all the people i can remember sleeping with … some more photos

Some more photos, this time from the dress run at Noarlunga, deep in the christian south. This theatre was one of those caverns built I suppose to allow for more carparks by providing ‘culture’. The roof howled and thrashed like banshees in the wind, drowning Xuan when she spoke, the stage was so vast and cavernous it was difficult to feel human on it, an absence of mess and dilapidation, things I associate with a theatre or place to make performance.

I like these photos because it’s a dress run of sorts, it was the last night after three months together, no one was particularly serious, and they got to play as much as they wanted, and sometimes this got quite strange. I like the smiles and laughter, it’s nice to see my friends having fun.


all the people i can remember sleeping with … some photos

After them leaving Adelaide, then me leaving also, then arriving almost two months after the show, I finally got some photos of all the people i can remember sleeping with…. These are some I took in the wings at the Star Theatre, I think the best night of the season, rough, angry, a bit thrashy and it felt real, made me nervous to watch knowing people I knew were there seeing it, and the theatre, kinda rundown and a bit scuffed suited it so well, it was … this night, the storm coming in and wings you’d crash into the wall if you didn’t stop in time, the stage almost too small and lights to bash into, and the four, who made it personal and … this was what I wanted. So, Daniel Jaber, Paea Leach, Tara Sor and Yang Xiao-Xuan, my little gang of trouble who made it real.



Big silence, no?

Well we have performed all over the acreage of metropolitan Adelaide (and I kept thinking if I was in Zürich, I’d have probably made it to Germany, Leichtenstein, and almost to Italy for the distances we travelled while remaining in A-town). I have photos … soon. And stories. I’m feeling like after climbing a mountain, empty, unthinking.

But now back to writing grants. Boo! (Well, enough people said all the people i can remember sleeping with… should be a proper piece, so …)

There was a point to this.

我忘了!… I forget…


1010011010 the number of the beast

Having realised I could count up to 1024, in binary no less, using just my fingers and thumbs, it’s surprising it took me so many months to make the next logical conclusion that the number of the Evil One, Prince of Darkness, Most Unclean, was well beneath that terminal integer.

Here’s my contribution to the lexicon of finger and hand signs from Tara last night while krumping in an Adelaide carpark after the showing of Ignition at ADT (that I forgot to blog about).


Due to the content of my Ignition 7 – Gender Studies performance, all the people i can remember sleeping with…, it will not be shown at the following venues:

Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth.
Ignition Opening Night
Friday October 12

Golden Grove Arts Centre
Saturday October 20

all the people i can remember sleeping with … day 15 & 16 & this week

Libby said, “You’re panicking. Deal with it”. I said, “Oh I need to write that down”, it would go well with Gala’s “Shift the blame darl”. I didn’t, so I probably misquoted her.

An half hour is not enough for me to feel comfortable, even though the previous rehearsal we miraculously pulled the whole thing together … or maybe it was already there, and we just got on the right train … something happened and it happened. But on this Wednesday, there felt for me as if I was hounded, beaten faster with rattan and not just to a beginning and end and everything in-between in some semblance of complete but to – gods of horrors – show it to all the production crew.

The previous rehearsal – that would be day 15 I think, I’ve lost track a bit – we had found all the ins and outs, and while scratchy had made it through, it was there and we knew it and best of all, it worked. It was sad to lose Paea’s ‘frisking and saying it’s ok’ scene, Xuan saying, “This is how I like to be touched”, and all that followed, but it is too long a moment for what is obliged to be a short performance. Gone, then. Though along with all the deceased parts, it remains all through my notes. It’ll turn up somewhere again.

Gala came in and watched, though missed ‘rape fantasy’, ‘tampon story’, and ‘my first kiss’. Of everyone who isn’t us five, she is the only person I feel comfortable having watch this piece. She should be in it, and originally I conceived the piece as a duo with her and Daniel, then saw it expand to include somehow everyone who is in it, then rehearsal schedules failed us. It feels odd that she isn’t in this, the first piece in three years of mine that hasn’t included her.

It’s nice for me to have someone around who knows me and my work well enough to know and say if I’m … I suppose to say, not being honest. If I imagine my ideal horde of miscreant freebooters, sailing up the Danube and terrorising the populaces of every theatre we pass, she is always there. (Yes, I know you’re reading this).

So we come to the next day and back to me panicking.

I’m usually absurdly calm when it gets to the point of bedlam, and attribute this to having made three works in China, where rewiring the grid by hand a couple of hours before opening and engaging in insane motorcycle taxi rides across town to find homemade extension cords is normal and reassuring. I get so far beyond stressed in such situations, I actually enjoy it.

So here am I saying to Carol, “No, you can’t film it,” (why?) “Because I say you can’t”, (that’s not a good reason) “AAAAA!!! Ok! Because I don’t know if it’s even capable of being filmed yet!” In part it was a certain exasperation at needing another half-hour to just get it’s legs sewn on, but mostly it was apprehension, fear.

