Blogs The Green Room

SHHH! Super Secret Performance Experience

super secret

Inside Out There: Workshops!

It is that time of year when the Walker welcomes four emerging performance groups to Minneapolis for Out There 20: Moving Toward the Future. This unique festival of talent will not only be on stage but you the audience member have the chance to work with them one on one! Along with performing their work […]

It is that time of year when the Walker welcomes four emerging performance groups to Minneapolis for Out There 20: Moving Toward the Future. This unique festival of talent will not only be on stage but you the audience member have the chance to work with them one on one! Along with performing their work throughout January these artists are offering you a chance to learn more about their process in four fantastic Saturday morning workshops! Get inside Out There with these innovative performers!

Saturday, January 12, 2008 11am-1pm Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People – Help Gutierrez create “The Big Mess” a movement based experiment. Open to all this workshop is part performance based, part experience, and a true investigation into the making of something from nothing. Click www.miguelgutierrez.org to learn more about their work.

Saturday, January 19, 2008 11am-1pm The TEAM – What are the challenges and wonders of creating a performance work with an ensemble? Be prepared to write and move with these performers as you explore their techniques when it comes to building dramatic material within a democracy. Find out more about this group at www.theteamplays.com.

Saturday, January 26, 2008 11am-1pm Claude Wampler – Join Wampler and ArtForum contributing editor Bruce Hainley for a rare screening of Andy Warhol’s 66-minute film Paul Swan. After viewing be part of an engaging conversation about topics spurred by the film such as aging of a performer’s body, the meaning of a career and its ending, and more. Learn about Wampler at www.claudewampler.com.

Saturday, February 2, 2008 11am-1pm David Neumann/advanced beginner group – This workshop offers participants the opportunity to discuss the difficulties and joys that come with a multidisciplinary approach to dance and theater. Movement experience is necessary and a performance background is encouraged. Go to www.advancedbeginnergroup.org for more.

The logistics: All workshops are $6 ($4 Walker members) Series of four $20 ($12 Walker members). All workshops are held in the McGuire Theater. Early sign up is encouraged! Call 612-375-7600 or go to walkerart.org/tickets!

Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra: line up breakdown

This Saturday, December 1, you don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to experience a powerful band of musicians unlike any other on the jazz scene today. Walker Performing Arts Curator Philip Bither, in talking about the group and his excitement in presenting them at the Walker, says “ This band is SMOKING. They somehow […]

This Saturday, December 1, you don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to experience a powerful band of musicians unlike any other on the jazz scene today. Walker Performing Arts Curator Philip Bither, in talking about the group and his excitement in presenting them at the Walker, says “ This band is SMOKING. They somehow combine great high jinx, tight charts, wild innovation in solos and arrangements, infectious joy, huge musicianship and virtuosic big band power. Can you have amazing fun and have your mind stretched all at the same time?….this band can do just that. You have to see them to believe them.”

Northrop Jazz Season and Walker Art Center present

Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra

Saturday, December 1, 7 & 9:30pm, McGuire Theater

*Student Discount at the 9:30pm performance! Provide your valid student i.d. to purchase a $10 ticket! Now that is a deal!

Millennial Territory Orchestra is making their way to the Walker! Their hip and unpredictable sound of this maverick band has attracted diverse audiences around the country. Fun, loose, witty, and raucous are just some of the words used when describing MTO’s music. Although they perform some jazz classics the word “ traditional” is definitely not in this band’s vocabulary. This funky collection of multi-talented musicians manages to deliver innovative translations of some unexpected tunes.

When Bernstein talks about playing with the MTO his excitement is not containable. “ These days I have more of a jazz audience. But until recently my whole audience was 22 year-olds, just having a great time. Even now, my favorite moments at an MTO concert are when some 21 year-old college girl comes up and says, I was crying. I had tears in my eyes.’ They want to go out in New York and experience something and they’ve never really experienced live music before–and when they feel that thing where something is actually happening in front of them, it gives you that emotion, that feeling that you can’t get from TV or from a computer.” More info about the group can be found here.

