All images courtesy of Puscifer
Are you a Tool fan? How about A Perfect Circle? Well, I hope you skipped your chance to see their front-man Maynard James Keenan on Saturday night. Maynard brought his solo project Puscifer to the Lisner Auditorium for what was supposedly a large production – part multimedia experience, part cabaret. The entire show fell far short of the high bar he set with his other bands. The whole performance wasn’t engaging; the humor seemed to be aimed at 15-year-olds.
Maynard describes Puscifer as a “sketchpad of ideas”, which is an apt description of this collection of half-baked thoughts. This is Maynard unfiltered! I actually enjoy some of their music, for those rare moments where I could just rock out and enjoy the songs; but the entire content of the show was a waste of potential. The whole performance struck me as more sarcastic than passionate. Maynard didn’t even seem to be having a good time; it’s like the whole band were just going through the motions of performing. I go to concerts all the time and watch bands desperate to have their voices heard, desperate to connect with the audience somehow. So I found it a bit insulting for Maynard to think that the detritus of his creativity was enough to sell to us at $45 a ticket.
"Petite Jamilla" courtesy of Bellydance Superstars
A couple of years ago I took a bellydance class at Joy of Motion, totally on a whim. My instructor was an incredible American Cabaret style performer named Michelle Forner. I’ll never forget the first class when she did a quick routine for us and I thought, “Oh. My. God. There is NO way I will be able to do this.” The technique she displayed, with complete control in isolation of various core muscles, was intimidating and yet enthralling.
I recently decided to take the plunge again and take another bellydance class, this time in American Tribal at Saffron Dance. We’ll see how that goes! The differences between the many styles of bellydance, including the growing fusion between them and other branches of dance (such as urban, goth, bollywood, etc.) are highlighted in this year’s tour of Bellydance Superstars, which I had the luck of seeing Tuesday night at GWU’s Lisner Auditorium. The Superstars will be back in our area this June for Raqs America, and I highly recommend if you have any interest in this dance genre to definitely check it out.
Despite an overblown and cheesy opening voiceover, the 2009 tour titled “The Art of Bellydance” is a good introduction to the amazingly talented resurgence of this dance form in America. Featuring some incredible performers, exquisite costumes (more so for the tribal than the cabaret, which just isn’t to my personal taste), and the brilliant Issam Houshan on drum solo – it was two hours of beauty, pure and simple.