Unhealthy Unhealthy Dance introduced a pair quarantine dance vids to kick off a enjoyable night time of money-raising. Screenshot

Final night time I shook up a margarita and sat down to look at Nearly Spectacular: Sensory Notion, a digital gala for On the Boards (OtB) that includes a bunch of top-tier artists within the OtB pantheon: Justin Vivian Bond, CHRISTEENE, SassyBlack, and Jordan MacIntosh-Hougham’s Unhealthy Unhealthy Dance firm.


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It was a gala within the sense that Seattle’s premier up to date arts org was attempting to lift $80,000 “partly to cowl prices for artists charges” for this summer season’s canceled reveals, however it wasn’t a gala within the sense that the night’s performances have been streaming totally free on a number of platforms.

No matter it was, it was profitable and enjoyable as hell. OtB smashed their $80,000 objective, and, a number of technical points apart, the performances, the manufacturing design, and Betty Wetter’s clutch hostess powers actually did work collectively to create a spectacular, multi-sensory expertise that different arts orgs would possibly use as a mannequin sooner or later. That stated, as a viewer, I could not assist however fixate on all of the cats I noticed crossing the digital phases.

OtB artistic director Rachel Cook and executive director Betsey Brock created the illusion of being in the same room by using the same trippy background on a split screen.

OtB creative director Rachel Prepare dinner and govt director Betsey Brock created the phantasm of being in the identical room by utilizing the identical trippy background on a break up display. Screenshot

As any Bon Urge for food YouTube stan or veteran Twitch streamer will inform you, little manufacturing decisions find yourself making massive variations. Offering good lighting for the performers, splashing cool-ass fonts throughout the display, and utilizing visually wild digital backdrops made OtB’s homespun affair really feel skilled and aesthetically cohesive. It made me really feel like I used to be watching an MTV industrial from the ’90s.

Unhealthy Unhealthy Dance’s music movies performed between the reside performances and helped preserve an excellent get together temper. My favourite of those movies featured performers wrapped in silver and gold foil trashing round to Haddaway’s “What Is Love” on a display break up 4 methods. Although the dancing was full of life and infectious, the main “sensory” expertise derived from the ASMR crinkling sounds of the foil—the sensation of being touched by a picture is all the time so pleasantly unusual.

Auntie Glam doing what she does.

Auntie Glam doing what she does. Screenshot

Justin Vivian Bond donned a cloudy white wig and carried out as Auntie Glam. From the confines of her darkish New York house kitchen, she confirmed us methods to make a 1930s cocktail known as a Seventh Heaven. After squeezing half a grapefruit right into a shaker, she held the fruit as much as the digicam and stated, “Nicely now it actually seems prolapsed,” earlier than finishing the drink and singing a loungey music of resilience whereas balancing a reasonably blue coupe glass in her hand. Fairly traditional. However what I liked essentially the most in regards to the efficiency was the mug she left within the sink. And the yellow mug off kilter within the low cost little wood dish rack everybody has. And the mess of booze on prime of the half fridge.

Betty Wetter knows her way around a background.

Betty Wetter is aware of her manner round a background. Screenshot

I used to be drawn to related emblems of “actual life” whereas watching grime queen CHRISTEENE’s efficiency. They sang “The Approach You Look Tonight” of their Previous Gregg warpaint from the lounge of some “a wealthy household who had fled upstate,” they stated, which was hilarious, however the factor I liked essentially the most was the juxtaposition of CHRISTEENE’s character framed by naked wall adorned solely with a normal white swap plate and an unframed mirror. The banal setting undermined the grime in a manner I discovered type of touching.

I could not assist however see every display as its personal stage, after which, as I might in a theater, reflexively seek for all the explanations to not droop my disbelief. Our starvation for the true is so intense that, if there isn’t a fourth wall, we’ll discover a fourth wall and break the fuck out of it. I do not see this pure draw towards “the true” in performances as an issue a lot as I see it as a component of Zoom performances that theater artists might exploit in productive methods within the close to future, as long as we proceed to be cooped up in our personal little kitchens.

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Ben Givon

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