A Day of Great Misfortune

Saturday, June 20.  The day of the show.  The day of great misfortune.

I’m up early.  Not as early as Mac who’s made scrambled eggs for all while watching Maya.  We’re aiming to be at the gallery at 10 to space and tech.  As we walk out the door, Seema and Sushil drive up to offer us a ride to Victoria Station.  They drop us off in a no standing zone and we say thanks and goodbye as Seema runs to catch the car.

We get out with all the stuff at Brixton Station.  Lots of people, somewhat shabby looking neighborhood.  We pass Electric Avenue as mentioned in some pop song I don’t know.  It’s the first street to be lit by electric lights.  I know this from the guidebook.  We find the street that the gallery is on and walk.  And walk.  Pass some rundown apartment blocks.  And walk.  The gallery is not close to the station.  This is unfortunate.

We find the alley where the gallery is located.  It is the farthest in of the studios.  It’s locked.  We wait.  Mac leaves a messaged for the gallery owner.  We wait, warm up hopefully, and wait.  Jen and Maya join us at 12.  The out of breath gallery owner arrives apologetically and we leave our stuff to go find lunch.  Down the block, the Vietnamese restaurant recommended by the gallery owner is closed.  We take the bus back to the Brixton station. 

After walking away from where the restaurants are located and then back, we settle on an organic sandwich shop where the staff seems to be playing restaurant.  It is a congenial atmosphere.  Then we’re off to the contact jam that starts at 3 hoping to snag a few potential audience members.

We leave Jen and Maya and head to the Angel station located north in a Liberal Party part of town.  Outside the station, seeing we looked confused, a woman offers us directions to the well-known dance studio nearby.  It wasn’t me who gave us away.  I’m dressed normal.  As we’re not going to that studio, we follow the directions from a gentleman and take the bus a bit too far, follow the directions from another gentleman, backtrack a bit, and, after an interaction with a snarky vicar, find the jam just in time to… wait.  It’s the summer solstice and they’re preparing for the longest jam of the year, an underscore timed to coincide with other underscores at various locations throughout the world which starts just before we have to leave and ends about when our show will start.  This is unfortunate.

Back at the gallery in Brixton, we set up, space the dances, warm up, greet the musician we’re sharing the show with, a West African kora player, get into costume and start the show.  Of the nine people there, the artist, who’s exhibit is currently displayed around us, and her friend are our audience.  We perform the first dance, Leaving Home.  It goes well and we talk to the artist about how her paintings match so well with the choreography.  Then the kora player plays.  It is incredible and wonderful and beautiful and I feel a bit sorry for London for having missed it. After that the artist apologizes for having to leave with her friend but stays for the first two of our four-dance set.  After they go we decide to continue anyway for Jen to get some pictures.  We perform our asses off for Jen and her camera, the kora player and the bartender.  The gallery owner stays in her office fretting that the Brixton tube station has been closed for construction.

As we’re breaking down the set and cleaning up, the second musician and his band arrive.  They are informed that, unfortunately, since there is no audience there’s no point to perform. They seem disappointed to miss the opportunity to play.  We continue to clean up and talk about how except for the lack of people it was a really good show.

We take a long, winding bus ride through some really cool neighborhoods back to the house where we’re staying, where we’ll eat take-out pizza, and I’m looking back over the day’s series of events thinking that there has been a great misfortune here, and I’m glad to say it wasn’t mine.



Nice rundown of events. It was a sort of comedy of bad luck, something like The First Night, but with less food.

A lovely time was had by all--pity there were so few of us.