Milky Justice Music

Photo: Bill Starr
Photo: Bill Starr

Dear Dolo,

I saw your piece Milky Justice Music, at the Red Eye Theater last Saturday and here’s where I’ll share my impressions and thoughts. By the way, nice to make your acquaintance via seeing your work–I don’ t believe we’ve met formally one-to-one–I just hopped into town in March. I saw the piece with my partner, and I’ll share some of his thoughts here too because they were different than mine and I figure the more perspectives, the merrier.

For me, your piece epitomizes American cool. It reminds me of That 70’s Show. As a partial, late-blooming American, I used to watch this show in the mid-aughts for cues about what American teenagers talked about and did in their spare time (yes, I probably could have picked better TV to watch for this purpose). The way you set up the space, exposing what’s behind the back curtain, revealing the mirror, the piano, and the bric-a-brac, keeping the stage left door ajar, and the way you kept the house lights on low for the piece, made me feel like I was part of your lived-in, hang-out space, intimately witnessing what you do with your friends, Kimberly and Scott. You all are good movers and fun to watch.

I see two females and one male, but the attachments are decidedly non-romantic. It seems like you are all friends and remain so. The music is loud and catchy. You all are fabulously fashionable. It looks like you invaded an estate sale of one of Liberace’s former lovers (and this one was probably a former pro ice skater), and wore all of the nostalgic, glitzy treasure you looted–the velvet, the sparkles, the spandex, the fur, and the outrageous color.

As I track the solo/duet/trio permutations that unfold in the piece, I can’t say I sense distinct differences in how each one dancer relates to the other. Of course I notice that Scott has a solo in the beginning, as well as a flamboyant exit at the end, and that you have a lengthy solo at the end, so these are areas of some emphasis, but I’m uncertain what is being drawn out. In how he is singled out I suppose Scott seems to have a middle-kid syndrome silliness, but how he relates to you is similar to how he relates to Kimberly.

I remember the unison duet between you and Kimberly; I remember it being comprised of gestures, all executed with a sort of dryness. This duet showcases the language of this piece, the movement vocabulary and how you speak to one another in this trio. The images are quirky and fired with the vividness of inked rubber stamps going on paper. I don’ t follow the grammar and syntax–it seems like there may be many inside jokes I’m not privy to.

Your program notes are bewildering, written in a style I call Cryptic Twee. The language is fun and irreverent, peppered with spunky capitalization and punctuation that indicate a greater valuation to certain underdog entities or concepts, but I feel a little left out. In some ways, there is a parallel between your notes and your dance. They are both wry, cutesy, stylish, and contain gestures that seem to mean something to you but don’t mean much to me. I’m not given a way to decode what these gestures mean in relation to other ones so I’m left to surmise that maybe it’s their hollowness you’re after. And this is what my partner thought, that you were critiquing pop culture and its persistent objectification of women. He thought you all were were going through the motions, performing distorted, grotesque movements to mock meaning, to zap it of any poignancy.

I hope my thoughts here as a viewer are helpful to you as a maker. I look forward to seeing other work you do in the future.

Best,

Pareena

Reaction written by: Pareena Lim

Choreographer: Dolo McComb

Piece Name: Milk Justice Music

Venue: Red Eye Theater

Date: May 30, 2015

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