Steven Bernstein has had a career that is versatile and cutting edge. He has worked with almost every type of musician from Marianne Faithful to Bill Frisell to Courtney Love. For this performance he leads a group of artists whose experience and talent are hard to match. Together these musicians create a sound that is both adventuresome and accessible for any music lover. Check out the line up:

Playing guitar is Matt Munisteri whose technique has been described as “ homespun” and “ remarkable.” He has played all over New York working with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Madeline Peyroux and leading his own band Brock Mumford. Matt is singer as well and has appeared several times on A Prairie Home Companion.

On the bass is Ben Allison who was quoted by the Boston Globe as being “ one of today’s best young jazz musicians.” His most recent album Cowboy Justice was number one on the CMJ National Jazz radio charts for 4 weeks in a row and remained in the top 20 for four months. Ben has been the leader of the bands Peace Pipe, the Ben Allison Quartet, Medicine Wheel, and the Kush Trio.

Performing the violin is Charlie Burnham whose playing was described by All About Jazz as “ it leads you down some open roads and dark alleys, and brings you to some spots you may not have known even existed.” He has worked with Cassandra Wilson, James Blood Ulmer, Henry Threadgrill, and many more. Charlie is currently leading his own band in which he sings and plays violin.

In the reed section is Doug Wieselman a composer and a multi-instrumentalist with the ability to play a wide variety of reed, string, and percussion instruments. His music can be heard in the Oscar-winning documentary The Long Way Home. His soundtrack work is compiled on the 2004 release Dimly Lit: Collected Soundtracks. Doug is also the co-leader of the Kamikaze Ground Crew.

Peter Apfelbaum (also on reeds) has been a musician since he was 11 years old and is a product of the Berkley School’s Jazz Project. In his senior year of college he formed the 17 piece group Hieroglyphics Ensemble (one of its original members being Steven Bernstein) who had great success. One of these successes was opening for the Grateful Dead in the early 1990’s.

Another member of the reeds section is Erik Lawrence. His father, Arnie Lawrence, was a jazz musician and founder of the New School of Jazz in New York City who told Erik to “ Play what you feel” which has led him to play in a more improvisational style. He has performed at the Carnegie Recital Hall, the World Peace Festival, and many European jazz festivals. He has played alongside such artists as Buddy Miles, Bob Dylan, and The Band.

On trombone is Curtis Fowlkes who maintains an active and diverse career: in addition to playing with the Jazz Passengers, his collaborators include artists like Bill Frisell, Don Byron, John Zorn, Harry Shearer, Marc Ribot, Jeb Loy Nichols, Sheryl Crow and Cibo Matto. His travels between the spheres of rock, jazz and pop also influenced his solo career, which debuted with a 1999 release on Knitting Factory Records.

Last but certainly not least on drums is Ben Perowsky. He has been drumming since he was three years old. He has his own label El Destructo on which he released a CD by his band MoodSwing Orchestra. Early in his career he worked with the pop singer Rickie Lee Jones and jazz star James Moody. He is currently working on a variety of projects with a variety of musicians one being his dad Frank Perowsky.

Carbon-neutral choreography

While searching for links to go along with last week’s Behind the 8-Ball Q&A with Emily Johnson, curator of this weekend’s successful Choreographers’ Evening, I noticed that her Walker/Jerome-commissioned work Heat & Life is on a 50-state tour. And given the performance’s theme — climate change and its implications on how we live — the […]

heatandlife1.jpgWhile searching for links to go along with last week’s Behind the 8-Ball Q&A with Emily Johnson, curator of this weekend’s successful Choreographers’ Evening, I noticed that her Walker/Jerome-commissioned work Heat & Life is on a 50-state tour. And given the performance’s theme — climate change and its implications on how we live — the company is buying carbon offsets to help reduce its carbon footprint.

I emailed Johnson to hear what it means to be “carbon neutral.” In her reply she said that oft-used buzzword is too forgiving. “To be truly carbon neutral” — that is to add no carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in the course of touring — “we’d be walking to our performance cities and venues and performing in the dark,” she wrote.

Still, from paying for tree planting to doing roadside theater to raise awareness of the issue, Johson’s company Catalyst is truly putting its money where its moves are.

More from her email:

(more…)

Choreographers’ Evening: post-re-view

(on behalf of Emily Johnson) What do you remember? What surprised you? Did you laugh? Did you cry? Did your mind wander? post-re-view is a post-performance project of Catalyst. I am interested in what happens when audiences are invited to craft a response to a performance, especially when they weren’t preparing for that task during […]

(on behalf of Emily Johnson)

What do you remember?

What surprised you?

Did you laugh? Did you cry?

Did your mind wander?

post-re-view is a post-performance project of Catalyst.

I am interested in what happens when audiences are invited to craft a response to a performance, especially when they weren’t preparing for that task during the show. What stays in the mind? What is recalled? What is lost? Does any of this change the relationship between “review,” “reviewer,” “audience,” and “performance?”

Now that you’ve seen the 35th annual Choreographers’ Evening, please write, draw, videotape (or anything else you can think of) a response to any one or any number of the dances you saw tonight.

Add your response as a comment to this post. Your response will be housed on the Walker site and also linked to www.catalystdance.com. This project is not to be confused with the Walker blog’s Re:view-Overnight Observations. Note: this is not a blogging situation.

A few liberal post-re-view guidelines:

– post-re-views can be of any length

– post-re-views can take any shape the contributor chooses; essay, quick response, prose, lists, drawings, short film…

– People are asked to create post-re-views AFTER shows

– post-re-views are not edited

– These post-re-views will be posted on the Walker’s website and on Catalyst’s website

– post-re-view-ers need not have any prior experience writing about, performing, or making “dance.”

Thank you!!

-Emily Johnson

Tonight’s Curator and Director of Catalyst

Jerome Bel: still thinking

At times disappointing (how can you top “The Show Must Go On”?), and at others delightful, annoying, enlightening, I am still chewing on “Pichet Klunchun and Myself” these three days later. I’ve had to describe it to several people who could not attend but wanted to know what it was like. I heard myself say […]

At times disappointing (how can you top “The Show Must Go On”?), and at others delightful, annoying, enlightening, I am still chewing on “Pichet Klunchun and Myself” these three days later.

I’ve had to describe it to several people who could not attend but wanted to know what it was like. I heard myself say “It’s kind of like ‘My Dinner Wth Andre’ and Spaulding Gray’s work,” “There wasn’t much dance. You wouldn’t like it,” and “Brilliant!” depending on where I was on the rewind of the show and who was asking. I have no idea if what I experienced and translated is true, but for me it does fall into a small mental file of thinkers I admire. Are these people eccentric (Pina Bausch, Jiri Kyllian, Anthony Hopkins)? Is that part of the appeal?

How difficult is it for Bel and Klunchun to leave their native tongues and perform (act) in english? An odd triangle of expression.

I’m sort intrigued that writer Lightsey Darst said some of it depresssed her, while Galen Truer blogged about clowning! And that Matt Paikin preferred this show to the one many of us loved in 2005, the one he almost walked out (offended) on.

I’m going to sign off and finish watching “Withnail and I” which is highly comical and only slightly depressing.

Pichet Klunchun and myself

This post refers to Galen’s post and Sally’s reply a bit, but I thought I’d separate it because I have a slightly different take. First, I just finished my review of this for mnartists.org. Look for the review on Monday. I approached the performance from the cultural angle–what does this say about our ability to […]

This post refers to Galen’s post and Sally’s reply a bit, but I thought I’d separate it because I have a slightly different take.

First, I just finished my review of this for mnartists.org. Look for the review on Monday. I approached the performance from the cultural angle–what does this say about our ability to view dances from other cultures, etc–and I’m not going to rehash that in this post.

Like Sally, I wondered about the dialogue. How much were these two actually talking to each other? I got the sense that very little was actually going on during the performance–in two ways. First, they’ve certainly performed this plenty of times, and they have a routine, if not a script. But even taking the conversation at face value, would you really call that a conversation? Bel and Klunchun mostly refusing to understand each other, with only moments of artistic sympathy–really, it depressed me.

