Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Passion, or Death - The Harlequin Hipsters and Titanium Sporkestra

"People are dying." So begins a fascinating view of "Passion, or Death". Make up your own mind....
First of all, my sincere apologies for getting the title backward the other day (Death, or Passion, well, really doesn't make sense, does it?).

My daughter talked me into going to see a live stage show of her friends in a piece they appropriately call, "Passion, or Death".

It was put on by The Harlequin Hipsters with Titanium Sporkestra pulling up a dynamic and resounding ending, and was the HH's fourth year anniversary.

Titanium Sporkestra
Now, in their own words:

"This will be our first full length show ever. 2011 is The Harlequin Hipsters’ year to go big. We’ve been out there, pounding the pavement at every Seattle street festival, playing our fair city’s cabaret and music stages both small and large and giving our passion for dance to all kinds musicians inspiring others to dance for 4 years. Now is our chance to make something totally unique and we need your help to do it. We’re almost halfway to our goal and we have 13 days left. Please visit this link, watch the video and pledge some dollars. We can’t do this without you! Thank you!!"

It took place Friday and Saturday, June 24th and 25th in the evening at 7PM and 9PM, as Hale's Brewery's Palladium in Ballard, Washington, just outside of downtown Seattle along the waterfront, a block away fishing and other types of boats sit idle, as if waiting for a show like this to pull them out of the doldrums.

And so it happened. Let me just say, these photos do no justice to the scene, nor do the videos. I badly wanted to video the opening, because it was so cool, but I knew video couldn't do it justice, and besides, I just wanted to sit there and watch.

At the end, I simply had to video the Titanium Sporkestra as the entire place was up and dancing and jumping around. Simply, too much fun.

The show started with the musical composer, Milo Hayden, aka, Mr. Moo, from Portland, OR, playing violin. Then the players appeared and mock walked along city streets, warping both time and perception in their mind bending foray into modern daily life; what I was seeing before me was the living rut that most of us try to survive, day in and day out, until death sucks us down. The opening pulled me into a play on what would happen, "If".

What would happen if putting our passions on hold, simply to survive our lives, lives we have allowed to get out of control, were suddenly to start killing us. And after all, doesn't it?

Passion or Death program

More clever than the concept was the execution. As they started I felt a familiar feeling, "oh no, artsy nonsense that won't be backed up by equal ability to pull it off."
Show Program front

Actually, knowing my daughter's friends, I did expect it to be pretty good, but you have these preconceived notions, you know. I was soon able to relax and enjoy, become absorbed in, and luxuriate through the evening's performance, an experience perfectly offset by the opening aforementioned scene.
Show Program back

Afterward, we took off, skipping the after party, as we had a bus to catch and a ferry ride, when ended in our getting home at 2AM. But while we were waiting (forever, it seemed) for the bus, across the street the Sporkestra was gathering and finally broke into music.

Let me just say that I've always loved New Orleans attitudes toward music and I love the HBO show, Treme about New Orleans after Katrina hit. Their music in the streets and the city's desire, their passion, for music, for street musicians "busking", spontaneous outbreaks of music, song and dance, has always been for me, a strong fascination and lifelong enjoyment. How can one not?

So seeing the full band playing on the street next to a bar, in the dark off a main street in Ballard, was a perfect end to an entertaining evening.

No, I won't go into detail in case you ever get to see them perform this, but I will say you seldom get a chance to see performers performing their passions, so intimately built into a performance and I will also say, that should you ever get to attend one of The Harlequin Hipsters' (or, the Titanium Sporkestra's) happenings, simply put? Do it.


  1. Thanks so much for this review! Putting this show on it's feet was a huge leap of faith that the audience would be ready and willing to question themselves. I, for one, am ecstatic to read that you were not only willing to give yourself up to the show for it's duration, but excited to bring that energy home with you!

    That, above all else, has made the payoff for this show so extreme. Thank you.

  2. AbsoFreakinLootly. :) It was refreshing seeing such a "live" performance and such excellent energy from the performers that was all too obvious in the audience, and unavoidable once everyone got on their feet. I only knew I was going a few hours prior to leaving for it and I was glad to get the opportunity. Keep it up!