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The Need, Anna Oxygen perform in 'Under Polaris' at REDCAT

October 16, 2009 |  5:21 pm
Annaoxygen400 Good, thunderous things come from Olympia, Wash., and the Need, the raw, queercore collaboration between Radio Sloan and Rachel Carns, is one of the prime, but forgotten examples. Word from wayward Olympians is that Carns is now devoting her energies to the powers of Kombucha, but in addition to fermented beverages, she also finds herself in "Under Polaris," a multimedia performance from the collective Cloud Eye Control running this weekend at REDCAT.

All graduates of CalArts' Integrated Media program, Cloud Eye Control is Miwa Matreyek, Anna Oxygen and Chiwang Yang. "Under Polaris" is their journey through a vast arctic expanse, and naturally that could be set to what is described in their press materials as a "fantasy metal" score.

Oxygen, the lead composer and a trained opera singer, is also known for working some disco-aerobics flair into her shows, for those who haven't seen her perform live. We don't expect such jazzercize here but her influences are always wide-ranging and executed with bonhomie.

David Ng at our sister blog, Culture Monster, has the good word:

Five musicians accompany the action, providing a near continuous live soundscape. Far from being acoustical wallpaper, the music is integral to the production. The rock score lifts the story into an operatic dimension, creating dramatic distance but emotional intimacy. This is one of the rare instances when an avant-garde theater production deserves its own soundtrack album release, and much of the credit goes to the fine musicians.

-- Margaret Wappler

"Under Polaris." REDCAT, 631 West 2nd St., Los Angeles. 8:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday. Closes Sunday. $20. (213) 237-2800 or www.redcat.org. Running time: 1 hour.

Photo: From left, Anna Oxygen, Miwa Matreyek and Chi-Wang Yang. Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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