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!