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Life Story: Kristin Worrall on Being the Center of NTOK’s 10-part Life and Times

It was a simple but profound prompt: “Tell me the story of your life.” And in response Kristin Worrall dove into an elongated stream of consciousness that began to turn her ordinary life into extraordinary art. Nature Theater of Oklahoma strictly adheres to their mission of “making the work we don’t know how to make, […]

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Kristin Worrall. Photo by Ilan Bachrach

It was a simple but profound prompt: “Tell me the story of your life.” And in response Kristin Worrall dove into an elongated stream of consciousness that began to turn her ordinary life into extraordinary art. Nature Theater of Oklahoma strictly adheres to their mission of “making the work we don’t know how to make, putting ourselves in impossible situations, and working from out of our own ignorance and unease.” And with that in mind, the root material for the epic Life and Times series was a sprawling sixteen hours of recorded conversations by musician and company member Kristin Worrall and director Pavol Liska. On many levels it’s a remarkable narrative, and in the end, “Life and Times is beautiful because it’s particular—Worrall is a sensitive observer of her own life—and also because it’s everyone’s story. Worrall’s might be an everyday tale, but this performance is once in a lifetime.” (Village Voice). I took a moment to ask Worrall a few questions about a work shaped by her past that now impacts her present life.

You’re a musician, performer, and a member of Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Tell me a little about your background and your duties in Episode 1.

I’ve been working with Kelly and Pavol for 10 years. Before working for them I worked in the music industry (distribution) and was a sound engineer and assistant for a commercial music house. I started out as a sound designer with Nature Theater, but my role has since morphed into a performer and musician. I play the flute and glockenspiel and dance in Episode 1.

Liska and co-director Kelly Copper asked you to audio record your life story as material for a possible production. How much did you know about their intent going into it, and how did it all unfold?

In the summer of 2007, Pavol told me he’d like to call me one day soon and to make sure I had a lot of time and didn’t feel pressured to hurry. Once the calling began, it was simply my own response to the question “Tell me the story of your life.” One phone call turned into ten, and only at the very end of the calls did he propose that it be a show. Of course I knew he’d be recording the phone calls, but I didn’t realize at the time that I was the only person he was calling, so it took me by surprise.

Downloading a sixteen-hour oral accounting of your life is an impressive extemporaneous feat. How did you prepare (or not) for the task? Did you notice a difference in the nature of your memories as you progressed through your life story?

Although it was sixteen hours in total that we spoke, it was broken up into ten different phone calls (which happened by accident, not design). One call would be as long as two and a half hours, another may have only been an hour long. I remember it being fun if not a bit self-indulgent. I didn’t prepare at all, but definitely took it seriously. It took the form of a stream of consciousness, and after a while I’m sure there were times I forgot that Pavol was on the other end of the phone. For the later phone calls I began talking about people and relationships that I was still involved in, so it became more difficult for me to have perspective and ground events. And I think, too, I glossed over things that had more emotional and intimate import for me. After the end of the last phone call, I realized that what I’d recounted wasn’t what I consider my biography or my life story. It was a stream of consciousness, and I didn’t craft my language. And of course many important life events and details were left out.

After the recording took place, were you involved with shaping the work? And how do you feel about the interpretation?

The text of the phone calls is really considered raw material for Kelly and Pavol to shape. Though the project is titled Life and Times, I don’t consider it at all a direct representation of my life. The show is based on a meandering phone call, after all, and I appreciate the abstraction and formalization of the text. I’m honored Pavol chose to call me. My words are being turned into art!

One of the most distinctive elements of the piece is the verbatim usage of all parts of your speech – every particle and article is included. Was it surprising to hear all of your “ums,” “ahs,” and “likes” brought to life in song?

I admit when I first heard the text I was slightly mortified at how inarticulate I sound. However, I have to defend myself in that when a person is trying to recall things from distant memory, a fair amount of “ums” are to be expected to uttered.

In the text your words have essentially been synthesized into notes. It must be an interesting cognitive exercise when playing the music to have this simultaneity happening?

I love playing the music for Episode 1. As a flute player I am lucky to be the voice in the orchestration that follows the singing (as opposed to being the rhythm). It’s great when we’re really in tune with one another, and a real symbiosis is happening in the room. That’s the goal.

How have your family and friends received the work?

