I had a bonanza of writing appear in the SF Chron over the last few days–I’ll post the pieces separately. For starters, I reviewed Bill T. Jones’s new “Blind Date” Saturday. I’m a big Bill T. Jones admirer–I’m constantly in awe of the sophistication of gesture in his choreography, the complexity and clarity of shape–but “Blind Date” was not one of my favorite Jones works:
“You know things are getting interesting in Bill T. Jones’ new “Blind Date” when a man wearing a giant duck head walks onstage. His name, Jones tells us, is Richard, he works for a fictitious burger chain called “Quack a Dack,” and he took the mascot job because his father thought wearing a uniform would give him pride and purpose. He marches about his duties with zeal, as sexy burger ads flash on the screen above.
But then Richard’s drills turn more menacing; the TV begins a machine-gun assault of porn and war footage. Jones is left to boogie with an Army sergeant in camouflage dress, and the portrait of dystopia is complete. Are we prepared, Jones seems to be asking, to accept our culture’s intimate dance with militarism?
Would that the question had arisen sooner and been pursued with a touch more rigor. “Blind Date,” which premiered in September and stopped at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall on Saturday during its national tour, is typical Jones: smart, confrontational, strangely elegant and sprawling. Its subject is nothing less than the terror of our times, and yet the two-part, two-hour work is not one of Jones’ most provocative. It holds a mirror to our age. Perhaps it’s a sad commentary on contemporary numbness to say the reflection seems only accurate, and neither revelatory nor startling. Then again, some editing is in order. ”
Here’s the full review.