New York choreographer Kyle Abraham found a rich concept—African American radio station sounds from the 1970s forward, recalled from his Pittsburgh childhood—and used that music (from quiet storm soul to funk to pop to hip hop, along with some original electronica), talk show banter and even the between-the-stations static as you turn the dial (remember radio dials?) as inspiration for his sometimes spectacular, always tightly defined dances. The stage action sometimes reflects the words (such as a call-in show sequence in which members of each gender complain about the other—e.g. “Do you know how many women like to watch Monday Night Football?”), sometimes spoofs them (hard to avoid in a song like that treacly ‘70s hit “Reunited”) but always responds with feelings more deeply felt than just nostalgia or humor. Cleverly constructed, and beautifully lit, costumed and danced by expert performers, The Radio Show should top the charts.
SEE IT: Kyle Abraham performs his work-in-development Live! The Realest MC 8:30 pm Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Washington High School, Southeast 14th Avenue and Division Street. PICA’s ninth Time-Based Art festival continues through Sept. 18.
Brett Campbell is Willamette Week's classical music editor.