Touch Me I’m Radiohole

Do you remember the giddy euphoria you felt the first time you dropped acid? No? Well, okay, fine. But Culturebot does. We remember that incredible feeling of limitless possibility and the sneaking suspicion that somehow, hidden within all this delirious chaos there was some ineffable, inutterable meaning that lay just beyond expression. So we smiled and nodded and let it wash over us. And that was the feeling that flashed back on us Saturday night at the work-in-progress presentation of Radiohole is Still My Name. You can get that feeling too, since they’ve decided to keep working on it every Saturday night in February out at the Collapsable Hole.

To paraphrase a once-popular quote about a questionably popular band, “There’s nothing like a Radiohole concert. They’re the only ones who do what they do.” And I’d be hard pressed to tell you what exactly it is they’re doing. Technically I suppose you could say that they choose a theme, or a loose set of ideas, pull together various source material and reference points and then construct performances around those ideas. From a different perspective I could say that they employ a maniacal melange of mutated media (okay, enough with the alliteration) with post-modern sleight-of-hand to create an exuberant hallucination on themes both obvious and obscure.

In Radiohole is Still My Name the Radioholes (along with collaborator Joseph Silovsky) riff on the Wild West as imagined by Italians, cast with Americans and filmed in Spain. Spaghetti Western with Beer, Chicken and Oh,Henry candy bars.

I was going to try and describe the show: Silovsky’s entrance on a mini-sized midget-bike; the majestic backlit splendor of the Radioholes’ entrance with Eric Dyer as the grimy gunslinger framed by the sultry Maggie Hoffman and sexy Erin Douglass; their subsequent obscenities with chicken and salt-shakers. I could try and describe the unabashed and disturbingly riveting consumption of beer and yet more chicken; the spitting, the gun-fighting, the off-the-wall out-of-nowhere seemingly non sequitur monologues on Situationism and Guy Debord. I could try and describe the atmospheric cut-and-paste sound design, the dining table on gears descending from the ceiling, the dance number choreographed to a mini-concert by the I.G. Farben Players (Mark Sackmann & Jason Craig) singing the Tom Jones hit “Delilah”. And of course the beer. And the chicken.

But I won’t, because I can’t do it justice. I could try and deconstruct the ideological and thematic implications of the work, the semiotics of Radiohole, but I’ll leave that to the academics. All I will say is that this show is a sight to behold.

Radiohole’s obvious antecedents are the Wooster Group and probably Richard Foreman. However, they employ the aesthetic techniques of this theatrical discipline with less regard for its scholarly implications and less fixation on glamorous artifice than some of their siblings. Radiohole is more punk rock, more grunge-era D.I.Y., more Giant Sand or Meat Puppets and less Talking Heads or Laurie Anderson. Both approaches are satisfying but in different ways. Radiohole is the smart kid in the back of the class who gets stoned before school, after school and during lunch but still pulls a 4.0 GPA.

So, go. Check it out. Feed your pointy little head.

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