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LIST POST Unheard Of Ensemble

Listening Post


As a columnist (“Listening Post”) and feature writer, Doug DeLoach has been contributing to Creative Loafing since the early 1980s. A regular contributor to Songlines, a world music magazine based in London, his ruminating on arts and culture have appeared in publications such as Georgia Music, ArtsGeorgia, ArtsATL, Stomp & Stammer, High Performance, and Art Papers.

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  string(8175) "Embracing pandemical shelter, masking up for an errand run, ducking and covering from microbial dread, we suffer the remedial, yet essential, tasks made all the more anxiety-inducing by the dictates of corrupt leadership and the selfish belligerence of willfully ignoratnt fellow citizens. Given the revolting cast and gloomy plot of this summer blockbuster, Listening Post offers a few diversionary pursuits as a temporary antidote.

Everyone is by now familiar with virtual streaming concerts and other types of online musical programming. Back in March, one of the first examples encountered by your correspondent was billed as a “Facebook Live” event featuring Richard Thompson. Filmed at his New Jersey home with partner Zara Phillips lending support and occasional backing vocals, the hour-long concert presented Thompson in typically poised, wry form. Watching him tossing off amazing guitar riffs with the greatest of ease, singing with serious intent when the material called for it, all while cracking wise and sitting on a couch in his living room, made for a hugely enter-taining experience.

Closer to home (proximally speaking), Listening Post has been especially enjoying the mostly local fare offered by Kimono My House, a virtual concert series on Facebook launched in March and administered by Kim Ware, Andy Gish, and The Yum Yum Tree. Fave installments so far include performances by Jeff Evans’ Chickens & Pigs, Bad Friend, Nerdkween, In Sonitus Lux, Al Shelton, Zentropy, Christo Case, and TT Mahoney.

Part of the fun of Kimono My House and similar series is watching the artist(s) perform in their natural habitat. Whether it’s a studio, rec room, back porch, or kitchen, the casual, mistakes-don’t-matter setting makes for a refreshingly engaging vibe. When the audience’s comments and emojis are acknowledged, a kind of rapport is conjured up, which adds to the “live” ambience. Sometimes, the banter between songs is as entertaining as the music itself. It’s no substitute for hanging out with friends at 529, Buteco, Eddie’s Attic, The Masquerade, Variety Playhouse, or The Earl, but this virtual gig thing can still be a lot of fun.

*  *  *

 On May 14, the Rialto Center for the Arts kicked off its “Homegrown Artists Series” with a noontime mini-concert by saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Jeff Crompton, who is no stranger to regular Listening Post readers. Curated by Rialto Stage Manager Nathan Brown, the series showcases local musicians via short (15-20 minutes) artist-submitted videos streamed on all of the Rialto’s social media platforms at 12 noon.


In May, the “Homegrown Artists Series” featured Jeffrey Butzer (May 21) and Zentropy (Allen Welty-Green) with Oblique Audio Haikus (May 28). Scheduled in June are singer-guitarist Bridget Leen (June 4) and tuba wizard Bill Pritchard (June 11) with additional performances TBD. Pritchard will be performing under the moniker Amplituba, which denotes his work incorporating electronic digital processing and effects.

For the “Homegrown” concert, Pritchard will play two compositions, one of which, ElevenTwelve, was written in 2019 for the tubist by Joanna Ross Hersey, inspired by Hildegard von Bingen, whose life and career as a nun, Abbess, composer, author, political figure and spiritual leader spanned the 11th and 12th centuries (1098-1170). Hersey advises the performer of ElevenTwelve thusly: “The soloist’s musical choices evoke an overall atmosphere of peace and serenity, through the use of flowing and meditative melodic lines. These melodies bring to mind Hildegard’s chant music, sung by the nuns during the worship at Disibodenburg (site of the convent’s abbey in Germany), honoring their lives and work, worship and community.”

Separately, the Rialto’s Brown is virtually spinning a full jazz album every evening at 7 p.m. Links to the albums are posted on the Rialto Center for the Arts Facebook page by searching #7pmJazz.

*  *  *

Another cool home-alone program is “Banjo House Lockdown,” featuring Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn. Live-streamed on Fridays at 7 p.m. EST (also archived on YouTube) from the couple’s Nashville residence, the show is part serious banjo fandango and part all-in-the-family sitcom, the latter aspect stemming from impromptu and staged participation by Fleck and Washburn’s impossibly cute sons, Juno, six, and Theo, two. A typical episode setlist includes an Appalachian murder ballad, an 18th-century ghost song, a 19th-century sea shanty, a 20th-century coal miner’s protest song, something from Fleck’s or Washburn’s vast personal repertoire, and original material the dynamic duo is still honing. One of my favorite segments is “Sheroes in the Shower,” which, oddly enough, features Washburn singing a cappella in the shower, taking advantage of the space’s special acoustic properties. There are kids’ songs complete with puppets and hand-crayoned sets, an abundance of virtuosic frailing and flatpicking, and more knee-slapping family-friendly entertainment than an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. (I wonder how many readers will get the comparison). 

*  *  *

NPR Music has a terrific site, which lists live concert audio and video streams from around the world. The calendar includes performances by the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet; various chamber ensembles and solo instrumental recitals; folk, jazz, rock, and bluegrass bands; all of which are accessible on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. As NPR notes, some of the programming requires registration or a subscription, but most of it is free. That said, as with most pandemic programming, audiences should be predisposed to digitally tip the artists and avail themselves of opportunities to directly support the performers by buying music and merchandise.

*  *  *

Speaking of buying music and merch, on two recent Fridays, Bandcamp waived its standard revenue share on sales, thereby increasing the amount of income flowing to artists who use the company’s online platform to distribute and sell music and related wares. On a typical Friday, according to Bandcamp founder and CEO Ethan Diamond, the site registers about 47,000 orders. On March 20, fans placed 800,000 orders for music and stuff worth $4.3 million; at peak activity, Bandcamp was registering 11 sales per second. Two months later, on Friday, May 1, the 24-hour tally amounted to $7.1 million. With all indications pointing to the Coronavirus going nowhere but everywhere with the inexorable stubbornness of a tsunami, Bandcamp extended its revenue waiver program to include the first Friday of the next two months. On June 5 and July 3, from midnight to midnight PDT, musicians will substantially benefit from “duty free” sales placed through Bandcamp. Remember, kids, the COVID-19 Christmas season is just around the corner.

*  *  *

From King Crimson founder Robert Fripp comes “Music for Quiet Moments,” a series of ambient instrumental soundscapes available online every week for 50 weeks. “Something to nourish us, and help us through these uncertain times,” notes the inventor of Frippertronics. “Quiet moments are when we put time aside to be quiet. Sometimes quiet moments find us. Quiet may be experienced with sound, and also through sound; in a place we hold to be sacred, or maybe on a crowded subway train hurtling towards Piccadilly or Times Square. Quiet moments of my musical life, expressed in soundscapes, are deeply personal; yet utterly impersonal: they address the concerns we share within our common humanity.” Who is Listening Post to disagree? The first three installments were exactly what one would expect: gracefully distinctive guitar effects eddying, gliding, and pirouetting above an undulating, fathoms-deep modal ocean. Choose your favorite mantra and Zen away the coronal chaos with Fripp. Also deserving mention is the “Sunday Lockdown Lunch” series, which stars Fripp and Toyah Wilcox cavorting in brief, humorous music videos. My top pick so far is the “Swan Lake” episode. —CL—"
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Everyone is by now familiar with virtual streaming concerts and other types of online musical programming. Back in March, one of the first examples encountered by your correspondent was billed as a “Facebook Live” event featuring Richard Thompson. Filmed at his New Jersey home with partner Zara Phillips lending support and occasional backing vocals, the hour-long concert presented Thompson in typically poised, wry form. Watching him tossing off amazing guitar riffs with the greatest of ease, singing with serious intent when the material called for it, all while cracking wise and sitting on a couch in his living room, made for a hugely enter-taining experience.

Closer to home (proximally speaking), Listening Post has been especially enjoying the mostly local fare offered by Kimono My House, a virtual concert series on Facebook launched in March and administered by Kim Ware, Andy Gish, and The Yum Yum Tree. Fave installments so far include performances by Jeff Evans’ Chickens & Pigs, Bad Friend, Nerdkween, In Sonitus Lux, Al Shelton, Zentropy, Christo Case, and TT Mahoney.

Part of the fun of Kimono My House and similar series is watching the artist(s) perform in their natural habitat. Whether it’s a studio, rec room, back porch, or kitchen, the casual, mistakes-don’t-matter setting makes for a refreshingly engaging vibe. When the audience’s comments and emojis are acknowledged, a kind of rapport is conjured up, which adds to the “live” ambience. Sometimes, the banter between songs is as entertaining as the music itself. It’s no substitute for hanging out with friends at 529, Buteco, Eddie’s Attic, The Masquerade, Variety Playhouse, or The Earl, but this virtual gig thing can still be a lot of fun.

__*  *  *__

 On May 14, the Rialto Center for the Arts kicked off its “Homegrown Artists Series” with a noontime mini-concert by saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Jeff Crompton, who is no stranger to regular Listening Post readers. Curated by Rialto Stage Manager Nathan Brown, the series showcases local musicians via short (15-20 minutes) artist-submitted videos streamed on all of the Rialto’s social media platforms at 12 noon.


{img fileId="31427" stylebox="float: right; margin-left:25px;" desc="desc" max="400px"}In May, the “Homegrown Artists Series” featured Jeffrey Butzer (May 21) and Zentropy (Allen Welty-Green) with Oblique Audio Haikus (May 28). Scheduled in June are singer-guitarist Bridget Leen (June 4) and tuba wizard Bill Pritchard (June 11) with additional performances TBD. Pritchard will be performing under the moniker Amplituba, which denotes his work incorporating electronic digital processing and effects.

For the “Homegrown” concert, Pritchard will play two compositions, one of which, ''ElevenTwelve'', was written in 2019 for the tubist by Joanna Ross Hersey, inspired by Hildegard von Bingen, whose life and career as a nun, Abbess, composer, author, political figure and spiritual leader spanned the 11th and 12th centuries (1098-1170). Hersey advises the performer of ''ElevenTwelve'' thusly: “The soloist’s musical choices evoke an overall atmosphere of peace and serenity, through the use of flowing and meditative melodic lines. These melodies bring to mind Hildegard’s chant music, sung by the nuns during the worship at Disibodenburg (site of the convent’s abbey in Germany), honoring their lives and work, worship and community.”

Separately, the Rialto’s Brown is virtually spinning a full jazz album every evening at 7 p.m. Links to the albums are posted on the Rialto Center for the Arts Facebook page by searching #7pmJazz.

__*  *  *__

Another cool home-alone program is “Banjo House Lockdown,” featuring Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn. Live-streamed on Fridays at 7 p.m. EST (also archived on YouTube) from the couple’s Nashville residence, the show is part serious banjo fandango and part all-in-the-family sitcom, the latter aspect stemming from impromptu and staged participation by Fleck and Washburn’s impossibly cute sons, Juno, six, and Theo, two. A typical episode setlist includes an Appalachian murder ballad, an 18th-century ghost song, a 19th-century sea shanty, a 20th-century coal miner’s protest song, something from Fleck’s or Washburn’s vast personal repertoire, and original material the dynamic duo is still honing. One of my favorite segments is “Sheroes in the Shower,” which, oddly enough, features Washburn singing a cappella in the shower, taking advantage of the space’s special acoustic properties. There are kids’ songs complete with puppets and hand-crayoned sets, an abundance of virtuosic frailing and flatpicking, and more knee-slapping family-friendly entertainment than an episode of ''The Beverly Hillbillies''. (I wonder how many readers will get the comparison). 

__*  *  *__

NPR Music has a terrific site, which lists live concert audio and video streams from around the world. The calendar includes performances by the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet; various chamber ensembles and solo instrumental recitals; folk, jazz, rock, and bluegrass bands; all of which are accessible on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. As NPR notes, some of the programming requires registration or a subscription, but most of it is free. That said, as with most pandemic programming, audiences should be predisposed to digitally tip the artists and avail themselves of opportunities to directly support the performers by buying music and merchandise.

__*  *  *__

Speaking of buying music and merch, on two recent Fridays, Bandcamp waived its standard revenue share on sales, thereby increasing the amount of income flowing to artists who use the company’s online platform to distribute and sell music and related wares. On a typical Friday, according to Bandcamp founder and CEO Ethan Diamond, the site registers about 47,000 orders. On March 20, fans placed 800,000 orders for music and stuff worth $4.3 million; at peak activity, Bandcamp was registering 11 sales per second. Two months later, on Friday, May 1, the 24-hour tally amounted to $7.1 million. With all indications pointing to the Coronavirus going nowhere but everywhere with the inexorable stubbornness of a tsunami, Bandcamp extended its revenue waiver program to include the first Friday of the next two months. On June 5 and July 3, from midnight to midnight PDT, musicians will substantially benefit from “duty free” sales placed through Bandcamp. Remember, kids, the COVID-19 Christmas season is just around the corner.

__*  *  *__

From King Crimson founder Robert Fripp comes “Music for Quiet Moments,” a series of ambient instrumental soundscapes available online every week for 50 weeks. “Something to nourish us, and help us through these uncertain times,” notes the inventor of Frippertronics. “Quiet moments are when we put time aside to be quiet. Sometimes quiet moments find us. Quiet may be experienced with sound, and also through sound; in a place we hold to be sacred, or maybe on a crowded subway train hurtling towards Piccadilly or Times Square. Quiet moments of my musical life, expressed in soundscapes, are deeply personal; yet utterly impersonal: they address the concerns we share within our common humanity.” Who is Listening Post to disagree? The first three installments were exactly what one would expect: gracefully distinctive guitar effects eddying, gliding, and pirouetting above an undulating, fathoms-deep modal ocean. Choose your favorite mantra and Zen away the coronal chaos with Fripp. Also deserving mention is the “Sunday Lockdown Lunch” series, which stars Fripp and Toyah Wilcox cavorting in brief, humorous music videos. My top pick so far is the “Swan Lake” episode. __—CL—__"
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  string(9055) " 2 Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn By Shervin Lainez 7  2020-06-03T21:34:25+00:00 2_Wu_Fei_&_Abigail_Washburn_by_Shervin_Lainez_7.jpg   Thanks Doug.  Good article. listeningpost Online diversions offer respite for listeners and support for musicians 31428  2020-06-03T21:35:23+00:00 LISTENING POST: Don’t pandemic! jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris DOUG DELOACH Doug DeLoach 2020-06-03T21:35:23+00:00  Embracing pandemical shelter, masking up for an errand run, ducking and covering from microbial dread, we suffer the remedial, yet essential, tasks made all the more anxiety-inducing by the dictates of corrupt leadership and the selfish belligerence of willfully ignoratnt fellow citizens. Given the revolting cast and gloomy plot of this summer blockbuster, Listening Post offers a few diversionary pursuits as a temporary antidote.

Everyone is by now familiar with virtual streaming concerts and other types of online musical programming. Back in March, one of the first examples encountered by your correspondent was billed as a “Facebook Live” event featuring Richard Thompson. Filmed at his New Jersey home with partner Zara Phillips lending support and occasional backing vocals, the hour-long concert presented Thompson in typically poised, wry form. Watching him tossing off amazing guitar riffs with the greatest of ease, singing with serious intent when the material called for it, all while cracking wise and sitting on a couch in his living room, made for a hugely enter-taining experience.

Closer to home (proximally speaking), Listening Post has been especially enjoying the mostly local fare offered by Kimono My House, a virtual concert series on Facebook launched in March and administered by Kim Ware, Andy Gish, and The Yum Yum Tree. Fave installments so far include performances by Jeff Evans’ Chickens & Pigs, Bad Friend, Nerdkween, In Sonitus Lux, Al Shelton, Zentropy, Christo Case, and TT Mahoney.

Part of the fun of Kimono My House and similar series is watching the artist(s) perform in their natural habitat. Whether it’s a studio, rec room, back porch, or kitchen, the casual, mistakes-don’t-matter setting makes for a refreshingly engaging vibe. When the audience’s comments and emojis are acknowledged, a kind of rapport is conjured up, which adds to the “live” ambience. Sometimes, the banter between songs is as entertaining as the music itself. It’s no substitute for hanging out with friends at 529, Buteco, Eddie’s Attic, The Masquerade, Variety Playhouse, or The Earl, but this virtual gig thing can still be a lot of fun.

*  *  *

 On May 14, the Rialto Center for the Arts kicked off its “Homegrown Artists Series” with a noontime mini-concert by saxophonist, clarinetist and composer Jeff Crompton, who is no stranger to regular Listening Post readers. Curated by Rialto Stage Manager Nathan Brown, the series showcases local musicians via short (15-20 minutes) artist-submitted videos streamed on all of the Rialto’s social media platforms at 12 noon.


In May, the “Homegrown Artists Series” featured Jeffrey Butzer (May 21) and Zentropy (Allen Welty-Green) with Oblique Audio Haikus (May 28). Scheduled in June are singer-guitarist Bridget Leen (June 4) and tuba wizard Bill Pritchard (June 11) with additional performances TBD. Pritchard will be performing under the moniker Amplituba, which denotes his work incorporating electronic digital processing and effects.

For the “Homegrown” concert, Pritchard will play two compositions, one of which, ElevenTwelve, was written in 2019 for the tubist by Joanna Ross Hersey, inspired by Hildegard von Bingen, whose life and career as a nun, Abbess, composer, author, political figure and spiritual leader spanned the 11th and 12th centuries (1098-1170). Hersey advises the performer of ElevenTwelve thusly: “The soloist’s musical choices evoke an overall atmosphere of peace and serenity, through the use of flowing and meditative melodic lines. These melodies bring to mind Hildegard’s chant music, sung by the nuns during the worship at Disibodenburg (site of the convent’s abbey in Germany), honoring their lives and work, worship and community.”

Separately, the Rialto’s Brown is virtually spinning a full jazz album every evening at 7 p.m. Links to the albums are posted on the Rialto Center for the Arts Facebook page by searching #7pmJazz.

*  *  *

Another cool home-alone program is “Banjo House Lockdown,” featuring Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn. Live-streamed on Fridays at 7 p.m. EST (also archived on YouTube) from the couple’s Nashville residence, the show is part serious banjo fandango and part all-in-the-family sitcom, the latter aspect stemming from impromptu and staged participation by Fleck and Washburn’s impossibly cute sons, Juno, six, and Theo, two. A typical episode setlist includes an Appalachian murder ballad, an 18th-century ghost song, a 19th-century sea shanty, a 20th-century coal miner’s protest song, something from Fleck’s or Washburn’s vast personal repertoire, and original material the dynamic duo is still honing. One of my favorite segments is “Sheroes in the Shower,” which, oddly enough, features Washburn singing a cappella in the shower, taking advantage of the space’s special acoustic properties. There are kids’ songs complete with puppets and hand-crayoned sets, an abundance of virtuosic frailing and flatpicking, and more knee-slapping family-friendly entertainment than an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. (I wonder how many readers will get the comparison). 

*  *  *

NPR Music has a terrific site, which lists live concert audio and video streams from around the world. The calendar includes performances by the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet; various chamber ensembles and solo instrumental recitals; folk, jazz, rock, and bluegrass bands; all of which are accessible on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. As NPR notes, some of the programming requires registration or a subscription, but most of it is free. That said, as with most pandemic programming, audiences should be predisposed to digitally tip the artists and avail themselves of opportunities to directly support the performers by buying music and merchandise.

*  *  *

Speaking of buying music and merch, on two recent Fridays, Bandcamp waived its standard revenue share on sales, thereby increasing the amount of income flowing to artists who use the company’s online platform to distribute and sell music and related wares. On a typical Friday, according to Bandcamp founder and CEO Ethan Diamond, the site registers about 47,000 orders. On March 20, fans placed 800,000 orders for music and stuff worth $4.3 million; at peak activity, Bandcamp was registering 11 sales per second. Two months later, on Friday, May 1, the 24-hour tally amounted to $7.1 million. With all indications pointing to the Coronavirus going nowhere but everywhere with the inexorable stubbornness of a tsunami, Bandcamp extended its revenue waiver program to include the first Friday of the next two months. On June 5 and July 3, from midnight to midnight PDT, musicians will substantially benefit from “duty free” sales placed through Bandcamp. Remember, kids, the COVID-19 Christmas season is just around the corner.

*  *  *

From King Crimson founder Robert Fripp comes “Music for Quiet Moments,” a series of ambient instrumental soundscapes available online every week for 50 weeks. “Something to nourish us, and help us through these uncertain times,” notes the inventor of Frippertronics. “Quiet moments are when we put time aside to be quiet. Sometimes quiet moments find us. Quiet may be experienced with sound, and also through sound; in a place we hold to be sacred, or maybe on a crowded subway train hurtling towards Piccadilly or Times Square. Quiet moments of my musical life, expressed in soundscapes, are deeply personal; yet utterly impersonal: they address the concerns we share within our common humanity.” Who is Listening Post to disagree? The first three installments were exactly what one would expect: gracefully distinctive guitar effects eddying, gliding, and pirouetting above an undulating, fathoms-deep modal ocean. Choose your favorite mantra and Zen away the coronal chaos with Fripp. Also deserving mention is the “Sunday Lockdown Lunch” series, which stars Fripp and Toyah Wilcox cavorting in brief, humorous music videos. My top pick so far is the “Swan Lake” episode. —CL—    Shervin Lainez For the housebound, Listening Post recommends Bela Fleck and Abigal Washburn's "Banjo House Lockdown," a free, weekly (Fridays at 7 p.m.) DIY concert program live-streamed on Facebook and archived on YouTube. Shown above, Washburn (Fleck's wife and frequent musical collaborator) and Chinese guzheng player Wu Fei recently released a duo album on Smithsonian Folkways  0,0,10    listeningpost                             LISTENING POST: Don’t pandemic! "
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  string(9661) "Here we are, a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Hitherto relatively normal citizens are executing pre-dawn raids on Publix, Piggly Wiggly, and Walmart to secure inordinate caches of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, surgical masks, Pringles, and microwavable dinner entrees. The stock market has taken a dump, and the general economy teeters on the brink of DEFCON 2. After Senate Republicans ensured that assistance to the least advantaged Americans was pared down to the barest minimum and the largest corporations jacked up for another stock buyback bonanza, checks that might cover a monthly mortgage payment and, in some cases, maybe a week’s worth of groceries, are trickling into the coffers of the proletariat.

Lunatics, for the most part, are running the pandemic response asylum. The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, offers guidance based on hunches, selfish whims, and exhaust gasses from the right-wing scream machine. By the time you read these words, the White House may or may not have discontinued daily televised briefings co-starring the handpicked Coronavirus Task Force. Previous episodes featured the president’s fapping assessment of his great and unmatched wisdom coupled with deranged rantings at critics real and imagined. Sometimes, tidbits of factual, helpful information by scientists and health experts, cowed into gurgling subservience, made their way into the script. Regardless of whether the White House network cancels the COVID-19 reality show, whose ratings Trump touts as a praiseworthy achievement, the public can expect ongoing obfuscation and disinformation from the president’s sycophantic representatives dutifully following the dictum that chaos favors the powers that be.

Closer to home, buoyed by not quite unanimous approval from the state legislature and supported by a body politic inclined toward herd stupidity, Governor Brian Kemp, the former Secretary of State who oversaw his own election, is ignoring the global consensus of epidemiological experts, not to mention the federal government’s official guidelines, in favor of his own strategy for handling COVID-19. While it’s too early to draw hard conclusions about Kemp’s approach, it doesn’t take a PhD in epidemiology to predict a less than desirable outcome resulting from opening up businesses and encouraging public gatherings, for example, at shopping malls and restaurants, regardless of whatever safety measures are being observed at any given locale.

Thank the goddesses, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is disinclined to follow Kemp’s lead. On March 19, with the rising number of coronavirus cases and deaths caused by the disease showing no sign of leveling off, Bottoms ordered the closure of all nightclubs, private social clubs, fitness centers, gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades within the city limits “until further notice.” At press time, restaurants and bars are limited to offering take-out and curbside pickup service. Individually, metro area county and city officials have issued executive orders and announced strong recommendations regarding what residents and businesses within their jurisdictions can and cannot do. Check your local listings, as they say, for the latest details.

In this time of pandemic sheltering, here are a couple of Listening Post recommendations:

Buy and read Jim Tate’s Bruce Hampton: The Early Years (1962-1970). Tate was a close adolescent friend of the late iconoclastic musician and actor (Sling Blade) who passed away May 1, 2017, while performing onstage at the Fox Theatre during his 70th birthday celebration. Only a man of preternatural essence could pull off such a dramatically compelling mortal uncoiling. Tate’s brief, 50-odd-page, anecdotal account confirms the presence of this essence in his friend at an early age. During their teenage years, Tate and Hampton lived a few doors apart on Millbrook Drive near Chastain Park. They shot basketballs, raced bicycles in the dirt, and did the usual stuff teenagers do together. Except, this was Bruce Hampton, which means “the usual stuff” also included strange powers of prognostication, unearthly athletic feats, and the incitement of a near-riot on Live Atlanta Wrestling. All of the shenanigans described in the book transpired before the formation of the Hampton Grease Band, which marked the beginning of Hampton’s journey to avant-jazz-rock before “the Colonel”’s jam band fame, acknowledging small details in the mirror of embarrassment, and cosmic immortality. Get Tate’s book and discover the latent reality behind the myth tangential to the enigma wrapped around the conundrum, which forever remains Bruce Hampton.

Elsewhere in this issue, Chad Radford provides details on Halocline, a new release from Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, and Six Feet Apart, a three-track mini-album featuring DfTaLS lap steel specialist Frank Schultz and percussionist Klimchak performing as a duo. Bandcamp is the place to download and preorder both albums, with proceeds from sales going to Giving Kitchen and the Atlanta Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund.

Halocline is a superbly crafted work of electronic ambience, the best release yet by Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel’s Scott Burland and Schultz. Texturally variant, richly layered, irresistibly immersive, the eight tracks entice the listener into an alternate dimension of contemplative spaces. Think of Halocline as an antidote to pandemic-induced anxiety.

The tracks were taken from improvised sessions during February, March, and April of 2019. Three songs feature Louisville, Kentucky-based Dane Waters, an operatically trained singer with an exquisitely light, precise, and alluring voice. DfTaLS sent three tracks to Waters who sang and improvised non-lyrical melodic lines for incorporation into the final mix. Her contribution lends a gracious, human presence to the instrumental proceedings.

“We met Dane while on tour in 2019 and fell in love with her voice,” says Schultz. “After seeing her perform in Louisville, we went to her house the next day and asked her to provide some vocal tracks for our upcoming album.”

The album’s title refers to an oceanic phenomenon in which the salinity of water changes rapidly in a vertical gradient, causing dramatic differences in the water’s density and clarity, which produces visually observable effects. “We saw a similar phenomenon in the music we chose for the album,” says Burland. “Some is shapeless, murky, dense, while other pieces are melodic and sparse.”

