So there it was, the last performance of the year. I left Movement Research at the Judson Church and walked down the Sixth to Houston in the thickening drizzle, feeling elated and blessed. It still startles me how many amazing artists I am fortunate to know. And if at the end of really sad and shitty day something pulls me up and shines in the dark, it’s the art that they are making.
It was an amazing year to see art, and it’s hard to pick and spotlight one work over another – but let me share my private “thank you” list, more than “the best of” list of 2014. Thank you, storytellers, dancemakers, singers, actors, dancers – all of you, wonderful creatures: you rock my world, and your work brought me inspiration through a year that otherwise was full of sorrow.
Here it goes, in more or less alphabetical order.
4:48 PSYCHOSIS, Tr Warszawa, @St. St. Ann’s Warehouse. Being part of this project was a highlight of my year. Magdalena Cielecka: you are a shining star. Grzegorz Jarzyna: you managed the impossible task – turning a suicidal rant into a story about longing for love and connection. And I miss you so much, St. Ann’s Warehouse peeps!
AGE AND BEAUTY Part 1, Miguel Gutierrez, Whitney Biennial 2014. I never expected a work about a gay man’s mid-life crisis would move me so. But it did. I loved it. Don’t tell Miguel, but I spent the whole week thinking of this show.
ARENA, Walter Dundervill, JACK. Most beautiful, sophisticated, elegant fusion of stimuli for almost all senses.This work should not only be watched, it should be touched for it rich textures, from naked skin through smooth plexiglass to fabric. If ARENA could smell, it would smell of Hermès. .
THE ANGOLA PROJECT, Jeremy Xido, COIL 2014. Amazing story told with great passion, and full of twists that made my heart skip a bit many times throughout the evening. You are such a presence, Jeremy. Thank you.
ANIMALINSIDE, JaroSpring Vinarsky, Abrons Arts Center. Part heartbreaking, part fun, wild at heart all the way. The first, incredibly tense section is probably the most extreme display of what an exceptional body (speaking of you, Jarko!) is capable of. Don’t try this at home, even if you are a well-trained dancer.
BEGIN AGAIN, zoe|juniper, The Joyce Theater/3LD. What a beauty. Where do I begin? Perhaps at the very end: I can’t wait to see it again at COIL 2015.
CONCEALED, Demdike Stare Stare & Sinfonietta Cracovia, UNSOUND Festival NYC 2014. Amazing sound in an amazing interior, an experience unmatched by any I still have a major crush on Michael England, the mad genius who made visuals for this piece. (FYI, I have never met the man and have no idea how he looks like, or if he even is a nice person.)
CROSSING OVER, featuring LEIMAY/ Leimay ShigeMoriya XimenaGarnica , Green-Wood Cemetery, BEAT Festival 2014. Pure magic, a night of many wonders. Hope my favorite butoh-inspired artists will come back sometime to my favorite cemetery.
EXIT STRATEGIES, Chris Masters Dance, Triskelion Arts. See note from a few days ago. Along with THE WILLFUL HOST – another work by Chris – hands down the most touching duets I have seen this year.
GRASS AND JACKALS, LeeSaar The Company, The Joyce Theater. Simply fabulous. Quirky but smart. Funny but moving. A miracle made of glue. I have watched these guys (Saar & Lee) work with their amazing dancers like one watches a magician performing a trick: I know it should be fairly simple to explain, but I still don’t know how they do it. And I am grateful for that.
RITE OF SPRING, Basil Twist, White Light Festival 2014 at the Lincoln Center. My jaw still does not want to get back to its normal position since I have seen this huge sheet of silk float as if it was alive. See my rave from October.
Then She Fell, Third Rail Projects NYC, Kingsland Ward, Brooklyn. I still have the prescription for the anti-melancholia potion the good Doctor gave me that night. About time I use it, don’t you think? It’s this time of the year. Will be coming back to see it again and again and again – let me just finally hit that jackpot. (And yes, I will fund you all when I win!)
THIS WAS THE END, dir. Mallory Catlett, The Chocolate Factory Theater. This lady enchanted me more than once this year (I also saw and loved BROTHER BROTHER at Abrons), but this little gem should have gotten all the Bessies it was nominated to. Can’t wait to see more work by this amazing woman.
TIMELINING, Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly, The Kitchen. Simple and complex at once, as life always is. Wish I could see more than just one iteration I was fortunate enough to catch on a very cold and very slow day.
TOO MUCH TOO SOON MR. ZUCCOLO, Greg Zuccolo, JACK. I think I said it more than once, but here it is again: most storytellers/comedians, and also most dancers, should see this work to learn how it is done. u, Greg, you impossible, grumpy you.
TOUR, David Wumpach, Abrons Arts Center. Still can’t believe what I saw with my own eyes. David Lynch should take serious interest in this guy.