Tuesday, July 19, 2016

River dance

I dream that I am in my childhood back yard. The sun is setting and there are storm clouds and all the cracks in the universe are visible. There are lots of aliens but that's typical for the time of day. I see Brian Dennehy wearing a black cloak and that's not typical. When I get closer I see he is really Father Time, or Death (gender is very important in this dream you'll see). I laugh and Death laughs he almost had me fooled. 
Now we are in a restaurant and I am siting with all the feminine figures in my life. All of them. They are all upset with me, which is typical. (I'm sorry this is so binary, my dream writers are modernists with a smudge of post colonial & post structuralism). I am moving from table to table and trying to tell them my death story and no one wants to hear it and finally the one who looks like my ex wife says: "we are tired of your stories, you don't need to keep performing your life for us through these ridiculous stories."  As you can imagine this is very upsetting so I go under the table and sulk. (There is more How I Met Your Mother in this dream than I would like to admit). 
Next we are outside and it is night and we are walking around the hills that are on the edge of the sea. Elli is with me and she is particularly restless and reminds me of me on stormy nights in summer when I was a teenager. I have not changed that much. Soon she runs ahead of me and then she trips and starts to roll down. My first thought is that if she is going to fall off a cliff then I'm going too because I don't want to live without my daughter and besides the other world might be interesting. So I roll after her and she is close to water but it's a river not the ocean and she falls and submerges. I go in after her but right away I understand what is happening. She has turned herself into a fish, this is what she wanted for a long time and I can't follow her because I will never be that. I can go under the water, and I do, but I can't live there. She can though because this is where she is home. I understand this is what happens between all fathers and daughters. 
Last I am on the banks of the river, but another part. I am fishing with two men I know. They are older, I guess you could say post menopausal if we had such designations for men but we don't because we missed an important turn 40,000 years ago. It's not too late. Anyway we are fishing and don't worry about me catching Elli because we are using old bait, old eggs that do not have any more spark in them. We are throwing lines and crowds come and go and get in our way and I catch something enormous. I reel in part of a big pile of rope. I see it goes from the bottom of the lake to the middle of the sky. This is just part of the net that's been here since the beginning, the one that unites the below with the above. I am sad because of all that happened and I am not at home here with these men (but we are certainly related) and I'm not at home in the river with the fish (but we are certainly relayed) and I might not be home anywhere here but it sure feels close to home. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

O&E new

(Now ORPHEUS opens a lemonade stand and is charging nothing but it'll cost you your heart but hearts are cheap is what he is thinking. He is talking to his BRO.)
BRO: A lemonade stand is a tricky venture how will you suss it out. 
ORPHEUS: Wow, bra, ever since you went to England your speech is so sophisticated. 
BRO: They don't call it England over there they call it United EnKland. 
ORPHEUS: Oh wow that's cool. 
BRO: Yah. 
ORPHEUS: I don't think that's true but it's cool. 
(A beat. The kind of comfortable silence that happens between friends who are not all that smart, it's familiar and easy and dim.)
BRO: Why lemonade, Orpheus. 
ORPHEUS: Because did you hear that album. 
BRO: No but I watched the video until I got to the Pippilotti Rist part. 
ORPHEUS: Yeah that was cool. 
BRO: But derivative. 
ORPHEUS: I don't know calculus so who knows about that but I know myself when I see myself on screen, or like in songs, in whatever you would call a screen for songs. 
BRO: Oh my gosh you see yourself in the music are you going to wear a yellow dress or like what now. 
ORPHEUS: Oh I'm not her. I'm the window. I'm the hammer. I'm the glass breaking. I'm the moment of shattering. 
BRO: Oh. 
ORPHEUS: You want to buy some lemonade. 
BRO: In London we call it mad citric vitality mate.
ORPHEUS: I don't think that's true. 
BRO: I'm on a new regimen where I don't drink anything. 
BRO: You should be all like the first one is free but after that it might cost you all your strength because my heart is heavy as gold baby. 
(BRO kisses his own fingers and really looks like he thinks this might be a good song and he's wondering how people wrote things down when they think of them because this hasn't happened to him before.) 
(ORPHEUS is thinking of how he should move through the world carrying so much weight but it's really not all that much but we will keep that quiet for now.). 

