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post #624
bio: jen

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Site Specific Dance Performance

I went to a site specific dance performance last night. The performance was free, and the poster looked cool. I dragged my buddy and fellow bus rider JJ along. Unfortunately, the site specific dance performance was not near any bus lines, so we had a bit of a hike from the bus stop.

As we walked up the hill at sunset, Los Angeles became a field of lights. Some of the lights were moving. Some of the lights were still. There was something beautiful and unique in the lit up sprawl. It was a view I had never seen, and I wondered why new views of Los Angeles continued to enchant me after all these years.

We checked in, filled out a survey, and sat down on a cold concrete cube. On the dirt stage was a huge sculpture that looked like the skeleton of a giant whale. Oh good, marine mammals. I like marine mammals. I maintained positive thoughts.

Three different people came on stage to introduce the performance. The first two were typical of arts events, and they thanked all their sponsors, foundations, board of directors. There was applause; then they gave us the appropriate social media hash tags. An arts event must have hash tags. Otherwise, did it really happen?

The third speaker was a young bearded guy who was not a dancer but had ridden his bicycle through Central America. He talked about man's relation to wilderness, emotions in arts, and why artists are first against the wall when fascists take over. He seemed too sincere to be an artist himself, but as a long time arts audience member, I felt I was being man-splained about the value of art. I was annoyed. I wanted whales.

Finally, after all the talking, the site specific dance performance started. For the first dance, three women (one in navy, one in maroon, and one in olive green) were hanging on the whale, dancing around the whale, and climbing through the whale as modern dance music played. There were some pretty moments, but mostly they were just hanging on the whale. Maybe it was a statement about our dependency on nature. Why didn't bicycle boy tell us that?

Ten seconds after the piece started, JJ fell asleep, and he was in full-on nap mode when the piece ended. The piece didn't have a definite ending. It just seemed to stop. The audience applauded and the dancers bowed. They seemed relieved that they hadn't fallen off the whale.

The second dance piece started. This time, two dancers in coveralls were hanging on the whale. No, I thought, no, life is too short. I can not sit through another group of dancers hanging on a whale. I woke up JJ who was shocked that we were leaving.

They're just hanging on the stupid whale, I said as we walked out. I noticed none of the audience around us were bothered by our leaving. We had left them a warm concrete cube.

I apologized to JJ for shortchanging his cultural experience. He said it was okay. He got a good nap out of it. We went to the bus stop and waited for the bus. A fellow rider wanted to know if I smoked. I said, not anymore.

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