Saturday, December 27, 2014

Day 38: write a song

#38 write a song

And on day 38, the artist was prompted to write a song, and lo, she wrote a 22 second, 3 chord song:

Fall comes around and around again
I keep on falling and falling again
For you
Scraping my shin
For you
Bruises and blisters for you

Friday, December 26, 2014

Day 37: adapt and wear

#37 Adapt ideal of 36 to what is available and "move" whatever you've saved from 21-23 in costume

Typing this now I realize I didn't read the numbers right. I was meant to move what I had saved from 21-23, which in turn were: revisiting material from 15 ("rabbit hole"), compiling from 17 (select a book), 18 (improvisation from the text of 17), and 20 (a drawing). Maybe pulling this now comparably ancient material might have been more interesting what I did, which was to pull the saved material from 35 (which was itself drawn from 25-34). Perhaps I heard the prompt I wanted to hear. Now my head is spinning a bit from all of these references to days past.

In any case, what was fun about the costume was the sleep mask component. I don't own a sleep mask, so I fashioned something out of a necktie and moved my phrase blindly.

I like this story in stills, but there is video, too

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 36: costume

#36 Design a costume drawing from your memory of (25)

Day 25 was sense of touch. I pretty much rolled around on and around my bed in my PJs. And that was good. So, this costume is essentially pajamas. But better! Fabric would be something soft and stretchy that feels good to the touch. Bottoms are subtly bloomer-shaped. The look is completed with big slouchy socks and eye mask.

Also, I don't know how to draw. Hands are impossible!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Day 35: compile, save, throw out, edit

#35 Compile, save, throw out, edit, draw from 25 - 34.

I've deep in making a piece for the past week, which, wow, it's harder to do this while involved in another project that demands my focus and creativity and planning. And after a couple of exploratory days at the beginning of that process, I am now very much in MAKE THE THING mode. And being in MAKE THE THING mode, naturally, I took this prompt and found the easiest thing to do (easiest being best at the moment) was to make a phrase with some of the bits in and pieces from prompts 25 through 34 (which were mostly about working the senses, for those who haven't been following along.) There is a lot of stuff there, and having been prompted to dig back into it or revisit a few times, I see small fragments that are pleasing in some way. Much more than I used here. Observation: the fragments that I find the most interesting also seem to be the hardest for me to reproduce.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Day 34: Naming

#34 Make up your own language from 32-33. Practice in naming.

I was at a loss with this one. About a week ago, I accidentally turned an extra page and read this prompt and was like, what the hell does that mean? And with relief, I turned back when I realized I had jumped ahead. I'll understand it when I get there, I figured. But alas, not really. So, I might not be doing this right. It's more of an exercise in defining than naming. But it's something...

activation: Turning on something that is already there.  Excitement.

belonging: Being an integral part of something. Having a place. Or possession, property.

claiming: This is mine. This is true.

curious: need to know more

drifts: wanders, wafts, gentle piles of snow

exploratory: Looking but not knowing what you are looking for. Fingers crawling over surfaces, eyes widening, ears tuned.

familiarity: our relationship the everyday stuff that we don't notice anymore. The water we're swimming in.

headache: an uneven pressure squeezing the front of your head and face

greenery: plants and trees and things, perhaps surrounded by things that are not plants and trees.

luxurious: unnecessary for survival and yet deeply desirable, delicious, pleasurable

layered: everything all at once

lazy: unwilling to exert effort

pleasurable: delightful to the senses or mind. Ex: stretching, a well-constructed sentence, triple cream cheese, skin against skin, close vocal harmonies.

retrospect: looking back (and usually knowing and seeing more)

self-indulgence: being motivated by personal pleasure above other considerations

shadow: a bit of darkness in the light

sniffing: getting stuff into your nose using the power of the nose

space: The not-stuff between stuff.

specificity: it's this. Exactly what it is. Not any of these other similar things.

urban environment: city, people, action, graffiti, murals, transit, trash, businesses, concrete, asphalt, all mushed together.

vulnerability: your soft underbelly exposed and unprotected

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 32: writing

#32: Write about (25-31)

Seven days of improvising with the senses.  Looking back...

The day improvising with touch looks the most exploratory in retrospect. My hands reaching out in search of something. My upper back curious about the feel of the floor. It's all sensual and luxurious.

The day of improvising with smell looks like other days when I danced in my apartment, but the sound of the sniffing is an animal sound. My eyes look a little lazy. I see myself trying to find whatever this is. Smell is hard to engage with actively and continuously. It fades into familiarity so quickly. Trying to smell changed the way I breathed.

The day of improvising with taste  is not too interesting to watch for the most part. It was about giving in to self-indulgence and I remember it being pleasurable.

