Sunday, February 26, 2006

I review my weekend, Siskel & Ebert style

You lost me at the tour jete
Friday night a friend and I went to see Spectrum Dance Theater's "Northwest Best" studio series. I was a little nervous about going because I'm not generally a fan of the Spectrum company (they're a good company technically speaking, just not my style), but two of my absolute favorite choreographers of all time contributed pieces, so I decided to risk it.

Now, before I begin, I should confess to being a dance snob. I have a dance degree from a highly respected modern dance school and I throw it arrogantly in the faces of mere civilians who think that nothing great has happened in dance since Fosse or Baryshnikov. I should also throw out that I think ballet is bullshit. I enjoy dancing it tremendously, but watching it is almost always an entirely uninspiring experience. Why? Because classical ballet can often get so caught up in looking pretty that it forgets to actually dance, and instead simply moves through a series of disjointed poses. Where modern is thick and juicy and meaty, ballet is shallow, petty, skinny and narcissistic just like the anorexic WASPs who dance it.*

(*Editor's Note: Writer is making huge generalizations to make a point, and probably does not hate ballet with the ferocity implied in previous paragraph. And not all ballerinas are anorexic WASPs. Some are bulimic.)

The program consisted of 6 short pieces from different local choreographers: Daniel Wilkins, Gaelen Hanson, Cyrus Khambatta, Amy O'Neal, KT Niehoff, and Donald Byrd. I would happily drown puppies to see Amy's or KT's work, and I was not disappointed here. Both choreographers are incredibly talented at seamlessly working contact driven movement into their pieces. In Amy's piece ("difficulties with..."), two dancers posed and manipulated the movement of a third - kind of like "Weekend at Bernie's" meets modern dance, but SO much better. In KT's ("Study #1 with David and Peter"), two male dancers noticeably separated only once. KT's contact choreography is so seamless, so organic, that one dancer seems to become an extension of the other - more like watching conjoined twins with ever shifting points of connected flesh. LOVED it!

The rest of the pieces were surprisingly enjoyable as well. Even, dare I say it, those that were more obviously ballet based. My only complaint was with Cyrus Khambatta's "Pendulum," and only because it would have been great... except for the random tour jetes thrown in in the middle. They were so completely out of place with the rest of the choreography that it literally jarred me out of my happy dance stupor, and the rest of the piece was lost to me. My friend was moved to tears, though, so what do I know?

Rating: 1 1/2 thumbs up.

West Seattle is a sleepy little neighborhood. We're across the bay from downtown and, generally speaking, most people think of us as a different country. Those of us who live here like it that way. Low key right around the corner, night life right across the bridge. Perfection! And then in comes The Matador (yes, the same as the one in Ballard). I grudgingly agreed to meet a date there on Friday night, and I knew before we even walked in the door that I was not going to be happy. My first clue: the crowd of high-fivin' white guys gathered outside the front door. My second clue: the sea of high-fivin' white guys I had to swim through to find a table. I imagine there were probably women there to, but I didn't notice anything beyond the ogling eyes of the men. A couple guys even pointed at me, talked amongst themselves, pointed again and nodded. Let me just reiterate: I was quite obviously there with a date. After about an hour of yelling across the table at said date in order to be heard, I decided it was time to go. As we left, I watched the sea of men turn and watch me walk out. It's not that I'm that hot, it's just THAT much of a meat market. Eew.

Rating: 1/2 thumb up, only because happy hour kicks in (again) at 10:00 and includes a tasty light dinner menu at $4 a pop.

Airing my dirty laundry
Saturday night brought a surprise birthday party for my neighbor across the street. Very good food (as always), lots of wine (as always), good company (as always), and my personal life exposed. Whee!

Living across the street from friends, especially when both houses are equipped with lots of large windows, can cause some awkward moments. Like, for instance, the neighbors spotting last night's date leaving in the morning. And then telling everyone at their party about it.

Rating: 2 thumbs up, even with strangers talking about my sleepover.

Breakfast? Unheard of!
I almost never eat breakfast on the weekends. I more often lounge around for as long as I possibly can... and then just skip ahead to lunch. But I actually got up this morning and had breakfast at one of my favorite West Seattle spots (as yet undiscovered by the high fivin' white guys from The Matador), Easy Street Records. That's right - the West Seattle store comes with a cafe. Take that, Queen Anne Easystreeters! Lots of yummy breakfast (or lunch, if that's your mood) selections, with lots of coffee and fresh oj. And while you wait for your table, you can browse the music selection.

Rating: 2 thumbs up. Hurray for breakfast!

It's still winter, dammit!
After spending all day Saturday shopping with a friend for cold weather gear for my upcoming trip to Chicago, I returned home with nothing more than sore feet. It's February, so naturally everybody has their spring clothes out. And, apparently, the stores aren't expecting hat, scarf and glove sets to be a big hit this spring. Go figure.

There's a new little shoe shop around the corner from Easy Street, and I decided to head over just because I haven't been in yet. Not only do they carry cute, funky shoes... they also had HATS and SCARVES!!! I was so happy I almost peed my pants. (Actually, almost peeing my pants was probably more closely linked to all the coffee and oj I'd greedily consumed during breakfast, but you get the point.)

Rating: 2 thumbs up for Edie's for keeping my head, neck, and feet happy.

Alone time
Instead of doing the laundry and house cleaning that was originally planned for this afternoon, I decided to treat myself. Luckily for my bank account, a "treat" for me means being able to read in peace. I grabbed the newest issue of Harpers and ran to the Alki Bakery for a quick late lunch.
Rating: 2 thumbs up, if only for the article about impeaching Bush. Such talk will always get high ratings from me.

Yay for reading in a cafe. Boo for the chores that didn't get done. My bathroom is still gross. My laundry is washed, but not folded. My bills are unpaid. My taxes aren't filed. The floors are swept, but the carpet is still yearning for the vacuum. Dishes are still stacked on the counter. And my basement quite possibly qualifies as a natural disaster at this point.

Rating: 1/2 thumb up for at least completing the grocery shopping.

So there you have it: my weekend in thumbs.

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