It’s gonna be a strange and wonderful weekend

2 Aug

Trying to be disciplined about staying on theme here, I don’t indulge much in posts about things that are dreamlike. But a selection of activities in New York City this weekend (and honestly, I’ve searched only Thursday and Friday at is too quirky to pass up commenting. And anyway, there really are some dream-titled ones among these events.

And me with a camera that’s refusing to work. Assuming I’m in town, I plan to get to as much as I can; thanks to the apartment search that’s become never-ending (and no further word from my landlord), I’ve been missing summer in a big way! Regardless — If you get to any of these events and find truly dream-related material (or have resulting dreams yourself), report back here!!


Arctic Summer, Part 1, National Museum of the American Indian,several times during the day (and Friday, too)

The Owl and the Lemming: The quick-witted lemming outwits the hungry owl. Puppets made of sealskin by local artists act out this Inuit folktale.

The Twenty-First Annual World Eskimo-Indian Olympics: Competitions in strength, agility and traditional skills highlight this 1982 event. We see such events as the two-foot and one-foot high kicks, the knuckle hop, the blanket toss and the four-man carry.

The Owl who Married a Goose: An owl falls in love with a goose, but has a tough time adapting to life on the water.

Wagner’s Dream, Film Society of Lincoln Center, several times during the day

“Six years ago, visionary theater and film director Robert Lepage was invited by the Metropolitan Opera to take on the technical and aesthetic challenges of the Ring cycle, and Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Susan Froemke followed him on his quest. ”

Donnie Darko, Tompkins Square Park, 8:30 p.m.

With Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone and Mary McDonnell.
“A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after narrowly escaping a bizarre accident.” (Is this Harvey for the criminally minded?)


Dreamcitynine, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Hearst Plaza, 6:30 p.m.

It’s based on John Cage, so let’s face it: Strange. (“Dreamcitynine” is an anagram of Cage’s Indeterminancyand celebrates Cage’s centenary.) “Dreamcitynine consists of 60 enigmatic and arresting one-minute stories from such luminaries as Bill T. Jones, Jim Jarmusch, Meredith Monk, Philip Glass, among many others. The event is part of Lincoln Center Out of Doors and is the latest from [Phil] Kline, the composer who gave us the outdoor boombox parade, Unsilent Night,” says WQXR, which has all 60 stories available for streaming from its website.

Ghosts of Manhattan, a Theatrical Journey through New York History: Fort Tryon Park, The Billings Arcade, 8 p.m.

I’m lovin’ this one because of the dream journey I’ve been taking through New York’s history the past year and a half for this blog. (See “Dutch dreaming” and “Getting into a Nieuw Amsterdam State of Mind“—though I’ve gone far beyond Dutch. Today’s excursion: the history of the Garment District, at the Skyscraper Museum.)

“A journey through time, Ghosts of Manhattan traces New York City’s cultural evolution over five hundred years, from native land in 1512 to global metropolis in 2012. This walk-through theater experience animates an interactive history through music, dance, design and storytelling. An innovative model for sustainable theater, Ghosts of Manhattan will invigorate cross-cultural exchange, and bring recognition to one of New York City’s historic treasures. ” Here’s the Organic Magnetics promotional video:

No indication that this is related to the book Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann (“introducing the world’s first steampunk superhero!”) or the soundscape production Peter Stuyvesant’s Ghost.

And my favorite listing of them all…

Kimmo Pohjonen & Helsinki Nelson’s Accordion WrestlingLincoln Center Out of Doors, Damrosch Park Bandshell, 8:30 p.m.

Says the Lincoln Center site: “SurroundSound grunts and groans punctuate accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen’s dance-theater work in which music, sport, and dance blend into a unique multimedia “squeeze play.” Reviving the dormant Finnish tradition of accordion-accompanied wrestling matches, Pohjonen performs while grapplers struggle on a custom-made mat embedded with microphones. His work, with choreography by Ari Numminen, comments on Cold War and gender politics while lending a modern artistic twist to a classic Olympic competition.”

The performance is choreographed, but that bit about reviving a Finnish tradition is real…if Pohjonen wasn’t pulling The Guardian‘s leg:

How did he get the idea? “Around 15 years ago, I was in the north of Finland and an old accordion player told me he used to play for wrestling matches. I thought it was a joke – but I discovered it was true. It started in the 1920s and was common in the 40s and 50s, when wrestling was the most popular sport in Finland. That was also when accordion players were stars.”

Finnish wrestling has little of the camp theatricality of the sport ITV used to show on Saturday afternoons. It is very serious. A bout can take hours as the two competitors grapple for an advantage. The accordion player entertained the crowd the whole time. Another important function, he says, was to cover up the farts emitted by the wrestlers. “One of the old players said he was told to watch the eyes of the wrestlers, and when you see the fart is coming to produce some special effect to cover it.” Not something you are taught at the Royal College of Music.

The Finnish Consulate‘s website confirms the veracity of accordion wrestling and adds:

Before each wrestling match, local newspapers would carry a printed advertisement for the event, listing the names of the wrestlers, the referee and the accordionist. In those days, the accordionist was considered nothing less than a star, equal in stature with the fame of the wrestlers. The purpose of including the accordionist’s name in the newspaper ads was not only because of the player’s drawing power but to lure budding young ladies to the matches, adding a more lively, social atmosphere to the events.

The Guardian article describes Pohjonen’s improvisational approach—”he clucks, shouts and screeches, while looping in audio samples: the result is a sound that is orchestral in its power and range, delivered in a style that is inherently theatrical.” Here’s another great track on YouTube exposing a range different from that in the wrestling video.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: