disco beans and release the bats

if i followed everyone else’s suggestion, i would have stayed at home on the weekend.
but i didn’t.

on saturday night, akiko and i went to a rad global beats show at disco beans – featuring a stack of japanese and ex-brisbane DJs.

it’s in the wacky front room of the japanese cafe/art space/bar/thang on high st. it was my first dance party at disco beans and i almost left early ‘cos the first couple of acts weren’t poppin’ it for me.

luckily, i was too busy flirting with fellow partygoers to get around to leaving.
the headlining act, suckafish p jones was the biz. ness. i danced like a maniac for his hour-long set, which included a stack of latin, african, hip-hop and tropicalia beats all mixed up with some other wacky shit. it was gggreat and we didn’t get home until 3am. and boy did i need that.

it total restored my faith in small underground gigs and the power they still have to burst into joy.

that faith was reinforced at sunday’s experimental/improv music gig in studley park. featuring bum creek, snawklor and sun araw, the bands oozed out over the bell bird picnic area. their set ups on picnic tables, powered by car batteries and portable cell packs, it was a mesmorising and magical gig.

as dusk closed in to the sounds of sun araw, the bats woke up and headed out for a sunday night of partying. it reminded me to watch lost boys again.

i have missed out on a stack of big gigs this week (das racist, odd future, kanye) – my head in my own world, but this weekend, i was grateful for the brilliant local gigs that still keep me buzzing and filled.

image credits:
disco beans i like you world
bats lindi we

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On saturday night, i had the great fortune of being able to check out the last show of the performance Assembly, on as part of the melbourne arts festival.

a collaboration between victorian opera and chunky move dance company, i was intrigued by the outline in the festival program, and by the seemingly unlikely pairing.

the tickets were SUPER expensive, so my best friend (a dancer) and i almost didn’t go. until she overheard her dance teacher talking about how amazing it was. so we rifled through our possible discount options and, thanks to us both being RRR subscribers, got ourselves some cheap tix (still $60, mind).

after a bit of a kerfuffle with our seating, we settled in for what is probably going to be my favourite event of all year.

 i’m not kidding.

 it ticked so many boxes for me that within about 10 minutes of the performance, i had tears in my eyes from the beauty and ‘right’-ness of it. i know, so Ancient Greek of me, but whatever.

It was just stunning.

 I’m not so great at writing/talking about dance*, so please excuse the simplistic review, but it was fuckin’ ace.

The work was essentially about crowd movement. Gideon’s discription of it in the program outlined it well. He wrote of seeing choreographic a group as a single entity and how that translates into public gatherings. Each of the ‘movements’ within the piece addressed different types of crowd movement – the collective form, the beauty of patterned chaos, the swarm and how and individual can divide a crowd so quickly.

The dynamics between the performers was incredible and they must have just practiced and practiced and practiced. It was a perfect example of controlled mess.

Singers vs Dancers
As the program mentioned, it wasn’t an operatic piece that was ‘illustrated’ by dancers. It was truly a collaborative piece: the singers danced and the dancers sang. There were a small group of prinicpals from each side who led significant pieces, and supported by about 40 all-rounders.

Minimal set
The set was a brilliant double-sided, wooden staircase that added dynamic and cluey percussive elements to the dances. The movement thread up and over, up and across, down and over the stairs.
It added a percussive element to the otherwise accompanyless music, which I thought was pretty nice. And i almost wished for a little bit of tonal variation in the steps – not much, but just enough to click me.

