Kathy O'Dell

  • Salley May

    In Salley May’s recent performance, entitled Cradle Rock, 1990, she tackled two extremely taboo but unfortunately common domestic nightmares: incest and eating disorders. That she was able to make connections between these dysfunctions, and, not only prevent the audience from zoning out, but get them to laugh, testifies to the potential of May’s trademark blend of point-blank symbolism, offbeat humor, and deliberately makeshift esthetics.

    The opening scene was both eerie and visually stunning. The characters first appeared bobbing up and down behind a waist-high screen like decoys in a carnival

  • Ridge Theater

    Slides, flickering films, supertitles, and John Moran’s alternately soothing and tension-provoking music provided a kaleidoscopic visual and aural background for Ridge Theater’s new operatic drama The Manson Family at the “Serious Fun!” festival. Under the direction of Bob McGrath, the production managed to deal with the disturbing deeds of Charles Manson and his “family” on a substantive level. By interlacing details of the story with aspects of the once-popular television series Hawaii Five-O, Moran and McGrath not only addressed the way in which events are exploited by mainstream media, but

  • Stuart Sherman

    A selection of performances by Stuart Sherman, including a sequence of shorter vignettes collectively entitled “The Fourteenth Spectacle” was presented in conjunction with a series of the artist’s videos and films. Sherman uses the term “spectacle” ironically to describe the modest performances he has been staging for fifteen years. Far from being glittery or grandiose, these tableaux are played out with familiar objects on a common TV-tray table. Breaks between segments are marked by the artist hurriedly shuffling his miniature sets off his portable stage and into a battered black valise, from

  • Urban Griots

    “Griots,” we were told at the beginning of the evening, are members of a West African caste who bear responsibility for preserving the history of their people. Any vehicle for conveying this history—storytelling, song, dance—is acceptable, as long as it’s entertaining. Anyone who gets through the doors at MK expects to be entertained, and this expectation became Urban Griots’ license to perform. At the same time, through its four short performance pieces, the group showed that history-making is a complicated endeavor riddled with contradiction—a fact that’s constantly threatened by the hegemonic

  • Terry Galloway

    Terry Galloway began her performance of an excerpt from Out All Night and Lost My Shoes, 1987–89, by bellowing, “I’m a Texan and am proud of it. Unfortunately, I share with most Texans a fatal flaw. I presume an intimacy—and most often, where there is none.” She delivered these lines while making her way through the crowd. Immediately, she challenged our sense of comfortable distance from her as a performer. By the time she had recounted her story about the circumstances of her birth (including the fact that her mother had been given an experimental drug during pregnancy, which ultimately induced

  • Frank Maya

    In his show here, Frank Maya told the audience that he started as a rock singer, then began to do what he calls “rants.” He suddenly became known as a performance artist (“I didn’t even know what it was but I said, ‘Fine, give me a grant’”), then as a comedian. While Maya is definitely funny, more often than not his work takes on serious subjects. Child abuse, racial inequities in systems of representation, societal barriers for Jewish performers a few decades ago or for gay performers today—these are loaded topics that Maya negotiates with the sensibility of an amusing philosopher. His manner