The day of improvising with hearing has some bits of movement that I actually find interesting. Tempos and initiations are different. Paying attention to sounds enlivened my awareness, like my whole body was pricked up like a horses ear twitching back and forth, catching the sounds.

The day of improvising with sight forced me back into my apartment. I tried to take it in, but was so tired of my dancing and particularly in this space.

Then came the day of combining all of the senses and going out into an urban environment. And after that came combining all of the senses and going amongst greenery. Both were full of sensory information, but the thing I rode on top of all of that input and my responses was a feeling of the vulnerability of being out in the world.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Day 31: sensory improvisation / greenery

#31 Repeat sensory improvisation in some kind of greenery - grass, park, tree...

It's raining and the park is totally empty
Empty like I've never seen it
And I'm charging up the hill like I have somewhere to be
That tree up there maybe
Then I realize
I'm already there
This is the dance
Right here right now
And I slow down a little
to feel my feet on the ground
the resistance every time I lift a foot
the mud suctioning my boot
not wanting to let it go
It makes a squelping sound
I hear it more than I feel it
The sound is the feeling is the sound

I head over to the biggest tree
The not a palm tree tree
I don't know what kind of tree it is
rough bark
I touch it of course
It's stopped raining
but the tree is still shedding
in big voluptuous drops
that sound surprisingly crisp
almost exactly like when you stick your head underwater
and hear fish munching on coral
Just twice a cold drop lands on the top of my head

Monday, December 15, 2014

Day 30: combining senses / outside

#30 Combine (25-29) to improvise outside in as urban a locale as is safe to do.

Heaven is other people.

I am so very grateful that this prompt coincided with a day when I was getting together with other dancers to improvise. The idea of going outside with what I've been doing was and is scary. Or at least awkward. Having other dancers along for this part of the ride with me made it safer. There is a kind of legitimacy to a group doing a weird activity that I don't feel comfortable claiming on my own. Maybe that is why I am not a solo artist.

And even with six of us out there, it was still a little awkward in practice, honestly. A man stopped on the corner and asked if this was some kind of flower child thing. And then, "is this yoga?" to which I awkwardly answered "mmhmm" and kept on with my moment, pressing my butt against R's butt in the alley outside Dance Mission. This was about as safe an urban locale as there can be. Right outside a theater. Hundreds of people must have performed in or above or around this alley over the years. The woman who drove through, parked, and then walked back out the way she drove in, was totally unfazed, bless her heart.

And we weren't out there to blow people's minds or even to communicate with people. We were out there improvising with our senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing, sight. We were just out there for 10 minutes. It felt silly and complicated. It was overwhelming to the senses. I'm in love with the visual texture of the city, and this little alley was a fine example. The sky was blue with clouds above. Flock of pigeons flew overhead.  There were the sounds of cars, people talking and shouting, wind chimes, someone singing. It smelled a bit like just outside the bathroom of a taqueria. There was the feel of painted bricks and dry plants and asphalt and cement underfoot and each other. I have to admit the idea of taste fell by the wayside for me. Layered on top of the sensory overload was people, the city and its history, the gentrification that artists are a part of, echoes of yesterday's and recent week's protests. It was really too much.

I felt grateful for the dancers who were with me. I felt too vulnerable and self-conscious to be really connected to the environment. If I were making something for that environment, it wouldn't be an exploration of the senses. On the other hand, awakened and active senses seem like a good starting point for anything. Turns out it's hard to stay with the senses when self-consciousness is peeling my mind away from the present moment.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Day 29: sense of sight

#29 Improvise sense of sight, in your apartment with all of your "stuff"

I'm sick of dancing in my apartment.

I'm sick of dancing in my apartment, but I do. A little. Don't like it. Not today anyway. New tactic. I try taking me-as-subject out of the picture. Walk around my apartment taking video. Sense of sight through a screen. Upon editing, I feel a little nauseated from the POV shakiness. So, pictures. Here's what I see:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Day 28: sense of hearing

#28 Improvise sense of HEARING, but don't use music

This was my favorite day so far.

I loved the way listening to ambient sounds focused my attention and provided countless things to respond to. The hum of the lights or heat in the room, distant voices, motorcycles zooming by, the click of the sensors over the door, something that sounded at first like a basketball, but that I think was actually people jumping in another studio, my own feet on the floor, helicopters and sirens that made me wonder what's going on with the protest. Paying attention to all of this made me feel connected to things even as I danced alone in a studio.  Everything felt more receptive.  Using my ears even changed how I used my eyes. And I was less bored with my own movement. It was spikier in places. It didn't feel like I had to dredge up movement from somewhere inside me. I could really just respond to the sounds I was hearing.

None of the sounds were audible on the video. I stuck my phone out the window and recorded the sounds outside my apartment and added that to the video. Texture!

