Tuesday, June 9, 2015


A postscript from Christy...

100 Days Score 

I walked before I crawled. Then my motor neural wiring brought me down to crawling as movement exploration, and here is when my home practice started. As a child I followed my mother around as she cleaned and cooked; I imitated her actions in abstraction, hoping to entertain her as she toiled. By the time I was a teenager, I had taken over the basement as a studio, and everyone in my family apologized if they walked in on my dancing. Home practice doesn’t just support public practice—it is the most important thing we can do to develop as artists. It is a place where we create our own economy for our work and are only limited by our commitment.

One night, in late 2013, Rowena Richie admiringly mentioned Cheryl Strayed’s Wild for Strayed’s goal of walking the Pacific Coast Trail for 100 days. Rowena said she wanted to do 100 days of something. I offered to create 100 days of prompts to support Rowena’s curiosity.

The 100 days score is simply that: a list of 100 prompts to spark movement and creative (all of the prompts can be done in any media) investigations. The prompts are designed to take place in your apartment, in rented studio space, outside in both urban and green environments, in cafes—anywhere you can make them happen.

The goal is to support home practice in direct and tangible ways, to direct practice towards exploration and away from production, to examine our first choices and immediate instincts, and to invite in influence from other media as a means of enriching creativity. The score can be used for compositional, improvisational, and/or physical-mental conditioning ends. Most importantly the score values autonomy and the freeing of exploration from productivity.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Day 100: champagne and recap

#100 Meet XT & Ro for champagne and recap!

Six months after I started, I have reached the end. It looks like this:

I'm done. Done! The notion hasn't made itself at home just yet. It's visiting. What's the period at the end of this run on sentence that started back in November? I'm not ready to wrap it up in a tidy bow. It's all too weird. I'm forced to resort to metaphor.

The untidy take aways...

The few times I involved other people in this practice gave me such a sense of relief and support. It was the best way out of my heady spirals and well worn movement paths. There is something here about being open to influence, and the benefits of outward focus.

Having a daily practice makes me happier, for the most part. This particular practice was not always daily for me, clearly. But when it was daily-ish, it had a real effect on my general well-being, despite the artistic angst that popped up at regular intervals.

Yeah, I'm kind of neurotic and angsty about my creative life - surprise! Christy reframed this by suggesting that I am discerning and critical, and that those are important and useful qualities. Perhaps. I am still interested in connecting to the pleasure in dance and performance making.

The suggestion (for the entire project) to "try not to make anything" was the source of some struggles for me. Turns out that Ro's instructions didn't include that, and she was happily making things, and then reveling in the shedding days. I wonder how things would have been different without that concept.

Also in "what would it have been like if..." category: I wonder how it would have been if I hadn't been documenting this whole thing publicly. I'm glad I did. I liked putting all of this raw, unfinished stuff out there into the world. And there was something nice about running into someone, and they would mention reading one of the posts. Surprising, and a little strange, but nice. Maybe it's validating? Like, this is actually happening!

I loved the prompts that had to do with attention - improvising with the senses, observing people.

Space/location was a huge deal. So, so much dancing in my domestic space. It felt cramped a lot of the time, but more comfortable than being out in public space. When I felt stuck, I wanted to blame my bedroom. On the flip side, I'm sitting on my bed now writing this, and the room bears the traces of all that dancing. This is at once my private space, and a public performance space, through the magic of youtube. I like the vulnerability in that. Here I am. Here is where I sleep. Here is my stuff.

Public space was always complicated. That's one of the I'm left wanting to work on or figure out. How to claim space. How to bring creative process into public space, and be comfortable doing it. How to not worry about looking like a freak. How to dance like no one is watching when no one else is dancing and someone might be watching. Or, how to dance for an accidental audience the way I dance for an intentional audience in "real" performance.

Drawing doodley things while listening to music has become one of my favorite ways to relax, and the rediscovery of that came at least partially from this process.

I think it was good that I didn't see any of Ro's 100 days when I started mine. It was good to get onto my own path, without any pre-conceived notions. But seeing her beautiful book (which is the main repository of her documentation) today made me think that it would have been inspiring to see her responses to some of the prompts while I was still in the practice. Not the prompts I hadn't gotten to yet, but some that I had done. She approached things in ways I didn't even think of, and I think seeing that would have opened up even more possibilities and shaken things up. It comes back to where I started - the joys of influence.

And now having come full circle, I think I'll leave it here.



It's the last day. It should be different.
It's the last day. It should reflect everything that came before.

Or, move just to move. Move what feels right. Kinesthetic delight. Shedding the thought "this has been done before."


A sense of melancholy is setting in. It has been a week of goodbyes all around.

So, bye now, lady dancing in her bedroom.
Bye bye day 99, 98, 97, 96...

Suddenly I'm remembering dance classes from my early 20s with Cheryl. Lying on the floor, looking up at the picturesque cracks in the ceiling and hearing her voice: "Say goodbye to your day. Say goodbye to work, the people on the bus, your family... Say hello to your body."


All done. Time to celebrate.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Day 98: breath support

#98 Run all material with breath support and experiments with phrasing

Special guest stars Chris and Aura joined me for this one. We did away with the notion of saved material and ran an improvisation with these ideas:

Active movement on the periphery
Glacial movement in the center space
Breath support
Experiments with phrasing
Kinisthetic delight

The idea of phrasing got lost, and we sometimes forgot about breath support. There ended up being a kind of transitional zone between the periphery and the center.

Influence was my favorite part of this. We talked afterward about how improvising with other people releases us from the usual worries about whether our movement is interesting/habitual/whatever. Pay attention. Respond. Play.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Day 97: qualitative fluctuations

# 97: Run all material with qualitative fluctiations in:
flow (muscularity)
weight (strong or light)
space (uni- or multi-focus)
time (slowing down or speeding up)

I released my fear of phrase, at least for the day. Resurrected a little ditty from last week, added on a bit, and then did it about fifteen times in various ways (two are below). I was glad I did. Digging into the same material again and again with the fluctuations in quality is satisfying. You stop worrying about the particulars of the material and whether it's good, but find some nuances and possibilities.

Did this for two rounds of about 10 minutes each (with special guest star Sam on guitar). Video from most of the 2nd round was lost to insufficient memory, and I'm quite sure that's when all the good stuff happened. This is the last version from the first round, and the first version in the second.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Day 96: Spatial Intent

#96 Run all material or improvise with "spatial intent" and spatial support(s)

A long stretch of beach and ocean seemed like the right sort of spatial support for this one. My spatial intent was to revel in the space, to stretch out, to move along the horizon.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Day 95: Dress rehearsal

#95 Dress rehearsal

Still not sure what I'm dress rehearsing for. Decided to think of it as a dress rehearsal for presenting some kind of summary of this whole project. I went through all of the writing and pulled small bits from every prompt into one document, with the idea that this is something I could read aloud. Read some of it aloud.

