Monday, January 23, 2006

heavy breathing

Sadly this post is not about sex as you might have suspected by the title. Rather it is about a Sunday afternoon trek to the Wexner Center yesterday with my pal Allison to see a South African dance troupe choreographed by Boyzie Cekwana. We didn't know exactly what to expect, but had read that the show was "Mesmerizing," according to the London Sunday Times. The subject matter explored interconnections between the rampant spread of HIV on the African continent and violent masculinity, with intermixed with additional commentary on traditional South African spirituality...deep stuff.

So, we get there early and get front row seats which should be awesome because the reviews said there would be live music. Anyway, the theater is pitch black and a small spotlight finally comes up on a seated dancer who is covered in talcum powder and is plucking some sort of rudimentary bowed instrument. The details of the dance aren't really that important for my story, but suffice it to say that the pounding tribal beats we were expecting were replaced by intermittent plucking of the bowed intstrument followed by short "clic clic" noises from what appeared to be a handcarved corncob. Meanwhile, none of this sound is amplified, so the theater is dead silent when the dancers are not plucking or clicking.

Dead silent, that is, except for the sleeping man sitting right next to me in the freaking front row of the theater. All I heard for the 35 minute performance (which is a LONG time to watch interpretive dance when you don't know what the heck is going on), was this man's steady breathing in and out, over and over...his heaving chest and nodding head, up and down and up and down for THIRTY FIVE minutes. I almost kicked his feet, but I was afraid he might fall out of his chair and onto the floor, the same floor that was serving as a stage, mind you. That option not being available, I tried plugging my ears and blocking it out, but it was far too annoying.

When the suffering finally ceased, I couldn't resist asking the man what his plans were for the second half. To which he said, "Of course I am staying to watch the second half. Why do you ask?" Again I felt like kicking him. I informed him, as if it were breaking news or something, that he slept through the entire first half and that it was inhibiting my ability to connect to the plucking and clicking. As expected, he responded with shock and asked me, "Did I make any noise?"

Go home, buddy. Or at least sit in the back row. I will admit that I am not always the most alert audience member when it comes to modern dance, but the heaving breathing of a dozing older man is the last thing I want to pay $25 to sit through.

So much for an engaging Sunday afternoon art adventure.

Monday, January 16, 2006


"Love your tree," Eve Ensler said. She told us to go home and love our stomachs, so I took her advice and snapped a picture of my own. What an inpsiration to hear her Q & A conversation after the show...she seems to embody everything I teach in Women's Studies. Who knew the woman who gave voice to the word vagina had body image issues of her own? I guess I should have known, but I suppose I fell into the trap of wanting to believe someone who was doing such critically and globally important work felt good about herself. Surely she would seem to have no reason to be down on herself like nearly everyone else seems to be.

Anyway, I wasn't sure the show would reveal anything new for those already familiar with feminist perspectives on the body, but her level of personal revelation/exposure in the show made it really powerful to watch. She made herself completely vulnerable and when asked what mothers of boy children could do to raise children free of these damaging body issues, she simply said "allow them to cry." She says she often cries for hours at a time and that it is crying that keeps people tender and open to being vulnerable...the kind of vulnerability that ironically opens the door to growth and closeness.

It got me thinking about how rarely I cry anymore and about how my frequency of crying has dropped in direct proportion to the frequency with which I get angry. Seems once all those years of repressed anger started to surface, the tears and the sorrow and the "weakness" that went with them just dried up. Too bad I conflated vulnerability with being treated like shit, somehow I missed the part about how letting folks in could make a bond stronger.

Perhaps it would help to find my way back to some tears again....

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Not much to write on my first post.
I created my blog while in an Art class I am taking this quarter.

As much as I love art, this is the first art class I have taken since I was in 8th grade. How crazy is that?

Anyway, I can't wait to start podcasting and vlogging and everything else we are going to learn in the class. I think I will use this blog to chronicle my adventures with all things audio visual as well as whatever else I get up to.

here goes.......