One afternoon in, I guess late April, I took Emile and Paul for a stroll through my favourite part of town, Guangzhou town that is, on the west side in Liwan. We stopped for noodles in a small outdoor shop in an alley off a busy main road and were serenaded by the Zou woman, busking one chord on her untuned guitar zou-zou-zou-zou-zou, 2 kuai a zou. Much later back in Melbourne, Emile handed me a cd full of his field recordings made on purchases from audio-kingdom city in Dashatou (old Gameboy cartridges and 1st generation iPods for quick sale by the bin-load).
I’ve been planning to podcast this for ages, but am a bit lazy and also … yeah, lazy. Here is is then Emile Zile’sGuangzhou Field Recordings, worthy of a place on Sublime Frequencies.
Since last night, I decided to apply myself a bit more to the underlying code that builds a podcast. Being all xml files I figured I could dispense with front-end GUIs and get down to a bit of handcoding. It’s actually all pretty simple, and the real joy has been discovering how to write Enhanced Podcasts (the ones with pictures, titles, links and other garish waste of bandwidth) and slapping it all together from the command line using Apple’s Chapter Tool. Still doing it all in QuickTime might be more um, computer for the rest of us.
Anyway, this means Emile’s field recordings which were one long 35 minute festival of Cantonese sound now have chapters for each section, photographs from his various jaunts around the city, and irrelevant links to my blog.
Along with glad tidings of impending theatrical malfeasance from Emile yesterday, he also had a small package of love for me, photos and extra-special Guangzhou field recordings. As the witching hour arrived last night, I entertained myself and got wantonly sentimental while scanning the photos and listening to the sounds of Guangzhou. Here are some of my favourites, and some of my favourite people in Guangzhou, and I have an idea to podcast Emile’s sound recordings later this week. Anyone who has had the great pleasure of listening to the recordings from Sublime Frequencies will know what to expect in this Cantonese mix-tape.
Besides spelling mistakes and irregular comprehension of names, the DVD of 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD is nearly finished, in fact tomorrow it will get burnt. I hope. Feeling very much as though I have been living in a psychedelic other-world recently, I schlepped on over to Park19, and found the Guangzhou magazine 1626城中至潮杂志 has a full four pages on the performance.
Still more stuff is turning up in the post-show blur across the internet. On the night of the dress rehearsal, a moderately stressful Saturday, I had the good fortune to advise someone they could either not stand near the video feeds or leave. I think that’s where I got the reputation as a megalomaniac. Lucky she decided to stay, or the immortal beautiful photos of Emile, Paul and I looking like the winners in a Norwegian Black Metal vs Canton Demon tag-team slapdown would not be in existence. Those photos along with an interview where I think I slag off most contemporary dance (sometimes I need an assistant to tell me to shut up) will appear in the May 27th edition of 周末画报 Modern Weekly.
Everyone has gone. Emile is back in Melbourne now, and tomorrow is making Guangzhou sounds at St Jerome’s. Remember, each ‘zou’ is 2 kuai.
Emile Zile returns from China…
playing “…cantonese pop, cantonese opera, cantonese karaoke, field recordings from hong kong and guangzhou: buskers, thunderstorms, temple worship and street vendor calls. all material is sourced from my current trip to china.
Paul and Emile left last night after a fine dinner with everyone at 1920, the German café on 沿江路 Yanjiang Lu. I’m a bit sad and have gone from mental-pain amounts of work to a dead stop in the space of a couple of hours. There’s still much catching up to do now before going to Hong Kong on Thursday for a video screening at the Fringe Club, and much to write about 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD. It’s been a complete blast, certainly one of my life’s highlights. So until I get things more in order, here’s some links to the mess of 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD littering the internet. If you have seen any other stuff, especially blog posts, could you email me the links please?
Also, 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD and the whole Guangzhou project from the last three months now has its own category, weee!!!
Stuff from us:
Emile Zile – red-beard canton video demon Emma Z. – Guangzhou superstar and 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD performer Nikita – makeup makeup makeup. bikinis!!!
Yesterday was one of those days I really wanted to not happen. It reminded me of a few other pre-show days I’ve had that turned me into a despotic ogre, exactly not the point of making art. Today though was one long and fun, strange piling of six weeks work into something that tomorrow will alive.
Things went, make-up got applied, lights lit, video and televisions and projector cradles made of plastic ties, high heels, bikinis, stuff, loud loud loud grinding metal … a dress rehearsal. Some things still to do, like get the lights working properly, but it’s 3am now, I not going to get time to do things like shave my legs, so I’m off to bed. More sometime soon-ish.
The last week has been a conscious block for me when it has come to choreographing the bikini-high-heel dance-a-thon/showgirl-on-nembutal-and-acid bit. Simply because actually choreographing steps, and-1-2-3-4 … and do-this-now-do-this-next is … I dunno, I think not choreography. The choreographic exactitude and Baroque dimensional complexity of ballet for me is always a wonder, and still intellectually and emotionally one of my primary influences. But to actually make steps and assign counts and structure, I have a vast and serious aversion to that lately.
In making stuff that is mostly drawn from instruction sets that gets pulled into coherency through repetition, I’m working in a way that is far more satisfying choreographically, and profoundly more interesting and involving as a performer and as an audience, but quite inimical to the idea of temporal, procedural and mechanical choreography. So there is a barely-conscious, long-term attempt to actually choreograph, that is, to make concatenations of movement using specific vocabularies in a way that has this pre-historic ballet intellectualisation of body-as-(Baroque)-machine, and do it in a way that owes more to present-day methods of doing things, that is to say, executing code.
The showgirls part though… after trying various methods of bribery, coercion, threats, mental anguish, on myself, it was all too apparent I had no interest in choreographing. Watching everyone get up and turn Park19 into a mosh-pit to Personality Crisis was all I wanted to do, so once again it’s a process of working out what works, and manipulating variables until it kinda works. It’s raw, possibly a disaster, but at 2 minutes it rides that edge between me going, “ow! I can’t look, what am I doing???”, and wanting to get up and thrash around too. I guess if it entertains me that’s mostly the point, no?
Meanwhile, Nikita and Fangyuan were turning Emile and Paul into Cantonese Opera Demons.
A mad day of shopping for the performance, which now has a name: 岭南启示录 Apocalypse PRD. I’m not sure about the Chinese, even though Apocalypse Now uses it in translation. The PRD is for Pearl River Delta, that gets the translation in Chinese of 岭南 which is more a cultural-historic reference to Guangdong Province. Anyway, I met Fangzheng, her twin sister and Nikita, along with Emile and Paul at 市二宫 Shiergong train station for a spot of makeup shopping for the non-demonic performers, before jumping on the number 8 bus to near 人民南路 Renmin Nan Lu for the major excitement of turning Emile and Paul into Cantonese Opera immortal supernatural generals of varying mental instability. Then rehearsal, making the Cockettes/Apocalypse Now/Playboy Bunny/New York Dolls nightmare showgirl danceathon.
Then off to see the Cantonese Opera perform, more of an evening of duets than a full-length monster, but with huge cycloramas, blaring orchestra, costumes like a large dose of LSD and all the high-notes and ching-ching-ching-ching-ching, makeup, hair, platform boots, it’s glam-rock madness. The final vignette that would have sent the audience rioting like a New York Dolls gig, was from 西游记, that’s Monkey Magic if you’re from Australia.