Xsight! Performance Group

“We’ve got two sweaty nights at the Blue Rider,” Brian Jeffery told himself. “Let’s have fun.” So he and fellow Xsight! members Peter Carpenter and Marianne Kim, as well as video artist Stephan Mazurek, dancers Holly Quinn and Julia Rhoads, and actress Lauren Crawford, came together to create Kickin’ the Devil Around, an evening-length piece about sex in the heartland, trailer-park love, and rural chores. The performers are caked with mud and occasionally naked; Jeffery says the group aimed for the combined coarseness and naturalness of animals. Video is central to the show; so is a batch of what Jeffery calls “twisted songs from the 50s”–among them a little number called “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” and Jeannie C. Riley (of “Harper Valley PTA” fame) singing “The Rib,” about the oppression of women. Jeffery says the intent is to take serious issues and push them to the point of absurdity, then flip the audience’s response, treading the line between laughter and horror. With some 20 sections, the piece promises to be a glorious hodgepodge on the order of Xsight!’s old evening-length dance-theater works–another goal was to get back to such pieces, which haven’t been done much since Jeffery’s old Xsight! partner Tim O’Slynne died and Mary (now Maya) Ward left. Part of the Nights of the Blue Rider SexFest, Kickin’ the Devil Around runs Friday and Saturday at 8 at the Blue Rider Theatre, 1822 S. Halsted; $8-$10. Call 773-733-4668 for tickets and information.

–Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo by Mazurek.