They’re amazed by it and impressed by the work we’ve done. And generally think it’s just incredibly surreal. It’s funny, too — they all remark upon how they can “hear me talking” in the shows — particularly in Episode 1, since the text was not edited.

Through the ten episodes of Life and Times — a magnum opus that will be realized in a range of artistic disciplines — your life story is being publicly celebrated and casually analyzed. That’s an extremely unusual situation for anyone. I imagine this experience must be humbling in some ways and probably an emotional one as well?

Absolutely. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the source of the material is my text since there are so many variables at play, and there’s so much work going into this project. But of course there are days when I’m feeling vulnerable and personalize events that are going on on-stage and can’t escape mental images that come up for me. It’s a precarious position to be in and certainly a surreal one. But ultimately I know that I’m in good hands and have hopes that the audience will feel the same way.

Nature Theater of Oklahoma will perform Life and Times: Episode 1 at the Walker September 26-28, 2013.

How Dan Deacon Decided to Go Underground: Rock the Garden 2013

It wasn’t going to stop raining. The radar flashed a train of yellows and reds that churned toward and over Minneapolis. The doors to Rock the Garden 2013 had opened 20 minutes earlier and decisions had to be made. An hour before, Dan Deacon and I had a conversation about the dodgy weather that was […]

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Parking-garage dance party. Photo: Greg Beckel

It wasn’t going to stop raining. The radar flashed a train of yellows and reds that churned toward and over Minneapolis. The doors to Rock the Garden 2013 had opened 20 minutes earlier and decisions had to be made. An hour before, Dan Deacon and I had a conversation about the dodgy weather that was headed our way. He was fine playing in the rain and would ask some kids to hold a tarp over his gear during his show. I thanked him for his adventurous spirit. “Gotta keep it punk somehow,” he smirked.

Rain is one thing; lightning changes plans.

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Dan Deacon talks to Philip Bither, the Walker’s Senior Curator of Performing Arts, after covering his gear with a tarp. Photo: Greg Beckel

The storm helped us make an easy decision (safety first, right?). A volunteer evacuation to the parking garage was announced over the PA by Jill Riley (The Current host and voice of god), and she then kept the audience informed with storm info and ETAs for sun. But now it was raining quite hard and was looking like we’d have to play it safe and skip Dan’s set, hoping at that point to somehow salvage at least one song by Low.

At 3:30 pm, the rain had become torrential and I was huddled in the production tent with the key decision makers, including RTG production manager extraordinaire Maury Jensen, Randy Levy of Rose Presents, and Walker tech staff genius Ben Geffen. We all agreed: we couldn’t ask Dan to perform in such conditions, but we’d wait another five minutes or so before pulling the plug. It’s not a pleasant moment for any of us — we try to keep the mood light, buoyed with half-formed jokes and optimistic reads of the radar, but we all know this totally sucks. Months of work have gone into this one seven-hour period, and it’s taking a turn for the worse.

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Rock the Garden attendees waiting out the rain in the ramp. Photo: Gene Pittman

Then I see a beautiful sight — a purple hoody and the bespectacled and bearded face of Dan Deacon making his way toward me through our tiny tent. He’s Cheshire smiling. I’m flummoxed. I’m about to launch into my friendly chat about how it’s not going well with the weather when he blurts out, “I can play in the garage.” A moment of clarity hits me. “Of course you can play in the garage!,” I think to myself. Turning to Maury, I ask if he can pull this off and, without doubt or hesitation, he says, “I can make it happen.” We all thank Dan and experience a collective bit of much needed cheer. A generous twist of fate is at hand and the rest of us agree quickly to suss out if this is possible, with little time to waste. We confer with the MPR broadcast team and the TPT filming crew and realize this might just work. Ben Geffen and his team deploy to the garage to find a proper space and power to set up Dan’s gear. Ten or so minutes later, Ben radios up that they’re all set and Jill makes the announcement that Dan will be “rocking the underground,” sparking the remaining weatherproof stalwarts on the hill to quickly hoof it to the garage. A bullhorn is found and Current host Steve Seel agrees to do the intro for Dan.

