live @ the soup kitchen – the next day

Gavin Clarke is something of a ummm … megalomaniac, performing in I think four of the ten works, curating the whole thing, which more unambiguously means making the whole thing happen, and reputedly going off on holiday sometime during the production. Charming and good looking too.

(Live) @ the Soup Kitchen was a large part of Adelaide’s dancers, musicians, actors, artists and all-round theatre people, many from ACArts, and all putting on something for each other, with soup, bread and honey crackles for all. And all done for free, voluntarily and without funding, though profit-share means everyone gets something like $3, so everyone’s all going mental tonight.

There is a real vibrancy in Adelaide in the arts scene that I won’t lumber with the category ‘independent’, I think primarily because it isn’t. Adelaide reminds me of Wellington in many ways, firstly because of the Arts Festivals that occur one after the other, so many companies go from one, across the ditch, up Cook Strait and splash into the Harbour underneath Mt Victoria. What else is similar is an isolation – it isn’t Melbourne, the default dance capital of Australia – and in that, a diverse community gets together. Barebones (Sarah Cartwright and others) is a good example of this, as well as Crush, which was my first real entrée into the arts scene here.

A friend in Melbourne, when I was talking about the dance scene in Adelaide, and how there was this will-to-dance kind of thing, getting into a studio during summer and bumming around together, said, “Yeah that’s because they have nothing else to do there”. If last night is what happens when you have nothing else to do, I’m lucky I live out of a suitcase cos I’m gonna stay.

While watching john and dook, shadow puppetry, trombone, music, one of the highlights of the night, I was thinking how I really prefer to see performance like this, or watch dance in rehearsal, and that the overwhelming monolith art can become when money is put behind it can become quite oppressive. While money can and does buy and make art and hell yes we are dying in this country on starvation rations of funding, there is a tendency in too much work I’ve seen that the teeth of money behind a performance can in turn buy the audience, the spectacle money in itself can create is not infrequently irresistible.

So amidst all this, an entire night thrown together and left to run, to just happen, occasional technical roughness, some beautiful pieces A Little Vacation of Love…, bourne, walkout-inducing anally-penetrating-chakra-balancing of Sebastian Carbonici, an audience of and performance by some of my favourite people.

The evening, around two hours would be perfect for the Adelaide Fringe this year, in the Spiegeltent at Melbourne Festival, in front of an audience loaded on dim lighting, soup and bread and mmmm … honey crackles.