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May 8, 2006

Broads in Plastic Tutu's

By Dink Leiberman

While I was wandering around Lower Manhattan for lunch, I decided to visit the elevated plaza at 55 Water Street, overlooking the East River and Brooklyn, get a little fresh air. 55 Water Street used to be the headquarters of Chemical Bank, now, I don’t know who leases there except to say it is a large large building, sq/ft-wise. Chemical and Manufacturers Hanover merged I don’t know, fifteen years ago almost to this month (5/06). 

It’s a cool day, and I’m enjoying the view over the river, there’s a different perspective from this plaza, than from around the tip of the island, around into Battery Park. Where the view is out into the harbor. It’s a Brooklyn/East River vista and you’re looking right at the Wall Street Heliport. The Police Museum is just north of the raised plaza, it’s the original First Precinct building, authoritative in style, and might be worthy of a visit of its own.

But I’m not alone up there on this plaza, there’s some kind of avant-garde performance going on with what I can only say are Broads in Plastic Tutus. Not only were the tutus plastic, but they also had speakers built into them; these speakers emitted what can accurately be called “UFO-type” noises – “Woooooeeeeoooo Woooeeeoooo” would approximate this. Apparently in connection with these noises the dames, with dancer-type builds, would make herky-jerky and random motions. Later research revealed that the noises emanating from the skirt speakers are randomly affected by their surroundings, thus the disjointed nature of the event. The dames also wore some kind of goggles/visors, plus sunglasses to complete the alien-ish look.

Broads in Plastic Tutu's

They were uniformly clad in a bright red danceskin-type body suit with black danceskin leg coverings under the clear plastic tutus. An odd getup all around but showing them to good female effect.

They herked and jerked around a bit, mostly individualistically and then in unison for a subdued finale. They did some kind of routine with rakes among the bushes and some inexplicable wandering. It wasn’t what I’d call a compelling performance – kinda bizarre. The dames themselves were good looking, nice bodies as you’d expect from dancing dames, and going about their business in an appealingly earnest manner. I think one of them noticed this culture clod chuckling a little at the senselessness of it all. The show’s theme or purpose was lost on me except for the novelty of Broads in Plastic Tutus in the middle of Lower Manhattan. Until I came back here to the office, and after a little web surfing discovered that these dancers were called the Audio Ballerinas, and they are performing at the behest of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. The guy who conceived/choreographed this show reads like a EuroMod type – probably a trim black-clad les artiste type. I suspected this watching the show before knowing - that it was Euro-kooky in conception, some kind of modernistic Euro-futuristic statement. At least there were no Bush-as-Nazi placards which predominates “Euroculture Today.”

The plastic tutu broads are at 55 Water performing so-to-speak all week. I wonder if I could go make small talk with one of these spacey-clad broads. The whole shebang lends itself to an “I’m curious…” gambit. “I’m curious, do you wear that costume elsewhere besides this performance?” Not only about what makes a dame wear a plastic tutu, but what other offbeat ideas she may entertain from a friendly, curious observer.

Broads in Plastic Tutu's -- Part Two; The Play

5/9/06 – I could not let it go by, the notion of the meaning of the broads in plastic tutus. So I went over there today to watch them again, this time determined to find the secret of their performance. The performance was similar to yesterday’s, it’s interpretive dance on and individual level, with them each doing their own little thing. Then for the finale, they strike some poses that are strangely compelling with their plastic tutus. The UFO noises emanating from the tutu speakers, along with their identical sunglasses is a…different, not bad, visual effect. Especially since they are on the lawn that comprises the “Raised Acre” that is part of the 55 Water St. public plaza. And I have a crush on the single mocha dame who looked so appealing in her electric tutu. After their finale, I went over and had the following exchange. Unfortunately it was beginning to rain, and the group was hurrying a bit to get out of their water-and-electricity-don’t mix attire. Can’t blame them! The exchange below still hasn’t satisfied my curiosity but this last attempt closes out this episode of broads in plastic tutus.

Me (to Guy 1 - he looked like someone affiliated): Is there some theme to this program, some overriding message?

Guy 1 (pointing at another fellow): Ask him, he’s the choreographer.

Me (to indicated guy): Sir, is there some overriding theme to this program, like, er, man’s alienation to audio-sensory overload? Some kind of message…?

Choreographer (somewhat offended it seemed): Theme? No there’s no theme, look, ask me in half-hour, I gotta get packed up before this rain. It’s a site specific show…does Beethoven’s music have a message?

Me: I’m just thought…are you German – I saw this has German origins (a dumb question since the guy sounded like he was from…)

Choreographer: No, I’m based in Germany, but I’m from D.C.

Me: So this is kinda wildly modernistic, some kind of Euro-thing? Interpretive – do your own thing? (In hindsight, I can be real dumb)

Choreographer (half-paying attention): yeah sorta, I have a web site….

Me: May I have it?

Choreographer (handing me a card): there it is.

Me: Thanks (looking for the mocha dancer, who was occupied getting out of her soon-to-be-dangerous-in-the-rain electric tutu…realizing I can’t bother her) Damn….

CURTAIN

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