Milk Man ballet hits DVD

Now screening
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY  |  March 14, 2007

A few months back, we reported on a big event on the tiny island of North Haven, where students from the North Haven Community School staged a ballet based on San Francisco indie-rock icons Deerhoof’s 2004 album, Milk Man. Upon hearing word of the production, the band was so flattered that they took a trip up to the island to assist the rehearsals and watch the production (see "Milk ME," by Christopher Gray, December 2, 2006). Next thing you know, footage of the show leaked onto YouTube, ears were perked, and the misinformation started flying.

Misinformation? Well, as it turned out, I and a number of music bloggers mistakenly assumed and reported that Deerhoof actually performed the ballet with the students. (The inherently shoddy quality of YouTube videos didn’t help matters much.) This wasn’t the case, which serves as a testament to the hard work and talent that went into the production of the Milk Man ballet, now available for purchase on crystal-clear DVD.

The DVD is a hoot. Directed by NHCS’s music and drama teacher Courtney Naliboff and choreographed by art/gym(!) teacher Ken Jones, it features the performance of the ballet in its entirety as a mix of live and rehearsal footage, which allows for some extra stage-level camera trickery. The performance is a cute head-scratcher in the vein of most Deerhoof albums; long stretches pass where you aren’t quite sure what’s happening, and then the whole show erupts in adorable artistic flourishes. The music, by the Toughcats and other area musicians and students, ups the ante on Deerhoof’s minimalist aesthetic to a justly theatrical level. Special features on the DVD include a slideshow of rehearsal photographs and an interview with awestruck Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier.

The Milk Man DVD is available at various Bull Moose Music locations and Newbury Comics in Portland for $12. Proceeds from the DVD sales will go to the construction of a new school building in North Haven.

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