Monthly Archives: September 2009

In C Remixed web site launches

Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC.

Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC.

The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble — the group that made the splendid recording of Steve Reich‘s Music for 18 Musicians in 2007 — is at it again. This time the group has commissioned a bunch of artists to record, remix and reinvent Terry Riley‘s seminal work, In C.

You can get a taste of what they’re up to by checking out the project’s web site, which  was launched today.

In this project, a slew of invited artists took  GVSUNME’s recording of In C and remixed it to create their own version. The only rule was to produce a 4- to 8-minute track. Contributors include: Jad Abumrad, Masonic (Mason Bates), Jack Dangers, Dennis DeSantis, R. Luke DuBois, Mikael Karlsson/Rob Stephenson, Zoë Keating, Phil Kline, Kleerup, Glenn Kotche, David Lang, Michael Lowenstern, DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid, Nico Muhly, Todd Reynolds, and Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR).

Their versions  are being assembled into a album, In C Remixed, due out digitally on Oct. 27 and on CD on Nov. 17. It’s available for preorder here. The ensemble is also performing the reinventions live, and will bring the show to NYC’s (Le) Poisson Rouge on Sunday evening, Nov. 8. $15.

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Free screening of The Mountain Goats movie — plus Q&A with John Darnielle

Jon Wurster, John Darnielle and Peter Hughes of The Mountain Goats. (Photo by Chrissy Piper)

Jon Wurster, John Darnielle and Peter Hughes of The Mountain Goats. (Photo by Chrissy Piper)

As an 8-year-old child, quirky Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle performed Bach minuets in a piano recital at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.

phpThumbA little while back, after his band finished recording their new album, The Life of the World to Come (out Oct. 6), the adult John returned to the piano in that very same Pomona College hall to play stripped-down versions of a few of the new songs and have them captured on film by Rian Johnson.

One thing led to another, and Rian kept the camera running while John played the entire album, start-to-finish. The resulting film, The Life of the World to Come: A Film by Rian Johnson, has its premiere this Sunday at NYC’s Housing Works, an organization committed to fighting AIDS and homelessness.HousingWorkslogo

Doors open at 5:45 pm on Sunday, Oct. 4, for the screening at 6, which is followed by a Q&A with John and Rian and a cocktail reception. Housing Works is at 126 Crosby St. in Manhattan. Admission is free; first-come, first-served.

If you want to check out full-band versions of the songs before you go, the entire album is streaming now on the Colbert Nation web site.

You can also catch the full band on tour later this year. The Mountain Goats, with opener Final Fantasy, are playing Manhattan’s Webster Hall on Dec. 1 and The Bell House in Brooklyn on Dec. 2.  The Bell House show is sold out, but tickets are still available for the Webster Hall show.

Avett Brothers in NYC today for I and Love and You release

ILY-Album-Cover_300dpi-(2)The Avett Brothers are celebrating the release of their new album I and Love and You with a gallery event in NYC today!

Envoy Enterprises gallery is open all day, and the Avetts will be there in the evening to meet fans. Here are the details, from the Avett Brothers web site:

Come by to have a look at our Avett’s original art pieces. And be sure to stick around for our Album Release Event, from 6-9 PM, where you will be able to purchase I and Love and You (including the deluxe package). We will be there to sign your copy of our new album starting at 7:45 PM, so come over and say “hi”!

Here are all your event details:
Envoy Enterprises
131 Chrystie Street
New York, NY 10022
Gallery open to the public all day
Album release event from 6-9pm (21+)

Erik Friedlander brings his show back home

Erik Friedlander performs at The Stone in NYC this Spring

Erik Friedlander performs at The Stone in NYC this Spring

Cellist Erik Friedlander is bringing his multimedia show  Block Ice and Propane back home to Rockland County, N.Y., this Sunday when he performs at the Rockland Center for the Arts (RoCA).

