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<  Announcements  ~  Thrillpeddlers' "WHORES, DOGS, AND GERMANS"

Russell Blackwood
Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 11:36 am Reply with quote
Moderator Joined: 18 Sep 2003 Posts: 125
The San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum and Thrillpeddlers join forces for their 4th annual Bastille Day celebration of Grand Guignol!

WHORES, DOGS, AND GERMANS:
STEREOTYPING AND THE GRAND GUIGNOL

Monday, July 9, 2007 - 7:00 PM
San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum

Presented in association with Thrillpeddlers and Professor Mel Gordon

Featuring live performances, ghastly special effects,
banned erotic dances, horribly un-PC stereotypes,
and a lecture


(SAN FRANCISCO) In the annual tradition of their smash Grand Guignol events for the past five years, the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum (SFPALM), Thrillpeddlers, and Professor Mel Gordon again join forces for a special celebration in honor of Bastille Day. The evening will focus on the use of stereotypes in the Grand Guignol, featuring live excerpts from three Grand Guignol plays and an evocation of the career of Valeska Gert, the pioneer of performance art who billed herself as the Dancer of the Grand Guignol.

The event will take place on Monday, July 9, 2007 at 7:00 pm at the Performing Arts Library, 401 Van Ness, Veterans Building, 4th Floor. Admission is $10 general / $5 SFPALM members. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Call (415) 255-4800 or buy tickets on-line at www.sfpalm.org. More info is also available at www.GrandGuignol.com.

At the event, UC Berkeley professor Mel Gordon (author of The Grand Guignol: Theatre of Fear and Terror and Voluptuous Panic : The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin) will offer a provocative multimedia presentation about Valeska Gert, a fascinating and notorious artist in Weimar Germany whose performances defied standard definition. Critics of her early performances in 1917 refused to accept her presentations as dance or theatre. Her eccentric style of movement and bizarre characterizations were just too ugly, disjointed and, worst of all, short -- with some improvised pieces lasting less than a minute. One enraged spectator declared that Gert wasn't even human: she was a wild beast chewing up the stage. In the end, Gert billed herself as a "Grotesque Dancer" or Dancer of the Grand Guignol. Working with dancer Bijou OKeefe, Professor Gordon has recreated several of Gerts dances, which will be presented live at SFPALM along with film clips of Gert herself performing.

Thrillpeddlers with the company's director Russell Blackwood will perform scenes from three of The Grand Guignol's most popular horror plays of the 1920's: 1929s Le Faiseur de monstres (The Maker of Monsters), 1920s Devant la mort (Before Death), and 1922s Le jardin des supplices (The Torture Garden). All of these plays, like Gerts dances, deal in stereotypes of race, gender, and nationality which, while shockingly un-PC, can also prove surprisingly revealing.

PHOTOS:
Downloadable color images are available at www.sfpalm.org/NEWS/GUIGNOL/GUIGNOL.htm.

The Plays
Thrillpeddlers with director Russell Blackwood will perform brief excerpts from the following:

1920 - Devant la mort (Before Death) drama, Alfred Savoir and Lopold Marchand
Set in French Equatorial Africa during a rabies outbreak. The play opens as Gildas, an black African manservant, has just shot his dog under orders from Dr. Plassant the French "town boss".

1929 - Le Faiseur de monstres (The Maker of Monsters) drama, Charles Hellem and Pol d'Estoc, Adapted for Thrillpeddlers' Shocktoberfest!! 2001 by Daniel Zilber
Dr. Brockau, a German vivisectionist with a traveling circus sideshow, shows a rival circus owner his process for creating freak attractions out of common household pets.

1922 - Le jardin des supplices (The Torture Garden) drama, Pierre Chaine (after Octave Mirbeau). Translated by Richard Hand and Mike Wilson for their book Grand-Guignol: The French Theatre of Horror
Clara, a British femme fatale, hasn't hid her voyeuristic passion for torture from the Chinese. She's has hidden her secret identity as a British spy however ... at least until the final scene when a torture victim exacts revenge on Clara for all those she's wronged.

Valeska Gert
A favorite of the international avant-garde, Gert appeared in milestone productions created by the Dadaists and Expressionists. Bertolt Brecht declared her to be the truest "Epic Actor" alive. Jean Cocteau saw her as Surrealism personified. Soviet biographers suggested that Gert was Sergei Eisenstein's only real female love interest. In fact, Gert pioneered the genre that we call Performance Art. Her material appeared to follow no fixed pattern, no repetition, only a repertory of sordid caricatures, weird moods, and darkly-satiric atmospheres. A typical Gert evening would consist of "sound studies" of crying babies, a stylized strip-tease, a young Japanese girl's enactment of suicide, the manic flow of traffic on a Berlin thoroughfare, the unfolding of a prostitute's day as she slowly acknowledges her hopeless condition, an attack on ballet, and a boxing match. Gert fled Germany after being labeled Jew Number 1 on the Nazis hit list, and later operated the Beggars Bar in New York at which a young Tennessee Williams served as a waiter. Her film appearances included Pabsts The Threepenny Opera (1931) and Fellinis Juliet of the Spirits (1965).
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setgeru7
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