phile under: TBA 2010

TBA 2010: AndrewAndrew and Wonderlust

How’d you like The Works last night?Choose your own review.

By Anne Adams September 19, 2010

Wonderlust’s background was bangin’ and their tights were poppin’—but as performers they seemed kind of green.
(Photo by Guido van der Werve.)

Last night’s show at The Works, featuring Eastern-bloc marshmallow peeps Wonderlust and iPad-wielding Poindexters AndrewAndrew, may or may not have given you what you needed. Culturephile can review these two acts for you, but first you must choose your own adventure:

Wow, that dance party was some mad crazy good times. Those DJ’s were almost like…performance artists! The girls wore these matching outfits with head-scarves, and they had these cute little dance moves they would do together, and they even sang for a minute, and it sounded pretty good. Their stuff was really wild—it was like Klezmer, and Bollywood—there were tubas and clarinets and most of it was pretty danceable, but it definitely also had its own flav-ah. And they had projections of slavic scarf-patterns, and like, snapshots of Russian or Polish families sitting around their living room. It was a pretty cool little setup, I must say!

AndrewAndrew wore matching clothes, too, and they were a riot! They played a game of musical chairs, and they spun all these total pop-chart classics, like Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson, which were pretty fun—and I think a couple newer things, too, like some Lady Gaga. They were using iPads instead of usual turntable/DJ type gear, so they could walk around in the crowd. At one point they went on the top balcony, and cued some music from there, which was pretty neat.

One problem, though: the auditorium it was in, had all these rows of seats, and the aisles were sloped, so it was kind of hard to dance in there. It would have been good to have more of a dance floor. But that didn’t stop me!

These two ‘drews kept it so simple, they couldn’t go wrong.

Choose an ending:
-I danced frantically and maniacally!
-I danced delightedly and dramatically!
-I am still dancing!

Hm. Next to last weekend’s Ten Tiny Dances and yesterday’s Drum Machine, this Works bill underwhelmed. Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t last night’s artists basically just DJ’s? And not even with turntables or instruments. Just pushing “play.” Sure, they had matching costumes, but Wonderlust didn’t engage the space or acknowledge their audience, and beyond using iPads (a toy Tender Forever just elevated to a whole new level), AndrewAndrew didn’t show us anything new. And all those people trying to dance in the aisles, obscured our view.

Maybe if Wonderlust had played into the oompa-pa cheesiness of some of their numbers with big manic grins, or if they had maintained a disciplined deadpan, that could have given their very basic clogging steps some meaning and tone. Instead, they kept half-smirking, and glancing sidelong at one another to coordinate clunky dance transitions. It felt a little too “school talent show,” and not in a planned or purposeful way.

To their credit, AndrewAndrew worked the crowd—albeit by pressing some pretty failsafe buttons. “Who likes Michael Jackson? Who likes prizes?” We all like prizes, sirs; but some of us also like SURprises.

Choose an ending:
-I retreated to the bar.
-I went home.

“Wonderlust” with an “o,” is a Finland-based duo, NOT to be confused with “Wanderlust” with an “a,” a Portland circus collective fronted by Fall Arts Issue honoree, Noah Mickens. For more information on TBA events, visit PICA. A more comprehensive list of upcoming events can be found at our Arts & Entertainment Calendar.

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