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Views From This Vantage Tend to Get a Bit Hazy

August 25, 2000|PHILIP BRANDES

The very notion of an "All-Stars of L.A. Performance Art Series" is just goofy enoughto fit in with the spirit of free-associative exploration that characterizes the medium. Whether or not the team assembled for two performances at the fledgling Knitting Factory in Hollywood truly qualifies as the local creme de la creme is anybody's guess--no single overarching aesthetic could be applied to this eclectic roster.

More likely, the parties involved seem to be colleagues and acquaintances of emcee and organizer the Dark Bob, a witty, goateed singer-raconteur presiding over the evening like a postmodern Ed Sullivan. His often riveting, occasionally pretentious and always peculiar menagerie is diverse enough to provide something for any taste.

A latter-day descendant of a Beat poet, Linda J. Albertano rails in recitation and song against impersonal, hectic, modern absurdities, trading in bongos for Casio keyboard accompaniment by Bob Mitchell. The Dark Bob himself takes the stage for some elliptical reflections and a song or two, lip-syncing to his recorded voice, amusingly altered with digital audio effects.

The musical acts include experimental jazz percussionist Danny Frankel (with guitarist Carey Fosse), whose complex compositions intriguingly emerge from initially chaotic sonic assaults. Michael Intriere wields a mean avant classical cello as Anna Homler supplies evocative vocals in her own made-up language and adds percussion via squeeze toys.

Last Sunday, Dan Kwong's two monologues were the show's high points, but he will not be part of Sunday's bill. The Othervisions Art Band provides a tight second act of politically themed traditional blues.

Two weeks ago the Knitting Factory opened for its inaugural music acts. The official opening is scheduled for Sept. 18. Judging from "All-Stars of L.A. Performance Art," it holds great promise as a performance venue, though table-and-chair seating in the intimate L-shaped Alterknit Lounge is woefully inadequate for this show.

*

"All-Stars of L.A. Performance Art Series," Knitting Factory, 7021 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. $10. (323) 464-0204. Running time: 3 hours.

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