With track titles such as “Swell,” “Brinicle,” and “Sea of Eternal Gloom,” the aquatic theme runs deeply through the album. Years ago, a reviewer described Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel’s music as “a long-lost soundtrack to a deep-sea documentary,” which Burland says “describes Halocline perfectly.”

Regarding Six Feet Apart, Schultz says he enjoyed the collaboration-at-a-distance with Klimchak, even though some aspects of the process took some getting used to. The music was conceived and mixed before sheltering in place became the operational norm. Schultz recorded his tracks alone, while experimenting with preparing and playing the lap steel with chopsticks, then sent the completed tracks to Klimchak.

“What is missing is being in the same room and making on-the-spot decisions, whether agreements or changes, as well as that feeling of urgency, immediacy, and instant gratification,” says Schultz.

The idea of collaborating in a more conventional setting was something the two musicians had been discussing for some time. When he initially received the three tracks from Schultz, Klimchak says it seemed like a good idea from a convenience standpoint.

“I was in the midst of several other big projects, so it was actually a way to jump right in without having to fit a practice session around other deadlines,” he says. “It really only seemed odd after the fact, now that long-distance collaboration is something we have to do.”

The music on Six Feet Apart is a captivating mixture of modal undercurrents created by waves of synthesized sound; sharply percussive accents, modified natural and electronic noise elements, and what sounds like horror movie samples from Klimchak’s fathomless bag of tricks; and a distinctly gamelan-like metallic reverberation imparted partly by Schultz’ chopsticks on lap steel technique. The mélange of exotically beautiful, vaguely Asiatic tonal colors and deeply sinuous world grooves make for a perfectly wondrous listening experience.


“While Frank’s parts were improvised, mine were not improvised, although improv was a part of the composing process,” Klimchak explains. “Because I had his finished tracks before starting on mine, I had the luxury of listening to his parts at length and trying different things to see what worked best. After picking out the individual instruments that I wanted to use, I sat down and wrote the parts, then recorded them.”

Klimchak is currently in the middle of a long-distance collaboration with percussionist Sean Hamilton in Grand Junction, Colorado. The duo decided to record an album in lieu of a planned five-week West Coast tour in April/May. “It’s been really easy going because of the experience doing Six Feet Apart,” says Klimchak.

If there is a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic, it might turn out to be the different ways in which musicians and other artists are forced to collaborate at a distance. Even beset by a plague, the muse always finds a way. —CL—"
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Lunatics, for the most part, are running the pandemic response asylum. The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, offers guidance based on hunches, selfish whims, and exhaust gasses from the right-wing scream machine. By the time you read these words, the White House may or may not have discontinued daily televised briefings co-starring the handpicked Coronavirus Task Force. Previous episodes featured the president’s fapping assessment of his great and unmatched wisdom coupled with deranged rantings at critics real and imagined. Sometimes, tidbits of factual, helpful information by scientists and health experts, cowed into gurgling subservience, made their way into the script. Regardless of whether the White House network cancels the COVID-19 reality show, whose ratings Trump touts as a praiseworthy achievement, the public can expect ongoing obfuscation and disinformation from the president’s sycophantic representatives dutifully following the dictum that chaos favors the powers that be.

Closer to home, buoyed by not quite unanimous approval from the state legislature and supported by a body politic inclined toward herd stupidity, Governor Brian Kemp, the former Secretary of State who oversaw his own election, is ignoring the global consensus of epidemiological experts, not to mention the federal government’s official guidelines, in favor of his own strategy for handling COVID-19. While it’s too early to draw hard conclusions about Kemp’s approach, it doesn’t take a PhD in epidemiology to predict a less than desirable outcome resulting from opening up businesses and encouraging public gatherings, for example, at shopping malls and restaurants, regardless of whatever safety measures are being observed at any given locale.

Thank the goddesses, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is disinclined to follow Kemp’s lead. On March 19, with the rising number of coronavirus cases and deaths caused by the disease showing no sign of leveling off, Bottoms ordered the closure of all nightclubs, private social clubs, fitness centers, gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades within the city limits “until further notice.” At press time, restaurants and bars are limited to offering take-out and curbside pickup service. Individually, metro area county and city officials have issued executive orders and announced strong recommendations regarding what residents and businesses within their jurisdictions can and cannot do. Check your local listings, as they say, for the latest details.

In this time of pandemic sheltering, here are a couple of Listening Post recommendations:

Buy and read Jim Tate’s ''Bruce Hampton: The Early Years (1962-1970)''. Tate was a close adolescent friend of the late iconoclastic musician and actor (''Sling Blade'') who passed away May 1, 2017, while performing onstage at the Fox Theatre during his 70th birthday celebration. Only a man of preternatural essence could pull off such a dramatically compelling mortal uncoiling. Tate’s brief, 50-odd-page, anecdotal account confirms the presence of this essence in his friend at an early age. During their teenage years, Tate and Hampton lived a few doors apart on Millbrook Drive near Chastain Park. They shot basketballs, raced bicycles in the dirt, and did the usual stuff teenagers do together. Except, this was Bruce Hampton, which means “the usual stuff” also included strange powers of prognostication, unearthly athletic feats, and the incitement of a near-riot on ''Live Atlanta Wrestling''. All of the shenanigans described in the book transpired before the formation of the Hampton Grease Band, which marked the beginning of Hampton’s journey to avant-jazz-rock before “the Colonel”’s jam band fame, acknowledging small details in the mirror of embarrassment, and cosmic immortality. Get Tate’s book and discover the latent reality behind the myth tangential to the enigma wrapped around the conundrum, which forever remains Bruce Hampton.

Elsewhere in this issue, Chad Radford provides details on ''Halocline,'' a new release from Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, and ''Six Feet Apart,'' a three-track mini-album featuring DfTaLS lap steel specialist Frank Schultz and percussionist Klimchak performing as a duo. Bandcamp is the place to download and preorder both albums, with proceeds from sales going to Giving Kitchen and the Atlanta Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund.

''Halocline'' is a superbly crafted work of electronic ambience, the best release yet by Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel’s Scott Burland and Schultz. Texturally variant, richly layered, irresistibly immersive, the eight tracks entice the listener into an alternate dimension of contemplative spaces. Think of ''Halocline'' as an antidote to pandemic-induced anxiety.

The tracks were taken from improvised sessions during February, March, and April of 2019. Three songs feature Louisville, Kentucky-based Dane Waters, an operatically trained singer with an exquisitely light, precise, and alluring voice. DfTaLS sent three tracks to Waters who sang and improvised non-lyrical melodic lines for incorporation into the final mix. Her contribution lends a gracious, human presence to the instrumental proceedings.

“We met Dane while on tour in 2019 and fell in love with her voice,” says Schultz. “After seeing her perform in Louisville, we went to her house the next day and asked her to provide some vocal tracks for our upcoming album.”

The album’s title refers to an oceanic phenomenon in which the salinity of water changes rapidly in a vertical gradient, causing dramatic differences in the water’s density and clarity, which produces visually observable effects. “We saw a similar phenomenon in the music we chose for the album,” says Burland. “Some is shapeless, murky, dense, while other pieces are melodic and sparse.”

With track titles such as “Swell,” “Brinicle,” and “Sea of Eternal Gloom,” the aquatic theme runs deeply through the album. Years ago, a reviewer described Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel’s music as “a long-lost soundtrack to a deep-sea documentary,” which Burland says “describes ''Halocline'' perfectly.”

Regarding ''Six Feet Apart'', Schultz says he enjoyed the collaboration-at-a-distance with Klimchak, even though some aspects of the process took some getting used to. The music was conceived and mixed before sheltering in place became the operational norm. Schultz recorded his tracks alone, while experimenting with preparing and playing the lap steel with chopsticks, then sent the completed tracks to Klimchak.

“What is missing is being in the same room and making on-the-spot decisions, whether agreements or changes, as well as that feeling of urgency, immediacy, and instant gratification,” says Schultz.

The idea of collaborating in a more conventional setting was something the two musicians had been discussing for some time. When he initially received the three tracks from Schultz, Klimchak says it seemed like a good idea from a convenience standpoint.

“I was in the midst of several other big projects, so it was actually a way to jump right in without having to fit a practice session around other deadlines,” he says. “It really only seemed odd after the fact, now that long-distance collaboration is something we have to do.”

The music on ''Six Feet Apart'' is a captivating mixture of modal undercurrents created by waves of synthesized sound; sharply percussive accents, modified natural and electronic noise elements, and what sounds like horror movie samples from Klimchak’s fathomless bag of tricks; and a distinctly gamelan-like metallic reverberation imparted partly by Schultz’ chopsticks on lap steel technique. The mélange of exotically beautiful, vaguely Asiatic tonal colors and deeply sinuous world grooves make for a perfectly wondrous listening experience.

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“While Frank’s parts were improvised, mine were ''not'' improvised, although improv was a part of the composing process,” Klimchak explains. “Because I had his finished tracks before starting on mine, I had the luxury of listening to his parts at length and trying different things to see what worked best. After picking out the individual instruments that I wanted to use, I sat down and wrote the parts, then recorded them.”

Klimchak is currently in the middle of a long-distance collaboration with percussionist Sean Hamilton in Grand Junction, Colorado. The duo decided to record an album in lieu of a planned five-week West Coast tour in April/May. “It’s been really easy going because of the experience doing ''Six Feet Apart'',” says Klimchak.

If there is a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic, it might turn out to be the different ways in which musicians and other artists are forced to collaborate at a distance. Even beset by a plague, the muse always finds a way. __—CL—__"
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  string(10570) " LP #1 DfT&LS By Jeffrey Grove  2020-05-11T20:37:19+00:00 LP_#1_DfT&LS_by_Jeffrey_Grove.jpg   Thanks for the mention of my book: Bruce Hampton - The Early Years. It is available here on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ybdum8sg listeningpost New music and a small book for the untimely sheltered 31021  2020-05-01T04:15:00+00:00 LISTENING POST: Persevering through the plague jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris DOUG DELOACH Doug DeLoach 2020-05-01T04:15:00+00:00  Here we are, a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Hitherto relatively normal citizens are executing pre-dawn raids on Publix, Piggly Wiggly, and Walmart to secure inordinate caches of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, surgical masks, Pringles, and microwavable dinner entrees. The stock market has taken a dump, and the general economy teeters on the brink of DEFCON 2. After Senate Republicans ensured that assistance to the least advantaged Americans was pared down to the barest minimum and the largest corporations jacked up for another stock buyback bonanza, checks that might cover a monthly mortgage payment and, in some cases, maybe a week’s worth of groceries, are trickling into the coffers of the proletariat.

Lunatics, for the most part, are running the pandemic response asylum. The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, offers guidance based on hunches, selfish whims, and exhaust gasses from the right-wing scream machine. By the time you read these words, the White House may or may not have discontinued daily televised briefings co-starring the handpicked Coronavirus Task Force. Previous episodes featured the president’s fapping assessment of his great and unmatched wisdom coupled with deranged rantings at critics real and imagined. Sometimes, tidbits of factual, helpful information by scientists and health experts, cowed into gurgling subservience, made their way into the script. Regardless of whether the White House network cancels the COVID-19 reality show, whose ratings Trump touts as a praiseworthy achievement, the public can expect ongoing obfuscation and disinformation from the president’s sycophantic representatives dutifully following the dictum that chaos favors the powers that be.

Closer to home, buoyed by not quite unanimous approval from the state legislature and supported by a body politic inclined toward herd stupidity, Governor Brian Kemp, the former Secretary of State who oversaw his own election, is ignoring the global consensus of epidemiological experts, not to mention the federal government’s official guidelines, in favor of his own strategy for handling COVID-19. While it’s too early to draw hard conclusions about Kemp’s approach, it doesn’t take a PhD in epidemiology to predict a less than desirable outcome resulting from opening up businesses and encouraging public gatherings, for example, at shopping malls and restaurants, regardless of whatever safety measures are being observed at any given locale.

Thank the goddesses, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is disinclined to follow Kemp’s lead. On March 19, with the rising number of coronavirus cases and deaths caused by the disease showing no sign of leveling off, Bottoms ordered the closure of all nightclubs, private social clubs, fitness centers, gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and arcades within the city limits “until further notice.” At press time, restaurants and bars are limited to offering take-out and curbside pickup service. Individually, metro area county and city officials have issued executive orders and announced strong recommendations regarding what residents and businesses within their jurisdictions can and cannot do. Check your local listings, as they say, for the latest details.

In this time of pandemic sheltering, here are a couple of Listening Post recommendations:

Buy and read Jim Tate’s Bruce Hampton: The Early Years (1962-1970). Tate was a close adolescent friend of the late iconoclastic musician and actor (Sling Blade) who passed away May 1, 2017, while performing onstage at the Fox Theatre during his 70th birthday celebration. Only a man of preternatural essence could pull off such a dramatically compelling mortal uncoiling. Tate’s brief, 50-odd-page, anecdotal account confirms the presence of this essence in his friend at an early age. During their teenage years, Tate and Hampton lived a few doors apart on Millbrook Drive near Chastain Park. They shot basketballs, raced bicycles in the dirt, and did the usual stuff teenagers do together. Except, this was Bruce Hampton, which means “the usual stuff” also included strange powers of prognostication, unearthly athletic feats, and the incitement of a near-riot on Live Atlanta Wrestling. All of the shenanigans described in the book transpired before the formation of the Hampton Grease Band, which marked the beginning of Hampton’s journey to avant-jazz-rock before “the Colonel”’s jam band fame, acknowledging small details in the mirror of embarrassment, and cosmic immortality. Get Tate’s book and discover the latent reality behind the myth tangential to the enigma wrapped around the conundrum, which forever remains Bruce Hampton.

Elsewhere in this issue, Chad Radford provides details on Halocline, a new release from Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, and Six Feet Apart, a three-track mini-album featuring DfTaLS lap steel specialist Frank Schultz and percussionist Klimchak performing as a duo. Bandcamp is the place to download and preorder both albums, with proceeds from sales going to Giving Kitchen and the Atlanta Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund.

Halocline is a superbly crafted work of electronic ambience, the best release yet by Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel’s Scott Burland and Schultz. Texturally variant, richly layered, irresistibly immersive, the eight tracks entice the listener into an alternate dimension of contemplative spaces. Think of Halocline as an antidote to pandemic-induced anxiety.

The tracks were taken from improvised sessions during February, March, and April of 2019. Three songs feature Louisville, Kentucky-based Dane Waters, an operatically trained singer with an exquisitely light, precise, and alluring voice. DfTaLS sent three tracks to Waters who sang and improvised non-lyrical melodic lines for incorporation into the final mix. Her contribution lends a gracious, human presence to the instrumental proceedings.

“We met Dane while on tour in 2019 and fell in love with her voice,” says Schultz. “After seeing her perform in Louisville, we went to her house the next day and asked her to provide some vocal tracks for our upcoming album.”

The album’s title refers to an oceanic phenomenon in which the salinity of water changes rapidly in a vertical gradient, causing dramatic differences in the water’s density and clarity, which produces visually observable effects. “We saw a similar phenomenon in the music we chose for the album,” says Burland. “Some is shapeless, murky, dense, while other pieces are melodic and sparse.”

With track titles such as “Swell,” “Brinicle,” and “Sea of Eternal Gloom,” the aquatic theme runs deeply through the album. Years ago, a reviewer described Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel’s music as “a long-lost soundtrack to a deep-sea documentary,” which Burland says “describes Halocline perfectly.”

Regarding Six Feet Apart, Schultz says he enjoyed the collaboration-at-a-distance with Klimchak, even though some aspects of the process took some getting used to. The music was conceived and mixed before sheltering in place became the operational norm. Schultz recorded his tracks alone, while experimenting with preparing and playing the lap steel with chopsticks, then sent the completed tracks to Klimchak.

“What is missing is being in the same room and making on-the-spot decisions, whether agreements or changes, as well as that feeling of urgency, immediacy, and instant gratification,” says Schultz.

The idea of collaborating in a more conventional setting was something the two musicians had been discussing for some time. When he initially received the three tracks from Schultz, Klimchak says it seemed like a good idea from a convenience standpoint.

“I was in the midst of several other big projects, so it was actually a way to jump right in without having to fit a practice session around other deadlines,” he says. “It really only seemed odd after the fact, now that long-distance collaboration is something we have to do.”

The music on Six Feet Apart is a captivating mixture of modal undercurrents created by waves of synthesized sound; sharply percussive accents, modified natural and electronic noise elements, and what sounds like horror movie samples from Klimchak’s fathomless bag of tricks; and a distinctly gamelan-like metallic reverberation imparted partly by Schultz’ chopsticks on lap steel technique. The mélange of exotically beautiful, vaguely Asiatic tonal colors and deeply sinuous world grooves make for a perfectly wondrous listening experience.


“While Frank’s parts were improvised, mine were not improvised, although improv was a part of the composing process,” Klimchak explains. “Because I had his finished tracks before starting on mine, I had the luxury of listening to his parts at length and trying different things to see what worked best. After picking out the individual instruments that I wanted to use, I sat down and wrote the parts, then recorded them.”

Klimchak is currently in the middle of a long-distance collaboration with percussionist Sean Hamilton in Grand Junction, Colorado. The duo decided to record an album in lieu of a planned five-week West Coast tour in April/May. “It’s been really easy going because of the experience doing Six Feet Apart,” says Klimchak.

If there is a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic, it might turn out to be the different ways in which musicians and other artists are forced to collaborate at a distance. Even beset by a plague, the muse always finds a way. —CL—    Jeffrey Grove WATERS RUN DEEP: Halocline, recently released on Bandcamp by Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel (Frank Schultz, left, and Scott Burland, right), is a full-length album featuring Louisville, Kentucky-based vocalist Dane Waters. Proceeds from album sales benefit Giving Kitchen and the Atlanta Musicians’ Emergency Relief Fund.  0,0,10    listeningpost                             LISTENING POST: Persevering through the plague "
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Article

Friday May 1, 2020 12:15 am EDT
New music and a small book for the untimely sheltered | more...
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  string(71) "The Atlanta Opera‘s 2020-21 season reaches for next-level performance"
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  string(18452) "As this was posted prior to concerns regarding the global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, please check to see if these events are still occurring. Be safe. Be healthy. Wash your hands.

The last time Creative Loafing checked in with Tomer Zvulun, the general and artistic director of the Atlanta Opera, he was preparing for the 2019 Atlanta premier of Dead Man Walking. The opera by Jake Heggie is based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean who became spiritual advisor to a man on death row in Louisiana. Last December, following its Atlanta run, Zvulun traveled to Israel to direct the Israeli Opera, the company with which he began his career, in a series of performances of Dead Man Walking. Opening night in the Tel Aviv Opera House marked the first time a contemporary American opera was ever staged in Israel.

“The most telling moment for me occurred when I met the head of the makeup department,” Zvulun recalled, chuckling. “They’re used to working with wigs and costumes for classic operas. When they asked what kind of wigs we used for Dead Man Walking, I laughed and replied, ‘The opera is set in New Orleans in the 1980s. I don’t have any wigs, but I do have tattoos.’”

In January, the Atlanta Opera announced its 2020-21 season, which starts in November. The lineup includes four main-stage productions at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center: Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, and Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. The Atlanta Opera’s Discoveries Series, which showcases newer, more intimate works, will present The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by Mason Bates at the Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus and Laura Kaminsky’s As One at the Out Front Theater on the west side of Downtown.

Remaining on the 2019-20 Atlanta Opera calendar are two major operas and one Discoveries production. George and Ira Gershwin’s masterpiece, Porgy and Bess, runs March 7-15, while Puccini’s beloved Madama Butterfly runs May 2-10 at the Cobb Center. Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, which tells the tragic tale of Col. Jim Thompson, America’s longest-held prisoner of war, opens May 21 and closes May 24 on the Hertz Stage at the Woodruff Arts Center.

::::

Doug DeLoach: Reflecting on the critical acclaim and popular success of Dead Man Walking and other contemporary operas, it seems like opera is on a roll in the 21st century.

Tomer Zvulun: There is something really exciting happening, historically, right now in the world of opera, especially in America. It’s like a renaissance. So many new pieces are being written. Opera America recently published a survey, which noted that there are a couple of hundred new pieces — chamber operas, full-scale operas — written every year. A lot of companies make it a point to commission new operas, including the Atlanta Opera, which will be staging a world premiere in 2022.

Grand old opera is all of a sudden relevant again.

TZ: We’re seeing more operas with a conscience, operas that are focused on social justice, and themes that are relevant, such as LBGTQ issues, bullying in school, veterans’ experiences, or familiar characters, like Steve Jobs. Those pieces are different from the classic boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-in-love-with-girl, girl-dies stories. We still love the classic operas, but it’s hard to find social context in many of them. We find humanity and universality in those operas, but there is something very immediate about new operas, which we find especially fascinating.

When I came to the Atlanta Opera in 2013, I insisted on running a modern American opera every year. That first year it was Three Decembers by Jake Heggie with a libretto by Gene Scheer. Then we did Soldier Songs about the life of a veteran. The following year, it was Out of Darkness: Two Remain about the Holocaust. Then came Silent Night about World War I, followed by Dead Man Walking. Next year, we’re doing As One, which is about the journey of a transgender woman; and an opera about one of the most iconic people in recent history, Steve Jobs.

We are living in a great period in opera history.

The music has to match the theme in terms of its ability to engage with the audience, which was not always the case after the end of the bel canto era and the turn of the 20th century.

TZ: Opera experienced a crisis in the 20th century. If you look at the 18th and 19th centuries, you have composers like Verdi, Mozart, Donizetti, Puccini, Bizet, and Wagner. Then you think about the 20th century and who comes to mind? Berg, Schoenberg, Britten. There was all this atonal music, which was popular in the academic world, but which did not grab audiences. Cerebrally, philosophically, it’s fascinating — and, in many cases, it was tremendous music. But a lot of times, it was alienating because it lacked the raw emotion, tonality, and melodic style which characterized those composers from the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the late 20th century, people like Jake Heggie, Gregory Speers, and other emerging composers were not afraid of embracing tonality, melody, the tonic world — a world in which audiences can still hum what they hear in the opera house.

Did you approach programming the 2020-21 season any differently than previous seasons?

TZ: Whenever we are planning the season, it’s like planning a meal for friends. You’ve got your protein, your vegetable, a nice dessert, good wine.

We start with two of the most famous operas in the canon, La bohème and The Barber of Seville, presented in new interpretations with visually stunning productions, great voices and orchestra. With these works, people who want to introduce friends to opera know they can return and see something they will love.

Then we are doing what is maybe the most challenging opera in the company’s history, Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. The Ring Cycle is generally considered to be the pinnacle, the most rewarding operatic masterpiece ever written. Then we’re doing a brand new work, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, at Georgia Tech as part of our Discoveries Series, and an opera about transgender, As One.

We’re also presenting The Sound of Music, a very well-known musical theater piece, a crossover work, like we’ve done in the past with Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, and The Pirates of Penzance. The Sound of Music is a  completely new production, which we are doing with a partner, the Glimmerglass Festival in Houston.

We are serving different flavors to accommodate the different palates of our dinner guests.

What does the live musical presentation of The Sound of Music bring to the party, which is different from the famous film?

TZ: I’m a huge film buff. Movies inform my vocabulary as a director. But there is a competitive advantage to live performance, which movies or Netflix will never have. That advantage is the feeling of community when 2,500 people gather in the same room, breathing the same air, feeling the energy from the stage, and transmitting their own energy back to the performers on the stage.

The second advantage to producing these pieces in the opera house comes from the kind of singers we are getting for those shows, classically trained singers backed by a world-class orchestra. The quality that you are getting is very high. I would love to program future productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret — there are so many great musical theater pieces, which deserve to be seen through an operatic lens.

What distinguishing elements will the Atlanta Opera bring to the production of Das Rheingold?

TZ: It’s an altogether new production, which I have been working on for the past four years. I have been preparing for the time when the company is ready to do something monumental, which requires an extraordinary level of excellence and commitment. If you look at the landscape right now in North America, there are very few companies producing Wagner on a high level: The Met, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, maybe Washington. From the marketing department to the orchestra to the production and technical abilities of the company, to do something so grand is a daunting undertaking. It’s like saying to an athlete, “You are going to the Olympics.” The training is at a different level. The nutrition is at a different level.

The opera we are putting on right now (January 2020), Richard Strauss’ Salome, isn’t Wagner, but it’s close. Strauss was a disciple of Wagner. Salome has a similar style and other requirements. You need a large orchestra capable of handling very technically challenging music. You need dramatic singers who can overcome that sort of orchestration, and you need production elements on the highest level supported by the technical ability to make everything work flawlessly. It takes years to build a company that can manage all of those things.

Das Rheingold is using the same production team as Salome. I’m going to direct. My colleague, Erhard Rom, is creating the set projections. Mattie Ullrich is creating the costumes. We are very excited about the production team.

How do you describe or characterize the stylistic elements, which the Atlanta Opera is bringing to productions like Salome and Das Rheingold?

TZ: This style is something we have been bringing to our audiences in the hope that they will appreciate what we’re doing. With productions such as Eugene Onegin, Dead Man Walking, Silent Night, Madama Butterfly, and La bohème? — all pieces we’ve done here with the same team — the term we use to describe this style is ‘timeless mythology.’

One of the things that I think functions as a cliché or trap for opera productions is when the first thing the audience asks is, “What time period is this?” or “What is the location?” I think that’s a cop-out. If you’re thinking, “I am going to do Eugene Onegin in 1982 in Soviet Russia,” that’s where the idea ends. It will never match what the composer had in mind because the opera was written in the 18th century. And the production will be dated because 1982 might be interesting right now, but, in 20 years, it might not be so interesting; it won’t feel organic.

In “timeless mythology” you are abstracting the time and creating a mythological world. When you’re watching Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, you never ask yourself, “What time period is this?” or “Is that an 18th- or 19th-century gown the princess is wearing?” Instead, you are immersed in the story, the characters, and the psychology of the characters. That’s an important word for me and my team: psychology.

The most fascinating thing about great operas is the psychology of the characters and the relationship between them. That’s what opera does so well, because music and the human voice allow you to penetrate a psychological world in a way mere words do not allow.

::::
Does this strategy represent a conscious attempt to break from tradition?


TZ: I’m not inventing anything new here. I’m not trying to be the world’s greatest innovator. We believe that opera is a combination of all the art forms: It is theater as much as it is music. It’s the voice as much as it is design. Projections and scenery and costumes and makeup — all of those art forms are coming together to create a magical evening at the theater.

Opera is primarily storytelling. It’s universal. It’s about humanity. It’s supposed to move you emotionally. I get a little worried about psychological theories, Freudian theories, Jungian theories, whatever. At some point, that kind of discussion distracts from the fact that opera is the most emotionally powerful art form you can imagine.

