Dystopian narratives have been hard to handle this past year, exactly for their prescience, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing Lise Haller Baggesen’s most fabulous and timely extravaganza yet. Hatorade Retrograde is a musical set in San Francisco c. 2069, chronicling the eco-feminist resistance to climate disaster, techno-oppression, the privatization of Mars, viral pandemics, and other all-too believable events. The main characters include a codebreaker, a rogue AI designer, a pair of teenage scientists, and a forest fire fighter, styled in a just-right hybrid of hippie, grunge, futurism and glam that Baggesen calls “lipstick brutalism.” Solidarity, pride, motherliness and other forms of care, zealousness and redemption figure strongly, thank goodness. On view at Gallery 400, in a show dedicated to the entire Gesamtkunstwerk, are costumes, props, character portraits, and a room full of sketches and research materials, plus footage from performances in McLaren Park in 2019, with the San Fran of today as backdrop.
—Lori Waxman 2021-04-07 11:14 AM