Jellyeye’s drum performance Blood Lotus–carefully choreographed chaos for eight drummers, ten drums, and three movie screens–is a sort of moving mandala that can transport the audience to another spiritual plane. On a good night watching Jellyeye flail their arms, kick up their legs, and invoke their odd, intense rhythms can cleanse the emotions: slowly but steadily they draw you into their strange, rhythmic world. But the world they create is a fragile one, and filmmaker Ariana Gerstein and her assistant Kathleen Kirka are given free rein with the images they put on the screens. At times a musty pretentiousness creeps in, especially when the film segments overshadow the power of the rhythms. But this is a work in progress, after all, just a segment of Jellyeye’s upcoming full-length drum opera of the same name, and part of its charm lies in the fact that every performance is a different experience. Chicago Filmmakers, 1543 W. Division, 278-6371. Through May 14: Fridays-Saturdays, 11 PM. $7.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Brad Miller.