RE: more humor please

Johannes Birringer (
Sun, 7 Sep 97 23:59 +0100

What a mournful weekend. And the saints go marching on.

dear listmembers,

The heated response to Richard's half-dance-concert impressions makes me wonder
how vulnerable we feel in our work or our opinions, and opinions and reactions
are what they are, I think everyone should be able to publish them in the
mailgroup, otherwise we might just be sending info and compliments to each

Steve asked..

< I don't know what the protocol is in these listserv's etc....and ... I frankly
<found Mr.Povall's response to her work quite unfair to Sarah...surely those
<words could have been sent to her privately (perhaps he could have initiated a
<dialogue with her prior to making his post...)....this kind of posting makes me
<really question what is the real purpose of this group? Someone help me out
<here, what did the folks who started this group intend?

It surprises me that we are seeing these questions after some of us just wrote
on bantaba spirit and our sense of community in this group. And if we are
speaking of bantaba, then I have to agree with Nik's, Steve's and Dennis's
reactions to Richard feeling pissed off by a concert he felt was hyped and
didn't match the hype (a discussion we did have 4 weeks ago). I have no way of
knowing what angered Richard, and I also don't agree that Cleveland is not
"dance-friendly" [I have experienced Cleveland audiences to be very open-minded
and supportive], and so the terms used in the initial post on "serious work in
dance & technology" were either ill-advised, namely somewhat arrogant, or they
were misunderstood in spirit by the respondents. If Richard was disappointed, he
was. To say so publicly in the mailgroup does not endanger the mailgroup.

I assume that most everyone is serious in what they do, what they believe in or
want to try out, or what they say they like doing. So if some like it hot, and
others not, that's fine with me.

But even good running backs fumble.

The question that came to my mind was whether we have actually done any
"serious" reviewing of each other's work here. I think, in such a case, that a
careful discussion of a work and the goals it sets for itself would be really

I saw a brief film on television, recently, showing a new performance work
("Work-in-Progress") by the much admired group La Fura dels Baus from Barcelona.
I saw them in the late 80s and was stunned, although I think I also saw the
calculated circus atmosphere of the spectacle, and my friends had warned me to
wear my old workclothes.

They've become a bit aristocratic, now that they are on promotional tour for
Mercedes Benz, and the sponsor wants to them to hold these workshops in the
cities they perform in. So they do. Then they announce a big performance, and
it's more upscale high-tech than their industrial rock/heavy metal background
might suggest, they're using life on-line audio-video links to Barcelona and
other cities, large video screens towering over bodies. Well, does sound like a
rock concert a bit.

When they performed in Germany, they announced the concert as a Fura
dels Baus concert, and so thousands came, only to find out that the workshop
participants did the show, Fura style, in well-know aggressive high-physical
theatre style with all the blood and guts and chain saws and frontal nudity you
can imagine.

Interestingly, the film gave us interviews with audience members who were either
completely pissed off (a "rip off") or alienated by the apparently clunky mix of
high-physical ritual-theatre (much emoting shown by bad actors on the sawdust)
and the on-line netcast, or flabberghasted. More interestingly still, one of the
Fura performers/teachers, whom I remember as being highly articulate, was asked
why they went on-line and used all the videocams, and he could barely answer the
question, looked embarrassed, and then said, haltingly, that La Fura wishes to
transmit their emotional raw energy into the netscapes and virtual spaces of the
net. "We.....we... hope..ah., that..... we can...........
[pause]........................put our bodies ............ into ..ah.....this
clean space" (end quotation).

He looked genuinely sad and unsure when he said that, but I believe him.
The film, while we see him, then cuts to the crawling, spitting, shrieking and
thrashing actors, something what I would call a hyperscene right out of a
psychodrama workshop. But that is only a superficial impression, I was not

Finally, a woman member of the local cast was asked, how it all went. She caught
her breath, and said: "It was a stunning experience, with lots of problems. I
came here because I wanted some action. It was disappointing to me that Fura
used all this technology and videocams and stuff. I came for the raw energy.
Many of the actors in the workshop felt very uncomfortable, and I did too
because they were faking the expressions." (end quotation)

I don't know what others may say to this little story, perhaps some in our group
saw the performances/workshops.

I think it tells us a lot about some of the predicaments we all face, and some
we don't face, depending on what it is we like to play/experiment with.

Thanx, Amanda, for inviting us to play (I have to get my webgrabber).


Johannes Birringer
(off to Houston on Monday).