We’re not trying to cerebralize anything. We’re trying to strip away distraction and focus on the human character in a way that brings forward the music and the human voice. Salome is a great example. When Oscar Wilde wrote his play, his departure point was the Bible, but he didn’t write a biblical story. More than anything else, Wilde wrote a story about forbidden love, obsession, phobias, and all the things that were on Oscar Wilde’s mind, which also happened to be on Richard Strauss’ mind, which happen to be on our minds today.

Think about forbidden love taken to extremes, such as necrophilia and incest. Think about Wilde and his struggles in his own time. We’re dealing with these struggles in our time with issues related to LBGTQ. The point is, I don’t care about the biblical setting of this opera. If you’re focusing on that, you’re missing the point. All of the operas we are doing are going in that direction: What is this story about? What is this character about? Not what a dress in 1882 should look like.

How does this conceptual strategy apply to the remaining 2020 productions, Porgy and Bess and Madama Butterfly?

TZ: Porgy and Bess is a very successful production by Francesca Zambello who is one of our frequent collaborators. She runs the Glimmerglass Festival at the Washington National Opera. The production has traveled extensively in America from Chicago to Seattle to New York, and it will be done in Washington immediately after Atlanta. The cast is fantastic. Morris Robinson and Kristin Lewis who sang the opera in La Scala a couple of years ago. When it was presented in Atlanta in 2005 and 2011 to sold-out crowds, the Atlanta Opera Chorus was such a force of nature that when the Opera Comique in Paris decided to do Porgy and Bess, they chose the Atlanta Opera Chorus to perform with them all over Europe. Not to mention the fact that the story takes place in the South, not far away from us, in South Carolina.

The same team that’s doing Butterfly did Salome and are doing Das Rheingold. We have great respect for the Japanese setting and style, but, at the same time, we are telling a universal story. A foreigner in a different country falls in love with a girl. Despite the differences between them, they find something that deeply connects them. Circumstances separate them, and heartbreak ensues. When you think about Puccini writing Madama Butterfly or La fanciulla del West or Turandot, he’s never been to Japan or the Wild West or China. He’s an Italian guy who was really interested in a universal tale that combines love, death, and sex — the things we love about opera.

What about the person who can hum all the arias from Madama Butterfly, but has never been to the opera? How do you lure that person into the Cobb Center to experience Madama Butterfly as it should be experienced?

TZ: Number one, you do it with the people who are starring in this production of Madama Butterfly, who will knock your socks off. Gianluca Terranova, who sings Pinkerton, is a world-class tenor who was here for Turandot, La bohème, and Carmen. He is one of the greatest singers of our time. Yasko Sato, who plays Madama Butterfly, is a Japanese soprano who has sung this role all over the world with great success. She embodies the character of Cio-Cio San. The character of Sharpless is sung by Michael Chioldi, an American baritone making his Atlanta Opera debut. He possesses a powerful voice and is very charismatic. Suzuki is sung by Katharine Goeldner, a mezzo-soprano who has sung the role at The Met and every other major opera house. The conductor, Carlo Montanaro, is an Italian who specializes in Puccini. I did La bohème with him in Seattle several years ago. He is so charismatic and musical and will be exciting for the orchestra to work with.

So, you have this incredible cast and this rich storytelling combined with modern technology, such as lighting effects, projections, and other visual effects, which let us get into the characters’ minds in ways we were not able to do before.

In contrast to traditional operatic themes, Glory Denied, the remaining production in the 2020 season, is about as topical as an opera can get.

TZ: We have a program for veterans, which started when I arrived. We did Soldier Songs, an opera by David T. Little, and Silent Night by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, which is about World War I and the universal experience of being a soldier. Those two pieces paved the way for us to create an initiative for veterans supported by Home Depot, which, to date, has brought 7,000 veterans to see our shows free of charge. Every season 2,500 veterans get to see Atlanta Opera productions. On opening night for Salome, 750 veterans were in the audience. 

Glory Denied continues this tradition. It’s about the longest-held prisoner of war, Colonel Jim Thompson, who was captured in Vietnam in 1964 and released in 1973. When he came back, his life was shattered. His family was broken. His wife was with someone else. Four children — he came back to a world that was completely different.

Michael Mayes, who starred in Sweeney Todd and Dead Man Walking, stars in a role he created. He is also co-directing the opera with me. He brings so much passion to his work. I think he’s one of the greatest singing actors of our time. It’s a small cast of four with an orchestral ensemble of 13 or so musicians. We open it on the weekend of Memorial Day, which is often seen as a holiday when you go to the beach and barbecue in the backyard, but originated as a day to honor our soldiers and veterans.

In what way does the 2020-21 season represent the next evolutionary step in the growth and development of the Atlanta Opera?

TZ: Next season is what we have been waiting for and building toward for seven years. In 2013, we did three rental productions, Faust, The Barber of Seville, and Tosca. We were a $5 million opera company. Today, the Atlanta Opera is a $10 million company. We’ve been in the black for the last four years, and we will be in the black this season. We are doing six productions, three of which are brand new, with a diversity of programming and a caliber of singers, conductors, designers, directors, and staff that can stand with any opera company in the world. We have an infrastructure, largely created over the last two years, which has garnered a level of support that allows us to accomplish our mission: We believe this major international city deserves a major international opera company."
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The last time Creative Loafing checked in with Tomer Zvulun, the general and artistic director of the Atlanta Opera, he was preparing for the 2019 Atlanta premier of Dead Man Walking. The opera by Jake Heggie is based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean who became spiritual advisor to a man on death row in Louisiana. Last December, following its Atlanta run, Zvulun traveled to Israel to direct the Israeli Opera, the company with which he began his career, in a series of performances of Dead Man Walking. Opening night in the Tel Aviv Opera House marked the first time a contemporary American opera was ever staged in Israel.

“The most telling moment for me occurred when I met the head of the makeup department,” Zvulun recalled, chuckling. “They’re used to working with wigs and costumes for classic operas. When they asked what kind of wigs we used for Dead Man Walking, I laughed and replied, ‘The opera is set in New Orleans in the 1980s. I don’t have any wigs, but I do have tattoos.’”

In January, the Atlanta Opera announced its 2020-21 season, which starts in November. The lineup includes four main-stage productions at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center: Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, and Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. The Atlanta Opera’s Discoveries Series, which showcases newer, more intimate works, will present The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by Mason Bates at the Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus and Laura Kaminsky’s As One at the Out Front Theater on the west side of Downtown.

Remaining on the 2019-20 Atlanta Opera calendar are two major operas and one Discoveries production. George and Ira Gershwin’s masterpiece, Porgy and Bess, runs March 7-15, while Puccini’s beloved Madama Butterfly runs May 2-10 at the Cobb Center. Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, which tells the tragic tale of Col. Jim Thompson, America’s longest-held prisoner of war, opens May 21 and closes May 24 on the Hertz Stage at the Woodruff Arts Center.

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__Doug DeLoach: Reflecting on the critical acclaim and popular success of ____''Dead Man Walking''____ and other contemporary operas, it seems like opera is on a roll in the 21st century.__

__Tomer Zvulun__: There is something really exciting happening, historically, right now in the world of opera, especially in America. It’s like a renaissance. So many new pieces are being written. Opera America recently published a survey, which noted that there are a couple of hundred new pieces — chamber operas, full-scale operas — written every year. A lot of companies make it a point to commission new operas, including the Atlanta Opera, which will be staging a world premiere in 2022.

__Grand old opera is all of a sudden relevant again__.

__TZ__: We’re seeing more operas with a conscience, operas that are focused on social justice, and themes that are relevant, such as LBGTQ issues, bullying in school, veterans’ experiences, or familiar characters, like Steve Jobs. Those pieces are different from the classic boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-in-love-with-girl, girl-dies stories. We still love the classic operas, but it’s hard to find social context in many of them. We find humanity and universality in those operas, but there is something very immediate about new operas, which we find especially fascinating.

When I came to the Atlanta Opera in 2013, I insisted on running a modern American opera every year. That first year it was Three Decembers by Jake Heggie with a libretto by Gene Scheer. Then we did Soldier Songs about the life of a veteran. The following year, it was Out of Darkness: Two Remain about the Holocaust. Then came Silent Night about World War I, followed by Dead Man Walking. Next year, we’re doing As One, which is about the journey of a transgender woman; and an opera about one of the most iconic people in recent history, Steve Jobs.

We are living in a great period in opera history.

__The music has to match the theme in terms of its ability to engage with the audience, which was not always the case after the end of the bel canto era and the turn of the 20th century.__

__TZ__: Opera experienced a crisis in the 20th century. If you look at the 18th and 19th centuries, you have composers like Verdi, Mozart, Donizetti, Puccini, Bizet, and Wagner. Then you think about the 20th century and who comes to mind? Berg, Schoenberg, Britten. There was all this atonal music, which was popular in the academic world, but which did not grab audiences. Cerebrally, philosophically, it’s fascinating — and, in many cases, it was tremendous music. But a lot of times, it was alienating because it lacked the raw emotion, tonality, and melodic style which characterized those composers from the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the late 20th century, people like Jake Heggie, Gregory Speers, and other emerging composers were not afraid of embracing tonality, melody, the tonic world — a world in which audiences can still hum what they hear in the opera house.

__Did you approach programming the 2020-21 season any differently than previous seasons?__

__TZ__: Whenever we are planning the season, it’s like planning a meal for friends. You’ve got your protein, your vegetable, a nice dessert, good wine.

We start with two of the most famous operas in the canon, La bohème and The Barber of Seville, presented in new interpretations with visually stunning productions, great voices and orchestra. With these works, people who want to introduce friends to opera know they can return and see something they will love.

Then we are doing what is maybe the most challenging opera in the company’s history, Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. The Ring Cycle is generally considered to be the pinnacle, the most rewarding operatic masterpiece ever written. Then we’re doing a brand new work, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, at Georgia Tech as part of our Discoveries Series, and an opera about transgender, As One.

We’re also presenting The Sound of Music, a very well-known musical theater piece, a crossover work, like we’ve done in the past with Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, and The Pirates of Penzance. The Sound of Music is a  completely new production, which we are doing with a partner, the Glimmerglass Festival in Houston.

We are serving different flavors to accommodate the different palates of our dinner guests.

__What does the live musical presentation of The Sound of Music bring to the party, which is different from the famous film?__

__TZ__: I’m a huge film buff. Movies inform my vocabulary as a director. But there is a competitive advantage to live performance, which movies or Netflix will never have. That advantage is the feeling of community when 2,500 people gather in the same room, breathing the same air, feeling the energy from the stage, and transmitting their own energy back to the performers on the stage.

The second advantage to producing these pieces in the opera house comes from the kind of singers we are getting for those shows, classically trained singers backed by a world-class orchestra. The quality that you are getting is very high. I would love to program future productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret — there are so many great musical theater pieces, which deserve to be seen through an operatic lens.

__What distinguishing elements will the Atlanta Opera bring to the production of ____''Das Rheingold''____?__

__TZ__: It’s an altogether new production, which I have been working on for the past four years. I have been preparing for the time when the company is ready to do something monumental, which requires an extraordinary level of excellence and commitment. If you look at the landscape right now in North America, there are very few companies producing Wagner on a high level: The Met, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, maybe Washington. From the marketing department to the orchestra to the production and technical abilities of the company, to do something so grand is a daunting undertaking. It’s like saying to an athlete, “You are going to the Olympics.” The training is at a different level. The nutrition is at a different level.

The opera we are putting on right now (January 2020), Richard Strauss’ Salome, isn’t Wagner, but it’s close. Strauss was a disciple of Wagner. Salome has a similar style and other requirements. You need a large orchestra capable of handling very technically challenging music. You need dramatic singers who can overcome that sort of orchestration, and you need production elements on the highest level supported by the technical ability to make everything work flawlessly. It takes years to build a company that can manage all of those things.

Das Rheingold is using the same production team as Salome. I’m going to direct. My colleague, Erhard Rom, is creating the set projections. Mattie Ullrich is creating the costumes. We are very excited about the production team.

__How do you describe or characterize the stylistic elements, which the Atlanta Opera is bringing to productions like ____''Salome''____ and ____''Das Rheingold''____?__

__TZ__: This style is something we have been bringing to our audiences in the hope that they will appreciate what we’re doing. With productions such as Eugene Onegin, Dead Man Walking, Silent Night, Madama Butterfly, and La bohème? — all pieces we’ve done here with the same team — the term we use to describe this style is ‘timeless mythology.’

One of the things that I think functions as a cliché or trap for opera productions is when the first thing the audience asks is, “What time period is this?” or “What is the location?” I think that’s a cop-out. If you’re thinking, “I am going to do Eugene Onegin in 1982 in Soviet Russia,” that’s where the idea ends. It will never match what the composer had in mind because the opera was written in the 18th century. And the production will be dated because 1982 might be interesting right now, but, in 20 years, it might not be so interesting; it won’t feel organic.

In “timeless mythology” you are abstracting the time and creating a mythological world. When you’re watching Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, you never ask yourself, “What time period is this?” or “Is that an 18th- or 19th-century gown the princess is wearing?” Instead, you are immersed in the story, the characters, and the psychology of the characters. That’s an important word for me and my team: psychology.

The most fascinating thing about great operas is the psychology of the characters and the relationship between them. That’s what opera does so well, because music and the human voice allow you to penetrate a psychological world in a way mere words do not allow.

::{img fileId="29682" desc="desc" styledesc="text-align: left;" max="800"}::
__Does this strategy represent a conscious attempt to break from tradition?__


__TZ__: I’m not inventing anything new here. I’m not trying to be the world’s greatest innovator. We believe that opera is a combination of all the art forms: It is theater as much as it is music. It’s the voice as much as it is design. Projections and scenery and costumes and makeup — all of those art forms are coming together to create a magical evening at the theater.

Opera is primarily storytelling. It’s universal. It’s about humanity. It’s supposed to move you emotionally. I get a little worried about psychological theories, Freudian theories, Jungian theories, whatever. At some point, that kind of discussion distracts from the fact that opera is the most emotionally powerful art form you can imagine.

We’re not trying to cerebralize anything. We’re trying to strip away distraction and focus on the human character in a way that brings forward the music and the human voice. Salome is a great example. When Oscar Wilde wrote his play, his departure point was the Bible, but he didn’t write a biblical story. More than anything else, Wilde wrote a story about forbidden love, obsession, phobias, and all the things that were on Oscar Wilde’s mind, which also happened to be on Richard Strauss’ mind, which happen to be on our minds today.

Think about forbidden love taken to extremes, such as necrophilia and incest. Think about Wilde and his struggles in his own time. We’re dealing with these struggles in our time with issues related to LBGTQ. The point is, I don’t care about the biblical setting of this opera. If you’re focusing on that, you’re missing the point. All of the operas we are doing are going in that direction: What is this story about? What is this character about? Not what a dress in 1882 should look like.

__How does this conceptual strategy apply to the remaining 2020 productions, ____''Porgy and Bess''____ and ____''Madama Butterfly''____?__

__TZ__: Porgy and Bess is a very successful production by Francesca Zambello who is one of our frequent collaborators. She runs the Glimmerglass Festival at the Washington National Opera. The production has traveled extensively in America from Chicago to Seattle to New York, and it will be done in Washington immediately after Atlanta. The cast is fantastic. Morris Robinson and Kristin Lewis who sang the opera in La Scala a couple of years ago. When it was presented in Atlanta in 2005 and 2011 to sold-out crowds, the Atlanta Opera Chorus was such a force of nature that when the Opera Comique in Paris decided to do Porgy and Bess, they chose the Atlanta Opera Chorus to perform with them all over Europe. Not to mention the fact that the story takes place in the South, not far away from us, in South Carolina.

The same team that’s doing Butterfly did Salome and are doing Das Rheingold. We have great respect for the Japanese setting and style, but, at the same time, we are telling a universal story. A foreigner in a different country falls in love with a girl. Despite the differences between them, they find something that deeply connects them. Circumstances separate them, and heartbreak ensues. When you think about Puccini writing Madama Butterfly or La fanciulla del West or Turandot, he’s never been to Japan or the Wild West or China. He’s an Italian guy who was really interested in a universal tale that combines love, death, and sex — the things we love about opera.

__What about the person who can hum all the arias from ____''Madama Butterfly''____, but has never been to the opera? How do you lure that person into the Cobb Center to experience ____''Madama Butterfly''____ as it should be experienced?__

__TZ__: Number one, you do it with the people who are starring in this production of Madama Butterfly, who will knock your socks off. Gianluca Terranova, who sings Pinkerton, is a world-class tenor who was here for Turandot, La bohème, and Carmen. He is one of the greatest singers of our time. Yasko Sato, who plays Madama Butterfly, is a Japanese soprano who has sung this role all over the world with great success. She embodies the character of Cio-Cio San. The character of Sharpless is sung by Michael Chioldi, an American baritone making his Atlanta Opera debut. He possesses a powerful voice and is very charismatic. Suzuki is sung by Katharine Goeldner, a mezzo-soprano who has sung the role at The Met and every other major opera house. The conductor, Carlo Montanaro, is an Italian who specializes in Puccini. I did La bohème with him in Seattle several years ago. He is so charismatic and musical and will be exciting for the orchestra to work with.

So, you have this incredible cast and this rich storytelling combined with modern technology, such as lighting effects, projections, and other visual effects, which let us get into the characters’ minds in ways we were not able to do before.

__In contrast to traditional operatic themes, ____''Glory Denied''____, the remaining production in the 2020 season, is about as topical as an opera can get.__

__TZ__: We have a program for veterans, which started when I arrived. We did Soldier Songs, an opera by David T. Little, and Silent Night by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, which is about World War I and the universal experience of being a soldier. Those two pieces paved the way for us to create an initiative for veterans supported by Home Depot, which, to date, has brought 7,000 veterans to see our shows free of charge. Every season 2,500 veterans get to see Atlanta Opera productions. On opening night for Salome, 750 veterans were in the audience. 

Glory Denied continues this tradition. It’s about the longest-held prisoner of war, Colonel Jim Thompson, who was captured in Vietnam in 1964 and released in 1973. When he came back, his life was shattered. His family was broken. His wife was with someone else. Four children — he came back to a world that was completely different.

Michael Mayes, who starred in Sweeney Todd and Dead Man Walking, stars in a role he created. He is also co-directing the opera with me. He brings so much passion to his work. I think he’s one of the greatest singing actors of our time. It’s a small cast of four with an orchestral ensemble of 13 or so musicians. We open it on the weekend of Memorial Day, which is often seen as a holiday when you go to the beach and barbecue in the backyard, but originated as a day to honor our soldiers and veterans.

__In what way does the 2020-21 season represent the next evolutionary step in the growth and development of the Atlanta Opera?__

__TZ__: Next season is what we have been waiting for and building toward for seven years. In 2013, we did three rental productions, Faust, The Barber of Seville, and Tosca. We were a $5 million opera company. Today, the Atlanta Opera is a $10 million company. We’ve been in the black for the last four years, and we will be in the black this season. We are doing six productions, three of which are brand new, with a diversity of programming and a caliber of singers, conductors, designers, directors, and staff that can stand with any opera company in the world. We have an infrastructure, largely created over the last two years, which has garnered a level of support that allows us to accomplish our mission: We believe this major international city deserves a major international opera company."
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  string(19015) " LP La Boheme Atlanta Opera Jeff Roffman Web  2020-03-03T16:43:52+00:00 LP_La_boheme_Atlanta_Opera_Jeff_Roffman_web.jpg     The Atlanta Opera‘s 2020-21 season reaches for next-level performance 29679  2020-03-03T16:33:07+00:00 LISTENING POST: Opera unbound  will.cardwell@gmail.com Will Cardwell DOUG DELOACH  2020-03-03T16:33:07+00:00  As this was posted prior to concerns regarding the global coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, please check to see if these events are still occurring. Be safe. Be healthy. Wash your hands.

The last time Creative Loafing checked in with Tomer Zvulun, the general and artistic director of the Atlanta Opera, he was preparing for the 2019 Atlanta premier of Dead Man Walking. The opera by Jake Heggie is based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean who became spiritual advisor to a man on death row in Louisiana. Last December, following its Atlanta run, Zvulun traveled to Israel to direct the Israeli Opera, the company with which he began his career, in a series of performances of Dead Man Walking. Opening night in the Tel Aviv Opera House marked the first time a contemporary American opera was ever staged in Israel.

“The most telling moment for me occurred when I met the head of the makeup department,” Zvulun recalled, chuckling. “They’re used to working with wigs and costumes for classic operas. When they asked what kind of wigs we used for Dead Man Walking, I laughed and replied, ‘The opera is set in New Orleans in the 1980s. I don’t have any wigs, but I do have tattoos.’”

In January, the Atlanta Opera announced its 2020-21 season, which starts in November. The lineup includes four main-stage productions at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center: Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, and Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. The Atlanta Opera’s Discoveries Series, which showcases newer, more intimate works, will present The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by Mason Bates at the Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus and Laura Kaminsky’s As One at the Out Front Theater on the west side of Downtown.

Remaining on the 2019-20 Atlanta Opera calendar are two major operas and one Discoveries production. George and Ira Gershwin’s masterpiece, Porgy and Bess, runs March 7-15, while Puccini’s beloved Madama Butterfly runs May 2-10 at the Cobb Center. Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, which tells the tragic tale of Col. Jim Thompson, America’s longest-held prisoner of war, opens May 21 and closes May 24 on the Hertz Stage at the Woodruff Arts Center.

::::

Doug DeLoach: Reflecting on the critical acclaim and popular success of Dead Man Walking and other contemporary operas, it seems like opera is on a roll in the 21st century.

Tomer Zvulun: There is something really exciting happening, historically, right now in the world of opera, especially in America. It’s like a renaissance. So many new pieces are being written. Opera America recently published a survey, which noted that there are a couple of hundred new pieces — chamber operas, full-scale operas — written every year. A lot of companies make it a point to commission new operas, including the Atlanta Opera, which will be staging a world premiere in 2022.

Grand old opera is all of a sudden relevant again.

TZ: We’re seeing more operas with a conscience, operas that are focused on social justice, and themes that are relevant, such as LBGTQ issues, bullying in school, veterans’ experiences, or familiar characters, like Steve Jobs. Those pieces are different from the classic boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-in-love-with-girl, girl-dies stories. We still love the classic operas, but it’s hard to find social context in many of them. We find humanity and universality in those operas, but there is something very immediate about new operas, which we find especially fascinating.

When I came to the Atlanta Opera in 2013, I insisted on running a modern American opera every year. That first year it was Three Decembers by Jake Heggie with a libretto by Gene Scheer. Then we did Soldier Songs about the life of a veteran. The following year, it was Out of Darkness: Two Remain about the Holocaust. Then came Silent Night about World War I, followed by Dead Man Walking. Next year, we’re doing As One, which is about the journey of a transgender woman; and an opera about one of the most iconic people in recent history, Steve Jobs.

We are living in a great period in opera history.

The music has to match the theme in terms of its ability to engage with the audience, which was not always the case after the end of the bel canto era and the turn of the 20th century.

TZ: Opera experienced a crisis in the 20th century. If you look at the 18th and 19th centuries, you have composers like Verdi, Mozart, Donizetti, Puccini, Bizet, and Wagner. Then you think about the 20th century and who comes to mind? Berg, Schoenberg, Britten. There was all this atonal music, which was popular in the academic world, but which did not grab audiences. Cerebrally, philosophically, it’s fascinating — and, in many cases, it was tremendous music. But a lot of times, it was alienating because it lacked the raw emotion, tonality, and melodic style which characterized those composers from the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the late 20th century, people like Jake Heggie, Gregory Speers, and other emerging composers were not afraid of embracing tonality, melody, the tonic world — a world in which audiences can still hum what they hear in the opera house.

Did you approach programming the 2020-21 season any differently than previous seasons?

TZ: Whenever we are planning the season, it’s like planning a meal for friends. You’ve got your protein, your vegetable, a nice dessert, good wine.

We start with two of the most famous operas in the canon, La bohème and The Barber of Seville, presented in new interpretations with visually stunning productions, great voices and orchestra. With these works, people who want to introduce friends to opera know they can return and see something they will love.

Then we are doing what is maybe the most challenging opera in the company’s history, Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold. The Ring Cycle is generally considered to be the pinnacle, the most rewarding operatic masterpiece ever written. Then we’re doing a brand new work, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, at Georgia Tech as part of our Discoveries Series, and an opera about transgender, As One.

We’re also presenting The Sound of Music, a very well-known musical theater piece, a crossover work, like we’ve done in the past with Sweeney Todd, West Side Story, and The Pirates of Penzance. The Sound of Music is a  completely new production, which we are doing with a partner, the Glimmerglass Festival in Houston.

We are serving different flavors to accommodate the different palates of our dinner guests.

What does the live musical presentation of The Sound of Music bring to the party, which is different from the famous film?

TZ: I’m a huge film buff. Movies inform my vocabulary as a director. But there is a competitive advantage to live performance, which movies or Netflix will never have. That advantage is the feeling of community when 2,500 people gather in the same room, breathing the same air, feeling the energy from the stage, and transmitting their own energy back to the performers on the stage.

The second advantage to producing these pieces in the opera house comes from the kind of singers we are getting for those shows, classically trained singers backed by a world-class orchestra. The quality that you are getting is very high. I would love to program future productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret — there are so many great musical theater pieces, which deserve to be seen through an operatic lens.

What distinguishing elements will the Atlanta Opera bring to the production of Das Rheingold?

TZ: It’s an altogether new production, which I have been working on for the past four years. I have been preparing for the time when the company is ready to do something monumental, which requires an extraordinary level of excellence and commitment. If you look at the landscape right now in North America, there are very few companies producing Wagner on a high level: The Met, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, maybe Washington. From the marketing department to the orchestra to the production and technical abilities of the company, to do something so grand is a daunting undertaking. It’s like saying to an athlete, “You are going to the Olympics.” The training is at a different level. The nutrition is at a different level.

The opera we are putting on right now (January 2020), Richard Strauss’ Salome, isn’t Wagner, but it’s close. Strauss was a disciple of Wagner. Salome has a similar style and other requirements. You need a large orchestra capable of handling very technically challenging music. You need dramatic singers who can overcome that sort of orchestration, and you need production elements on the highest level supported by the technical ability to make everything work flawlessly. It takes years to build a company that can manage all of those things.

Das Rheingold is using the same production team as Salome. I’m going to direct. My colleague, Erhard Rom, is creating the set projections. Mattie Ullrich is creating the costumes. We are very excited about the production team.

How do you describe or characterize the stylistic elements, which the Atlanta Opera is bringing to productions like Salome and Das Rheingold?

TZ: This style is something we have been bringing to our audiences in the hope that they will appreciate what we’re doing. With productions such as Eugene Onegin, Dead Man Walking, Silent Night, Madama Butterfly, and La bohème? — all pieces we’ve done here with the same team — the term we use to describe this style is ‘timeless mythology.’

