Sunday, January 27, 2013

Last night (January 26) i had what i would call a Robert Ellis Dunn moment.

For the past week (well, since Wednesday) i've been holed-up with gout. It's going away, but i haven't really been going out. Last Sunday, i looked at the NY Times to see if Yvonne Rainer's rescheduled concert was happening this week at St. Mark's Church. I didn't see it listed, so i figured that's that. But then, on Thursday,  looking through Time Out New York, there it was: listed as happening Thursday through Saturday. But i wasn't feeling good, so i thought i'd see how i felt. And then, on Friday night, it started snowing, and i was in no mood to brave the cold and snow with gout. But now it was Saturday, and the weather was a little better (it was inching towards breaking the freezing barrier) and around 6 PM i took a short nap, and when i woke up, i decided, i'll go!

So i'm on the subway station at 7 PM, and it takes a while, but the R train comes. But then, there are announcements. But i decide i'll get off at 36th Street and take the N (which runs express, over the Manhattan bridge) to Manhattan. But when i get on the N, more annoucements: in Manhattan, the N will run express from Canal Street to 34th Street, skipping the Prince Street, 8th Street, 23rd Street and 28th Street stations. So i stay on, and at 14th Street-Union Square, i run from the uptown platform to the downtown platform, where a train is just pulling in. I get on, and get off at 8th Street. Looking around, i see a clock around Astor Place, telling me it's now 7:55. I made it!

But then i got to the church, and there was a small group waiting outside, waiting to be let in, and there were people with reservations... which was a surprise to me, because the times i've gone to other Judson at 50 events, who needed reservations? They were just happy you showed up. Not this time. And then i saw people rushing in with their reservations, and when Douglas Crimp did that, that was it, i'm outta here!

And that's why i felt like Robert Ellis Dunn, who felt abandoned by many of his former students. Two in particular. Far be it for me to name them, but what happened was that the Festival d'Automne was going to do a big thing with these two, and they were going to have a "historical" component, and they wanted to bring over someone to give a lecture about the Judson Dance Theater. And Dunn had been approached, and he was expecting to get this gig (and this when before he had gotten his teaching job at the University of Maryland; he was really having a tough time), but then he found out that the two choreographers had told the organizers to get someone else. (And i happen to know who that person was.) He was crushed!

When i went to the other Judson at 50 events, i saw people i knew, people who had been part of that downtown dance scene since the 1970s and after; this crowd, however, was an "art" crowd which had come to see a legend that they'd never seen in performance. But i'd seen Yvonne Rainer since the 1960s, so i've seen her at her prime. And it would have been nice to see her now, but it was about 20 degrees, and i was getting over my gout, and i just felt... de trop! So i turned around, and went back home.


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