I think I just turned this into an exercise in editing.

Ideally, there would also be a very edited video with something from every video and drawing that would play, perfectly timed, with the reading.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Day 94: Schedule a dress rehearsal

#94 Schedule a dress rehearsal. Invite 0-50 people to witness.


I mean, ok. But dress rehearsal for what? Of what?

This makes me so uncomfortable.

Okherewego. Dress rehearsal is hereby scheduled for Sunday morning at 11am in my apartment. Zero people are invited. Unless y'all want to come over?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Day 93: Re-arrange parts randomly

#93 Re-arrange parts randomly. Improvise "set" or saved material to breathe new life into it.

So, I don't really have set or saved material. And my enthusiasm for phrase-making remains as limp as ever. But then this happened: I read this prompt a couple of days a go and didn't get around to doing it until today. And when I did, I mis-remembered it. Somehow the word "improvise" - my favorite word when it comes to prompts - got lost. I thought I was making another phrase. I reconciled myself to it. I thought about Susan Rethorst's "wrecking" process, where you invite another choreographer to come in and wreck your material. Maybe I could wreck my own. Even though I don't remember any of it.

I dug back through the handful of phrases that I've created, and pulled a few little bits here and there and, voila! New phrase! More or less.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Day 92: the dance not done

#92 Review all of your documentation. Move the "dance not done"

It got fun again. I'm not sure why. Just the change of scenery? After months of dancing in my bedroom, I danced in my bathroom instead. And something about the space and the rather dramatic music made it more fun. I felt less like I was dancing around slack-jawed and aimless, more like there was a story hidden somewhere under the surface.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Day 91: What if?

#91 What if?

The one person (me) version, asked and answered

What if everyone I love and respect leaves the city?
For a long time I've thought that I would live in this city for the rest of my life. Now I wonder what that will look like. As of now, I'm privileged to have a high paying part time job that allows me to live in a studio apartment in San Francisco and spend the rest of my time doing art related stuff. (And ok, also napping and seeing friends and watching Netflix, etc.) This is lucky. Very lucky. But, when the city is drained of artists and wonderful weirdos who are less lucky, or who have just made different choices about how to balance work and life and art, what do I do? Or better question: how do I help stop that from happening so I don't have to answer this question.

What if art and movement practice lived in public spaces?
Sometimes it does. And it's like, yes, this belongs here. This is what actually creates the place.
Sometimes it doesn't. This question came up for me again a couple of days ago when I danced for ten minutes in a parking lot, and felt a strong sensation that I didn't belong. That possibly I was doing something wrong. But I'm thinking that it lives in public spaces if we make it and do it in public spaces and just stake our claim. Not, this is mine, but this is ours. We belong here.

What if I always approached dance-making as a practice rather than a product?
I think I might be happier. But perhaps would feel even less validated by society than I currently do. Would dance-making be a hobby at that point? How different is that? Is it a problem?

What if I stopped producing shows?
Ugh. See above.

What if I die next week?
Well, then for me, nothing. But maybe I would be doing things differently right now. But not SO differently. Yesterday I took dance class and saw an improv show and celebrated a friend's birthday. That's not such a bad day in my final week of life. I probably wouldn't go to work next week, though. I'd go out dancing. I'd go outside. I'd spend as much time as possible with friends and family and my love. I might meditate. I'm not sure about that.

What if everything is slowly falling apart?
What if it is? Now that I think about answering this, I don't think it's such an interesting question.

What if things can really change for the better?
Then we're responsible for working to make that happen.

What if we didn't have bodies?
I once went on a date with someone who thought that in our lifetime, we'd evolve, through use of technology, into pure consciousness. Or something like that. I found this idea a little bit interesting and not at all appealing. I am so attached to having a body. We're animals. I don't think I want to be a consciousness without my body. Half the time, it's using my body that rescues me from my own mind.

The crowd-sourced version, unanswered:

What if more people took chances in life and made changes for the better of love, compassion, and the universe of all living creatures?...

Sleep could be stored like money in a bank?

What if I could see my own eyes?

What if I was holding 4,000 helium balloons?

What if We all had the ability to fly at will.

What if these walls could actually talk?

What if humans loss the ability to take a life.

What if We can change the suicide nightmare the planet is dreaming by mistake?

What if money didn't exist!

What if there was no friction?

What if I gave up? Right now?

What if you could get a life transplant?

What if I could fly!?

What if your feet were made out of cherry-lime jello???

What if you had permission to do exactly what you wanted? Right now?

What if we had wings.

What if we all actually just said what we meant?

What if the Bay Area wasn't so insanely expensive?

I want answers!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Day 90: Translate

#90 Translate one prompt into another medium

Translation of Day 82

There's this girl
This woman
There's this woman, and she's in her bedroom

Here's her unmade bed
awkward clusters of pictures on the wall
guitar sulking in the corner

She's dancing
bare feet dancing
Not dancing-in-your-bedroom dancing

She's toes splayed
an arm drifting out to the side
just floating out there forgotten
She's looking at someones who aren't there
looking at her own toes
She's interested in her own toes
testing a transfer of weight
What are they doing down there?

This is dancing:
a deep knee bend
an exploratory swivel of the hips
pretending to be a bird

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Day 89: Repeat a prompt of your choice

#89 Repeat a prompt of your choice

Thinking back, two of the most pleasurable prompts were "paint" and "improvise from sense of sound". If it weren't so close to the end of days, I might have stayed inside and reprised the paint prompt. But I am approaching the end, and movement seems called for. I went up to the roof, with a sort of sense of pleasing symmetry in mind - I did one of the earliest prompts on my roof. The sound of the wind up there was inviting, but it was dark and cold, and a little late to be stomping over my neighbors' heads. So I grabbed my tiny tripod and headed out, thinking maybe Dolores Park? I didn't get that far. A nearby parking lot called to me with the siren song of artificial light and graffiti.

Here's what came up as I stood out in a half-empty (or half-full for you optimists out there) parking lot around 10pm and began to dance...

There was the sound of the wind, of cars passing, the metal fence clanging here and there. This is great stuff for dancing to.

Then, pretty soon, a homeless man across the lot yelling out, possibly at me, but I'm not sure. It puts me a little on edge.

My eyes take over. Sorry, ears. There is too much to see here. It seems like you can see and hear at the same time. I mean, that's how we operate in the world. It seems like you can do both. But can you pay attention to both? I was irresistibly drawn to my visual sense as input for my improvisation, for a time. When I consciously tuned back into sounds, they rushed back in, as though I had just pulled out earplugs. The primacy of vision, y'all.