One of the things that I think functions as a cliché or trap for opera productions is when the first thing the audience asks is, “What time period is this?” or “What is the location?” I think that’s a cop-out. If you’re thinking, “I am going to do Eugene Onegin in 1982 in Soviet Russia,” that’s where the idea ends. It will never match what the composer had in mind because the opera was written in the 18th century. And the production will be dated because 1982 might be interesting right now, but, in 20 years, it might not be so interesting; it won’t feel organic.

In “timeless mythology” you are abstracting the time and creating a mythological world. When you’re watching Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, you never ask yourself, “What time period is this?” or “Is that an 18th- or 19th-century gown the princess is wearing?” Instead, you are immersed in the story, the characters, and the psychology of the characters. That’s an important word for me and my team: psychology.

The most fascinating thing about great operas is the psychology of the characters and the relationship between them. That’s what opera does so well, because music and the human voice allow you to penetrate a psychological world in a way mere words do not allow.

::::
Does this strategy represent a conscious attempt to break from tradition?


TZ: I’m not inventing anything new here. I’m not trying to be the world’s greatest innovator. We believe that opera is a combination of all the art forms: It is theater as much as it is music. It’s the voice as much as it is design. Projections and scenery and costumes and makeup — all of those art forms are coming together to create a magical evening at the theater.

Opera is primarily storytelling. It’s universal. It’s about humanity. It’s supposed to move you emotionally. I get a little worried about psychological theories, Freudian theories, Jungian theories, whatever. At some point, that kind of discussion distracts from the fact that opera is the most emotionally powerful art form you can imagine.

We’re not trying to cerebralize anything. We’re trying to strip away distraction and focus on the human character in a way that brings forward the music and the human voice. Salome is a great example. When Oscar Wilde wrote his play, his departure point was the Bible, but he didn’t write a biblical story. More than anything else, Wilde wrote a story about forbidden love, obsession, phobias, and all the things that were on Oscar Wilde’s mind, which also happened to be on Richard Strauss’ mind, which happen to be on our minds today.

Think about forbidden love taken to extremes, such as necrophilia and incest. Think about Wilde and his struggles in his own time. We’re dealing with these struggles in our time with issues related to LBGTQ. The point is, I don’t care about the biblical setting of this opera. If you’re focusing on that, you’re missing the point. All of the operas we are doing are going in that direction: What is this story about? What is this character about? Not what a dress in 1882 should look like.

How does this conceptual strategy apply to the remaining 2020 productions, Porgy and Bess and Madama Butterfly?

TZ: Porgy and Bess is a very successful production by Francesca Zambello who is one of our frequent collaborators. She runs the Glimmerglass Festival at the Washington National Opera. The production has traveled extensively in America from Chicago to Seattle to New York, and it will be done in Washington immediately after Atlanta. The cast is fantastic. Morris Robinson and Kristin Lewis who sang the opera in La Scala a couple of years ago. When it was presented in Atlanta in 2005 and 2011 to sold-out crowds, the Atlanta Opera Chorus was such a force of nature that when the Opera Comique in Paris decided to do Porgy and Bess, they chose the Atlanta Opera Chorus to perform with them all over Europe. Not to mention the fact that the story takes place in the South, not far away from us, in South Carolina.

The same team that’s doing Butterfly did Salome and are doing Das Rheingold. We have great respect for the Japanese setting and style, but, at the same time, we are telling a universal story. A foreigner in a different country falls in love with a girl. Despite the differences between them, they find something that deeply connects them. Circumstances separate them, and heartbreak ensues. When you think about Puccini writing Madama Butterfly or La fanciulla del West or Turandot, he’s never been to Japan or the Wild West or China. He’s an Italian guy who was really interested in a universal tale that combines love, death, and sex — the things we love about opera.

What about the person who can hum all the arias from Madama Butterfly, but has never been to the opera? How do you lure that person into the Cobb Center to experience Madama Butterfly as it should be experienced?

TZ: Number one, you do it with the people who are starring in this production of Madama Butterfly, who will knock your socks off. Gianluca Terranova, who sings Pinkerton, is a world-class tenor who was here for Turandot, La bohème, and Carmen. He is one of the greatest singers of our time. Yasko Sato, who plays Madama Butterfly, is a Japanese soprano who has sung this role all over the world with great success. She embodies the character of Cio-Cio San. The character of Sharpless is sung by Michael Chioldi, an American baritone making his Atlanta Opera debut. He possesses a powerful voice and is very charismatic. Suzuki is sung by Katharine Goeldner, a mezzo-soprano who has sung the role at The Met and every other major opera house. The conductor, Carlo Montanaro, is an Italian who specializes in Puccini. I did La bohème with him in Seattle several years ago. He is so charismatic and musical and will be exciting for the orchestra to work with.

So, you have this incredible cast and this rich storytelling combined with modern technology, such as lighting effects, projections, and other visual effects, which let us get into the characters’ minds in ways we were not able to do before.

In contrast to traditional operatic themes, Glory Denied, the remaining production in the 2020 season, is about as topical as an opera can get.

TZ: We have a program for veterans, which started when I arrived. We did Soldier Songs, an opera by David T. Little, and Silent Night by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, which is about World War I and the universal experience of being a soldier. Those two pieces paved the way for us to create an initiative for veterans supported by Home Depot, which, to date, has brought 7,000 veterans to see our shows free of charge. Every season 2,500 veterans get to see Atlanta Opera productions. On opening night for Salome, 750 veterans were in the audience. 

Glory Denied continues this tradition. It’s about the longest-held prisoner of war, Colonel Jim Thompson, who was captured in Vietnam in 1964 and released in 1973. When he came back, his life was shattered. His family was broken. His wife was with someone else. Four children — he came back to a world that was completely different.

Michael Mayes, who starred in Sweeney Todd and Dead Man Walking, stars in a role he created. He is also co-directing the opera with me. He brings so much passion to his work. I think he’s one of the greatest singing actors of our time. It’s a small cast of four with an orchestral ensemble of 13 or so musicians. We open it on the weekend of Memorial Day, which is often seen as a holiday when you go to the beach and barbecue in the backyard, but originated as a day to honor our soldiers and veterans.

In what way does the 2020-21 season represent the next evolutionary step in the growth and development of the Atlanta Opera?

TZ: Next season is what we have been waiting for and building toward for seven years. In 2013, we did three rental productions, Faust, The Barber of Seville, and Tosca. We were a $5 million opera company. Today, the Atlanta Opera is a $10 million company. We’ve been in the black for the last four years, and we will be in the black this season. We are doing six productions, three of which are brand new, with a diversity of programming and a caliber of singers, conductors, designers, directors, and staff that can stand with any opera company in the world. We have an infrastructure, largely created over the last two years, which has garnered a level of support that allows us to accomplish our mission: We believe this major international city deserves a major international opera company.    Jeff Roffman THE ATLANTA OPERA: Maria Luigia Borsi as Mimi and Gianluca Terranova as Rodolfo in the Atlanta Opera’s production of ‘La bohème.’  0,0,1                                 LISTENING POST: Opera unbound  "
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Tuesday March 3, 2020 11:33 am EST
The Atlanta Opera‘s 2020-21 season reaches for next-level performance | more...

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  string(47) "LISTENING POST: The tribe that won’t shut up!"
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  string(125) "Kelly Hogan and Bill Taft (W8ing4UFOs) recount misty-colored memories prior to their sold-out show at the Vista Room tonight"
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  string(18116) "!!!Children of the night … what music they make.
!!!— Bela Lugosi (Dracula, 1931)
 

Friends, Atlantans, comrades in hot buttered soul and the American Songbook, lend me your ears (or eyeballs, as it were). As we plunge headlong into the second decade of the 21st century, precariously poised on the precipice, I come to praise two of the finest musical talents ever nurtured by our fair metropolis. Three decades and change after reigning supreme over the local alt-indie-progressive music scene as founding members of The Jody Grind, three years after a similar all-star reunion during Christmas season 2016, chanteuse extraordinaire Kelly Hogan and guitarist-banjoist-singer-songwriter-and-occasional-cornetist Bill Taft will once again share a bill Friday night, fronting their respective bands at the Vista Room.

For the sold-out (sorry, kids) concert, Hogan will be grounded by regular rhythm-mates Nora O’Connor (Andrew Bird, The Decemberists) on bass and John Carpender (Expo ’76) on drums, augmented by hometown guitar hero Andy Hopkins (one-half of FLAP) who has played with Hogan in multiple settings over the millennia. Taft will be commandeering W8ing4UFOs, the most recent in a long line of misfit savant troupes to fall under his sway. This one features Brian Halloran (cello), Katie Butler (viola), Billy Fields (keyboards), Sean Dunn (electric guitar), and Will Fratesi (drums, squeezebox).

Today, Hogan’s resume includes multiple solo albums, national television appearances, world tours, and recorded collaborations with artists ranging from Rock*A*Teens, Mavis Staples, and Jakob Dylan to Drive-By Truckers and Neko Case. Many Listening Post readers already know much of the deeper backstory. An Atlanta native, after graduating from Douglas County High School, Class of 1983, Hogan became immersed in the flourishing underground music scene. A year later, the classically trained singer with the sultry Southern voice was in her element, slaying audiences with The Jody Grind’s irresistibly imaginative amalgam of jazz, Appalachian balladry, country twang, and power pop swagger.

The tragic closing act of The Jody Grind saga has been recounted multiple times by this correspondent and others. Let it suffice to mention that any concert featuring Hogan, Taft, Halloran, and Fratesi automatically qualifies both as a memorial for and celebration of the lives and art of their late compatriots — Deacon Lunchbox (Tim Ruttenber) and former Jody Grind members Robert Hayes and Rob Clayton — who were killed when their vehicle was struck by a drunk motorist on Easter Sunday 1992.

Taft, Halloran, and Fratesi have been playing together since forever in myriad congregations including the Opal Foxx Quartet, Smoke, Hubcap City, and Smoke That City. Fields is a seasoned veteran of the Atlanta scene with credits including Follow for Now, Rev Rebel, Seek, and Antagonizers ATL. Rounding out the UFOers are Dunn, electric-guitar-shredder-maximus from Athens-based Five-Eight, and Butler, whose viola also elevates the evocative escapades of Evan Stepp & the Piners and The Chumblers.

Tonight's concert at the Vista Room promises to be one helluva gathering of the tribe. Expect cross-pollination between bands, an excessive amount of revelry and remembrance, and more laughing and crying than you can shake a “cheese and pickle sandwich squished flat under a sofa cushion and thrown to the infield from the roof of a rented Ryder rig in gastronomical disgust” at (Deacon Lunchbox from Some Different Kinds of Songs).

Listening Post posed a few questions to Taft and Hogan. Both eagerly followed through with answers, the responses only slightly edited for clarity.

Listening Post: It wasn’t very long after moving to Atlanta in 1982 that you started playing music around town. As briefly as possible, tell the story about meeting Kelly and forming The Jody Grind.

Bill Taft: Turtles, the record store (where Hogan was working at the time). Kelly let me hang out there. She laughed at my jokes. Her laugh had a hint of danger to it, like, if I asked her to rob a few banks with me, she would be all in. I also saw her a lot at Atkins Park. We’d hang out there and talk about music. She could talk about the Beastie Boys and Duke Ellington, REM and Billie Holiday. And she knew a lot about country music.

I tend to book the gig first, then see who can help play the show. This method brought Kelly and me together. I had a Monday-night gig at the Little Five Points Pub. I asked her to sing some songs as part of the set. She fit right in. And then other places asked us to play. Under the name An Evening with the Garbage Man, we played with friends at the Little Five Points Pub and the White Dot a lot. The White Dot was a lot of fun because we could do just about anything. They also gave Deacon Lunchbox much support.

LP: Where did the name An Evening with the Garbageman come from?

BT: I liked variety shows, vaudeville, ironic lounge music, and blues. I saw a poster for a Tony Bennett show, something like “An Evening with Tony Bennett.” I wanted a name for the ever-changing group that tied all those elements together. When I was little, four or five, I wanted to be a garbage man. I wanted to ride around on the back of the truck and toss trash into the mouth of the machine and watch it go away. All the other kids wanted to be astronauts and cowboys and baseball players. Not me.

After a while, the sound of the group with Kelly became consistent and steady. So we needed a new name, something that reflected the new sound: The Jody Grind. We found a book that included a section on jazz slang. The term comes from a World War II-era joke about women doing “the Jody grind” while their husbands and boyfriends were away overseas.

LP: Over the years, you’ve fronted a lot of bands: The Jody Grind, Chowder Shouters, Smoke, Smoke That City, and now W8ing4UFOs. Is there a common theme or impetus, which ties the bands together or explains why you keep forming bands?

BT: People keep asking me to play shows, so I keep showing up with friends. A lot of what I’ve always done is bring groups together in order to play shows.

Music has given me a chance to make all of my childhood dreams come true.

::::

Listening Post: In a previous interview, you told me about the first time you sang in front of an audience, something about a camp retreat and being in a bathing suit.

Kelly Hogan: It was Girl Scout summer camp, Camp Tanglewood, in Martinez, Georgia, around 1976 or ’77. I walked around camp for three days in a damp bathing suit because my tent-mates stole my clothes while I was in swim class. They refused to give them back until I agreed to sing at the closing ceremony on the last day. I sang “Memories” from The Way We Were, a cappella, in front of about 200 people: counselors, parents, campers. I was barefooted, wearing raggedy denim cut-offs and a red-white-and-blue t-shirt that read, “Eat Beans. America Needs the Gas.” 

LP: When and where was your first gig with a real band?

KH: Unbeknownst to my parents, I sat in on a few jazz standards with (I think it was) Tim Settimi’s band at Cafe Debris in Buckhead on Thanksgiving night, 1982. I was 17. 

LP: Bill (Taft) said he wasn’t sure, but you might remember when and where was the first official Jody Grind gig?

KH: Hard to say, because we evolved so gradually from the Evening with the Garbageman open mic nights at the White Dot. Our little snowball of dog hair, dryer lint, and duct tape just kept rolling along until it got big enough to put a real name on it.

LP: When was the first "Kelly Hogan" solo/headliner gig?

KH: Dang, also hard to say. The Star Bar probably, 1995 or so, with the Noxzema Three (Andy Hopkins, Jo Jameson, Andrew Barker) while we were working on my first solo record (The Whistle Only Dogs Can Hear, 1996).

LP: What’s your favorite song to perform from the mythical Great American Songbook?

KH: When I was around four or five years old, I used to love to sing along with Mitch Miller records with my teenage Aunt Debbie in her bedroom at my grandparents’ house in Marietta. "Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goodbye)" was my stone cold jam. I still have a tiny soft spot for barbershop, but I try not to waft that towards anyone else. 

LP: What’s your favorite song to perform that was written for you?

KH: "Ways of This World" by Vic Chesnutt. I had the great honor and pleasure of knowing Vic, although not very well. Yet, somehow, in that song he told me the story of my own life. Pretty much verbatim. I’m not worthy. None of us are. Vic is the king.

LP: What is the craziest/funniest thing that happened during or at a live gig?

KH: I can’t use any “-est” qualifiers for these answers. I’m too old and have too many miles on me. However, one time in the middle of a Jody Grind show in the early ’90s, Bill Taft helped me cut off my hair with a Bowie knife, onstage at Sluggo’s in Pensacola. It was an unplanned, impulsive act (a recent divorce + Jägermeister). I'd managed to saw off one foot-long braid with some dull office scissors I’d found backstage, but the second braid was taking too long (so long that the soundman had started playing Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” over the PA). Finally, Bill wordlessly walked over to me with his guitar still strapped on, whipped his knife out of his back pocket, and cut off the other braid with one quick and clean swipe, all the way to my nape — and we kicked into our next song. They nailed that sliced braid above the soundboard where it stayed, covered in gummy cobwebs, for many years. I still have the scissored one in my sock drawer.

LP: What’s the most embarrassing/goofiest thing that ever happened during or at a gig (might be the same as craziest/funniest thing)?

KH: Again, no way to pick the “-est”; there are at least 10,000,000+ embarrassing stage things in my life. But, one time I was sick during a Jody Grind show at The Downstairs in Athens. I realized during the middle of a song that I was gonna throw up. So I yelled “Take it!” to our bass player, Robert Hayes, and ran to the bathroom as fast as I could, barfed my guts up, and ran back onstage in time to do the last verse of the song. I found out later that, because the club was so small, the audience could hear me puking almost as loudly as Robert’s bass solo. They gave me a round of applause for finishing the song.

More recently, I’ve been onstage after singing most of a set, once with Neko Case and once with my band The Flat Five, before realizing my dress was on inside out. That’s one of the perils of having to get ready for a show behind a dumpster outside the rock club.

And this one’s for the ladies. Show of hands, please: Who else here has started their period very unexpectedly while onstage at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, one song into their set while going commando in a skirt? Anyone? Woohoo! Good times! Thankfully, it never got gory. No one but me ever knew. I just stood completely still while singing for 30 minutes and then kinda bunny-hopped offstage to the bathroom. And that’s what showbiz is all about, Charlie Brown.

LP: What’s your favorite band/van/road story?

KH: There are way too many to tell, so here’s just one. We were on a Jody Grind tour opening for Robyn Hitchcock on a freezing cold night in Fell’s Point in Baltimore. It was our bass player Robert Hayes’s turn to sleep in the van to keep our gear safe overnight. He bedded down in our Ford XLT, drank a big bottle of Valpolicella to stay warm, but then had to pee. He peed in the empty wine bottle, corked it, and sat it outside on the cobblestones to throw away in the morning.

Later during the night, Robert heard two dudes jiggling the van door handles and then saw them start trying to siphon our gas tank. He yelled and scared them off. In the morning, Robert saw that his pee bottle was missing. It delighted him to no end to believe that the buttholes trying to break into our van and steal our gas had found that full wine bottle and taken a few swigs. Well, at least one.

LP: What’s your favorite Atlanta venue in which to perform?

KH: For a thousand reasons, I’ll always have a crush on The Star Bar. I also have super-fond memories about playing The Point with The Rock*A*Teens. I cried all the way through my farewell show with them there when I was moving to Chicago.

And I’ll never forget our album release show at The Point during a really horrible ice storm. The sound man was making fun of our crappy gear and our yowly songs during soundcheck. Then he looked up at the weather report on the bar TV and said, “I’ll tell y'all one thing. Ain’t nobody coming out to this fucking show tonight.” But, it ended up being a super-fun and sweaty packed-to-the-rafters SOLD OUT show. It was the best-ever revenge.

LP: What’s your favorite Atlanta venue in which to be in the audience?

KH: The Fox Theater. I adore every brick in that joint. I’ve seen so many great shows there. B-52s, R.E.M., Eurythmics, Sinead O’Connor, Tony Bennett, X, Linda Ronstadt, Devo, Puddles Pity Party, The Judds, Iggy Pop, umm, Liberace. Yeah! All very great!

LP: What’s the best-ever meal on the road, including internationally?

KH: Damn. There are soooooo many “worst-ever road meals,” but I’ve been very lucky to have had lots of “best of” meals, too. I can’t possibly name the absolute best, so I’ll name the very first one that sprang to mind: a surprise feast that was waiting for all of us very road-weary Decemberists in our dressing room after soundcheck at the State Theater in Portland Maine. Big platters of warm messy-buttery lobster rolls and endless dozens of raw oysters on ice (with a nice dude standing there shucking ’em on demand.) I think my fellow oyster-loving back-up singing buddy Nora O’Connor and I both started crying with happiness and gratitude.

LP: What’s the best-ever meal in Atlanta?

KH: I’ll have a Varsity chili slaw dog with onion rings and a P.C. with ice, thank you. And oh man, we had a spectacular band meal (with my mom and stepdad along too) at Miller Union on a rare off-night during our 2017 Decemberists tour. I think that’s my personal ATL acme meal. Incredible. Satterfield in 2020!

LP: What’s your favorite dish to cook?

KH: Damn, I love to cook anything and everything. I love winging it with whatever I have in the pantry and making a big pot of chicken and dumplings or pozole or spaghetti sauce or something else that steams up the windows and takes all day (best when it’s snowing outside). Recently, I’ve been hankering to slow roast some cocoa-spice-rub bone-in pork butt. It’s ridiculously delicious and makes your house smell incredible.

LP: What’s your favorite dish to eat?

KH: My mom Hilda’s country-fried deer steak with gravy and buttermilk biscuits. Sushi and cold sake at Sai Cafe in Chicago. A big glass of red wine and a big bowl of pasta e fagioli at La Scarola in Chicago (this last combo is also best when it’s snowing outside}.

LP: What’s your favorite dog story?

KH: I have tons of stories involving my late, great poodle mix, Augie. She toured with every band I was ever in since she was three months old until she was almost 15. Back in the early ’00s, my solo band was on tour opening for Indigo Girls, with us in our cruddy van, trailing them in their tour bus. On our way to Toronto from Niagara Falls, we all arrived at the Canadian border for a routine crossing in the wee hours of the morning. As our vehicles pulled in we were all immediately surrounded by a big crowd of agitated-looking border patrol agents shining flashlights in our faces. What the hell?!

They gruffly mustered Amy and Emily and their band and crew off their tour bus and us out of our van and had us all stand there on the asphalt. A dozen agents started to search the tour bus, and as another dozen came towards our van to do the same, I blurted out, “Hey! Our dog is in there!” The group of agents all immediately froze in place and their hands went to their holstered guns. A female agent yelled, “Is it aggressive?!” Me, panicking: “No! Not at all!”

They crept to the van en masse in excruciating slow-motion and gingerly slid the side door open to reveal my wiggly little dog sitting there on the bench seat with her tennis ball in her mouth, happy as hell to see so many people. The agents collectively exhaled and relaxed and we all started laughing. After a cursory van search, they finally chilled out enough to tell us they were expecting Eminem’s tour entourage at the border at some point that night, and that Eminem (at the time) was forbidden to come into Canada.

When they saw our bus and van pulling in, they'd thought we were him. Hence, the massive and stiff reception. I always kinda felt sorry for them. They were all bowed up for Slim Shady, but instead just got a bunch of sleepy folk-rockers and a 20-pound mutt hoping for a fetch.

LP: What’s your favorite thing to do when not doing professional music stuff?

KH: Kayaking on the Sugar River near my house in Wisconsin with my dogs. Hands down. It keeps me from killing myself. Or others.

LP: What is your guiltiest pleasure?

KH: My Spotify playlist is extremely not-cool. All my friends know how very square I am. I love harmony, so, yeah, I listen to lots of the Free Design and The Hollies and Andy Bey and the Bey Sisters. But, I also listen to the Osmond Brothers and Jackie and Roy. I’m dirty. I have no shame.

And I live alone, so when I’m home I can do whatever the hell I want most of the time. This Christmas, I gave myself a one-night pass to eat a ton of those little crunchy french-fried onions straight out of the can while binge-watching Glow Up on Netflix. I’m still brushing the grease off my tongue a week later, but at the time it kicked holiday ass. —CL—"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(18425) "!!!''Children of the night … what music they make.''
!!!— Bela Lugosi (''Dracula'', 1931)
 

Friends, Atlantans, comrades in hot buttered soul and the American Songbook, lend me your ears (or eyeballs, as it were). As we plunge headlong into the second decade of the 21st century, precariously poised on the precipice, I come to praise two of the finest musical talents ever nurtured by our fair metropolis. Three decades and change after reigning supreme over the local alt-indie-progressive music scene as founding members of The Jody Grind, three years after a similar all-star reunion during Christmas season 2016, chanteuse extraordinaire Kelly Hogan and guitarist-banjoist-singer-songwriter-and-occasional-cornetist Bill Taft will once again share a bill Friday night, fronting their respective bands at the [https://www.thevistaroom.com/music|Vista Room].

For the sold-out (sorry, kids) concert, Hogan will be grounded by regular rhythm-mates Nora O’Connor (Andrew Bird, The Decemberists) on bass and John Carpender (Expo ’76) on drums, augmented by hometown guitar hero Andy Hopkins (one-half of FLAP) who has played with Hogan in multiple settings over the millennia. Taft will be commandeering W8ing4UFOs, the most recent in a long line of misfit savant troupes to fall under his sway. This one features Brian Halloran (cello), Katie Butler (viola), Billy Fields (keyboards), Sean Dunn (electric guitar), and Will Fratesi (drums, squeezebox).

Today, Hogan’s resume includes multiple solo albums, national television appearances, world tours, and recorded collaborations with artists ranging from Rock*A*Teens, Mavis Staples, and Jakob Dylan to Drive-By Truckers and Neko Case. Many Listening Post readers already know much of the deeper backstory. An Atlanta native, after graduating from Douglas County High School, Class of 1983, Hogan became immersed in the flourishing underground music scene. A year later, the classically trained singer with the sultry Southern voice was in her element, slaying audiences with The Jody Grind’s irresistibly imaginative amalgam of jazz, Appalachian balladry, country twang, and power pop swagger.

The tragic closing act of The Jody Grind saga has been recounted multiple times by this correspondent and others. Let it suffice to mention that any concert featuring Hogan, Taft, Halloran, and Fratesi automatically qualifies both as a memorial for and celebration of the lives and art of their late compatriots — Deacon Lunchbox (Tim Ruttenber) and former Jody Grind members Robert Hayes and Rob Clayton — who were killed when their vehicle was struck by a drunk motorist on Easter Sunday 1992.

Taft, Halloran, and Fratesi have been playing together since forever in myriad congregations including the Opal Foxx Quartet, Smoke, Hubcap City, and Smoke That City. Fields is a seasoned veteran of the Atlanta scene with credits including Follow for Now, Rev Rebel, Seek, and Antagonizers ATL. Rounding out the UFOers are Dunn, electric-guitar-shredder-maximus from Athens-based Five-Eight, and Butler, whose viola also elevates the evocative escapades of Evan Stepp & the Piners and The Chumblers.

Tonight's concert at the Vista Room promises to be one helluva gathering of the tribe. Expect cross-pollination between bands, an excessive amount of revelry and remembrance, and more laughing and crying than you can shake a “cheese and pickle sandwich squished flat under a sofa cushion and thrown to the infield from the roof of a rented Ryder rig in gastronomical disgust” at (Deacon Lunchbox from ''Some Different Kinds of Songs).''

Listening Post posed a few questions to Taft and Hogan. Both eagerly followed through with answers, the responses only slightly edited for clarity.

__Listening Post__: It wasn’t very long after moving to Atlanta in 1982 that you started playing music around town. As briefly as possible, tell the story about meeting Kelly and forming The Jody Grind.

__Bill Taft__: Turtles, the record store (where Hogan was working at the time). Kelly let me hang out there. She laughed at my jokes. Her laugh had a hint of danger to it, like, if I asked her to rob a few banks with me, she would be all in. I also saw her a lot at Atkins Park. We’d hang out there and talk about music. She could talk about the Beastie Boys and Duke Ellington, REM and Billie Holiday. And she knew a lot about country music.

