Friday, February 13, 2015


back and forth across the tracks a hundred times since that last time,
it has been too long since that last time,
and i had nothing to say for so very long,
and now, too much to say and not enough hours in the day to say any of it,
except that i want to check in and say hello,
i hope to visit here more often,
there are threads here that have continued out of the margins, and i want to talk about those threads, because talking about them helps me to listen, and there are a lot of people talking here right now.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

jet lag

jetlag dream: it's the broken house of my dreams, with large sections i had forgotten about, and i'm living in one of those sections, it's night, and it's berlin, and i'm supposed to put everything in my bag and go, but. i'm in the middle of a conversation with a roommate i haven't met yet, about documentation of ritual knowledge, oral culture and digital epistemology. and in my bag are three books i didn't need at all here, and two books i'd forgotten about. and now i'm half awake and thinking this is a library, a version of borges' library, that intersection of people with their embodied knowledge, and the exchange of secrets: how do you access this knowledge this year, how do you represent this knowledge this year, how do we change to remember earlier ways of knowing? our bodies are texts, the alleys in the text where we make marks and are marked, spaces that refuse capture.

How do you cite yourself from Facebook and why oh why would you want to?
How do you cite the Dead, and why wouldn't you?
How do you remember yourself when you are not yourself, and how do you find ways to tell yourself, wait just a little while, just rest for a little while, just wait, do not speak, just rest and wait, do not speak and do not make any big decisions and do not think this exhaustion is permanent, just wait?

I remember Alexanderplatz, and I don't remember the station marked Alexandria, but I think I was there.  It is the busiest metro station in the world, there are hundreds of active lines that cross there, but there are also thousands of dead lines that still cross there, and the diviners and quantum physicists have access to the thousands from the future that cross.  

(to be continued) 

ooh this is cool

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Howl Enchilada

Chris Danowski seems tentative at the moment, even tendentious.  It is as if he has never been in this place before, and has just woken up from a map.
"Sorry I am so tendentious," he says, "I just woke from a nap, and this is a new place for me."
We are in that uneasy border between being in print and not being in print, and for this local theatre auteur, that's nothing new.
"I don't like the coffee here at all, this place is horrifying," he says.
Danowski agreed to meet me at this hot new coffee joint in downtown Phoenix.  What's not to like?  There are bikinis and there is espresso and there is twerking sometimes.
"I don't even know what twerking is," he claims. "What are those people doing with their butts? and why aren't we meeting at Jobot? You can smoke at Jobot."
The reason for the visit is contained in the photo above.  endofplay/7 the first production by the newly-formed theatre company, Howl Theatre Project, is in its final weekend at Space 55 (636 E. Pierce St., just south of Roosevelt off 7th street in downtown Phoenix).  It plays this Friday and Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 6pm, and tickets are available at the door for $10.  
Although there has been some press about the work, the press has not yet appeared in this plane of existence yet, but by the time this writing is released, it very well could be.  And although there has been some very strong critical acclaim, including moments where Lance Gharavi couldn't stop laughing, Ernesto Moncada was heard to whisper "yessss" under his breath, and Elli Danowski-U was seen to be grinning in what is, for her, a loud way, these have been stories that have been circulating in the underground theatre circuit and have not yet made their way to print.
"There was supposed to be something that was supposed to come out by now," Danowski says, "but it hasn't, and well, we have to get the word out somehow, and I decided that's why I would meet you here at this place, even though I think it's sexist and represents the worst of this city, a city I love, by the way."
I press Danowski on this, and he gets philosophical, the lines around his nearly-47 year old eyes betraying a wisdom of experience that is counter to his performed naive-ness.
"It's just hard to compete with articles about, you know, bikinis and kittens and stuff," he says.  "Not that this is anything peculiar to Phoenix.  I mean, even Berlin has a Hooters, and people talk about the wings, but there is a lot of art to see, and I think that's the same thing here, " he says.  "Not that it's the same," he says, "Phoenix and Berlin," he says, "but this," he says, "is," he says, "interesting," he says.  "Phoenix is interesting.  I mean, there's artists from here and from all over, I mean, it's fantastic, the mix of cultures and ideas, I mean, then you have things like MARS artspace, and Planet Earth Theatre, our godparents, really, I mean, cool things happen here, and it's really not that hard to find the cool things, but like, it's easier to find them when there's articles about them, and this is, I hope, one of those articles."
The above picture is a dog with mud on her nose.  It's not a mere coincidence.  Dogs are part of this imaginary, and have been part of the Danowski universe for a very long time.  When asked about this, he says, "Oh my god are we still having the interview, oh my god I need to get the hell out of here."
But the most important part of the interview comes when I ask about why he seemed to be in hiding for a few years.
"Oh, that," he says, "I guess you could say I was playing with new forms, and wanted to see what they did.  It felt like Willie Wonka and the Oompa Loompas, only my place of retreat was Berlin. I went to Berlin, and started to learn about things I thought I was already doing, only I discovered I had to go back to the beginning and start over.  That's what I did, I started over, and worked in close quarters for a few years, until I found the right people to make work that made sense, and that's what we're doing now."
Who are the Oompa Loompas, I ask?
"Je suit le Oompa Loompa, et Wille Wonka.  Y todos somos Marcos.  Arriba, arriba," he says, howlingly.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

