Another Nepo 5K Blog

This post I just stumbled upon has a lot of photos from the NEPO House 5k Don’t Run. Since this is my blog, I’ll include the one of me! I haven’t found many that aren’t from the back, so I figure this is worth including, even if I don’t love the exact moment captured.

My poor poor Irish skin

The author of the post was mistaken, the program did list me — a photo of the yellow silk, title, my name, and a note that it was a traveling performance. However, the location was marked at my starting place, so I imagine those who crossed my path far away from that spot had a hard time finding me on the map.

I love the thoroughness of documentation in this post. For those of you who couldn’t make it, you’ll get a nice overview of the day!

(and odd note: If you scroll down in the linked post, you will see that the photographer unwittingly caught me twice. The second time from behind, after I finished performing, in a red top and grey skirt, with olive shoulder bag. I think that was when I was trying to figure out how I was supposed to take part in the art piece I was facing.)


The Stinkhorn

Here is an excerpt from Manifold Motion‘s 2010 show, Under. The inspiration for this section was the Stinkhorn mushroom. Unlike most other things I have posted here thus far, this is not my work alone. The whole Manifold Motion team created the show collaboratively, and the performers. In this excerpt my biggest contributions would be directing and collaboratively designing the visual aspects of the space. (MULCH!) Full credits for this section are listed below the video. Watch it big!

In this excerpt:
Choreography: Nicole Sasala
Music: Eric Moon
Video Projections and lighting: Leo Mayberry
Costumes: Chaya Eastwood Jones
Performance: Emily German, Bridget Gunning, Alexandra Baybutt.

Visual Design and entire show concept by the Manifold Motion team:
Bridget Gunning
Chaya Eastwood Jones
Leo Mayberry
Mike McCracken
Keely Isaak Meehan
Luara Moore
Nicole Sasala

Art I Like

Earlier today I updated the links in the right column of this site. I thought I’d write a bit about what they are and why I chose to link to them.

When browsing the blogs I regularly visit, I chose a number of criteria that each should fulfill for inclusion. All of these blogs are

  1. by artists I love
  2. based in the Seattle area
  3. focused on inspirations and influences, process, theory, and/or in-depth descriptions of the author’s own work

Art of Mulata

This blog is by a friend, one of my favorite people around, Pol. He is full of energy, involved in much of the wonderful, provocative art around here, a delight to talk to, and one of the kindest souls I’ve met. (actually, so I’m not repetitive in this list, everyone listed is unbelievably nice. I feel blessed to know each of them).

Pol doesn’t update all to often, but I’m always excited when he does. From his most recent post describing a performance last weekend:

Somehow, I’m really not sure how, Beth grabbed me, dragged me, wrestled me away from the pots and through a lake of spilled beans to the middle of the dance floor. I kept trying to keep at least one thing to bang on, but she was kicking me and I couldn’t find my feet and the beans were slippery. There was an awful lot of clanging and foot stomping and I think she was yelling, but I might have imagined that.

to photos and videos he shot to musings on art to snippets of ideas for new work, it is always fascinating and beautiful.

Degenerate Art Ensemble: Art We Love

Degenerate Art Ensemble was one of the first performance groups I saw when I moved to Seattle 11 years ago. From that first show they have been my favorite interdisciplinary performance group. When I arrived in Seattle I was lucky enough to have friends that drew me into the same circles the DAE crew ran in, so I’ve also known them personally all these years.

Haruko and Joshua are the directors of DAE, and they have been a huge inspiration to me all these years. Their example has been a big influence for me in creating and running Manifold Motion. I have turned to them at times when encountering a new phase of running a company, knowing that they’ve found a path through this already. I’m not sure they know how much I’ve looked up to them over the years, but I have quietly drawn much confidence, strength, and perseverance from their work ahead of me.

Art We Love is a new blog they have started where present and past members of DAE write about, well, art they love. It’s a really great blog to browse through, with so many interesting artist profiles and links to images, videos, sounds. Some I know of, many are brand new to me. It is a joy to discover new artists, but also discovering the various influences of a group of people who are incredible artists in their own right is illuminating.

I Am Listening to This

This blog is also related to DAE, it is by Joshua, and very simply is posts about music he is listening to. His taste, like mine, is rather eclectic, and I have found some real gems in there. Love. This. Blog.

 Mandy Greer

I wrote a whole post about Mandy Greer a few weeks back, here. Simply put, I adore her work. Mandy has a number of blogs to her name, as she tends to start a new one with each project. This link is to her main site, and I believe one can get to any current or past content through there. Mandy is very into process, and through her current project I think she is delving even further into what process is, but in a very public way.

The Project Room: Off Paper

I found to this (blog? more of a journal) via Mandy’s current residency at the Project Room. Inquiry into questions like, “why do we make things?” There are a variety of authors, all well written and thoughtful, and those that I know are great artists and people too. perhaps a quote from the site about what it is will do the most justice:

Critical discourse is an essential element of The Project Room. With this in mind, The Project Room publishes Off Paper, an online journal that follows the themes presented in The Project Room through thoughtful writing and other relevant online content. Off Paper will continue the conversation that is taking place in TPR for audiences everywhere.

So! those are the new links. I’ll describe future links when I add them too. I’m really hoping with this site to curate that sidebar. Not just linking because someone is a friend, or because I like what they do, but because there is content of particular interest on the other side and to know for myself what that interest is. For now it is Seattle-based and people I know, but that may expand.

I’d love to know what you read for inspiration and ideas and interest.