(Now she's walking and she sees that place where she lost him, the x she visits now and again /not often /not seldom /often enough, and she sees pages of books he was reading when they were awake /before they fell asleep, and as she reads it is such a guilty feeling and it is warm too like her chest is being rubbed from the inside, it calms the nervous bird in her throat but it also reminds her there is a nervous bird in her throat, and she is so absorbed she doesn't see the bones /she doesn't recognize the bones, they are not his they are hers, the arms she had when she used to hold him, and even though it is cliche and she knows it she can't help it that she knows that it's not just he who is gone but this part of her is gone too.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

r u mad ophelia

This is March 5, 2016, 8pm.
You are invited to hear a slightly staged reading of this new work by Howl Theatre project. This is the final performance text in the Monsters of the Sea cycle. We're going to be putting this through a development process following this event, so we are requesting your delightful presence. We promise to be present to you. There might be cake, but to be sure, if you really want cake, then you should bring cake. You can also bring beverages of your choosing. You can drink during this. You can't smoke during it, though. But we have an ashtray outside and you are more than welcome. Also, there is a dog in the house. She doesn't smoke, and so far she does not drink, so please do not turn her on to liquor. The people involved have these names: Christopher Danowski, Heather Lee Harper, Jamie Haas Hendricks, Steve Wilcox, Ashley Kerin Martinez, Barry Moon, Stephen Kass, Shannon Phelps, Michael Frioli, Portia Beacham, and Boyd Branch. Oh, please note that this is a private event, and seating is extremely limited (and you might have to sit on the floor even, but there are pillows). This is super duper secret. But our love for you, that's no secret, we want to shout it from the rooftops.
Oh, you're going to need to rsvp for sure to get a space. Send a text to me, and that means you know me already and have my number, haha, I'm not going to just give it out to anybody are you mad? haha. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

i forgot, i forgot to ask for a little extra glitter, a vial that held a few drops of the scent, and something that would help me sleep. i kept eating pomegranates, because i wanted to know something, even though it kept leading me further and further into darkness. i never was very smart about these things. but smart enough to understand that this was lost. this was the result of a few wrong turns. and staying lost would require me to take a hundred more. my body knew how to find light. my skin understood how to find light much better than anything i could think up. but i also understood this might take awhile. i was looking for her long before she showed up, long enough that i could recognize her by her light. i was lost long before i took this last wrong turn, i was lost even before i lost my voice. this was darker than i expected, though, and it took just one cold night to miss the glitter between my fingers. i didn't understand how much that kept me warm, and just hungry enough to wake up at the break of dawn. now i wake up when the morning cracks open because i think the sound of my heart beating is the sound of her coming home.

Monday, July 27, 2015

(for Open Frame night, Somos Gallery, Kreuzberg, Berlin)

Loss of Dog Stories (and some new pieces) 

Dog watches the sun peeking through the mountains to get an idea of the day ahead before deciding to rise. Dog decides these days are like the pieces of a puzzle, and just when there are enough on the board to see a pattern, there is another earthquake, and by the next morning, the colors are all changed again.

Brass-belt Doggess tells the Moonstruck Dog, "Your eyes burst open with salt water because the sea is moving through you, unclench your fists and unwrap your lips from your teeth, that music you are pretending not to hear, it's really playing and you're really hearing."

like the woman who keeps dirt from her home in her pocket, to eat when no one is watching and the island is too full of strangers, i keep salt rocks under my tongue, so that when the desert is too full of untempered surfaces, i can suck my tongue and remember the sea

The dog could not wait to wake me so she could show me how diamonds got planted inside everything while we slept.

Through the bars of the bedframe, that Cumbia Goddess comes two-tongued, one red-one yellow, tells the Dog how this Cumbia goes back and forth from the lips to the hips, says, "Stop surrounding yourself with those who say they're afraid to, not allowed to, don't know how to dance.”

bees buzzing the throat of a red wild dog, bees stinging the throat of the red wild dog, red wild dog sleeping through the hot part of the day and waking up wondering why he wants to sing about something that hasn't happened yet

While the dog is wondering out loud about how something is trying to come to the surface with all this rain, but fall and spring are too far off in either direction, she says, "My mouth is full of strawberries," and there's nothing else that needs to be said.

