 4 men and then compère.  Showboys for moment, lots of jump steps, tapping, cheeky, cheesy choreography, very Constance Grant Dance Centre.  Compère speaks to audience in French, then English.  Waiters on stage, the male dressed-up host as we came in, now in drag.  In ballet class number at the barre, evolves and more sexy leotard girls come out, very Eric Pridz video.  Judo boys – manly???  Music, Daft Punk-esque beats.  Steam shower with girls, just towels, 4 girls, strip with tease removing towel.  Bit more knowing choreography.  Bums in showers – men.  More comical choreography.  Barbie doll bodies – hairdown, swish hair head roll.  Rave disco scene – techno.  Pop/street dance influences unzipped skeleton wet suits.  Goes to black, zip-up full skeleton suit.  Oh-la-la song.  Girls in Adidas type tracksuit bottoms.  Compère back, black suit.  Angelou, unicycling bartender.  The formula makes me think of the ‘70s.  Country fair carousel, rotating with girls on as architecture – blonde pageboys.  Opens up into 4 girls in leathers on motorbikes, take off helmets and shake out blonde hair.  Strip off to boob harness and thong.  Dance on the bike, arched back.  Hair swinging.  Rope and man in white pants – ‘Christopher’ – sublime smile – Tarzan/Indiana Jones music.  Shaved armpits, arm decoration, sequinned shorts.  Very flit, flexible, was he an Olympic gymnast 15 years ago?  The guy spotting him is a star too.  Montagues and Capulets Prokofiev music, period dress.  Court dance, with boobs, pas de deux scene from Romeo & Juliet.  Strip off to under-net, they marry, sexy ballet??  Hip hop tribute to Romeo & Juliet.  4 girls in waistcoats, jeans and Trilbys, 5 boys in just jeans and Trilbys.  Body hair-free evening.  Boys as objects.  17tth Century Louis 15th number, girls as boys court dancing, boys strip off and stay, girls leave.  Real boys in same sort of outfit and they strip off too.  2 sets of boys dance together.  Bouillon?  Tap-dancing juggler.  Can-can, better costume, better choreography (than La Nouvelle Eve).  Girl tumbler, 3 boy tumblers.  Compère in white tails.  Thanks technicians, dressers, musicians, front of house.  Cheerleaders, singer in a long white gown – Marie.  No fake boobs.  Crossdresser type dame goes back and forth between male/female dress.
Aug 192011

Sometimes I plan blogs, and I plan them so much with ideas in my head and notes in my notebook that basically they never happen.  Over thinking.  And other times, I just think of something and want to get it out there so it manifests somehow.  That’s what I’m doing now.  As an artist, I am meant to be thinking about making art.  In a studio.  But I find myself thinking all kinds of things I’d like to do, usually nowhere near a studio.  It’s nice to spend time alone – like this summer – in Berlin, Paris and London, away from normal life, to let those ideas of all kinds rush to me, through me and wash over me.  Like waves.  Some of the water will stick though, and I’ll take the idea forward and it will manifest in art.  For now, though, maybe its fun to treat the ideas as the end product, the thing.  So, one idea I had whilst watching Basic Instinct with Camille Paglia’s commentary was that I’d like to do commentaries on films too.  It would be like writing but better.  I like writing because you have to give your ideas form on a page, but I like thoughts in themselves, and writing is just a carrier for your thoughts.  Talking is my favourite thought carrier.  But that’s tricky.  I mean, how do I get my talked thoughts ‘out there’, so they exist as a professional output? Why, is that important, you might ask.  Well, the more thoughts I get out there ‘in the world’, and the more that people receive those thoughts (maybe like them? I can but hope) then the more freedom and potential for getting a wage I have.  I am not after millions, just something to live on.  I’m saying this because I have one more year of stipend at Sheffield Hallam University, so I can feel pennilessness rush towards me to steal my style.  But freedom and a wage.  That’s what its about isn’t it? It is for me.  No outward signifiers necessary.  The wage I blow on DVDs, audiobooks, books, second-hand dresses, make-up and haircuts (if I could have a bit more money I could have more frequent haircuts then I’d really have style).  

None of this is the point.  This is all off the point.  These are idea waves.

What I was trying to say was, I would like to do an audio commentary for the films that I’ll look at in my PhD research like Showgirls; Gilda; Dance, Girl, Dance; On Tour; Dancing Lady and Stage Door.  The question is, and its the same question for everything I do at present, is it ‘art’ or ‘writing’.  A hybrid?  How would it be disseminated?  Could it be a DVD or something online, or an mp3 you have to play whilst you watch?   

I have ideas in the moment, in the experience.  The thereness.  The in the moment.  Like when I was watching spectacles this summer: Yma at FriedrichstadtPalast in Berlin and Moulin Rouge, Nouvelle Eve, Paradis Latin in Paris.  I thought some really big thoughts.  About what I was watching, about how to penetrate the spectacle, about visual pleasure, about how spectacle can be queered, or not, how it might evolve.  My (dream) future life as a Professor of Showgirls, Desire and Art in which I am paid as a consultant to develop new shows that are both progressive and traditional.  A life in which I do not have to pay to see shows, at least.  And theatres give me access to photograph their auditoriums (unlike FriedrichstadtPalast, by the way.  They said I could get access if I was to get the photographs published – going on a gallery wall is not enough, apparently.  So if you could enable me to get a magazine commission for the interior of the FriedrichstadtPalast, then, let’s talk).  

If I could create an audio commentary for seeing spectacle, now that would be cool.  Like an audio guide for galleries and museums.  Only for spectacle. Maybe it would be for all shows, including burlesque.  Huh, I really should do that shouldn’t I.