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“Electro Pied Piper” Dan Deacon. Photo: Gene Pittman

What ensued in the depths of the parking garage is one of the most spontaneously joyous performance moments I have witnessed. Electro Pied Piper Dan Deacon led an ecstatic dance party with thousands of wet and ponchoed people – all dancing, drinking, and feeling the relief of being dry just for a moment. Deacon also concocted a dance contest and prodded thousands of people to make a giant circle within the cars and pillars — “Keep moving, all the way back to the Acuras!” This well-executed salvation and truly remarkable moment was all captured by hundreds of phones — check YouTube today.

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Dance battle. Photo: Gene Pittman

Dan ended his set right on time, the crowd spilling out of the garage as the rain lightened and eventually stopped, allowing Low to take the stage a mere 10 minutes behind schedule. Midway through Low’s (now also legendary) set, the sun broke through as the cheer of thousands echoed throughout the neighborhood.

Many thanks (and virtual hugs) to Dan Deacon for his inspired improvisation that set the perfect tone for RTG 2013 and clearly showed us how the essential the artistic perspective can be. And even more thanks to all the staff and crew (and audience!) who made this wonderful and super fun moment happen so fluidly. Dan’s performance became instant Rock the Garden lore and will certainly be hard to top next year.

Doug Benidt is the Walker’s Rock the Garden programmer and band wrangler.

Words (and Sounds) with Zeena Parkins

Playing a “sound machine of limitless capacity,” New York-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Zeena Parkins is a pioneer of contemporary harp practice and performance. Over the last two years she’s been collaborating with the BodyCartography Project on Super Nature, which world premieres at the Walker this week, as well as the precursory work Mammal. Accomplished and […]


Playing a “sound machine of limitless capacity,” New York-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Zeena Parkins is a pioneer of contemporary harp practice and performance. Over the last two years she’s been collaborating with the BodyCartography Project on Super Nature, which world premieres at the Walker this week, as well as the precursory work Mammal. Accomplished and in demand, Parkins has worked and performed with Jim O’Rourke, Thurston Moore, Björk, Yoko Ono, and John Zorn, and she was the inaugural artist for the Walker’s gallery-based music series Sound Horizon (January 2010). In welcoming her back to the Walker, we invited her to give us the scoop on the nature of her collaboration with BodyCartography and to take part in our 8-Ball series, in which artists answer some of life’s most (and possibly least) pressing issues. She agreed, upping the ante: she’s sharing audio of one of the pieces that’ll be included in this weekend’s performances of Super Nature.

Tell us a little bit about your compositions for Super Nature.

I’ve created a sonic ecosystem made from several categories of sounds:

1. Instruments: harps and synthesizers.

2. Bodies: the sound of the dancers moving, grunting, breathing, working, panting, leaping.

3. Choreographed actions or tasks in nature: walking down a steep hill, running along a pond, patting the floor of a pine grove.

4. Field recordings that have been reconstructed, re-orchestrated and dramatized.

5. There will be four live foley artists whose actions act as a link between the recordings and the live movement.

What has been surprising about this collaboration?

The beauty is coming up with something that you absolutely didn’t expect– one starts with a plan and then through the working process, the plan morphs and becomes something that could not have been predicted.

We hear you’re playing with guitarist Nels Cline (Wilco) next month (he’ll be here with his Dirty Baby project in November as well). What’s the gig?

Very excited about this!! We are playing a duo at the Sleepwalk Guitar Festival in Toronto. Yes, I know, I don’t play guitar and never want to, but perhaps they made an exception for me.

Here’s audio of a Parkins’ score for Super Nature:

8-BALL: ZEENA PARKINS

If you could have any job/career, what would you choose?
I would be a landscape architect and design mazes and gardens.

Who is your favorite villain of fiction? Of non-fiction?
Undine Spragg, the protagonist from The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton. She is bad, bad, bad!!!

If you could throw a dinner party for anyone in the world, who would you invite?
Of course this could be an endless list, but would be fun to include: Agnes Varda, Sonia Delhaunay, Tony Judt, Iannis Xenakis, and Sarah Silverman.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?
Would love to be a Piezo pickup.

What three items can always be found in your refrigerator?
Brown rice, miso, ice cream, and rose from Bandol when I am lucky.

What artist turned your world upside-down as a teenager?
Frank Lloyd Wright, Sun Ra and Thelonious Monk.

What have you been reading lately?
Currently reading Villette by Charlotte Bronte.

What is your favorite inanimate object?
I have a very special relationship and fondness for inanimate objects. I recently wrote a piece, Spellbeamed, in which all the musicians had to collect favorite objects for over a month. Nearly 600 objects were collected, photographed, and catalogued for an archive which became part of the score for the piece. So, I have many favorite inanimate objects. Presently I am quite fond of a small cardboard box from the ’60s that used to hold paper clips but is now wrapped in wire. It is a thing of beauty.

8-Ball: Saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Colin Stetson

Praised by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) as “one of our greatest living saxophone players,” Colin Stetson has collaborated with an array of artists, from Tom Waits and Jolie Holland to Arcade Fire and TV on the Radio to Laurie Anderson and Feist. He’s currently touring with Bon Iver. That kind of versatility marks this Montreal-based […]

Praised by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) as “one of our greatest living saxophone players,” Colin Stetson has collaborated with an array of artists, from Tom Waits and Jolie Holland to Arcade Fire and TV on the Radio to Laurie Anderson and Feist. He’s currently touring with Bon Iver. That kind of versatility marks this Montreal-based musician’s solo work — in which he uses saxophones, clarinets, cornet, french horn and flute to experiment around the margins of drone-rock, minimalism, and out jazz — as well. For his free Sound Horizon performances this Thursday – the last of this year’s series–he plays beneath Ernesto Neto’s otheranimal in the Walker’s Perlman Gallery. We caught up with him recently to answer some of life’s most — and possibly least — pressing questions.

What’s your favorite comfort food?
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.

What artist turned your world upside-down as a teenager?
Tom Waits.

What is your favorite film scene?
The opening scene from The Thin Red Line.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Faith.

Name one surprising aspect of your morning ritual.
It takes hours.

What’s the last (or favorite) book you read?
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami.

What artists are you most interested in at the moment?
Liturgy.

What is your least favorite sound?
Banana mouth.

Stetson performs at 6, 7, and 8 pm, Thursday, May 10. Admission to the Walker galleries is free from 5 to 9 pm.

8-Ball: Multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp

When guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp performs on Thursday in the Walker galleries, he’ll bring an instrument befitting the unusual setting. Beneath Ernesto Neto’s otherworldly otheranimal sculptural installation, he’ll be playing a customized six-string designed by luthier Saul Kroll, modified to include two additional bass strings, a Novax fanned fretboard system, a Jason Lollar pickup, an oval […]

When guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp performs on Thursday in the Walker galleries, he’ll bring an instrument befitting the unusual setting. Beneath Ernesto Neto’s otherworldly otheranimal sculptural installation, he’ll be playing a customized six-string designed by luthier Saul Kroll, modified to include two additional bass strings, a Novax fanned fretboard system, a Jason Lollar pickup, an oval soundhole, and a piezo pickup system.

To get a feel for this relentless experimenter’s thinking, we posed some of life’s most–and possibly least–pressing questions. Here’s his answers:

What global issue most excites or angers you?
Climate-change/global warming and its denial by the multinational corporate forces of greed and ignorance.

Who’s your favorite poet?
Chuang Tzu

What artist turned your world upside-down as a teenager?
Too many! But to start the list: Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Iannis Xenakis, Captain Beefheart, Robert Johnson, John Cage, Thelonious Monk, Edgar Varese, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Howlin’ Wolf, Ornette Coleman, Harry Partch…

Who’s your favorite cartoon character?
Finn and Jake (current), Rocky and Bullwinkle (classic)

What artists would you like to collaborate with?
Idjah Hadidjah, James Turrell, Konono Nr. 1, Bob Dylan, Min Tanaka

What have you been listening to lately?
Glenn Gould: Bach – The Partitas
Bob Dylan: Studio Outtakes: Vol. 2 – Now Your Mouth Cries Wolf
Ian Bostridge: Winterreise
Fred McDowell – Mississippi Delta Blues

What have you been reading lately?
Jonathan Lethem: The Ecstasy of Influence
Philip Kerr: Field Gray
Richard Dawkins: The Blind Watchmaker
Nathanael West: Complete Works
Steven Nadler: Spinoza, A Life

What’s your favorite mode of transport?
Walking.

Sharp performs as part of Target Free Thursday Night this Thursday at 6, 7, and 8 pm in the Walker’s Perlman Gallery. The three-part Sound Horizon series concludes with a free performance by Colin Stetson on May 10.