I tend to book the gig first, then see who can help play the show. This method brought Kelly and me together. I had a Monday-night gig at the Little Five Points Pub. I asked her to sing some songs as part of the set. She fit right in. And then other places asked us to play. Under the name An Evening with the Garbage Man, we played with friends at the Little Five Points Pub and the White Dot a lot. The White Dot was a lot of fun because we could do just about anything. They also gave Deacon Lunchbox much support.

__LP__: Where did the name An Evening with the Garbageman come from?

__BT__: I liked variety shows, vaudeville, ironic lounge music, and blues. I saw a poster for a Tony Bennett show, something like “An Evening with Tony Bennett.” I wanted a name for the ever-changing group that tied all those elements together. When I was little, four or five, I wanted to be a garbage man. I wanted to ride around on the back of the truck and toss trash into the mouth of the machine and watch it go away. All the other kids wanted to be astronauts and cowboys and baseball players. Not me.

After a while, the sound of the group with Kelly became consistent and steady. So we needed a new name, something that reflected the new sound: The Jody Grind. We found a book that included a section on jazz slang. The term comes from a World War II-era joke about women doing “the Jody grind” while their husbands and boyfriends were away overseas.

__LP__: Over the years, you’ve fronted a lot of bands: The Jody Grind, Chowder Shouters, Smoke, Smoke That City, and now W8ing4UFOs. Is there a common theme or impetus, which ties the bands together or explains why you keep forming bands?

__BT__: People keep asking me to play shows, so I keep showing up with friends. A lot of what I’ve always done is bring groups together in order to play shows.

Music has given me a chance to make all of my childhood dreams come true.

::{img fileId="27631" desc="desc" styledesc="text-align: left;" max="800"}::

__Listening Post__: In a previous interview, you told me about the first time you sang in front of an audience, something about a camp retreat and being in a bathing suit.

__Kelly Hogan__: It was Girl Scout summer camp, Camp Tanglewood, in Martinez, Georgia, around 1976 or ’77. I walked around camp for three days in a damp bathing suit because my tent-mates stole my clothes while I was in swim class. They refused to give them back until I agreed to sing at the closing ceremony on the last day. I sang “Memories” from ''The Way We Were'', a cappella, in front of about 200 people: counselors, parents, campers. I was barefooted, wearing raggedy denim cut-offs and a red-white-and-blue t-shirt that read, “Eat Beans. America Needs the Gas.” 

__LP__: When and where was your first gig with a real band?

__KH__: Unbeknownst to my parents, I sat in on a few jazz standards with (I think it was) Tim Settimi’s band at Cafe Debris in Buckhead on Thanksgiving night, 1982. I was 17. 

__LP__: Bill (Taft) said he wasn’t sure, but you might remember when and where was the first official Jody Grind gig?

__KH__: Hard to say, because we evolved so gradually from the Evening with the Garbageman open mic nights at the White Dot. Our little snowball of dog hair, dryer lint, and duct tape just kept rolling along until it got big enough to put a real name on it.

__LP__: When was the first "Kelly Hogan" solo/headliner gig?

__KH__: Dang, also hard to say. The Star Bar probably, 1995 or so, with the Noxzema Three (Andy Hopkins, Jo Jameson, Andrew Barker) while we were working on my first solo record (''The Whistle Only Dogs Can Hear'', 1996).

__LP__: What’s your favorite song to perform from the mythical ''Great American Songbook''?

__KH__: When I was around four or five years old, I used to love to sing along with Mitch Miller records with my teenage Aunt Debbie in her bedroom at my grandparents’ house in Marietta. "Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goodbye)" was my stone cold jam. I still have a tiny soft spot for barbershop, but I try not to waft that towards anyone else. 

__LP__: What’s your favorite song to perform that was written for you?

__KH__: "Ways of This World" by Vic Chesnutt. I had the great honor and pleasure of knowing Vic, although not very well. Yet, somehow, in that song he told me the story of my own life. Pretty much verbatim. I’m not worthy. None of us are. Vic is the king.

__LP__: What is the craziest/funniest thing that happened during or at a live gig?

__KH__: I can’t use any “-est” qualifiers for these answers. I’m too old and have too many miles on me. However, one time in the middle of a Jody Grind show in the early ’90s, Bill Taft helped me cut off my hair with a Bowie knife, onstage at Sluggo’s in Pensacola. It was an unplanned, impulsive act (a recent divorce + Jägermeister). I'd managed to saw off one foot-long braid with some dull office scissors I’d found backstage, but the second braid was taking too long (so long that the soundman had started playing Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” over the PA). Finally, Bill wordlessly walked over to me with his guitar still strapped on, whipped his knife out of his back pocket, and cut off the other braid with one quick and clean swipe, all the way to my nape — and we kicked into our next song. They nailed that sliced braid above the soundboard where it stayed, covered in gummy cobwebs, for many years. I still have the scissored one in my sock drawer.

__LP__: What’s the most embarrassing/goofiest thing that ever happened during or at a gig (might be the same as craziest/funniest thing)?

__KH__: Again, no way to pick the “-est”; there are at least 10,000,000+ embarrassing stage things in my life. But, one time I was sick during a Jody Grind show at The Downstairs in Athens. I realized during the middle of a song that I was gonna throw up. So I yelled “Take it!” to our bass player, Robert Hayes, and ran to the bathroom as fast as I could, barfed my guts up, and ran back onstage in time to do the last verse of the song. I found out later that, because the club was so small, the audience could hear me puking almost as loudly as Robert’s bass solo. They gave me a round of applause for finishing the song.

More recently, I’ve been onstage after singing most of a set, once with Neko Case and once with my band The Flat Five, before realizing my dress was on inside out. That’s one of the perils of having to get ready for a show behind a dumpster outside the rock club.

And this one’s for the ladies. Show of hands, please: Who else here has started their period very unexpectedly while onstage at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, one song into their set while going commando in a skirt? Anyone? Woohoo! Good times! Thankfully, it never got gory. No one but me ever knew. I just stood completely still while singing for 30 minutes and then kinda bunny-hopped offstage to the bathroom. And that’s what showbiz is all about, Charlie Brown.

__LP__: What’s your favorite band/van/road story?

__KH__: There are way too many to tell, so here’s just one. We were on a Jody Grind tour opening for Robyn Hitchcock on a freezing cold night in Fell’s Point in Baltimore. It was our bass player Robert Hayes’s turn to sleep in the van to keep our gear safe overnight. He bedded down in our Ford XLT, drank a big bottle of Valpolicella to stay warm, but then had to pee. He peed in the empty wine bottle, corked it, and sat it outside on the cobblestones to throw away in the morning.

Later during the night, Robert heard two dudes jiggling the van door handles and then saw them start trying to siphon our gas tank. He yelled and scared them off. In the morning, Robert saw that his pee bottle was missing. It delighted him to no end to believe that the buttholes trying to break into our van and steal our gas had found that full wine bottle and taken a few swigs. Well, at least one.

__LP__: What’s your favorite Atlanta venue in which to perform?

__KH:__ For a thousand reasons, I’ll always have a crush on The Star Bar. I also have super-fond memories about playing The Point with The Rock*A*Teens. I cried all the way through my farewell show with them there when I was moving to Chicago.

And I’ll never forget our album release show at The Point during a really horrible ice storm. The sound man was making fun of our crappy gear and our yowly songs during soundcheck. Then he looked up at the weather report on the bar TV and said, “I’ll tell y'all one thing. Ain’t nobody coming out to this fucking show tonight.” But, it ended up being a super-fun and sweaty packed-to-the-rafters SOLD OUT show. It was the best-ever revenge.

__LP__: What’s your favorite Atlanta venue in which to be in the audience?

__KH:__ The Fox Theater. I adore every brick in that joint. I’ve seen so many great shows there. B-52s, R.E.M., Eurythmics, Sinead O’Connor, Tony Bennett, X, Linda Ronstadt, Devo, Puddles Pity Party, The Judds, Iggy Pop, umm, Liberace. Yeah! All very great!

__LP__: What’s the best-ever meal on the road, including internationally?

__KH:__ Damn. There are soooooo many “worst-ever road meals,” but I’ve been very lucky to have had lots of “best of” meals, too. I can’t possibly name the absolute best, so I’ll name the very first one that sprang to mind: a surprise feast that was waiting for all of us very road-weary Decemberists in our dressing room after soundcheck at the State Theater in Portland Maine. Big platters of warm messy-buttery lobster rolls and endless dozens of raw oysters on ice (with a nice dude standing there shucking ’em on demand.) I think my fellow oyster-loving back-up singing buddy Nora O’Connor and I both started crying with happiness and gratitude.

__LP__: What’s the best-ever meal in Atlanta?

__KH__: I’ll have a Varsity chili slaw dog with onion rings and a P.C. with ice, thank you. And oh man, we had a spectacular band meal (with my mom and stepdad along too) at Miller Union on a rare off-night during our 2017 Decemberists tour. I think that’s my personal ATL acme meal. Incredible. Satterfield in 2020!

__LP__: What’s your favorite dish to cook?

__KH__: Damn, I love to cook anything and everything. I love winging it with whatever I have in the pantry and making a big pot of chicken and dumplings or pozole or spaghetti sauce or something else that steams up the windows and takes all day (best when it’s snowing outside). Recently, I’ve been hankering to slow roast some cocoa-spice-rub bone-in pork butt. It’s ridiculously delicious and makes your house smell incredible.

__LP__: What’s your favorite dish to eat?

__KH__: My mom Hilda’s country-fried deer steak with gravy and buttermilk biscuits. Sushi and cold sake at Sai Cafe in Chicago. A big glass of red wine and a big bowl of pasta e fagioli at La Scarola in Chicago (this last combo is also best when it’s snowing outside}.

__LP__: What’s your favorite dog story?

__KH__: I have tons of stories involving my late, great poodle mix, Augie. She toured with every band I was ever in since she was three months old until she was almost 15. Back in the early ’00s, my solo band was on tour opening for Indigo Girls, with us in our cruddy van, trailing them in their tour bus. On our way to Toronto from Niagara Falls, we all arrived at the Canadian border for a routine crossing in the wee hours of the morning. As our vehicles pulled in we were all immediately surrounded by a big crowd of agitated-looking border patrol agents shining flashlights in our faces. What the hell?!

They gruffly mustered Amy and Emily and their band and crew off their tour bus and us out of our van and had us all stand there on the asphalt. A dozen agents started to search the tour bus, and as another dozen came towards our van to do the same, I blurted out, “Hey! Our dog is in there!” The group of agents all immediately froze in place and their hands went to their holstered guns. A female agent yelled, “Is it aggressive?!” Me, panicking: “No! Not at all!”

They crept to the van en masse in excruciating slow-motion and gingerly slid the side door open to reveal my wiggly little dog sitting there on the bench seat with her tennis ball in her mouth, happy as hell to see so many people. The agents collectively exhaled and relaxed and we all started laughing. After a cursory van search, they finally chilled out enough to tell us they were expecting Eminem’s tour entourage at the border at some point that night, and that Eminem (at the time) was forbidden to come into Canada.

When they saw our bus and van pulling in, they'd thought we were him. Hence, the massive and stiff reception. I always kinda felt sorry for them. They were all bowed up for Slim Shady, but instead just got a bunch of sleepy folk-rockers and a 20-pound mutt hoping for a fetch.

__LP__: What’s your favorite thing to do when not doing professional music stuff?

__KH__: Kayaking on the Sugar River near my house in Wisconsin with my dogs. Hands down. It keeps me from killing myself. Or others.

__LP__: What is your guiltiest pleasure?

__KH__: My Spotify playlist is extremely not-cool. All my friends know how very square I am. I love harmony, so, yeah, I listen to lots of the Free Design and The Hollies and Andy Bey and the Bey Sisters. But, I also listen to the Osmond Brothers and Jackie and Roy. I’m dirty. I have no shame.

And I live alone, so when I’m home I can do whatever the hell I want most of the time. This Christmas, I gave myself a one-night pass to eat a ton of those little crunchy french-fried onions straight out of the can while binge-watching ''Glow Up'' on Netflix. I’m still brushing the grease off my tongue a week later, but at the time it kicked holiday ass. __—CL—__"
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  string(18767) " Hogan Sepia RESZD  2020-01-17T13:56:08+00:00 Hogan sepia RESZD.jpg     Kelly Hogan and Bill Taft (W8ing4UFOs) recount misty-colored memories prior to their sold-out show at the Vista Room tonight 27628  2020-01-17T13:27:52+00:00 LISTENING POST: The tribe that won’t shut up! tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris DOUG DELOACH Doug DeLoach 2020-01-17T13:27:52+00:00  !!!Children of the night … what music they make.
!!!— Bela Lugosi (Dracula, 1931)
 

Friends, Atlantans, comrades in hot buttered soul and the American Songbook, lend me your ears (or eyeballs, as it were). As we plunge headlong into the second decade of the 21st century, precariously poised on the precipice, I come to praise two of the finest musical talents ever nurtured by our fair metropolis. Three decades and change after reigning supreme over the local alt-indie-progressive music scene as founding members of The Jody Grind, three years after a similar all-star reunion during Christmas season 2016, chanteuse extraordinaire Kelly Hogan and guitarist-banjoist-singer-songwriter-and-occasional-cornetist Bill Taft will once again share a bill Friday night, fronting their respective bands at the Vista Room.

For the sold-out (sorry, kids) concert, Hogan will be grounded by regular rhythm-mates Nora O’Connor (Andrew Bird, The Decemberists) on bass and John Carpender (Expo ’76) on drums, augmented by hometown guitar hero Andy Hopkins (one-half of FLAP) who has played with Hogan in multiple settings over the millennia. Taft will be commandeering W8ing4UFOs, the most recent in a long line of misfit savant troupes to fall under his sway. This one features Brian Halloran (cello), Katie Butler (viola), Billy Fields (keyboards), Sean Dunn (electric guitar), and Will Fratesi (drums, squeezebox).

Today, Hogan’s resume includes multiple solo albums, national television appearances, world tours, and recorded collaborations with artists ranging from Rock*A*Teens, Mavis Staples, and Jakob Dylan to Drive-By Truckers and Neko Case. Many Listening Post readers already know much of the deeper backstory. An Atlanta native, after graduating from Douglas County High School, Class of 1983, Hogan became immersed in the flourishing underground music scene. A year later, the classically trained singer with the sultry Southern voice was in her element, slaying audiences with The Jody Grind’s irresistibly imaginative amalgam of jazz, Appalachian balladry, country twang, and power pop swagger.

The tragic closing act of The Jody Grind saga has been recounted multiple times by this correspondent and others. Let it suffice to mention that any concert featuring Hogan, Taft, Halloran, and Fratesi automatically qualifies both as a memorial for and celebration of the lives and art of their late compatriots — Deacon Lunchbox (Tim Ruttenber) and former Jody Grind members Robert Hayes and Rob Clayton — who were killed when their vehicle was struck by a drunk motorist on Easter Sunday 1992.

Taft, Halloran, and Fratesi have been playing together since forever in myriad congregations including the Opal Foxx Quartet, Smoke, Hubcap City, and Smoke That City. Fields is a seasoned veteran of the Atlanta scene with credits including Follow for Now, Rev Rebel, Seek, and Antagonizers ATL. Rounding out the UFOers are Dunn, electric-guitar-shredder-maximus from Athens-based Five-Eight, and Butler, whose viola also elevates the evocative escapades of Evan Stepp & the Piners and The Chumblers.

Tonight's concert at the Vista Room promises to be one helluva gathering of the tribe. Expect cross-pollination between bands, an excessive amount of revelry and remembrance, and more laughing and crying than you can shake a “cheese and pickle sandwich squished flat under a sofa cushion and thrown to the infield from the roof of a rented Ryder rig in gastronomical disgust” at (Deacon Lunchbox from Some Different Kinds of Songs).

Listening Post posed a few questions to Taft and Hogan. Both eagerly followed through with answers, the responses only slightly edited for clarity.

Listening Post: It wasn’t very long after moving to Atlanta in 1982 that you started playing music around town. As briefly as possible, tell the story about meeting Kelly and forming The Jody Grind.

Bill Taft: Turtles, the record store (where Hogan was working at the time). Kelly let me hang out there. She laughed at my jokes. Her laugh had a hint of danger to it, like, if I asked her to rob a few banks with me, she would be all in. I also saw her a lot at Atkins Park. We’d hang out there and talk about music. She could talk about the Beastie Boys and Duke Ellington, REM and Billie Holiday. And she knew a lot about country music.

I tend to book the gig first, then see who can help play the show. This method brought Kelly and me together. I had a Monday-night gig at the Little Five Points Pub. I asked her to sing some songs as part of the set. She fit right in. And then other places asked us to play. Under the name An Evening with the Garbage Man, we played with friends at the Little Five Points Pub and the White Dot a lot. The White Dot was a lot of fun because we could do just about anything. They also gave Deacon Lunchbox much support.

LP: Where did the name An Evening with the Garbageman come from?

BT: I liked variety shows, vaudeville, ironic lounge music, and blues. I saw a poster for a Tony Bennett show, something like “An Evening with Tony Bennett.” I wanted a name for the ever-changing group that tied all those elements together. When I was little, four or five, I wanted to be a garbage man. I wanted to ride around on the back of the truck and toss trash into the mouth of the machine and watch it go away. All the other kids wanted to be astronauts and cowboys and baseball players. Not me.

After a while, the sound of the group with Kelly became consistent and steady. So we needed a new name, something that reflected the new sound: The Jody Grind. We found a book that included a section on jazz slang. The term comes from a World War II-era joke about women doing “the Jody grind” while their husbands and boyfriends were away overseas.

LP: Over the years, you’ve fronted a lot of bands: The Jody Grind, Chowder Shouters, Smoke, Smoke That City, and now W8ing4UFOs. Is there a common theme or impetus, which ties the bands together or explains why you keep forming bands?

BT: People keep asking me to play shows, so I keep showing up with friends. A lot of what I’ve always done is bring groups together in order to play shows.

Music has given me a chance to make all of my childhood dreams come true.

::::

Listening Post: In a previous interview, you told me about the first time you sang in front of an audience, something about a camp retreat and being in a bathing suit.

Kelly Hogan: It was Girl Scout summer camp, Camp Tanglewood, in Martinez, Georgia, around 1976 or ’77. I walked around camp for three days in a damp bathing suit because my tent-mates stole my clothes while I was in swim class. They refused to give them back until I agreed to sing at the closing ceremony on the last day. I sang “Memories” from The Way We Were, a cappella, in front of about 200 people: counselors, parents, campers. I was barefooted, wearing raggedy denim cut-offs and a red-white-and-blue t-shirt that read, “Eat Beans. America Needs the Gas.” 

LP: When and where was your first gig with a real band?

KH: Unbeknownst to my parents, I sat in on a few jazz standards with (I think it was) Tim Settimi’s band at Cafe Debris in Buckhead on Thanksgiving night, 1982. I was 17. 

LP: Bill (Taft) said he wasn’t sure, but you might remember when and where was the first official Jody Grind gig?

KH: Hard to say, because we evolved so gradually from the Evening with the Garbageman open mic nights at the White Dot. Our little snowball of dog hair, dryer lint, and duct tape just kept rolling along until it got big enough to put a real name on it.

LP: When was the first "Kelly Hogan" solo/headliner gig?

KH: Dang, also hard to say. The Star Bar probably, 1995 or so, with the Noxzema Three (Andy Hopkins, Jo Jameson, Andrew Barker) while we were working on my first solo record (The Whistle Only Dogs Can Hear, 1996).

LP: What’s your favorite song to perform from the mythical Great American Songbook?

KH: When I was around four or five years old, I used to love to sing along with Mitch Miller records with my teenage Aunt Debbie in her bedroom at my grandparents’ house in Marietta. "Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goodbye)" was my stone cold jam. I still have a tiny soft spot for barbershop, but I try not to waft that towards anyone else. 

LP: What’s your favorite song to perform that was written for you?

KH: "Ways of This World" by Vic Chesnutt. I had the great honor and pleasure of knowing Vic, although not very well. Yet, somehow, in that song he told me the story of my own life. Pretty much verbatim. I’m not worthy. None of us are. Vic is the king.

LP: What is the craziest/funniest thing that happened during or at a live gig?

KH: I can’t use any “-est” qualifiers for these answers. I’m too old and have too many miles on me. However, one time in the middle of a Jody Grind show in the early ’90s, Bill Taft helped me cut off my hair with a Bowie knife, onstage at Sluggo’s in Pensacola. It was an unplanned, impulsive act (a recent divorce + Jägermeister). I'd managed to saw off one foot-long braid with some dull office scissors I’d found backstage, but the second braid was taking too long (so long that the soundman had started playing Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” over the PA). Finally, Bill wordlessly walked over to me with his guitar still strapped on, whipped his knife out of his back pocket, and cut off the other braid with one quick and clean swipe, all the way to my nape — and we kicked into our next song. They nailed that sliced braid above the soundboard where it stayed, covered in gummy cobwebs, for many years. I still have the scissored one in my sock drawer.

LP: What’s the most embarrassing/goofiest thing that ever happened during or at a gig (might be the same as craziest/funniest thing)?

KH: Again, no way to pick the “-est”; there are at least 10,000,000+ embarrassing stage things in my life. But, one time I was sick during a Jody Grind show at The Downstairs in Athens. I realized during the middle of a song that I was gonna throw up. So I yelled “Take it!” to our bass player, Robert Hayes, and ran to the bathroom as fast as I could, barfed my guts up, and ran back onstage in time to do the last verse of the song. I found out later that, because the club was so small, the audience could hear me puking almost as loudly as Robert’s bass solo. They gave me a round of applause for finishing the song.

More recently, I’ve been onstage after singing most of a set, once with Neko Case and once with my band The Flat Five, before realizing my dress was on inside out. That’s one of the perils of having to get ready for a show behind a dumpster outside the rock club.

And this one’s for the ladies. Show of hands, please: Who else here has started their period very unexpectedly while onstage at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, one song into their set while going commando in a skirt? Anyone? Woohoo! Good times! Thankfully, it never got gory. No one but me ever knew. I just stood completely still while singing for 30 minutes and then kinda bunny-hopped offstage to the bathroom. And that’s what showbiz is all about, Charlie Brown.

LP: What’s your favorite band/van/road story?

KH: There are way too many to tell, so here’s just one. We were on a Jody Grind tour opening for Robyn Hitchcock on a freezing cold night in Fell’s Point in Baltimore. It was our bass player Robert Hayes’s turn to sleep in the van to keep our gear safe overnight. He bedded down in our Ford XLT, drank a big bottle of Valpolicella to stay warm, but then had to pee. He peed in the empty wine bottle, corked it, and sat it outside on the cobblestones to throw away in the morning.

Later during the night, Robert heard two dudes jiggling the van door handles and then saw them start trying to siphon our gas tank. He yelled and scared them off. In the morning, Robert saw that his pee bottle was missing. It delighted him to no end to believe that the buttholes trying to break into our van and steal our gas had found that full wine bottle and taken a few swigs. Well, at least one.

LP: What’s your favorite Atlanta venue in which to perform?

KH: For a thousand reasons, I’ll always have a crush on The Star Bar. I also have super-fond memories about playing The Point with The Rock*A*Teens. I cried all the way through my farewell show with them there when I was moving to Chicago.

And I’ll never forget our album release show at The Point during a really horrible ice storm. The sound man was making fun of our crappy gear and our yowly songs during soundcheck. Then he looked up at the weather report on the bar TV and said, “I’ll tell y'all one thing. Ain’t nobody coming out to this fucking show tonight.” But, it ended up being a super-fun and sweaty packed-to-the-rafters SOLD OUT show. It was the best-ever revenge.

LP: What’s your favorite Atlanta venue in which to be in the audience?

KH: The Fox Theater. I adore every brick in that joint. I’ve seen so many great shows there. B-52s, R.E.M., Eurythmics, Sinead O’Connor, Tony Bennett, X, Linda Ronstadt, Devo, Puddles Pity Party, The Judds, Iggy Pop, umm, Liberace. Yeah! All very great!

LP: What’s the best-ever meal on the road, including internationally?

KH: Damn. There are soooooo many “worst-ever road meals,” but I’ve been very lucky to have had lots of “best of” meals, too. I can’t possibly name the absolute best, so I’ll name the very first one that sprang to mind: a surprise feast that was waiting for all of us very road-weary Decemberists in our dressing room after soundcheck at the State Theater in Portland Maine. Big platters of warm messy-buttery lobster rolls and endless dozens of raw oysters on ice (with a nice dude standing there shucking ’em on demand.) I think my fellow oyster-loving back-up singing buddy Nora O’Connor and I both started crying with happiness and gratitude.

LP: What’s the best-ever meal in Atlanta?

KH: I’ll have a Varsity chili slaw dog with onion rings and a P.C. with ice, thank you. And oh man, we had a spectacular band meal (with my mom and stepdad along too) at Miller Union on a rare off-night during our 2017 Decemberists tour. I think that’s my personal ATL acme meal. Incredible. Satterfield in 2020!

LP: What’s your favorite dish to cook?

KH: Damn, I love to cook anything and everything. I love winging it with whatever I have in the pantry and making a big pot of chicken and dumplings or pozole or spaghetti sauce or something else that steams up the windows and takes all day (best when it’s snowing outside). Recently, I’ve been hankering to slow roast some cocoa-spice-rub bone-in pork butt. It’s ridiculously delicious and makes your house smell incredible.

LP: What’s your favorite dish to eat?

KH: My mom Hilda’s country-fried deer steak with gravy and buttermilk biscuits. Sushi and cold sake at Sai Cafe in Chicago. A big glass of red wine and a big bowl of pasta e fagioli at La Scarola in Chicago (this last combo is also best when it’s snowing outside}.

LP: What’s your favorite dog story?

KH: I have tons of stories involving my late, great poodle mix, Augie. She toured with every band I was ever in since she was three months old until she was almost 15. Back in the early ’00s, my solo band was on tour opening for Indigo Girls, with us in our cruddy van, trailing them in their tour bus. On our way to Toronto from Niagara Falls, we all arrived at the Canadian border for a routine crossing in the wee hours of the morning. As our vehicles pulled in we were all immediately surrounded by a big crowd of agitated-looking border patrol agents shining flashlights in our faces. What the hell?!

They gruffly mustered Amy and Emily and their band and crew off their tour bus and us out of our van and had us all stand there on the asphalt. A dozen agents started to search the tour bus, and as another dozen came towards our van to do the same, I blurted out, “Hey! Our dog is in there!” The group of agents all immediately froze in place and their hands went to their holstered guns. A female agent yelled, “Is it aggressive?!” Me, panicking: “No! Not at all!”

They crept to the van en masse in excruciating slow-motion and gingerly slid the side door open to reveal my wiggly little dog sitting there on the bench seat with her tennis ball in her mouth, happy as hell to see so many people. The agents collectively exhaled and relaxed and we all started laughing. After a cursory van search, they finally chilled out enough to tell us they were expecting Eminem’s tour entourage at the border at some point that night, and that Eminem (at the time) was forbidden to come into Canada.