Also like Sally, I got stuck on this idea of risk versus purchase. The sniffy classicist in me wants to respond that there’s nothing wrong with knowing in advance what you are getting, that this is akin to the vital processes of rereading and revisiting, that knowing the outlines of what you’re getting prepares you to see more of the inside this time–and also that continually seeking new stimulation is characteristic of children and drug addicts. But I don’t think, on reflection, that Bel meant to rank gambling above purchasing.

Gambling–is that really what you feel you’re doing when you buy a Walker ticket? “They didn’t buy anything!” Bel exclaimed when explaining why disgruntled viewers don’t get their money back. All they bought was a chance. There’s something to that, isn’t there?

Speaking of disgruntled viewers, I did see a few people leaving before the end, and frankly I didn’t blame them. It was quite long for a lecture-dem type of thing, and I thought mostly aimed at the dance/contemporary performance crowd.

A Salute to Sommers

Sincere congratulations to puppetmaker and artist Michael Sommers who was named this week as a 2007 United States Artists Fellow. The $50,000 no-strings-attached gift recognizes 50 artists who’ve achieved “master status.” Sommers and his wife and business partner Sue Haas received news of the fellowship the day they opened their new Open Eye Figure Theatre […]

picture-7.pngSincere congratulations to puppetmaker and artist Michael Sommers who was named this week as a 2007 United States Artists Fellow. The $50,000 no-strings-attached gift recognizes 50 artists who’ve achieved “master status.” Sommers and his wife and business partner Sue Haas received news of the fellowship the day they opened their new Open Eye Figure Theatre in South Minneapolis. The theater’s inaugural show was a remounting a Walker commission, Sommers’ A Prelude to Faust, which was performed in the same venue in 1998 when it was Patrick’s Cabaret. (Sommers and Haas also had a visual arts exhibition of their work at the Walker in the early ’90s.)

Sommers is in good company. Walker artists-in-residence Bill T. Jones, Rennie Harris, Joanna Haigood, Ann Hamilton, and Jason Moran were also named. The 2007 fellows will meet for a party at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles this weekend.

Bel-wether evening

I fought the urge to walk out of my first encounter with J

I fought the urge to walk out of my first encounter with J

Jerome Bel is a Clown

Jerome Bel is a Clown. A clown is a performer that acknowledges his/her audience, creating a bridge to the stage (it might be in a theater or a circus or a street corner or the frozen foods aisle). Generally clowns use humor and physicality to do this, and universally the clowns job is to get […]

Jerome Bel is a Clown.

A clown is a performer that acknowledges his/her audience, creating a bridge to the stage (it might be in a theater or a circus or a street corner or the frozen foods aisle). Generally clowns use humor and physicality to do this, and universally the clowns job is to get the attention of their audience and raise questions about taboos or assumptions in society.

I took a workshop from Pierre Byland, a well known Swiss clown that taught the Jeune Lune co-foudners, this summer, and he said that the job of the clown is to raise doubt in the audience.

The clown also wants to be loved. Being liked doesn’t matter, love is essential.

Jerome Bel is a clown:

Last night Jerome Bel said that his job as a contemporary artist working in the theater is to do research and “reflect what is happening in our society now” through his performances. That is why it is contemporary art. It is contemporary to now. That’s like a clown. With all the laughter, it looks like he’s using humor to do this. He is also “identified as a choreographer” and uses very specific physicality in his performances. That is also like a clown.

Pichet Klunchun and myself is all about doubt of our assumptions, our values, and essentially what we are doing in the theater.

Jerome Bel also needs love. Without love we would not survive as an artist. He explains the structure of contemporary art as 3 tiered: Artist, Producer/Sponsor, Audience. For the artist to survive the producers and audience support the artist’s research, blindly. They buy nothing, they “make a bet”. The faith in this bet looks a lot like love to me.

Finally, Jerome Bel wears a mask like a clown. The Red Nose of the clown is “the smallest mask in the world”. It allows the clown to do his job and take risks. Jerome Bel has created a mask that is called “Jerome Bel” that allows him to take risks and do his job. It makes me think of Stephen Colbert’s character Stephen Colbert, star of the Colbert Report.

Just one more connection: Jean Baudrillard, the French “philosopher clown” who died last spring argued that modern society creates representation that is more “real” than the original. Isn’t Jerome Bel’s work about representation and the real?

What do you think?

Next