John Munger’s Third Rabbit Dance Ensemble

A common appearance at Patrick’s Cabaret, this ensemble takes this unique name from this anecdote, which John Munger relayed to me:

“One day, about thirty-five years ago, modern dance legend Hanya Holm addressed a technique class on the subject of focus. “If you chase two rabbits,” she said in her flavorful German accent, “you will catch neither.” Later that day she repeated the same proverb in composition class when a poorly-structured movement study flickered briefly to life. This quotable line has always delighted and inspired me, but it’s infuriating too because it articulates a lose-lose situation that many choreographers face–If you want to be taken seriously in the dance world, you have to chase the Dance Rabbit. The problem is that America does not support dance very enthusiastically, so you are forced also to chase the Money Rabbit. In other words, even if you dance at a serious level you probably have to make your living by some other means. That’s two rabbits.
                But I refuse to give up hope. There HAS to be a third, catchable rabbit!”

 The group itself, a fluid conglomeration of shifting members, got its name in 1993 after a show where Munger had a solo entitled ‘The Third Rabbit.’ (His first group was three women called the ‘Lady Bobcats,’ in 1989, who became part of a larger pickup group in 1991 that did one full-evening show. )

A dance blogger in addition to a dancer, Munger says, “I see over fifty shows a year and I focus especially on the new, the young, the experimental, the non-mainstream,the out-of fashion, the elder, the aesthetically diverse. To me, being a dance blogger instead of a professional reviewer means being a guerilla.” The most difficult aspect is to “be the kind of carefully selected and transparently cleaned window through which a newcomer to dance-watching can see and learn for themselves something about the work that they might not have known due to their own innocent inexperience.”

 This means keep his own preference and prejudices out of it, avoiding judgements like “I really liked..,” “I was unimpressed by..,” “good,” “bad,” “amateur,” “stunning,” etc. Instead he says that “I try to describe two things: a) What I saw and b) what it did to me. For example, I try not to say ‘this was boring’ and say instead ‘the persistent repetition of this movement task eventually lost me.’ Or conversely, ‘the persistent repetition of this movement task fascinated me because it contrasted with the frantic soloist’ rather than ‘the repetition was masterfully post-modern.’” A busy man–“I have a 40-hour/wk dayjob, I perform, I choreograph, I present a series at Bryant Lake Bowl called ‘The Rabbit Show,’ I teach at Zenon, and I have a wife, house, mother-in-law and four pets”–his blogging focuses especially on The Fringe. He will cover each and every one of its fifteen to twenty shows.

Come on down this weekend and have your “soul nourished by the experience of being taken somewhere you might not have taken yourself.”

Eclectic Edge Ensemble

“A contemporary jazz dance company with a diverse repertory, Eclectic Edge Ensemble collaborates with local musicians, choreographers, and other artists to create musically and theatrically inspired work. The company aims to present a fresh perspective on jazz dance in the Twin Cities, creating accessible performance experiences that connect to audiences through the pure joy of movement.”

Last time you saw Eclectic Edge at the Cabaret was the March Kinetic Kitchen. Karis Sloss says, “It was such a wonderful experience to be a part of a show that embraced so many forms of dance, and brought artists together to watch and support each other.” She immediately asked Sarah, the guest curator,  if they could be part of it the next year, and Sarah agreed.

Sloss, who has been dancing since the age of two, formed Eclectic Edge Ensemble the spring of 2002, after graduating from the U of M with a major in Dance and Theater Arts. “I have always known that I wanted to have a dance company that was a true ensemble and explored different forms of jazz,” she says. “I am so fortunate to have such a talented and supportive group of dancers. They have really helped me get EEE off the ground and moving forward. I have kept focused on all of my goals, and we keep plugging away.”

The piece they will be performing this weekend is called “Common Ground.” With music by Regina Carter–“rich with layers of differing rhythms, beats and melodies”–ten women explore “outer expression of control and strength, to inner feelings of fears and questions, and finally celebration and joy with others.”

For more information on Eclectic Edge, check out the website (www.eclecticedgeensemble.com), and be sure to attend their upcoming prdouction at the Ritz “For Sports’ Sake” July 15th-18th, 2010.

Amy Trayers

Our next performer, Amy Trayers, is very excited to be making her Patrick’s Cabaret debut! I’m personally dying of jealousy over her that she’s performing (and awesomely) at only twelve, but she says “I am simply a young choreographer, who used to (and still does) crank up my favorite song and start singing and dancing without a care in the world, as other teens do… I want [the audience] to see that ANYBODY can choreograph; I especially want them to understand how Mr. Gershwin felt as he was dying and realizing he could no longer play his pieces. I hope I can speak to people through this dance; tell them to remember Gershwin, a musical genius whose music and memory is still alive today.”

Her performance this weekend has grown from a school project on George Gershwin: she “had to do a project about him and his life. Mr. Gershwin died of a brain tumor, and actually started experiencing his symptoms during a show when he became very dizzy and stopped playing for a few seconds. I listened to his ‘Second Prelude’ about 300 gazillion times, and let the steps just flow out of me. Choreographing dances is one of my favorite parts of dancing. I can express myself and other people’s feelings through my dancing.”

