Monday, May 20, 2013
The toilet paper dodgeball game is what caught my attention.
Indie rapper and performance artist B. Dolan is bringing an interactive, multidimensional show to Portland’s Space Gallery.
"CHURCH OF LOVE AND RUIN"
WHEN: 8:30 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $12 in advance; $15 day of show; ages 18-plus
INFO: 828-5600; space538.org
B. Dolan -- an indie rapper and performance artist -- was talking about his latest touring show, "Church of Love and Ruin," which combines DJs, rappers, drag queens, spoken-word pieces and a marching band with all sorts of spontaneous interactive crowd activities.
"There might be a drag queen on stage, then suddenly we'll put 48 rolls of toilet paper on the floor and have the crowd play toilet paper dodgeball," said Dolan, who is based in Providence, R.I. "Then suddenly, a 15-piece marching band might appear in the crowd."
OK, I thought, so "Church of Love and Ruin" does not sound like your typical marching band/drag queen/hip-hop mash-up.
In fact, it doesn't sound quite like anything else.
Which is what Dolan was shooting for when he first did the show last year in four cities -- Providence, Boston, New York and here in Portland. Dolan is one of those artists who has dabbled in a little bit of everything, and he wanted a show that would do the same thing.
But he also wanted a show that would have an energy and a sense of the unexpected that would overwhelm the audience. In a good way.
"This is a show designed to run on, without a break, with all kinds of things buried in the performance, and hopefully overwhelming the audience," said Dolan. "It's almost like a mix tape -- there are things in the show you might not love on their own, but in this context, all together, it carries you along."
This year, Dolan is doing the show in the same four American cities as last year, and is also taking it to England. He says he chose Portland as one of the cities -- the show will be at Space Gallery on Friday -- because audiences here have always been receptive to his shows and brand of performance.
The show is probably going to be three or four hours long, with no breaks, and with Dolan himself as the headliner, performing as a rapper.
Other performers scheduled include Grand Buffet, an indie rap group from Pittsburgh; What Cheer? Brigade, an alt-marching band from Providence; Vockah Redu & The Cru, a bounce music group from New Orleans; Wheelchair Sports Camp, a Colorado-based "pseudo hip-hop" band; some folks in drag; and a few surprises.
Dolan got the idea for this show from all the various performances he's seen over the years -- at clubs, burlesque shows, poetry slams, wherever.
"I've been a student of performance for a long time, looking at different kinds of performers and genres," said Dolan. "So I wanted to bring together those performers who are my favorites, who inspire me."
And, obviously, the type of performers who won't feel upstaged by a lively game of toilet paper dodgeball.
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: