Friday, March 27, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Feiffer’s famous cartoons are basis of free Sunday performance at Mondavi

"A dance to art" by Jules Feiffer was released Sunday, Sept. 1, 1974. Courtesy drawing

By
From page A9 | October 03, 2012 |

The free event at the Mondavi Center at 3 p.m. Sunday — “The Dancer Films Live Event” — is part concert, part cartoon, part dance performance and part family event. There’s a film angle, too.

To explain: Newspaper readers of a certain age may recall the weekly syndicated comic strip by Jules Feiffer, which tended to run in the newspaper’s literary supplement or the week in review, rather than on the funny pages.

A frequent character in Feiffer’s weekly cartoon was a female modern dancer, dressed in a unitard. The cartoons typically ran six or eight panels. The dancer was inspired by a girlfriend Feiffer knew in the 1950s who piqued the cartoonist’s interest in dance as an art form. The cartoon dancer’s leaping, long-haired, endlessly flexible figure (accompanied by a few well-chosen words) illuminated her pithy opinions from 1957, when she first appeared in the pages of The Village Voice, until 2000, when Feiffer retired after more than four decades of weekly deadlines.

And the dancer addressed any topic under the sun. Initially, she danced to topics like the changing seasons. As one Village Voice journalist put it, “Clad in the period uniform of black feetless tights and black leotard, she leapt from one improbable position to another while intoning an ode to summer (‘In this dance I symbolize the desire to escape … from all the inadequate pleasures’) or the end of summer (‘The solstice in its declension … and insect repellant, gathered in an organic unity’).”

In 2010, a decade after he gave up the weekly cartoon, Smithsonian Magazine asked Feiffer to explain the dancer’s long-running appeal.

“It’s hard to explain,” he said. “It’s a complicated question and I’m not sure how to answer it simply, but from the time I began my Village Voice cartoon in the ’50s, modern dance was taking off and I visited periodically that world and took in dance and had friends who were dancers. I saw the dancer as an ideal subject matter for the kind of comments I wanted to make and embodied in her all the ambivalent ambiguity, doubt, self-doubt, self-reproach and all those other feelings — neurotic and not neurotic, political and non-political.

“And also because she moved all the time she was leaping and arabesque-ing and doing this and doing that, as opposed to most of my figures who just stood and talked. So it was a lot more fun drawing her than it was my other characters.”

In 2010, a group of artistically minded admirers of the series decided to create “The Dancer Films” — a cluster of six very short films (about two minutes each) taken directly from Feiffer’s cartoons. Collaborators included Andrea Weber, a star of Merce Cunningham Dance Company; Jane Ira Bloom, a jazz musician; and Larry Keigwin and Susan Marshall, celebrated modern choreographers. Some scenes were shot in a studio, others in New York locations like the Brooklyn Bridge or the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

For the Mondavi Center’s live, family-friendly event, the creative forces behind the films, including director Judy Dennis and producer Ellen Dennis, will bring the Dancer to life onstage in Jackson Hall. Audience members will have the chance to join the Dancer event on stage. Feiffer, now 83, had originally planned to attend, but will not be able to travel to Davis to participate.

Tickets to Sunday’s 3 p.m. performance in the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall are free, but seating is reserved. Tickets, without a handling charge, may be picked up in advance from the Mondavi Center box office or by calling 530-754-2787. A handling charge will apply when reservations are made online at www.mondaviarts.org.

Comments

comments

.

News

Anti-gay initiative puts AG in a bind

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
County supervisors consider options for historic courthouse

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Two found dead of apparent shooting in West Davis home

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New Paso Fino design trims lots

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Co-pilot may have hidden illness, German prosecutors say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Senate’s Harry Reid announces he won’t seek re-election

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Woodland police warn of kidnapping phone scam

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Lawyer disputes police’s hoax claim in California kidnapping

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Sign up for Camp Shakespeare

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Empower Yolo offers peer counselor training

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
State loosens sex offender residency restrictions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Neighbors invited to adopt Willow Creek Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Sing along on April Fool’s Day

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Three nabbed in counterfeiting probe

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A6

 
.

Forum

Can he get life back on track?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Blame Reid for impasse

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Practice cancer prevention each day

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Turnabout is fair play

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Be aware and be afraid

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A7

.

Sports

UCD’s Hawkins, Harris to shoot at Final Four

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Home sweet home: Aggie women win a tennis match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Devil boys grind out a net win at Franklin

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
DHS baseballers fall to Vintage in eight innings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD men edge Hawaii on the court

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Sacramento get its second straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

DYSA roundup: Recent youth softball games feature big hitting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks get a key win over Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

UCD Student Fashion Association presents charity fashion show

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
‘Get Hard’ comes across as rather limp

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Monticello announces April live-music shows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Leonardo Tuchman’s work shows at UC Davis Craft Center Gallery

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

Sacramento Youth Symphony holding open auditions

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

 
Preview Art Studio Tour participants’ work at The Artery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Smokey Brights to perform at Sophia’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
‘Deserted Destinations’ is April exhibit at Gallery 625

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

.

Business

Camry Hybrid takes a step forward

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3

 
.

Obituaries

Celebrate Rusty Jordan’s Life

By Creator | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Friday, March 27, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B4