Milk me

Hoofing it
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  November 29, 2006

You saw the best concert of the year, now see the . . . ballet!?

Deerhoof, one of indie rock’s most beloved and least predictable bands, put on a knockout show at SPACE Gallery back on October 20. Taut, virtuosic, awe-inspiring, anyone who caught the set would be hard-pressed to name a more exhilarating forty minutes they had this year. Little did we know, us lucky hundred or two got a raw deal compared to the citizens of North Haven.

After the SPACE show, the band traveled to the small island community and began rehearsals for their latest work, the Milk Man Ballet, a performance based upon Deerhoof’s 2004 album, Milk Man. Students and community members participated in building the sets and learning the (adorable, minimalist) choreography, and the ballet had its “world premiere” at the North Haven Community School on October 23 and 24. Many thanks to the glories of YouTube, excerpts of the ballet have leaked onto the Internet.

“Aww” as little kids in white pants, shoes, and T-shirts throw candy to the audience. Smile as they fall down onto the ground and bounce back up again. Scratch your chin as they roll around the floor and, one by one, remove their right sneakers. The YouTube videos (six clips, ranging from one to four minutes) can best be called “quirky,” short on action but strangely hypnotic. (There are also stills from the rehearsals on the Web site Pitchfork.)

Deerhoof’s spastic breakdowns and hyperactive hooks seem ill-suited for a children’s theater project, but they're tempered by the addition of a couple of horns and a xylophone. The band, as ever, play their incomprehensibly talented guts out as white balloons float through the air and the kids seem to move about as they please. Of course, the mystery with a band like this is you never know if you’re witnessing a happy accident or perfectly orchestrated genius. At some undetermined point, you’ll be able to decide for yourself: the Milk Man Ballet will be released on DVD some day, perhaps coinciding with the release of the band’s next album, Friend Opportunity, on January 23.

On the web
Videos of Milk Man Ballet:
Pitchfork Article:
Related: Milk Man ballet hits DVD, Scarred for life, Krofft fare, More more >
  Topics: This Just In , Internet, Internet Broadcasting, Science and Technology,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TEN YEARS, A WAVE  |  September 26, 2014
    As the festival has evolved, examples of Fowlie’s preferred breed of film—once a small niche of the documentary universe—have become a lot more common, a lot more variegated, and a lot more accomplished.
  •   GIRLS (AND BOYS) ON FILM  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine International Film Festival, now in its 17th year in Waterville, remains one of the region’s more ambitious cultural institutions, less bound by a singular ambition than a desire to convey the breadth and depth of cinema’s past and present. (This, and a healthy dose of music and human-interest documentaries.) On that account, MIFF ’14 is an impressive achievement, offering area filmgoers its best program in years. With so much to survey, let’s make haste with the recommendations. (Particularly emphatic suggestions are marked in bold print.)  
  •   AMERICAN VALUES  |  June 11, 2014
    The Immigrant  seamlessly folds elements of New York history and the American promise into a story about the varieties of captivity and loyalty.
  •   CHARACTER IS POLITICAL  |  April 10, 2014
    Kelly Reichardt, one of the most admired and resourceful voices in American independent cinema, appears at the Portland Museum of Art Friday night to participate in a weekend-long retrospective of her three most recent films.
  •   LET'S TALK ABOUT SEX  |  April 09, 2014
    Throughout its two volumes and four hours of explicit sexuality, masochism, philosophical debate, and self-analysis, Nymphomaniac remains the steadfast vision of a director talking to himself, and assuming you’ll be interested enough in him to listen and pay close attention.

 See all articles by: CHRISTOPHER GRAY