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town's was used (leaping up and falling on knees and thighs, falling sideways so that one foot is extended into the air, dancers comforting one another) but to much wittier and livelier effect. The generally quick-paced theatricality, inventiveness, and sense of exuberance made the performance a pleasure to watch. The production, while essentially a dance piece, utilized an array of theatrical elements: a film by Jacob Burkhardt of manic activity in office cubicles viewed from the exterior of plate glass windows opened the show. This scene of hyperfrenetic activity was in sharp contrast to the serene setting of white table-tops set at angles amidst bales of hay, some of them on scaffolding. Following the film, trenchcoat and goggle-clad performers emerged from behind the angled tables and hay bales. Soon the trench coats were shed and thrust aside to reveal ragged attire. There was continual transformation going on in Ragged Valley. Dancers moved the table tops, eyeing the corners of the room (a very funny movement), and also seeming to listen for information. In one of the most beautiful moments, a man poured water from high on scaffolding across a table top, so that the water fell from a height of several feet into a clear bowl on the ground below. This "precious" moment was ruptured abruptly by the use to which the bowl of water was subsequently put: a smaller man, with much aplomb, "dove" into it (actually only wetting his hands), which was followed by other circus act numbers. This kind of shifting of the balance and tone of the piece (a movement in the dancing as well as in the overall design of the show) created a rich and imaginative interchange of play and thought. Tall, wiry Kate McLaughlin, Terry O'Reilly, and energetic, smiling Yoshiko Chuma were especially im38 pressive in this well danced piece. The effective lighting for all three dance pieces. was by Carol Mullins. Lenora Champagne Paul McCarthy, Vented Trilogy Quiz or Monkey Man. DTLA (May). Paul McCarthy provided an unexpected dose of humor in his recent contribution to the Los Angeles "Public Spirit" performance series. In the past, he has been known for obsessive ritual-like treated to a high loft above the performance area. In addition to the stage, the artist further emphasized a "cabaret" atmosphere , perhaps partially as a comment on the current insistence on performance-as-entertainment, by providing audience seating at a number of small tables, each covered by a pristine white tablecloth with a handful of hot dogs arranged in the center. Hot dogs have reappeared often in McCarthy's work along with other cliche items of American consumer-culture such as mayonnaise , ketchup, cold cream, dog food; Vented Trilogy Quiz or Monkey Man (McCarthy) works which explored physical and when these are activated by McCarthy, psychological limitation-both of artist they become representatives for body and audience; by contrast, this piece was elements-sperm, blood, excrement, flesh decidedly light and graceful. tissue. McCarthy divided space and activity se- Along with actions involving his own quences into three parts: he performed on body, McCarthy employs large numbers a raised, stagelike platform, moved down of children's dolls. Vented Trilogy Quiz into and through the audience, then re- referred to the central prop, a life-sized half-mannekin fashioned from a dressmaker 's dummy, with a bald, fashionmodel head the artist could turn by inserting his hand into its back. This creature was at once grotesque, funny, and profoundly meaningful. A green, plushcovered toy snake dangled beneath its torso, bizarre representation of its androgyny , that matched the artist's strapped-on plastic breasts. Perhaps what enabled McCarthy to create a powerful work that, in less skilled hands, could have been merely chaotic or egocentric, was his sense of intuitive balance. He moved back and forth between comic moments (but these were, again, complex: the violent and pathetic tenderness as the artist kissed his creature, crushing its face in the process) and profound gestures (when he moved into the audience, space was obediently maintainOd ; from time to time, he struck unmistakably classic poses). By using careful timing and framing throughout, McCarthy presented a complicated and poetic...


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