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Catching My Breath

March 16, 2011

Is my life getting busier or are the number of hours in the day shortening? It's already Wednesday and I can't quite believe that I am only now getting to my blog, a beast that until January I would diligently feed five days a week no matter what.

These days things are a little different. But now that I'm able to catch my breath for a few minutes, I thought I would mention the following couple of cultural highlights from the past few days:

1) ODC'S 40TH ANNIVERSARY DANCE DOWNTOWN SEASON: I caught Program 1 on Friday night and think it's exceptional. I cannot think of a more fitting way for a dance company to celebrate a major anniversary than with Brenda Way's luminous-architectural Speaking Volumes:Architecture of Light II and I look Vacantly at the Pacific...though Regret, a jocund, anthropological study about human beings' often comical attempts at multi-cultural connection by Kimi Okada. Way's piece, set to Jay Cloidt's atmospheric collage of a musical score, builds itself on simple geometrical forms. Complex relationships evolve before our eyes against the plain lines of triangles, squares and circles. The dancers suggest these shapes with their bodies but the emotional palette they create is anything but straightforward. In perhaps the most electrifying sequence, some kind of love triangle between two female and one male dancer, the tight-knitted bodies powerfully counter the elegant lines of a rope, extended down to the stage at its center from the ceiling to create a variety of triangular forms when manipulated by two other dancers. Okada's playful piece is all bumps and squiggles where Way's is about clean lines. The dancers, dressed in brightly colored, gamine street clothes, look like they're having a great time as they rush about athletically on stage, imitating eastern and western cultural mores. The work isn't very deep but it's a riot as a sort of oddball celebration and commiseration on the theme of cultural difference.

2) HESS COLLECTION: Stumbled across this wonderful winery art gallery the day before yesterday during a quick zip up to the Napa Valley. I'd heard of the Hess Collection. But because the owners of wineries in California tend to have bad taste, I generally steer clear of their art offerings and had ignorantly not thought to delve more deeply into the offerings there. Donald Hess, it seems, does not fall into the typical winery art lover category. The winery owner started his collection in 1966 and the small museum, arranged on three floors at the winery, is full of extraordinary things including roomily displayed works by Robert Motherwell, Francis Bacon, Andy Goldsworthy, Franz Gertsch, Lynn Hershman Leeson and Anselm Kiefer. Oh, and did I mention that the museum is free to the public? They even gave me a free glass of wine to sip. Quite a pleasant place to while away an hour.

P.S. Trying to obtain press credentials for Lady Gaga's tour is like trying to break into a safe in the basement of a Swiss bank.


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