INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
New York Times SEPTEMBER 11, 1987 - by Stephen Holden
'TWO MOON JULY,' A SPECIAL ON EXPERIMENTALISTS
No New York City cultural institution has been more hospitable toward the development of experimental interarts performance over the last decade and a half than The Kitchen. Since it was established in 1971 in SoHo, the Kitchen has helped nourish a roster of talent in the visual arts, dance, music, and performance art that reads like a who's who of the avant-garde.
No New York City cultural institution has been more hospitable toward the development of experimental interarts performance over the last decade and a half than The Kitchen. Since it was established in 1971 in SoHo, The Kitchen has helped nourish a roster of talent in the visual arts, dance, music, and performance art that reads like a who's who of the avant-garde. And this evening at ten on Channel 31, many of those artists and their work can be glimpsed fleetingly in the one-hour special Two Moon July.
The program, produced for The Kitchen by Carlota Schoolman and directed by Tom Bowes, is really a glossy video brochure that presents tempting little tidbits of work, much of it filmed in The Kitchen's gleaming new headquarters on West 19th Street. Laurie Anderson, who has lately been acting as a sort of official greeter for the avant-garde, leads off the program with one of her surefire bits, Difficult Listening Hour, in which she introduces an imaginary radio show, intoning her words through a harmonizer that lowers her voice to a sinister robotic baritone. In David Byrne's Report From L.A., the leader of Talking Heads dashes around in increasingly frantic circles while reciting the names of movies, some fanciful, others real, that he can hardly wait to see. The piece is an amusing sendup of a certain kind of media-mad New York jitters. Molissa Fenley (accompanied by Anthony Davis's composition, Clonetics) and Bill T. Jones each performs a short, expressive dance piece.
Naturally enough, the work that leaves the strongest impression is that created directly for video. And Now This, a haunting work of video art created by Kit Fitzgerald and John Sanborn, with music by David Van Tieghem and Peter Gordon, presents a beautiful evocation of the American heartland with eerie views of empty farm buildings seen through windows from striking perspectives. Michel Auder's Stories, Myths, Ironies And Songs, in which Ned Sublette sings about surviving the cold against scenes of New York City experiencing a full-scale blizzard, makes a moody urban counterpart.
To those looking for deep artistic statements, Two Moon July will be frustrating because in many instances, only excerpts of works are shown. Nothing lasts longer than three or four minutes. The show is the avant-garde equivalent of a Whitman's Sampler.