Day 27: sense of taste

#27 Improvise sense of TASTE

I took a couple of gaga classes recently, and one of the things I liked was the focus on connecting to pleasure. In both classes, at some point the teacher prompted us to have a delicious taste in our mouth. Both times, the taste I conjured up was this incredibly sexy triple cream cheese with truffles. It's the most decadent and purely enjoyable taste I can think of. Dancing with the idea of the sexy triple cream truffle cheese did indeed amplify my pleasure.

I considered improvising with imagined tastes for this prompt: the sexy cheese again, or lime, or buttered popcorn or curry. I brought some dark chocolate (85%) with me to the studio just in case. When I got there, it just made sense to improvise with the chocolate. Dancing with dark chocolate slowly melting in my mouth gave me permission to indulge in pleasurable movement. I indulged even further by giving myself music to respond to as well.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Day 26: sense of smell

#26 Improvise sense of smell. Try cooking first!

It's the storm of the century, they say. Certainly it has been raining all day. I brought my herbs in from the fire escape so they wouldn't drown. To prepare for this prompt, I made oatmeal cookies. This may be the first baking I've done in this apartment that I've inhabited for over three years. More often than not, it smells like the onions from the last night's dinner in here. Fresh baked cookie smell is a welcome change. I also had the fire escape herbs handy while I was moving, and a danced for a bit with a mint leaf between 2 fingers.

Some observations:

Smell as a sense gets exhausted much more quickly than touch

Smell is difficult to connect to movement

Smelling is breathing

It's often just at the moment when I first consider ending an improvisation that I start to get interested

The improvisations I've been doing tend to last about 15 minutes

I'm bored with my own movement, but in the same way that I tend to like tonal music, I'm aesthetically drawn to certain movement qualities and lines.

Day 25: sense of touch

#25 Improvise: sense of touch, maybe recall some of friend's gestures

I love touching stuff. When I go for a hike, I'm compelled to touch moss, leaves, bark. When I'm with a lover, I'm compelled to touch their skin. I touch door frames as I pass through them. I want to touch the artwork in museums. I like to eat with my fingers.

Improvising with touch was thus unsurpisingly pleasurable. Turning up sense of touch gave me a sense of contentment that lingers now, though now writing this, I have a tinge of regret that I did not indulge even more in the pleasure of this improvisation.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Day 24: tea and gesture

#24 Have tea with a friend. Observe gesture.

Mindfulness fail.

I didn't have tea with a friend today, but I had a lunch date booked, and my plan was to observe gesture over sandwiches or stir fry. Instead, I got all swept up in catching up. Damnit. I didn't even remember that I had forgotten until I was in the studio waiting for gaga class to start. So I spied for a minute on another student who was signing up while I was stretching my calves. Observing strangers for something specific (like gesture) is a pretty entertaining exercise. She made loose air quotes, her fingers wiggling several times. My fingers wiggled sympathetically. She wiped at her collarbone with the tips of her fingers. She fanned herself with both hands and smiled.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Well, today's prompt involves having tea with a friend, and that is not in the cards or the stars or google calendar for this evening. Instead I'll be doing some movement investigation on the dance floor at Madrone a little later. So, raincheck.

In the meantime, here is what I am thinking about today.

You know how when you are in a new relationship, you can be on your best behavior for some period of time? And in that golden time, you are so charming and funny and sexy. You wear your cutest underwear and lipgloss all the time, and you don't leave clothes strewn all over your apartment, or get impatient and irritable, or spiral into a weird existential funk after crying at the grocery store because of low blood sugar. And you DO NOT FART. But at some point you cannot be on your best behavior anymore. No one can maintain that. Eventually you have to fart.

This project didn't start out in a particularly golden/charming/funny/sexy way. It's warts-and-all documentation of a process. But now I think it has reached the flatulence in the presence of the loved one stage. It's the dailyness of it. Throwing something over the wall every day. I have always resisted things like work in progress showings because I want to present my best work. (I did start showing work in progress to select colleagues during my last big project, and it was difficult and it was great for the work.)

I feel a little exposed. But also kind of comfortable.

Hey, could you pop this zit on my back for me?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Day 23: combine and throw out

#23 Combine 21 + 22. Throw out.

Aaaah! More combining! Major internal resistance today. Maybe it's coming from my sore body, my burning shins. Or maybe it's the prompt. The past few days have been 20) remembering, 21) revisiting, 22) compiling. And now combining. These activities have been more difficult to approach than starting fresh with something new, which is weird. In the process of making a piece, one of my favorite parts is when a bit of material just starting to take shape. That involves remembering, revisiting compiling, combining. So why am I having to drag myself into it now? Again, maybe it's just the shins.

An obvious difference between the usual process and 100 days is that pulling things together is usually at least somewhat product oriented. I'm making something. And here I a am specifically not making anything. That's not particularly problematic on a day of improvisations. But for some reason the idea of "combine and throw out" makes me ask, why bother in the first place?