Block Ice is a cycle of compositions based on the road trips that New City native Erik’s family took every summer in a camper atop a 1966 Chevrolet pickup truck. Erik couples his music with images to give the audience a chance to share his childhood experiences. While Erik plays, the audience will see projections of photos taken famous father, photographer Lee Friedlander, who still lives in Rockland. If it weren’t for Lee’s work, Erik might never have taken the summertime road trips that inspired Block Ice.

If you don’t know Erik’s work, come knowing that this won’t be a conventional, classical concert. Erik is one of the world’s premier experimental cello players. He coaxes an amazing array of sounds from his cello. He takes what he likes from classical, jazz and pop, unfettered by conventional rules. And he’s not shy about working with other musicians in all genres, either. He’s collaborated with artists as varied as performance artist Laurie Anderson and indie rockers The Mountain Goats.

Erik is keeping his RoCA show intimate to fit the space, but it’s worth noting that he has created another, larger-scale version of Block Ice with Bill Morrison, an experimental filmmaker. The full-blown version, designed for bigger venues, couples Lee’s images with Bill’s new videos of some of the places the Friedlander family traveled.  He’ll be performing this version in December at the Wexner Art Center in Columbus, Ohio, and the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis. (See WYMMWIG‘s previous post about Erik.)

In the RoCA show, Erik tells WYMMWIG:

“I will have more freedom to pick from my repertoire to perform pieces I don’t get a chance to play in the usual ‘Taking Trips To America’ show. Things like Carlos Santana’s Golden Dawn, Eric Dolphy’s Serene and Arthur Blythe’s Lower Nile are all tunes I love to play and haven’t had a chance recently.”

“Also there’s all the [John] Zorn Volac, Masada Book II music that is also in play. So, though there aren’t any films, there will be images from the family trips and a whole lot of cool music I look forward to playing.”

Erik Friedlander performs at 2 pm on Sunday, Oct. 4, at Rockland Center for the Arts, 27 South Greenbush Road, West Nyack, N.Y. More information is available here. Call (845) 358-0877 for tickets. $20/$15 for RoCA members.

Two storms collide: Hurricane Katrina and Josephine Baker

PeakPerfs josephine_boa MAIN

The narrator of Looking for Josephine, the joyous Josephine Baker revue that ended its American premiere run Sunday afternoon as part of the ambitious Peak Performances series at Mointclair State University’s Alexander Kasser Theater, explains why the American singer was not fully appreciated in her home country: She was too much of a clown. She was too African.

At Saturday night’s performance, I realize that even though Josephine died more than three decades ago, some things haven’t changed. At least one person in the audience last night was put off by the story — its French-ness (“It’s not in English”) and Josephine’s whirlwind free-spirited-ness (“He’s going to strip her?”).

The production by La Compagnie Jérôme Savary is that it is rather conservative. Josephine, played splendidly by Nicolle Rochelle,  is never actually nude — even at her least-dressed she appeared to be wearing pasties. Yet the suggestion of nudity was bothersome to at least a few.

Jérôme Savary

Jérôme Savary

The book is rather slight. It offers a sketch of the life of Josephine told through the eyes of residents of New Orleans just after Hurricane Katrina. The show opens with three characters in an inflatable boat, waiting for the floodwaters to recede. A French theatrical producer, Slap Goldman (Michel Dussarrat, who also designed the costumes) shows up, seemingly oblivious to the damage and human suffering around him, looking for someone capable of playing Josephine in a production of La Revue Nègre that he is staging back in France.

Slap’s eyes light upon Cindy (Rochelle), who’s in the boat with Old Joe (Walter Reynolds) and Tom (Allen Hoist). One thing leads to another, and Cindy goes off to France, where she plays Josephine. The story comes full circle when Cindy gets a break in her performance schedule and returns home to Nola to find that Old Joe died while she was away.

The show is entertaining and has spectacular singing and dancing. But at times it goes off the rails when it tries to tap serious themes, as it does in a disconcerting scene of devil-may-care dancing performed in front of a projected backdrop of filmed Ku Klux Klan demonstrations and cross burnings.

