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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 BAM Blog Awards

Best performance by a string of sausages in a supporting role: the red sausages in The Old Woman

2014 was a big year at BAM, not in the least in terms of numbers. The Next Wave Festival grew to 47 productions from 34, Matthew Barney's River of Fundament almost topped six hours, 11 pianists performed all 20 of Philip Glass' piano etudes, and Zvi Sahar's Salt of the Earth used 1,000 pounds of salt to conjure a stark Middle Eastern desert. But who are we kidding? It's the qualitative, not the quantitative, that truly floats the BAM boat. It's in that spirit, we present the BAM Blog Awards, our annual celebration of quizzical directorial choices, double-take-inducing performances, and scene-stealing quirks from a year's worth of BAM productions.

Best reunion of minimalist composers who used to drive taxi cabs:
Steve Reich and Philip Glass

Best singing into a piano to produce banshee-like effects: 
Dawn Upshaw

Best merging of cold war pathos and 1980s Hollywood:
Alan Smithee Directed This Play

Best ruminations on global warming-linked natural disasters:
Landfall (Runner Up: Birds With Skymirrors)

Best use of dubious charts and graphs to make a point about TED talks:
Paul Abacus in ABACUS

Best dramatic explication of praying mantis mating rituals:
Isabella Rossellini in Green Porno

Best performance by a disembodied mouth, suspended in the dark:
Lisa Dwan's mouth in Not I

Best use of David Bowie songs to convey an inadvisable sense of 1980s invincibility:
Angels in America

Best performance by an eyeball in a supporting role:
Gloucester's eyeball in King Lear

Best performance by a string of sausages in a supporting role:
The red sausages in The Old Woman  

Best Middle Eastern desert made from 1,000 pounds of salt:
Salt of the Earth

Best use of ice skates to chop a salad:
The Object Lesson (and Material Universe)

Best new bling hanging in the Opera House lobby:
National Medal of the Arts

Best bows/plummeting to the ground to end a show:
Batsheva Dance Company in Sadeh21

Best song referencing both modernist architecture and Die Hard
Gabriel Kahane's song "Villains (4616 Dundee Drive)" from The Ambassador

Best musical celebration by children of an experiment in utopian education:
Black Mountain Songs

Best dance inspired by the residual lakes created when a river changes course:

Best festival within a festival:
Nonesuch Records at BAM, part of the 2014 BAM Next Wave Festival

Best conversion of the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House into a powerful British Navy warship:
Billy Budd

Best ass-grabbing in evening wear:
Kontakthof (Very close runner up: BAM Publicity Department's Halloween rendition)

Best use of rope to conjure trees, paths, and rivers:
The Wanderer

Best performance by a group of people watching something while being watched:
The people in The Source

Best test of endurance involving Norman Mailer, fecal matter, and dead cows:
Matthew Barney's 5+ hour film River of Fundament

A heartfelt congratulations to all of our winners. Checks are in the mail. 

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