WOWlebrity Ryan Heffington’s latest dance installation, KTCHN, is a colorfully provocative look at domesticity, culture, and the boundaries of performance. It also has a giant hanging penis you can take pictures with afterwards!
Housed in the historic Mack Sennett Studios in Silverlake, KTCHN is an interactive glimpse at the human condition through a queer lens. The dancers, adorned in multicolored costumes by designer Mindy LeBrock, touch themselves, each other, and the audience as they sashay in a complex orgy of passion, embrace, rejection, loss, companionship, and sexiness.
KTCHN is set in a vibrant, larger-than-life world, art-directed by Adrian Gilliland and inspired by the paintings of New York-based artist Nolan Hendrickson. We see genderf*ck figures soaking up the literal spotlight, only to descend into a trembling mass on the floor when the red glare becomes too hot. We’re invited to make it rain on a roped-off character tap dancing for cash until they’re literally slipping and tripping all over it. We see a housewife figure searching for the perfect manufactured face to impress a distracted beau… or maybe it isn’t so simple.
“[Hendrickson’s] characters seem to be winking knowingly at the viewer and yet utterly oblivious to being watched,” KTCHN producer Allison Karman told Opening Ceremony. “In this dichotomy there is space for your own imagination to fill in whatever story you want… Ryan’s brain running wild through Nolan’s paintings? Who wouldn’t want to see that?”
While Heffington took a backseat from the stage in order to better choreograph his dancers, he appears here and there as sort of ephemeral mother figure. “I was putting everyone in their place, that was kind of my character,” Heffington told the WOW Report.
Complete with a big blonde Farrah Fawcett wig, teal mustache and hairy, heel-clad legs for days, Heffington mediates tiffs between dancers and leads movement in the production’s biggest numbers. This character doesn’t stray far from how Heffington functions as a local Los Angeles staple. Over the past three months when he wasn’t whipping dance hobbyists into full-fledged performers at his Silverlake studio, “The Sweat Spot,” Heffington handpicked this cast of characters, whose off-stage relationships play out in their on-stage dynamics.
“Each night is different,” explained blue-bearded dancer Zak Ryan Schlegel (pictured right). “Who we lock eyes with, who we touch during the show, it changes as our relationships change.”
That energy gets transferred to the audience as well, whether or not they like it. The dancers play with, poke fun at, and even join the seated. “The other night I did the mashed potato towards this woman and she wasn’t giving me anything back,” Schlegel continued. “But my eyes stayed dead set on her and eventually I could see her start to unravel.”
Tickets for KTCHN are on sale now. The show continues for two more weeks, May 10-12, 17-19 @ the Mack Sennett Studios in Silverlake.
More awesome stills after the jump!
Photos by Melissa Manning/thelookpartnership.com.