Anywhere Festival 2016: Habitus of Concrete Flesh

Habitus of Concrete Flesh is not only a site-specific Butoh show, but is also an immersive Butoh show with a name like Habitus of Concrete Flesh. In terms of how Theatre of Thunder went about presenting this as a whole, the performance comes across as pretty inaccessible—which for an Anywhere Festival show is exciting in ways that something like a restaging of Shakespeare could never be. 

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Jonathan O'Brien
Anywhere Festival 2016: Love Letters to Fuckbois and Other Woes of Wayward Women

I’m going to begin this review with the bold declaration that Love Letters to Fuckbois is an exact distillation of what Anywhere Festival should be. In form, it’s simple—two women (Lia Stark, Melina Wightman) stand up and speak with awkward confidence into microphones. They introduce faux drinking games to the crowd, laugh at once together and at each other, and encourage the audience to laugh with them. 

The show is simple in content, too: Wightman & Stark pull out random letters from a jar, each addressed to a fuckboi from their past, and through this lens proceed to give us a delightful sample of their romantic and sexual histories. 

They do this for half an hour. 

It’s awesome. 

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Jonathan O'Brien
Anywhere Festival 2016: Argo presents: FLOW

Argo’s latest show, Flow, feels like the kinda show that characters in a stylish New York drama like ‘Girls’ might have attended. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means the work is gorgeous, high production-value, and safe. And those are all okay things for a work to be. Because by being those things, what Argo managed to do was bring together the most diverse audience I’ve ever seen in one place in this town, and then let them mingle and shift comfortably together. The success of Flow is a testament, more than anything, to the universal language of live instrumental music, and the gorgeousness of the Spring Hill Reservoirs.

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Jonathan O'Brien
Anywhere Festival 2016: The Moon Men

The Moon Men, as a text, is the strongest it’s ever been. But as a performance, and as a full experience, it is not. Where the text is polished, more nuanced, and clearer in terms of its structure and intent, the delivery of this text is harder to follow, and clumsier—and a lot of this comes down to the space the team chose for their performance. The Greaser carpark is grungy. It’s graffitied, concreted, and tucked away. It’s essentially perfect for The Moon Men’s aesthetic—the space feels like an extension of the marketing and that’s a great thing. But the space, in a functional sense, completely drowns out so much of the effect the show might have had. In fact, what this production proves more clearly than anything is that Anywhere Festival’s old ‘Theatre. Anywhere.’ slogan clearly has a few stipulations attached to it. 

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Jonathan O'Brien
(2016==Yeezy/Theatre&Agenda/Free Art)

I got up at 5am to watch the MSG stream of The Life of Pablo/YZYSZN3 back in February. I watched Kanye come down waving to the cheering hordes of people who surrounded the giant tarps in the centre of the stadium. I watched as Ye and his crew bounced to the new record in front of his fabled laptop, celebrating whatever whack shit they’d created together. I saw Jay Z sitting up the back, frowning and nodding.

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Jonathan O'Brien
Nine Hundred Days of Space: The Martian

The Martian finds Matt Damon in his second space-genre film role in twelve months after Interstellar, which was Christopher Nolan’s disappointing 2014 follow-up to the conclusion of his Dark Knight trilogy. This time things are different: Damon’s playing the lead role, and things are the same: he’s found himself again under the direction of Nolan’s fellow hit-or-miss director, Ridley Scott.

    But unlike Interstellar, the key thing to know about The Martian is this: it’s good. Really good. What Scott achieves here is a tense film that probably, overall, is the best film yet in the recent 2010s trend of one-high-budget-space-film-a-year. Sure, both Interstellar and Gravity were more gorgeous films, and I would still hold that Gravity’s first 40 minutes is the best space film to come out this decade—but overall, taking into account the blunder of Gravity’s second half, The Martian comes out on top.

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Jonathan O'Brien