Tuesday, October 30, 2007

post and pre

i've been wanting to write about the recent (october 21) lissenup but have been swept up in the thousands of details attached to the third coast festival conference, which kicks off in about 48 hours. a friend asked if we were completely swamped and i told him that it's more like standing outside in the summer as dusk settles and the mosquitos go to town, and suffering countless small bites - irritating but manageable. if only i could grow out my nails for scratching...pass the calamine lotion, please.

but somehow tonight there's the smallest amount of time to breath and type a bit. as the new little cat continues to taunt the older grumpy cat and the older grumpy cat continues to pretend she's ignoring the new little cat.
there's a lot of Racing Down Hallways going on over here.

anyway - it's extremely cool to hear someone talk about something he/she loves to listen to, and then actually listen to it. carving out the space and time in a busy weekend to sit still and concentrate seems almost an impossibility. an improbability, anyway. and to do it in a room full of game friends and friends of friends - is memorable, fascinating and a whole lot of fun.

so thanks to darlene, nathaniel, anthony and kelly for bringing a selection of audio to share -
we had an unplanned (and unplannable?) range of sounds - startlingly exhilirating gamelan, haunting banjo (dock boggs,) haunting voice (diamanda galas), jaunty pop (new poi dog pondering) a memorable mew and this story by robert krulwich about yawning, which i's just obviously made for group listening. and thanks to everyone else for coming out for deliberate listening and fine snacks. i'm already looking forward to the next lissenup, mid-decemberish. will announce here first.

in the meantime - if you won't be experiencing the audio hoopla in chicago this weekend, you can follow along over at transom.org. or if you're in the DC-area - next monday i'll be presenting and talking about recently-awarded documentaries from the TCF and prix europa, with peter leonhard braun (who's receiving the TCF's audio luminary award) the event is at the goethe-institut, is free, and should be hot.

otherwise - i'll be back on the flip side of this weekend. wish us luck.

Monday, October 08, 2007

pick a color, any digression

yes, it's just as you thought- here's a photo, taken via my cell phone, of a projection of tony conrad ringing a bell with all of his heart, body and soul. it's one of the seven screens depicting seven rotating artists (the others are zeena parkins, ikue mori, lee ranaldo, kim gordon, stephen vitiello and j.g. thirwell), all of them tinted a different color. the screens are hung at different angles, directions and heights, and each has two small speakers affixed to it, out of which music played by the musician depicted on the screen tumbles.

standing in the middle of the screens, where you can hear some of all seven recorded performances and catch different color combinations in your peripheral and direct vision is nothing less than revelatory. at least it was for me. conrad's bell pierces through the rest of the combined, random noise orchestra, beckoning your ears and taking hold but just enough to help you focus and slowly realize how many other instruments/tones/melodies/rhythms you're hearing.

"sound digressions in 7 colors" by video artist
tony oursler was the very last artwork i stumbled across at the end of a long afternoon touring through the sympathy for the devil exhibit (art and rock and roll since 1967) that's up right now at the MCA. in all honesty i was tiring of rock and roll + aesthetic + cool factor + drooling young rockers who were wandering around the exhibit in droves, and nearly skipped entering the partitioned-off section of the gallery where ourser's piece was installed. but conrad's hypnotic bell ringing lured me in, and i couldn't have been more amazed by what was there to see and hear.

the exhibit's up until early january 08 and
admission's free until november 14th (happy 40th, MCA!) so if you're in the vicinity, or happen to be passing through for a radio conference in a few weeks...i implore you to carve out some time - even 30 minutes - and drop by for some sound digression.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

the return of musicircus!

lopsided tap dance with obstacles! paper mache! household implement noise! balancing globes! belly dance! many megaphones! many pianos! many noises! many gestures! four hours of layered performance, hope and a whole lot of john cage!!! [and it's all free!]

of course i'm talking about
MUSICIRCUS, which is coming up this weekend. it's own brand of church, sunday's event will offer a culmination of so much that john cage stood for - from music to anarchy, and every flavor of hoopla in between and beyond. cage's first musicircus erupted in 1967 at the university of illinois, so it's fitting to be reconstructing the spectacle again in chicagoland.

follow your ears this sunday to the cultural center, from 12-4pm, october 7th, where
"you won't hear a thing; you'll hear everything"...

(thanks, chicago composers forum, for making this happen)

have a seat...take a listen

we just announced this year's winners, over at the third coast festival website. you can hear excerpts from the winning pieces, place bets on who'll take the gold/silver/bronze and check out our new tshirts too. i can't stop wearing mine... (thanks alisa, for another beautiful design)