Luminous Flux, a street performance directed by Lee Blalock and Bubba Carr
As co-founder Cathy Byrd explains, “Le Flash” wasn’t intended to be a carnival of excess:
The idea is not at all about chaos, but rather turns around the magical, the poetic, the unexpected, and the fantastical.
Byrd’s description—suggesting an air of the otherworldly—applied most directly to one of my favorite performances, Luminous Flux by Lee Blalock and Bubba Carr (collectively known as “Bublee”).
In a break from the vaguely French theme of “Le Flash,” Luminous Flux borrows its all-white costuming and slow, stylized movements from a genre of modern Japanese performance called Butoh. I’m not familiar with Butoh, but the first example, Forbidden Colors, was an adaptation of a novel by Yukio Mishima.
Evoking the plumage of a predatory owl or perhaps the spines of an iguana, each dancer of Luminous Flux had a unique look while still contributing to the overall “wow” of the group. The dance itself was limited to mysterious gestures and exaggerated “swimming” movements through the street.
I don’t have the background to judge the dancing, but for me, the costumes and “lantern” props kept the act from seeming ridiculous. On the contrary, the performers really did seem like creatures from another world.
The piece followed a basic symbolic theme of connectivity. Several “human fuses” wait in slumber, “plugged in” like dormant appliances at stations placed along the event perimeter. They are each awakened in sequence to join rest of the chain.
At one point (see video at top), the troupe took up a more invasive tactic—rushing around corners with screams to spook unsuspecting art strollers (AAAaah!). I suppose it was only a week before Halloween. But in terms of logistics, it pointed to a deficiency of the event overall; sidewalks proved a lot better for “guerrilla” performances like Trey Burns’ Paparazzi Flash Mob. These guys fit perfectly, striking like lightning with their obnoxious flashbulb cameras before sprinting back into the night.
The sidewalk didn’t give much room for an audience; the ideal position for watching large portions of Luminous Flux was from across the street. Or to be more precise, from the middle of the street. Although Castleberry traffic was fortunately light, would it have been possible to close off the district completely? A larger, more pedestrian-accessible area would better showcase the various “Le Flash” performances.