To make work at one step removed from myself, however personal it ultimately might be engenders a certain distinct nervousness when it’s seen outside our private little world where we have made it. To make a work that is entirely inextricable from me, that was so often embarrassing and hideously personal in our hours of rehearsal, to have this seen and knowing there’s no other way to read it than autobiographical is excruciating and exhausting. I had no idea the miasma I’d been snared in all day was solely this anxiety of having it seen, and in such rushed preparation, until it was over and I was sitting there utterly stunned at what Daniel, Paea, Tara and Xuan had done.

“It was beautiful and I can’t say any more”.


bacon dog

I was raving a delirious morning, cold clammy sweat all through class, not quite feverish but something unpleasant going on inside. I was craving a hot, warm, meaty curry rich with lamb and potatoes and thick roasted spices. I got a bacon dog.

A hot dog. Wrapped in fried bacon. Drenched in mustard and tomato sauce. In a long white bread roll. It’s so obscene I’m salivating just thinking about it.

(My photo of it dribbling all over my fingers didn’t turn out, so here’s one Daniel ate on Friday.)

ignition 7 – gender studies

Australian Dance Theatre presents

Ignition 7 – Gender Studies

Ignition returns to stages throughout metropolitan Adelaide during October for its seventh season. Curated by Garry Stewart, the Ignition 7 line-up includes new works from a selection of the ADT dancers and young guest choreographers.

Ignition 7 – Gender Studies moves beyond the popular bookshelf fare of Men are from Mars… to present ten new works which test, stretch and enhance our existing understanding of gender. Works range from quirky tales featuring snakes and contemplative explorations of mixed identity to reinterpretations of Sigourney Weaver’s fearsome warrior persona in Alien.

“It is especially interesting to see dance take on this topic,” said Garry Stewart. “Particularly in light of the fact that in many cultures dance is a means of establishing and confirming traditional roles based on gender.”

The impressive list of choreographers for Ignition 7 included Kelly Alexander, Sarah Cartwright, Frances d’Ath, Danny Golding, Sam Haren, Daniel Jaber, Paea Leach, Lina Limosani, Larissa McGowan, and Yang Xiao-Xuan. This will be Adelaide’s first opportunity to see the works of some of these choreographers.

Ignition 7 will be performed at the Out Of The Square venues across metropolitan Adelaide.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see the internationally acclaimed talents of the extraordinary ADT dancers in their last local performance this year.

Tickets are $20/$15/$7.50 (Fringe Benefits and students)

Where and When:

Friday October 12 – Shedley Theatre, Elizabeth @ 8pm. T: 8256 0338 Edited programme presented at this venue.
Friday October 19 – The Parks Arts and Function Complex, Angle Park @ 8pm. T: 8243 5623
Saturday October 20 – Golden Grove Arts Centre @ 8pm. T: 8289 5111 Edited programme presented at this venue.
Friday October 26 – Marion Cultural Centre @ 8pm. T: 8375 6855
Saturday October 27 – Star Theatres, Hilton @ 8pm. T: 8234 1800
Sunday October 28 – Noarlunga Theatre @ 6:30pm. T: 8207 3975

— Australian Dance Theatre

all the people i can remember sleeping with … day 14

Xuan said to me, over lunch, “I never dream I’m an …”, makes little creeping tendril extraterrestrial fingers, “alien …”, “Oh, no”, I say, “Alien like foreign, not …”, pointing at sky.

Yesterday I have a blood test at the doctor’s, for hormone levels. Three vials taken and three biscuits in return. I thought that was a great exchange. And alleviated my plummeting sugar levels too.

Now thinking of going to the markets. Eat maybe, sit in Cibo and let my brain fray on its own, entertaining itself while I get to be passenger for a while.

I’m feeling rather exuberant after rehearsal today, and commenced enjoying the kick I get out of apprehension, that maybe this time I couldn’t pull it all together in two hours, make the Alptraum scene respectable, do something with the Rape of the Sabine Women stuff we haven’t visited for weeks, and go from start to finish when we haven’t done that for some time either.

Everyone has been slightly delirious today, not just end of the week tired-silly, but that with the jump-up-and-say-yeah energy usually only visiting when sustained by exhaustion. I think this was the right enthusiasm to suddenly shuffle it all together and miraculously plop out a finished piece.

I said something like, “Can you do that, but with your heads facing that way … (points at back wall) so this is front … (points to side wall) even though I’m sitting at the corner … here …”. It possibly is as self-evidently stupid as it sounds, nonetheless…

We got through making sense of Alptraum and pulling it into something like a scene so quickly I thought the clock was going slow. And I love it, possibly my favourite scene in the entire thing, along with the geniunely creepy Throbbing Gristle, it has for me a believable nightmarish tinge. I get uncomfortable and twitchy, like I want to swim in this mess and also get far away.

