Sunday, June 19, 2016


A few jugglers, aerialists, shadow puppeteers, a musician. Very slow wifi. Communal kale. I came to an Artist Residency.

Here in the studio, the musician is working with a singer and a looping pedal. They're making a simple song with a simple, clean chorus
how you gonna get your crazies out—
and then they loop that chorus and the singer sings are you gonna dance 'em out but it gets looped in this cool way that I don't understand yet (I'm still a newbie to the looper) so it ends up sounding like
how you gonna get your crazies—
are u gonna dance 'em out

The contact improv has paused for the moment, and the improvisers are now lying on the floor, talking, cozily, about group dynamics.

I've been touring hard for a few years, and when I wasn't touring, on the computer, setting up touring. I've been teaching and directing and doing one show—a show that varies a lot, sure, but still, same character, same energies, ebb'n'flow, here you go, how you gonna get your crazies—
are u gonna dance 'em out

Now they've stopped and the singer is yawning. Je suis fatiguee, she sings into the mic. Then, she murmurs, Good practice. They relax.

The studio is glowing dimly, just one light in the corner. The trapezes cast their shadows on the vast walls.

I didn't know what the hell I'd do here. I had a few ideas. I had no idea how I'd work on them by myself, as I don't do great creating on my own. Or at least, that's the narrative I've built for myself over the past few years. But how much creating have I been doing? I live a creative life, but man, these creative trees we call creative lives have so many branches, and you can neglect some, and they'll wither, but the rest of the tree keeps on and gets tall and maybe doesn't even notice the few dying branches. The birds notice, though.

It's a delicate, flowing thing, an artist residency. Living among artists. Artists come and go, they are present, they are absent. I have put myself as another fish in this river, gliding along in the strange water. The echoes of dishes being put away upstairs. It's late.

I bowed out of Edinburgh Fringe, and I came here. It has been so much business. So much career. I think of something a producer friend of mine said when I told him I was not going to Edinburgh this summer, that I need to take care of myself. He said, "All I see around me are artists not taking care of themselves."

And so here I am. For the first time in a long time, I played in front of the mirror, pretty much by myself. I danced butoh, and then I put on a devil mask and played with that, and I made a juggler laugh.

What am I going to make here? I don't know. I'm going to be an artist here. It's easy to get swept up in the business, and then that is all it is. We think, before we make money as artists, that all we want is to be in the business. We think that will solve everything, that that will be all we need.

I need to bring myself to the mirror and not know what's there.

The music is done for the night. Some cuddling has commenced. I'm going to watch "Dirty Dancing" in bed. It's the only movie I have.

how you gonna get your crazies—

    are u gonna dance 'em out

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