for k.k.

this was urgent not so urgent this this this was urgent there was this i just wanted to say thank you i just wanted to say thank you i just wanted to say it out loud and then see how it felt to say it out loud and there was that and then there were other things too other things to say and some of those things had to do with the why of it all the why of all of it the why of the thank you or some might say what for but not like that not like what for in that way not that at all but what for in terms of the thank you what for if you say thank you then what for.  and the only answer although incomplete and not quite correct but the only answer or at least the first answer in terms of the first thing that came to mind: berlin.  and already of course it's incomplete we already knew that we already knew it was incomplete that's why we said that already because berlin but then there was linz already and of course that's what we already knew but still all of that is part of the same thing the same part of the what for the berlin the linz answers they're related not in that way not in that we have a mass murderer in common kind of way but something else kind of way a city with a memory kind of way cities with memories kinds of ways like phoenix has a memory but not everyone in phoenix has a memory about this about what happened on the ground here what is under the ground here a city with memory means a city with ghosts and of course every city has them but some more than others some have so many more than so many others.  linz and berlin part of that that that angel of history kind of thing that angel who is blown backwards kind of thing and those cities are cities here is where we get to the real what for both of those are cities i had never been to but always wanted to be somewhere else other than phoenix where memory was in the ground where there were ghosts in the ground and i wanted to know this when i was surrounded by other artists and i always thought it would be magnificent and shattering at the same time and it was and it is and thank you for that for giving me a reason to be there to go there to go back again and again there.  and it's not just that i'm not that conscientious about things it's not just that angels of history and art theres more because theres always love or first theres love and everything comes after that and everything that happens in those cities has to do with love and that's not a coincidence and we're not coincidental and there were stories from years ago about who loved who there and there are stories from one year ago about who fell in love with who there and even though it did not happen there it kind of did even though it wasn't born there it kind of was because there was that summer where i was meeting her the one i would love and there was the summer i was losing him the father the only father i would ever have and that was the same summer and it was happening in berlin and everything changed forever after that.  and it all bursts forward from there the what for the thank you for the what and the what for is this it's this it's this bone in the throat i have a bone in my throat it's one i didn't have before and when i speak i feel my words bounce off of the bone in the back of my throat and it makes things echo and resonate and you would understand i think you would understand i think you would be the one who understands because you know what it is like to write from the inside of your mother tongue where the bone in the throat says things that says things that makes you say things that are true or at least true to you and then you are awake one day and you are talking and it has weight it has the weight of memory it has the weight of bone and you have to talk about where you were and what you did there and those words are like tracing the footprints and the marks the proof that we were here on this ground by describing our marks on the ground we make other marks on the ground to mark that this is where we are and this is what it looks like when we are here.  thank you.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

what what what birthday what already no not yet but soon enough already ha ha happy