Her influences include Sir Kenneth MacMillan, especially his ballets, and her teacher Andrew Rist, in some of whose ballets she’s performed and all of which she’s loved. “It’s amazing watching him come up with brilliant moves right on the spot and being able to see his creative process.”

Kinetic Kitchen–Ray Terrill Dance Group

Yup, it’s that time again–Kinetic Kitchen!  Head on down this weekend for a whole lotta awesome. You will not be disappointed.

Ray Terrill took his first modern dance class, at the age of twenty-two, entirely by accident– and “instantaneously recognized that I was home.” He knew that dance was it for him, that it would “without question would sustain my interest and passion for the rest of my life.” He has been dancing for thirty-three years now, so it looks like that’s holding true! He fnished, “Creating and performing dance provides complete intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical fulfillment offering the opportunity to explore humanity.”

He has previously performed at the Cabaret as part of the Christopher Watson Dance Company, and his own group was onstage as part of a modern dance showcase a few years back. He originally moved to the Twin Cities because he intended to quit dancing. He was getting to a certain age; support for the arts in general, and funding for modern dance in particular, had reached a low point; and he didn’t relish the struggle of establishing his cred in a whole new town. As far as dancing went, he was going to be done with it.

Fate laughed really, really hard for awhile, and then got him a ticket to the Christopher Watson Dance Studio grand opening.

Long uneasy with a dance-less identity, Ray pondered taking some classes–and eventually ended up a member of the staff. Later Christopher invited him to perform with his company, and then to join its board of directors (he is still a member). However, “while I enjoyed performing with Christopher, I did miss the creative side of dance. So, gradually I began to make dances and formalize commitments to dancers.” Eventually it turned out that the Twin Cities had an infrastructure that could sustain far more dancers than that in Seattle or Portland. “At this stage of my dance life I am completely happy to work my day job and be able to produce my own work and present in showcases and fringe festivals. My feeling now is to just keep going until it feels right to stop.”

Let’s hope that’s a long ways off yet. But just in case, come out this weekend to see his group perform “State of Grace!” You will be moved.

Salivia Jones (Brooke Murphy)

Now, normally unless I’m rushed for time or under direct threat by the Obsidian Order, I try to take the interview responses and make them into an article, rather than listing the questions and the responses. If fills more space, it fills more time (I am paid by the hour), it’s (I hope) a pleasure to read. But today, despite the fact that I actually have more time than I thought–I would have more, but my body and brain have this odd physiological response where they start to shut down around 1 AM–and the fact that the Obsidian Order have not bothered me in ages (probably off plotting the glorious rise of Cardassia), I am going to do the numbered question/answer format. Why, you ask? Or don’t ask, which is too bad, because I’m going to answer you anyway.

Because the persona Saliva Jones is far too awesome and amusing to edit out or switch around any of her responses.

See for yourself:

1. Have you performed at Patrick’s Cabaret before? When?

Why yes, Gabriela. Thank you for asking! Mistress Ginger and I
performed excerpts from our cabaret act, “Broadway Bound… and
Gagged,” at Patrick’s Beautiful Cabaret a few years ago.

2. How did your band come to be?

Well, since performing with Mistress Ginger, who is my absolute
inspiration, and without whom, I wouldn’t be the rich, Silverback Cunt
I am today, I have been coming out of my shell more and more! I find
I have a lot to say on the subjects of sexuality, shame, and living life
to the fullest. So I’ve been eager to share these thoughts with as
many of my fellow human animals as possible. And of course, opening
these dialogues will no doubt generate some interesting conversations
and ideas, from which I will no doubt learn quite a bit! So I have
had these notions floating about within me for some time now. I
recently took an outing to a potato farm, where I found Pasqual and
Chauncey! Pasqual was loading potatoes into a truck, and Chauncey was
feeding a sick animal. It was truly kismet! There was something so
vulnerable and real about them, so I approached them and asked them
to be my best friends. And they said YES! Well, the next thing you
know we were playing together in this rock-theatre troupe we call
Saliva’s Wedge.

As for our troupe’s name, people often get Saliva’s Wedge confused
with Occam’s Razor. What is Occam’s Razor, you may ask? Good
question. Well, Occam’s Razor is a principle which states that the
simplest explanation for a mystery of phenomenon is probably the
correct one. Whereas MY principle, Saliva’s Wedge, is a principle
which states that the most absurdly sexual explanation is most likely
the correct one.

For example: You hear a knocking noise emanating from your bedroom
closet. Your mind goes crazy. “Is it a ghost?” you wonder aloud. Is it
a monster trying to claw through the closet wall? Occam’s Razor would
suggest it’s probably just the furnace on the other side of the closet
wall. But Saliva’s Wedge says that the closet itself is probably the
vagina of the house. And every time you go in there for some clothes,
it thinks you are going to inseminate. It starts pulsating. knocking.
It wants to get knocked up by YOU. You should be flattered! But, in
order to get the knocking to stop, you’re going to have to fuck it
with your entire body.

