Fab Five Freddy and the Break Dancers, New York street toughs and graffito artists, will be making mean in Washington this weekend.
While Freddy lays down chanting, talking, rhythmic rap, the Break Dancers break, trying to out-macho one another. They jump in the air and land on their backs, do splits and flip over to bounce on knees and shoulders, wrestle in time to the beat, and spin awhile on their heads , then dance-strut offstage, cool.
It must be seen to be believed, and can be, for free, at 3 Saturday at the Victorian Bandstand, Seventh and Pennsylvania NW.
Among those passing through town with Freddy and company are a sidewalk percussionist, a balletfunk dancer, a progressive sax player, an unpredictable actor/comedian and other from New York's avant-garde gallery space, The Kitchen. Except for Saturday's freebie, the performances are $6 a shot, or $15 in advance for admission to the whole thing, at the 9:30 Club and Washington Project for the Arts.
The Kitchen has pioneered as a center for experimental video-musicdance, dishing performance art for more than a decade. Previous Kitchen-sponsored tours have taken in European capitals, but this is the first to hit Washington. Next to talent, humor is the prime ingredient.
Some of the seven experimenters have mainstream credits. Lisa Fox was formerly with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; her balletic movements and Twyla Tharp-ish flip-flops are oddly intertwined. In a recent duet, Fox conjured ballet steps mirroring another woman's moves in tap shoes. David Van Tieghem has played with David Byrne and Brian Eno, the Manhattan Percussion Ensemble and others. He gets percussive highs out of whatever he happens upon (trash cans, railings, steps, curbs) in a mix of pantomime and drumsticks.
Others have elevated quirkiness to an art. Saxophonist Oliver Lake combines funk and reggae in meandering improvisations. Eric Bogosian, an actor and director-turned-performance artist, invents characters ranging from a Holy Roller evangelist to a sleazy lounge act. Julia Heyward, known for her synthesis of sounds and ideas in the rockvideo format, will make a multimedia presentation. And Glenn Branca, whose wall of sound comes across as bullet-proof, executes extended dissonant pieces to overwhelm even the hardened experimental-rock fan.