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Crystal Pite’s Choreographic Attack

Vancouver’s version of the City Pages, the Georgia Straight, published a great article/interview earlier this year with Kidd Pivot mastermind (and Vancouver native) Crystal Pite. She explains that for Dark Matters (opening Thursday at the Walker) she “drew on the ideas of the kuroko stage hands and the Bunraku puppeteers of old Japanese theatre. ‘They’re these […]

Vancouver’s version of the City Pages, the Georgia Straight, published a great article/interview earlier this year with Kidd Pivot mastermind (and Vancouver native) Crystal Pite. She explains that for Dark Matters (opening Thursday at the Walker) she “drew on the ideas of the kuroko stage hands and the Bunraku puppeteers of old Japanese theatre. ‘They’re these anonymous black-clad characters that move puppets,’ she explains. ‘You see them there as an audience but you kind of block them out so you can enjoy the magic.’”

Here’s a trailer for Dark Matters (with footage of these anonymous black-clad characters):

Go here for a great video of Crystal Pite talking about the work that would become Dark Matters while it was still in-creation at the Nederland Dans Theater. The video features additional footage of  these shadow characters, which might remind Walker dance-goers of John Jasperse’s variation on that theme here in May. Crystal Pite in the Vancouver Sun says, “a shadow does not walk, it slides silently with us in perfect unison, dimensionally translated, effortless and benign.”

With its hieratic movements reminiscent of fencing or a sort of gothic breakdance, its puppetry narrative, and striking score throughout, Dark Matters promises to be a relentless journey into the heart of modern macabre, and a chance to see one of the more versatile choreographers working today; Crystal Pite somehow made time to also choreograph a ballet for 38 dancers during the creation of Dark Matters (!)

Highly anticipated.

Tickets.

FYI: Crystal Pite’s company is called Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM because it has been the resident company at Frankfurt cultural center Künstlerhaus Mousonturm since spring 2010. Crystal Pite’s company Kidd Pivot is based jointly in Vancouver and Frankfurt.

Tomorrow night’s Spark of Being: a jazz concert with a film

Tomorrow night the Walker-commissioned Spark of Being will be performed in the McGuire Theater by Dave Douglas and his band Keystone. Fans of Erik Friedlander’s Block Ice & Propane performance last year will probably find much to love with Spark of Being, because both pieces feature film by Bill Morrison. However, tomorrow night’s evening length film […]

Tomorrow night the Walker-commissioned Spark of Being will be performed in the McGuire Theater by Dave Douglas and his band Keystone. Fans of Erik Friedlander’s Block Ice & Propane performance last year will probably find much to love with Spark of Being, because both pieces feature film by Bill Morrison. However, tomorrow night’s evening length film was developed in conjunction with Dave Douglas’ ongoing process of music composition; in contrast to film footage being used as accompaniment to music, tomorrow night’s piece is more of a cross-pollination, with the music heard and the film seen being inseparably involved in each other’s creation. As Douglas said in a San Jose Mercury News article (unfortunately no longer available online) “The whole thing from its genesis was a parallel construction.”

The article also has a great story on how Morrison and Douglas met:

[Morrison] and Douglas first met in an earlier phase of Morrison’s life, when he was a dishwasher at New York’s Village Vanguard jazz club in the early 1990s. “I wouldn’t have done a dishwashing job anywhere else,” Morrison says. “The dishwasher had a heightened status at the Vanguard. The dressing room is in the kitchen, and the dishwasher is the only non-musician, non-owner who could be in the dressing room. It was a wonderful job. I ended up going in on my off nights as well. It afforded me a chance to meet these other great artists.

Dave Douglas’ composition and Bill Morrison’s found-footage film both used the Frankenstein story as loose inspiration.

Morrison: "...early expeditions to the South Pole featured footage of icebound ships and that's how Shelley's novel begins." (still from Spark of Being)

Star Tribune has a great feature on Spark of Being also, with this to say about the performance tomorrow night:

Douglas…found that performing the film straight through can be “so intense that it might be nice to have a break in the middle.” In Toronto, he inserted “a short segment where we just play the score without the film and then the lights go back down and the audience sees the rest of the film,” an experiment he will repeat on Thursday. This time, Morrison will be on hand to provide his feedback on how it works.