We named our troupe after my principle because it is a deliciously
ridiculous way to look at the mysteries of life.

3. What would you say your musical influences are?

I grew up secretly listening to a multitude of musical styles:
*Old funk and R&B such as the band known as Rufus & Chaka Khan
*Classic rock – Heart, Jethro Tull, Styx
*”Yacht Rock” – Hall & Oates and The Doobie Bros.
*Musical theatre sensations – Sondheim, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand
*Bittersweet pop – The Free Design, Billy Joel
*Progressive rock – Genesis, Gentle Giant

And now, I really sink my teeth into:
*Local groups – Bubblemath and Run At The Dog
*The Most Inspiring Group of Human Musicians! – Sleepytime Gorilla Museum

Oh, if my mother, Goody Goodwife – yes that was her actual name, mind
you – had only known I was listening to anything but Our Lord’s Hymns
of Shame, she truly would have excommunicated me from our small New
England community. Luckily I was able to sneak off and sing to the
white sea birds on this terribly precarious, craggly point on the
Atlantic near my mother’s house. The birds’ surprising appreciation
is what got me through my childhood and gave me the courage to play
music with my new potato-farm-friends, Chauncey and Pasqual, both of
whom are superbly talented musicians and from whom I receive many
delicious musical ideas! Those two darlings have encouraged me to no
end.

4. What attracts you about the combination of theatre and music?

Well, I just have so much to share with anyone who will engage with
me! Sometimes my ideas are best spoken plainly, sometimes in the
heightened form of song, sometimes via juggling and movement, or even
touch, and sometimes… via sexual surprises. At this phase of my
life, I’m ready to bust out and finally be free from shame – so, no
restrictions, please!

5. What is one thing you would like the audience to walk away from
your performance knowing/feeling?

Oh, that’s a simply wonderful question, dear. It is my sincere hope
that after our exhibition, the audience will feel ALIVE! Yes, in some
way stimulated ~* But truly, however they feel is valid. Whatever
their experiences are. Even if they don’t agree with my notions, or
like the way we have delivered those notions. I think Chauncey and
Pasqual would agree with me when I say that we want people to feel
good about themselves afterwards – validated and SEEN. We’re here to
connect with people, to pro-create!

Thank you for your time, my dear, and I look forward to meeting you one day!

Yours in this moment,
Saliva Jones (aka Brooke Murphy 🙂

Jacqueline White

EDIT: I used the wrong last name.

It’s been six years since Jacqueline White has performed at Patrick’s, the first time occuring in our old space before we got this snazzy new firehouse. In the old days, she says she read her poetry and “probably my favorite time was at a cabaret fundraiser made up of hosts and youth from Twin Cities GLBT Host Home, which is a program that matches homeless GLBT youth with trained community volunteers (www.avenuesforyouth.org).” For tonight and tomorrow, she be reading from her memoir in progress “My Transgender Husband: A Love Story,” which she’s been working on ever since “Marcus and I got married twice on New Years Eve in 2006–first in a religious ceremony and second in a civil ceremony. Since most objections to legalizing same-sex marriage are based in religion, we wanted to separate the religious and legal aspects of our wedding as a way to suggest one path through the acrimonious debate.”

Currently a teacher at the Loft, White has also taught in in a jail, a couple of halfway houses, and a program for teen parents. She says, “In each of those settings, I’ve encountered wonderful writers, by which I mean writers who have something to say that they express in a fresh, distinctive way.”

Bisexual Cabaret

Up next in our GLBT series of cabarets, we have the Bisexual Cabaret! By now y’all know the drill–show starts at eight, try to get there by seven-thirty to get a seat, tickets are ten dollars unless you know an artist and then you can get them for eight. Expect interviews to be popping up today, tomorrow, and maybe even Saturday afternoon just before the show. It’s looking seriously awesome, and I’m not just saying that because I’m in it.

…oh yeah, I was going to mention that. I’m in it.

I’m super-nervous, actually, because I’m doing a Speech Team style lecture/skit–and I haven’t been in Speech Team for three years. (I’ll try not to fail you, Coach Sluder!) Practical questions of forgotten technique aside, I’m not sure I know how to give a speech without a freezing cold 6 a.m. bus ride first. Or without wearing a suit. And the lemon drops! I don’t have any lemon drops (official candy of Speech Team). And–

Okay, trip down Memory Lane now over, I promise. I won’t even get into the talking to walls, or the Pony Game, or the applause etiquette–no. No. Stopping now. Anyway, I hope you’ll come out to see me. My sketch is called “The Three Bisexual Women You Meet in Fiction (Who Are All Actually the Same Person). It’s an examination of the depraved bisexual trope and the issues I have with it, and three characters who I feel embody it, but also subvert it. Basically I stand onstage and rabidly fangirl over the Intendant, Nicole Wallace, and Mystique for ten minutes. Good times will be had be all, unless you hate fangirls and fangirling, in which case you’ll probably want to punch me in the face with a knife.

Hmm, that was violent. I should probably end this on a heartwarming note. Guess what? My mom’s driving up from Illinois to see me! *cue “awwww” sound*