Monday, September 13, 2004

Diamanda Galas September 12 

September 12

Diamanda Galas

Prelude 1:  In the morning, I was invited to visit a mausoleum.  Not just any mausoleum but one with 98,000 bodies enshrined within.  There were rooms upon rooms upon rooms.  Buildings mysteriously connected by underground hallways; fountains, statues and stained glass windows around every corner.  There were thousands of urns displayed behind glass and name after name on the cold marble walls.  It takes 45 minutes to lock all the doors at night.  We had a discussion about what it would be like to be trapped inside.  From the windows, you can look out over miles of marshland and see a tiny carnival in the distance.

Prelude 2:  A friend and I were talking in the TBA Room at PICA and met a couple of young men who had traveled all the way from L.A. to see Diamanda Galas.  They were physicists and they loved her.  One of them had just finished a paper on DNA strands.  The other was doing work on a metal that breaks like glass.

The Show:  She walks across the stage elegant and calm and sits at the grand piano where she is slowly transformed.  The stage is smoke and dark, deep blue changing to red and she is brightly lit.  Her face looks white and her eyes huge and rimmed with black and when she sings at times a demonic grin comes over her face.  Inside her, it seems that some long dead opera singer, Screaming Jay Hawkins and maybe a mad dog are fighting for control of her vocal cords.  She hits notes that seem to solidify the air, then make it vibrate, simultaneously compressing the inner ear of every person in the audience with her throat.  I understand why a physicist would love her.  The darkness around her seems to swell and contract.  In one of her encores, she sings “I only ask one thing, that you keep my grave clean”


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