Monday, June 25, 2018

The Best of Millicent #2

(Millicent w/ Rio dancers photo Ken Archer)

Much props to Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro for keeping their focus on Le Sacre even though the future is unpredictable. And they have had the shit kicked out of them.

Watch Millicent willing Priscilla Albuquerque  with her own body.  Left side, half way up the frame. See it? How do people like Millicent Hodson and Ken Archer maintain excitement in the rehearsal process?  The 1987 Joffrey (and subsequent Joffrey corp) were the jewel of the reconstruction.  

I am certain there is frustration and have seen a glimpse but not here with this company.  If you were to go to Facebook and look up dancers currently in the corp de ballet, there will be at least one post-show or rehearsal photo of Nijinsky's Sagracao.  At least one photo with Millicent and Kenneth. See? There are SIX Chosen Ones in this photo!

From Monica Barbosa, TMRJ:  Carlos Cabral, Elida Brum, Carol Fernandes, Aloani Bastos, Rita Martins, Priscilla Albuquerque, Rachel Ribeiro, Samantha Monteiro, Priscilla Mota, Flavia Carlos, Margheritta Tostes, Deborah Ribeiro, Thayara Camellot, Marcella Gil, Viviane Barreto, Renata Gouveie Kraszcuk, Renata Oares, Karen Mesquita, Juliana Valadao, Alessandra do Valle. F

TMRJ is so truly invested in this VERY difficult ballet that it seems all the more cruel for their thread bare government to make such monumental decisions on art and culture. 

Keep killing it Rio.  You have Nijinsky in the wings and Millicent in your corner.  

(And me in the archive.)

How great is this, yeah?  Rehearsing with the orchestra - which clearly needs it.  Did you ever see the video of Rachel Ribeiro being tortured by the orchestra for 4 minutes! She hung in there I do not know how.  Tough girl.

I think these are video of Karen Mesquita and Viviane Barreto (I have had no communication with them to be certain).

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Politically Incorrect Vodka

I am polite and I think we all should be.  I am also pretty fucking funny but in areas where people could get offended.  Frank Zappa said something about this, computers don't have eyebrows something or other. 

I am not politically correct and I really  do not like people who are all over that issue because - and I am willing to throw down on this - they are probably not organically polite.  

So I wrote a great hilarious post that went off the rails, Sugarhill Gang, Michelle Pfeiffer, 3 bean salad in a sweet little hotel just hours before going to see The Joffrey Ballet 2013, first row. 

No screwing around this time. 

That's when I realized the ballet exists in that first half.  You know I do not remember if it was Erica Lynette Edwards or Elizabeth Hansen as the Chosen One that first night...I was numb from watching it all happen so close!  There is such extraordinarily structured chaos on that stage!! And in Act One, this is where Stravinsky becomes "Stravinsky".  So say I.

So I can't post the whole thing about how the night would be perfect if some "African American men" sliced my fingertips off and left me in the hotel for dead but I manage to yell after them  "so what!  these things have only gotten me into trouble anyway!"

I can't post that. 

Can I post that in this photo I was trying to figure out if it would be politically incorrect to sneak a nip of Stoly in the front row of a ballet?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Meanwhile, Luigi Russolo Was Making A Lot Of Noise

In 1909, The Futurist movement in art was taking, um, non-shape. Writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, founder/promoter (eventually Fascist) of this Futurist concept was probably insane though there were people around him that used his concepts experimentally. Marinetti - in my mind - is like "The Black Hand" from "Godfather II".  Remember?  Don Fanucci?  Like an Italian blowhard, cruising on his charisma and intimidation Gertrude Stein said:  "There is no there, there".

Marinetti was not an artist.  He was a "conceptualist".  His manifesto was too aggressive. The idea itself was aggressive:  abandon everything.  Nouns, painting, thinking, limits, music!  Break from the past! Art, politics,  all of it removed from thinking which is totally exciting but like in a "kool-aid" way.

Italians like to everything big, you know. Grand gestures and big thinking are just in the genes.  . The Futurist painting style was deliberately abstract and fast and were it human it would have certainly had balls and a sinister mustache.  Maybe a rap sheet and a wife with a black eye.  Being masculine in form I think the whole deal leaned toward misogyny.   You can read more about it.  Not here but somewhere I am sure.

Here is Giacomo Balla's "Abstract Speed and Sound". 

I think it looks stupid..  It never took off.  Why would it?  It's like your frustrated gay art teacher from 8th grade did it. 

But I'm just killing time here, I couldn't care less about Giacomo Balla, architecture style, who started what or what they didn't believe in or whether nouns and adjectives should be "freed" from the sentence sentence (yeah!).

