Sean Smuda with Leralee Whittle and collaborators at Monday Live Arts

Sean Smuda with Leralee Whittle and collaborators

Monday Live Arts

August 10, 2015

Soo Visual Art Center

$5-$10 sliding scale


Sean Smuda is: photographer, musician, performer, and…? On Monday, August 10, he performed with Leralee Whittle and Paul Sprawl, Lana Shtilman, Dustin Haug, Timmy Wagner, and a drummer whose name was not on the program and I did not catch. Sean played electric guitar. Paul played acoustic guitar. The drummer played a pair of tall hand drums. Leralee, Lana, Dustin, and Timmy danced. I believe everything was improvised, although the ending when Leralee tells everyone it’s time to “pass the hat” felt premeditated. Title: “Don’t Do It. It Does You.”

Sean plays with his full hand on the fretboard. The drumming is steady; Paul is bending his notes on the acoustic guitar. Sean is using some effects, distorting the sound. What is the most penetrating sound? What both fits and disrupts what the other two musicians are doing? Sean stands up and plays, Paul stands up and plays. Both sit again. The dancers are frequently paired by gender.

There is a surf guitar moment. Sean plays small, fast, high electric notes. Paul strums and bends his notes. Leralee perches and balances. Timmy is doing contact with the floor. Is that the intro to “Green Fuz” that Sean is playing? There is static noise on the edge of each note.

All the dancers are down on the floor and Sean stands. He beats the body of the guitar with his hand. Leralee and Lana are up interacting with the art on the walls, I think it’s the work Hovering in the Void by Joel Jannetto and Jesse Ruiz on display in this gallery. Leralee and Lana are responding to the titles or maybe making up their own titles and pronouncing them to the audience. Dustin and Timmy revisit their contact improvisation duet.

Leralee makes full force eye contact with one audience member, standing about four feet in front of her. “This isn’t for you,” Leralee says after a little while, “This is for me.” She’s doing circles with her pelvis while standing in a wide second position. “This is so you’ll understand dance better.”

Sean is the rock punk jazz free against the folk jam country beat. Paul plays the harmonica with his acoustic guitar. The drums sound constant, cruising. The dancers are kinesthetic, bodily, muscular, loose, relaxed, upright, reclined, locomoting, crawling, seeing, hearing, performing, people.

Laurie Van Wieren, the captain, calls time, arms up in the air, the referee, the preacher.

Dustin gets one last kink out. The musicians continue, of course. Leralee interrupts them, “Sorry, sorry, sorry. It’s time to pass the hat.” Sean keeps playing until the performance gives up the ghost.

Non Edwards


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