And the awkwardness of doing something out of the ordinary in public spaces. I have not overcome this feeling of tightness underneath all of the fun stuff when I'm doing some non-sanctioned art-type activity in a public space. I shouldn't be here. Someone is going to tell me I can't be here. Or mock me. Or attack me. Or honestly, sometimes, it's not even wanting to be watched or seen. Which doesn't make any sense. I love to perform. But this isn't performance. It's just exploring. Experimenting. Playing. And I can feel myself holding back. Everything is too contained and it's not just my not-warm-enough-a-little-too-old-to-be-dancing-at-this-hour body. It's something else stopping me from rolling all over that slanted wall. I mean, LOOK AT THAT WALL! I could have been mooshing my body all over it. Why wasn't I rolling around like release-trained modern dancer I was trained to be?Ok, the dirt might also be a factor.

But you guys, I think deep down, it's shame. It's me and my so-called art don't belong here. So I make everything smaller, make myself smaller. Small enough to fit in a studio apartment, even when there's a whole damn world out there.

Surely everything will change tomorrow in the wake of this epiphany.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Day 87: generate material

#87: Use your recording from 86 to generate material

Ok. It's been very hard to get to these in the midst of rehearsing and performing and taking classes and planning a show and working. Is there something meaningful to glean from this difficulty? The best I've been able to do of late is to show up where I'm supposed to be and try to drop into the task at hand. And now I am here, and now I am doing this.

But when I don't really have to be somewhere specific doing a specific thing, well, the dropping in is more of a glancing off. Case in point, another prompt sort of tossed off:

There are just a handful of these left. Maybe I'll dig back in with all my teeth and claws and drag something up from the depths. But for now I'm going to nap.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Day 88: architecture

#88 Observe architecture either live or online and discern it's structure. Design your own building.

Another one to file under "not my job".  Also, I'm out of order! I accidentally skipped 87. Back to that next.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Day 86: observe and describe movement

#86 Observe movement (from any source). Record yourself describing it.

Observing movement is endlessly fascinating. Adequately describing it is hard.

When I read today's prompt this afternoon, I thought back to earlier in the day when I sat by the water eating a sandwich and watched a seagull who clearly wanted some of my sandwich. I know I was anthropomorphizing him/her/it, but this guy was hilarious, looking at me sideways, then straight on, backing up, sidling closer, staring me down.

But that is not the movement I officially observed. Went back to humans for that. All men today, for some reason.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 85: Japanese Fasion

#85: Visit a Japanese fashion or style website and steal some ideas

I feel sort of dazed.

Here are some people.

Here are some hands.

Here is a fox and a cat and a rabbit.

Day 84: movement version of a scene from a play

#84: Make a movement phrase version of (83)

I could have used some company for this one. Really should have been a duet. I made do with a conversation between my head and my hands.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Day 83: write a scene from a play

#83 Write a scene from a play drawing from any previous material/prompts

A man and a woman sitting in a crowded cafe

You do. You touch your fly when you come out.

No, I don't. I don't do that.

Every time.

You're watching my crotch every time I step out of the bathroom?

The movement of your hand draws my eye.


It's almost delicate the way you do it. It's sort of sweet. Your fingers -



No. No it is not delicate the way I touch my fly. Because, and anyway, I didn't touch my fly just now.

You did. You do. Every time.

I was probably smoothing my shirt.


Look, if I touched my crotch, you'd know. It wouldn't be some delicate, skulking maneuver. It would be firm and masculine adjustment.

Yes, I imagine it would be.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day 82: a ride between mobility and stability

#82: Make a phrase based on a ride between mobility and stability

I've been procrastinating. It seems I was avoiding this one. More resistance to phrase-making. An improvisation on the ride between mobility and stability? Sign me up! A phrase? Uh...

A few days ago, I got about 2 movements into a phrase and then just went and did something else. Today, I talked about how I've been avoiding this, and then suddenly when I had 20 minutes free, it was no problem to throw together a tiny little phrase.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Day 81: third time's the charm

#80-81 Entire chunk of saved material is passed through filter(s) of your chosen connectivity patters. If you have not saved anything, run another improvisation with them as cues.

More like the third time is, well, just the third time. This was my third time running the trochanter/toe connection improvisation. This time with no music to drive me forward or boss me around. It continues to be a fun connection to play with, though I think I lost some specificity about the body parts and moved from hips and feet. Close enough. I wore my glasses so that I also might think a little more about what my eyes are doing. 

I find myself thinking today about a conversation about effort that I had with Rowena when she was doing her 100 days. Maybe one of her prompts had something to do with effort? She mentioned that she was trying to push herself to use more effort more intentionally in her daily life - bike a little faster, walk a little faster than was comfortable. I'm thinking about this now, because it seems in my improvisations lately, I don't want to exert much effort. There is a certain tempo that it is easy to fall into. I want movement to be easy. I could make excuses for this: recent injuries, and admonition not to sweat until my new tattoo heals, space limitations, age. (In a rehearsal the other day, we were supposed to be showing the effort in the phrase we were doing. I did not have a problem doing this. The other dancer, who is 25, asked "oh, so you want me to pretend it's hard?" Yup.

I don't know that any of those reasons are real reasons. Maybe I just want some ease. Is ease boring? 


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day 80: bony connectivity pattern, again

#80-81 Entire chunk of saved material is passed through filter(s) of your chosen connectivity patters. If you have not saved anything, run another improvisation with them as cues.

Welcome to 100 day practice, Russian River edition.

Even if I had been saving material, I think I would have lost it after the extended breaks I've been taking. So option 2 it is, run another improvisation. Back to trochanters and toes. This time outside, with live accompaniment. Quite a treat.

Looking at this, I wonder what makes me find certain movements aesthetically pleasing, and why I have a desire to do aesthetically pleasing, pretty things. Straight extended legs. That must come from the long ago ballet training. The hiked hip, the dangly flung arms. When did I learn to love those? Long ago. But why?

Also, focus. I remember dancing around and sort of taking things in with my eyes, but feeling shy about where they might land. Is this some version of what an acting called look-at-me-don't-look-at-me? I think an improvisation led by intentional focus is needed at some point.

I think for 81 I may return yet again to trochanters and toes. Again! Again! I labor under the notion that with enough repetition I'll arrive somewhere else. Not sure I have evidence for this belief. Maybe I will try it without music to see what happens when I'm left entirely to my own devices.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Day 79: bony connectivity pattern

#79: Make up and move your own bony connectivity pattern

Turns out those pairs from day 78 were bony connectivity patterns. Now we know. I stuck with pairs for my pattern. I started with wrists/knees and then went onto toes/trochanters (the greater trochanters in particular - basically the outer part of the top of the femur. They used to come up a lot in release technique).