Here’s the trailer for Spark of Being’s premiere at Stanford earlier this year:

Tickets are still available and the show begins at 8 pm. Also, for the first 40 people who come to the McGuire Theater tomorrow night, we have music download cards featuring a cut from every musician/music group in the now underway 2010-11 Performing Arts season.  For those of you who have already received a download card, make sure to redeem your code soon. The links will expire mid-October.

Alilia Z Loves Efterklang

I’d like to introduce Alilia Z, internet sensation, self-help coach, and self-appointed renegade street team. Here’s a video she made at the State Fair about the Walker’s Efterklang show tomorrow: her insistence with passersby is a hilarious flirtation with the monomania of truth-and-lies fandom obsession. Tickets still available!  The show is tomorrow, September 11, 8 pm. Common Roots […]

I’d like to introduce Alilia Z, internet sensation, self-help coach, and self-appointed renegade street team. Here’s a video she made at the State Fair about the Walker’s Efterklang show tomorrow: her insistence with passersby is a hilarious flirtation with the monomania of truth-and-lies fandom obsession.

Tickets still available!  The show is tomorrow, September 11, 8 pm. Common Roots is providing vittles! And there will be (free) beer!

If you need some final convincing of the caliber of these musicians, check this sweet Radiolab (WNYC) episode for Buke & Gass, and the “Take Away Show” for Efterklang’s “Mirador” on the always fascinating Blogotheque.

 For all you attendees, here’s a helpful mini-dictionary of key terms:

 Efterklang is Danish for “remembrance” or “reverberation”

 Buke is a self-modified six-string former baritone ukulele

 Gass is a guitar-bass hybrid

SEE YOU THERE!

Juana Molina: Hear Everything and Feel Free

A friend recently shared this video medley with me: Juana Molina’s former comedy show, Juana y Sus Hermanas (!) The clips are funnier to me than, say, most SNL skits in recent memory, and I only speak un poco. Ms. Molina’s comic genius speaks a language of universal incoherence. Molina is better known in the U.S. for […]

A friend recently shared this video medley with me:

Juana Molina’s former comedy show, Juana y Sus Hermanas (!) The clips are funnier to me than, say, most SNL skits in recent memory, and I only speak un poco. Ms. Molina’s comic genius speaks a language of universal incoherence.

Molina is better known in the U.S. for her music than for television, which she left in 1996 to release her first album; it was a metamorphosis executed with astonishing aplomb, although the medium-swap was less radical to her than her (T.V.) fans. She grew up in a musical home, and her tango-player father has said in an interview (regarding the backlash of her switch from television to music) that “People are too conservative in what they think of as music, and I wanted her to hear everything and to feel free.”

Throughout her music career, Molina has elliptically re-envisioned the singer-songwriter paradigm, traversing to its farthest borders on her latest album, Un Día. But on her first album, Rara (currently unavailable), we find equally compelling albeit more traditional tweaks of the same theme. “En los días de humedad” (scroll up after clicking this link to download) has been on repeat for months now with me: the haunting, tremulous uncertainty at 0:38 and throughout, her voice at 1:03 and 2:06 capturing a delicate anguish with inertia. Her voice navigates unexpected intervals, the more oblique entanglements of song structure in general, and the vagaries of existence itself.

I saw Juana Molina at her last show in Minneapolis, at the Whole Music Club, and it was easily among the best shows I’ve ever seen, perhaps the best. It’s difficult  to explain why some live music is so much more essential than others, but for her Whole appearance, the groove—in all its moving, shifting, tapestry dimensions—was flawless, and belied the unique conceptual underpinnings of her harmonic understanding. She explains:

“When I started to write the songs for [the] record ‘Son’, a new element that may have been hidden for a long time appeared; the randomness of the combination of sounds in nature. Each bird has a particular singing; nevertheless this singing is always different. It is not a pattern; it’s a drawing, a sound and a mode, only a few elements that each bird combines in a new way each time.