It is painter and composer Luigi Russolo and his 1913 manifesto "The Art of Noises" that really put a pin in this movement and had he not been there and had he not done what he did...I wouldn't even be writing this and you wouldn't care.  The assumption being that you do.

He - I feel - indeed used the concepts for freeing music from its confines of instruments, traditional structure and expectation by experimenting with noise, power driven instrumentation and vocalizations.  Here.  Listen.


If you want to kick someone in the shin over Yoko Ono, this is your guy.

Russolo's invention - the intonarumori - is used in the piece above, Macchina Tipografica.  It created an engine-like sound whose pitch could be altered - something altogether new.  You know... he debuted this thing in 1913 or 1914 - I can not recall but it was a small elite audience and though I can not find the documentation on this now, Igor Stravinsky was one of the elite who was "intrigued by this invention" .  That quote seems right.  Stravinsky referred to himself as not a composer of music but an inventor of music.  It would be a hardcore compliment, no?

Because of the intonarumori, Russolo is considered the first theorist in electronic music. It is alleged that none of these original machines survived World War I and only reproductions exist today. Even if its not true, it makes the story cool.  But you know, there is always a "bones of King Richard under a Walmart"  or an unknown Coltrane recording in a barrel of monkeys, I don't know I'm just saying stuff here.  

Russolo was a ground breaker.  He emerged from Futurism with something that actually substantiated the whole thing: breaking from the confines of music with noise. And all noise is musical.

The Futurist movement was crushed as a whole, far too forward in its thinking in the small areas; too radical and even suspect in the big ones.

But it splintered under the weight of that crush and, as if throwing seeds into the universe to grow at a later time, we would see and hear the Futurists of 1910 in all sorts of places. In the future.

Yours for nothing,

(originally posted in the future)
(and in 2009)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Throwing Ballet Shade

I was thinking...companies that performed Nijinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps in the  early 90's got a real feather in the cap.  You get Millicent and Kenneth to come spend 6 months training your dancers and BOOM!  your little dog and pony ballet company are on the map! Not the soloists who put the asses in the seats because, hey.  They were nobodies.
(professional photo of Sonia Abrantes, Chosen One 1998 Companhia Nacional de Bailados)

So what happened?

Perhaps the shine came off a bit:  too hard to stage, too expe
nsive, too much rehearsing and conditioning.  And hey, why would you do the Nijinsky choreography when you have something so much better - the Kenneth MacMillan cartoon?  

Was this guy the  the snake oil salesman of The Rite of Spring, or what?

But they changed the costumes so it's better now.  Fucking, seriously?  It's Atari to an XBox!

Another reason could be that with Bejart's 
casserole of nonsense you get more bang for your buck:  bad ballet, 70's science fiction AND the Olympic opening - if Latvia was hosting. (you have to say that last line like Tina Fey for it to work)

Yuri Posshokov's thing looks like Jan Fabre threw up and pushed Marie Chouinard into the puddle. 

Daniel Levielle did something but I am afraid to look because swinging hairy balls are probably involved, and yeah. 

I don't remember why I hated Uwe Scholz but the company wrote to me and over a negative blog post.  Wow. When you are writing to ME then someone is not minding the crappy ballet store.   

Preljoke-aj, Izadora Weiss and every Czech with a dance company equate Stravinsky's masterpiece with rape and domestic violence.  I don't understand rape-ballet.  Or simulated beating women in the face-ballet even if it is in 4-part harmony like Weiss did.  See:

Izadora Weiss sucks

Edward Zendigas?  Your ballet has already been done by 3 other choreographers now serving time for overkill and why??  If you don't have a good idea, keep your swinging balls and internal organ unitards off the stage man!

Tero Saarinen?  THAT was a good idea.

Thank you for doing the only original thing outside of Nijinsky, of course.  You do not get enough recognition for HUNT in the Four Variants BUT you were competing with Pietragalla, French gang rape and German tits. 

If abusing the Chosen One is so intregal a part of your "new" choreography then step it up and kill her.  Just let the dancers kick her to death for 4  minutes.

"Well, they are playing the wrap up music so I just wanna say  "See you in the next post Sasha Waltz!   Love you Grandma!Go Celtics! 

(and I walk off with my award: a chocolate Easter Bunny in gold foil. I don't care! Still won.)

wait, where are we??

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Best Of Millicent

(Ja! Media: Chosen One Test)

I am posting clips (Facebook) from all this Le Sacre footage I have oddly amassed over the years wherein Millicent Hodson is rehearsing the various corp de ballet and yes, the Chosen Ones.  Elizabeth Kiem is right: I am obsessed.  I am also name-dropping.  

