[UPDATE! Here/Now has finally posted the group portrait for the night and has written a short piece on the event; check it out here]

Here/Now Group Portrait

Don't we look great?

Last night I had the pleasure of playing an improvised set at Paige Barnes’ and Christopher Hydinger’s HERE/NOW¬†improvisational performance event. This is their description of Here/Now: ‘HERE/NOW consists of 8 Dancers and 8 Musicians randomly paired together and given 8 minutes to improvise a duet.’

I was one of the musicians and I was the last selected to play. I haven’t done a lot of improvised music so this was definitely a daunting moment for me. I have a lot of faith in myself as a performer so the fear was kept at bay easily with cigarettes and bubbly water.

Dancer Beth Graczyk and I were selectively partnered. I’ve known Beth for a minute; been fascinated with her dancing for a longer time. As soon as she said ‘hello’ on the street on our way into the performance space I had a feeling we’d be working together.

It couldn’t have been any better either. I brought silver bowls and blue enamel camping mugs, a lot of dried beans, and a set of shiny tiffin pots. Beth had her own inspiring self.

We opened with an expectant looking Beth staring at me and doing some light, jerky full-body twitching while I slowly poured beans into a large stainless steel bowl. The beans made pinging noises and the sound gradually became lower in tone as the beans filled the bowl. But who cares? What’s more important is what happened.

Beth at some point decided to throw herself into my large collection of cups and bowls and landed on her back, head shaking among the kitchen ware. Beans were splashing to the floor and over both of us. I worried that the sharp noises might injure her ears (it’s metal on metal!), but she showed nothing except abandon and so we raised the pitch.

Somehow, I’m really not sure how, Beth grabbed me, dragged me, wrestled me away from the pots and through a lake of spilled beans to the middle of the dance floor. I kept trying to keep at least one thing to bang on, but she was kicking me and I couldn’t find my feet and the beans were slippery. There was an awful lot of clanging and foot stomping and I think she was yelling, but I might have imagined that.

Eventually we separated and I made my way back to the mess of my instrumentation. We finished with some simple scraping noises and Miss Gracyk swaying. I think. I could be wrong; there was a lot going on and I was terrifically excited. I might have remembered things wrong.

The audience seemed to enjoy our duet; I know I sure did. I gave Beth a huge, real hug and we took a bow.

The organizers had the night recorded, but I won’t receive a copy for weeks, sadly. Hopefully when it comes out I’ll be allowed to display it on artofmulata.

[Update: I’ve received the DVD and it’s amazing. These guys really put a lot of work into making the disc lovely. If you want a copy go to their website and order one; you won’t be disappointed!]

Musical Performance: Right HERE/Right NOW | 2011 | Dance, Event, Music, Performance | Tags: ,