a few cool things to do

A couple of years ago my friend Mary Ellen took me to hear Electric Kulintang at the Lincoln Center Atrium. EK is the husband/wife team of Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriguez. I was blown away by the music and we started a conversation that led to a project that took many years to come to fruition – Digital Sanctuaries, a mobile app soundwalk launching November 7.

Electric Kulintang at Lincoln Center Atrium

Electric Kulintang at Lincoln Center Atrium

It started with a conversation on a couch at LMCC, there was a concert at River To River in 2012, co-presented with Harvestworks, where Susie had a residency, and a subsequent preview concert of Digital Sanctuaries in River to River 2013, also co-presented with Harvestworks.

It was a fascinating process, starting from an idea of fixed sculptural installations that would continuously play sound and evolving the idea into a work of digital public art that would be portable, scalable and modular.

We fleshed out the root idea of finding/creating meditative space in urban landscapes, and expanded it. Since River to River has, at its mission, the goal of activating Lower Manhattan, we thought about how we could draw people through the landscape, bringing them into unexpected spaces to stop and have these transformative, meditative experiences.

At the same time I had been learning a lot about the history of Lower Manhattan and was interested in excavating those histories in a way that informed our experience of place. Susie & Roberto’s music practice involves using field recordings and indigenous music as source material interpolated with their original electroacoustic compositions. We imagined what it would be like for Susie & Roberto to work with local collaborators – artists, historians, architects, city planners, etc. – to develop new walking paths in each urban environment, drawing on the unique history, spaces and features of the city.

The original concept had some 24 sites but we decided that was too many, I lobbied for eight stations – for the eightfold path – but we wound up with twelve sites in Lower Manhattan, which can be accessed through the mobile web app.

The rich historical culture of Lower Manhattan will be music with sounds in honor of each city space including African burial grounds, Native American Indian Museum, Irish communities, Jewish communities, Chinatown, Castle Clinton the first port of entry for immigrants in New York City.

It took a long time and Susie & Roberto and their team persevered facing a lot of challenges, but it has finally come into being and I encourage you to go to Lower Manhattan November 7-10 and check it out. For details visit http://digitalsanctuaries.com/.

Tonight, November 6, is the opening of a new work by Maria Hassabi called PREMIERE at The Kitchen. This also was developed in part through the dance program at LMCC that offered a kind of “extended life’ model of new dance development, with site-based and venue-based iterations of the work created over lengthy creative residencies. We presented a very cool version of Maria’s work SHOW in front of the NYSE.


Maria Hassabi and Hristoula Harakas perform “Show” in front of the NYSE

 I love her work, looking forward to seeing PREMIERE.

Another cool show coming up is Joe Diebes’ “broken word opera” BOTCH playing at HERE Arts Center November 12-23.

Joe Diebes' BOTCH at HERE

Joe Diebes’ BOTCH at HERE

I saw a work-in-progress of this a while back and it made me think of Robert Ashley’s That Morning Thing. Just last year an excerpt of Diebes’ current opera-in-progress, wow, was performed on a bill alongside new work from Ashley as part of Experiments in Opera’s New Shorts concert.

I mention this because Joe’s work defies categorization but his rigorous and complex compositions are supported by a collaborative way of working that culminates in similarly rigorous, complex and deeply integrated performances. Here BOTCH is described as:

A broken word opera, BOTCH goes in search of the voice and its mutations in contemporary digital culture. In this convergence of sound and performance, a dynamic ensemble cuts, pastes, and scrambles language into an intricate audioscape. More of a processing system than a traditional score,BOTCH unfolds differently each night through the creative misfiring of voices at their outer limits.

And with a great creative team that includes Christina Campanella, Michael Chinworth, John Rose and Saori Tsukada, we can be assured it will be a compelling evening.

BOTCH plays Nov 12-23 | 7pm at HERE Arts Center.

And for something completely different – and I really mean that – check out The Red Bastard at The PIT November 22-24.

Eric Davis Is The Red Bastard

Eric Davis Is The Red Bastard

I first saw Eric Davis’ Red Bastard Xtreme Bouffon a bunch of years ago at some loft in Bushwick – like maybe 10 years ago or more. He freaked me the fuck out. If you’ve never seen brutal, full-frontal mindfuck clowning, you should check him out. He kind of redefines clown. The marketing copy for the show says:

Could this Dangerous, Seductive, Comedy Monster literally change your life? How is it possible that a comedy show could make audience members quit their jobs, reunite with estranged siblings, propose marriage and end friendships by the time the show is finished?

Experience the madness as this exquisite monstrosity unleashes an absurdly sadistic masterclass where something interesting must happen every 10 seconds. His mission: charm, disarm, shock-and-seduce. His target: you! Anything can happen as Red Bastard lures his students into raw conversation, traps, rewards and catch-22’s – encouraging risk and discovery.

And it is, surprisingly, totally accurate.

So after you’ve spent your day at The Brooklyn Commune Global Congress, spend an evening with The Red Bastard!

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