8-Ball: Composer-vocalist Julianna Barwick

Julianna Barwick‘s multi-track looped vocal harmonies have been described as having the “oddball allure of Björk or Yoko Ono” (New York Times) and characterized as “a digital update on sacred hymns” that still feels “feels human, imperfect, and intimate” (Pitchfork). This Thursday night, Barwick brings her soaringly beautiful voice to an unusual space, the Walker’s […]

Julianna Barwick Photo: Jody Rognac

Julianna Barwick‘s multi-track looped vocal harmonies have been described as having the “oddball allure of Björk or Yoko Ono” (New York Times) and characterized as “a digital update on sacred hymns” that still feels “feels human, imperfect, and intimate” (Pitchfork). This Thursday night, Barwick brings her soaringly beautiful voice to an unusual space, the Walker’s Perlman Gallery, where she’ll perform three times beneath Ernesto Neto’s otheranimal, a piece the artist created for a 2004 performance by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. In advance of her performances as part of the ongoing Sound Horizon in-gallery series, we posed a few questions to Barwick. Here, her answers to eight of life’s most–and possibly least–pressing questions.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?
A falcon.

What artist turned your world upside-down as a teenager?
Björk.

What is your least favorite sound?
Subway or bus brake screeching.

What have you been reading lately?
Sylvia Plath’s journals.

Whom would you like to spend three hours in an elevator with?
Bill Murray.

What artists would you like to collaborate with?
Visual artists Bruce Nauman, Janet Cardiff, Lindsey White, and Peter Coffin; musicians Liz Harris, Noah Lennox, and John Williams; and filmmakers Wes Anderson, Michel Gondry, and Sofia Coppola.

What type of gear/instrumentation are you currently performing with?
I use a mic going into an effects pedal (TC-Helicon VoiceTone Create) and then that goes into my loop station (a Roland RC50). I use a Roland 404 for samples.

What enters your mind when you begin to sing?
I definitely do the typical “go into my own world” thing when performing, I’m not really thinking about anything too deliberately. Sometimes I’ll just have good thoughts — usually a stream of recent wonderful memories involving my loved ones.

Barwick performs as part of Target Free Thursday Night this Thursday at 6, 7, and 8 pm in the Walker’s Perlman Gallery. Sound Horizon continues with Elliot Sharp on April 5 and Colin Stetson on May 10.

Phone calls as performance … OK, how weird does this piece get?

The questions and puzzled looks continue to mount each day. “Do I really have to go alone?” “If I don’t like it, can I walk out?” “Are they really in India? Do I call them or do they call me?” “So what makes this a performance?” Our presentation of Call Cutta in Box in January […]

Credit: Cameron Wittig

Minneapolis's IDS tower is the site of "Call Cutta in a Box." Credit: Cameron Wittig

The questions and puzzled looks continue to mount each day.

“Do I really have to go alone?”

“If I don’t like it, can I walk out?”

“Are they really in India? Do I call them or do they call me?”

“So what makes this a performance?”

Our presentation of Call Cutta in Box in January has people intrigued and perhaps a bit anxious. Allow me to allay some fears. I caught the work last January in NYC but before I made my appointment, I waffled through my own slight suspicions … this sounds so odd ­­- how could this be entertaining? … there’s a real chance it could be dull or simply intrusive … maybe I’m not wanting to give anything of myself today. I chose to ignore my instincts and take the plunge. It proved to be one of the most memorable performance experiences I have had, and believe me, I’ve had a few.

Maybe it was the anonymity (if I felt inclined, I could tell this person anything I wanted, we would probably never meet), or being alone in a strange office, or perhaps it was the thousands of miles between us. Whatever it was, I was completely engaged in this piece and found it absorbing, subtly mysterious, and utterly charming. My call center agent, Alakananda, elegantly guided me along our increasingly interactive (and surprise-filled) conversation, and we freely exchanged ideas on geography, work, religion, art, family – not exactly soul-searching metaphysical stuff, but I felt that there was a deeper connection, like she was an old dear friend that I had just met.

IDS Tower Office

As this “phone play” is a connection between two people that shadows in and out between performance and real life, no two interactions will be exactly alike. So I’d suggest you make an appointment with a friend (we have set up the piece so that it runs in two offices simultaneously), then grab a pint or some palak paneer after the experience and talk it all over. Take a 60-minute chance – it may change the way you think about our weird wired world, who we are, and why on earth are we in Minnesota in January. This memorable experience (with great views from the IDS Tower!) is certain to spark contemplative smiles and a fresh set of questions.

