Saturday, March 28, 2009

Betsey's Salon and other weekendartadventures

Level of conviction in own genius: 8
Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 1 Watched: The fantastically intruiging, disturbing Werner Herzog docu 'Grizzly Man' on More4.
Hair day: rockin' a nice short new look yeah!

I did a little solo turn at highartpals Mikhail and Uriel's informal performance/debate night, Betsey's Salon, which has gradually moved from living rooms and small pubs to, this time, the Royal College of Arts, or should I say, the Office of Real Time's (hosting a temporary exhibition within the RCA) 'space within a space within the space of an institution'. Or something. Mikhail is the kind of guy so counter-cultured that the time an underground event turns into something successful is the time to terminate it, so this might have been the last one! Last night focused on the voice and words, hence it being a good forum for me. The poet Cherry Smyth, also involved in running the salon, read an ongoing poem about the womb (not as hyper-feminist as it sounds, actually wryly incisive, especially read in her dryly contemplative Irish tones), followed by my acquaintance, avant-soul improv diva E.Laine and her pianist hubby, the frowny Leon Michener trying out some new stuff. Then the sweetly bonkers Richard Parker read some stuff, and Mikhail transformed into Dizzy Gillespie for the beginning of his ridiculously puffed-cheek number, 'Promise'. I ended the performances with two numbers, the now more-developed storytelling version of 'shamansong' and 'catalunyanpoemsong', with my loop station not conking out like last time, mercifully.
Then followed a rather too formal discussion, with the artists seated starchly in a circle, and me feeling both disinterested and not clever enough to debate the separation of voice and text and meaning... I just do it, y'know? PhD an' all, what an unacademic girl I am. But I feel I'm growing in confidence every time I perform, and can't wait to do more.
Had a lovely hiphoppin' time at Jamm in Brixton on Saturday - we were there to support our favourite white-jazz-hip-hop friends, Lazy Habits, and grooved a bit amongst a friendly crowd to them and beatbox buddy WanDan who did a short set with the camply scary Nathan 'Flutebox' Lee doing his beats/flute thang. Followed this up on Sunday by renewing our Tate membership and seeing the cracking Rodchenko/Popova exhibition, which made my brain work so hard at contenplating the nature of art (Constructivist, functional vs something purely aesthetic and on a higher plane) I actually crumpled into tears. That doesn't normally happen... The early paintings of both artists (later rejected by them as 'useless') were beautiful explorations of shaded lines and forms that seem to boldly pre-date Abstract Expressionism; these segued into the more well-known propaganda posters and advertising collages, though also included the more interesting theatre set designs and fabric designs. Imagine wearing dresses emblazoned with New Labour roses - hhm, a different, headily (and misguidedly) politicised time...
Finally DOLLYman returned to the Ritzy Cafe for another Sunday night set. Rather unhelpfully, the heating was kaput in the entire building and so we played (badly) with our coats on, fingers as dextrous as sausages, cello and clarinet seizing up occasionally. Not our best gig by a long way, though we did get to air the new DOLLYclassic, Lucy's deranged piece about her horrible experience being ignored in Homerton hospital even though she had anaphylactic shock and how we, the other three Dollies, basically saved her life. YES!

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