I thought I was having a dream, having a dream where I had grown roots to the belly of the earth, I thought I had a dream that I was rooted to the earth, but when I woke up, I saw it wasn't a dream, it was like a dream but it had a different word: daughter.

dogblink blink of menace blink of longing, longing dog blinking for a long inhale ok computer dog it's your blink dog ok dog you blink and you keep blinking blinkdog blink blink blink

Dog can't calm its dogself down, all over the house all over the yard all over the sky, wakes up the fairy dog father from the other side of the grass, 'Why are you so crazy, dogchild?' & dog says , 'I was watching a movie and I loved it and I fell asleep watching it and I woke up in it and this is my favorite part.’

your spirit is a dog at the foot of your bed, tail wagging, because you're about to wake up. that family that you miss, that you miss like a lost pulse, is already there, inside your bloodstream, not locked, but the opposite of locked, and you're about to wake up.

dang. i played sugur ros for jake the dog while i was away at work, and now she is barking in a made up dog language.

all the loves of the past five years are out on the verandah. there's french tobacco & cappuccino & something that smells like ginger or sandalwood. they are showing each other pictures of the children and dogs we might have had together. this isn't surprising. what is surprising is that when i put my hand to touch the glass on the door between us, i realize there is no glass, and there is no door, that the door was never there to begin with.

That SunDog says to Dog the Father, "I just want you to hold me a little and tell me everything will be ok." And Dog the Father, of course, says, "Oh, that's your job now.”

the first breath, the last breath, the vision and the visions, the ecstasy and the grieving and the longing and the knowing, the fire and the wind that move through our fingertips, none of these, none of these belong to us 

this is how you make love stay: you sit on it, eat its slippers, and take its keys

These gifts you get when you come into the world, the eyes and the teeth and the bones in the hands and the smell of everything that you are, these things that you leave at the door on the way out of the world, and before all of these and after all of these there is hearing and there is breath, and it's no wonder this life is a song this love is a song this dream was and is a song.

I, sleeping, an anxious dog, I, chest sit set sat upon by a trembling god who says, 'stop trembling, trembly dog.' I stop, and stop trying to jump from my dog skin (dog skin kissed by god). Then. Suddenly. Three things written on my doorstep. First when you wake up you will tremble crying with pain because you are connected to all of this and that is what love is like. Second you will tremble-cry with pleasure love is like that too. Third is the best even best of all even but you won't find out until tomorrow about three.

Those ghosts of winter come turning the desert back to sea, with all the kinds of mermaids, little goth girls and banshees included, angels of grief and hunger all of them. Death runs in our bloodlines, and every death wakes up the old dead, who tell the living, There is not a single one of you who is not made up of drops of every single one of us.

And the Bird is carrying Hahaha the Dog to the place where her shadow meets the water, and the Bird says, Did you like it there? and the Dog says, Yes I was in love the whole time, and now that it's over, can you tell me a secret, how much of that was a dream? and the Bird says, Hahaha most of it.

Now the Dog sees an open door, runs into the light, runs into the arms of a Sunny Day, and keeps running, and it gets so very bright and then suddenly so very brighter, and then Dog finds herself in the arms of the Black Bird, and they are flying. And the Dog says, "?" And the Bird says, I'm taking you home. And the Dog says, "That was too short." And the Bird says, "That's what everybody says. Let me carry you back home.”

That thing you kept seeing out of the corner of your eye, a premonition or a tragedy or an epic love story or a new destruction myth told backwards, turned out to be you. Someone takes away your breath, and you come back from the dead, in the middle of a story you didn't write.

And when they sleep they play each other's chakras like a xylophone; the flesh and the bone and the spirit all come together in the breath, at least for the living (only the dead know how it works for them). "This, this, this is what love does to me, and this, this, this is what the song of the world sounds like when you play me.” 

