Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Requiem at the Intel Building

I park in the freebie zones around the Intel building downtown. Parking is expensive at my office building and the opportunity to parallel park gratis sounds great to me, even though every so often I see evidence of car break ins. Normally the area stays empty except for a few pigeons and the occasional homeless man who jimmies the gate open to sleep in the cool shadowy interior of the unfinished structure.

For those of you new to Austin, and who aren't as familiar with downtown, the Intel building is the multi-storied shell at 5th & San Antonio. The Intel building has been a scar on the face of downtown since 2001 when production halted, leaving three of the four sides of street parking have no meters. Quite a few of us have found this last bastion of meter free parking and use them whenever possible. In the last few months, there's been a flurry of activity at the Intel building that's piqued my curiosity. Okay, so I was getting peeved at the sudden lack of parking spaces and abundance of cars I'd never seen before.

A flurry of activity had started at Intel. I was very interested in exactly what was being done behind the fencing and in the abandoned courtyard of the unfinished office space. I'd watched over the weeks as the gate locks changed to new rust free ones. I'd seen people come and go but always pull the gates shut behind them. One time, I sneaked a peek and saw an eclectic group of people in the weed infested yard. And then one day at lunchtime I stepped out of my car and heard music. But not just any music. Opera. Coming from above me.

Looking up to the building, I saw the dancers hanging from ropes. Yes, dancers. Yes, ropes. And they were swaying in time to the music before tumbling delicately down and across the open floors and out and above the courtyard.

It seems that Sally Jacques has revived her Scaffolding Trilogy and created "Requiem", an operatic dance production using dancers, ropes, cloth and bungee cords.

The dancers are graceful and fascinating to watch, as they are upside down often. It's surreal, with peaceful, almost hypnotic music streaming from the sound system. The performances start on June 7th and will go on for three weeks. I've enjoyed the rehearsals and am certain the show will be serene and beautiful, with delicate dance moves performed against the harsh unfinished concrete and rebar background.

A lovely piece of art for the ugly Intel building.

1 comment:

sean said...

it was also one of the staging grounds for spoon's sister jack video. that shell is evidence of the biggest city council f-up in the past 10 years.