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Who it is I am

I'm a libertine with a conscience who refuses to acknowledge a distinction between work and play, who believes that you don't get the days back and therefore aspires to embrace the eternally messy present for what it is; a gift. And all gifts should be shared.

Within this framework I'm also a dad, an angel investor, a business owner, deeply passionate about the visual arts, music, literature, technology and politics (the degrees of interest aren't equal and what's posted here is a fair barometer of what captures my attention), and a dedicated philanthropist.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. - Walt Whitman

robert@fastorbit.com

212-671-2030

Affiliations

Updated 09/19/2012

Board Member: Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center "Whenever someone asks me where I studied art, I always say it was at Hallwalls." - Cindy Sherman

Former Board Member: No Longer Empty: No Longer Empty redefines public art through temporary site -specific exhibitions that draw together the vitality of the contemporary art world and the values of building community.

Owner: Fast Orbit, LLC

Owner/Partner: ParkSleepFly.com

Owner/Partner: AirportParkingReservations.com

Owner/Investor: Wireless-NRG: Innovative consumer, commerical and industrial applications using unique solar technology.  Stay tuned for the imminent introduction of the Lillypad (Kudocase) for IPad, IPad2, IPad3.

Owner/InvestorVeenome - a video enabling platform translating video content into machine-readable data for superior organization, publishing, searching and monetization.

Owner/InvestorSocial Prize: Social Prize is a new way of sharing that makes it easy for you to share what you like with your friends and win. For the everyday business owner, Social Prize evens the odds by making it a snap for you to use social sweepstakes as a cost-effective means to get the word out about your business and grow your customer base.

Owner/Investor: uKnow.com:
Smart Tools.  Safer Kids
Keep your kids safe from bad guys and bullies online and on the mobile phone.

Projects & Participation

Updated 09/19/2012

Loan: Oded Hirsch's 50 Blue to Art Miami's curatorial project CONTEXT, December 2012 (curated by Julia Draganovic)

Collector-level Member - Issue Project Room 

Sponsor of Hallwalls
Fall 2012 Music Program

Nora Ligorano/Marshall Reese: Morning In America Ice Sculpture at the RNC/DNC Conventions

Composer Poul Ruders: New Symphonic Music (including a solo piano commission)

Channeling Coltrane: A concert video of "Electric Ascension"

Grammar: A documentary film about Jason Moran

Even Though the Whole World is Burning: A film about the life and work of Poet Laureate, two-time Pulitzer winner, and environmental activist W.S. Merwin.

George: A feature length documentary on George Maciunas, the founder and impresario of Fluxus, the radical international art movement.

Electronic Arts Intermix Benefactor
Founded in 1971, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is a nonprofit arts organization that is a leading international resource for video and media art. A pioneering advocate for media art and artists, EAI's core program is the distribution and preservation of a major collection of over 3,500 new and historical video works by artists. For 40 years, EAI has fostered the creation, exhibition, distribution and preservation of video art, and more recently, digital art projects. 

Sponsor: Kreppa: A Symphonic Poem about the Financial Situation in Iceland
By: Örn Alexander Ámundason, Performed by Metropolis Ensemble, Andrew Cyr, Artistic Director/Conductor
The Armory Show 03/07/2012 The Wall Street Journal Media Lounge

Sponsor of Hallwalls
Winter 2012 Music Program

Sponsor of Hallwalls
Fall 2011 Music Program

Richard Garet (refer to post)
Espacios No-Euclídeos
Curated by Laura Bardier
11 August - 30 October 2011
EAC – Espacio Arte Contemporáneo
Montevideo, Uruguay  http://www.eac.gub.uy

Steve Swell's Nation of We Recording: "The Business of Here"

Producer (one of thousands) of the upcoming 2011 film: Lemonade: Detroit

Contributor: +Pool: A Floating Pool in the River For Everyone

Challenge grant to the Metropolis Ensemble for the recording of composer Timothy Andres on Nonesuch Records Fall 2011.  (Supporting contemporary composition is critical to the health of the culture and visionary Director Andrew Cyr is a living, breathing exemplar of leadership.)

Sponsor: No Longer Empty's About Face art exhibition May/June 2011

Sponsor: Hallwalls Artists & Models 2011 - RAPTURE/RUPTURE May 2011

Principal Benefactor NMC Recordings

Donor of artist Kate Gilmore's (a tireless, fearless creator with a limitless imagination) "Blood From a Stone" to the Brooklyn Museum 2010.