But Millicent is such a unique artist that these clips should be documented and I will tell you why:

After rescuing Nijinsky's masterpiece - and really it was like she and Kenneth Archer ran into a burning building to get it - she maintains the passion of her achievement today as if it was still 1987 when she debuted Le Sacre du Printemps with the Joffrey Ballet.

(this is one of my faves, 1993 Paris Opera Ballet)

Some of the rehearsal footage I will post is exasperating to me yet Millicent keeps a tempo of urgency and promise with some corp de ballet that show absolutely none.  I have seen her shake her head only once.  And that is out of 11 clips.

Tempted..tempted..the hell with it. Here it is.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Chosen JPEG

It takes a while and when you finally find a photo you want it to look great.   Finally, 3 Chosen Ones who had terrible photos go glam:

Clotilde Vayer Paris Opera Ballet 1992

Molly Smolen, Birmingham Royal Ballet 2005

Carole Valleskey Joffrey Ballet 1987

Friday, May 4, 2018

beatriz rodriguez (Update 2018)

In 2010 I wrote this piece and I noticed today that there are 7,506 reads on it!  I feel so important.  I am going to write to Elizabeth Kiem and tell her I hit my Zenith then drink Vodka in bed. 

Here now is the emotional and barely fact-checked ridiculous waxing by me, Fatova Mingus. 

About a year ago someone wrote me here and asked if I knew anything about Beatriz Rodriguez, the Joffrey dancer who had the first honor of dancing the role of the The Chosen One in the 70 year-in-the-making reconstruction of Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography to Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" or Le Sacre du Printemps - considered by many to be the single greatest musical work ever. I'm on board with that of course. 

Rodriguez debuted the ballet to the world in fact when The Joffrey Ballet televised the performance out of San Francisco in what we all know today as the 1987 debut of "the reconstruction" and I hate that.  I refer to it as the recovery of Nijinsky's ballet and soul and he was at last recognized thank you Millicent.  Big stuff. 

I like to compare the reaction of the Chosens when they are ..chosen!  All are unique.  But here...I look at B-Rod's face and you see her surpsise AT the other girls.  As if the schoolyard bullies stopped yelling and hit her but they have selected her to die, something she knows might befall her but when it happens... 

Her face registers that "how could you!" and from there she is in no state of graceful ballet.  She spins in that circle in confusion.  And this stuff is not lost on the kids/people watching the 87 Joffrey on my YouTube channel. 

This little 10 second piece shows what I mean .  She registers the emotional shock and I think she conveys the libretto with such frightening drama that she holds people in those minutes.  It's so barbaric and she is terrified.  

Some kid wrote:  "see how she runs to each side of the circle?  I think she is trying to escape."

This is not some pedestrian observation.  It is the huge spiritual aspect of Le Sacre which I called The Nijinsky Inheritance.  ReaD iT oK?

So there were rumors that she was not "light enough" for the role. That is, she is ethnically not perfect. Thank goodness she wasn't dancing for Mary Wigman in France in '38.  She would have been on a freight train in no time - yes, Wigman DID hand her Jewish friends over.  Genius - nope. Nazi - yes.

I digress.  It's possibly true for that time though it;s foggy and I can't get a real grip on it. I read an article today where B-Rod hints at this in '95 with the Chicago Trib.

So, I was asked - when I first wrote this piece in 2010 - if I knew anything more on Rodriguez because Inquiring Minds Want To Know. And a year later, I have this site with 3 pages of Herbert Migdoll  slides from Joffrey performances of days gone by featuring Beatriz but not as a Chosen One.  What you do find is black and white shots and my God she was TINY! 

So who knows?  Beatriz and the company and so to you who have asked, I know as much as you. Sorry I lost track of you. It's been a terrible year. 

5 years later

UPDATE::  Along with a wild Hungarian dancer named Andrea Ladanyi, some SERIOUS progress has been made.  Thank you to the "heavy hitters" who have gotten involved.

Beatriz is a mythical creature to the thousands of viewers/commenters on the YouTube video.  They want to know more.  And they hate dance.  They swear and say stupid things and insightful things and then...they come back.  And they have learned more.  Just like I did in my beginning.

Tonight when I heard from one of the THREE ORIGINALS of the 87 Joffrey - Gates, Rodriguez and  Carole Valleskey  I was over the moon.  Took 7 years but I may actually communicate with her and you know what?  It needed to take 7 years.  In that time, that peformance on YouTube has transfixed and transformed so many people.   She has a curtain call left.  With us.

Carole Valleskey...BLESS YOU for sharing this which will be shared and so excitedly received.