DV8’s incredible dance film ‘The Cost of Living’

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DV8 Physical Theater was formed in 1986 by dancer and choreographer, Lloyd Newson. Over the past twenty-five years, DV8 has produced 16 internationally successful dance pieces and 4 award-winning films for television.

From the start Newson’s work has been controversial. In 1990, the Sunday Mirror denounced DV8’s television production, Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men, a piece inspired by the career of the serial killer Dennis Nilsen, as a “Gay Sex Orgy on TV”.  Such “rabid headlines” gave the program an unexpected boost. It also revealed Newson’s considerable intelligence at work behind DV8’s provocative performances. As he explained in an interview with Article 19

One of the things about DV8’s work is it is about subject matter, for a lot of people who go and see dance it is not about anything and DV8 is about something. I think the other thing that is important is the notion of humour and pathos, of tragedy, of multiple emotions and responses to my work –I’ve been so tired over the years of watching so much dance on one level, it may be very pretty, but it just goes on and on, it’s pretty nice, pretty much the same and pretty dull really, a lot of it.

So my big concern is to try and present images through movement and to talk about the whole range of social and psychological situations.

 
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In 2004, DV8 made The Cost of Living, for Channel 4 television. Based on a longer performance piece, The Cost of LIving was devised by Newson and the dancers, who range from “extremely able-bodied to a man with no legs,” David Toole whose incredible performance challenges our perceptions about ability and adds to the film’s “critique of society’s obsession with image.” As Newson explained in 2004:

The Cost of Living is very much about those people who don’t fulfill the market value, in the sense of playing on the words the cost of living in terms of the financial issue and looking at what happens through experience as you live do you lose your naiveté? As you live do you lose a lot? Or does experience assist you?

What I’m interested in [with] this piece is: do you become cynical and bitter as the cost of living, or do you not? So we’ve got lots of different characters; those who play the more embittered ones, we have the notion of Stepford [Wives] the idea that it’s important for all of us to join the club, whether it be dressing well, being attractive, being successful, and if we can’t be really successful financially or in terms of fame or celebrity, at least we can be normal.

But what happens to those people who don’t fit into any of those categories?

So there are lots of different parallels – dance is a beautiful parallel. So much of dance is about the youthful, beautiful, slender, able-bodied performers. Dance I think is a great form to talk about these issues. It’s a bit like a beauty contest, in fact we have a beauty contest or a physical contest, so underneath all the smiles and attractive bodies on front covers of magazines we want to know what else is going on; who has had the tucks, who is hiding their faults.

Some people can’t hide them as much as others, we have a disabled performer in the company, we have a very large, fat dancer, and on a very obvious visual level they look very different to us.

So what about those people on a psychological level who may be able to hide their physical imperfections, but [cannot hide] their psychological imperfections and why is it so important that we have this ‘Prozac face’? I used to refer to dance as being the Prozac of the art forms. So that is what the piece is about – it’s about those who aren’t perfect and who can’t pretend, those who don’t fit in because they don’t play the game.

There is also the notion throughout the piece about rules. We have a big LED board that has displays about certain rules. The whole set is made of what appears to be fake grass and the board reads like a sign in a park, or a traffic sign “keep off the grass”, also at times it tells the audience and the performers what to do. Do they obey those rules? They’re some of the ideas we’re playing with really, who sets the rules who follows the rules.

So it’s pretty epic in what it’s dealing with.

 

 
The rest of ‘The Cost of Living’ after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Gorgeous photographs of Golden Ray migration
04.04.2011
03:13 pm

Topics:
Animals
Art
Environment

Tags:
Golden Rays
Sandra Critelli

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In 2008, amateur photographer Sandra Critelli captured these stunning images of a mass migration of Golden Rays while looking for whale sharks off the coast of Mexico. She said, “It was an unreal image, very difficult to describe. The surface of the water was covered by warm and different shades of gold and looked like a bed of autumn leaves gently moved by the wind.”

Beautiful.   

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More images after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Satyajit Ray’s trippy ‘Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne’
04.04.2011
02:48 pm

Topics:
Animation
Movies

Tags:
Satyajit Ray

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Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1968) was written, scored and directed by Satyajit Ray. It is Ray’s most commercially successful film and to this day is hugely popular in India.

The cinematography by Shoumendu Roy and choreography by Sambhunath Bhattacharya is particularly enchanting in this fantasy sequence combining live action, shadow puppets and Indian percussion instruments.