(scene: a birthday party that doesn't look like a birthday party.)
lauren bacall (lb): i want body suits of the universe.  oh wow is this, is this, is this how the birthday play starts?
humphrey bogart (hb): (he says this knowingly) why yes, why yes i think it is.
lb: oh but how does it end?
hb: i don't know how do i know what do i look like someone who knows how plays end?
lb: if you don't know, then that means this is limitless and this is endless and that this is like a light blue sky that turns dark blue and there are two moons, please please please there are two moons, on a night like this.
hb (lighting an unfiltered cigarette): sweetheart.
lb: oh, don't smoke, not for this, it's been almost a week.
hb: oh, i'm just holding it.
lb: oh, but you lit it.  let me hold it for you so you don't get all smoking again.
(she holds it and smokes it for him)
hb: i knew right away this was going to be the start of something about which i would be enthusiastic.  (breaks character) can we hold please? (we hold) is this translated?
(someone we've never seen before suddenly comes onto the stage, this someone has a very heavy beard and very heavy glasses and a very heavy sweater, and for all this heaviness, the someone is remarkably thin and light, not heavy at all, and that is a very interesting contradiction.  we are all so complex.)
someone: it is translated, yes, is there a problem?
hb:  i knew right away this was going to be the start of something about which i would be enthusiastic.
someone: yes.
hb: i don't like it.
someone: why not?
hb: it's missing something. something poetic.
someone: it's perfect.
hb: can i suggest something?
someone: oh hell no don't mess with my words.
hb: i'm thinking something that ends with the words 'beautiful friendship.'
someone: oh hell no this sucks you suck oh hell no.
lb: everyone, not just you, but everyone in the world, stop fighting.
(long pause, this was passionate and suddenly it hits home.)
hb: and suddenly it hit home that we could stop fighting and peace is possible but it's up to us, to you, and me.
(and they all sing.  i don't have the music, and the words, i don't have all the words, but some of them are here:)
peace in our time,
because why not is why,
it's possible,
it's possible,
peace in our time,
uh huh why not don't you stand in our way
don't stand in the way
of peace
of peace
of peace
in our time.
(the song should take 8 minutes at least and it needs some verses, too, the above is just a chorus, but the verses should be a story about the main character, lb, and how she used to be so sad all the time and then she met people who shared her love for slick heels and then it all went from shades of gray to hd color, like a squid seeing color with its magic squid eyes, and that's when everyone's rent went down at the same time and we all lived in a city that loved us because we were artists, and oh, that city wasn't even berlin)
(the second scene in the play happens in the dark, and it takes place on the roof, and only one person can see it at a time. everyone loves it, and they're all sworn into secrecy about what happens, so they can't talk about it during the performance because it would give everything away.  they all talk about how mystical it is, and how this performance has so much ritual, and it's like returning to theatre's ritual forms, but really, between us here, all they do is play light as a feather, that's all.  but it's pretty neat).
(the third and final scene is where he, hb, either humphrey bogart or happy birthday, comes in and lists all the things he likes about her.)
hb: curves edges perfect imperfections,
the blue light that you leave behind on that tao book when it was on my nightstand,
how your shoes and sandals are inhabited when you are not wearing them,
all your traces,
all the traces you leave,
how many traces you have left,
the traces you are leaving right now,
thinking about all the traces not yet left,
how traces are already there before they happen,
and how i knew when i saw you the first time that you came from the sea,
and the second time,
how you ordered salt water,
and how we crossed deserts and been to forests and have been to the sea even,
and there's still so much more to sea,
and that there are only a few elements but there's nothing simple about them,
and nothing about anything at all that isn't endless,
and that you remind me,
that we are born of love into love,
that we are swimming in love,
that we are born swimming,
that we are born knowing how to swim,
we never forgot,
you reminded me,
and you remind me,
that we never forgot,
and so,
happy birthday,
happy happy birthday,
happy happy happy birthday,
happy happy birthday.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Howl Theatre Project