When they saw our bus and van pulling in, they'd thought we were him. Hence, the massive and stiff reception. I always kinda felt sorry for them. They were all bowed up for Slim Shady, but instead just got a bunch of sleepy folk-rockers and a 20-pound mutt hoping for a fetch.

LP: What’s your favorite thing to do when not doing professional music stuff?

KH: Kayaking on the Sugar River near my house in Wisconsin with my dogs. Hands down. It keeps me from killing myself. Or others.

LP: What is your guiltiest pleasure?

KH: My Spotify playlist is extremely not-cool. All my friends know how very square I am. I love harmony, so, yeah, I listen to lots of the Free Design and The Hollies and Andy Bey and the Bey Sisters. But, I also listen to the Osmond Brothers and Jackie and Roy. I’m dirty. I have no shame.

And I live alone, so when I’m home I can do whatever the hell I want most of the time. This Christmas, I gave myself a one-night pass to eat a ton of those little crunchy french-fried onions straight out of the can while binge-watching Glow Up on Netflix. I’m still brushing the grease off my tongue a week later, but at the time it kicked holiday ass. —CL—    Paul Beaty WAS IT ALL SO SIMPLE THEN: Atlanta native Kelly Hogan headlines a concert with dear friends and former collaborators now performing as W8ing4UFOs tonight, Friday, January 17.  0,0,1                                 LISTENING POST: The tribe that won’t shut up! "
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Article

Friday January 17, 2020 08:27 am EST
Kelly Hogan and Bill Taft (W8ing4UFOs) recount misty-colored memories prior to their sold-out show at the Vista Room tonight | more...
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  string(94) "A new monthly concert series at 378 will feature adventurous musicians from Atlanta and beyond"
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  string(10914) "In Greek mythology, the consumption of ambrosia endowed the Olympians with immortality. In real life, ambrosia is another word for a mixture of fermented bee pollen and nectar, called “bee bread,” which is gathered and deposited by honeybees for sustaining the residents of a hive.

Ear Pollen is the title of a monthly concert series at 378 in Candler Park programmed by Atlanta percussionist Klimchak at the behest of gallery manager Tom Zarrilli. While immortality may not be in the offing, starting January 15 and running through the end of 2020, Ear Pollen will sustain experimental music fans in the Lo Gallery (downstairs) on the third Wednesday of each month.

“The idea is to showcase different niches of experimental music including electronic and acoustic styles ranging from jazz to noise,” says Klimchak. Known for constructing one-off instruments for imaginative performances, Klimchak once played instruments derived from kitchen tools while simultaneously cooking a meal for the audience. He says Ear Pollen will feature mostly, but not exclusively, Atlanta-based artists.

“Experimental music in Atlanta and elsewhere is divvied up into small sub-genres,” Klimchak says. “Ear Pollen will provide space where folks can listen to a variety of genres all in one place."

The first Ear Pollen concert features Andrew Levine from Hamburg, Germany, improvising on theremin and synthesizers. Born in New York City, Levine began playing violin at the age of six. He studied voice and earned an M.A. in computational linguistics and cognitive psychology at the University of Trier. Since 2010, while the theremin has been Levine’s primary instrument in solo and group settings, he also plays an 0-Coast (“oh-coast”) analog synthesizer, STEIM Cracklebox, and Haken Continuum (synthesizer).

Sharing the triple-bill with Levine are Helton & Bragg, an Atlanta-based drums/percussion and guitar/fretless bass duo (Blake Helton and Colin Bragg, respectively) who play mostly improvised, jazz-oriented music infused with electronic effects. Rounding out the program is Tim Crump, a local saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer whose music explores the intersection of jazz, post-classical, and free improv. Given that the inaugural Ear Pollen lineup features musicians working in closely related realms along the experimental spectrum, Klimchak says he is “anticipating a collective group piece will close out the evening.”

The 2020 Ear Pollen concert calendar currently includes JayVe Montgomery (from Nashville), Amplituba (Bill Pritchard), Kenito Murray, Hypnagogue (James Rosato from Massachusetts), Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, and Jeremy Muller with many more musicians TBD. “I’m primarily interested in presenting solo and duet improvisation work,” says Klimchak. “That’s due to the size of the room and because smaller groups tend to create a more conversational atmosphere both between the performers and with the audience.”

With a performance resume that stretches back through the 1970s, Klimchak has witnessed and participated in the trailblazing efforts of Atlanta’s most adventurous music explorers. He sees the contemporary scene as a nurturing environment evolving along a mostly positive trajectory.

“It’s somewhat fragmented, but I’m beginning to see the same cross-pollination that made for a peak in the past,” he observes. “A Bent Frequency concert is attended by jazz buffs. A noise show at The Bakery is attended by classical musicians and rap producers. This situation leads to more experimentation across genres, which is needed to take us to the next level.”

Despite a recent spate of performance space closures (e.g., Eyedrum, Mammal Gallery, Murmur), new venues (e.g., The Bakery, Mother Bar, Mammal Gallery relaunched at Met Atlanta) are sprouting in their place. Says Klimchak, “I’m hoping the Ear Pollen series adds another dimension to a movement, which is carrying us toward another peak of experimental music-making in Atlanta.”

Because of its power to heal wounds and reinvigorate the body, Zeus, Hera, Apollo, and the rest of the Olympians sometimes ate ambrosia as a restorative. The Ear Pollen series comes with restorative powers of its own special kind, fit for gods and mortals alike.

Ear Pollen inaugural concert with Andrew Levine, Helton & Bragg, and Tim Crump. $5 suggested donation. 7 p.m. Wed. Jan. 15. (Gallery) 378, 378 Clifton Road. 404-530-9277. On Facebook: Ear Pollen Experimental Music series.

* * *
Shooter, a new album by Jeff Crompton, is due for release on January 11. The eight-track album, which can be streamed and downloaded from Bandcamp (don’t “forget” to pay for it, Listening Posters), features the accomplished Atlanta musician and composer performing overdubbed multi-horn pieces and unadorned solos on alto and baritone saxes and clarinet.

Shooter is an impassioned response to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which left 31 people dead and some 50 wounded during a horrific weekend in August. It expresses with deftly structured imagination and acute sensitivity a range of emotions from anger and despair to unabashed hopefulness.

“I don't know how ‘important’ this album is in the grand scheme of things, but it's very important to me,” Crompton explains in an email exchange. “After the back-to-back mass shootings in August, it became a compulsion to me to record this music. This is an album no one asked for, few people will listen to, and one I absolutely had to do.”

The title song, which was written several years ago, vividly evokes a sinister, foreboding atmosphere. “It has been performed a few times in various guises, but I hope the nine-saxophone version on the album captures the menace and intensity I originally had in mind,” Crompton says.

While the past few years have been frequently disrupted by disconcerting events, including more mass shootings than anyone should have to count, the August massacres, which occurred 13 hours apart, pushed Crompton into an unusually deep state of despair.

“The motivations of the two shooters — white supremacy in one case and apparently just the desire to commit a mass shooting in the other — seemed emblematic of this uniquely American plague,” Crompton reflects. “The fact that we have chosen as a nation, not as individuals, to just let this keep happening is almost literally maddening.”

Other than expressing inner turmoil, Crompton hesitates to ascribe further significance to his work. “Writing music and playing the saxophone are about my only skills, and my only outlet to say something,” he offers, with characteristic self-deprecation. The music tells a different tale, fraught with complex emotions best rendered in the abstract by an artist willing to plumb the seldom-visited, shadowy depths of the soul.

"Slow March (through a dark place)" was written in one day, not long after the acrid smoke in El Paso and Dayton had dissipated. Crompton describes the recorded performance as “a dark, despairing piece of music; if it doesn't strike the listener that way, I haven't done my job.”

As a respite from the wrenching anguish (which nevertheless conjured up some exquisitely beautiful music), Crompton turned to the John Coltrane composition "Peace on Earth" and the African-American spiritual "There is a Balm in Gilead." Both tracks are magnificently affirming, standalone saxophone solos with no overdubbing.

“Despair followed by hope,” Crompton remarks. “I think working on this album has helped me reach a state of hopeful realism.

A house concert celebrating the release of Shooter is scheduled for Saturday, January 11. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/462029214698925/

* * *
On January 3, internationally acclaimed, Atlanta-based vocal artist, jazz performer, and social activist Virginia Schenck (who also goes by the nom de art “VA”) dropped her latest album Battle Cry. Available on all digital platforms and CD, the album, which was recorded in 2018, delivers a topically pertinent message in an assuredly swinging package.

In 2016, sparked by the election of Donald Trump, Schenck felt a renewed commitment to advocating for progressive change and resisting oppression and injustice. “Music is my resistance,” Schenck declares in an interview with Listening Post recorded a few months ago. “I mean that in the best of terms, not to be off-putting, but, rather, to be engaging.”

Schenck earned her activist bona fides almost at birth. Her grandmother was pregnant with Schenck’s mother while campaigning for the right of women to vote in Philadelphia in the 1920s. Almost a century later, this suffragette’s granddaughter co-led a pilgrimage to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture with Rev. Kimberly Jackson, an ordained LGBTQ+ Episcopal priest and candidate for the Georgia Senate in 2020, and Dr. Catherine Meeks, executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing.

“I thought the world was getting better as I aged,” Schenck says. “I thought we were, for the most part, improving every year. Instead, we took one step forward and two back.”

On Battle Cry, her fourth album, Schenck is accompanied by Kevin Bales on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass and Marlon Patton on drums. Bales, a seasoned veteran who can be heard regularly at jazz clubs around Atlanta, has been collaborating with the singer for a decade. While he was living in Atlanta, Jordan taught at Georgia State University when he wasn’t touring or recording with the likes of Marcus Printup, Mulgrew Miller, and Russell Gunn. Most recently, Patton, a Georgia native, along with trombonist Dave Nelson, has been supporting Lonnie Holley in a genre-bending trio.

The music on Battle Cry includes soulfully interpreted renditions of familiar songs, such as Donny Hathaway’s “Sack Full of Dreams,” Dion’s “Abraham, Martin and John,” and “Bali Hai” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. It also features evocative takes on “America the Beautiful” and “The Pledge of Allegiance.”

Propelled by Jordan’s subterranean bass and Williams’ hair-raising saxophone, Schenck embellishes “Strange Fruit,” the protest song immortalized by Billie Holiday, with harrowingly abstract poignancy. “Hear My Battle Cry,” the album’s one original song, uses a funky, rolling groove to communicate a central directive: “Can we find the path to freedom by the truth in our lives/Find the courage, strength and hope to stand tall/Resurrect ourselves, correct ourselves, and pay our due/Hear my battle cry: I will live in truth or die.”

All in all, the jazz-inflected tidings of Battle Cry are well worth hearing and heeding. -CL-"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(11061) "In Greek mythology, the consumption of ambrosia endowed the Olympians with immortality. In real life, ambrosia is another word for a mixture of fermented bee pollen and nectar, called “bee bread,” which is gathered and deposited by honeybees for sustaining the residents of a hive.

Ear Pollen is the title of a monthly concert series at 378 in Candler Park programmed by Atlanta percussionist Klimchak at the behest of gallery manager Tom Zarrilli. While immortality may not be in the offing, starting January 15 and running through the end of 2020, Ear Pollen will sustain experimental music fans in the Lo Gallery (downstairs) on the third Wednesday of each month.

“The idea is to showcase different niches of experimental music including electronic and acoustic styles ranging from jazz to noise,” says Klimchak. Known for constructing one-off instruments for imaginative performances, Klimchak once played instruments derived from kitchen tools while simultaneously cooking a meal for the audience. He says Ear Pollen will feature mostly, but not exclusively, Atlanta-based artists.

“Experimental music in Atlanta and elsewhere is divvied up into small sub-genres,” Klimchak says. “Ear Pollen will provide space where folks can listen to a variety of genres all in one place."

The first Ear Pollen concert features Andrew Levine from Hamburg, Germany, improvising on theremin and synthesizers. Born in New York City, Levine began playing violin at the age of six. He studied voice and earned an M.A. in computational linguistics and cognitive psychology at the University of Trier. Since 2010, while the theremin has been Levine’s primary instrument in solo and group settings, he also plays an 0-Coast (“oh-coast”) analog synthesizer, STEIM Cracklebox, and Haken Continuum (synthesizer).

Sharing the triple-bill with Levine are Helton & Bragg, an Atlanta-based drums/percussion and guitar/fretless bass duo (Blake Helton and Colin Bragg, respectively) who play mostly improvised, jazz-oriented music infused with electronic effects. Rounding out the program is Tim Crump, a local saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer whose music explores the intersection of jazz, post-classical, and free improv. Given that the inaugural Ear Pollen lineup features musicians working in closely related realms along the experimental spectrum, Klimchak says he is “anticipating a collective group piece will close out the evening.”

The 2020 Ear Pollen concert calendar currently includes JayVe Montgomery (from Nashville), Amplituba (Bill Pritchard), Kenito Murray, Hypnagogue (James Rosato from Massachusetts), Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, and Jeremy Muller with many more musicians TBD. “I’m primarily interested in presenting solo and duet improvisation work,” says Klimchak. “That’s due to the size of the room and because smaller groups tend to create a more conversational atmosphere both between the performers and with the audience.”

With a performance resume that stretches back through the 1970s, Klimchak has witnessed and participated in the trailblazing efforts of Atlanta’s most adventurous music explorers. He sees the contemporary scene as a nurturing environment evolving along a mostly positive trajectory.

“It’s somewhat fragmented, but I’m beginning to see the same cross-pollination that made for a peak in the past,” he observes. “A Bent Frequency concert is attended by jazz buffs. A noise show at The Bakery is attended by classical musicians and rap producers. This situation leads to more experimentation across genres, which is needed to take us to the next level.”

Despite a recent spate of performance space closures (e.g., Eyedrum, Mammal Gallery, Murmur), new venues (e.g., The Bakery, Mother Bar, Mammal Gallery relaunched at Met Atlanta) are sprouting in their place. Says Klimchak, “I’m hoping the Ear Pollen series adds another dimension to a movement, which is carrying us toward another peak of experimental music-making in Atlanta.”

Because of its power to heal wounds and reinvigorate the body, Zeus, Hera, Apollo, and the rest of the Olympians sometimes ate ambrosia as a restorative. The Ear Pollen series comes with restorative powers of its own special kind, fit for gods and mortals alike.

''Ear Pollen inaugural concert with Andrew Levine, Helton & Bragg, and Tim Crump. $5 suggested donation. 7 p.m. Wed. Jan. 15. (Gallery) 378, 378 Clifton Road. 404-530-9277. On Facebook: Ear Pollen Experimental Music series.''

::__* * *__::
''Shooter'', a new album by Jeff Crompton, is due for release on January 11. The eight-track album, which can be streamed and downloaded from [https://jeffcrompton.bandcamp.com/album/shooter-2|Bandcamp] (don’t “forget” to pay for it, Listening Posters), features the accomplished Atlanta musician and composer performing overdubbed multi-horn pieces and unadorned solos on alto and baritone saxes and clarinet.

''Shooter'' is an impassioned response to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which left 31 people dead and some 50 wounded during a horrific weekend in August. It expresses with deftly structured imagination and acute sensitivity a range of emotions from anger and despair to unabashed hopefulness.

“I don't know how ‘important’ this album is in the grand scheme of things, but it's very important to me,” Crompton explains in an email exchange. “After the back-to-back mass shootings in August, it became a compulsion to me to record this music. This is an album no one asked for, few people will listen to, and one I absolutely had to do.”

The title song, which was written several years ago, vividly evokes a sinister, foreboding atmosphere. “It has been performed a few times in various guises, but I hope the nine-saxophone version on the album captures the menace and intensity I originally had in mind,” Crompton says.

While the past few years have been frequently disrupted by disconcerting events, including more mass shootings than anyone should have to count, the August massacres, which occurred 13 hours apart, pushed Crompton into an unusually deep state of despair.

“The motivations of the two shooters — white supremacy in one case and apparently just the desire to commit a mass shooting in the other — seemed emblematic of this uniquely American plague,” Crompton reflects. “The fact that we have chosen as a nation, not as individuals, to just let this keep happening is almost literally maddening.”

Other than expressing inner turmoil, Crompton hesitates to ascribe further significance to his work. “Writing music and playing the saxophone are about my only skills, and my only outlet to say something,” he offers, with characteristic self-deprecation. The music tells a different tale, fraught with complex emotions best rendered in the abstract by an artist willing to plumb the seldom-visited, shadowy depths of the soul.

"Slow March (through a dark place)" was written in one day, not long after the acrid smoke in El Paso and Dayton had dissipated. Crompton describes the recorded performance as “a dark, despairing piece of music; if it doesn't strike the listener that way, I haven't done my job.”

As a respite from the wrenching anguish (which nevertheless conjured up some exquisitely beautiful music), Crompton turned to the John Coltrane composition "Peace on Earth" and the African-American spiritual "There is a Balm in Gilead." Both tracks are magnificently affirming, standalone saxophone solos with no overdubbing.

“Despair followed by hope,” Crompton remarks. “I think working on this album has helped me reach a state of hopeful realism.

''A house concert celebrating the release of ''Shooter'' is scheduled for Saturday, January 11. For more information, visit [https://www.facebook.com/events/462029214698925/]''

::__* * *__::
On January 3, internationally acclaimed, Atlanta-based vocal artist, jazz performer, and social activist [http://www.VirginiaSchenck.com|Virginia Schenck] (who also goes by the nom de art “VA”) dropped her latest album ''Battle Cry''. Available on all digital platforms and CD, the album, which was recorded in 2018, delivers a topically pertinent message in an assuredly swinging package.

In 2016, sparked by the election of Donald Trump, Schenck felt a renewed commitment to advocating for progressive change and resisting oppression and injustice. “Music is my resistance,” Schenck declares in an interview with Listening Post recorded a few months ago. “I mean that in the best of terms, not to be off-putting, but, rather, to be engaging.”

Schenck earned her activist bona fides almost at birth. Her grandmother was pregnant with Schenck’s mother while campaigning for the right of women to vote in Philadelphia in the 1920s. Almost a century later, this suffragette’s granddaughter co-led a pilgrimage to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture with Rev. Kimberly Jackson, an ordained LGBTQ+ Episcopal priest and candidate for the Georgia Senate in 2020, and Dr. Catherine Meeks, executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing.

“I thought the world was getting better as I aged,” Schenck says. “I thought we were, for the most part, improving every year. Instead, we took one step forward and two back.”

On ''Battle Cry'', her fourth album, Schenck is accompanied by Kevin Bales on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass and Marlon Patton on drums. Bales, a seasoned veteran who can be heard regularly at jazz clubs around Atlanta, has been collaborating with the singer for a decade. While he was living in Atlanta, Jordan taught at Georgia State University when he wasn’t touring or recording with the likes of Marcus Printup, Mulgrew Miller, and Russell Gunn. Most recently, Patton, a Georgia native, along with trombonist Dave Nelson, has been supporting Lonnie Holley in a genre-bending trio.

The music on ''Battle Cry'' includes soulfully interpreted renditions of familiar songs, such as Donny Hathaway’s “Sack Full of Dreams,” Dion’s “Abraham, Martin and John,” and “Bali Hai” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical ''South Pacific''. It also features evocative takes on “America the Beautiful” and “The Pledge of Allegiance.”

Propelled by Jordan’s subterranean bass and Williams’ hair-raising saxophone, Schenck embellishes “Strange Fruit,” the protest song immortalized by Billie Holiday, with harrowingly abstract poignancy. “Hear My Battle Cry,” the album’s one original song, uses a funky, rolling groove to communicate a central directive: “Can we find the path to freedom by the truth in our lives/Find the courage, strength and hope to stand tall/Resurrect ourselves, correct ourselves, and pay our due/Hear my battle cry: I will live in truth or die.”

All in all, the jazz-inflected tidings of ''Battle Cry'' are well worth hearing and heeding. __-CL-__"
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  string(11536) " LP Andrew Tremolo Resized  2020-01-01T21:17:14+00:00 LP Andrew_Tremolo resized.jpg     A new monthly concert series at 378 will feature adventurous musicians from Atlanta and beyond 27127  2020-01-01T21:07:59+00:00 LISTENING POST: Ear Pollen spawns experimental music tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris DOUG DELOACH Doug DeLoach 2020-01-01T21:07:59+00:00  In Greek mythology, the consumption of ambrosia endowed the Olympians with immortality. In real life, ambrosia is another word for a mixture of fermented bee pollen and nectar, called “bee bread,” which is gathered and deposited by honeybees for sustaining the residents of a hive.

Ear Pollen is the title of a monthly concert series at 378 in Candler Park programmed by Atlanta percussionist Klimchak at the behest of gallery manager Tom Zarrilli. While immortality may not be in the offing, starting January 15 and running through the end of 2020, Ear Pollen will sustain experimental music fans in the Lo Gallery (downstairs) on the third Wednesday of each month.

“The idea is to showcase different niches of experimental music including electronic and acoustic styles ranging from jazz to noise,” says Klimchak. Known for constructing one-off instruments for imaginative performances, Klimchak once played instruments derived from kitchen tools while simultaneously cooking a meal for the audience. He says Ear Pollen will feature mostly, but not exclusively, Atlanta-based artists.

“Experimental music in Atlanta and elsewhere is divvied up into small sub-genres,” Klimchak says. “Ear Pollen will provide space where folks can listen to a variety of genres all in one place."

The first Ear Pollen concert features Andrew Levine from Hamburg, Germany, improvising on theremin and synthesizers. Born in New York City, Levine began playing violin at the age of six. He studied voice and earned an M.A. in computational linguistics and cognitive psychology at the University of Trier. Since 2010, while the theremin has been Levine’s primary instrument in solo and group settings, he also plays an 0-Coast (“oh-coast”) analog synthesizer, STEIM Cracklebox, and Haken Continuum (synthesizer).

Sharing the triple-bill with Levine are Helton & Bragg, an Atlanta-based drums/percussion and guitar/fretless bass duo (Blake Helton and Colin Bragg, respectively) who play mostly improvised, jazz-oriented music infused with electronic effects. Rounding out the program is Tim Crump, a local saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer whose music explores the intersection of jazz, post-classical, and free improv. Given that the inaugural Ear Pollen lineup features musicians working in closely related realms along the experimental spectrum, Klimchak says he is “anticipating a collective group piece will close out the evening.”

The 2020 Ear Pollen concert calendar currently includes JayVe Montgomery (from Nashville), Amplituba (Bill Pritchard), Kenito Murray, Hypnagogue (James Rosato from Massachusetts), Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, and Jeremy Muller with many more musicians TBD. “I’m primarily interested in presenting solo and duet improvisation work,” says Klimchak. “That’s due to the size of the room and because smaller groups tend to create a more conversational atmosphere both between the performers and with the audience.”

With a performance resume that stretches back through the 1970s, Klimchak has witnessed and participated in the trailblazing efforts of Atlanta’s most adventurous music explorers. He sees the contemporary scene as a nurturing environment evolving along a mostly positive trajectory.

“It’s somewhat fragmented, but I’m beginning to see the same cross-pollination that made for a peak in the past,” he observes. “A Bent Frequency concert is attended by jazz buffs. A noise show at The Bakery is attended by classical musicians and rap producers. This situation leads to more experimentation across genres, which is needed to take us to the next level.”

Despite a recent spate of performance space closures (e.g., Eyedrum, Mammal Gallery, Murmur), new venues (e.g., The Bakery, Mother Bar, Mammal Gallery relaunched at Met Atlanta) are sprouting in their place. Says Klimchak, “I’m hoping the Ear Pollen series adds another dimension to a movement, which is carrying us toward another peak of experimental music-making in Atlanta.”

Because of its power to heal wounds and reinvigorate the body, Zeus, Hera, Apollo, and the rest of the Olympians sometimes ate ambrosia as a restorative. The Ear Pollen series comes with restorative powers of its own special kind, fit for gods and mortals alike.

Ear Pollen inaugural concert with Andrew Levine, Helton & Bragg, and Tim Crump. $5 suggested donation. 7 p.m. Wed. Jan. 15. (Gallery) 378, 378 Clifton Road. 404-530-9277. On Facebook: Ear Pollen Experimental Music series.

* * *
Shooter, a new album by Jeff Crompton, is due for release on January 11. The eight-track album, which can be streamed and downloaded from Bandcamp (don’t “forget” to pay for it, Listening Posters), features the accomplished Atlanta musician and composer performing overdubbed multi-horn pieces and unadorned solos on alto and baritone saxes and clarinet.

Shooter is an impassioned response to the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which left 31 people dead and some 50 wounded during a horrific weekend in August. It expresses with deftly structured imagination and acute sensitivity a range of emotions from anger and despair to unabashed hopefulness.

“I don't know how ‘important’ this album is in the grand scheme of things, but it's very important to me,” Crompton explains in an email exchange. “After the back-to-back mass shootings in August, it became a compulsion to me to record this music. This is an album no one asked for, few people will listen to, and one I absolutely had to do.”

The title song, which was written several years ago, vividly evokes a sinister, foreboding atmosphere. “It has been performed a few times in various guises, but I hope the nine-saxophone version on the album captures the menace and intensity I originally had in mind,” Crompton says.

While the past few years have been frequently disrupted by disconcerting events, including more mass shootings than anyone should have to count, the August massacres, which occurred 13 hours apart, pushed Crompton into an unusually deep state of despair.

“The motivations of the two shooters — white supremacy in one case and apparently just the desire to commit a mass shooting in the other — seemed emblematic of this uniquely American plague,” Crompton reflects. “The fact that we have chosen as a nation, not as individuals, to just let this keep happening is almost literally maddening.”

Other than expressing inner turmoil, Crompton hesitates to ascribe further significance to his work. “Writing music and playing the saxophone are about my only skills, and my only outlet to say something,” he offers, with characteristic self-deprecation. The music tells a different tale, fraught with complex emotions best rendered in the abstract by an artist willing to plumb the seldom-visited, shadowy depths of the soul.

"Slow March (through a dark place)" was written in one day, not long after the acrid smoke in El Paso and Dayton had dissipated. Crompton describes the recorded performance as “a dark, despairing piece of music; if it doesn't strike the listener that way, I haven't done my job.”

As a respite from the wrenching anguish (which nevertheless conjured up some exquisitely beautiful music), Crompton turned to the John Coltrane composition "Peace on Earth" and the African-American spiritual "There is a Balm in Gilead." Both tracks are magnificently affirming, standalone saxophone solos with no overdubbing.

“Despair followed by hope,” Crompton remarks. “I think working on this album has helped me reach a state of hopeful realism.

