i am not an art writer, but i love writing and talking about art, it is what excites me, and it is my natural instinct to seek dialog after witnessing any work or performance that has caused my synapses to fire even more rapidly and connect making all sorts of new patterns in my brain, so if i offend by my lack of linguistic or factual expertise i apologize...i am so fired up though! and i want to share it...
the evening that has so captivated me was a presentation of mfa composers work created in the concert theatre intensive workshop, taught by anne lebaron and mark menzies. only about a week of time was available for these projects, and i was thrilled by the outcome of all five of the pieces, most especially the john cage open.
for me, who knows little about golf, and doesn't speak any other language fluently by any means, this performance was stellar...the lack of knowledge on my part only added to the piece by alex sramek. it was so good it didn't matter.
on the stage are random objects for making sound and to make sound off of. implements to 'hit' 'holes'. these 'holes' are suspended random objects which each of the two players 'swing at' using whatever household object they choose as their weapons. the piece was hilarious, i was crying with laughter because two 'commentators' in sportscoats using the hushed or chatting tones in rhythms recognizable as golf talk to detail the two competators angle, 'club,' history of the 'course' and discussion of past events. one spoke in english the other in japanese.
the competators: 'the hammer' and 'lionheart' are each called to the stage, go two rounds and are eventually interviewed, and each player's technique and past plays are described through the language of the commentator. i can't take the whole day to describe it now, i want to continue it as an art form / sport. i would love to go to or host or play in the next john cage open! what a great idea! the other pieces were amazing as well.
there was an ingenius version of a string quartet by bobby halvorson, where the quartet literally playing with string. on the box stands the puppeter, who has strings attached to the conductor, a lovely woman with the most expressive hands...she is in front of four musicians, all who have made their instruments out of string. there is a tiny stringed instrument resembling a cello the size of a violin, another is an instrument which is hit with string mallets, then there is an instrument that reminded me of an accordian, and another which i couldn't see, but it looked as if the musician were wrapped up in string. they played a full piece, very attentive to the conductor, their countenance and movements exactly those of a string quartet. and of course there was no sound, except the occassional hit in a non-stringy place, or the audience doing any more than breathing. i really liked this one. the concept was excuted so beautifully, and it had a strange lovliness, and also was a bit disturbing in that the members of the piece, the conductor and musicians were not real, not really able to make music, they were puppets, and therefore making the only sounds puppets could make at the direction of the puppeteer as well as the conductor. it was multi-layered and i watched enthralled.
there was a solid and engaging piece by taylor brizindine called au puch. it was 'text transcribed from a dead city radio production by william s. burroughs entitled 'ah pook is here...[and is]...written partially from the point of ah puch, the mayan deity of destruction....sit and listen to the man in the easy-chair as the mayan god of destruction places a shotgun in his mouth and pulls the trigger'... using two harps, organ, violin, cello, and a gong which stood in the center....
a man in a suit and tie sits center stage reading from a newspaper...names of mayan origin, names that questions and answers about the end of the world. off-stage a megaphone voice responds and requests information. the music was beautiful, and the presentation felt like a finality ritual, as if this man was the last on earth to broadcast before the ultimate disintegration of the universe.
another piece : 'chain' by kwan fai (felix) lam, was a visceral, emotional, vision and sound performance of strange structures of conflict and power, conveyed through movement, subtle then building to chaotic instruments engaging in sonic, linguistic and spatial relationships. this piece animated the characters with their individual voices, a cellist, a flautist, a violinist, and a clarinet.
a blindfolded cellist takes center stage in a chair, the other instruments are harsh to her and keep her in her place, a violinist enters and acts as another voice, in a different timbre, which seems to be a narrator of the choas. there were even fights between the flautist and the clarinet who scoured the stage for chairs and stands blocking each other physically and shouting both words and notes...
the last piece was by james klopfleisch, the ultra-talented, witty, side-splitting commentator from the john cage open. it was a piece called jingle couch. a bedspring with pvc pipe edges for four bearers and musicians to carry / perform with. decorated with found object percussion, and other
odd objects: a mannequin hand, bottles, tinsel and other holiday paraphernalia,...the audience was told to follow the jingle couch, and the band leader, with a giant pipe spiraled with festive green, began the ceremonial trek to the reception. the bearers at the four corners were instructed to move in different ways to change the sounds of the couch as they walked, skipped, loped, according to the instructions of the leader.
this was one of the most satisfying and entrancing concerts i've seen. talking to anne lebaron afterwards she gave voice to many things i think of when making art or hosting / supporting it...she said that she loved the traditional presentation of music, but it was exciting to do new things. to think outside just wearing black and sitting in a pit and having a conductor or written music to perform.
this was a fabulous night.
love & ruckus