Howl Manifesto

The hour between dog and wolf, that is, dusk, when the two cant be distinguished from each other, suggests a lot of other things besides the time of dayThe hour in whichevery being becomes his own shadow, and thus something other than himself. The hour of metamorphoses, when people half hope, half fear that a dog will become a wolf. The hour that comes down to us from at least as far back as the early Middle Ages, when country people believed that transformation might happen at any moment.  --Jean Genet

When there is a certain alchemy at work, where social and historical forces are caught in a dangerous tango, our sensibilities are being manipulated by machines that we didn't create ourselves, in a time of technologies our grandparents couldn't even dream of, and we find ourselves burning with an energy, a certain tangible energy, in the company of like-minded, like-spirited individuals who, when working together sense a common spark of LIFE, it is time to create something new.  To gather together and create something new, and move with the flow of this alchemical reaction.  And so.  We have THIS. HOWL THEATRE PROJECT.

The birthday is today, this 30th of March, 2014, although our real origins come long before this and, like all origins, is impossible to pinpoint because by nature we avoid being caught in any kind of cross hairs. 

For YEARS NOW, we have been playing in sandboxes of experimental art, performance art, and almost every kind of manifestation of theatre one could imagine.  Furiously resistant to mechanical and politically empty forms, we have discovered that we all love and miss one thing: the primacy of our own animal natures, and our capacity to form meaningful connections.  And we found ourselves occasionally in love with these moments when the connection was made visible through an art form we love utterly.  Once, we all thought we would throw off all the mantles of theatre in order to create something new, but found these forms to be insufficient.  They made us wonder and desire and experiment, but they left us unsatisfied, and at the end of every day we went to bed HUNGRY.

The most abhorrent things about theatre today (the artifice, the pretense, the lack of conviction) are very new, and the most transformative things about theatre today (the ritual, the animal connection, the stories of how it is to live and love inside a body with a pulse) are very old.  So we are taking back those old mantles, though in truth, they never went away, they just hid in the shadows, sometimes watching us and sometimes possessing us.

Every artist is a manifestation of all the ancestors in the blood line, and all blood lines go back to where we are obviously and completely and unavoidably connected.  And so, like all artists must do if they are to create the work they were born to do, we recognize our connections, to each other, to the living, to those not yet born, and those who live in our blood.  That is, we recognize our DEAD, and we make work that speaks directly to them. We are all PHANTOMS, and we tell you the stories that our ancestors told to us, in new forms, for a world that is absolutely modern.  We are animal ghosts, and so are you.  

Mental work and intellectual work can speak to our ANIMAL INTELLIGENCE, because, as thinking animals, we know when something is true.  But the work that places the intellectual mind above the animal mind will always replicate the same mistakes the lead to every bloody revolution: the head is cut from the body, and we forget that we are not controlled by, but are hard wired to live in accordance with natural forces.  Our own HUNGER, our cycles of DESIRE, and our capacities for compassion, laughter, and joy.  And the phases of the MOON, the TIDES, and the play between LIGHT AND SHADOW.  

So.  HOWL is an urgent response to an urgent impulse to make noises after dark, to tell the stories that we recognize not with our split selves (split from our animal natures) but through the rabbit holes in time and space that lead us back to the whole, where the head and the heart and the belly speak the same lost language. It is a theatre based in DESIRE, a celebration of our ANIMAL INSTINCTS, and a WAKING UP to natural magic, an alchemy that invites you inside.  

We are:

Christopher Danowski - Director of the Art Parts
Jake Jack Hylton - Director of the Artistries
Jamie Haas Hendricks - Director of Secret Messages and Public Stammers
Steven Matthew Kaas - Director of Poetics of Time and Space 

Company Members:
Heather Lee Harper
Liana O'Boyle
Beth May

Our first show: endofplay (part 3 of Monsters of the Sea) will be May 22, 23, 24 and May 30, 31 at 8pm
and June 1 at 6pm
At Space 55
Stay tuned for more details....