I'm just including video of the toes/trochanters improvisation, because it's more fun. And it's mostly more fun because of the music, which seems like cheating, but it all connected quite nicely into something that feels less amorphously floaty than many of my improvisations.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Day 78: move from pairs

#78 Move from the following:
> scapulae : fingertips
> heels : sacrum
> skull : pubic bone
> scapulae : sacrum

Wow. Hi. It's been awhile. I got that cold that everyone has. For the past few weeks, my creative practice has mainly involved constructing small mountains of used tissues. Pretty edgy stuff.  I seem to be well enough now to clamber back into my 100 days. (Though I am still integrating cough drops into my improvisations.)

This pretty straightforward movement improvisation was a great point of reentry. Back to dancing around the bedroom! I took each pair on it's own. After I'd been through all of them, I played around with trying to combine them all, but it felt random and diffuse and I lost steam.


The heel/sacrum connection was surprisingly hard to find today

Moving from the sacrum makes me want to either stick my butt out or drop straight down like a plumb line.

Except in the scapulae/sacrum combination, when it felt like three arrows trying to point in different directions.

Opposite effect with the pubic bone. I was doing a lot of weird tucked pelvis. I think I emphasized the skull more in that one. I took in more visually when moving from the skull.

The scapulae/sacrum connection was the most delicious. I didn't have to search to find the connection or keep reminding myself to find it. It's just there. And something about removing concern about the distal points of the body made it easier to explore kinesthetically with less thought of visual aesthetics. Or maybe it just fits in nicely with my visual aesthetic?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 77: How should your favorite film director make a film about you / your work?

#77 How should your favorite film director make a film about you/your work? What to do, where to go, who is in it - write all.

Michel Gondry, I choose you. Do you accept? The Coen Brothers just didn't seem right for this project. But if you don't want to do it, maybe I will ask Wong Kar Wai.

Here's what we'll do. We'll reconstruct and rework parts of old pieces. The rehearsal process should be filmed, and some pieces should be performed live and filmed. Others can be performed strictly for the camera. Animation should be added, and in some places it should replace the footage.

We'll film Songs for You in a motel room. How to See Red should take place in a brain (a mix of live action and animation). The Something-ettes should be filmed in a long continuous shot down Mission street. A Hand in Desire can stay just where it was, in the basement performance space at Viracocha. We'll do a month long run of performances and shoot those. Original cast. Monkey Gone to Heaven requires an abandoned church in a jungle. Keyhole Dances should be done in the real homes of real couples who will perform it.

The entire process - production meetings, rehearsals, fundraising, etc, should be filmed. Scenes should be selected from this footage for a documentary, but rather than using the original footage, the scenes should be re-enacted (with seriousness and integrity) by elementary school students.

I imagine the re-enacted documentary scenes interspersed with the reconstructed pieces, but you're the director.

Also, can it end with a 3 panel split screen with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maggie Cheung, and Cate Blanchett each individually doing gestural choreography based on my movement at the moments in rehearsal when I don't know what to do?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day 76: Send something in the mail

#76 Send something in the mail to Rowena

Well, I think this one is between me and Rowena.

She's my 100 days predecessor. I haven't seen the documentation of her 100 days yet. We were going to have some sort of show-and-tell handoff when I started, but I think it's better that I started with a clean slate. Still, it's nice knowing she's done it - my 100 days sister.

Sigh. I love sending things in the mail (rent check excepted). Receiving real mail from an actual person is also a special thrill. Is there anything left to say about the lost art of letter writing that has not already been said? No. I used to have pen pals. Even in adulthood, I had friends I exchanged letters on paper with from time to time. I miss that. A blog is sort of a letter to everyone, but it's not the same.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Day 75: Day of Rebellion

I suck at rebellion.

I misread this prompt at first as: Day off - rebellion. And maybe that's what I did. We see the prompt we want to see. It was not a dance day. That much seemed clear. The idea of dancing rebellion... well now that I think of it, sounds kind of great. But not for today.

Maybe rebellion isn't appealing to me at this moment because I like the set-up of my life. I LIKE doing the structured stuff. I like meditating in the morning for 10 minutes. I like doing homework for acting classes and going to rehearsals and being (semi) productive at my day job. What am I going to rebel against here? Ah, privilege.

I ventured out of the house mid-morning, and immediately came across an angry man kicking over a garbage can. It seemed like a good start. Rebellion! Thwart the tyranny of upright trash cans! And then I just proceeded to have a wonderful day including a bike ride to Sausalito and fried chicken. And maybe that's a kind of rebellion against my very productive lifestyle. Plus, I rode my bike through the mall. Just Embarcadero, not San Francisco Center. That's just crazy.

Yeah. I suck at rebellion. Not going to get into deep contemplation on how that reflects on my standing as an artist. Fuck it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Day 74: Revisit and revise the writing from (2)

Day 2 was "writing: your wildest desire".

It started like this:
When I started hanging around with J, he told me he was trying to rid himself of fear and desire. Some kind of Buddhist notion. Fear I understood wanting to be rid of. But desire? No way. I was waist deep in desire. Nipple deep. I was in it over my head over TB. The Boy. It was exhilarating and excruciating. And the thing is in the end, the several-years-later end, I'm not sure it meant anything at all beyond some raw animal surges of feeling.
The rest was too tender to post.

Day 2. That was 72 project days ago. Probably something like 90 calendar days. Things feel different in this new year and new season. I expected to look back at the writing and feel distant from the writing from the second day and even from the person writing it. In some ways I do, but it's also so recognizably me, and the feelings within are familiar. There was this, from the writing not made public:
Desires are - they are these things I don't want to admit to. There isn't a life-long wildest desire. There is a minute-to-minute pull of the heart or the gut or the crotch to a bacon wrapped hot tog, the collarbones of a skinny white boy, a moment of fulfillment. A moment.
Yup. I recognize that.

And now? Today? At midnight, a couple of drinks in? (Which, by the way, is the perfect time to write about desire. Isn't it? I tried in early evening, and didn't get anywhere.) Now, today, here's another crack at my wildest desire...

I want to eat it all up. I want to make loud and terrible sounds that have never before passed through my lips. I want to extend all directions at once until I burst into tiny pieces that rain down on everyone, coating them in a red sticky salty film. I want to be larger than life. I want to have ears that can hear everything and eyes that can see everything. I want to be alive and awake.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 73: compilation and review

#73 Compilation and review day. Make sure all written and recorded trails are as you want them to be

Here's the thing: I don't know that I want the written and recorded trails to be any particular way. The documentation is a reflection of whatever was happening on each day. So I suppose the written and recorded are as I want them to be, just as they are. Looking back over some of the recent documentation, what I am struck by is not how my artistic process or product has been affected - though perhaps those things have been affected. Instead, what I notice is how overall, doing this practice has increased my happiness. I'm not sure exactly how. I think it has to do with exercising some creative muscles without making something that then has to be justified. Plus there is some basic joy that can sometimes be tapped into through dancing or singing or drawing.