A house concert celebrating the release of Shooter is scheduled for Saturday, January 11. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/462029214698925/

* * *
On January 3, internationally acclaimed, Atlanta-based vocal artist, jazz performer, and social activist Virginia Schenck (who also goes by the nom de art “VA”) dropped her latest album Battle Cry. Available on all digital platforms and CD, the album, which was recorded in 2018, delivers a topically pertinent message in an assuredly swinging package.

In 2016, sparked by the election of Donald Trump, Schenck felt a renewed commitment to advocating for progressive change and resisting oppression and injustice. “Music is my resistance,” Schenck declares in an interview with Listening Post recorded a few months ago. “I mean that in the best of terms, not to be off-putting, but, rather, to be engaging.”

Schenck earned her activist bona fides almost at birth. Her grandmother was pregnant with Schenck’s mother while campaigning for the right of women to vote in Philadelphia in the 1920s. Almost a century later, this suffragette’s granddaughter co-led a pilgrimage to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture with Rev. Kimberly Jackson, an ordained LGBTQ+ Episcopal priest and candidate for the Georgia Senate in 2020, and Dr. Catherine Meeks, executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing.

“I thought the world was getting better as I aged,” Schenck says. “I thought we were, for the most part, improving every year. Instead, we took one step forward and two back.”

On Battle Cry, her fourth album, Schenck is accompanied by Kevin Bales on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass and Marlon Patton on drums. Bales, a seasoned veteran who can be heard regularly at jazz clubs around Atlanta, has been collaborating with the singer for a decade. While he was living in Atlanta, Jordan taught at Georgia State University when he wasn’t touring or recording with the likes of Marcus Printup, Mulgrew Miller, and Russell Gunn. Most recently, Patton, a Georgia native, along with trombonist Dave Nelson, has been supporting Lonnie Holley in a genre-bending trio.

The music on Battle Cry includes soulfully interpreted renditions of familiar songs, such as Donny Hathaway’s “Sack Full of Dreams,” Dion’s “Abraham, Martin and John,” and “Bali Hai” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. It also features evocative takes on “America the Beautiful” and “The Pledge of Allegiance.”

Propelled by Jordan’s subterranean bass and Williams’ hair-raising saxophone, Schenck embellishes “Strange Fruit,” the protest song immortalized by Billie Holiday, with harrowingly abstract poignancy. “Hear My Battle Cry,” the album’s one original song, uses a funky, rolling groove to communicate a central directive: “Can we find the path to freedom by the truth in our lives/Find the courage, strength and hope to stand tall/Resurrect ourselves, correct ourselves, and pay our due/Hear my battle cry: I will live in truth or die.”

All in all, the jazz-inflected tidings of Battle Cry are well worth hearing and heeding. -CL-    Jochen Quas MUSIC ETERNAL: The first installment of the Ear Pollen series showcases the music of American-born, Hamburg, Germany-based improviser Andrew Levine.  0,0,10                                 LISTENING POST: Ear Pollen spawns experimental music "
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  string(7890) "It’s an extraordinarily good thing when good people come together to celebrate a good business by presenting good music while raising money for a good cause. That’s the formula for the concert sponsored by A Cappella Books marking 30 years of continuous operation as Atlanta’s hippest independent book store.

Headlining the concert at the Variety Playhouse on Monday, December 16, is Cat Power, performing a rare solo set. The nom du art of singer-songwriter Chan Marshall, Cat Power has been beguiling listeners with her distinctly breathy, Southern-fried voice and oddly irresistible, melancholic songs since the 1980s when she was living in thoroughly un-gentrified Cabbagetown. Sharing the special A Cappella bill with Cat Power are W8ing4UFOs and FLAP, whose roots also extend through the same deep local underground as Cat Power.

Proceeds from concert ticket sales will benefit Common Good Atlanta (CGA), a nonprofit co-founded in 2008 by Sarah Higinbotham and Bill Taft. CGA offers accredited and non-accredited college courses in three Georgia prisons. To date, more than 250 incarcerated men and women have taken one or more CGA courses. In October, the organization was honored with a 2019 Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities. (For more information about CGA, see the “College Behind Bars” feature also in this issue.)

When asked to expound on the concept behind the benefit concert, A Cappella Books founder and owner Frank Reiss replies, “We had a 25th-anniversary celebration, which was really wonderful, but it felt a little self-indulgent. I pledged that, if we were still around for our 30th, we would do something focused on the community, since the community has been so supportive of us.”


In 1989, when A Cappella Books opened in its original Little Five Points location on Euclid Avenue, the internet was not yet a global shopping destination. Independent book stores, such as Oxford Books and Chapter 11, were around, but most of those eventually succumbed to competition from online outlets and behemoth retailers, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders. A few — Charis, Tall Tales, Eagle Eye, and others — forged on, but also felt the impact of a changing marketplace. 

Now in its third location in roughly the same neighborhood (technically, Inman Park), A Cappella Books caters to the sharper end of the book-reading spectrum. The 1,500-square-foot store carries collectible first editions and out-of-print books, as well as shelves of carefully curated new and used books from authors known and obscure, on subjects popular and esoteric. A sizable portion of the store’s sales stem from special events, such as in-store book signings and author presentations at venues including the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Wrecking Bar Brew Pub.

At three decades and counting, A Cappella stands as a testament to Reiss’ now seasoned business savvy and commitment to the cause of serious literature. “I just haven’t known anything else to do through the tough times other than to keep on keeping on,” he says. “I started selling books when I was 21, so it really is all I know.”

The trajectory of A Cappella Books has always included a musical component. Author-musicians are regularly feted, some by Creative Loafing’s own longtime music writer Chad Radford as part of the Writers at the Wrecking Bar series. In past years the store has hosted performances by numerous local musicians including FLAP and various group ventures led by Taft, who also sings and plays guitar with W8ing4UFOs, a band he founded after fronting several Cabbagetown-based aggregations. 

“Bill has been a central part of the music scene since before I opened A Cappella,” Reiss says. “I’ve also been following his work with CGA and always wanted to do something with the organization. Since Chan holds such strong affection for Bill and the other musicians, we figured getting her to come back home for this benefit would make for an ideal lineup.”

In an email exchange, Marshall admits that performing in Atlanta, where she spent her formative years as a musician before moving to New York and ascending to the upper realm of indie-rock stardom, induces mixed emotions.

“Playing hometown shows always brings heavy tides of a million memories, especially playing without our friends we have lost along the way,” she writes. “The magic is that we get to be together again, to share time again, as friends and as creatives, just like we did in the old days.”

During the mid-1980s, which is generally acknowledged as the beginning of a “golden age” of independent and experimental music making in Atlanta, Marshall shared a small, ramshackle house in Cabbagetown with Robert Hayes. Hayes was the bassist for The Jody Grind, the legendary alt-jazz-rock-lounge combo founded by Taft, which included vocalist Kelly Hogan (who will be performing at the Vista Room in January with W8ing4UFOs), and Rob Clayton, who replaced the band’s original drummer, Walter Brewer. Back in the day, as often as possible, The Jody Grind gigs opened with a performance by the “mad poet of Ponce de Leon,” Deacon Lunchbox (Tim Ruttenber).

On Easter Sunday in 1992, Hayes, Clayton, and Ruttenber were heading back to Atlanta from a concert in Florida when a drunk driver plowed head-on into their vehicle, killing all three men. In the aftermath of the tragedy Taft and Hogan formed Kick Me, which became a trio when drummer Alan Page sat in. In February 1994, Page was found in his parked car on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown where he died from a heroin overdose.

During the ensuing years, the music community continued to lose key figures associated with the same era to the ravages of unbridled self-medication. Benjamin, the stage moniker of Robert Dickerson, singer, lyricist, drag queen, and founding member of the Opal Foxx Quartet and Smoke — which included Taft, W8ing4UFOs cellist Brian Halloran and drummer Will Fratesi, plus guitarist Coleman Lewis — passed away from liver failure in 1999. Lewis, who also accompanied Cat Power, died of an overdose in 2014.

“Doing this concert in the name of something good, which needs support, makes it very special, especially so close to the holidays,” says Marshall.

With similar nostalgic affection, FLAP guitarist Matt Miller recalls the heyday of the 1980s/’90s. One of FLAP’s earliest gigs was at the Mudd Shack, the alias for Tortillas, a tiny burrito stand on Ponce de Leon Avenue. On select Saturdays at midnight, after the restaurant closed, the Mudd Shack became a staging platform for the blossoming bohemian subculture. Poetry readings, indie films, music, and performances by the edgiest artists and bands in town were the regular fare.

“When we started playing the Mudd Shack as teenagers, we were warmly welcomed by some of the older and more established musicians and performers in the scene,” Miller says. “People like Deacon and Bill Taft set the tone, which was characterized by friendliness, humility, and generosity rather than exclusivity or snobbishness. Looking back on it, it was a very nurturing and collaborative environment in which we could pursue our idiosyncratic musical vision without worrying too much about interpersonal politics or drama.”

Imagine: A nurturing environment distinguished by a welcoming, inclusive spirit, largely devoid of overt rancor, unnecessary drama, and one-upsmanship. Those were the days, my friends, which most of us knew would eventually end. Regardless, come celebrate good times gone by at the A Cappella Books 30th Anniversary Concert benefitting Common Good Atlanta on December 16. -CL-

A Cappella Books 30th Anniversary Concert, with Cat Power, W8ing4UFOS, and FLAP, at the Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E. Tickets $38.07 to $55.58. 404-524-7354."
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Headlining the concert at the Variety Playhouse on Monday, December 16, is Cat Power, performing a rare solo set. The ''nom du art'' of singer-songwriter Chan Marshall, Cat Power has been beguiling listeners with her distinctly breathy, Southern-fried voice and oddly irresistible, melancholic songs since the 1980s when she was living in thoroughly un-gentrified Cabbagetown. Sharing the special A Cappella bill with Cat Power are W8ing4UFOs and FLAP, whose roots also extend through the same deep local underground as Cat Power.

Proceeds from concert ticket sales will benefit Common Good Atlanta (CGA), a nonprofit co-founded in 2008 by Sarah Higinbotham and Bill Taft. CGA offers accredited and non-accredited college courses in three Georgia prisons. To date, more than 250 incarcerated men and women have taken one or more CGA courses. In October, the organization was honored with a 2019 Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities. (For more information about CGA, see the “College Behind Bars” feature also in this issue.)

When asked to expound on the concept behind the benefit concert, A Cappella Books founder and owner Frank Reiss replies, “We had a 25th-anniversary celebration, which was really wonderful, but it felt a little self-indulgent. I pledged that, if we were still around for our 30th, we would do something focused on the community, since the community has been so supportive of us.”

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In 1989, when A Cappella Books opened in its original Little Five Points location on Euclid Avenue, the internet was not yet a global shopping destination. Independent book stores, such as Oxford Books and Chapter 11, were around, but most of those eventually succumbed to competition from online outlets and behemoth retailers, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders. A few — Charis, Tall Tales, Eagle Eye, and others — forged on, but also felt the impact of a changing marketplace. 

Now in its third location in roughly the same neighborhood (technically, Inman Park), A Cappella Books caters to the sharper end of the book-reading spectrum. The 1,500-square-foot store carries collectible first editions and out-of-print books, as well as shelves of carefully curated new and used books from authors known and obscure, on subjects popular and esoteric. A sizable portion of the store’s sales stem from special events, such as in-store book signings and author presentations at venues including the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Wrecking Bar Brew Pub.

At three decades and counting, A Cappella stands as a testament to Reiss’ now seasoned business savvy and commitment to the cause of serious literature. “I just haven’t known anything else to do through the tough times other than to keep on keeping on,” he says. “I started selling books when I was 21, so it really is all I know.”

The trajectory of A Cappella Books has always included a musical component. Author-musicians are regularly feted, some by ''Creative Loafing''’s own longtime music writer Chad Radford as part of the Writers at the Wrecking Bar series. In past years the store has hosted performances by numerous local musicians including FLAP and various group ventures led by Taft, who also sings and plays guitar with W8ing4UFOs, a band he founded after fronting several Cabbagetown-based aggregations. 

“Bill has been a central part of the music scene since before I opened A Cappella,” Reiss says. “I’ve also been following his work with CGA and always wanted to do something with the organization. Since Chan holds such strong affection for Bill and the other musicians, we figured getting her to come back home for this benefit would make for an ideal lineup.”

In an email exchange, Marshall admits that performing in Atlanta, where she spent her formative years as a musician before moving to New York and ascending to the upper realm of indie-rock stardom, induces mixed emotions.

“Playing hometown shows always brings heavy tides of a million memories, especially playing without our friends we have lost along the way,” she writes. “The magic is that we get to be together again, to share time again, as friends and as creatives, just like we did in the old days.”

During the mid-1980s, which is generally acknowledged as the beginning of a “golden age” of independent and experimental music making in Atlanta, Marshall shared a small, ramshackle house in Cabbagetown with Robert Hayes. Hayes was the bassist for The Jody Grind, the legendary alt-jazz-rock-lounge combo founded by Taft, which included vocalist Kelly Hogan (who will be performing at the Vista Room in January with W8ing4UFOs), and Rob Clayton, who replaced the band’s original drummer, Walter Brewer. Back in the day, as often as possible, The Jody Grind gigs opened with a performance by the “mad poet of Ponce de Leon,” Deacon Lunchbox (Tim Ruttenber).

On Easter Sunday in 1992, Hayes, Clayton, and Ruttenber were heading back to Atlanta from a concert in Florida when a drunk driver plowed head-on into their vehicle, killing all three men. In the aftermath of the tragedy Taft and Hogan formed Kick Me, which became a trio when drummer Alan Page sat in. In February 1994, Page was found in his parked car on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown where he died from a heroin overdose.

During the ensuing years, the music community continued to lose key figures associated with the same era to the ravages of unbridled self-medication. Benjamin, the stage moniker of Robert Dickerson, singer, lyricist, drag queen, and founding member of the Opal Foxx Quartet and Smoke — which included Taft, W8ing4UFOs cellist Brian Halloran and drummer Will Fratesi, plus guitarist Coleman Lewis — passed away from liver failure in 1999. Lewis, who also accompanied Cat Power, died of an overdose in 2014.

“Doing this concert in the name of something good, which needs support, makes it very special, especially so close to the holidays,” says Marshall.

With similar nostalgic affection, FLAP guitarist Matt Miller recalls the heyday of the 1980s/’90s. One of FLAP’s earliest gigs was at the Mudd Shack, the alias for Tortillas, a tiny burrito stand on Ponce de Leon Avenue. On select Saturdays at midnight, after the restaurant closed, the Mudd Shack became a staging platform for the blossoming bohemian subculture. Poetry readings, indie films, music, and performances by the edgiest artists and bands in town were the regular fare.

“When we started playing the Mudd Shack as teenagers, we were warmly welcomed by some of the older and more established musicians and performers in the scene,” Miller says. “People like Deacon and Bill Taft set the tone, which was characterized by friendliness, humility, and generosity rather than exclusivity or snobbishness. Looking back on it, it was a very nurturing and collaborative environment in which we could pursue our idiosyncratic musical vision without worrying too much about interpersonal politics or drama.”

Imagine: A nurturing environment distinguished by a welcoming, inclusive spirit, largely devoid of overt rancor, unnecessary drama, and one-upsmanship. Those were the days, my friends, which most of us knew would eventually end. Regardless, come celebrate good times gone by at the A Cappella Books 30th Anniversary Concert benefitting Common Good Atlanta on December 16. __-CL-__

''A Cappella Books 30th Anniversary Concert, with Cat Power, W8ing4UFOS, and FLAP, at the Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E. Tickets $38.07 to $55.58. 404-524-7354.''"
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  string(8569) " Listening Post Dec Composite  2019-12-04T19:26:17+00:00 Listening_Post_Dec_composite.jpg    listening post cat power chan marshall a cappella books Anniversary concert benefits Common Good Atlanta 26560  2019-12-04T18:55:07+00:00 LISTENING POST: Cat Power, W8ing4UFOS, and FLAP celebrate 30 years of A Cappella Books and community service jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Doug Deloach Doug DeLoach 2019-12-04T18:55:07+00:00  It’s an extraordinarily good thing when good people come together to celebrate a good business by presenting good music while raising money for a good cause. That’s the formula for the concert sponsored by A Cappella Books marking 30 years of continuous operation as Atlanta’s hippest independent book store.

Headlining the concert at the Variety Playhouse on Monday, December 16, is Cat Power, performing a rare solo set. The nom du art of singer-songwriter Chan Marshall, Cat Power has been beguiling listeners with her distinctly breathy, Southern-fried voice and oddly irresistible, melancholic songs since the 1980s when she was living in thoroughly un-gentrified Cabbagetown. Sharing the special A Cappella bill with Cat Power are W8ing4UFOs and FLAP, whose roots also extend through the same deep local underground as Cat Power.

Proceeds from concert ticket sales will benefit Common Good Atlanta (CGA), a nonprofit co-founded in 2008 by Sarah Higinbotham and Bill Taft. CGA offers accredited and non-accredited college courses in three Georgia prisons. To date, more than 250 incarcerated men and women have taken one or more CGA courses. In October, the organization was honored with a 2019 Governor’s Award for the Arts and Humanities. (For more information about CGA, see the “College Behind Bars” feature also in this issue.)

When asked to expound on the concept behind the benefit concert, A Cappella Books founder and owner Frank Reiss replies, “We had a 25th-anniversary celebration, which was really wonderful, but it felt a little self-indulgent. I pledged that, if we were still around for our 30th, we would do something focused on the community, since the community has been so supportive of us.”


In 1989, when A Cappella Books opened in its original Little Five Points location on Euclid Avenue, the internet was not yet a global shopping destination. Independent book stores, such as Oxford Books and Chapter 11, were around, but most of those eventually succumbed to competition from online outlets and behemoth retailers, such as Barnes & Noble and Borders. A few — Charis, Tall Tales, Eagle Eye, and others — forged on, but also felt the impact of a changing marketplace. 

Now in its third location in roughly the same neighborhood (technically, Inman Park), A Cappella Books caters to the sharper end of the book-reading spectrum. The 1,500-square-foot store carries collectible first editions and out-of-print books, as well as shelves of carefully curated new and used books from authors known and obscure, on subjects popular and esoteric. A sizable portion of the store’s sales stem from special events, such as in-store book signings and author presentations at venues including the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Wrecking Bar Brew Pub.

At three decades and counting, A Cappella stands as a testament to Reiss’ now seasoned business savvy and commitment to the cause of serious literature. “I just haven’t known anything else to do through the tough times other than to keep on keeping on,” he says. “I started selling books when I was 21, so it really is all I know.”

The trajectory of A Cappella Books has always included a musical component. Author-musicians are regularly feted, some by Creative Loafing’s own longtime music writer Chad Radford as part of the Writers at the Wrecking Bar series. In past years the store has hosted performances by numerous local musicians including FLAP and various group ventures led by Taft, who also sings and plays guitar with W8ing4UFOs, a band he founded after fronting several Cabbagetown-based aggregations. 

“Bill has been a central part of the music scene since before I opened A Cappella,” Reiss says. “I’ve also been following his work with CGA and always wanted to do something with the organization. Since Chan holds such strong affection for Bill and the other musicians, we figured getting her to come back home for this benefit would make for an ideal lineup.”

In an email exchange, Marshall admits that performing in Atlanta, where she spent her formative years as a musician before moving to New York and ascending to the upper realm of indie-rock stardom, induces mixed emotions.

“Playing hometown shows always brings heavy tides of a million memories, especially playing without our friends we have lost along the way,” she writes. “The magic is that we get to be together again, to share time again, as friends and as creatives, just like we did in the old days.”

During the mid-1980s, which is generally acknowledged as the beginning of a “golden age” of independent and experimental music making in Atlanta, Marshall shared a small, ramshackle house in Cabbagetown with Robert Hayes. Hayes was the bassist for The Jody Grind, the legendary alt-jazz-rock-lounge combo founded by Taft, which included vocalist Kelly Hogan (who will be performing at the Vista Room in January with W8ing4UFOs), and Rob Clayton, who replaced the band’s original drummer, Walter Brewer. Back in the day, as often as possible, The Jody Grind gigs opened with a performance by the “mad poet of Ponce de Leon,” Deacon Lunchbox (Tim Ruttenber).

On Easter Sunday in 1992, Hayes, Clayton, and Ruttenber were heading back to Atlanta from a concert in Florida when a drunk driver plowed head-on into their vehicle, killing all three men. In the aftermath of the tragedy Taft and Hogan formed Kick Me, which became a trio when drummer Alan Page sat in. In February 1994, Page was found in his parked car on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown where he died from a heroin overdose.

During the ensuing years, the music community continued to lose key figures associated with the same era to the ravages of unbridled self-medication. Benjamin, the stage moniker of Robert Dickerson, singer, lyricist, drag queen, and founding member of the Opal Foxx Quartet and Smoke — which included Taft, W8ing4UFOs cellist Brian Halloran and drummer Will Fratesi, plus guitarist Coleman Lewis — passed away from liver failure in 1999. Lewis, who also accompanied Cat Power, died of an overdose in 2014.

“Doing this concert in the name of something good, which needs support, makes it very special, especially so close to the holidays,” says Marshall.

With similar nostalgic affection, FLAP guitarist Matt Miller recalls the heyday of the 1980s/’90s. One of FLAP’s earliest gigs was at the Mudd Shack, the alias for Tortillas, a tiny burrito stand on Ponce de Leon Avenue. On select Saturdays at midnight, after the restaurant closed, the Mudd Shack became a staging platform for the blossoming bohemian subculture. Poetry readings, indie films, music, and performances by the edgiest artists and bands in town were the regular fare.

“When we started playing the Mudd Shack as teenagers, we were warmly welcomed by some of the older and more established musicians and performers in the scene,” Miller says. “People like Deacon and Bill Taft set the tone, which was characterized by friendliness, humility, and generosity rather than exclusivity or snobbishness. Looking back on it, it was a very nurturing and collaborative environment in which we could pursue our idiosyncratic musical vision without worrying too much about interpersonal politics or drama.”

Imagine: A nurturing environment distinguished by a welcoming, inclusive spirit, largely devoid of overt rancor, unnecessary drama, and one-upsmanship. Those were the days, my friends, which most of us knew would eventually end. Regardless, come celebrate good times gone by at the A Cappella Books 30th Anniversary Concert benefitting Common Good Atlanta on December 16. -CL-

A Cappella Books 30th Anniversary Concert, with Cat Power, W8ing4UFOS, and FLAP, at the Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E. Tickets $38.07 to $55.58. 404-524-7354.    Courtesy of A Cappella Books   0,0,10    listening post "cat power" "chan marshall" "a cappella books"                             LISTENING POST: Cat Power, W8ing4UFOS, and FLAP celebrate 30 years of A Cappella Books and community service "
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Wednesday December 4, 2019 01:55 pm EST
Anniversary concert benefits Common Good Atlanta | more...
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  string(116) "In its 16th season, Atlanta-based post-classical chamber ensemble champions historically underrepresented composers"
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  string(13349) "For all of its rap/hip hop street cred, rock ‘n’ roll lifer culture, and vibrant jazz, blues, soul, and roots scenes, Atlanta can also rightly lay claim to being a rallying point for contemporary chamber music. From the Atlanta Chamber Players, Atlanta Contemporary Ensemble and neoPhonia Music Ensemble to Terminus Ensemble, Cantos y Cuentos, and Bent Frequency, our city is graced with an embarrassment of large and small post-classical ensembles.

Part of the reason for this delightful circumstance can be traced to the College of the Arts at Georgia State University, where the founders of Bent Frequency, Jan Berry Baker and Stuart Gerber, as well as Nickitas Demos of NeoPhonia, are faculty educators and major influencers. For the past 15 seasons, Bent Frequency has been performing and presenting adventurous music with a special emphasis on championing work by historically underrepresented composers including women, composers of color, and LGBTQIA+.

In October, Bent Frequency kicked off its 16th season at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega with a concert by Duo Project, aka Baker (saxophones, reeds) and Gerber (percussion). The program included two newly commissioned works, John Libertore’s A Line Broken, Traced, which the dynamic duo recently recorded, and Elainie Lillios’ Hazy Moonlight, along with Child’s Play by Amy Williams and American Beauty by Gainesville-based composer Lowell Fuchs.

With its title drawn from a poem by Iranian Nader Naderpour, Libertore’s four-movement composition calls for the saxophone and vibraphone to engage in sharp dialog, but also in a kind of lyrical relay event, the combination of which variously evokes mystical, contemplative, conflicted and playful moods. Lillios’ piece for soprano saxophone, percussion, and electro-acoustics, Hazy Moonlight was also inspired by a work of poetry, a set of five haiku by American Wally Swist. Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University, the work morphs through lyrical interpretations of the moon during different phases and seasons.

“We wanted to feature the two newest commissions in a ‘home’ concert setting,” says Baker in an email exchange. “Also, we love Lowell’s piece and Amy’s Child’s Play, which is an audience favorite.” Bent Frequency has performed the latter work — which is played exclusively with children’s instruments including slide whistle, Slinky, police whistle and a train whistle — more than 40 times.

Coming up Saturday, November 2, Bent Frequency participates in “An Evening of ExperiMINTal Art and Music” at Mint Gallery in the MET warehouse community in the West End. InstallMINT, the gallery’s current exhibition, was curated by Jessica Helfrecht and features installations and performance art by Ashton Bird, In Kyoung Chun, Brittney Hart, Leisa Rich, Megan C. Masholder, Brittany Watkins, and Elise Williams. For the one-night-only engagement Bent Frequency will deploy Baker, Berger, Katie Taylor (viola), and Erika Tazawa (toy piano) to infuse the exhibition with a sonorous experimental ambience.

The ExperiMINTal setlist includes the aforementioned Child's Play, Mara Gibson’s Folium Cubed, Jeff Herriott’s I stood on the shore and looked up at the birds, Julia Wolfe’s East Broadway, and a sensitive number for the laydeez by Irish composer Jennifer Walshe. Previously performed by Bent Frequency in March at Kopleff Recital Hall, Walshe’s work is a highly abstract, playfully dissonant score for viola, saxophone, percussion, piano, and video.

“A sensitive number for the laydeez is as much a performance-art happening as it is a work of contemporary music,” says Baker. “It’s much better suited for a more intimate space than a concert hall because the audience will be able to get up close and see, not just hear, the sounds we are playing.”

A month later, on Wednesday, December 4, Bent Frequency will present “Many Voices” at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus. Featuring internationally acclaimed bass baritone Nicholas Isherwood and sound installations by students under the tutelage of Emory assistant professor Adam Mirza, “Many Voices” promises to be a uniquely adventurous program.

In his “Mediated Sound” studio curriculum, Mirza teaches recording and editing techniques with an emphasis on creating sound collage compositions using material, such as object sounds, spoken word, recorded instruments, and field recordings, discovered by students on their own. For “Many Voices,” the students will choose an object or gallery in the Carlos Museum from which to create a soundwork reflecting their impressions and reactions.

