No longer a baby with whiplash, Brontez Purnell is ready to dance and rock flawless
Brontez also throws in a killer cover, of “Heartbroken,” by T2 featuring Jodie Aysha. He's typically candid about its inspiration. “I first heard [the song] during this Adam4Adam trick,” he says. “I went to this guy's house and he was a total freak. He had this way-too-close relationship with his dog. I hugged him and the dog ran off the bed and he said, 'She hates when you take my energy away like that.' We were fucking and he had on his Pandora and that song came on, and I was like, 'What is this? This is what's up!'”
What's up for Brontez today? For starters, his neighborhood in West Oakland, where warehouse spaces like Sugar Mountain, Ghost Town, and Copland are putting on shows. “On the weekend, you see so many white kids it's like Woodstock,” he laughs. “What's happening here isn't going on in San Francisco. But during the weekdays, you see the nice cars that drive by to get heroin and crack, and the regular neighborhood people.”
What's also going on is a strong dedication to making things happen, and making dance. “My biological clock is ticking, ticking, going 'What have you done, girl?',” Brontez jokes. “It's nice to sit around waiting on boys to love you, but in the meantime...” In the meantime, he's reading up on Rainer, Katherine Dunham, and Martha Graham. He's watching AXIS Dance Company rehearsals. He's drawing on his studies with choreographers Eric Kupers and Nina Haft. He's getting set to act with Jesse Hewit and others in a film by Travis Mathews. He's leading dance workshops. And he's giving any “fucking squares” in dance a loving “a kick in the ass,” flyering shows punk rock-style, and choreographing pieces involving witch dancers and preachers, with titles like Whenever I Hit the Floor, I'm Like a Fucking Hurricane.
“Thank god I also read a lot of rock 'n' roll autobiographies,” Brontez says. “Because all of my favorite artists say the same thing: 'They did not love me enough.' This year, I'm going to find out who my brothers and sisters are, so we can start doing shows together.”
L@TE FRIDAY NIGHTS AT BAM/PFA: BRONTEZ WITH BRILLIANT COLORS
7:30 p.m. (DJ Myles Cooper at 6:30 p.m.), $7
Berkeley Art Museum, Gallery B
2626 Bancroft, Berk.