on Wall Street
A glamorous new site-specific work is sure to be gallantly streaming.
By Gia Kourlas
Lawrence Goldhuber, whose girth and timing are legendary in the dance world, is, quite refreshingly, a ham. His sense of showbiz is reliably impeccable-if you're after a laugh, he's your man. His latest work, Whose Broads Stripes, presented as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Sitelines series, will create an odd portrait for the financial district: live guitar by Geoff Gersh, who will play Jimi Hendrix's version of "The Star Spangled Banner" and Pink Floyd's "Money" dressed as a Vietnam veteran; a robust businessman-turned-superhero (Goldhuber, naturally); and two statuesque women wearing red-and-white sequined halter gowns (Patricia Hoffbauer and Amber Martin).
"It's an ice-cream sundae on a hot afternoon," Goldhuber muses cheerfully after a recent rehearsal. "I wish I could have 20 dancers in those dresses, but it still has a few elements in a short while: fans, flying money, costumes, live music. It'll be the kind of thing where people think, What's going on? And then they only have to stand there watching for ten minutes. They won't feel like they've missed something."
Goldhuber regards Whose Broads Stripes as a pageant of sorts (props include fake money and famous protest signs like War is not healthy for children and other living things). But there is also a subversive edge, made more meaningful by the piece's dramatic setting: the steps of the Federal Hall National Memorial, with the Stock Exchange and military presence nearby. "When Patty [Hoffbauer] first started rehearsals, she said, 'Oh, it's very political,'_" Goldhuber recalls. "I'm like, Barely. In the most generic way: Make love, not war. It seems so tame, almost like a cliché. I often use what I consider shorthand in my work, which is simple. I'm a fan of ballet, which helped me realize that doing four things on the left and four things on the right-that repetition-is okay. It gives me confidence. I can invent movement, but that's not what interests me in putting on theater. I love Merce Cunningham, so it's not that I don't like that as an aesthetic; it's just that it's not funny."
Yet, for all his desire to entertain, Goldhuber still ran into some difficulty with government bureaucrats; the Sitelines brochure publicized Whose Broads Stripes as a work full of tantalizing showgirls. "I don't know who's responsible, but someone at the Federal Hall Memorial read the blurb, which made it sound like strippers were going to be luring businessmen with boas or something," he recalls. "Someone panicked and said, 'This is inappropriate for a Federal Memorial park site,' and they yanked the permit. I was told by the directors of LMCC: 'Don't panic. This happens to us every year.'_" The permit was reinstated soon after, but it put Goldhuber into crisis mode. "It stopped my creative process," he says. "I work on a deadline. It's like baking a soufflé: The show has to be ready the day it premieres. You can't finish it early. It gets stale."
Goldhuber, a former member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, was always a theatrical animal. Born in New York and exposed to productions such as Fiddler on the Roof and Jesus Christ Superstar at a young age, he originally aimed to become an actor. "I have to credit Bill T. Jones with making me more of a storyteller," he says. "I always considered myself an actor, which is more of an interpretive artist, and it was only working in the Jones/Zane company, where we were part of the creative process, that I found I had that ability. But before that, I was really on the straight actor's path."
There are certain dramatic characteristics, however, that come in handy. In Whose Broads Stripes, Goldhuber will strip down to a unitard. "Even skinny dancers hate wearing those things!" he exclaims, laughing. "I'm brave. Very brave. It's the clown. I give it up-you have to. That's what the actor does. You can't be afraid to look silly. But oh my God, the horror."
La Mama E.T.C. presents
Lawrence Goldhuber in
Written and Directed by Valeria Vasilevski
Costume by Frank Krenz
LIghting by Clifton Taylor
Potatoes by Hapi Phace
November 3 - 12, 2006
PHOTO: LESLEY DILL
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