A shot from Smoke Farm

Here is a photo I found on flickr from the Smoke Farm performance of “Whispers to me; Shouts to me.” The photo itself doesn’t capture much of the dance, but you can see a bit how the train worked in the water, and I love the comment by the photographer, John Cooper:

An “operatic dance” performance by Keely Isaak Meehan. This photo does not do justice to the incredibly visual that the end of her dance provided. It was like watching a film.


Whispers; Shouts at the NEPO 5k

dance in the ID

Traveling down Main Street, photo by Wendy Johnson

Yesterday I performed the third installment of “Whispers to me; Shouts to me” as a part of the NEPO House 5k Don’t Run.


After performing it in its originally designed setting at Smoke Farm, and then again at Burning Man (more about that later), this city-centered version was quite an experience.

Both the Burning Man and Seattle versions were without music and performed over a long time. The Smoke Farm performance was designed with a set starting time that people arrive, watch, and leave. These two later versions I designed as performances that people encounter, experience for a however long they choose, and then move on. No one was expected to, or did, see the whole thing from start to end.

In an ideal world I might have asked members of Titanium Sporkestra to accompany me on the two latter performances as well, but not only would we have to figure out an endless song for them to play (Smoke Farm was a slightly altered version of a song they already play), but each of these performances occurred when the band was at rehearsal (BMan) or a gig (NEPO). Performing to the ambient sounds of these two locations was actually quite nice, so I don’t have any regret about not having the band.

whispers at nepo

Traveling down King Street, photo by Carrie Clogston


This version of the piece lasted the longest, traveled the farthest, and was a very different experience than the first two.

In all three versions, I dealt with a lot of dirt, on me and on my dress. However, the only one that was disgusting was the Seattle version. While Smoke Farm brought me mud and Burning Man provided playa dust, Seattle presented me with soot, gum, rotting food, litter, dog droppings (curb your dog!), urine (both canine and human), and who knows what else. (I can guess, but prefer not to.)

I expected as much, but it was still revolting. There were stretches, especially under the I-5 overpass, that reeked of stale urine stronger than I have encountered before. I’ve walked that stretch before, so I assume it was the lingering time I spent there for the dance that really let it sink in.

As I have written in the past, this piece is all about place. So in a way, dragging along and picking up aspects of Seattle was perfectly àpropos. I started out with a dust-covered dress from Burning Man. That slowly wore off and I gathered blackberry brambles, leaves, trash, and general city gunk. I wish I could have dragged along the views of Elliot Bay but such is life.

The Seattle version was so interesting. I got to see a lot of the art installed along the route (amazing!), and the faces of nearly every participant as they approached and passed me (beautiful!). I danced to stunning views from the 12th Ave bridge, curious pets and children, occasional spontaneous applause, inquiries about what is going on (I made a choice to stay in character and not respond to conversation), and cat calls (a lot!).

One homeless man chose to stand on my train as I crossed the street. Two blocks later, another homeless man exclaimed “oh! you need help carrying that!” and ran to grab my train, carrying it off the ground for me until I, and my dress, was safely on the other side.

And that was how most of the day went. For every gross cat call, someone appreciated the piece. For every spat of applause, a confused or antagonistic gaze. For every NEPO 5k participant, half a dozen others with no idea what was going on. Photos taken out of car windows, old men dashing out their store fronts to gawk, thugs exclaiming “hell yeah,” and a pausing cop, who seemed to take a while to assess the situation but finally decided to drive on.

It was also hot and exhausting and exhilarating. I am so glad I did it, and so glad the NEPO 5k happened. It was such a cool idea that really manifested beautifully.

My Route

I began my performance at 18th Ave & Massachusetts, and danced the route shown below to the starting point of the 5k (I did not have a map of the route with me, so I messed it up a bit at the end, forgetting to jog over to Yesler for a bit).

As you can see, after reaching Occidental Park, I went over to the International District Station. I did not perform on this length, just gathered up my skirt and walked.

From the station I took light rail back to Beacon Hill (thanks to the ORCA card stashed in my bra).

From the light rail station I performed again, back to my starting place, covering the end of the route as many of the participants arrived. Quite a few of these people saw me earlier in the day, and then again on Beacon Hill, always coming from where they were going. I imagined it must have been a bit confusing to meet me again that way — how was I always travelling towards them from their destination? — and I heard a few people posit theories about it as I passed.

All added up, I danced 2.4 miles (3.9 km), and walked 0.5 miles (0.8 km), for a total of 2.9 miles (4.7 km) traveled on foot. Including waiting for the train and the 7 minute ride, the whole endeavor took me about 2.5 hours. That was about how long I expected it would take, which was a wild guess! Just walking the route would take about an hour, plus, say, 15 minutes for train waiting and riding.

The dance was primarily slow however. In some parts I was simply walking, but at a very slow pace. There were places that I stopped and danced for a bit, and places where I broke into a short jog (it was a “don’t run” after all!). Speeding up was really nice to get some wind into the train or cross a street quickly (crossing time takes on a whole new dimension with a 30 foot train behind you).

Today I am sore in strange places, and have whiled away the day on the internet. A necessary day of rest I suppose. I am happy to have completed the third of three installments of Whispers, and am wondering what to do next. I’m diving into some studies and development of a new show for Manifold Motion, but what of my individual work?

Whatever happens, I’ll write about it here, as well as giving a recap of my Burning Man performance experience. I’m hoping I can find some photos first, which is why I haven’t done it yet.

Edited to add: Carrie Clogston, who shot the second photo of me above, wrote about her experience of the event as a participant.