Friday, April 06, 2007


Tonight, in an honest attempt to tap into the rich cultural smorgasbord Manhattan has to offer, HOBB treated the family -- okay, Little Babe and me -- to tix to the Dance Theatre Workshop's program by John Jasperse Company entitled Becky, Jodi and John (Check it out at dedicated to a long-standing friendship between the three dancers.

Having read an intriguing write-up in the New Yorker, the performance seemed like a reasonable choice for a New York family seeking cult-cha off the beaten track. Why go to a Broadway show (so obvious) or Lincoln Center (so elderly) or even Carnegie Hall (so five minutes ago) when the mysteries of Modern Dance beckoned...and only a subway ride down 7th Avenue?

Leaving aside the fact that we arrived 15 minutes late (by cab and not by train) and the usher-Nazi made us stand in the back the entire performace so we would not disturb the patrons seated in the "intimate" space....leaving aside the fact that the set was a naked stage with the cleverest device being a little remote-control toy truck that delivered a laptop to the dancers, which they would then read some inane passage from....leaving aside the fact that we had to endure the sight of John's uncut shlong and Becky's droopy boobs as she traipsed around in green tights....this boring-ass performance sucked so bad that I never want to leave the Urban Bungalow again, except to go to the gym and Fairway and the new Loehmann's which opened on Broadway and 74th. (It rocks!!! I had my maiden trip with Middle Babe yesterday.)

Yet if Carnegie Hall is five minutes ago, Dance Theatre Workshop is thirty years ago. I swear I was having a flashback to the flashdance era when Modern Dance consisted of people wearing monochromatic loose attire, refusing make-up, letting their invariably unlovely bodies take on spastic and jerky movements on stage to atonal music with no narrative, no scenery and no technical skill or even talent.

The difference is that thirty years ago the tickets cost $5 and I didn't have kids, hence, no free time to spend on stupid culture. And besides, all this nonsense actually looked cool back then.

Even Little Babe thought the performance sucked. He was so bored that the potentially shocking nudity didn't catch his attention. He was so disgusted that the only part that held his interest was when smoke began mysteriously appearing out of John's body. Leaning next to me in the back of the theatre, he looked like an 11-year-old on Death Row. Right after the show, Little Babe's review could be summed up as follows: "My favorite part was when it ended."

Out of the mouth of babes.

We have all experienced the perverse joy of laughing one's head off at a totally unfunny performance bec it is simply so bad. I have disgraced myself at concerts in Budapest, Hungary and Greenwich, CT alike, laughing inappropriately during serious yet bad programs.
Tonight, however, I could not laugh, mostly because I was so dismayed. Alarmingly, many of the audience members seemed to find the show enchanting and gave that throaty New York laugh of wry recognition at especially unfunny lines spoken by the cast. I hate that laugh. It means "I'm-in-the-know;" it is validation that the person making this annoying chortle is the exact audience member that this elevated art has been created for.

I did bond, however, with a cranky 70-something lady who irritably told her 50-something pedantic daughter (who was hilariously attempting to deconstruct the bulls&^t as we were walking out of the "intimate" theatre) that the performance was just not her cup of tea.

Amen to that, sistah!!!! It was more like a cup of arsenic tea. I was positive that had I stayed one more minute I would have keeled over dead from an overdose of pointlessness masquerading as profundity...or art.

Sitting on the uptown #1 train across from two beefy German guys who looked like they had questionable pasts if not futures, I sank into an evil mood. It pissed me off that we had:
  • Hauled our collective Bungalow Butt down to Chelsea in an (expensive) cab
  • Screwed ourselves out of the opportunity for real culture
  • Spent money on tickets for this retarded performance
  • And had to stand like rejects in the back of the "intimate" theatre for such a piece of doo-doo dance performance

And so, when the train reached 72nd Street, I did the only logical thing. I jumped off and ran into Fairway to erase the memories of bad New York culture and touch honest produce, sincere dry goods and real meat from (formerly) living creatures who did not imagine that their aimless amblings made them members of an elite known as Artists.

No comments: