The Pillow Project

David Barnes of Spoken Word Paris reading while a member of the Pillow Project riffs

Hello friends,

Here’s your helping of a random (art) happening around town.

This past Tuesday The Pillow Project paid a visit to Shakespeare & Co. The Pittsburgh-based troupe plays “freejazz,” an improvisational form they describe as “using the body as the instrument playing visual notes.”

The experimental group is starting to forge deeper ties to Paris. On hand for this week’s event were members of the city’s active spoken word scene.

For non-French speakers, there’s a lot of blood and torture in the text!

Three dancers took inspiration from the surroundings, picking up books at random to incorporate into their movement, letting the titles on the shelves guide the way. Two of the dancers got stuck in the political theory section for perhaps a beat longer than they wished. Ah, tomes on communism and the Occupy Movement – poetic?

My main interest in the beginning was divided between the actual performance and the reaction of the public. I knew about the event beforehand, but most people in the shop that afternoon had no idea this would be going on. I loved watching the reactions of people browsing and bumping into the dancers. I’m not sure how you ignore people dancing in the aisles, but some do a really good job pretending!

The project continues Shakespeare & Co’s innovative new programming. I feel like they’ve been on a tear lately, not just with amazing readings (A. M. Homes and Percival Everett were incredible!) but also musical acts, silent films, and now site specific dance. Not everything is my cup of tea, but I always appreciate people fully committing to doing their thing.

One of the new bookclerks (there’s always a rotating crew helping out in the store) went up to another staff member during the improv pause and after a large group of Italians had shuffled in then out, the place abuzz as usual.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

Indeed, young man. Indeed.

So friends, what’s going on? Getting your daily dose of off-kilter?


10 Responses to “The Pillow Project”

  1. 1 Emily Cannell November 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Very interesting. I`m sure I would think I was on a punked show if I ran across this!


  2. 3 Lindsey Tramuta (@LostNCheeseland) November 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    So THIS is what really goes on at Shakespeare & Co 🙂


  3. 5 Amy Kortuem November 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    This is great. Go, Shakespeare & Co.

    But I especially love what you said: “Not everything is my cup of tea, but I always appreciate people fully committing to doing their thing.” That’s sometimes all the inspiration I need – seeing somebody else so in love with their art.


  4. 7 James November 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    “The Pittsburgh-based troupe plays “freejazz,” an improvisational form they describe as “using the body as the instrument playing visual notes.””

    And this reminds me of a quote from the book/film ‘The Commitments’ that ‘jazz is musical w*nking’….


  5. 9 David Barnes December 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Hi, lovely to stumble across your blog post about the Pillow Project poetry event. Any chance you could correct the Spoken Word Paris link – some nefarious internet scammer has stolen so now we’re on
    Many Thanks!


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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