Memory Palace: Arthur Avilés
November 8, 2016
DO YOU REMEMBER ARNIE?
When photographer/choreographer/dancer Arnie Zane died of AIDS-related Lymphoma in 1988 at the age of 39, I was a relatively new member to the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Company. Arnie never stopped choreographing. He created at least three or four dances between March ‘87 and his death on March 30, 1988. One dance I loved performing in particular was the beautiful, beguiling, pristine and meaningful, THE GIFT/NO GOD LOGIC. Even though my interaction with Arnie was brief, my memories are fond. We shared a love for photography and Barbra Streisand. We saw NUTS together. After a particularly tiring day, after he slept on the dance floor in the rehearsal studio as we rehearsed, he got up to make a doctor’s appointment. As he exited the studio he slowly sashayed toward the doorway as he sang a few lines from a Streisand classic. As he approached the door his right arm slid up the edge of the doorway. He sang “Have I stayed too lo——-hong at the fair————.” His imitation was right on, especially when he hit the high note, fit for a coloratura on the word “lo—–hong.” In a moment ripe with the possibility of tears (and make no mistake the tears were there), the room instead burst out laughing as he slung the arm of his sweater around his neck and, with a quick look in the direction he was going in, he disappeared! That’s the way Arnie left me—fabulous, powerful and oh so funny!
Historically, the Memory Palace is a technique of memory recall often used by ancient Greek poets. By committing a location to memory, a poet could take an imaginary “walk” through this location, thereby recalling people, faces, events, and other memorial phenomena...This is an experiment to create a conversation, to collect what can be remembered at this particular intersection in time, to see what sort of architecture might hold what is inevitably left out. It is an unfinished building. –Will Rawls