The Murder Ballad (1938) by Poor Dog Group

I went to see a theater performance at REDCAT last night!  Previously, I had seen a performance art and poetry installation at the gallery, but this was my first time inside the cozy theater.

When the doors opened, my boyfriend and I sat down and took in the view: a sterile white stage and nothing else.  The main performer/dancer creeped in slowly from one side.  She was steady and in control of every muscle in her body.  A recording of the Murder Ballad (a song recorded by Jelly Roll Morton for the Library of Congress) started playing.  It told a story of a woman who kills her lover’s mistress in a fit of rage.  As the rolling Southern tune and witty lyrics played in the background, the performer’s body became more fluid, leading up to the shocking release of sexual, angry energy.  In addition to her outstanding talent in modern dance and captivating performance, her piercing eyes left a lasting impression.

At one point, she poured bottles of water in her mouth and over her body.  The floor became wet and slippery but her steadiness remained.  A male performer entered the stage and wavered between masculine and feminine energy.  His rapid footwork on the wet stage in complete darkness left haunting knocks in the minds of the audience.

The entire experience was entertaining and has made me a life-long fan of Poor Dog Group!  I am so pleased that Los Angeles is home to such an avant-garde theater group.  Cheers to their success!

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A Single Man

A Single Man (Film by Tom Ford)

This film unearths what we’re all feeling on the inside and presents it with simple beauty: loss of love hurts and the pain persists (sometimes indefinitely). The main character allows life to pour into in his day for the first time in a long time. That one day highlights his misery but also shows him that unexpected pleasures are vibrant enough to overcome the pain. He discovers warmth and happiness can be manufactured in a cold warehouse from simple materials: the soft fur of a dog’s head, the haunting green of a woman’s eyes, drunken laughter shared with a friend, and a refreshing dip into the moonlit ocean.

The subtle changes in colors during the film reflect my own mental shifts from pessimism to hope and vice versa. The film’s message is clear: put more effort into the recognition and creation of happiness instead of bathing in self-misery, but the translation to our lives is easier said than done. Colin Firth’s character is more than believable as his pain can be understood by all.

Tom Ford’s direction, design, and message are visually impeccable and crisp, contrasting with the dirty muddied emotions it releases from viewers, the emotions of self-defeat we are too afraid to speak of, that restrain us in a constant grip of fear and prevent us from experiencing moments of peace. Is happiness and the purpose of life just a never-ending circle studded by tiny packets of joy? If so, my whole approach to life is flawed. There is no need for romantic love if I can experience constant happiness from the love of friends, family, and strangers. There is no need for a career or money or fame or a child or anything at all.  “A Single Man” will open your eyes to new definitions of happiness, love, and self-fulfillment…and most importantly to the benefits of living in the present moment.