Sort of related to this, I've been wondering how much suffering is embedded and integral to the art-making process in general, and mine in particular. (Suffering here, I'm thinking of as the narrative we pile on top of pain or discomfort to make it worse).  You know that creative cycle that people talk about? This one?

  1. This is awesome
  2. This is tricky
  3. This is shit
  4. I am shit
  5. This might be ok
  6. This is awesome
(I don't know where this originated, but it's apt.)

Are steps 3 and 4 integral and necessary? Maybe it's just step 4 that's really problematic. I'd like to skip that part in my next big project. What are the chances?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 72: bake something

The second batch of cookies is out of the oven. There's about a cup and a half of batter left, and I pretty seriously considered just eating it. But no, I won't. That's not what this is about.

So what is this about? A couple of things, I think. It's an opportunity to step back from preciousness. So you've been making art, huh? Well, make some cookies. Same difference. The other side of this coin could be approaching the act of making cookies like a creative process. (I don't find baking particularly creative, which is maybe why I'm not much of a baker.) Somehow it seems like if I had made bread, this would all be more poetic and earthy and meaningful.

But really the thing I love about this one is the space it created. Maybe this is on my mind because I've been rather busy and trying to do lots of productive things. And perhaps also because in my audition technique class, we've been talking about self-care and taking care of the creative/artist self. I'm inwardly rolling my eyes subtly at this last sentence, but I don't think I should. So today, between work a quick date before rehearsal, I was going to work on my drag number, monologues, send some very important emails. But I opened my 100 days booklet, and it said "bake something", so instead of doing any of those things, I put on some music (Karen O's soundtrack for Where the Wild Things Are) and baked some fucking cookies. Feels great.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Day 71: improvise "exertion" and "recuperation"

Doing this made me think of a few things.

Then I thought of Leyya Tawil's piece Destroy, which I performed in a few years back. It was basically a structured improvisation built around a few movement phrases. There were parts of the piece where the instruction was to repeat a movement until you couldn't anymore (it involved circling the head around, so dizziness set in fairly quickly), then you would rest just until the moment you were able to pop up and continue the phrase. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Then I thought of Mugwumpin, because they have been exploring a theme of endurance and exhaustion.

Why do exertion and recuperation lead me directly to endurance and exhaustion? Do I have some sort of macho work ethic? Harderfasterbetterstronger? Does exertion have to push to a limit? Can recuperation be interesting?

Then I thought of exercise programs. 45 seconds of intense activity and 15 seconds of rest! Keep that heart rate up!

Exertion came out as bouncing and flailing around for most of this, with one brief foray into isometric exertion in the form of a lunge. I got bored with that one before long. I did feel like I was doing a demented workout video.

I think there is more to say about all of this, but I'm worn out from my exertions. Time to recuperate.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 70: Choose 1-5 structures to organize/apply to any of "saved" material (part 3)

#68-70 Choose 1-5 structures to organize/apply to any of "saved" material

This was a fun one. The structure came from day 63 and I pulled in bits of movement phrases, song, and tasks from other days. This was not a "try not to make anything" sort of day. It was more of a make something by throwing a bunch of stuff together and have fun doing it sort of day, and I don't feel a bit bad about it.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Day 69: Choose 1-5 structures to organize/apply to any of "saved" material (part 2)

#68-70 Choose 1-5 structures to organize/apply to any of "saved" material

Today I made this a structured improvisation. It didn't come together into a satisfying package in the way I had imagined it might. Oh well.

The structure borrowed from Day 61 (abstract tarot cards) and day 65 (a simple ABCB structure)

A: blue card / oval and line / rabbit hole walk on all fours (day 45)
B: red card / X / rabbit hole funny walks (day 49)
C: grey card / circle / list of stuff floor movement (day 55)
B: red card / X / rabbit hole funny walks (day 49)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Day 68: Choose 1-5 structures to organize/apply to any of "saved" material (part 1)

#68-70 Choose 1-5 structures to organize/apply to any of "saved" material

I haven't really been saving anything. Not in my own body, anyway. But there has been a certain accumulation of stuff. Since I have 3 days of applying and organizing saved material with my structures, I'm taking this first day to just take stock and spot some potential material to save. Hallelujah it will be saved!

So, below are my notes to myself about some possible material to work with. But before we get to that, can I just say I'm totally overwhelmed?

I am totally overwhelmed.

I began this project in the fall after I had wrapped up all of my other projects for the year. Now here we are mid-winter (no seriously, it's winter), and I'm two thirds of the way through this wonderful mess, and I'm also suddenly deep into working artist schedule, complete with acting classes and rehearsals and drag numbers to plan and shows to produce.

Deep breath.


Ok, so I think what's going to happen is the 100 days days are going to get a little more spread out. Something like 2 times a week until my google calendar looks less  like some sort of abstract expressionist painting. Because I love this project, and want to continue to approach each day wholeheartedly, but at the current rate, I may not be able to love it. Turns out I have only so much love to give (per day).

Phew! Ok! I feel better. Don't you?

Back to the task at hand...

The organizing structures
I think the most likely organizing structures will be Day 61 (the abstract tarot cards) and/or Day 63 (a kind of narrative with tangents)  and/or day 65 (super simple ABCB) and/or Day 64 (shaded lines of different thicknesses)

The "saved" stuff
Day 56 (shedding dance)
:30 bent forward stuff
1:20 bootie hikes through arch
1:45 head swirl to arm flails
2:22 lunge to knee wiggles
3:05 conductor fingers to hands on waist turn

Day 55 (improvisation from list of stuff on my mind)
:44 cross legs
2:24 keyboard fingers / mouse hand
4:35 spazzy

Day 48 (rabbit hole/funny walks)
The funny walks. I love a lot of this. Also just watched it at double speed and it is so much more fun that way. Maybe I should repost the video.

Day 47 (rabbit hole/bed)
2:10 throwing sheet and laying down
2:40 nose wipe to sitting
3:45 pulling the sheet one way and another

Day 45 (potential rabbit holes)
day 40 stuff

Day 35 (a phrase!)

Day 21 (revisit rabbit hole)

Day 13 (another phrase!)

Day 9 (yet another phrase!)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Day 67: identify (or draw) structure, part 7

#61-67: Identify and define for yourself (or draw) what you perceive the structures are in 4, 17, 19, 36, 39, 44, 60

You guys, I don't know. It was a kind of amorphously rough day and I'm tired of structure and I don't know what the heck this is. Tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Day 66: identify (or draw) structure, part 6

#61-67: Identify and define for yourself (or draw) what you perceive the structures are in 4, 17, 19, 36, 39, 44, 60

Day 44 was a Bruce Connor inspired painting. The structure was something like this:

5 alternating columns of red and black
red      black      red      black      red
borders are porous, they overlap
each column made up of figures
expanding symmetrically out
from the column's center line
curving shapes and lines
vaguely organic forms
that might suggest
a cartoon rabbit
birds kissing
insect wings

Day 65: identify (or draw) structure, part 5

#61-67: Identify and define for yourself (or draw) what you perceive the structures are in 4, 17, 19, 36, 39, 44, 60

It's late. I'm going to keep this simple. Day 39 was "the solstice song", and the structure goes something like:


(Or A-C-D-C could work just as well. Who needs B?)

