Krump?

I had never heard of this particular dance genre though given that I am a totally unhip geezer buried on Chicago’s far north side, that is hardly a surprise. So this short documentary from 2013 by German filmmaker Steve Won was my introduction to the genre. As an introduction, it serves quite well though I was left feeling like maybe I was missing something… or maybe not. It was a feeling similar to that I sometimes get reading work translated from another language. Judge for yourself:

“Krump is a freestyle dance form popularized 2001 in the streets of South Central, Los Angeles (USA), that is characterized by free, expressive, exaggerated, and highly energetic movement.

“The youths who originated krumping, ‘Tight Eyez’ and ‘Big Mijo’, saw the dance as a way for them to escape gang life and to release anger, aggression and frustration in a positive, non-violent way. This was an opposition to street violence, which was prevalent due to violent gangster activities.

“With the cinema documentary ‘RIZE’ (2006) by the Hollywood Director David LaChapelle, Krump has spread all around the world.”

Omega II

This is the third or fourth video by Thomas Blanchard that I’ve liked enough to share here. And for all that I do not like music videos, most of them are music videos. Man, I do believe Blanchard could make a chair leg taste good. [Caution: some strobing effects.]

The music this video is meant to compliment is “Omega II” by Sébastien Guérive.

I have mixed feelings about the video as a whole, but the individual parts are really good, particularly the dances, imho.

Dancer

Photo / graphic by Roman.

The easy observation is that it is too late: the cultures so intermingled and context so radically changed as to make any nostalgia an act of invention and artifice. This is a hard truth that often evokes a hard denial. It is not the whole truth. For performance evokes persona. The clown dons a personality as the make-up is applied and the spirit of something enters those who are masked as gods. When viewed from that dimension, has any thing of any consequence changed?

The Ballad of Dick the Pigeon

trash-talking the predators

The pigeons were having a bad morning. It was a smallish flock but they swirled above the trees, above the courtyard and out of sight to return back looping and dodging and dancing in a running, fleeing ballet. They were terrified. A raptor, a big one, possibly a osprey, I don’t know: I didn’t see it, but it almost got Dick — as if being in the presence of a monstrous eating machine were not terrifying enough.

Dick was an older, genial pigeon and he was good. He was often the first to spot a predator. He was fast, agile and attentive to the flock, so much so that the others gave Dick slightly more regard than they gave to his neighbors and so he would often end up its lead choreographer. Like many male pigeons, he was a bit full of himself when it came to the ladies, but Dick always had been a comely lad. If you had to lay an egg, you could do much worse. But an osprey almost ate him.

It wasn’t just fear that lit the pigeon afterburners — and believe me, they were moving at a lively clip. It was also pride. Dance is an integral part of being a pigeon. It isn’t just a means of individual expression but a way of making communal decisions. And of enforcing them. For dance is also a means of defense. Predation is often a dance move, usually coerced by the predator, who relies on a repertoire of coup de mains for quick kills; for as hangry as it may be, it doesn’t want a fight or even an uncontrolled collision. These can have consequences for the predator too. Yet even when the flock is not successfully maneuvered by the raptor, the flock will sometimes sacrifice one of its less well regarded members, maybe a no longer entertaining bully but more likely some one unaesthetically sick or disabled or incompetent or even just a stranger. Rock doves are pacific and artistic birds encumbered by deep and ugly intolerance adapted to a world where every one is a critic and “thumbs down” is more than a critique’s rhetorical flourish.

But an osprey almost ate Dick. The nerve of this cannibal ave, this discredit to the Pandionidae, this flying spawn of satan, this barbarian theropod! Nasty m___________! They flew fast and low with tight acrobatics, not just in fear but in a defiant exhilaration: “You think you’re that good, osprey? Show us some fancy dancing coup de main. Show us if you’re really hungry. Show us what you’ve got.”

Not every critique deserves to eat.

— Yip

Photo by Roman.

Some parts of this story are true.

Cosmic Corruption

Much to my surprise, I liked this video very much.

My Dad started out as a broadcast engineer at some of the major Chicago radio stations back in the 1920s.* This included doing remote broadcasts from places like the Aragon Ballroom. One time while putting up with some of the very acidic rock that I was listening to, he remarked, “I’ve spent my life getting rid of feedback and distortion, and now…”

What Jack Henry Robbins does here with this video is, visually, something akin to the modulated feedback and distortion about which my Dad had been complaining. Think of it as a sort of a synthesia, maybe.

 

* My Dad’s call sign was W9GS. It’s been recycled by the FCC and, last I looked, is now assigned to an electrical engineer (IIRC) residing somewhere in the wilds of Indiana. He seemed very pleased to have it. As well he should.

Passage

What is important about this video is not so much the content — I like the content — but the technology. In the coming decade, the technologies that this video represents will dramatically change what it means to be an actor, elements of which are already in play.

This item is from Theoriz Studio. Based in Lyon, France, they seem to do art light installations and gaming work… at least judging by what they have posted on their Vimeo channel. Regarding this video, Theoriz Studio says: “PASSAGE is an artistic short movie involving elements of dance and new technologies. The first of its kind, it has been shot with a special mixed reality technique developed specifically by THEORIZ studio.”