The costume design was so amazing. The design disease in me just went bonkers. Everyone was dressed in a perfect blend of colour and tone – elements of neutrality and hue, with divisions possible along colour, tone and temperature too.
The scene about (which i pinched from the SMH review) was a fantastic haka-esque battle between warm and cool sides, with operatic, but tribal yelling and beautiful but warrior-like movement. 
Sound of the crowd
Obviously i found some areas specifically relevent to my work in it. The sound of a crowd all talking at once is amazing to listen to. I do it regularly in my listening projects, and it was a new, yet familiar experience to listen to it in a framed performance.
And I also enjoyed a section, early on in the piece, in which the whole crowd tilted their heads, as though collectively listening – to each other, or to the audience, or just to provide a welcome balance to the previous cacophony of rhetoric en masse.
 * which is why sarah is going to start a dance blog soon. when i get off her back about it 🙂
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love on the dancefloor

warning: impending rant. it includes sweeping generalisations and comes with the following disclaimers: i am a) not the best dancer in whole wide world; b) not a dj; c) female.


last night i went to The Laundry for a friend’s birthday and a bit of a boogie. for those who live in melbourne, you know that it’s not the best club in the universe. but on a cold and rainy night in the middle of spring, it was where the party’s at.

i know i’ve said this before, but i believe dancing and sex to be on the same playing field. and i reckon the way someone dances tells you a lot about, well, them. as an extension (ahem) to that, i reckon you can tell a lot about the way a dj fucks by what he/she plays. and one of the dudes at the laundry, girls, is gonna be a lousy lay.

it was one of the frustrating psudo-fucking experiences ever. almost as bad as the worst sex you’ve ever had – he had no stamina: playing tracks that would build up to be a good pumping danceable beat, letting them carry for about a minute, then switch it. just as we were getting our groove on! it would completely kill the rhythm. and i forgave him a few times, there were a few cool tracks which saw an almost-full dancefloor, but time after time i was frustrated as fuck. i wanted to go over to him and yell “just let me dance, will you!!!”

which confirmed for me how much dancing is like fucking – girls need time to work up to it all, but can go all night. where as guys love to mix it up, keep it snappy, to keep themselves engaged, for want of a much better word*. and this was no more obvious that on the dancefloor last night. the male bar staff and a couple of the guys dancing were totally loving the hit-and-mix. they didn’t actually have to ‘dance’ for that long and got all high-five about that wicked remix of a remix of a remix, with that pop-culture-i’m-so-hip-dialogue-sample maaaan. whereas my (girl) friends and i were all getting so frustrated at him building it up, promising that ‘i’m gonna make it pop’ a thousand times, without actually dropping anything in above 95 BPM. ugh.

a few other things i noticed, which added to the amusing insight about dancing as pseudo-fucking:
white people have no rhythm. wow. it’s really obvious. i mean i knew that. watch any stand-up comedy from eddie murphy and you’ve been told a hundred times, but i really saw it last night. there was an especially ‘white’ couple ‘dancing’ which was hilarious – she was all joints and limbs, with the worst style ever, but trying out the oh-so-sexy-who’s-your-daddy-doggystyle-moves. it was kind of embarassing and i shuddered to think what their sex life was like.

then there was the group of very-pretty ladies who, rather than just dance, they felt that they had to either take the piss out of dancing, by doing very bad dance moves, or by talking about what moves they were doing. i couldn’t work out whether this was de rigeur for the youff these days, or whether they were just nervous. i also wanted to say to them “just shut up and dance, will you!”

i could make some crass segue between rhythm and structure, space and conceptual installation art practice here. but i think i’ll leave it. “shut up and dance, will you!” will just have to do.

*see, sweeping generalisation!

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bounce factor [part 1]

ok, so turn up your shitty computer speakers, play this track and bounce around the room for a bit.

now you know how I feel today ‘cos I got a j.o.b!

yuh, huh!

And not just any ol’ job (I’ve had one of those for a couple of weeks), but a proper job, that pays proper wages, with an organisation I like and who I know I’ll be able to help do good stuff for as a communications co-ordinator. fucking brilliant.

to all my family, biological and otherwise (you know who you are) who encouraged me, told me to keep going when all I could see was failure and maybe pulled a few strings with a variety of supernatural powers that be, thank you. your support has meant a shitloads.

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