Criticism

I write on dance, performance, books, visual art, women’s lives, and anything else that comes up.

Understanding, memory, and breaking the spell at mnartists.org

But it is one of the primary truths that I don’t understand what it’s like to be anyone else—to be situated any differently than I am, to live a different life than I do. I don’t, I can’t. Why am I so resistant to that fact? Read more here.

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Thousandfurs on domestic narrative and Jenny Sadre-Orafai

Lately I’ve been reading books by women that address certain experiences: birth, divorce, the early days and worries of a family. It is womanlike to be so concerned with the domestic. What does it mean to say this? That women are incapable of philosophy? Or that men, shut out of the meat of life, must [...]

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Thousandfurs review Karen Skolfield and MariNaomi at Bookslut

Girls in fairy tales rarely have friends. Some have sisters, but then it’s more important that they are sisters: twinned or triplicate, mirrored, fractured. Many have helpers: sub- or superhumans with no lives of their own. That is what I mean by friends: lives in parallel. Perhaps fairy-tale heroines are not permitted to have friends [...]

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"The Footlocker": on memory, childhood, and fall clothes (Walker blogs, 10/16/14)

Every fall my mother used to open up the footlocker and unfold our warmer clothes, faintly smelling of mothballs. Flip-flops disappeared for the year—we’d probably worn them through in the long summer, anyway—and out came garments we hardly remembered: toggled winter coats, corduroy pants with their funny swish, long-sleeved shirts in mysterious late-70s patterns. We [...]

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Dance review: Tere O'Connor at ADF (mnartists.org, 9/24/14)

Do you like being tickled? Do you enjoy mysteries? Do you flick through fashion magazines for their parade of possibilities? These are all similar to the pleasure O’Connor produces. Similar, but different, because although I can’t pin anything so heavy as an ethos on O’Connor, I do feel a moral dimension to his dance. Of [...]

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Thousandfurs reads Qiu Maiojin's Last Words from Montmartre (Bookslut)

I wonder: was I really sleeping on the floor when I read Kate Zambreno’s Green Girl? Why would I have been? But that’s how I remember it: bunched awkwardly in a corner of the spare bedroom, 2 a.m. and the overhead light on, still reading in the wreck of my marriage (but surely I slept [...]

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David Need's Roses (Indy Week)

Need says of the slender poetry at the volume’s heart, “I know it can feel ruinous and inadequate, and not strong enough to carry the weight of things.” But he hopes that the work can provide emotional shelter. “How do we find our way to spaces where we feel like the world holds us a [...]

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Thousandfurs reviews Fanny Howe, Susan Rich, and Christine Stroud (on Bookslut)

“Everyone seems to be living in a different world. It’s the rare one that shares air with yours.” Read more here.

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Review: Keith Waldrop's The Not Forever (in Rain Taxi)

“The work is transient, passionate, cold; a game or dance of gaps, risks; notes and dreams awash among truisms eroded, erased, then re-inhabited from the other side.” Want more? Pick up an issue.

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Dance review: John Jasperse at ADF

Now, would I say that you should never outline an audience member with a 15 foot phallus? I wouldn’t want to be so narrow! However, if you do, you must at least make the interference pay. Did Jasperse? Read more here.

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Poetry review: Ana Bozicevic's Rise in the Fall

Around 2010 or so, a rash of nasty poems erupted across the face of American literature. Bitter with the force of first betrayal, these poems set out to disabuse their reader of all illusions, from beauty to love to poetry itself. Bad-attitude all-stars, they took full advantage of poetic resources to bust up poetry: they [...]

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Dance and Love 4 (Huffington Post)

Whatever happened to “Dance and Love 4″? Last fall, I wrote three installments of a series on dance and love: one exploring how audience members relate to dancers, another giving a dancer’s perspective on the dancing body and love, and finally one covering collaborative partnerships, long-term love among dancers. I marked the third “3 of [...]

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The Week in Dance: Coupling (MNArtists.org)

LAST WEEKEND I STOPPED BY A REHEARSAL for Chris Yon and Taryn Griggs’s The Very Unlikeliness (I’m Going to KILL You!) [again&again version], showing soon at the Bryant-Lake Bowl (June 21-30). It was Saturday morning; I got a sausage biscuit and some coffee from the bar. Griggs strapped their baby into a carrier for their babysitter, [...]

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Zenon's 30th Season and SuperGroup's Summer Tease

MID-MAY AND WE’RE IN THE MIDST OF AN ONSLAUGHT of dance after what felt to me like a long, slow, cold spring. Zenon’s thirtieth spring season just ended at the Cowles; this coming weekend brings Minnesota Dance Theatre at the Cowles and Nic Lincoln’s long-awaited solo show at the Tek Box. TU Dance rounds out the [...]

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The week in dance (4/12/13): The Exuberance of Young Dance

A FEW MONTHS AGO, HEARING I WAS A DANCE CRITIC, a woman asked me to recommend a dance school for her daughter—“somewhere that won’t give her a messed-up body image,” she added. This question came on the heels of another—where in town could she go for good ballet? She asked that last with a bit [...]

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Review of Seven American Deaths and Disasters, by Kenneth Goldsmith

  On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was at work in a café in St. Paul. For reasons unknown, the place was news-themed, so we had two televisions mounted in a corner, tuned to CNN and constantly muted, running closed captions all day while we played Tammy Wynette and Blackalicious. The first plane [...]

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Thousandfurs: Reading Like a Magpie

“Come with me to the salon,” Snow says. “What’s the salon?” “You’ll like it.” She sighs out imaginary smoke. I met Snow at a New Year’s party. She’s a runaway, like everyone I seem to know now, but I haven’t learned what from. Necklaces hung from nails in a narrow hallway, stacks of sideways books, [...]

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Why Is Cindy Sherman Making Faces?

THE DIDACTICS ACCOMPANYING THE Cindy Sherman retrospective (at the Walker through February 17) are truly didactic. They tell the reader-viewer what the work is and does, often by adjective—groundbreaking, important, celebrated, monumental. They are at once unnecessary—does anyone with even minimal familiarity with recent American life really need to be told what this work does?—and gross: [...]

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The week in dance (2/7/13): What do you want to see?

Thursday evening: freezing cold outside, but it’s hot inside the Ritz as Caramel Knowledge and other lovelies get down to business, or pasties and a g-string, at the Minneapolis Burlesque Festival. “You don’t need the bandaid pulled off slowly!” hostess Gina Louise exults after the first tease, and no we don’t: the audience laps up [...]

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The week in dance (2/1/13): Queer freedom

FOR AN OPINION ON TRAJAL HARRELL & CO’S  (M)imosa/Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (M), one of the shows in the Walker Art Center’s Out There festival, I’d like to refer you to Elliott Durko Lynch’s eloquent commentary on the Walker blogs. I’m afraid, though, that Lynch’s list of required reading [...]

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