Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Jul 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Another Roadside Attraction

music_LeSerpentLe Serpent Rouge presents musical entertainment’s latest odd couple: jug band music and belly dancing
Rachel Brice of Le Serpent Rouge isn’t going to let a momentary setback spoil her good mood. “Right now we’re sitting by the side of the road with a broken-down vehicle, but that’s fine—we’ve done that twice already,” she cheerfully tells GT by cell phone. “We’re broken down and sick, but it’s fun!”

Brice, a former Santa Cruz resident currently residing in Portland, Ore., serves as artistic director and choreographer for The Indigo Belly Dance Company, in which she performs alongside her former Bellydance Superstar colleagues Mardi Love (Urban Tribal Belly Dance) and Zoe Jakes (Beats Antique, Yard Dogs Road Show). Brice explains that Indigo’s tribal fusion belly dance style, which contains elements of 1920s jazz, American tribal, electronic fusion and old-time dance forms, owes a great debt to turn-of-the-century vaudevillian variety shows. “Our belly dancing, in a lot of ways, is inspired by what we would imagine that we would want to do if we lived in that time,” she states.

That influence is especially apparent in Le Serpent Rouge, a traveling music/dance show that finds Indigo joining forces with two Washington-based American roots music groups: Crow Quill Night Owls and Gallus Brothers. On Sunday, Nov. 28, Moe’s Alley patrons will experience Le Serpent Rouge’s adventurous blend of belly dance and old-time ragtime and jug band music. “Somehow, even though it seems like they’re polar opposites, the show feels like it holds together,” Brice claims, adding that the group has been “taking some of the old, sort of Orientalist pieces like ‘Egyptian Ella’ and other old pieces that allude to how fascinated America was with the Orient, as they called it at that time, and sort of bringing back some of that old-time Orientalism.”

Crow Quill Night Owls banjoist/vocalist Alex Anagnostopoulos (aka Caliope Kane) says she and Crow Quill’s other core member, Kit “Stymee” Stovepipe (resophonic guitar, harmonica, kazoo, vocals), share a passion for “old medicine show, pre-war blues and a time when there were real entertainers. People didn’t have TV or radio from that era, and we love the thought of traveling bands coming in and having vaudeville.”

Anagnostopoulos was initially skeptical as to the compatibility of old-time music and belly dancing, but a little research revealed that such a combination was very much in keeping with tradition. “With sideshows, it was like, ‘Bring the exotic dancers out from far, forgotten, unknown worlds,’” she offers. “And then [there were] musicians just backing up people trying to sell stuff, or trying to just enliven everything.”

Anagnostopoulos notes that by collecting old 78 records, various members of Le Serpent Rouge have discovered jazz music’s eastern influences. “It’s crazy: even the styles—for a period of time women were wearing turbans because of the Far East and their mysterious ways,” she observes. “Even a lot of the influence for the flapper style is from the Native American style, with the beaded headdresses and stuff like that.”

Clearly, America’s bohemian fringe has a longstanding habit of mixing and matching aesthetics from divergent cultures and time periods. Recent instances of this can be found not only in the neo-vaudevillian movement, but also in the fluky popularity of Balkan gypsy music and Appalachian clogging among hipsters and counterculture types. Thus, Le Serpent Rouge’s fusion of Middle Eastern dance and old-time western music isn’t as left-field as it might first appear. As Brice laughingly puts it, “I think the counterculture types just always are inspired by the least likely thing.”


Le Serpent Rouge performs at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door. For more information, call 479-1854 or go to moesalley.com.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Art Files: Opposites Attract

Using found objects, Victoria May seeks beauty in dichotomy and tension, the creepy and absurd

 

A Year of Creative Self-Expression

Wednesday, after a year in Cancer’s nourishing waters, Jupiter enters fiery Leo. Next Tuesday, the sun joins Jupiter in Leo. Leo is the sign of the three fires of life, of seeking our individuality, our gifts and talents. Life for the next year will be quite dramatic, expressive, creative and generous. Jupiter, the heart of Aquarius, is the planet of expansion and truth, distributing Ray 2 of Love and Wisdom.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 18

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Posted

Desserts at Seabright’s La Posta, a pop-up breakfast, local ethnic cuisine, and a long-lost varietal 

 

What is the most outrageous thing you did as a kid?

Santa Cruz | Retired

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Loma Prieta’s Pinotage

Although drinking alone is not half as much fun as drinking with others, after a busy day of dashing around, I came home and poured myself a glass or two of Loma Prieta’s Pinotage 2010 (saving a bit for my husband). There’s something about taking that first sip of a worthy wine that gives one an all-over glow.