Getting up and moving is one solution to this problem. I did that. For a bit. And for brief flashes, movement made things self-evident. Or movement is self-evident. Or it doesn't require answers.

But also, I could feel that I wasn't so committed today as I crawled and fell and reached and gestured around my bedroom. (In the spirit of "throwing out", no video!) There is a lot rattling around from the past few days - plenty to draw from. Today it's scattered, and I couldn't quite gather it all up. I noticed that I have insecurity about how long to stick with something when improvising. It was particularly noticeable today, but it has been floating around through many of the past 22 days.

And now I am throwing what just happend out. It's gone.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Day 22: Compile

#22 Compile material/memories from 17, 18, and 20

#17 Select a book from a bookcase at random. Read one entire page.
#18 Improvisation drawing from (17), reading/word(s), your memory of first reading of the text
#20 Make a drawing of (what you remember of) 19's spatial design

What is the difference between revisiting and compiling?

For the past couple of days, I have had to actively resist looking ahead to upcoming prompts. Because, compile for what? Into what? Am I making a dance? Despite the suggestions/instructions to do prompts in any media and try not to make anything, I keep assuming that the prompts are pointing to something, and that something is MAKING A DANCE.


So, I took a breath, looked back over the material, and realized -

No, I do not have to make a dance!

I made this instead. It would be even more fun if it was a video with the three photos running through video and some of the text animating a bit, but I've had enough computer time for today.

Day 21: revisit the rabbit hole

#21: Go back to (15) and revisit material

I revisited the rabbit hole material by way of video. I felt a little guilty about not revisiting it physically, but I always prefer being the outside eye in my own work, and video is just about the only method I know of for stepping outside when it's your own body dancing.

Having a few days distance was a good thing. Turns out I had pulled a lot of material from those improvisations to hold onto in video form. I watched it all, noticed what remained interesting today, and hacked the rest out. Maybe I'll dance it tomorrow.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Day 20: drawing

#20 Make a drawing of (what you remember of) 19's spatial design

Here we come to the bit where I post this without commentary about my lack of drawing skills.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Day 19: Sports

#19 Watch at least 10 minutes of a professional sports event or international news footage.

I have no idea how rugby works. But I remember seeing a bit of a match on the TV at a bar where I was waiting for my boyfriend-at-the time a few years ago. I was always waiting for my boyfriend-at-the-time back then. Rugby was on and I, then as now, had no idea what was going on, but I couldn't tear my eyes away. All of those men in shorts slamming into each other! It was chaos.

So, now.  Today. Waiting for no one, I just watched 12 and half minutes of New Zealand v. South Africa in a rugby championship. Most of that time went by with introductions to the players in cute baseball card frames folding their giant arms in front of their giant chests and then unfolding them just before they disappear and the next set of cards comes up. Oh the theater of it! Then a little locker room footage where the pre-game camaraderie seems really quite sweet and so masculine I don't even know to do with it.  Then the national anthems, during which the players stood in a long line with their arms around each other. They all sang along, some of them with their eyes closed looking really soulful and earnest. And then - ohmygoodness - the New Zealand team did a DANCE all in unison with foot stomping in kind of a wide 2nd position plie. They slapped their biceps and stuck out there tongues. Wow.

Then the game started and it was, yup, chaos. A ball moves around, and then they collide and end up with it looks like 6 or 10 guys in a big pile and more guys standing by the pile fending other guys off with an arms outstretched stay-away sort of gesture.  Sometimes someone kicks the ball. Very high. Sometimes there is a pause, and one of the players throws the ball in to the rest, and there is this beautiful thing where a bunch of them jump up, and they lift someone in the center up high to grab the ball. Or he jumps up and they catch him and let him down? It just looks like he levitates for a moment.

More colliding, more piles. Slow motion replay of 2 very large men ramming their shoulders into the torso of another very large man. The announcers keep mentioning something called a 22.

I still have no idea how rugby works.

Day 18: memory of the text

#18 Improvisation drawing from (17), reading/word(s), your memory of first reading of the text

Lots of very important work happening here at 100 days HQ:

Monday, December 1, 2014

Day 17: bookcase

#17 Select a book from a bookcase at random. Read one entire page.

I close my eyes and pull Stephen Elliot's The Adderall Diaries off the bookshelf. I skip past the prologue, which opens with:
My father may have killed a man.
I skip to Chapter 1. Page 13. It does that old fashioned thing where it lists everything that occurs in the chapter in italics up top:
May; Golden State; Suicidal Thoughts; A Year without Speed; Floyd Mayweather Comes Up Short; "Your Guy Just Confessed to Eight Murders"; Lissette; The Part about Josie
It's nonfiction. On Page 13, he writes about taking Adderall, crushing the beads from a time release capsule, trying to write, playing cards instead, going to a party...