Inhuman Swill : February 2009

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February 20, 2009

Hey, New Yorkers! Go see Laura Peterson Choreography this weekend!

I've mentioned this recently, but just as a reminder to all you lucky folks in New York City, go see our good friend Laura Peterson's new show Forever at Dance New Amsterdam, this weekend. It's still running, tonight through Sunday. We usually come to town to see every new Laura Peterson show, but this time we're unable, so you have to represent.

This is a bit of what Dance View Times had to say about Forever:

"Modern Dance is Modern Art." That's what Laura Peterson tells her dance students, and it's a teaching she follows rigorously in her company's new work, "Forever." This is dance strictly as a visual object, the elements being four dancers in four colors, moving on a white oval floor, among four faux Grecian columns and a mirrored rear wall. The set is vaguely reminiscent of the modernist paintings of Dali or de Chirico, but the dancing itself is even more abstract. Always a minimalist, Peterson makes art by strictly limiting her choices. In "Forever" there's no emoting, no acting or miming, not even any touching. It's just snippets of movement, driven by sound....

Not incidentally, "Forever" is a pleasure to watch. You can take it simply as a kaleidoscope, with the sound score acting as the engine to turn the lens and set off a new series of changes every two minutes or so.... The point of "Forever" could be that when human beings hear sound in rhythm, they have to move, and that's what makes the river run.  [full review]

We've made some of you come with us to her shows before, so you already know to expect a pure spectacle you wouldn't expect from modern dance. Here's a sample, exactingly performed to the music of Lumberob:


[direct link to video]

So get tickets already! Go!

dance | laura peterson | nyc

February 11, 2009

Flogging "Flog"

Proper Manuscript Format Illustrated - Click here. For well over a decade my manuscript formatting guide "Proper Manuscript Format" has been available online, with the result that I've fielded hundreds of questions on the subject from writers around the English-speaking world. For years now I've wanted to share those letters and my responses to them online, on the theory that for every question I receive there are probably ten times as many writers with the same question who don't email and would find the discussion helpful.

I've finally done somthing about it. My new, low-volume blog FLOG will feature my answers to readers' (and writers'!) questions about manuscript formatting, both newly received and mined from my email archives. Come on over and argue with us.

blogging | manuscript format | writing

A question of waste

Laura and I became involved in a brief argument Sunday morning, not with each other but with a woman who loudly accused us of not picking up after Ella. She did this from some distance away, crossing the street toward us on a diagonal. After some hostile back-and-forth, I think we managed to convince the woman that the deposit our dog had just made was liquid in form and not solid, but our case was not helped by the fact that Ella had done so in the midst of a whole lot of old turds that had freshly been revealed by the melting snow.

The woman was understandably upset by the fact that some irresponsible owner was failing to pick up after his or her dog, and indeed this upsets us as well. It's not just that we sometimes get blamed for other people's failings. It's just ugly and unhygienic, and it's a hazard to the soles of one's shoes.

But the argument itself was upsetting enough that Laura and I spent a while afterward trying to come up with some better responses to false accusations of failing to scoop poop. How do you pithily yet politely point out to someone that the act they thought they saw was really something different, and head off an angry confrontation? Preferably it would something more disarming than simple denial.

The best we came up with, though I'm still not sure it's very good, was this: "I've tried and tried, but I still haven't figured out how to pick urine up off the ground."

The one I want to keep in my back pocket, though, for when the argument escalates, is this: "Okay, then, would you please mind touching the pile of turds you think my dog just produced? If it's warm, I'll happily pick it up."

civility | comebacks | dogs | ella

Office nostalgia

I may have shared this video before, but I was waxing nostalgic about the (now broken-up) Rogers Sisters today and had to rewatch the charming video for their excellent song "Emotion Control," from their album The Invisible Deck:


[video at SingingFool.com]

(Doesn't the guy in the video remind you a little of Jim from The Office?)

Maybe I was feeling nostalgic about working in an office (not that I want to do that again). That's the context from which I once knew Rogers Sisters bassist Miyuki Furtado&151;we worked together in an office for a few months back in 2000 or so. Check out his new band Shock Cinema.

music | videos

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