A New Computer

Experimental performance by High Kindergarten Performance Group. Plus: Quake, bellydancing.


Those very technologies created to liberate us end up enslaving us too, insinuating themselves into the monotonous rhythms of everyday life. In Computer—a new work by artistic collective High Kindergarten Performance Group (Spade Cooley's Nightmare)—machines control every aspect of the day, down to the workplace coffee break. HKPG founders and veteran Seattle performers Tamara Paris and Matt Fontaine, in collaboration with a handful of other local artists, spent the past year investigating the themes presented in this show, which combines ritualistic performance, found and created text, and live music to create a charged alternate reality. "In this production," Fontaine explains, "the computer represents both a magical friend as well as an electrical parasite that dooms the human being merely to transmit without feeling or learning. . . reducing history to ashes." Computer sifts those ashes as it explores the evolution of machine and human consciousness. HKPG at On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 206-217-9888, www.ontheboards.org. $18. Opens Wed. March 8. 8 p.m. Wed.-Sun. Ends Sun. March 12. RICHARD MORIN

Beyond Orient

The "Orient" is a western fabrication, a pastiche of stereotypes and poorly understood traditions given a salacious interpretation by people with little experience and less knowledge. Beyond that label, specifically from the Middle East, lies a stunningly wide variety of dance styles, some quite sensual, others bracingly abstract. Local bellydance artist Anita Ross, who performs as Sabura when she's not working as a doctor, has pulled together a program that follows the historic development of the art form, from traditional ritual to contemporary fusion, which should dispel the shopworn "Orient" label. Langston Hughes Performance Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S., 206-784-1532, www.home.att.net/~sabura. $20-$25. 8 p.m. Fri. March 10-Sat. March 11. SANDRA KURTZ


The 21st century's answer to the string quartet, as far as ubiquity, is the five-person "Pierrot ensemble," so called for Schoenberg's 1912 Pierrot lunaire, the first work to make use of it. Flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano form the basis of many a new-music group; the Seattle Chamber Players drop the piano, for example, while Quake adds percussion and trombone. They're going beyond the norm in other ways with their next concert, exploring the meta-music performance art of the '60s avant-garde and the "Fluxus" artists' group that included John Cage and Yoko Ono. On the bill: Steve Reich's haunting Come Out, Cage's Living Room Music, Ono's Sky Piece for Jesus Christ, and Ben Vautier's Push—and by now we've crossed the line into dance. Quake's performance is called "Instruments Optional"—that ain't all that's optional, from the looks of the photo. Benaroya Recital Hall, Third Avenue and Union Street, 206-292-ARTS, www.ticketmaster.com. $10-$20. 7:30 p.m. Tues. March 14. GAVIN BORCHERT

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