Bedrock financial support for the Cecil Taylor / Tony Oxley 2LP limited edition recording "AILANTHUS / ALTISSIMA bilateral dimensions of 2 root songs" on Triple Point Records.

Sponsor of composer Mayke Nas and artist Joe Diebbes at the 2010 Liverpool Bienniel.

Sponsor of numerous Hallwalls concerts including: Cecil Taylor's 80th birthday performance, Evan Parker & Ned Rothenberg, Henry Grimes solo, Chicago Underground duo, etc.

Commissioned Composer Frederic Rzweski's "Peace Dances" as part of pianist Sarah Cahill's project "A Sweeter Music."

Causes & Contributions

Updated 08/03/2012

UnPac

The Woodshed at the Jazz Gallery

World Food Programme

Jazz Foundation of America

Wordplay: Celebrating Buffalo's Youngest Writers

Join My Village: a click-to-commit social change initiative that gives you the power to inspire charitable donations from companies to women and girls in Malawi through CARE.

Hallwalls

Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy

It Gets Better

Catalog Choice

Village Enterprise Fund

This Week in Tech's (TWIT) new studio

CMH Counseling, Buffalo, NY

Worldreader

Mercy Corp

Food Bank of Western New York

Thursday
Jul192012

Rineke Dijkstra, meet Richard Ford

Source: Guggenheim Museum

Can a picture reveal who a person is? Who they will become?  Can you forecast their personhood, identity, temperament?  Studying Rineke Dijskstra's photos during her mid-career exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, I answered yes.  

Richard Ford's recent novel, Canada, is a briliant return to form - after several disappointing books - for the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the Bascombe trilogy.  

This passage, sans the particular descriptors specific to the character in Ford's story, enriched my own reflections of Dijskstra's talent:

"*How she looked - her size (the same height as Shirley Temple when she was fifteen), her appearance (rarely smiling, bespectacled, her studious Jewish foreignness), her visible disposition (skeptical, sharp-witted, self-defending, frequently distant) - had always seemed to be involved in everything she thought or said, as if her appearance created her whole self."  [*emphasis added] 



Dijskstra's carefully constructed compositions prompt lingering and second looks as you recognize or perhaps remember that the judgment you render on her subjects reveals as much about you as it does about them.  

Unfortunately the survey is broken up into several side galleries throughout the Guggenheim's rotunda where the main space is occupied by an equally compelling though radically different exhibit of international abstraction 1949-1960.

It's challenging for the casted spell in Dijskstra's individual photos, series of photos taken of the same individual over time, and videos to sustain their trance when in-between you spy a Bourgeois or Rothko.  Nevertheless, it's powerful work and demands to be seen.

 

Wednesday
Jul182012

Raw material and residuals

Washington Square Park, 06/27/2012

Washington Square Park.  Sunny summer day.  Haze and humidity on a hiatus so terse to be apocryphal. Lined with benches, reading's the order of the day until the chef chose a different menu.  

Enter from the south and a take a seat.

On my left, a squirrel feeding guitarist strums the same three chords with zen like amusement.  

On my right, a young oriental couple practices ballroom dancing with the intensity of, well, ballroom dancers. The same steps over and over until perfection or exhaustion prevails.  

Behind me a jazz combo plays as if their lives depend on it. I'm guessing it does.  That's what makes it sound so good.

Out front, a mass of kids are splashing in the circular central fountain.  What appears aimless is improvised innocence composed by childhood with a backdrop courtesy of love-to-hate-em' Moses.  Clumps of fleshtone, acqua, splash and mirth, an intoxicating abstraction.

Exiting north, in front of Holley's bust is a lithe, athletic trio of graceful dancers.  NYU students no doubt.  Hat out in front. Worth a few bucks for sure.

I'll be back.  WSP, like the city itself, never stops performing.

   

Alighirero Boetti.  Only knew the name and reputation. MOMA smart to devote the atrium to his woven marvels.  Boetti's penchant for complex patterns and transfusion of high-concept, unremarkable material and locally informed craft captivate the mind and eye.  Don't miss it.

Alighiero Boetti at the Museum of Modern Art, 06/29/2012

   

Karlheinz Stockhausen's Gruppen (for three orchestras) at the Park Avenue Armory, 06/29/2012

A "center of the universe" evening.  Karlheinz Stockhausen's Gruppen for three orchestras surrounding the audience has only been performed in the US a few times since being composed in 1957.  I had the privilege of first hearing it at Tanglewood in 1988.  

Maestros Alain Gilbert, Magnus Lindberg and Matthias Pintscher conducting members of the NY Philharmonic did a superb job of swathing us in elaborate tempos, rich sonorities and mystifying rhythmic blocks.

Gruppen's a masterpiece, the venue - Park Avenue Armory - wisely chosen, the rest of the program a waste by comparison. What they should have done, as happened at Tanglewood, was perform Gruppen twice asking audience members to switch positions within the space.  The music changes radically depending on your vantage point; that's essential to its alchemy.

   

Rarely has folklore and fantasy, grit, grime, poverty and stubborn personal sovereignty pirouetted amongst disparate constituents with such dexterity on the silver screen.  Rejoice at getting lost in the narrative as you teeter between dream and nightmare, triumph and travail.  It doesn't all add up.  It's not neat and tidy. Be thankful for it. Bravo to first time filmmaker Benh Zeitlin.  Beasts of The Southern Wild is headed to the Oscars.

 Beasts of the Southern Wild

   

Angelica Sanchez and Rob Mazurek at the Stone, 07/03/2012

John Zorn's place The Stone, a summer sauna masquerading as performance venue (hey, I'm not complaining, I'm just sayin') at 2nd and Avenue C hosted several performances of the Northern Spy Festival.  One of the highlights was the pianist Angelica Sanchez's duet with polymath Rob Mazurek.  I enjoy Sanchez but Mazurek destroys me - not only his stunning facility on trumpet and flugelhorn but his ingenuity in creating spontaneous, genreless music.  He's all over the stylistic map - unconcerned with borders - crafting grooves on the fly, pivoting on a dime, keeping this listener on the edge of his seat.  Anyone who can make you forget you're melting into a puddle of your own sweat is worth pursuing with vigor.

 

   

Pomp and circumstance on July 4th as the Macy's spectacle diversion factor glimmered out my bedroom window.  I went down to Battery Park the next morning to see if Lady Liberty was still standing.  It was humid. She was obscured by the steam bath swelter.  Might've been tipping slightly.  Couldn't be sure.

Fourth of July, 2012 from my bedroom window
   
Eugene Chadbourne at The Stone, 07/05/2012

And yet hope springs eternal the following day as one of this country's finest citiziens, Euguene Chadbourne, performs standards from the classic American repetoire to restore my faith in democracy if only for a moment.  Fuck Obama.  I'm writing in CHADBOURNE. (Another performance at The Stone in the Northern Spy Festival series.)

CLICK TO PLAY

   
Bassist Mark Helias is perennially underrated.  His new band with saxophone stalwart Tim Berne swings like a motherfucker and the tunes twist, turn, and doubleback all while motivating your toes to tap, your head to bob, and your voice to gasp at the joyous virtuosity.  Hope the set was recorded. Mark Helias' The Parlance of Our Times, Cornelia St. Cafe, 07/06/2012
 *Post title comes from the name of the classic Julius Hemphill recording.
Friday
Jul132012

Rova + Coltrane + Your Support = History (the good kind)

Reimagining Coltrane’s Ascension: Kickstarter Campaign - only 12 days remaining

On September 7 of this year Rova will present Electric Ascension at the Guelph Jazz Festival, near Toronto, Canada. The band for the September concert is Rova plus Nels Cline, Fred Frith, Hamid Drake, Carla Kihlstedt, Jenny Scheinman, Rob Mazurek, Chris Brown and Ikue Mori. The Rova:Arts project that has enjoyed the most successful run since 2000 is this re-imagining of John Coltrane’s mighty late-period masterwork, Ascension.

Right now, Rova and film-maker John Rogers are asking you to take a look at our Kickstarter site and consider helping us document this one-time only concert of Electric Ascension. All the reasons for donating $10 or more for a stand-alone concert video of a one-time-only performance at Guelph Jazz Festival are laid out in the 8 minute video on the Kickstarter site. We can’t make a professional-quality shoot of this concert without your help, and we know you’ll feel good being part of the group that made it possible. Click here: http://kck.st/MAzbMx


Rova, Electric Ascension

Thursday
Jul052012

The long dry spell

CLICK TO PLAY

The long dry spell's on spin cycle.
Power cord is out of reach.

Misogyny on cracked lips crescendos in feeble sour spunk.
The sheer willpower to remember this one's name
drains the blood from the shaft at twice the speed
of sobriety's flickering apparition.

This sandstorm's arid as dry mouth
and the nearly dead eludes
the permanent patch of black

[the courtesy of immutably sealed eyelids]

through the sympathetic torment of
buzzing flies and biting ants.

Litigation stings a leathered cheek.
Familial guilt pricks an aching chest.

An unquiet mind contorts memory
like a kaleidoscope pointed towards a blinding sun.
The hues are Bacon's, not Monet's.

On the ropes, no sign of an Ali miracle.
The count's at 8. 

If I were a betting man...
If I were a betting man...

Sunday
Jun172012

Live from the Bang on a Can Festival

12 hour marathon this year...amazing as always. No organization has erased the barriers, real and imagined, between the uptown (academic) and downtown (not) composing and performing communities with the zeal, steadfastness or irreverence of Bang on a Can. Their flippancy towards rigid definitions of genre permits the high-and-lowbrow to mix and merge.

They - founders David Lang (now a Pulitzer Prize winner - goddamn how times have changed), Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon - were instrumental in the emancipation of sound from tidy labels.

Bang on a Can 2012 Schedule

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Saturday
Jun162012

A balloon for Gehry

How apropos that as I'm reading that New York by Gehry at 8 Spruce Street won the 2012 Municipal Art Society award for the top honor of "Best New Building," a blue balloon floats by my window.
A balloon floating past my window in the Gehry bldg. 06/15/12
Tuesday
Jun122012

Vision Festival 17

It's Vision Festival week - year 15 or 16 for me.

I'm mightily tempted to list a long bundle of grievances that have accumulated over time like a middle age grudge against mom or dad; pathetic but real.

And then I'll hear a quartet like Paul Dunmall, Matthew Shipp, Joe Morris and Gerald Cleaver and the music whacks the curmudgeon unconscious, laughing incredulously as it says: Get over it!

Tuesday
Jun122012

Our new poet laureate and reflections on post racialism

Natasha Trethewey was appointed poet laureate of the United States last Thursday 06/07/2012. She takes the reins from poet Philip Levine.

The Library of Congress is to announce Thursday that the next poet laureate is Natasha Trethewey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of three collections and a professor of creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta. Ms. Trethewey, 46, was born in Gulfport, Miss., and is the first Southerner to hold the post since Robert Penn Warren, the original laureate, and the first African-American since Rita Dove in 1993.
Source: NY Times

You can read the full NY Times article here.

There's a concise biographical entry at the Poetry Foundation.

Tretheway won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for her collection of poems Native Guard. These poems interlace a racial narrative perambulating between past and present, reexamining burdensome legacies personal and public.

The book is brief and when reading it there were moments I felt I was trespassing on her diary - discomfiting, alluring and congruent with the pulse of Fast Orbit.

Tretheway's poems also provoke a thorny reigniting of my cognitive dissonance over whether we're living - or should be living - in a post racial era.

Is this an epoch when experiencing life's rich pageant through the prism of historical injustice is as useful to our ideal of achieving E pluribus unum or as resonant as creative source material as it once was?

Native Guard is explicitly racial. Some of the poems are concurrently stale and riveting.

The notion of post racialism is fraught with trip wires, especially for a white guy.

And why go there at all? Just thinking about it is like wearing clothes two sizes too small; you're constantly squirming. But I've spent much of my life reaping the rewards of African American culture for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks and it influences the state and evolution of my identity.

I don't have answers. I'm thankful there are folks asking questions directly and indirectly about ifs, shoulds or shouldn'ts, whys and why nots.

A few titles either recently read or in queue include:

The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness, by Kevin Young

Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness, by Toure

How to Be Black, by Baratunde Thurston

Sunday
Jun032012

Dedications #2

CLICK HERE TO PLAY

For Candice

The Iris ensata
sprouts
in arid ground

The lone Amaryllis
blossoms in
late summer soil

The gazelle dashes
with grace
through dense traffic

Seen only as one sees
through mist or fog -
as a witness to the collision
of truth and illusion

Fictive but not ficticious

Friday
Jun012012

Dear Suzy, Dear Sam

Source: Focus Features

Auteur Wes Anderson has crafted a gleaming gem of a film in Moonrise Kingdom, his most accomplished work.

The kids possess certainty and wisdom, the adults are adrift, whimsy and melancholy blend seamlessly and the attention to detail in every frame is exquisite.  Contemporary contrivance is often paradoxically antithetical to the suspension of disbelief; not here.

Moonrise Kingdom is delightful in its sorrows and heartbreaking in its mirth.  Watching, reflecting, I wished for memories that were not mine. 

Sharply distinct from the bathos and emotional pornography produced en masse, this film elicits genuine tenderness.

When I wasn't laughing, I was smiling.  When I wasn't smiling it was only because the film had ended and the city's bustle  (though I love her dearly) was jarring.   

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