Now for something completely different! New York Times critic Karen Rosenberg wrote, "The strenuously athletic subjects of Nolan Hendrickson's new paintings seem to have learned their tricks from Picasso's harlequins, Marsden Hartley's beefcake beachcombers and Faith Ringgold's riotous protesters. Which is to say, they — and Mr. Hendrickson — are competing in a painterly Olympics of identity and desire."
Choreographer Ryan Heffington felt the same way about the paintings because they inspired the set, costumes and choreography of his new dance installation, KTCHN.
At the old Mack Sennett studios in Silver Lake, where Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Cops once performed their own brand of slapstick humor in silent films, Hendrickson with Adrian Gilliland, has created an giant stage set of patterned tiles, hanging plants and a doorway well hung with a stuffed phallus and sagging scrotum, a prop used to amusing effect by the hyperkinetic Heffington, who dances in a big blond wig, dress and heels to mixed music by Daniel Lanois, Twin Shadow, Active Child, Autre Ne Veut, Dirty Beachs and so forth.
As choreographer and director, he stands out from his band of dancers who are arrayed in wildly-colored body suits and tights with pronounced nipples, pubic bits and body hair, all created by Mindy Le Brock. The dancers sport wigs of yellow or turquoise and faces are painted with other colorful combinations. Even the men's beards are dyed in green or blue. It does indeed appear as though the characters in Hendrickson's paintings had sprung into action. No dance critic I but the combination of exceptional modern technique with bits of tap or ballroom dance, the gymnastic and athletic prowess, seemed utterly suited to Heffington's loose narratives wound around domestic life and human relations in a series of vignettes presented as First Course and Second Course.
Sir Heffington, as he is known on his website, is co-choreographer of Hysterica and performs at bars and malls as well as museums. He doesn't bridge boundaries between high and low art, he disallows them altogether. He had a three month residency at MOCA and his event, Heavy Metal Parking Lot: The Musical, drew record crowds in 2010.
If you missed that, hustle over to Silver Lake because the scale and intensity of his latest work KTCHN is simply thrilling.
Photos: Melissa Manning