Lewis (bleeping) Black

More than 12 hours after watching Lewis Black at the Centre of the Arts, and I'm still so enchated by his presence that every third (bleeping) word is a (bleeping) swear word. Since prairie dog doesn't like NSFW entries here, lets just say:

1. Black doesn't like Winnipeg.
2. The drive between Toronto and Winnipeg kind of got to him.
3. His friends in the United States don't understand where Regina is.
4. The iPhone is one of the reasons why the U.S. isn't energy self-sufficient in a ecologically balanced way.
5. Republicans and Democrats sodomize the American voter in a similar way.
6. He doesn't like getting old.
7. His parents are a hoot.
8. He's not that surprised that we don't seem to care much for Stephen Harper. A mention of Prime Minister Pillsbury Doughboy grew groans ... "You can't even work up the energy to properly boo the (bleeper), huh?"

All in all, this was the (bleeping) funniest 90 minutes of standup I've heard in years.

A Thirst Undone

Caught the opening performance of the final work in the 2008-09 Sandbox Series at the Globe Theatre last night. It's a bit of a departure from previous works in the series in that it's grounded--and I mean that semi-literally--in dance. Choreographer is Johanna Bundon, who also performs along with Joelle Arnusch, Branwyn Bundon, Natalie Zoey Gauld and Barbara Pallomina.

As the title, and the accompanying publicity image, suggest, water is a central theme of the piece. Prior to entering the space, in fact, we were warned to be on the lookout for glasses that had been placed on the floor. To get to our seats, we actually had to do a mini-detour around several dozen glasses partially filled with water. Even before the performers have appeared, therefore, we were physically and intellectually engaged with the work.

The first row of seats was open when we arrived. Typically, I'm not a first-row person, but we decided to sit there for simplicity's sake. That turned out to be a fortunate choice because a significant portion of Bundon's choreography involves floor work where the audience's view of the dancers from the back row is partially obscured by people sitting closer to the performance area. So if you go, don't be shy about sitting up front.

As the work opens, the five women, dressed in simple frocks and tights, are arrayed in a line to the audience's left. One by one they slip off their shoes and, as if entering the water, slide to the floor and begin almost to swim across the stage area. In terms of structure, the approximately 50-minute piece is divided into six chapters. By varying the tempo of the music, and having the dancers interact with each other in various combinations from solos and duos to five-person ensembles, Bundon inspires a host of interpretive possibilities. Being a non-literal art form, dance defies strict interpretation as everyone who views a piece will inevitably give it their own spin. For me, some of the dominant themes that emerged related to ideas of friendship, support, rivalry, fear, longing, physical and emotional enclosure, dominance, and even servitude through the offering, whether in a domestic or restaurant setting, of water for guests to drink.

Like the lunar-influenced ebb and flow of the tide in coastal waters, there are rhythms and repetitious elements in the piece that evoke the notion of cycles that are inherent in life, be they biological or socio-cultural. If you want to check the work out for yourself, it's on at the Globe until May 9. (Globe Theatre)