November 15th, 2008

silver corset

(no subject)

Tonight was the perfect night. Cirque Noir at Shadowdance in Oakland: Over the bridge into the dark part of town and under the freeway in the dirt; across the railway tracks, between chain link fences and warehouses, we parked the car in a small factory yard of goods waiting to be shipped. Behind the factory, rusted out hulks of old cars are piled three high. Each huge metal doors has a heavy padlock, and signs warning of dangers past. We are surrounded by the timeless detritus of an industrial age, a year or a millenium gone.

We follow the flashes of colour, the hints and signs, and sometimes we simply guess. The last, dimly lit doorway opens onto a grey concrete staircase with a peeling handrail. Up or down, we aren't sure, so we try both. The little tags of red paper stuck to the walls are more frequent now, and when we reach a door surrounded by candles, we know we have arrived.

We pause for a moment, collect ourselves, and open the door into a totally unexpected gothic paradise. The space is airy and comfortably lit; the floors are carpeted, the sofas are comfortable, the walls are painted; and the ceiling is draped blood-red. This is clearly home, there is a bar but also a kitchen, and there are dozens of subtle lights everywhere. There are people, beautiful people, but not a crowd. The music is clear but subdued, and people talk. To one side, people are selling wares, but our attention is drawn away because the cirque is about to commence.

The performance defies description.

There was sound, there was movement, there was performance, statement and exhibition. There were candles and blood, costume and knives. Each dance told a story, some I understood and some I did not. There was light heartedness and funereal solemnity, and afterwards, we climbed onto the roof, where there was fire and music and talk.

The factory yard looked different on the way out. The rusted hulks became accidental scenery, and the chainlink fences protected us, instead of keeping us out. The tags on the walls were no longer a mystery, but friends, and more new friends were leaving with us. Tonight is a happy night.