Month: October, 2007
Fuerzabruta, the new original work from the Argentine creators of De La Guarda, has made it to New York City after successful runs in Europe and South America. Originally slated to run until February 18, the show has been extended through June 29, 2008.
Like its high-flying predecessor, this show has no real narrative; rather, it’s a series of set pieces, backed by thumping loud music, flashing lights, moving sets, and quite of bit of audience participation. Over 65 minutes (no intermission), the audience was led through various dance/acrobatic performances that were unconventional, sometimes sexy, sometimes a little violent. Hence: “brute force.” Assorted crew members herded us around the Daryl Roth Theatre into standing positions from which we could watch the scenes unfold from different perspectives.
To open the show, a long treadmill was rolled out into the center of the theater, parting the audience. Tethered actors walked and then ran along the rapidly moving belt, dodging moving objects, and smashing through cardboard walls. Paper everywhere!
The somewhat cranky New York Times reviewer likened one segment, for which we were screened in as a pair of women suspended on wires raced over a foil curtain, to “being inside a giant Jiffy Pop.”
Another scene featured a man and a woman flying through the air, trying to connect, but separated by a large, rotating silver sail, as the entire contraption was manipulated with cables by a trio on the floor. Groups of actors danced with wild abandon on stage and then among the audience, as sheets of pressed-powdery material crashed over heads, scattering white clouds through the space.
The highlight of the show was the much reported upon segment where the stage floor was set directly above the audience. With heads craned back, our view was through an immense clear-bottomed swimming pool filled with shallow water, raised high and then gradually dropped from the ceiling to within arm’s reach (and kissing distance) of the audience. A bevy of scantily-clad female performers stood, rolled, cavorted, belly-flopped and flirted through the Mylar; I cringed with each thwack, half expecting the thin material to give way, but apparently, it’s stronger than it looks. Their languid movements created mini-waves rippling across the surface overhead. The overall effect was quite remarkable, and it were these scenes which remained most vivid in my mind: the effect of the colored lights reflected through the water, and the sight of wet bodies pressed within millimeter’s reach, yet ultimately untouchable.
You can watch videos on the main Fuerzabruta site; both The New York Times and New York magazine websites have posted gorgeous slideshows of the action. For an amateur eye’s view, check out my flickr set.
To close out the evening, a DJ in a barrister wig rallied the audience into a dancing frenzy as water poured down from the sprinklers overhead. At Fuerzabruta, you’ll emerge coated in white powder, almost certainly sprayed with water, and possibly covered in debris. But just go with it. Later that night, as I prepared for bed, I noticed the small trail of confetti that I had left on my way to the bathtub and just had to smile.
At Trinity Church Wall Street for the Halloween celebration of “Ghouls, Games and Graves.” From 4PM onwards, the North Churchyard — the oldest surviving churchyard in the city, with stones dating to the early 18th century — hosted a series of family-friendly events. Adorably costumed kids (and their guardians) were out in full force this mild late afternoon for treats, games, crafts, and face-painting. The “ghost” of Alexander Hamilton (buried here at Trinity; Aaron Burr is safely entombed across the river in Princeton Cemetery) roamed among the guests telling stories of New York’s past.
Had I stayed on past dark, I could have attended Trinity Church’s screening of the 1922 silent vampire classic Nosferatu — the earliest surviving screen adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Adding to the spooky ambiance, in place of dialogue, the film was to be accompanied by Cameron Carpenter on the church’s state-of-the-art electronic organ, which was installed in 2003 to replace the Aeolian-Skinner damaged on September 11, 2001. (The controversial “virtual pipe organ” uses digital samples of actual pipe organ timbres, sent through speakers hidden behind dummy pipes.)
Watch Carpenter perform his own arrangement of John Williams’s Raiders of the Lost Ark theme on the Trinity organ.
Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.
– Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), Mean Girls
Ricky’s NYC beauty shop–36 locations and growing!–carries an impressive line of cosmetics and hair care products, but they are perhaps best known as one of the city’s prime sources for body glitter, temporary tattoos, wigs, and uh… let’s just say “novelties.” The days leading up to Halloween are the chain’s busiest, and tonight on the way home from my weekly CSA pick-up, I passed the Upper West Side store to find it packed with last minute costume shoppers scouring the aisles to a pounding dance music soundtrack.
If Ricky’s is the “paramount venue to discover your inner drag queen,” then judging from the store and window displays around town, October 31 is apparently the paramount day for every girl to discover her inner vixen. When did Halloween costumes become so aggressively sexy?
Increasingly, what passes for women’s “costumes” seem to fit the mold of headgear + exposed undergarments and/or skimpy skirt. (And it’s not just the case for big girls either. “Major Flirt Child“? “French Maid Child“?! So. Wrong.) A cat becomes a sexy cat. A devil becomes a red, hot devil. Goldilocks is naughty Goldilocks. And Wonder Woman… well, I guess that one’s pretty much the same, but you get the idea.
At least Wonder Woman gets to wear a cape sometimes.
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