By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
In the past, shows by the avant-garde performance group ComaTheatre could approach a delightful stimulus overload as musicians played tape loops, sequencers, actual instruments, and prepared tracks while a series of images--clips from movies and newsreels, paintings on a slowly advancing roll of transparent film, and still photos--flashed about them and the dancers who dart through the audience.
Now they've gone one step further with "The Lorca Project," an "experimental performance production" that adds literature and theater design to their expressive blend. Based on the fiery, imagistic work of Spanish painter, playwright, and poet Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), the show will be "multimedia, with some interesting twists," says ComaTheatre member and local musician Kim Corbet.
Members of ComaTheatre have long been inspired by the magical imagery and challenging nature of Lorca's work--which often pushed the boundaries of what was considered art--and will be basing the pieces that make up "The Lorca Project" on specific poems and plays that he wrote. The group will also be imposing a bit more structure on their usually freewheeling shows.
"We want to keep that sense of a circus-like cafe at the MAC," Corbet explains, "but this is also going to be serious theater. By showtime we will have put in three weeks of intense practice, and we even have directors."
Indeed, the introduction of the Undermain Theatre's Raphael Parry and the Kitchen Dog Theater's Tina Parker may help tone up ComaTheatre's presentation, which--as stimulating and interesting as it can be at times--can also wander off into the realm of the pointless. Both directors have selected specific Lorca works.
"We'll act out those portions of Lorca that the directors choose onstage," Corbet elaborates. "And in support of that, we'll have our multi-media production, but with some interesting differences: We'll be using music pre-recorded for an upcoming album, with the musicians sitting at [computer] workstations rather than instruments. We've also recorded various things on different CDs, and the artists will have CD players that they can drop these into and start and stop them according to what's going on."
The ComaCrew includes Corbet and fellow musicians Chad Evans (who also dances and designs sets) and Bruce Richardson (who also composes for the group). Michele Manley choreographs and dances with Amy Seltzer, whose videotapes may well be shown in some form created by set designer and projection artist David Darnell, working alongside lighting designer Deb Reitman.
"One of the things that we're going to do is assault the audience with this incredible light show, just blind them to the point of submission. It'll be more surreal than usual," Corbet says.
"The Lorca Project" will take place at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary Theater on Friday, July 18, and Saturday, July 19, at 8 p.m. The show on Sunday, July 20, will start at 2 p.m. General admission is $10.
Although crying in your beer is a country tradition, those who found comfort at the coolest little joint in Dallas--the recently closed and much-mourned Naomi's--can look forward to August, when Carroll Collyer, the general manager of Naomi's, aims to start things back up again. "I just got done talking to the folks over at the Sons of Hermann Hall," Collyer says, "and they said that they would let me have Sunday nights for whatever I wanted to do." Although it'll be hard not to miss a scene blessed with both venues, hats off to the folks at the Sons, and see you there come August.
Jeff Quay has left the band Sketch Diary, which may not even be a band anymore. "Too much Stone Temple Pilots for me," the singer-guitarist said cryptically, adding that he already has a new bag: the band Sandwhich, a trio he describes as "not grunge, not punk, but goofy three-piece pop, in the Presidents of the United States mode." Joined by Chad Jenkins on drums and P.J. McKnight on bass and vocals, Quay says that the band's goal is simple: "We're gonna have fun, and that's all we want to have."
The big wet kiss between the print media and those boundary-bending weisenheimers at the Vas Deferens Organization continues as Alternative Press magazine--which previously ran a gushing, glowing review of VDO's Saturation (aka VDO6)--has put the experimental production group in their "Recommended" column and is planning on a full-size feature later on in the year...Cool cat music kingpin Gene Summers celebrates the release of his new album Ultimate School of Rock and Roll Friday, July 11, at the Lava Lounge...Plaid Faction and Frognot are among the bands holding a benefit concert Saturday, July 12, at Pier 2816 (formerly known as Boozers) to benefit the victims of the Jarrell tornado...
Street Beat says farewell, Naomi's, O bird thou never wert. We at Matt_Weitz@dallasobserver.com will miss you.