Real Dancing with the Stars

Wednesday night was P.S.122′s gala “Real Dancing with the Stars” at the Abrons Arts Center. I’ll admit, between my day job, a curating meeting for PRELUDE and the first rehearsal of my new top-secret theater project, I didn’t get to attend the whole thing. But the parts I did attend were fantastic and I could tell that P.S.122 is surviving, nay thriving, in these tough economic times. The crowd was filled with friends new and old and Abrons Art Center was an inspired – and inviting – choice of venue.  Plus, they were honoring the super awesome-tastic Ishmael Houston-Jones and in a truly inspired choice, C. Carr.

With all of the lamentation on the state of the press, arts writing and the death of print media, it was great to see P.S.122 honor a writer who has consistently crafted insightful and thoughtful prose on difficult art. More than many other writers, C. Carr has shaped the conversation around downtown performance and provided intellectual context and moral support for the adventurous artists who, all too frequently, would have been misunderstood and misrepresented in more traditional outlets. If I had money I would endow a C. Carr prize for innovative arts writing. She, along with a few key other writers who write across disciplines and genres, continues to prove that the relationship between critic and artist need not be reduced to qualitative “reviews” thinly disguised as consumer guides, but can be a thoughtful and profound exchange of ideas and creativity. As an arts writer and someone passionately dedicated to enhancing the quality, breadth and scope of arts writing (as well as strengthening the relationship between writer and artist) I look to writers like C. Carr for inspiration.

The evening started off with a pre-show performance by the Butoh Rockettes and pre-show video by Charles Atlas. The “Dancing With the Real Stars” section was hosted by Isaac Mizrahi and Richard Move with Bebe Neuwirth, Justin Bond and Stephen Daldry as the panel of judges. “Contestants” included a dance piece from Elizabeth Streb performed by Ami Ipapo, Adrienne Truscott, Arturo Vidich and Aki Sasamoto in a piece by Yvonne Meier, an excerpt from Fela!, DANCENOISE, Phiippe Petit, Regina Rocke and a showstopper of a performance from Billy Elliott by Liam Mower .

From what I hear there was nudity – as is to be expected at every P.S.122 Benefit – healthy amounts of drinking and dancing and, I’m sure that even as I write this at 3:30AM, there is a dedicated contingent who are debauching heartily into the wee hours. I was there for the pre-show and the post-show, catching a bit of the show at the end. Oh if I could only clone myself or figure out how to expand in spacetime to exist in multiple points of time simultaneously! Kudos to my former colleagues for persevering and preserving everyone’s much-beloved Performance Space 122.

Photos and, possibly, video to come.

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