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viernes, 6 de agosto de 2010

Back to real?

The theatre conference is over. After 5 intense, exhausting and uncanny days trapped in the basement of the luxurious, excessive Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills (which used to be a sort of Republican niche in LA city), life seems to be back to normal.  Many things happened in between. Just this morning I attended -- or intended to attend-- five different panels. 'Strategies of survival' was the warming up: 3 speakers, 3 members in the audience. Obliged to speak at the end, I managed to draw a nice overreaching question that brought sense to the early awakening. After that everything went wrong. Two unofficially canceled sessions made me send emails to the authors, and ---it will never stop surprising me -- just one hour after, I had two hot papers in my inbox. One of the essays ('Nine parts of desire') from a Polish artist, Magda Romanska. I want to be her friend. 

For last panel I had to choose between two seemingly appealing options: 'Surviving the Holocaust: resistance, identity, representation and humor', and a round table discussion on 'Unmarked', Peggy Phelan's book where she crafted perhaps the most iterated statement in performance studies' field:  'Performance becomes itself through disappearance'.  Incapable of renunciations, I tried to do both things at the same time. I first squeezed into the 'Holocaust and Humor' session to discover that my favorite speaker had canceled his presentation only leaving  a suggesting and now melancholic title: 'Laugh or Die'. Pulling myself over, I made my way to the mezzanine level  where Peggy's fans were gathered. I was surprised to see the famous author sitting next to the table where six variously prepared scholars were enthusiastically discussing on her work. The situation was pretty awkward and, at some point, even disrespectful. All these people were talking about her without acknowledging in any way her embodied presence in the room. Perhaps as a result of a silent ceremony of extreme recognition, she seemed to have become a sort of ghost. Eventually, Phelan left the room. Five minutes later I followed up and went to the marvelous swimming pool looking for some fresh air. The whole scene had been highly theatrical. Phelan had enacted in some strange way her own words, she had become herself through disappearance.

To celebrate my recovered freedom, this afternoon I went back to yoga.  Gail, my favorite teacher at the LA Fitness center, pointed out again to the sky and the mother earth in the middle of a plastic gym in Westwood, a surreal area in LA where UCLA students share fancy restaurants with Hollywood premiers attenders. An extremely beautiful girl, probably a bad paid actress or perhaps a famous model, was practising next to me and I discovered myself competing to reach the most difficult postures in order to get Gail's approval. I failed of course.  

Am I truly back to real? I think this is what I love the most of LA. It is a city that stresses the high levels of fiction all over its own foundational space. It acts as a reminder that life will always be luxuriously theatrical.

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