Lindsey Drury was a 2007-08 Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Utah. She also co-founded GoGoVertigoat in SLC. She has been living, working and making dances in NYC since 2008. Last Friday was her 30th birthday. To mark the turning point Lindsey rented a 44-passenger school bus and invited friends and well-wishers to join her on “Totally Lost: A Bus Tour of New York as a Dance.” Lindsey is a trained tour guide; I had experienced a previous bus tour at the American Dance Festival; she described “Totally Lost” on her Face Book Event page: This tour peels away the superfluous layers of New York City to get at its essence: Dance.”
Because I had a previous engagement, I was picked up at 9:30 PM, about mid-way through “Totally Lost.” The 15 or so passengers had already imbibed wine and were in a celebratory mood. Our first stop after picking me up was on the Bowery at the former location of the legendary punk club, CBGB’s, (now the site of a vintage clothing boutique.) On the way there Lindsey quizzed us about our knowledge of CBGBs and gave us some factual history as well as some history that may have been a little less than factual. Upon disembarking she gave us a movement score which was to form a line in front of the building’s window, and to walk as slowly as we could “butoh-style,” to the curb, while whispering the names of artists who had performed at the former club – Patti Smith, Blondie, Talking Heads, The Ramones, The Misfits – over and over. We repeated this several times, a ritual to honor punk history. At the end, Lindsey led us in a loud cheer with the names of the artists. A small crowd had gathered.
Next stop: Washington Square Park. It was a balmy Friday evening at 10 PM and the Park was full. After giving us an (I think totally fictional) account of Marcel Duchamp picnicking on top of the Arch and having some sort of rendezvous with Carolee Schneeman one of us did a solo dance interpretation of the assignation. We were then instructed to walk around the park in pairs with one person having their eyes covered and the other telling them a narrative of what they were seeing.
On the way uptown to Central Park Lindsey asked me to describe the piece I made for my 30th birthday in 1981. In that piece – “DEAD” – I recorded the names of every death I could remember happening in my lifetime, I made a falling and standing solo of exhaustion to that score. Lindsey asked us to call out the names of our own dead. Then to shout those names out the bus windows. Finally she asked us to at the next 3 red lights for some one to use a name in a dance. At the first light a woman called out a name and she danced wildly at her seat. Lindsey then asked that the next person come to the front of the bus to dance; this woman chose Merce Cunningham and did a beautiful Cunningham adagio. The final person was told to get off and do her dance for us on the sidewalk as we watched from inside the bus; she chose Maya Deren and crawled on the sidewalk to the consternation of some onlookers.
At Central Park, so magical at night, though I would never chance it alone, we performed for one another and, of course, ate cake. Lindsey then had us form an outward-facing circle as she told the story of an academic paper she heard being delivered on the late Pina Bausch. The paper posited that Pina had been a great artist/choreographer because she had never found true love. Lindsey then had us all lie down in the circle on the grass. As we faced the stars we were to declare with a simple “yes” or “no” if we’d ever found true love, knowing if we had, we’d never be a great artist. I think all except one said “yes.” We got back on the bus. Drank champagne, and went home after a very full and satisfying tour.
Ishmael Houston-Jones is the prez of the board of directors for Ashley Anderson Dances. He has served on many a board, written many a paper & made many a dance. For a real bio visit www.ishmaelhj.com