Tag Archives: Joe Landini

Five, Nineteen Equals Twenty-Three According to Joe Landini

19 Jul

Joe Landini, that force in San Francisco who has masterminded SAFE – Save the Arts From Extinction – has undisguised flair and presence which he demonstrated in introducing the two programs Rita Felciano and I saw Sunday, July 10 in different parts of ODC’s Theatre. This was Landini’s SAFEhouse Arts’ 6th Annual Summer Performance Festival.

Before discussing the two events seen, Landini’s assumption of One Grove Street’s space is numbered from the general conversation I was witness to. Burger King apparently owned the ground floor and has sold it, meaning that One Grove Street has perhaps a year remaining as a performance venue. Not much isk known about the new owners – I heard that doctors will be the new occupants – a clinic? A state of the Art something or other? If medical, are the practitioners aware that art belongs to the healing equation in they took the oath of Hippocrates.

The site of Ephesus possessed not only a hospital, but sports facilities and one of the great Greek classical theatres remaining. Would that medicine heed the confluence of forces, mind; body;expression.

Editorializing aside, three events were witnessed. The first, at 6p.m. in ODC’s upstairs studio on Shotwell and 17th was soloist Lucia August/Everybody Can Dance, “standing OUTstanding.”

August, a large, heavy set woman, handsome head with cropped grey hair, flashing greyish eyes and straight nose, and wonderfully capable hands with a sweeping arm capacity, started her largely autobiographical hour with Parallel Lives, describing how life went along on one track and her love of dancing intertwined until they joined forces at age 50.

The second piece, Consistent Paradox, told the tale of a man who “Had it all,” paid his minions well, who kept his secret that he was, in reality, a woman. This involved gestures showing him boxing himself in tighter and tighter, working himself into a frenzy, clearly fooling noone but himself.

They Never Really Leave, which completed the program told the tale of a lover from U.C. Santa Barbara days, who disappeared in 1983, but whose presence returns vividly every so often. Lucia August’s seniority has given her a forthright presence, an honesty about sexual preferences and definite performing skills.

Using the small elevator to get downstairs and around the corner [if not under the tree or hearing the Sergeant Major], it was to witness two much younger groups and an intriguing soloist who knows how to use lighting to enhance his movement

Peter and Co., formed in 2104, featured a solo, Interstice, and a trio titled Transverse Course. If not mistaken, Chen draws some of his inspiration from the circular, sinewy qualities of Asian marital arts. The credits indicate that solo works were the beginning, and the two pieces clearly reflect that particular emphasis.

Interstice as Websters New World Dictionary describes it is a small or narrow space between things or space, a cranny, crook, and, with the aid of side lighting, Chen’s solo conveyed that narrowness, the inability of the body to face fully forward, side ward or back. Yet, with the lighting and a remarkably eloquent torso and arm movement his body wended an eerie way with considerable cogency.

Transverse Course presented a trio, Kalani Hicks, Sophia Larriva, Alyssa Mirchel, in patterns which echoed faintly the circular and oval movements of Peter Chen but minus the shifts in height or eerie lighting. The piece demonstrated devoted dancers, but Chen still working towards movement with dancers as effective as his own personal style.

Tanya Charese’s Masses utilized a dozen dancers in an ambitious, semi-martial series of maneuvers, sometimes vertical, sometimes dropping or hunching on the floor, to emphasize not only routine, habitual daily movement, but also the loneliness of contemporary life. She assembled the ensemble and deployed them like a general, managing to convey an army-like movement on the march. Whether that was her intention I am unsure, but it was impressive.

The dozen performances were: Hayley Bowman, Kelsey Gerber, Mallory Markham, Maddie Matuska, Amy McMurcha, Rebecca Morris, Lind Phung, Jessica Rols, Emma Salmon, Vera Schwegher, Brittany Tran, Oona Wong-Danders.

Seeing these young dancers plus noting Joe Landini’s prodigous generosity in providing a showcase for their development provides hope for strong future dance statements.


Evangel King at The Garage, September 14, 2011

19 Sep

With Rita Felciano of the S.F. Bay Guardian, Evangel King’s ”Bare Bones Crow” lured me to  The Garage, 975 Howard Street, San Francisco September 14. Her remarkable solo was supported by Brenda Hutchinson’s inventive sound and the harvest-like ancestral trio created by Gillian Garro.

The Garage announces itself with  a red door in an area still seedy and awaiting several subsidized housing projects.  During the daytime, the living space above it proclaims the building is post Earthquake vintage, painted a cheerful white with blue trim.  From the Website there is reference to a third summer festival in 2008. Little else tells the curious its head honcho, Joe Landini, has operated this venue  at least five years, providing space for an incredible spectrum of theater arts.  Two slogans accentuate this: RAW for Resident Artist Workshop  and SAFE for Saving Art From Extinction.

Evangel King’s body was draped in black lace-like formations, emulating the layers of crow feathers, serving her movements well.  The stage was punctuated with three totemic constructions with large end-of-growing season, time-to-harvest approximations of corn stalks, two sticks peeping out near the floor to convey  ancestral connection. The sounds were equally evocative of harvest, scavenging,  nature at its loneliest.  King’s movements emulated the pecking, stroking and exploratory movements of a bird, facially and with her arms, torso and sustained balances on one leg.  She allowed her face to distort, the tongue to loll out of  her open mouth, reinforcing the bird image.

The lighting in the Garage prevented me from reading the program prior to its non-stop exposition.  Not knowing it was a connection to the deep feminine which became apparent in masturbating gestures, I felt King delved into an anthropological study of the Ohlone Indians and their multiple triblets, long ago native to the San Francisco Bay Area,.  Whether  individual evocation or tribute to tribal custom to mimic surrounding creature life in a life style long vanished, King’s solo and her collaborators presented a fascinating portrait. Thanks to Joe Landini’s generosity for space given a work otherwise unlikely to enjoy a venue.