Step Into Liquid, Chris Martin
The painterly methods and resulting images constituting Step Into Liquid dont just run in rivulets, they splash and clot and dribble and smear and get very, very messy in visually coherent ways. Dont think rain, think mud but when it comes to color, dont think mud, think rainbow. James Haywards monochrome welters of bas-relief-thick brush strokes and David Reeds geometric forms ensnared by undulating waves of goopy paint both exuberantly celebrate the viscous. Nostalgie de la boue also drives Michael Reafsnyders expansive eruptions of dark paint inflected with so many errant strokes and drips and smooshes. Pia Fries forges thick webs and skeins of caked pigment against neutral white fields, while Jane Callister gets loosest, and comes closest to representation, with her blasted-landscape structures forged out of drippy, puddly acrylic.
New Yorker Chris Martin also trips out on color, and form, but not on flow. Rather, he relies on a playful, even cockeyed geometry and gobs of pigment to compose eccentric shapes doing, well, eccentric things. Think Alfred Jensen loosened up by Thomas Nozkowski; but Martin delivers his lines with a flair, and a palette, all his own.
Step Into Liquid at Otis Colleges Ben Maltz Gallery, 9045 Lincoln Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; thru Jan. 28. (310) 665-6905. Chris Martin at Daniel Weinberg, 6148 Wilshire Blvd.; Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m-5:30 p.m.; thru Feb. 4. (323) 954-8425. (Peter Frank)
Does this sound odd to you: Be prepared to experience all styles of dance covering everything from Modern Dance to Hip-Hop! Isnt that a pretty short leap? Arent there numerous other dance styles outside those two? Like, wheres the Lindy? Or the Para Para? In any case, Carnival: Choreographers Ball is where youll see the hottest collection of dance from the industrys top choreographers. Pssst: Diana Ross is expected to attend. Key Club, 9041 Sunset Blvd., W. Hollywood; Wed., Jan. 25, 9 p.m.; $20. (310) 274-5800. (Libby Molyneaux)
2 Pianos 4 Hands
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In their widely produced and presumably autobiographical story, playwrights Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt sometimes ruefully, always humorously, recount their childhood years chained to the piano, including all the sacrifices (sports and girls specifically) that they had to make. Its charm comes from its simplicity: Two actor-musicians (Richard Carsey and Tom Frey) playing beautifully on two grand pianos while rushing in and out of scores of characters. They parody eccentric music teachers who range from incompetent to insufferable. Large scrims surrounded by fancy picture frames offer grotesque shadows of angry parents, through Steve Lucas ingeniously understated set and lighting. Co-author Greenblatt directs with a slickness that initially robs us of some of the shows gentle moments, but soon the actors settle into a sincerity thats challenging when doing so many characters. Finally, this play is about the music, and the performers provide that with skill. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach; Tues.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; thru Feb. 5. (949) 497-2787. (Tom Provenzano)