it seems like an unlikely--or, at least, unwieldy--combination: a walking tour, and performance art. and red dive doesn't quite pull it off.
yesterday afternoon the lower manhattan cultural council had this "open studios" event at 120 broadway (all the way down there, between cedar and pine). basically, on the eighth floor of this building, 20 or so artists rent studio space, and they opened it all up to the public. as you can imagine, the art on display varied widely--in style, content and appeal to me--but it was a cool set-up and everyone was friendly and chatty and they had free doughnuts and coffee and i wished bo and co had been with me.
anyway, the lmcc also sponsored four free lower manhattan walking tours; i went on the red dive one.
our tour leader (i'm spacing her name... carrie maybe? i don't think that's right, but that's what i'll call her...) was perky and wore an orange jump suit and carried a red and a yellow flag, which she waved around a lot as she led us down fulton and wall and gold and maiden and john, etc. i'm sorry to say that most of what she told us was not terribly interesting. the promising premise of the tour was that she'd interweave odd historical facts about the area with stories she'd heard from ordinary people who live and work in the neighborhood today. a cool idea... except the facts weren't really odd, and stories were pretty dull.
what i DID like about the whole thing--so much so that i'll probably take boco on one if the opportunity arises again--were the musicians and dancers that followed us around, totally unacknowledged by carrie. so we'd turn a corner, and there again would be a trumpet player, drummer and trombonist, often in an unusual spot, often playing their instruments in unusual ways. it was like having a somewhat avant-garde soundtrack to the tour. and the five main dancers, women in different-colored business suits, would also pop up unexpectedly, and perform short, choreographed, site-specific pieces. all this is going on while carrie is telling her stories, TOTALLY confusing passers-by. there almost a prank-y vibe to it, and it made me smile a lot during the hour.
one more thing: considering the artistic, hipster-esque sensibility of the red dive crew, the message of the tour was bizarrely pro-development and pro-corporate: like she was so excited that they were building so many new places for rich people to live downtown. and carrie spoke so specifically (and positively) about hum-drum stores and restaurants we passed it made me wonder whether they had paid her to spout her "advertisements".
so... performance artists: fun and interesting and really used the space in unusual ways; tour spiel: not so much.