All night Dog dreams about falling in love, Dog Conversations about Art & Revolution in a cafe where every Dog Speaks a different language; only to wake up to see that the sails on the boat have come untied, the sailors have fallen overboard, and the calm sea is about to try to suck the Moon inside. This is why the Dog is nervous. This is why the Dog is retreating into his shadow heart, drinking cappuccino in that cafe, drinking with the One Who Glitters in the Dark.

the dust around the footprints was even starting to fade. and i was in love with everything and everything was lit from within. that was enough magic for a life, and i didn't think i was allowed any more. there was nothing left to wish for. i once promised myself i would become this thing, this thing i wanted to be, after i had enough magic, and this seemed like the moment, so i stepped into my own footprints. and i was suddenly very tired. and i heard the dead singing, they were singing me to sleep. and when i slept they told me things. when i woke up, my house was filled with people i loved, and we were doing work we loved, and there were shadows everywhere, because we were being watched.

It seems as though everyone eventually starts to look a little bit like Leonard Cohen.


I'm talking to the moon on the night before the longest day of the year. It's been getting brighter and brighter for months and this is just impossible. This has been wonderful and terrible, I say (because I want to be diplomatic with the moon because the moon is moody sometimes), but can we have just a little more shadow. The moon is looking thoughtful and the moon says (this is in my head, it's not like a real voice, I mean I'm not crazy), Yes I think these things can be arranged.

Before you travel, you start to disappear a little, the shadow that follows you starts to go on ahead of you, and every action feels like sweeping.

Watching Ted Cruz audition for the Simpsons, I have not felt this inadvertently high since the Phantogram concert.

i used to make art that confused you, but now, after a couple of years in art school, i can make art that confuses you and tell you precisely why

it's a swelter out there. brooklyn is waking up for a thursday, trucks and dogs, and somewhere out there i hear a british woman explaining things to me, i can almost hear her, i can hardly hear her, but i can almost hear her, explaining the mechanisms and structures that are underneath all of this, explaining how everything is structured to connect

While I was looking for traces of how and when and where this city wrote on you, I did not notice how and when and where it started to write on me.

One of my favorite things. That moment when the plane descends and you can't hear and everything seems like it's just floating. Like everything that happened up til now has happened and this is where it all catches up to itself. And no one, no one belongs anywhere other than right here in this moment.

and on a stormy morning in berlin, you saw your melancholy engine had been retuned by local spirits sometime between 4 and 5 a.m. if memory carries weight, it also carries the lightness of the ghosts who are remembered. if longing is heavy, it is heavy with the weight of the hands of those who love you. and if your stuttering fluttering heart is heavy with trepidation, this also indicates that it can be made light as a white feather, because it contains an infinite capacity for delight.

i wake up in my great-great-grandparents' living room, surrounded by stacks of old letters and newspapers and photos. they are repairing broken shoes, broken eyeglasses. 'being and seeing,' my great-great-grandmother says, 'seeing and being, you are a witness to history and you are a participant.' the streets outside are paved with the rubble and the blood of that war, and if this is not the end of the world, then it must be the beginning.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Artist Statement: 

Recently I have started working toward a new form of performance  that speaks to the   
desire to capture, whether the capture be a moment, a memory, someone else's desire,  
or a ghost. Live performance is filled with ghosts, and depends upon the desire to 
capture those things that are lost, to remember the dead, so that the deadc an continue 
to speak to us and through us.

I combine video projections of moments of performance that are gone, and  over these I 
perform moments of the desire for capture and the failures of capture. I speak from 
texts written in the surround, poetic and mythical narratives that were formed around 
the moments of the projected performance's creation, and perform small ritual actions, 
attempts to resurrect the dead through language, so that what emerges between the 
words is  a sense of loss, of becoming, and of rebirth.

Art that wants to help take the cobwebs out of your eyes.
Art that likes you and wants to know what you dream about
Art that has been here before, just like you. 

Christopher Danowski is a theatre and performance artist. He has written over fifty plays, and directed and performed in living rooms  galleries, and unusual spaces (sometimes in theaters). He was artistic director of Theater in My Basement from 1999-2013, and is now a member of Howl Theatre Project.  He is based in Phoenix, and his work has been shown locally, in New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Yucat√°n, Mexico City, Dublin, Laval, Vienna, and Berlin. He is currently working on a practice-based doctoral thesis on ritual possession and new media performance through Plymouth University (UK) and Transart Institute (Berlin/NYC).