Monday, 6 September 2010


Yesterday I happily accepted an invitation to a theater performance within the Zürcher Theater Spectakel (another openair thingy) on the seaside of the Zürich lake. It all started so magical, tents with food and drink, clowns and acrobats doing their numbers beside the boats rocking peacefully on the lake, guru-looking guys playing didgeridoos…I should have stayed put right there… Nononono, I went to see “Les ballets C de la B”…fecking misleading name, I tell you. (I naïvely thought at first that C from B was a pirouette trajectory…now I am afraid even to guess…:-)

I have never been so angry in my entire life - or at least for a very, VERY long time - about “the art” (and about 50 francs vanished into thin air). The worst part? Being so disappointed and feeling fooled while surrounded by excited audience and standing ovations… I wanted to get it, I really wanted to get it, but I didn’t… Till the last minute I waited that the lead “actor” would come out and say: “ye poor lads, so patient, we pulled you leg so hard for one and a half hour, here is your 50 stutz and 10 more for a beer”. But it never happened. There were STANDING ovations instead…

Here is some description from their homepage: “Inspired by the penetrating film Yo soy asi, in which the closing of a transvestite cabaret in Barcelona affords us a glimpse into the private lives of a memorable group of old artists, actress Vanessa Van Durme collected a number of transsexual and transvestite friends. She could win over directors Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke and composer Steven Prengels for a project that can be called unique in every respect. Gardenia goes deep into the turbulent lives of nine striking people. Seven older individuals who seemingly effortlessly navigate the twilight zone between being male and being female. In contrast and harmony with a “young guy” and a “real woman”. Each on a quest and each with their own intriguing story.”

I am sorry, how could I miss “the story”? Oh, there was no story. There was no glimpse into no one’s life… Ok, there was a fierce introduction of characters in the beginning, edgy words like “fucked”, “dildo”, “knickers” jammed in one sentence made a good start…not. A bunch of hobos could have done the job (given the wigs and makeup). It was neither shocking nor fine… just plain vulgar, was that the aim? Ah, there WAS a fun part: lots of Russian talk. I dig it, ok, because I am Russian, what about the others? Why? Why?... It sounds mysterious? Yes, perhaps, but then make a good text to go with it… But there was no need for a good text: psychedelic music was rumbling, filling every cavity with nonsense and paranoia, replacing the substance. They use this trick in bad films. Good trick, but not new: Bradbury wrote about it 60 years ago.

The Guardian wrote this a few years back: "...thus began Les Ballets C de la B, now one of the most influential dance theatre companies in the world". It might, MIGHT be true, but they FORGOT to do the dancing during "Gardenia"! No, wait, there was one strip-type number during the show, but I rather go a strip club somewhere in Brugg to get the satisfaction...

God knows I am not a mean person, I am sweet and understanding (especially if no one tries to rip me off), and “arty”… But this time my little inexperienced, uneducated, uncultivated heart rebelled and I cannot stop it. Even a half of a bottle of fine Roija couldnt help me to overcome the grief (it's NOT only the money…) No more gardenias for me, next time I’ll go with…with…jeez, I am not good in gardening either.

Lots of love to everyone, even to Les ballet C de la B.

Truly yours, from A to B :-)


  1. I can empathize.

    I'm the kind of guy that goes to movies and usually walks out after 10 minutes. (I even walked out of "Titanic," but I later learned to appreciate the movie for what it is.)

    They never offer you your money back either, do they? (Although that's not the point). The point is that these people steal the most precious thing you have in the world: Your time.

    They're not artists--they're vampires. They don't even love their "craft," in this case writing and acting. They know it's bad,(how could they not know?) Unfortunately, they simply don't care.

    The disturbing thing is the standing ovation. This, in a word, is called "conformity." And in my mind, conformity is inherently evil.

    People stand when they see other people stand. People clap because they see other people clap. These people are dangerous. The audience is more dangerous than the bad actors or the bad writers.

    Real artists really "work" at their craft. Creating fine art is usually VERY hard work, even when the artist makes it look effortless. Most people don't know this.

    There is a famous story about Picasso. He was in a gallery showing his work and someone pointed at a painting and asked him: "How long did it take you to paint that?"

    Picasso replied: "Thirty years."

    Well said.

    Don't be upset. You are not "uneducated" or "inexperienced." You have the courage to walk in your own direction and make your own decisions. That's called maturity.

    If it wasn't for people like you, how would the emperor know that he is not wearing clothes?

  2. Sweet, sweet Anonymous, thank you. THANK YOU. You MUST watch the piece, to understand me fully though. And the constipated public WAS the worst part, when I think of it. people are convinced that if they paid (sorry for going on and on about my hard earned 50 francs) money, thay have to sit with serious faces and swallow the pill. I was hissed at for taking the pictures.... uaaahhhhh it took a LOT of courage not to start a fight, and i am a pacifist normally...so thank you.

  3. You are welcome. :-)

    Hey, I would complain too. 50 francs is a lot of money.

    50 francs would buy a great meal. 50 francs is five hours of hard work for people who earn 10 francs an hour.

    Worst of all, they TOOK 50 francs without giving anything in return.

    I never mind paying (even a lot) for something good--when I get my money's worth. But I HATE getting ripped-off--it makes me furious, regardless of the amount.

    Oh I know how you feel...

    It's a good thing you didn't start a fight. All of the witnesses would say "It was a great show!"

    Take care. Great blog.