Andrew Rybarsyk reviews Konrad Steiner’s performance at the Dreamland Theater that was part of this semester’s BathHouse Reading Series:
Konrad Steiner at the Dreamland Theater
I attended the early show of Konrad’s work at the Dreamland Theater in Ypsilanti Michigan; I was curious how his work would appear in an actual live reading and I wasn’t disappointed. The Dreamland Theatre was a very small hole in the wall theater that was dimly lit and furnished with old wooden benches. Attendance was high and a majority of people had to stand during the show. The show in general was quite interesting and had a full spectrum of works that kept the show fresh and entertaining, including experimental films, dubs, and readings.
The first work that was presented was an experimental film. It had a much worn appearance and the constant theme was old buildings and balloons to a somewhat creepy soundtrack. I didn’t like the film; it was too abstract compared to what I’m used to viewing and left me more confused than anything else.
During the night he showed his dub to Minority Report, I had seen this previously for my contemporary forms class. Konrad attended and spoke to my class regarding the creative process and some background into the making of this piece. Though I expected it to be an identical showing to the in class presentation Konrad performing live to the audience was very riveting and was completely different and had more life and soul. Though I fully enjoyed the in class presentation because it gave me a background to his creative process and the tools and materials that he used to make the piece. I was able to connect with that piece more than any other piece because of this extra info that I had received.
By far the most interesting work that Steiner performed was a dub from an old Nazi film. The film itself had a intensely high contrast to where everything was either black or white. Konrad donned a white American Apparel dress and stood in front of the projector so the film played off of him. He then proceeded to move about the room dubbing over the language with language of his own, purposely covering up portions of the screen. His use of himself as the canvas was brilliant and the way that he moved around the theater kept the whole audience guessing to what he was going to do next, by far my favorite of all the works he had done that evening.
Konrad’s work at the Deamland Theater in Ypsilanti was quite an experience; I got to see an abstract artist present his work live and in person. I walked away with a greater understanding of his work and the emotion that goes into this art form that a person watching on the internet wouldn’t fully understand. Though it didn’t make me a full lover of Konrad’s work I feel I can now make an accurate review of his work since I had listened to the inside info from Konrad himself out of the presentation spotlight, and seen him perform his work live. For this I am glad that I attended his showing at the Dreamland Theater.
EMU student Andrew Rybarsyk reviews the recent Creative Writing Capstone Showcase:
Last Thursday EMU held its annual Capstone Showcase, where EMU’s graduating seniors can showcase their work to each other as they prepare for graduation. I attended to support all my friends as they showcase their work and to hear some good poetry. The gallery was filled to capacity with supporters, so much so that many had to stand or sit in the back for the duration of the presentations. The presentations themselves were very diverse; from poetry and prose, short stories, films, and a screenplay. All were very exceptional and were brilliant examples of graduating students work. Though some technical difficulties plagued the presentation in the beginning soon all problems were solved and the presentations continued without a hitch.
I was a true fan of the poetry and prose done by and handful of students, each student’s piece was very different and emphasized a different fanatic feature of poetry so each was unique. Some revolved around their childhood, families, and nature but all were spoken with a beautiful imagery that drew the audience into the piece and made the whole capstone worth watching.
The presented short stories were good though I had trouble with them being read outside of their context. It felt as if I was dropped into the middle of a story and I didn’t really know how to make of it, they were very well written but from a story standpoint everything seemed jumbled. This is from the fact that there wasn’t enough time to read an entire short story so a page or two had to be extracted from the piece and altered to make sense within a short time frame. I would like to read the stories in their entirety so I can get the full story and not just a little teaser.
By far my favorite piece presented was one that I couldn’t decide if it was a prose poem or a short story or a hybrid of both. Though I noticed that it shared a similarity to Tan Lin’s work with atmospheric poetry, having words used as a background and providing an atmosphere. The presented piece was about a family in a car driving to Phoenix, Arizona. The story followed a loop where some information was recycled and mixed with new information while other bits were left out, forming an ever evolving circle of dialog that by the end you had a hard time remembering what had been said and all you knew was that the family was driving in a car and heading for Phoenix. I found this remarkable and left me intrigued and wanting more.
At the capstone there were two films shown, this got me very excited because I am a majoring in film at EMU. I had forgotten that we were at a writing capstone so I was a little disappointed because they were films of the students reading their pieces to a film backdrop, similar to a music video. This is not a bad thing, nor did it hurt my view of the pieces. Sadly one of the films got cut short due to a technology issue and the second film was a dialog between the writer and his friend about how he had a writer’s block and the narration of his story he was trying to write was shown outside of the dialog. Though I feel that the extended dialog between the two men were shot from two camera angles and was a bit dry. As a suggestion if the author wasted to keep a dialog between two people he could have shot them moving or used different camera angles just to keep the audience interested during the exceedingly long dialog.
Overall I was very impressed by the work done by the graduating seniors at EMU. Their work has inspired me to attempt working in different mediums of writing and to step outside of my comfort zone. I wish only the best for them and their future work wherever it might take them. I anxiously await next year’s Capstone presentation.