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Flash Review, 7-12:
Let Me Off the Vandekey-Bus!
Testosterone Overload Kicks off Lincoln Center Festival
By Chris Dohse
Copyright 2000 Chris Dohse
At the end of rehearsal
yesterday, I showed Lise the CDs I was carrying ("Under the Big
Black Sun" by X, "Some Girls" by the Rolling Stones, "Billion Dollar
Babies" by Alice Cooper). She said, "Oh, you're such a guy."
So as a guy, let me say
that I found almost nothing to like about the guy-heavy "In Spite
of Wishing and Wanting" I sat through last night at LaGuardia Concert
Hall. With all the charm of an abattoir, Wim Vandekeybus's monotonously
violent, testosterone-inflicted bullfight, which opened the Lincoln
Center Festival, quickly became tiresome.
David Byrne's noise intimidated
and threatened while the dancers of Ultima Vez paraded their fidgets
and skidmarks and funky chickens. However, their brutal, stark,
brave and cruel stink will rise to the high heaven of my nightmares
tonight. They depicted a hyperbolic world where men are rockstars,
men are animals, men are auteurs, men mosh and scrum. Men consume;
they devour; they destroy. Men dream, and man are they sexy. Soon
I wished I was somewhere else. I didn't see a one of them guys who
acted like me and I didn't want to be any of them guys when I grew
up. If I ran into one of them at my neighborhood pub I'd feel nervous,
then embarrassed, then I'd get the hell out of there. But I'd long
to sleep in the gutter of their guttural camaraderie.
Aren't Vandekeybus and
Byrne two geniuses of our Avant-Garde? Maybe success spoils everybody.
Obscure doesn't make profound, and an hour and fifty minutes of
unintelligible gobbledygook doesn't make a masterpiece. An occasional
elegiac drone or spurts of loose, malevolent ferocity don't rehabilitate
a shallow metaphor of taming/training the beast within. DV8 tempered
their similarly bleak, belligerent picture of masculinity, "Enter
Achilles," with grace, subtlety and complexity. Much more to my
liking, and in it I could find me.
After a filmed interlude,
the yelling and scrambling coalesced at last into some goddamn dancing,
and gorgeous, double-stuffed dancing it was, with a slapdash composition
that hinted at Vandekeybus's notorious tweaked imagination. A later
sequence spazzed under its firmament of feathers like Grotowski's
Teatr Laboratorium, cattle-prodded, or like a theme that has been
done to death followed into the grave -- you decide. Those who applauded
the finish of this marathon of misbehavior did so because they were
glad it was over. They stood because they were glad to refresh their
numb butts. Then they hoped its visceral images wouldn't haunt their
"In Spite of Wishing
and Wanting" repeats Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m.
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