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Crush

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many of you are shivering in an anticipatory dread. We understand, we really do; but there is no reason why you should allow the crass commercial debasement of the notions of love, intimacy and affectionate connection clogging the broadcast airwaves to terrorize you. This year, instead of merely huddling alone on your couch with a 12-pack of Smirnoff Ice and a box of Oreos, spend the evening preparing to go to Hudson on Saturday to revel in the emotional openness and unconditional acceptance offered by installation artist Kathe Izzo.

Izzo has issued an invitation—to everyone—to come view the continuation of her installation piece Crush, which was first shown at Boston’s ONI gallery. At the former Lee Musselman Gallery on Warren Street in Hudson, Izzo will “build some kind of temple/fort in the gallery,” and every other night or so from Feb. 15 to March 1, she’ll invite a crush to spend the evening and an overnight with her. Her guests represent a full spectrum of possible crush objects—“art crushes, crushes on people I have never met, someone I am working on seducing, someone I don’t know, various loved ones like yourself, etc.”—and the possibilities of interaction are undefined. The guests are encouraged to bring items to the space and actively contribute to its shape and character. “Whatever happens,” the artist has written, “is important and creates a wavelike redistribution of energy that affects the room and therefore the planet.”

The point, Izzo says, is that “we, on the food of this love—even though we don’t really know each other—can build this together.” Take that, Hallmark.

Kathe Izzo’s Crush will kick off with an opening reception on Saturday (Feb. 15) at the former Lee Musselman Gallery (608 ½ Warren St., Hudson). The reception, which runs from 6 to 9 PM, will feature DJ Sal of New York City’s House of Pleasure. Crush can be viewed through March 1, Fri-Sun, 6 AM-9 AM and 11 AM-5 PM. Also by chance and appointment. For more information, 822-9975.

The Maids

The Saratoga Theatre Project doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to discussing its ambitious mission.

The press release for the group’s inaugural production announces, “Saratoga Theatre Project is dedicated to investigating the psychological impact of dreams, desires, madness, imagination, myth and ritual on the individual and collective experience. We do this by examining the verbal and visual history of these ideas on stage . . .[and] how societal and physical limitations influence our individual perceptions of the world.”

So, a Neil Simon maybe? Not bloody likely.

As their public debut, STP has chosen a play from the pen of an author whose biography neatly fits that exacting thesis as much as his plays. Jean Genet’s The Maids, which portrays the role-playing of two domestics as they ape the cruelty of their abusive employer by abusing one another, is a biting satire of the ritualized brutality of regimented and hierarchical social structures. Genet was well-schooled in such cruelty and in the specifics of societal and physical limitations: He grew up in a series of homes for juvenile delinquents, and as an adult was in and out of prison. So much did he come to positively identify himself as an outsider and agitator that he left Hitler’s Germany, where the Frenchman had briefly settled, because he felt that among such institutionalized criminality, he no longer had individuality: “If I steal here,” he wrote, “I accomplish no special act that could help me to realize myself. I merely obey the habitual order of things. I do not destroy it.”

Saratoga Theatre Project will perform Jean Genet’s The Maids at the Arts Center Theatre (Spring Street and Broadway, Saratoga Springs) on Saturday (Feb. 15) and Sunday (Feb. 16) at 8 PM and 7 PM respectively; also Feb. 22 at 8 PM and Feb. 23 at 7 PM. Tickets are $7, $4 seniors and students. For more information or reservations, 692-8426 or www.saratogatheatre.org.

Dance Flurry Festival

Ever wanted to learn how to contradance? If you can walk and count to eight, and know your left from your right, you can. And if you head to the Dance Flurry Festival in Saratoga beginning tomorrow (Friday) and continuing throughout the weekend, you will have numerous chances to do so.

In its 16th year, Dance Flurry is a weekend festival for dancers and music lovers to enjoy dancing, performances, workshops, crafts and more. It is open to adults, teens and families of all experience levels. According to the press release, “Dance Flurry participants actively embrace and celebrate a variety of cultures from around the world.” Contradance (or contredanse) is a folk dance in which couples face each other in two lines or in a square; you can also try your hand (or foot) at clogging, waltzing, hiphop, belly dance, tango, swing, lindy, Salsa, modern, country & western, Victorian, polka and more. There are classes in dance from many different cultures including African, Scandinavian, Scottish, Irish, Israeli, Balkan, Native American, Dutch and more. You can take a yoga class or a predance stretch class. The festival’s organizers are expecting more than 4,000 attendees and more than 600 performers including musicians, dance teachers, callers, dance performers and storytellers. The musical entertainment includes Alex Torres and the Latin Kings, Commander Cody, local fiddler George Wilson, and Barachois (pictured), a multi-instrumentalist quartet from Prince Edward Island.

Dance Flurry offers participatory dance and music instruction, parties and performance sessions including late-night dance parties on Friday and Saturday; at any given hour there are between six and 13 simultaneous workshops, performances, dance parties and impromptu jams taking place at several locations in downtown Saratoga Springs.

The festival takes place tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 14) from 7 PM to 2 AM, Saturday (Feb. 15) from 9 AM to 2 AM, and Sunday (Feb. 16) from 9 AM to 6:30 PM. Admission varies daily, and information can be obtained by calling 292-0133 or visiting www.danceflurry.org, where you can also find a full schedule of events.


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