Looking Back


Erico Villanueva’s title, Reverse It, may refer to high-speed rewinds of the cheesy music accompanying his new piece (P.S.122, October), and also to the desire to scroll back and tape over an embarrassing mistake. The pixieish Villanueva—looking scarily driven whether performing cheerleading acrobatics or ballet in a tutu, hot-pink vinyl slacks, or bikini briefs—probably shares the feeling women have when they are commodified for their looks. Deborah Abramson, Ikuko Ikari, Bianca Johnson, Rachel Frank, and Mandy Sau-Yi Chan soldiered through silly ensemble numbers that presented them as sleek-limbed eye-candy and romping airheads. The text featured absurd biographical tidbits, and skewered self-absorbed choreographers without mercy. With an assist from Ksenija Turcic’s much-too-much video (also rewound at strategic points), Villanueva brought new meaning to the expression “in your face.” The 40-minute work could easily have been as irritating as its satiric targets. Nevertheless Reverse It was amusing at times, well produced, and ably performed.

How much you grooved to Jenny Lynn McNutt’s multimedia piece, 33 Swoonings—a kind of Kabuki-Tantra-acid rave shown at the New School October 4— depended on the specific slant of your ’60s nostalgia. Do you, in this Ashcroft Age of Paranoia, miss the philosophical milieu of those freer times, or just the cultural artifacts? What the hell—McNutt and friends provided plenty of fun. But if you OD’d on singer Marie Afonso rocking out like Janis and looking like a black-haired Alice in Wonderland while Ken Butler strummed an electrified shovel and a screen displayed a huge eye or frog’s head squirming between a woman’s puckered lips—where were the lava lamps?—don’t blame me. Main dancer Heathyre Mabin was, in a word, creamy. Stilt-dancer Lisa Karrer—suggesting a gender-neutral Shiva to Mabin’s Shakti—conjured up a Peter Maxian (non-evil) axis bold as love.

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