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Crash Corset

A burlesque skeptic spends 10 sequined weeks learning the art of the tease—and how to make tear-away pants.


Dance
Headmistress Zora Phoenix wears 5-inch pumps and a black leotard. It’s a Saturday afternoon in January, and the drag queen is instructing us to walk to the mirror and “look sexy.” She demo   More
 
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 AARON SPENCER

Semester in Sequins #8: Wigging Out

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Savannah Smackdown, who is hungover from celebrating her 21st birthday the night before, walks with me into Wigland on Northeast Broadway. Smackdown, who acts older than she is but still doesn't have a driver’s license, recalls her dismal shopping trip days earlier. "I went to all the vintage and thrift stores and didn't find anything," she says. "It was the most horrible, desperate shopping tr...   More
 
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Strip Club Guide 2014: It’s Not Stripping, It’s Burlesque

Or is it?


Strip Club Guide
Portland, correctly or not, is known for its per-capita plenitude of strip clubs. Its burlesque scene, however, still has a ways to go if it’s to top San Francisco’s or Seattle’s. We’re mo   More
 
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Stephen Petronio Company, Like Lazarus Did

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The performance of Stephen Petronio's Like Lazarus Did is a special one for dance presenter White Bird, not because of the dance company—White Bird's presented Petronio six times, more than any other choreographer—but because of the live accompaniment by the    More
 
Friday, March 7, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Semester in Sequins #7: Captain Glitterbang

Facing down body anxieties in burlesque class.

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The Rose City School of Burlesque class gathers around instructor Meghan Mayhem, who’s demonstrating how to apply false lashes in the mirror. Mayhem, who earlier in the course whipped her blonde mane into a beehive in less than six minutes, says every performer needs at least three things: liner, lashes and shadow. Jason, one of ...   More
 
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, Songs of the Wanderers

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Abstract, expressive dance commonly seeks some kind of enlightenment. Butoh, for example, is often credited for changing lives with its agonizingly slow movement and grimaces. More difficult-to-categorize performance art has similar goals—if I may use a word as deliberate as “goal.”    More
 
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Metal Machine Music (Kogut Butoh)

Lou Reed, with white kimonos and candlelight.


Dance
When Lou Reed’s album Metal Machine Music came out in 1975, critics assailed it as a contemptuous joke, a smack in their faces and an immature scrape with career suicide. Now, the album, a 64-   More
 
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

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Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, an ever-popular company out of New York, is no stranger to popular culture: Emily Blunt was cast as a company dancer in The Adjustment Bureau. But its repertoire is at least high-minded in intent, as seen in a one-night performance Wednesday night, presented by White Bird</...   More
 
Thursday, February 27, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Semester in Sequins #6: Red Wedding Dress

A former opera singer strips down.

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Baby LeStrange stands before the Rose City School of Burlesque class in hamburger-print leggings and boots with gold, spiked toes. She’s teaching facial expression, a skill she’s exhibited onstage before while    More
 
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 by AARON SPENCER

Live Review: Oregon Ballet Theatre, Reveal

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Alison Roper begins Bolero with steely energy, surrounded as she was in 2008, when the piece premiered, by metal panels that gradually rise as Ravel’s snare drum-driven score increases in intensity. Within moments, Artur Sultanov bursts gallantly from stage right and rushes to her, completing the time warp to six years ago when the pair first danced the piece by Nicolo Fonte.
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Sunday, February 23, 2014 by AARON SPENCER
 

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