Docu-worthy: Yvonne Rainer in ‘Feelings Are Facts’

Oh jeez, in our nightmarish ‘new normal,’ an American existence in which mediocrity — so painful in a society in which political freedom enables the pursuit of excellence — rises to unimaginable levels; in which lies and blather pollute our air; in which values that can only be called contemptible predominate, into this setting enter center-stage the great choreographer/filmmaker Yvonne Rainer.


She’s one of America’s spurned offspring, a true artist, a quiet revolutionary, a dance-devil. Her reduction of choreography to the bare bones of human movement and her nonchalant lack of ego flies in the face of celebrity culture. Yet Yvonne has a new movie. The admirable research and insights of “Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer” come courtesy of its director Jack Walsh.


Ever the provocateur, the author of The “No” Manifesto, Rainer, with her dry wit and persistent self deprecation, must feel perversely pleased to learn that when ‘dance people’ learn of her highly respected filmmaking career, they are shocked. When ‘film people’ learn of Yvonne’s highly touted dancer/choreographer career, they are shocked.

No to spectacle.
No to virtuosity.
No to transformations and magic and make-believe.
No to the glamour and transcendency of the star image.
No to the heroic.
No to the anti-heroic.
No to trash imagery.
No to involvement of performer or spectator.
No to style.
No to camp.
No to seduction of spectator by the wiles of the performer.
No to eccentricity.
No to moving or being moved.

That’s shock and awe, in a good way.

We’ll see it Monday night at Laemmle Theatre’s “Culture Vulture” series across the Los Angeles basin. With screenings at the Monica Film Center, Playhouse 7, Town Center, Claremont 5, and Ahrya Fine Arts, the latter with the director Jack Walsh present for Q&A.

An aside to Yvonne, I would do anything to enhance arts·meme with Peter Moore’s tremendous photography.

Enjoy, Yvonne Rainer … and kvell!

Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer | Laemmle Theatres | Mon Feb 13

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