One often leaves The Standard Hotel questioning reality, for many reasons, which makes the hotel's Downtown rooftop an appropriate setting for experimental performance and the fashionably interested. That's what The Series is all about. This monthly party-slash-theatrical event put on its fifth "show" last night, embedding actors, musicians, and artists who spontaneously perform among "regular" people. Performances might include aerobics on the couch, pool dancing, clowns doing sign language, puppet shows, and hidden sound effects. For The Series V: Sound Off, producer Nicole Disson invited L.A. Record to contribute some performers who would effectively use the space like maniacs or children.
The Series is a playground for strange theatrics AND a hip party. It's often unclear who is performing and who isn't. A scene might just be a clean-cut actor who's kind of fratty looking coming up to a (non-actor) guy in the crowd with long hair and telling him he has a good vibe. Or whether to know if it was planned for Yasmine Kittles to later put the clean-cut guy in a headlock after he heckles her. Were all the people doing sign language in the elevator planted there? Or was one of them a hotel guest from a foreign country playing along?
Everybody became a suspect, potentially performing just by being there. Five Japanese guys in matching black suits walked around giddily, snapping photos of each other. In one corner, a group of uniformed military recruits sipped martinis. And by the bar, an older well-dressed couple stormed off, agitated and disturbed by Jason Grier playing the clarinet and girls running around swinging cans in the air.
Some performances were easier to recognize but found other ways to create illusions. Ariana Natale, a video director from The Masses collective, turned a dancer into a hologram by projecting onto her body as she spun around. Proof:
There were hidden sounds. Shouting erupted out of the ground by the pool once. And every time someone walked from the pool to the bar, Carl Sagan was there waiting on the stairs, courtesy of a soundclip by, artist with an summer show at REDCAT, Aaron Drake. Morgan Gee had sound effects everywhere, in the elevator, which she made with Lola Loshkey bandmate Drew Denny, and in the waterbed pods, made with Dylan McKenzie, and also cued the audience with sounds on the big speakers if a performance took place ... somewhere.
Musician Julia Holter played a live score on keyboard for foreign film excerpts, singing along in made up languages. Holter often appears playing with Linda Perhacs and Nite Jewel, and her own work is surreal. One song may have 150 tracks, another is a 30 minute recording of fire works, and then a third is voice and keyboard recorded on a breakfast table with the TV on.
Tell pipe and synth wielding Tearist to do something wild and the duo delivers. Before leaping in the pool, Yasmine Kittles appeared in the crowd mic-less and pantless, making tribal calls. She pushed her way around. That's when she tussled with a guy, who was potentially one of the Poor Dog Group actors. The experimental theater collective performed by pretending to be regular people acting strangely at the event. We heard someone say, "Is that part of it?," and turned to see a guy standing near the bar with his head hanging down to his belly, just standing there frozen.
It was Dim Mak's Ana Calderon who asked that. She and Disson throw the weekly El Cid party Nomerica and both of them dictate a fair share of other social calendars. The Series is Disson's way of uniting her talent for gathering people together with another type of scenemaking--that'd be theatre. Disson is in the show, too.
... And so are you.