In the same way, sometimes I chose to sing a melodic drawing I develop for the song. Verses are alike, but never the same (rios seco, no seas antipática) other times I chose to sing a repetitive melody. What changes here and moves randomly is, for example, a keyboard. It is like overlapping two different loops, with no synchronicity at all. One very rhythmic and the other one more loose. When you play both, at the same time, the loose loop will provoke a changing harmony, because their beats will never be in the same place. This causes a moving harmony.”

This video illustrates her moving harmony concept:

Juana Molina’s concert at the Walker this Saturday night  is a nice tie-in to fellow Argentinian and visual artist Guillermo Kuitca’s opening at the Walker this Friday night. The two even interviewed each other for the Star Tribune.

Tickets for Juana Molina are still available. Click here.

Dancing on Glass Shards, or in the Cattle Market

Saburo Teshigawara has danced onstage with animals (GREEN/Raj Packet, which included a goat), created site-specific work in a cattle market (Oxygen), and in his Black Water, three dancers—clad completely in black—dance on an unlit, black stage. Perhaps most incredible, his evening-length piece Glass Tooth is performed on a stage covered completely in broken glass shards. […]

Saburo Teshigawara has danced onstage with animals (GREEN/Raj Packet, which included a goat), created site-specific work in a cattle market (Oxygen), and in his Black Water, three dancers—clad completely in black—dance on an unlit, black stage. Perhaps most incredible, his evening-length piece Glass Tooth is performed on a stage covered completely in broken glass shards.

Despite his prolific career, Teshigawara rarely performs in the U.S. Which is unfortunate, because he has one of the strongest bodies of work of any contemporary dancer/choreographer. His comprehensive vision also includes the scenography, lighting and costume design for all his dances. Additionally, he works extensively in film/video installations and visual arts. His philosophy in dance/art was chronicled recently in the documentary Still Move. He has inspired many, including choreographer Akram Khan, whose bahok the Walker co-presented last month.

Teshigawara brings his solo Miroku to the McGuire stage, next Thursday-Saturday, April 22-24, in a tour that includes only 3 U.S. stops. Unless you frequent yearly dance festivals in NYC, this chance to see Teshigawara is…rare. Click here for tickets.

From Miroku:

eavesdrop 06.12.08

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=N_Nf-xMyAko[/youtube] Drop into a rehearsal for Songs of Ascension, the work-in-progress collaboration between Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton. Performances are tonight through Saturday at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater.

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=N_Nf-xMyAko[/youtube]

Drop into a rehearsal for Songs of Ascension, the work-in-progress collaboration between Meredith Monk and Ann Hamilton. Performances are tonight through Saturday at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater.

eavesdrop 04.18.08

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30OdTXCbAtg[/youtube] To launch an exhibition of her drawings at the Walker, Trisha Brown performed on paper Thursday night — drawing in the Medtronic Gallery with cameras rolling and an audience packing the Walker Cinema to watch her process as it happened.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30OdTXCbAtg[/youtube]

To launch an exhibition of her drawings at the Walker, Trisha Brown performed on paper Thursday night — drawing in the Medtronic Gallery with cameras rolling and an audience packing the Walker Cinema to watch her process as it happened.

eavesdrop 04.17.08

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_Ri5o9iLeM[/youtube] Trisha Brown has spent much of this week at the Walker Art Center working with local dancers on the nuances of her choreography and preparing to perform a drawing tonight to launch an exhibition of her works on paper, So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing. On Wednesday, in […]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_Ri5o9iLeM[/youtube]

Trisha Brown has spent much of this week at the Walker Art Center working with local dancers on the nuances of her choreography and preparing to perform a drawing tonight to launch an exhibition of her works on paper, So That the Audience Does Not Know Whether I Have Stopped Dancing. On Wednesday, in the Walker’s Medtronic Gallery, Brown coached a handful of Twin Cities dancers — Emily Johnson, Sally Rousse, Morgan Thorson and Galen Treuer among them — to work out the curves of Brown’s 1968 piece Planes. Brown’s own company performs April 25 at Northrop Auditorium.

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