That's it!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Day 64: identify (or draw) structure, part 4

#61-67: Identify and define for yourself (or draw) what you perceive the structures are in 4, 17, 19, 36, 39, 44, 60

The midway point of the week of drawing structure. This is the geometric version of a soft, slouchy costumes. The left side is the front, the right is the back. The background is pink for no reason.

I'm getting curious about what is to become all of these. Seven days of improvising with the structures?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Day 63: identify (or draw) structure, part 3

#61-67: Identify and define for yourself (or draw) what you perceive the structures are in 4, 17, 19, 36, 39, 44, 60

Day 19 seems like it was just yesterday. Remember? I watched Rugby on youtube for about 10 minutes. Here is the structure of my rugby experience:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Day 62: identify (or draw) structure, part 2

#61-67: Identify and define for yourself (or draw) what you perceive the structures are in 4, 17, 19, 36, 39, 44, 60

I am very much enjoying doing things that are not the things I do. If you know what I mean.

Perceived structure of Day 17:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 61: identify (or draw) structure, part 1

#61-67: Identify and define for yourself (or draw) what you perceive the structures are in 4, 17, 19, 36, 39, 44, 60

Drawing of perceived structure of Day 4

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Day 60: listen to music

#60 Listen to music without doing anything else

It's not that I never just sit and listen to music without doing anything else, but it is rare. Way back in my olden married days, I remember regularly sitting around with my brother-in-law, who lived with us, and just listening to The Mountain Goats or Wilco, maybe with a glass of whisky in hand. Who knows how often it actually happened, but I remember that fondly.

More recently, N spontaneously suggested we go hear a gospel singer who was playing at the Rite Spot that night. Quinn Deveaux did not turn out to be a gospel singer, but was excellent, and listening to him play guitar and sing something like blues while we had a glass of wine made for a near-perfect and surprising San Francisco night.

But mostly, music is the background soundtrack to working or walking around the city or hanging out with folks. Chores are more often accompanied by podcasts these days. Of course there is also the occasional bedroom improvisation or dance party where music plays an important role. But just sitting or lying and listening? Pretty rare.

Turns out listening to Sleater Kinney's new album while doing nothing else is a great way to start a Sunday morning. (Full disclosure: I did ice my neck while I listened). It's my third time listening, but the first time listening with full attention, which is, really, the attention it deserves. Sleater Kinney really isn't background music. I read once in an interview that Neko Case calls herself "the horn section", and that makes me wonder what Corin Tucker is. An ambulance siren? Almost every song bursts into the room and grabs you immediately, then suddenly drops you and leaves and it's gone. I appreciated again the overlapping vocal lines I have always loved in their music, and Janet Weiss' fierce uncompromising drumming, and all the sounds and textures they can make with 2 guitars, drumset, and their voices.

Plus also there was the permission to take the time to just sit and listen. I have to do this! The feeling of needing to get things done is relentless lately. This prompt snuck in some time to do nothing but listen to music disguised as a thing that needs to get done.

A great way to start a Sunday morning.

Day 59: evolving repetition

#59: Practice "evolving" repetition for 5 minutes

 This one feels organic and hypnotic. Hypnorganic?

Another practice I wouldn't mind revisiting. Perhaps not at midnight next time.

Side note: I came close to doing this at the music concourse at Golden Gate park. I was there for a Segway tour, of all things (which, side note to a side note, is an interesting way to find out where your weight is). I was early for the Segway thing, so I walked around, stood on the stage awhile, walked around through the benches and weird stubby trees, watched the birds, listened to people talk. It seemed like a great place to dance, but there were all of these PEOPLE people around. Normal people doing normal things. I got shy. This thing, this feeling of needing to be legitimized by a space or or an event or a group, is so strong. 

The entire time I was wandering around suppressing the urge to dance, there was this old guy, this maybe Chinese, maybe Filipino, maybe whatever old guy with a boombox dancing at the top of the steps. Dancing. His dance was just stepping from foot to foot, elbows swinging back, but he was going for it. When YMCA came on, he sang along. He did not require permission. Someone dropped some coins in his upturned hat. I, on the other hand, do most of my dancing lately in my bedroom. It's weird.

I started a couple of acting classes this week, and I'm put in mind of something one of the teachers asked. Did you put yourself in an acting class to be seen? Or did you put yourself in an acting class to hide? I am considering whether this is an interesting question to apply to art/performance making practices more generally, and mine more specifically.

Okay, enough side note. Here's evolving repetition:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 58: True Repetition

#58 Practice "true repetition" for 5 minutes

Put on Io by Dawn of Midi to help track the time and inspire repetition.

Try out a couple of movements and then settle quickly on this sequence:

Begin in turnout, feet just slightly apart, left foot slightly ahead of the right.
Sweep right found around on floor.
Send tailbone back, dragging right foot back through parallel to end behind left foot.
Turn out right leg.
Lift left heel and pivot left leg in to parallel while arcing out to the side then around to the front.
Place left heel down as arm arc finishes.
Turn out left leg to return to starting position.


As you repeat, think about how to talk about this. Try to stop thinking. Remember doing the same task with R during her 100 days. Note how it is different this time. Wonder if you should have been filming. Decide it doesn't matter. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Be reminded of running. Worry about everything you need to get done today. Just do the movement. Repeat.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 57: Go down a rabbit hole

#57 Go down a rabbit hole with something from (56)

If I keep going down rabbit holes, it may start to look like The Shining over here.

All art and no play makes Erin a dull girl.
All art and no play makes Erin a dull girl.
All art and no play makes Erin a dull girl.

Just kidding! Art is all about play lately.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day 56: move it, write it, save it, or shed it

#56 Consider 53 & 55: move it, write it, save it, or shed it

I am not thinking about my neck. I am not anxious about my neck. I am not thinking about how I cross my legs a lot and whether that is affecting my neck. I am not crossing my legs. I am not my legs. I am not my neck. I am not anxious. I am not thinking.  I am not thinking about why I'm always trying to get things done. I am not always trying to get things done. I am not now, nor have I ever been trying to get things done. I am not getting things done. I am not done. I am not.I am not thinking about my looking through the non-protection of my new glasses at strangers at the street and forgetting that they can see me looking at them. I am not thinking about them looking at me looking at them. I am not thinking about how dependent I am on my computer especially considering that I am ostensibly a body based artist. I am not thinking about how I am dependent. I am not dependent. I am not thinking about my computer. I am not my computer. I am not thinking about whether I am a body based artist.  I am not thinking I am a body based artist. I am not thinking I'm an artist. I'm not thinking I'm a body.  I am not thinking about whether I am possibly trying to do too many daily practices. I am not possibly trying to do too many daily practices.  I am not thinking about doing daily practices. I am not doing too many daily practices. I am not doing. I am not thinking. I am not thinking or doing.

