Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Dresden Dolls In Repose

Yesterday, The Actuary, his girlfriend (henceforth referred to as "Gamer Girl" or GG for short), a longtime friend of GG's (Longtime Friend) and myself went to Cambridge, MA to see The Dresden Dolls perform.

The Lead Up: I had heard of The Dresden Dolls, and listened to 30-second clips of their songs, before learning of this "concert." I decided that I would go, on my own or with others, just because I had the sense that it might be "something interesting." In preparation for the event, I purchased and listened to The Dresden Dolls' two albums. I also got The Actuary and Gamer Girl (her Longtime Friend subsequently asked to join us if possible) to come with me to this unknown.

This was not a concert. It was a performance art piece. Oh they played 6-8 of their songs, but it was primarily acting (i.e., vignettes) interspersed between the musical tracks. A story or two or three or four was told in this process. A girl estranged from her father died in a drunk driving crash (when she was growing up, she collected tears). Onion Boy and Mute Girl met and fell in love (palm-licking ensued). A bartender revealed his attraction to a bear suit-wearing coworker. The wife in an out-of-town couple revealed that she could not have children. A man tied-up in tape was trapped and seeking assistance by dialing with his head (he also once spoke with a mute, drum-playing penguin). A man revealed his days as a child when his opera-loving father would yell at him for crying.

There were a number of themes to the performance. Tragedy. Sadness. Loneliness. Love. Secrets. Stories. Crying.

At one time, they passed out pieces of paper for the audience members to write on. Each paper contained a question. Mine: "When was the last time you cried? Answer now." My answer: "About 6 years ago, shortly after my dad died." Apparently they take all the papers (they have different questions printed on them) and put them on the wall in the hallway of the building. Very Post Secret.

Inarguably, the performance was designed to provoke a reaction in the audience. A very personal, heartfelt reaction. It succeeded immensely. Every one of us walked away with something - some thought, some reaction, some reflection, something.

Me? For me it was an artistic work that reminded me of tragedy, sadness and secrets. It had me thinking about my dad. Thinking when I last truly cried and why. Reflecting on my loneliness and my "search" to abate said loneliness. It had me contemplating my growing up, my youth. Lots of internal conversations and reactions.

For their part, The Dresden Dolls were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic! Love their music or hate it, you have to admit that the two of them are incredibly talented. Amanda can sing. She is fantastic. Her voice, the songs, the lyrics. Brian can drum and play the guitar. The two of them are so impassioned that it comes through their music ever so clearly. They are amazing. Musicians through and through but more - artists. And they love their art. Very passionate. It makes listening to their CDs now rather hard since I've seen them live and the flat recordings almost don't do them justice. To see her pounding on the keyboard. To see him pounding on the drums. The two of them feed off each other. They catch cues from each other. Funny, passionate, wonderful. It works. It works so well. Just amazing to behold.

If you have the opportunity, whether for this series of performances at The Onion Cellar or another time, GO SEE THE DRESDEN DOLLS. They are that good, that talented, that worth it. So worth it. So good. Amazing.