Call Cutta in a Box: An Intercontinental Phone Play by proformance group Rimini Protokoll runs the entire month of January 2010. Click here for tickets and show information.

SM&M, 0&1, & SXSW

Daara J, Low, Haley Bonar Jimmy Carter was running for president; we all wore red, white, and blue; and something called punk rock had just made its first stain. In July 1976, the good folks at the Walker programmed two evenings of film with music at the Lake Harriet band shell — nice. Fast forward […]

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Daara J, Low, Haley Bonar

Jimmy Carter was running for president; we all wore red, white, and blue; and something called punk rock had just made its first stain. In July 1976, the good folks at the Walker programmed two evenings of film with music at the Lake Harriet band shell — nice. Fast forward 30 years and leap over to Loring Park: our Summer Music & Movies (SM&M) series, launching tonight, has become the grandpappy of all the local outdoor film and band events. This summer we celebrate the 30th anniversary of this amazingly convivial experience, where hipsters, picnickers, kids, and canines converge to share six sultry Monday evenings and collectively forget that January is even a possibility.

Let me take you on a brief ramble about curating music for a series that has helped define summer in Minneapolis. No doubt programmers over the decades have found selecting bands an easy pleasure. Heydays are frequent and ‘next big things’ bloom perennially in this town. SM&M has grown up with the music scene, and the array of bands (Jayhawks, Babes in Toyland, Lifter Puller, Low, Wallets, Moe Tucker, Har Mar Superstar, Christian Marclay, NNB, Trashmen, 2i, Deerhoof, Suburbs, Slug, Le Tigre . . . you get the idea) that have played the park may conjure warm memories of pivotal rock moments. OK, maybe not so much for a few of the Mondays, but SM&M has consistently offered the most interesting free music around. The satisfying equation of informed audiences, a beautiful setting, and a boundless wealth of local talent – punctuated over the years with national and international luminaries – has resulted in a series that has proved to be both petri dish and platform for some of the Twin Cities’ most memorable musicians.

Throughout the life of SM&M the encompassing forms of jazz, rock, pop, and hip-hop were well represented. But today (and over the past 10 years, really), things are decidedly different. Our silent companions 0 and 1, the pliant particulates of the cybersphere, have altered listening as we know it. The Internet has allowed musicians’ “influenced by” lists to grow exponentially. Styles and sounds, past and present, are all there for the clicking (and sampling). Want to know what Silver Apples sounded like in 1968? Great, it’s here. Need a traditional sub-Saharan beat that’ll work with Balkan-tinged flute solo? Cool, this dude has a link. The stylistic walls have turned to glass and the creative process for musicians is evolving as quickly as the entire music industry itself. As programmers, our charge is to decipher the meaningful and interesting mutations – what’s the next logical step? And, well, does it have to be logical?

As part of our continuing mutation research, I traveled to Austin, Texas, for the 20th anniversary of the SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival in March. Now the largest music conference in the world, it’s an exhilarating, stamina-testing crush of keypad kids, industry idolaters, and true believers. Five days at maximum volume equals 1,500 bands, 50 stages, perpetual lines, free Shiner, and transcendent moments. I did catch excellent sets by Mogwai, Animal Collective, Detachment Kit, Why?, and dozens of others. A decided highlight was a set by a band billed as Special Guests (aka Flaming Lips). These merry pranksters of alt-rock came out with dayglow gear, hundreds of six-foot balloons, confetti canons, and strobes, and did a full-on, faithful cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” – I thought there might be a riot. While I reveled in the chance to envelop myself in live music each day, it did seem that the festival staggered under its own weight and too easily lurched in a green-greedy, heady rush toward the band buzzing loudest. But back to Minneapolis. Film curator Dean Otto, my performing arts colleague Diana Kim, and I feel the flush of finding that magical mix of sound and vision. We’ve always felt with SM&M that “free” shouldn’t equal “dull,” so we hope to present film and music that are unexpected, excellent, and will perhaps scare the wildlife a bit. A special thanks from the SM&M folks at the Walker to the countless bands, DJs, and crowds that have made the previous 170 (or so) Mondays feel so right.

Doug Benidt
Assistant Curator, Performing Arts