"The Series" Gathers Wildly Divergent Artists

Posted by Billy Gil, September 8, 2011 01:33pm | Post a Comment
I checked out the latest iteration of Nicole Disson’s “The Series” Tuesday night, which aims to put disparate performance artists, dancers, musicians and other artists together in an LA nightlife setting — at Downtown LA hotel The Standard.

It’s a great idea, and something I’d like to see more often. From what I can tell, the artists and musicians I saw perform had little to do with one another, other than for this show, performing under the umbrella of the concept “An Ocean in Fathoms” for the ninth edition of the show.

We saw performance artists wearing dresses massive kelp clumps dangling from their heads, creating sort of oceanic swamp-thing cocktail party personas. Paper hats sat atop the lights illuminating the Standard rooftop pool area. Swimmers mimicked amphibious noises. Opening the show was a single looping shot of a sailboat off in the distance while the camera sits at ocean level, occasionally submerged, while the accompanying music moved from incredulous sounding keyboard squelches to more melodic tones, strings and such.

Elsewhere, the performances and décor diverged from the theme. Yellow Red Sparks played a set of stripped-down harmonic folk on banjo, acoustic guitar and single drum. Bloody Death Skull played broken-down, recombinant electro folk from inside one of The Standard’s waterbed-style pods, with Daiana Feuer’s vocals emulating a bewildered and primitively sexual child. Raw Geronimo played a wild set of tribal, ferocious sound that marries surf rock, desert folk and art rock, topped off by Laena Geronimo’s swooping vocals and flailing, formidable stage

Possibly my favorite thing about the event: the setting. The Standard’s posh digs and $10 dollar drinks don’t exactly attract the art elite, yet its ultimately bizarre setting, surrounded by skyscrapers of financial institutions and towering over Downtown’s alternating dodginess and bougieness, adds to the commentary of interaction and sly confrontation implied by the show. Plenty of folks who didn’t know what they were in for and wandered in or had been present before the show started for the most part seemed to blend in and give it a chance. Given Disson’s concepts of using unconventional spaces and incorporating a nightlife aspect, I liked that the crowd itself seemed a bit oceanic, uneven and ebbing, with art kids decked out in nightlife attire and nightlife people perusing performances they might not otherwise have seen.

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The Standard (1), The Series (1), Raw Geronimo (5), Yellow Red Sparks (1), Bloody Death Skull (4)