I am doing some shedding:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Day 55: Improvise from the list

Day 55: Improvise from 54 (make a list of stuff that is on your mind)

Day 54: Make a list of stuff that is on your mind

  1. I cross my legs A LOT. Is this affecting my neck?
  2. I'm afraid that everyone I like or love is going to leave the bay area because it is TOO EXPENSIVE
  4. Why am I always trying to get things done?
  5. When I wear my new glasses outside, I forget that they are not sunglasses, and I stare at people more blatantly than I otherwise would. I have looked more strangers on the street in the face/eyes with no ill effect.
  6. Possibly I am trying to do too many daily practices
  7. Lynda Barry's Syllabus
  8. I am very dependent on my computer for my artistic projects, considering that I am ostensibly a body-based artist.
  9. Anxiety about neck
  10. Doing a thing is totally different from thinking about a thing
  11. What would it mean to really not try to IMPROVE MYSELF?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Day 53: Play with movement you noticed

#53 Play with any movement you noticed from (52)

Hooray for notes!

On day 52, which you might think was yesterday, since today is day 53, but which was in fact Friday, I went to a cafe to observe movement for (about) an hour. Mostly to avoid seeming too creepy while I stared at people, I brought my notebook and jotted down notes about what I saw (see day 52). This morning, I recited and acted out those notes, thinking all the while of my friend N who's resolution for 2014 is to be sillier. I'm right there with you, N.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Day 52: observe movement

#52 Go to a cafe or taqueria and observe movement for 1 hour

At Borderlands, a.k.a. the cafe around the corner, a.k.a. the sci-fi cafe, a.k.a. my favorite cafe, a.k.a. the nerdiest cafe in San Francisco, from approximately 6:25-7:18pm, the following movements occurred:

Youngish guy pulls his hair up into a ponytail

Older guy digs into the front pocket of his sagging jeans. He turns away from the counter to walk away, then turns back and says something to the barrista

Young woman working at the cafe walks briskly and efficiently across the room to clear dishes from a table. Her narrow hips swish very slightly.

A guy carries something long and heavy in a custom bag. He has a bounce in his step, but his upper body is a little slumped and his chin is tilted slightly up.

Two women shift their things on the table top minutely to indicate making room as another woman approaches

Man opens door, quickly backs up and closes it again. Then, satisfied, re-opens the door and enters. Inside, he leans casually against the counter on one elbow. Later, two elbows on the counter and right knee popped.

Cafe worker guy crooks his elbow and points with inflated chest

Man sidesteps to sit in archair

Guy comes out of bathroom and subtly checks fly/belt

Owner makes 2 tentative thumbs ups

Cafe worker makes arm waving gestures as he recounts his failure to explain something properly

Owner takes a swooping step on his left foot to answer a question after he has started to leave

Guy sitting reading pulls at his sideburn with a thumb and 2 fingers

Counter leaning guy returns to counter, not leaning, but rubbing his lower back under his belt line, inside pants, pulling his shirt up a little in back in the process

Ponytail guy, seated, leans forward to scratch his ankle, and drops his head for a moment

Guy browses magazines, hands in pockets up to the knuckles and one foot in front with just heel touching the ground

Cafe worker guy moves mugs from a higher shelf to a lower shelf, 2 by 2.

Woman pulls scarf up over her face briefly, while listening

Man makes slight shoulder shimmy and repeated palms up gesture while talking

Woman walks with her arms by her sides, hands slightly flexed at the wrist

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day 51: Meditate

#51 Meditate or sit and be simple/still for 30 minutes

I've had an on-again-off-again meditation practice for the last seven or so years. More off than on at some points, as I have a tendency to abandon it in the times when things get busy or difficult and when I probably need it the most. At the beginning of this year, on the suggestion of a Zen priest, I decided to take daily choice out of the equation. For the month of January, I am sitting 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Short, but regular. Seems to be working. I'll reassess in February.

So this was bonus meditation time. 30 more minutes of letting my mind wander away and then fetching it back again. I heard recently someone compare the ego to a very enthusiastic puppy. You don't want to kill the puppy, but you also don't want it running the show.

I'm enjoying the spaciousness built into the last few prompts, this chance to catch my breath.

Day 50: celebrate

#50 Celebrate 50 by cooking and eating with a friend or several. Make it a holiday.

Halfway! I celebrated by making soup and salad and enjoying it (along with a bottle of wine) with a beautiful and talented friend. Happy holiday!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day 49: Revisit or burn

#49 Revisit all material if you are saving any of it. Or burn something.

Probably should have gone with burning.

I'm not saving any of the material in my body, but gosh, there is all of this documentation. I started from the beginning and so far have read and watched through day 15. That took awhile. The overall impression is that it is A LOT OF STUFF. For the most part I view all that stuff more kindly with a little distance. And I see why R, when she did her 100 days, started to wonder what was going to happen with all of the stuff. Where was it leading? Christy suggested the possibility of giving the whole pile to another artist to do with as they please. That has a certain appeal.

Day 49 was actually yesterday, but I'm going to extend it and continue to look back through stuff today. And I'm going to light a candle on my alter. Maybe I'll even burn something.

Day 46-48: three days of rabbit holes, third day

#48 (third day of rabbit holes)

UPDATE 1/18/14: Computer more or less fixed! Hooray! In celebration, I watched all of the footage of me tiptoeing around the studio. That was such a surprisingly fun task. Here are some of the moments I like:

Original Post:
My computer died. A nice young man at the Apple store tells me it's just the video card. It should be back by the weekend. For now, this means no video documentation is going to be posted.

Day 48 was a couple of days ago. I had an hour of studio time and flared up neck injury. I decided to play with the funny tiptoe walk that Parker did for about 15 seconds in our second improvisation on day 42. I walked around on my tiptoes for about 45 minutes, which ended up being a lot more fun than I thought it would. It felt a little silly. I felt freed from trying to be interesting - I'm just walking around on tiptoe after all - and yet, I felt a little theatrical at the same time. Strange characters started to emerge.

Video to come. I promise to edit it down from the full 45 minutes.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day 46-48: three days of rabbit holes, second day

#47 (second day of rabbit holes)

Rabbit hole based on bed making in #41 "Repeat while cleaning".

