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Flash Review 1, 5-5: Grrrrls, Grrrls, Grrrls
"$Shot" & "Foxhole" & Female Sexual Identity

By Maura Nguyen Donohue
Copyright 2000 Maura Nguyen Donohue

Having just returned from a well-behaved (dry) semester-long teaching stint in Lesbianville, USA I was rather titillated at the prospect of seeing some grrl-on-grrl action at Jennifer Lacey's Porn-inspired "$Shot" Wednesday at The Kitchen and Karen Sherman & Tanya Gagne's girl-gang phantasmagoria "Foxhole" Thursday at P.S. 122. While both works were definitely all-girl events and addressed in some way elements of female sexual identity, the similarities end there. Where $Shot is meditative Foxhole is all action.

Lacey adeptly mingles the sexual gaze with a contemplative one through a minimalist approach to movement that carries a constant undertone of eroticism. When Lacey is dancing she inconspicuously demands your attention; unfortunately she isn't dancing often enough in this work. Erin Cornell does an excellent job of meeting Lacey's movement style, performing an exquisite solo of luscious detachment towards the end. "$Shot" opens with Lacey and Cornell laying on their backs with legs spread wide for a full-on crotch shot. The shot as well as the rest of the work is presented under glaring, unflattering lights that illuminate the entire space, forcing the audience to acknowledge its own presence and subsequent role in the exchange of viewer and viewed. As my friend James pointed out, it reminded him of a college art class "trying to play real cool while you're sitting dead-on at the beaver line." Zeena Parkins's lively accompaniment included spanking herself, crumbling all manner of plastic bags, and an occasional orgasmic breath. Visual artist Nadia Lauro's installation set the work in a slip-n-slide world of 15 pcv pockets of cum-colored mini-waterbeds.

I wish Karen Sherman and Tanya Gagne had lived on my block when I was growing up. Their assembled girl gang would have been a welcome reprieve from my miserable New England adolescence. Taking inspiration from "West Side Story," "The Outsiders," "Roller Derby," and Pat Benatar, this gifted ensemble including Nami Yamamoto, Julie Atlas Muz, Johanna S. Meyer, Margaret Hallisey, Joanne Nereberg and Adrienne Truscott could kick the crap out of those Gap khaki girls (and guys). "Foxhole" is a refreshing romp through many key developmental moments for many an American, and one Japanese, girls' psyche. Or, at least those of us coming of age in the late '70s/early '80s anyway. The two "Carrie"-inspired sequences, Gagne's video and Meyer's razor-sharp solo, were particularly rewarding as acts of sheroic power and revenge. The sheer exuberance of the performers was well matched by an audience riled up and ready to go. I think the free pre-show beer had a little to do with it, but only a little.

"$Shot" runs through Saturday at The Kitchen. For more information, go to http://www.thekitchen.org. "Foxhole" runs through Sunday at P.S. 122. For more info, go to http://www.ps122.org, or click on the P.S. 122 ad on our Home page.

(Editor's note: Maura Nguyen Donohue's "Righteous Babes" premieres May 11 at P.S. 122, running through May 14.)

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