Our comic heroes Goopy and Bagha meet the King Of Ghosts in the jungle and he grants them three wishes (boons): they will get food whenever they want, the second: they can go anywhere they want and the third: they will master art of music and everybody will be spell bound and motionless while they sing.

Trippier than E.T. and every bit as weirdly wonderful as anything in Eraserhead, Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne is a ‘head” film for all ages.

Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne is one of 17 Ray films restored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, but the restored version is still unavailable on DVD. According to Film Threat magazine…

[...] the restored print is still in the AMPAS vaults – there is no temperature-controlled film vault in India that could hold the restored version. Since the restored version is not available, older worn-out prints are still circulating. But these prints have clearly seen better days – they are so drained that even the surprise color shot at the film’s end look monochromatic.”

Criterion or Image are you listening?
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Sad Stuff on the Street
04.04.2011
01:54 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art

Tags:
Sad Stuff on the Street

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Sad Stuff on the Street is a Tumblr dedicated to lonely and forgotten items trying to survive on the mean streets of America. Those poor fuckin’ hot dogs. Just look at ‘em! 

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Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Stupid or evil: Republican Party to commit mass-suicide???

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Remember all those Republican TV campaign ads last November that warned senior citizens about how the Democrats were hatching plans to cut their Medicare? Some people, sadly, were ignorant enough to believe this claim, as preposterous as it was and that billionaires needed tax breaks, etc, etc, etc. Now we now have a GOP-controlled House. Well, folks, guess what? When you vote for a wolf in sheep’s clothing, don’t be surprised when they eat your carcass and spit the bones out once the election’s over:

This just in from Paul Krugman’s blog at the New York Times. Stunning:

So they’re really going to propose it.

More when we have some details. But two key points:

1. Privatizing and voucherizing Medicare does nothing whatsoever to control costs. We’ve seen that from the sorry history of Medicare Advantage. I’m sure that the Republicans will claim savings — but those savings will come entirely from limiting the vouchers to below the rate of rise in health care costs; in effect, they will come from denying medical care to those who can’t afford to top up their premiums.

Oh, and for all those older Americans who voted GOP last year because those nasty Democrats were going to cut Medicare, I have just one word: suckers!

2. E.J. Dionne is right: This will be Obama’s defining moment. Will he stand up for the principle that society takes care of those in need? Or will he cave in? I wish I had confidence in the answer.

Me, too!

House Republicans Propose $4 Trillion in Cuts Over Decade (New York Times)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Zombies vs. Teabaggers

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Look who wants in on the class war: It’s the undead vs. the Teabaggers as hordes of pro-labor zombies roamed around Madison, Wisconsin over the weekend in search of some brains. Looking for high IQ dining anywhere near the Tea party-dominated statehouse was perhaps a poor idea for a zombie banquet…
 
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Via Joe My God

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Lene Lovich Live at Studio 54 in 1981
04.04.2011
01:05 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:
Lene Lovich
Studio 54

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Lene Lovich live at Studio 54 in 1981. Thomas Dolby on synthesizer.

The sound lacks punch, but there’s not much live performance footage of Lene out there and this is better than most.

The set consists of 11 tunes including “New Toy,” “Angels,” “Home,” and of course “Lucky Number.” This was one of the first live shows ever at Studio 54.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Scott Bartlett’s revolutionary short film OffOn (1967) and the making thereof
04.04.2011
11:01 am

Topics:
Art
Drugs
Heroes
Movies
Music

Tags:
Scott Bartlett
OffOn

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Although it may look quaint to our presently ultra-digitized visual awareness, Scott Bartlett‘s OffOn (1967) is a powerful,resourceful and successful conveyance of the psychedelic experience in sight and sound. It doesn’t hurt that the synth score by one Manny Meyer is pure proto-industrial brilliance. Really bold. I’ll say it again: It’s wonderful to have things like this available to all when once it was only viewable by academics and institutions. Included here also is a making of/re-creation of OffOn produced in tandem with a class taught by Bartlett at UCLA in 1980.
 

 

 
Moon 1969 by Scott Bartlett after the jump…

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
Die Royals

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From the German magazine Stern.

Photo by Mista Jam, thanks to Lady Munter!

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Kurt Vonnegut: Christianity vs. Socialism
04.04.2011
10:39 am

Topics:

Tags:
Karl Marx
Socialism
Christianity
Kurt Vonnegut

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The great Kurt Vonnegut compares and contrasts Christianity with Socialism in this pointed excerpt from the audio book of his A Man Without A Country collection of non-fiction essays.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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