Super Happy Butoh
On Friday we went down to Unruly Brewing, great beer, to watch some friends perform in Super Happy Funtime Burlesque. It was exactly as their name says; a super happy, fun time with loads of kitsch, skits, raucous songs on life in Michigan, sex, current events and then there are lots of sparkling strip tease artists.
From Wikipedia: Burlesque is a literary, dramatic or musical work intended to cause laughter by caricaturing the manner or spirit of serious works, or by ludicrous treatment of their subjects. Corey Eno Ruffin, aka Mr. Happy Pants, the emcee, mastermind, composer, lyricist, writer and musician, delivers on all that wiki interpretation promises. Corey’s troupe seems to be riding the resurgence of Burlesque and he is the guy who brought it to West Michigan. His 2014 show, Super Happy Funtime Burlesque: Art Prize, The Musical placed in the top 10 (out of over 1,500 international works) jury picks for Art Prize. I think he is brilliant at what he does. I wish I could write music like that.
But Butoh, what is Butoh? From Wikipedia: Butoh (舞踏 Butō?) is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. I find it the embodiment of abstract motion.
Rachel Finan, wow, I’ve known Rachel for around 15 years. We’ve worked together on several theater projects; 24 Hour Theater, a bilingual Lorca’s Blood Wedding, one Butoh at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, some film, The Vagina Monologues and a 03-03-03 world wide simultaneous production of Lysistrata for world peace.
What can I say she is a powerhouse, well schooled in dance, gymnastics, and theater. She also works as an aerialist for Bang a Rang Circus. She is well schooled in voice/body training and has a killer eye for visual spectacle.
Rachel also performs skits in Super Happy Fun Time and has been working with Corey from the beginning. Last year they decided to add Butoh to the mix. That added a bit of surrealism to an already ebullient and over the top show. I sometimes find Butoh can be challenging to comprehend. I found this new piece by Rachel an excellent metaphor for bound up sexual repression striving to break free. The dancers were later joined by two men and then it became even more abstract with the men in their turn being bound.
By the way, Rachel is the well inked woman in the foreground of the fourth photo and you can see Corey on Keyboards in a couple shots.
I gotta lotta great shots on Friday. These performers glitter, effervesce and sparkle as they grind their way through the show but, Butoh, the Butoh piece was my interpretation for the photo challenge, Abstract.
The Super Happy Funtime Troupe was kicking off their Spring tour with that Muskegon opener. I’ll link the dates in case they are coming to a town near you.