Sabine Women though after all that work has been reduced to perhaps five berserk attacks and none of the accompanying phrases. I’d love to see this section done properly, ten minutes of hysterical rapacious clawing madness, and assembled in such a way that it was both visually coherent, and not perilous to do in the way it can easily be when there isn’t time to make it that. I’m sad this has become one of the deceased. Though admittedly it was one of the founding ideas for pestilence, so perhaps better it stays where it belongs, with plagues and insanity.

So, to running the whole thing.

Xuan says, “Sometimes I have rape fantasies …” Everyone stands there bewildered. Tara says, “What are we doing?” Daniel says, “This is a disaster”. We fumble through quite beautifully. I’ve never seen it all together, and never seen it knowing this is the thing it will be, minor adjustments aside (major ones also unless I’m taken by weird compulsion). I said to Xuan, “Oh, I have to change the script again”. She is perhaps thinking I’m doing this to torment her.

I was really touched by them all, doing this peculiar un-performance.

It’s only fifteen minutes too.

all the people i can remember sleeping with … day 13

So after last rehearsal, I was variously meant to watch all the video on Friday, but too busy with Melbourne stuff, then Saturday, but was alleviating incipient symptoms of a freakout by having Daniel pour half a bottle of Vodka into me (the word for missing out on Absinthe: disappointment), Sunday, but recovering from said alleviation through a prolonged stretch of doing nothing with Tara, Sandrine, Alex, Daniel, Alison and sundry others, Monday, but forgetting to bring in both video tape and “six-pin to four-pin FireWire cable for a DV camera”. So Tuesday when I only have an hour for lunch to do the requisite watching and editing, foiled by my often-mentioned In-Out-Error-corrupt-drive-Bad-Sector madness. Laptop equals frisbee.

It’s like an old person with Alzheimer’s, and you give them too much to think about … or a really bad ice-cream headache. My poor old laptop really doesn’t enjoy much more than simple lines of text these days, preferably not formatted either. Anyway do you really care about my excuses? No, neither do I. But sometimes this harried approach causes things to happen in much the same way as if I spent the previous four days picking and scraping at it with a small needle.

We are only using the first of three ten-minute improvisations that came from my nightmares and vivid dreams, and then maybe only a couple of minutes of bits and pieces, plane crashes, kissing and the white-headed monster, Japanese rope bondage. It was quite a lazy approach from me, read the dreams, improvise on their content while Throbbing Gristle blares, video, cut the good bits out, learn them, and then …

Occasionally in rehearsal, I manage to make myself really quite uncomfortable. I used to be, I suppose, wary of this, or would shy away from what I’d made. In blowup a short piece I made while still a student, there was what now I would consider very tame, lots of writhing and gyrating of girls in underwear to The Yardbirds. I was really concerned that perhaps I’d gone too far, and also that I was somehow opening up some lasciviousness within that would not be easy to account for.

In hell, the strangling, going so far as to see faces turn hideously red and eyes go black, I was so disturbed about what was within me that would want to imagine this, and make it, and ask others to participate in what, honestly when it comes down to it every piece of performance made in some way is your own personal fantasy.

Daniel and Tara … not so much kiss, but nuzzle each other’s heads, hair brushing over their face neck, arms and hands the skin also nestling sleepily into each other, Daniel’s fingers contort and search out Tara’s head, his mouth a toothy maw, she oblivious still fondling him, he is about to eat her brains. It’s like a midnight Hammer House of Horror demon movie, but also something personally disturbing for me, I’m not sure why. I like though that I can find things that make me cringe or recoil or upset me, and that I can stumble on them without knowing they are there.

I only have one properly usable rehearsal left, and I’m so far from having either something coherently finished, or – more importantly from a production opinion, less important for me – having suctioned it into an eight-minute vacuum-pack. I feel though that today’s rehearsal, concentrating solely on the Alptraum stuff was completely worth it, despite whatever anguish my lack of attention to schedules may later elicit. It feels now somewhat finished, that is to say, no more making, no more tiny scenes or ideas to play with, this is all and now the time is spent on stitching it together, what scrap or shard sits best next to what other, and how to arrange them all so there’s something there.

Slightly conceited to say it’s even somewhat finished. The Alptraum stuff need to be made to something not just disconnected blobs, the Rape of the Sabine Women hasn’t been exhumed for weeks, and I have a queasy premonition when it’s all done I’ll have something closer to twenty minutes than eight, no matter how much I plead, “Can you do it faster?”

But it feels like something now, I can recognise it. Also I think I may have managed to not reiterate all the tricks I’ve done before. It’s become what I imagined, even though I had no idea what that is. Or … it’s become something that the feeling of which is right, no gaps in the teeth, no clunks or moments of “eeeeew!”, though it still exists at that stage in my head and somehow I have to do an amazing contortion act tomorrow to get it there, and although it’s only meant to be a short work, and has variously appeared on two previous occasions, I’d somehow like to see it grow … hours of me me me.

I’m watching Tara and Danny, who have told me I have to dance to Britney, or mime her words, or something equally scary. It’s been almost two months here and somehow the performance season is dragged across most of October so there’s maybe another month to go, but I’m going to miss this strange little family.