So this man was drawing comic book characters on the subway this morning, with heavy metal blasting from his headphones. He was covered in satanic stickers, metal bracelets to his elbows, leather and spikes... And yet he felt like the saddest, loneliest guy on earth ... So strange.
Went to see the dinosaurs at Terminal 5 yesterday, Massive Attack.
Martina Topley Bird opened the night with such a sweet, lighter-than-air solo performance, that just THAT alone was worth the high ticket price. Here she is-such a doll!
drawn on my iPhone
The second opening act was Anti-Pop Consortium. I think it was my first encounter with live hip-hop. Not my cup of tea, but fun to draw!
drawn on my iPhone
And finally, around 10 pm, it was time for the headliners!
drawn on my iPhone
It was massive, allright. With an unexpected, massively political slant. Huge LED screens that wrapped around the stage flashed facts about casualties in Gaza, quotes on freedom and activism, criticism of American policies...Given the intensity of their music and the messages in their lyrics, this added facet was a bitter cherry on top. The show, however, was a WOW. Standing right under the stage made me appreciate the depth of sound and truly fantastic live performance...
I had the pleasure of meeting my favorite quartetSo Percussion in person this past Saturday, during the "Look & Listen" Festival!
This annual event is themed "New Music in Art Galleries". On the night my friends and I went, the intimate Chelsea gallery showcased paintings by Beatrice Mandelman(1912-1998)and an array of stunning ambient music.
So Percussion opened the night with the piece by John Cage (1912-1992)"But what about the sound of crumpling paper". Cage, a pioneer of chance-controlled music, was influenced by Indian philosophy, Zen Buddhism and the I-Ching. Instruments in this particular piece included pencil on paper, masking tape, a bottle, crumpling paper and keys, among others.
Above is Jason Treuting of So Percussion, working his magic.
Mandelman's paintings on the walls seemed much louder than Cage's ambient sounds. My friends and I (there were a few of us drawing in first two rows) were so conscious of the sound of our own pens and pencils on paper during this performance-we'd occasionally freeze and wait for the fragile quietness to pass.
A premiere of "Whatever Shall Be" (2010), written by a Viennese composer Karlheinz Essl for toy piano, gadgets, live-electronics and surround sound, followed. Here he is, recording the performance of the beautiful pianist Phyllis Chen:
And here's Phyllis Chen, with her legs in lotus position, sitting on a silk pillow, playing a serious, complex piece on a...toy piano. She banged the keys so hard, it made me wonder how many of these toy pianos she goes through in one year. "14", she said in an interview that followed. I loved "Whatever shall be" and want hear it again.
Next came an inaugural performance for the a capella ensemble "Meridionalis". They are dedicated to bringing back to life centuries-old cathedral music of the New World. Their sonorous voices produced hypnotizing polyphony and gave me chills over and over again.
So Percussion returned after the intermission with the quietest ambient music I have ever heard live. It was practically a whisper. Here's Jason Treuting, "whispering" with hands and fingers a composition by Morton Feldman (1926-87)"King of Denmark".
And here's So Percussion playing pure beauty, "An Imaginary City" by Jason Treuting. It was written as part of their site specific work for the train stations in VT. The piece uses a child's pedal organ from 1900's, keys, bubble-wrap, and other alchemical ingredients. What they produce is precious.
Here's a flyer I made for the upcoming show of Meta & The Cornerstones band. The style of music is reggae & soul. I haven't heard them live before and really look forward to this concert. Stop by if you're around: May 21, Friday. See flyer for details :)
Furnace. Coal. Fire. Iron everywhere: hammers, hooks, nails, chains, scraps...The blacksmith shop. "The earliest mention of a blacksmith is in Genesis, Chapter 4", says Chip Sowalski, the blacksmith. His favorite things to make are spikes: "Representations of Roman-era spikes that were used to crucify the Son of God". He holds one up.
So I ask Chip:
-Do you have a saying or your own wisdom of the trade?
-Yes! Get it hot and hit it.
There's pretty much the same saying in Russian I grew up with: "Kуй железо пока горячо" / "Forge the iron while it's hot". And there's my favorite iteration of it, as sung by a favorite Russian band "Вежливый Отказ": "Эй, кузнец, Kуй железо, пока мы ещё горячи" / / "Hey, blacksmith, Forge the iron while we're still hot"