The show is not entirely ven informative at times. After all, how many of us remember Josephine as a paragon of Civil Rights? Yet she was. For instance, a photo of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. flashed on the backdrop serves as a reminder that King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, offered Josephine a leadership role after King’s assassination.

If you missed this show, Peak Performances has plenty of other music and dance offerings this season, including a one-off concert by pianist Mario Formenti this Saturday evening. . All the productions tend to be first rate, and, with tickets priced at a rock-bottom $15 this season, the value is high. Check out the schedule here.

Ben and Ione welcome their baby!

Ben Lee and new daughter Goldie Priya.

Ben Lee and new daughter Goldie Priya in a photo he posted on his blog along with the birth announcement this morning.

Australian singer Ben Lee announced today that he and his wife, Say Anything actress Ione Skye, welcomed daughter Goldie Priya into their new family on Thursday.

Ben and Ione married in a traditional Hindu ceremony officiated by Sakthi Narayani Amma at the Narayani Peedam in Vellore, India, last December. Life & Style was first with a photo of their colorful wedding.

Here’s the announcement Ben posted to his blog earlier today:

Saturday, September 26, 2009
WELCOME TO THE WORLD

Goldie Priya Lee

born September 24 2009

8am

over the moon

xoxo

Ben

noise addict2834836685-1Ben is likely to be a very busy new daddy, as he’s just reactivated his first band, Noise Addict after a 13-year hiatus. The band has an an all-new lineup, with Dinosaur Jr./Sebadoh/Folk Implosion’s Lou Barlow and singer-multinstrumentalist Lara Meyerratken of El May joining Ben. Noise Addict also has a new album,  it was never about the audience, available for free download from its web site. So with new bandmates and a new album, can a tour be far behind? Nothing’s been announced yet, and the title of the new album could be read as disregard for live performance. But I’d be surprised if Noise Addict didn’t hit the stage at some point soon.

Finally! Passing Strange the movie gets Bay Area screenings

Passing Strange movie banner

It’s about time!

Spike Lee‘s fantastic cinematic version of the rock musical Passing Strange is hitting the big screens of two Landmark movie theaters in the San Francisco Bay Area this Friday. Since the musical was developed in part at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, it’s only fitting that the movie (which is available everywhere on cable TV video-on-demand services) gets a theatrical run there.

The one-week run starts Friday, Oct. 2, at the Embarcadero in San Francisco and the Shattuck in Berkeley. If you’re in the area, please do yourself a favor and check it out. You won’t be disappointed. It’s been getting rave reviews but is dependent on word of mouth to attract an audience. Please do your part!

Here’s Passing Strange creator Stew‘s thoughts:

PS MOVIE – BAY AREA – STARTING FRIDAY OCT. 2ND – ONE WEEK ONLY

THE THEATERS ARE: SHATTUCK (BERKELEY)
&
EMBARCADERO (SF)

both for one week only.

Rebecca Jones, who is in American Idiot currently @ BerkRep,
will be the Queen of Berkeley that week, as she’ll be starring
down the street from herself.

I could give the big speech right now about why you have to tell
all your friends to see it and see it soon since its only there for one
week, but its 3:14am here in Berlin and I need to sleep.

basically, there ain’t no advert money going into this thing and the killer
review
in the Chronicle already happened AND our kick-ass trailer CANNOT be shown
in these 2 theaters cuz they don’t do digital trailers. I guess IFC never
thought
we’d need a non-digital trailer. What-ev.

This is known in the bizz as a COLD OPENING.
Sounds like a date I once had in Helsinki…
anyway…

The only cure for a cold opening is word of mouth
or what people today call email blasts. We’re going
to need all the help we can get. Frankly, IFC should have
opened this thing in the Bay while the press love was flowing.
But don’t get me started.

See it on the big screen while you can, Bay Area peeps.
See it before we digitally edit in a french shower scene.
See it right after American Idiot.

peace,
/s