I am choosing not to be embarrassed about the silliness of this. PLAY IS SERIOUS!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Day 46-48: three days of rabbit holes, first day

#46 - first of three days of rabbit holes

There is that definition of insanity as doing the same thing and expecting a different result. But on the flip side of that coin, you can't do the same thing and expect to have the same experience. I repeated the inkblot painting exercise (my apologies to Bruce Conner). What I had experienced the first time - a pleasantly engaged and open state, perhaps - this time was laced with frustration with my materials and distraction. I was experimenting with working on printed paper. I repurposed a page of "In Dance", which fittingly enough, was an interview with Christy about her piece This is the Girl. The folds that were already in the paper made the folding to copy ink over difficult, and the images I had scattered around the table from the paper were distracting). The process was still fairly enjoyable overall, and I like the product well enough. But this was a reminder about the way that expectations can diminish in the moment experience.

Distractions and frustrations and expectations aside, here's the thought I came away with:
The inkblot process marries choice and chance
The product of the inkblot process is a sort of a repository of moments

Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 45: potential rabbit holes

#45 Locate events/moments for potential rabbit holes from (38-44)

I started reading / looking at / experiencing Lynda Barry's Syllabus yesterday. Inspiring stuff. It makes me want to switch to "by hand" documentation in a notebook, but I will persevere with what I have begun here...

From #40 
  • Falling, especially jumping-falling and turning-falling (starting around :30). 
  • Wiggly walking bit (around 3:21)and the jumpy wiggly bit after. 
  • Generally. the buoyancy of dancing in sneakers and the difference between shoes/no shoes
From #41
  • Arranging small objects
  • Billowing sheets
From #42
  • Parker's tiptoe walk from the 2nd improvisation (starting at :32)
  • Shifting bodies on the floor from the 2nd improvisation (1:54)
  • Traveling through space with someone in a crawl with a lot of resistance from the 3rd improvisation
From #43
  • I do not think it is wise to go into a rabbit hole with whiskey
From #44
  • Painting inkblots!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Day 44: Paint


Confronted with another not-my-medium task, I turned to theft. I've been entranced by Bruce Connor's inkblot drawing since I first saw them in an exhibit at SF MOMA in 2000.  I loved looking at them, and loved them even more when I read that they were meant to be meditative for both the maker and the viewer. I shamelessly lifted the idea. Call it an homage. The process, even for a totally unskilled artist like me, was indeed meditative. Plus it saved me from trying to paint something figurative.

Day 42: Involve someone

#42: Involve someone or something else in an improvisation, a repeat of an earlier one or a brand new one.

The video footage of this prompt starts with two of us walking away from the camera and into the studio space. The sight of TWO of us walking into the space brought a smile immediately to my face. I think there is a reason that I'm not a solo artist. I suspect that my best - or better anyway - creative self emerges in working with other people (provided that I've done some solo contemplation and prep work in advance).

Parker was my special guest. We did a version of some of the earlier prompts, improvising for 10 minutes with each of three senses (sight, hearing, touch). We chose which sense we'd work with individually for each round, and didn't tell each other, but it became apparent pretty quickly. We went through all three rounds with a small pause, but no discussion, between each. Afterwards, we talked about it a bit. Later, when we talked again, we agreed that it would have felt more complete if we had done a 4th round in which we incorporated all 3 of the senses that we had activated in the first 3 rounds.

Round 1
Erin: sight
Parker: touch

Sight can be a tricky sense to work with. It's at once primary and overwhelming. On the one hand, you could just open your eyes and receive. On the other, there is too much to respond to and it can be hard to focus. Once Parker was in my field of vision, I looked at him, and sometimes this led to being influenced by his movement, and sometimes it was just fascination with his ear or the texture of his pants. We ended up standing close and making very direct eye contact at one point. A nice moment in an improvisation in which it often it felt like we, or the senses we were working with were at odds.

Parker started with touch because it was the sense he was most comfortable improvising with. Makes sense for a movement improvisation. We're used to feeling our weight in the floor, points of contact with other people, tracking the kinesthetic sense of our bodies. When we talked afterwards, he mentioned it taking a little while to drop into this first round and let go of worrying whether he was doing the prompt right, whether he understood what I meant be sense of touch (as if I knew), etc.

Round 2
Erin: hearing
Parker: sight

Nothing stays the same.

I found the hearing prompt so rich the first time I did it, in the very same studio where we were improvising today. And this time it was different. There was less ambient sound. Or maybe I was less attuned to it. I found that I was expecting to drop into the same kind of experience I had before, but unsurprisingly, that didn't happen. This improvisation became less about hearing and responding and more about noticing the sounds I created while I was dancing: the squeak of skin dragging on marley, the boom of a hollow box, the familiar sounds of feet on the floor.

We didn't discuss this one in particular much after, but in the video, I notice Parker using a similar tactic to one that I found in the sight improvisation: responding to the movement of the other person. It looks a little more spatially and compositionally crafted, I think because of that.

Round 3
Erin: touch
Parker: hearing

We both found this one the most interesting to do. Parker thought touch and hearing were complimentary. We ended up in a lot of contact. Towards the end, there was a moment where we were pushing along the floor, and we talked about how it was oddly satisfying. I think it had to do with the amount of physical resistance we gave each other.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Day 43: Whiskey with a friend

#43 Have a whiskey with a friend

This one is out of order. #42 requires involving another person in an improvisation, and that didn't come together so I skipped ahead.

This prompt is how I know that Christy tailored 100 days for me. I had an old fashioned on New Years Day with friends who were passing through town. We talked and laughed and ate and ran down the street with our arms flailing.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Day 41: Repeat 40 while cleaning

#41 Repeat (40) while cooking or cleaning

I had a hard time getting into this one while I was doing it, but it did result in a tidier room, and it was fun to cut together a little video from the footage.

Day 40: "function" and "expression"

#40 Improvise "function" and "expression" to your song(s)

I didn't know if I would find a good place to dance at Green Gulch. The public spaces are often in use, and I didn't want to be intrusive (a good impulse as it turns out that musical instruments are not allowed, so dancing is probably not encouraged either). I settled on the deck outside the yurt, which I had forgotten about at first. It's at the far end of things, so relatively private, and had nice echoes of Anna Halprin's dance deck to inspire me. It was perfect (aside from some splinters). There was a breeze, a creek flowing past, and the sounds of eucalyptus pods thudding down on the the deck periodically to punctuate my dancing.

The prompt itself was a bit of a puzzle. I wanted to ask clarifying questions, but that's not really part of this process. I interpreted "function" as a sort of straightforward, direct interpretation of the songs, and "expression" as capturing more of the general emotional feeling. I liked the "expression" versions much better, both in the doing and the re-watching. I didn't have a good way to play music, and it didn't seem suitable anyway, so I just ran the songs through again and again in my head as I danced.

It was wonderful to dance in that environment. I was inspired to follow this prompt up with revisiting the improvisation with sense of hearing, and then a walking meditation. I hope some of that will stay with me in the midst of city life.