1) Read the previous Mark di Suvero post
2) If you're in the NYC area get yer ass out to Governors Island. Opportunity knocks for only one more week to marvel at sculptor Mark di Suvero's sky meets steel meets earth contraptions.
Iconic new music presenter Roulette is thirty three years young and celebrating their grand re-opening in Brooklyn this week. Yup, Brooklyn. Founder and improvising trombonist Jim Staley helped define the 'downtown' new music ethos at it's birth. First out of his loft and years later at a different location on Greene St.
He's modest to the point of absurdity. His support of innumerable musicians through many fallow financial years is legendary. He's universally respected and he's earned it, putting every last ounce of his tireless energy towards ensuring season after season of creative music even when the audience was thin.
And therein lies the rub. Although opening night in the new location - which holds 400+ - was packed to the rafters and had a typically stellar line up including Kaija Saariaho, Margaret Leng Tan, Mark Feldman/ Sylvie Courvoisier and Henry Threadgill's Zooid, too many Roulette gigs I've attended over the years had only a few more people in the seats than musicians on the stage; I'm talking a baker's dozen. Intimate? Yes. Good for the musicians and the organization? Not so much.
The new space at 509 Atlantic Avenue looks great and the sound while not perfect will improve with adjustments. It's a hell of an ambitious undertaking in the best of economic times.
Here's hoping that a new, Brooklyn based audience flowers, the old Manhattan gang crosses the river and the grants keep flowing.
Congrats and good luck Jim. I think you'll need it.
In often unexpected fleeting moments, you know - as sure as you know your own heartbeat - you're in the center of the universe, in exactly the right location and entirely present. Everything else is peripheral, secondary, even non-existent. Some place or person, some sight or sound has blissfully isolated your attention. Your thoughts cease to wander, distraction pursues a different victim and focus - ease of focus - becomes the natural order.
That's the transcendent power of art. That was the force of the first evening of composer James Dillon's Nine Rivers at Columbia University's Miller Theater last night.
Part two is Friday 09/16. The third and final part is Saturday 9/17.
I can't promise a spiritual experience. I can promise immersion in an utterly original sound world. Oh, and the chances of hearing this over 200 minute work again? Slim. Don't allow your absence from last night's performance to prevent you from hearing the remainder. This Olympian work holds up in whole and in part.
Ain't No Grave, a haunting, timeless Johnny Cash tune rendered visually in a heartfelt, imaginative video through the talents of over 250,000 fans from 172 countries using a specially designed, super cool Google/Chrome interface.
The best of Cash's music transcends genre, is beyond category and doesn't adhere to our typical myopic definitions of "taste." Google - in this instance anyway - proves that technology can have soul too. Cool.
Almost every year for the past ten, I've headed north to the small, idyllic college town of Guelph, Ontario for the Guelph Jazz Festival and Colloquim. The folks who run it are a committed, progressive goup with big ears and open minds. Musicians, their admirers and the smartly curious from across the globe intermingle to converse, question, challenge and listen, listen, listen.
Seth Godin is a hero of mine. He's one of the sharpest, most forward thinking people of our zeitgeist. Below is one of his latest posts, verbatim.
The original source (copied below) from Seth's blog is here.
I bought the book yesterday.
Six weeks ago, at midnight, I found myself awake but wiped out from jet lag. I was in a lumpy bed, in the dark, in an obscure, $20 a night, John-Waters'-esque former country club. I was in Kitale, Kenya, near the Ugandan border.
A mosquito was buzzing in my ear. (Why do they buzz in your ear?). I had meds, of course, but what if I didn't? What if, like so many who live here, I had kids and no money for medicine?
Try to imagine that for a second before you click onto the next thing you've got on your agenda for today.
Today is End Malaria Day.
Right this minute, right now, please do three things:
- Buy two copies of End Malaria, an astonishing new book by more thansixty of your favorite authors. In a minute, I will explain why this might be the most important book you buy this year (not the best book, of course, just the most important one). You should buy one in paperback too so you can evangelize a copy to a colleague.
- Tweet or like this post, or email it to ten friends (It only takes a second.)
- And, visit the End Malaria Day website and share it as well.
What would happen if you did that? What would happen if you stepped up and spent a few dollars?
Here's what would happen: someone wouldn't die.
A child wouldn't die from malaria, a disease that causes more childhood death than HIV/AIDS.
It's that direct. Malaria bednets are simple nets that hang over a window or a bed. They're treated with a chemical that mosquitos hate. The mosquitos fly away, they don't bite, people don't get malaria.
Every single penny spent on the Kindle edition goes to Malaria No More, giving them enough money to buy one or two bednets and to deliver them and be sure they're used properly. Low overhead, no graft, no waste. Just effectiveness. And if you buy the beautiful paperback edition, you can easily give it away when you're done and the same $20 donation gets made. None of the authors or anyone at the Domino Project sees your money, there's no ulterior motive, just the fact that a kid won't die.
Wait, there is one ulterior motive: You might be inspired. One of the sixty plus contributors might share a gem or spark an idea.
And I guess there's a second motive: Stepping up feels right. It's a few clicks to buy a book, one you might be able to afford. And for the rest of the day, or even a week, you'll remember how it felt to save someone's life.
And if you could, after you buy a copy, please tweet or post or email your friends. It matters. Thanks.
The good folks at Nonesuch Records in conjunction with NPR are streaming the entirety of Steve Reich's new recording WTC 9/11 on NPR's First Listen. As you'd expect, the long awaited title track is extremely well constructed and Reich's vocal sampling from a diverse group of people impacted by the attack interwoven with the string writing for Kronos Quartet creates a tense and unsettling narrative thread.
The remainder of the album, Mallet Quartet and Dance Patterns provide a welcome sonic and emotional counterbalance.
The full recording is being released 09/26/2011. A digital EP of just WTC 9/11 is available for purchase now.
It's a shame so much attention has been paid to the cover which has now been changed. It suited the context of WTC 9/11. Judge for yourself.
Labor's fallen out of favor but not for lack of want or need. Yanked out from under the feet of at least fourteen million men and women; a man made disaster. Their collective vacant stare - familiar to victim and onlooker alike of all calamities - casts a dark stain over the country.
The "United" States of America has lost all the grand and well deserved metaphorical accolades it once so deservedly earned through the toil of its citizenry reaching common ground amidst vast differences and the temporary wounds of sacrifice shared for the greater good.
It feels odd and dirty and shamefully appropriate to surround the U in USA in quotes this Labor Day. I mourn the loss of my own reverence.
And so out of bewilderment I'll pivot towards the poetry of Philip Levine, the newly appointed poet laureate. I'll appreciate the irony of his association with Detroit, a place synonymous with Work (capital W intended), delight in the effort required of plainspoken wisdom and pay hommage to him and to the ideal of Labor Day by reading the title poem from his Pulitzer Prize winning collection of poetry, The Simple Truth.
Click to Play