“As they build their pieces, we will consider the broader themes of the concert,” Mirza says. That means considering an enveloping sonic environment across the installations and exploring the connection between the student compositions, the musicians playing instruments and the audience members moving through the space. “The idea is to create sound pieces that 'hear' the 'voices' of other people from the past or elsewhere, as embodied by the objects.”

“Many Voices” also features solo and group performances by members of Bent Frequency and guest artist Isherwood. One of the world’s leading singers of early and contemporary music, as well as opera and chorale repertoire, Isherwood has recorded more than 50 albums. He has worked with distinguished composers such as Sylvano Bussotti, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Mauricio Kagel, Olivier Messiaen, and Iannis Xenakis, and was a regular collaborator with Karlheinz Stockhausen. Isherwood has also improvised with luminaries such Steve Lacy, Joëlle Léandre, David Moss, and Sainkho Namtchilak.

At the Carlos Museum, Isherwood will perform Stripsody, a composition for solo vocalist written in 1966 by Cathy Berberian. Berberian’s score uses cartoon imagery and lettering, rather than conventional notation, to guide the singer through a performance, which includes imitating a radio, yodeling like Tarzan, and urging a kite to extract itself from a tree.

“I've known Nicholas for many years through Stockhausen circles,” says Gerber, who studied and collaborated with the pioneering 20th-century German composer. “When he told me he was going to be in the States, I started looking for a way to bring him to Georgia.”

The “Many Voices” program includes Gerber performing Frederic Rzewski's "To the Earth" for speaking percussionist and four flower pots; Baker interpreting Judith Shatin’s “Penelope’s Song,” a solo work for reed instrument and electronics inspired by the mythical tale of Penelope, Queen of Ithaca and wife of Odysseus; and New York-based composer Jue Wang presenting a selection from her "Bedroom Performance" series.

“The pieces will be repeated four times,” Gerber explains, “with the idea being that, since the galleries are small and intimate, the audience will hear one piece, then rotate to another place and hear another piece, until they’ve heard them all.”

Following the gallery performances, musicians and audience will move upstairs where a more "formal" program in Ackerman Hall will feature Gerber’s rendering of Mirza's “Cracks”; Isherwood performing “Hand,” a solo work for video and audio by New Zealander Eve de Castro-Robinson; and a duet performance by Gerber and Isherwood of Iannis Xenakis' “Kassandra.”

On Saturday, December 14, Bent Frequency will embark upon what has become a seasonal tradition, leading a performance of UnSilent Night in an Atlanta neighborhood. A composition by Phil Kline, Unsilent Night was written specifically as an outdoor performance during the month of December in which the public is invited to participate.

Akin to a digitally processed caroling event without the singing, Unsilent Night prescribes a street promenade during which audience members play pre-recorded tracks previously downloaded on their cellphones, boomboxes, or other devices. Since 1992, Unsilent Night has been performed in more than one hundred cities on five continents. In Hapeville, the UnSilent Night route starts at Arches Brewing and loops around the neighborhood before returning to the craft brewery.

“As in all of our past seasons,” Baker says, “Bent Frequency is featuring important, relevant, and compelling work by composers who explode the marginalized programming trend, which is prevalent in classical music.”

!!!Wilderness compositions
On Saturday, November 16, members of the Atlanta Contemporary Ensemble will perform select works during “Sound Ecology,” a program by Atlanta-based and self-described “wilderness composer, educator, and performer” Stephen Wood. ACE performers include Tracy Woodard (violin), Ben Shirley (cello), Eric Fontaine (clarinet), Judith Klein (flute), Amy O’Dell (piano), and Paul Stevens (vibraphone, percussion).

Incorporating multidimensional photography by Davyd Betchkal, chief soundscape technician at Denali National Park, “Sound Ecology” includes the world premiere of “You are Owling!” The work, which pays tribute to the endangered Northern Spotted Owl, was inspired by bio-acoustic field studies conducted this past summer by Wood for the Siuslaw National Forest owl research team.

Other compositions on the program are “The Apalachicola,” inspired by the Apalachicola National Forest; “Natural Sounds and Night Skies,”  acknowledging the National Park Service’s Natural Sounds and Nights Skies Division; which was premiered in a March concert at the First Existentialist Congregation; “Untrammeled,” a piece that evokes the Yukon-Charley Rivers Preserve; and “Evening,” a graphic score that interprets the energetic transference of sound at dusk.

Sat., Nov. 16. 7-10 p.m. Generator, Telephone Factory Lofts, 828 Ralph McGill Boulevard N.E. Tickets $15 available at Eventbrite. https://www.facebook.com/events/2176088465824010/

!!!  Original silent movie scores
Watching a classic silent film requires a slightly altered state of mind. The use of title cards for dialogue and narrative exposition sparks a different set of synapses than is employed for a conventional movie, while a heightened attentiveness to mise-en-scène is sometimes necessary to fully comprehend the subtler aspects of the unfolding drama. Then there is the musical accompaniment to consider.

A century or so ago, standardized practices for supplying music for films was nonexistent. To produce suitable cinematic accompaniment, soloists (usually a pianist or organist) and small ensembles drew from a mixed bag of vaudeville tunes, popular songs, orchestral works, and some original compositions. In many cases, the music was improvised on the spot, opening up a window for experimentation and innovation.

In the 21st century, a renewed interest in silent cinema preservation spawned a spate of screenings with live musical accompaniment, which in turn inspired a small subset of contemporary musicians and composers to channel their artistic impulses into this rarefied realm.

Cue “Changing Score: Classic Films Reimagined,” a presentation by Georgia Tech Arts, scheduled for Friday, November 15, at the Ferst Center for the Arts. This special concert/screening features segments from legendary silent filmmakers Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Jean Renoir accompanied by original scores from French composer Gaëll Lozac’h performed by the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Chaowen Ting. The program includes clips from Chaplin’s The Vagabond (1916), Keaton’s The Haunted House (1921), Lloyd’s Safety Last! (1923) and Renoir’s La Petite Marchande d’Allumettes (The Little Match Girl) (1928).

Since 2008, Lozac’h has been composing for silent films in conjunction with the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie, the Orchestre du Lycée Janson de Sailly and the Orchestre du conservatoire de Bourg-la-Reine. He has recorded soundtracks for Lobster Films, a Paris-based distribution company specializing in early cinema.

“Lozac'h's scores are wonderful treats, clean and compact with elegant melodic lines often accompanied by light orchestration lending energizing pulses,” says conductor Ting. “He combines a wide range of styles from the baroque to contemporary in a true demonstration of the past re-imagined in the now.”

Same as it was a century ago, performing a “live” film soundtrack calls for a different set of skills by members of the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra, who are trained to play Beethoven symphonies by the book.

“The biggest challenge for the orchestra is to match certain musical moments with the film, such as a gunshot, an object falling, or a jumping Jack-in-the-Box toy,” Ting says. “We spent much of the rehearsal practicing those moments to make sure the timing was as accurate as possible. It's been a great training experience, which will enhance the orchestra’s overall musicianship and ensemble skills.”

“Changing Score: Classic Films Reimagined.”  For tickets at $15-$25, 8 p.m. Fri., Nov. 15. Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech, 349 Ferst Drive N.W. 404-894-9600."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(14094) "For all of its rap/hip hop street cred, rock ‘n’ roll lifer culture, and vibrant jazz, blues, soul, and roots scenes, Atlanta can also rightly lay claim to being a rallying point for contemporary chamber music. From the [https://www.atlantachamberplayers.com/|Atlanta Chamber Players], [https://www.atlce.org/#new-page-section|Atlanta Contemporary Ensemble] and [https://music.gsu.edu/performanceensembles/new-music-ensembles/|neoPhonia Music Ensemble] to [http://terminusensemble.org/|Terminus Ensemble], [https://www.facebook.com/cantosycuentosaltanta/|Cantos y Cuentos], and [http://bentfrequency.com/|Bent Frequency], our city is graced with an embarrassment of large and small post-classical ensembles.

Part of the reason for this delightful circumstance can be traced to the College of the Arts at Georgia State University, where the founders of Bent Frequency, Jan Berry Baker and Stuart Gerber, as well as Nickitas Demos of NeoPhonia, are faculty educators and major influencers. For the past 15 seasons, Bent Frequency has been performing and presenting adventurous music with a special emphasis on championing work by historically underrepresented composers including women, composers of color, and LGBTQIA+.

In October, Bent Frequency kicked off its 16th season at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega with a concert by Duo Project, aka Baker (saxophones, reeds) and Gerber (percussion). The program included two newly commissioned works, John Libertore’s ''[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD6nOCKi5OU|A Line Broken, Traced]'', which the dynamic duo recently recorded, and Elainie Lillios’ ''[https://soundcloud.com/elillios/hazy-moonlight|Hazy Moonlight]'', along with Child’s Play by Amy Williams and American Beauty by Gainesville-based composer Lowell Fuchs.

With its title drawn from a poem by Iranian Nader Naderpour, Libertore’s four-movement composition calls for the saxophone and vibraphone to engage in sharp dialog, but also in a kind of lyrical relay event, the combination of which variously evokes mystical, contemplative, conflicted and playful moods. Lillios’ piece for soprano saxophone, percussion, and electro-acoustics, ''Hazy Moonlight'' was also inspired by a work of poetry, a set of five haiku by American Wally Swist. Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University, the work morphs through lyrical interpretations of the moon during different phases and seasons.

__“__We wanted to feature the two newest commissions in a ‘home’ concert setting,” says Baker in an email exchange. “Also, we love Lowell’s piece and Amy’s ''Child’s Play'', which is an audience favorite.” Bent Frequency has performed the latter work — which is played exclusively with children’s instruments including slide whistle, Slinky, police whistle and a train whistle — more than 40 times.

Coming up __Saturday, November 2__, Bent Frequency participates in “An Evening of ExperiMINTal Art and Music” at [https://www.mintatl.org/|Mint Gallery] in the [https://metatl.com/|MET] warehouse community in the West End. InstallMINT, the gallery’s current exhibition, was curated by Jessica Helfrecht and features installations and performance art by Ashton Bird, In Kyoung Chun, Brittney Hart, Leisa Rich, Megan C. Masholder, Brittany Watkins, and Elise Williams. For the one-night-only engagement Bent Frequency will deploy Baker, Berger, Katie Taylor (viola), and Erika Tazawa (toy piano) to infuse the exhibition with a sonorous experimental ambience.

The ExperiMINTal setlist includes the aforementioned ''Child's Play'', Mara Gibson’s ''Folium Cubed'', Jeff Herriott’s ''I stood on the shore and looked up at the birds'', Julia Wolfe’s ''East Broadway,'' and ''a sensitive number for the laydeez'' by Irish composer Jennifer Walshe. Previously performed by Bent Frequency in March at Kopleff Recital Hall, Walshe’s work is a highly abstract, playfully dissonant score for viola, saxophone, percussion, piano, and video.

“''A sensitive number for the laydeez'' is as much a performance-art happening as it is a work of contemporary music,” says Baker. “It’s much better suited for a more intimate space than a concert hall because the audience will be able to get up close and see, not just hear, the sounds we are playing.”

A month later, on __Wednesday, December 4__, Bent Frequency will present “Many Voices” at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus. Featuring internationally acclaimed bass baritone Nicholas Isherwood and sound installations by students under the tutelage of Emory assistant professor Adam Mirza, “Many Voices” promises to be a uniquely adventurous program.

In his “Mediated Sound” studio curriculum, Mirza teaches recording and editing techniques with an emphasis on creating sound collage compositions using material, such as object sounds, spoken word, recorded instruments, and field recordings, discovered by students on their own. For “Many Voices,” the students will choose an object or gallery in the Carlos Museum from which to create a soundwork reflecting their impressions and reactions.

“As they build their pieces, we will consider the broader themes of the concert,” Mirza says. That means considering an enveloping sonic environment across the installations and exploring the connection between the student compositions, the musicians playing instruments and the audience members moving through the space. “The idea is to create sound pieces that 'hear' the 'voices' of other people from the past or elsewhere, as embodied by the objects.”

“Many Voices” also features solo and group performances by members of Bent Frequency and guest artist Isherwood. One of the world’s leading singers of early and contemporary music, as well as opera and chorale repertoire, Isherwood has recorded more than 50 albums. He has worked with distinguished composers such as Sylvano Bussotti, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Mauricio Kagel, Olivier Messiaen, and Iannis Xenakis, and was a regular collaborator with Karlheinz Stockhausen. Isherwood has also improvised with luminaries such Steve Lacy, Joëlle Léandre, David Moss, and Sainkho Namtchilak.

At the Carlos Museum, Isherwood will perform ''Stripsody'', a composition for solo vocalist written in 1966 by Cathy Berberian. Berberian’s score uses cartoon imagery and lettering, rather than conventional notation, to guide the singer through a performance, which includes imitating a radio, yodeling like Tarzan, and urging a kite to extract itself from a tree.

“I've known Nicholas for many years through Stockhausen circles,” says Gerber, who studied and collaborated with the pioneering 20th-century German composer. “When he told me he was going to be in the States, I started looking for a way to bring him to Georgia.”

The “Many Voices” program includes Gerber performing Frederic Rzewski's "To the Earth" for speaking percussionist and four flower pots; Baker interpreting Judith Shatin’s “Penelope’s Song,” a solo work for reed instrument and electronics inspired by the mythical tale of Penelope, Queen of Ithaca and wife of Odysseus; and New York-based composer Jue Wang presenting a selection from her "Bedroom Performance" series.

“The pieces will be repeated four times,” Gerber explains, “with the idea being that, since the galleries are small and intimate, the audience will hear one piece, then rotate to another place and hear another piece, until they’ve heard them all.”

Following the gallery performances, musicians and audience will move upstairs where a more "formal" program in Ackerman Hall will feature Gerber’s rendering of Mirza's “Cracks”; Isherwood performing “Hand,” a solo work for video and audio by New Zealander Eve de Castro-Robinson; and a duet performance by Gerber and Isherwood of Iannis Xenakis' “Kassandra.”

On __Saturday, December 14__, Bent Frequency will embark upon what has become a seasonal tradition, leading a performance of ''UnSilent Night'' in an Atlanta neighborhood. A composition by Phil Kline, ''Unsilent Night'''' ''was written specifically as an outdoor performance during the month of December in which the public is invited to participate.

Akin to a digitally processed caroling event without the singing, Unsilent Night prescribes a street promenade during which audience members play pre-recorded tracks previously downloaded on their cellphones, boomboxes, or other devices. Since 1992, [https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=45&v=6-ZNEwS8QG4|Unsilent Night] has been performed in more than one hundred cities on five continents. In Hapeville, the UnSilent Night route starts at Arches Brewing and loops around the neighborhood before returning to the craft brewery.

“As in all of our past seasons,” Baker says, “Bent Frequency is featuring important, relevant, and compelling work by composers who explode the marginalized programming trend, which is prevalent in classical music.”

!!!__Wilderness compositions__
On __Saturday, November 16__, members of the Atlanta Contemporary Ensemble will perform select works during “Sound Ecology,” a program by Atlanta-based and self-described “wilderness composer, educator, and performer” Stephen Wood. ACE performers include Tracy Woodard (violin), Ben Shirley (cello), Eric Fontaine (clarinet), Judith Klein (flute), Amy O’Dell (piano), and Paul Stevens (vibraphone, percussion).

Incorporating multidimensional photography by Davyd Betchkal, chief soundscape technician at Denali National Park, “Sound Ecology” includes the world premiere of “You are Owling!” The work, which pays tribute to the endangered Northern Spotted Owl, was inspired by bio-acoustic field studies conducted this past summer by Wood for the Siuslaw National Forest owl research team.

Other compositions on the program are “The Apalachicola,” inspired by the Apalachicola National Forest; “Natural Sounds and Night Skies,”  acknowledging the National Park Service’s Natural Sounds and Nights Skies Division; which was premiered in a March concert at the First Existentialist Congregation; “Untrammeled,” a piece that evokes the Yukon-Charley Rivers Preserve; and “Evening,” a graphic score that interprets the energetic transference of sound at dusk.

''Sat., Nov. 16. 7-10 p.m. Generator, Telephone Factory Lofts, 828 Ralph McGill Boulevard N.E. Tickets $15 available at Eventbrite. ''[https://www.facebook.com/events/2176088465824010/]

!!! %%% __Original silent movie scores__
Watching a classic silent film requires a slightly altered state of mind. The use of title cards for dialogue and narrative exposition sparks a different set of synapses than is employed for a conventional movie, while a heightened attentiveness to mise-en-scène is sometimes necessary to fully comprehend the subtler aspects of the unfolding drama. Then there is the musical accompaniment to consider.

A century or so ago, standardized practices for supplying music for films was nonexistent. To produce suitable cinematic accompaniment, soloists (usually a pianist or organist) and small ensembles drew from a mixed bag of vaudeville tunes, popular songs, orchestral works, and some original compositions. In many cases, the music was improvised on the spot, opening up a window for experimentation and innovation.

In the 21st century, a renewed interest in silent cinema preservation spawned a spate of screenings with live musical accompaniment, which in turn inspired a small subset of contemporary musicians and composers to channel their artistic impulses into this rarefied realm.

Cue [https://arts.gatech.edu/content/changing-score-classic-films-reimagined|“Changing Score: Classic Films Reimagined,”] a presentation by [https://arts.gatech.edu/|Georgia Tech Arts], scheduled for Friday, November 15,__ __at the Ferst Center for the Arts. This special concert/screening__ __features segments from legendary silent filmmakers Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Jean Renoir accompanied by original scores from French composer Gaëll Lozac’h performed by the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Chaowen Ting. The program includes clips from Chaplin’s The Vagabond (1916), Keaton’s The Haunted House (1921), Lloyd’s Safety Last! (1923) and Renoir’s La Petite Marchande d’Allumettes (The Little Match Girl) (1928).

Since 2008, Lozac’h has been composing for silent films in conjunction with the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie, the Orchestre du Lycée Janson de Sailly and the Orchestre du conservatoire de Bourg-la-Reine. He has recorded soundtracks for Lobster Films, a Paris-based distribution company specializing in early cinema.

“Lozac'h's scores are wonderful treats, clean and compact with elegant melodic lines often accompanied by light orchestration lending energizing pulses,” says conductor Ting. “He combines a wide range of styles from the baroque to contemporary in a true demonstration of the past re-imagined in the now.”

Same as it was a century ago, performing a “live” film soundtrack calls for a different set of skills by members of the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra, who are trained to play Beethoven symphonies by the book.

“The biggest challenge for the orchestra is to match certain musical moments with the film, such as a gunshot, an object falling, or a jumping Jack-in-the-Box toy,” Ting says. “We spent much of the rehearsal practicing those moments to make sure the timing was as accurate as possible. It's been a great training experience, which will enhance the orchestra’s overall musicianship and ensemble skills.”

''“Changing Score: Classic Films Reimagined.”  [https://arts.gatech.edu/content/changing-score-classic-films-reimagined|For tickets] at $15-$25, 8 p.m. Fri., Nov. 15. Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech, 349 Ferst Drive N.W. 404-894-9600.''"
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  string(14184) " LIST Nov Bent Frequency  2019-11-01T17:15:39+00:00 LIST Nov Bent Frequency.JPG     In its 16th season, Atlanta-based post-classical chamber ensemble champions historically underrepresented composers 25610  2019-11-01T17:14:15+00:00 LISTENING POST: Bent Frequency bends toward adventurous chamber music tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris DOUG DELOACH Doug DeLoach 2019-11-01T17:14:15+00:00  For all of its rap/hip hop street cred, rock ‘n’ roll lifer culture, and vibrant jazz, blues, soul, and roots scenes, Atlanta can also rightly lay claim to being a rallying point for contemporary chamber music. From the Atlanta Chamber Players, Atlanta Contemporary Ensemble and neoPhonia Music Ensemble to Terminus Ensemble, Cantos y Cuentos, and Bent Frequency, our city is graced with an embarrassment of large and small post-classical ensembles.

Part of the reason for this delightful circumstance can be traced to the College of the Arts at Georgia State University, where the founders of Bent Frequency, Jan Berry Baker and Stuart Gerber, as well as Nickitas Demos of NeoPhonia, are faculty educators and major influencers. For the past 15 seasons, Bent Frequency has been performing and presenting adventurous music with a special emphasis on championing work by historically underrepresented composers including women, composers of color, and LGBTQIA+.

In October, Bent Frequency kicked off its 16th season at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega with a concert by Duo Project, aka Baker (saxophones, reeds) and Gerber (percussion). The program included two newly commissioned works, John Libertore’s A Line Broken, Traced, which the dynamic duo recently recorded, and Elainie Lillios’ Hazy Moonlight, along with Child’s Play by Amy Williams and American Beauty by Gainesville-based composer Lowell Fuchs.

With its title drawn from a poem by Iranian Nader Naderpour, Libertore’s four-movement composition calls for the saxophone and vibraphone to engage in sharp dialog, but also in a kind of lyrical relay event, the combination of which variously evokes mystical, contemplative, conflicted and playful moods. Lillios’ piece for soprano saxophone, percussion, and electro-acoustics, Hazy Moonlight was also inspired by a work of poetry, a set of five haiku by American Wally Swist. Commissioned by the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University, the work morphs through lyrical interpretations of the moon during different phases and seasons.

“We wanted to feature the two newest commissions in a ‘home’ concert setting,” says Baker in an email exchange. “Also, we love Lowell’s piece and Amy’s Child’s Play, which is an audience favorite.” Bent Frequency has performed the latter work — which is played exclusively with children’s instruments including slide whistle, Slinky, police whistle and a train whistle — more than 40 times.

Coming up Saturday, November 2, Bent Frequency participates in “An Evening of ExperiMINTal Art and Music” at Mint Gallery in the MET warehouse community in the West End. InstallMINT, the gallery’s current exhibition, was curated by Jessica Helfrecht and features installations and performance art by Ashton Bird, In Kyoung Chun, Brittney Hart, Leisa Rich, Megan C. Masholder, Brittany Watkins, and Elise Williams. For the one-night-only engagement Bent Frequency will deploy Baker, Berger, Katie Taylor (viola), and Erika Tazawa (toy piano) to infuse the exhibition with a sonorous experimental ambience.

The ExperiMINTal setlist includes the aforementioned Child's Play, Mara Gibson’s Folium Cubed, Jeff Herriott’s I stood on the shore and looked up at the birds, Julia Wolfe’s East Broadway, and a sensitive number for the laydeez by Irish composer Jennifer Walshe. Previously performed by Bent Frequency in March at Kopleff Recital Hall, Walshe’s work is a highly abstract, playfully dissonant score for viola, saxophone, percussion, piano, and video.

“A sensitive number for the laydeez is as much a performance-art happening as it is a work of contemporary music,” says Baker. “It’s much better suited for a more intimate space than a concert hall because the audience will be able to get up close and see, not just hear, the sounds we are playing.”

A month later, on Wednesday, December 4, Bent Frequency will present “Many Voices” at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus. Featuring internationally acclaimed bass baritone Nicholas Isherwood and sound installations by students under the tutelage of Emory assistant professor Adam Mirza, “Many Voices” promises to be a uniquely adventurous program.

In his “Mediated Sound” studio curriculum, Mirza teaches recording and editing techniques with an emphasis on creating sound collage compositions using material, such as object sounds, spoken word, recorded instruments, and field recordings, discovered by students on their own. For “Many Voices,” the students will choose an object or gallery in the Carlos Museum from which to create a soundwork reflecting their impressions and reactions.

“As they build their pieces, we will consider the broader themes of the concert,” Mirza says. That means considering an enveloping sonic environment across the installations and exploring the connection between the student compositions, the musicians playing instruments and the audience members moving through the space. “The idea is to create sound pieces that 'hear' the 'voices' of other people from the past or elsewhere, as embodied by the objects.”

“Many Voices” also features solo and group performances by members of Bent Frequency and guest artist Isherwood. One of the world’s leading singers of early and contemporary music, as well as opera and chorale repertoire, Isherwood has recorded more than 50 albums. He has worked with distinguished composers such as Sylvano Bussotti, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Mauricio Kagel, Olivier Messiaen, and Iannis Xenakis, and was a regular collaborator with Karlheinz Stockhausen. Isherwood has also improvised with luminaries such Steve Lacy, Joëlle Léandre, David Moss, and Sainkho Namtchilak.

At the Carlos Museum, Isherwood will perform Stripsody, a composition for solo vocalist written in 1966 by Cathy Berberian. Berberian’s score uses cartoon imagery and lettering, rather than conventional notation, to guide the singer through a performance, which includes imitating a radio, yodeling like Tarzan, and urging a kite to extract itself from a tree.

“I've known Nicholas for many years through Stockhausen circles,” says Gerber, who studied and collaborated with the pioneering 20th-century German composer. “When he told me he was going to be in the States, I started looking for a way to bring him to Georgia.”

The “Many Voices” program includes Gerber performing Frederic Rzewski's "To the Earth" for speaking percussionist and four flower pots; Baker interpreting Judith Shatin’s “Penelope’s Song,” a solo work for reed instrument and electronics inspired by the mythical tale of Penelope, Queen of Ithaca and wife of Odysseus; and New York-based composer Jue Wang presenting a selection from her "Bedroom Performance" series.

“The pieces will be repeated four times,” Gerber explains, “with the idea being that, since the galleries are small and intimate, the audience will hear one piece, then rotate to another place and hear another piece, until they’ve heard them all.”

Following the gallery performances, musicians and audience will move upstairs where a more "formal" program in Ackerman Hall will feature Gerber’s rendering of Mirza's “Cracks”; Isherwood performing “Hand,” a solo work for video and audio by New Zealander Eve de Castro-Robinson; and a duet performance by Gerber and Isherwood of Iannis Xenakis' “Kassandra.”

On Saturday, December 14, Bent Frequency will embark upon what has become a seasonal tradition, leading a performance of UnSilent Night in an Atlanta neighborhood. A composition by Phil Kline, Unsilent Night was written specifically as an outdoor performance during the month of December in which the public is invited to participate.

Akin to a digitally processed caroling event without the singing, Unsilent Night prescribes a street promenade during which audience members play pre-recorded tracks previously downloaded on their cellphones, boomboxes, or other devices. Since 1992, Unsilent Night has been performed in more than one hundred cities on five continents. In Hapeville, the UnSilent Night route starts at Arches Brewing and loops around the neighborhood before returning to the craft brewery.

“As in all of our past seasons,” Baker says, “Bent Frequency is featuring important, relevant, and compelling work by composers who explode the marginalized programming trend, which is prevalent in classical music.”

!!!Wilderness compositions
On Saturday, November 16, members of the Atlanta Contemporary Ensemble will perform select works during “Sound Ecology,” a program by Atlanta-based and self-described “wilderness composer, educator, and performer” Stephen Wood. ACE performers include Tracy Woodard (violin), Ben Shirley (cello), Eric Fontaine (clarinet), Judith Klein (flute), Amy O’Dell (piano), and Paul Stevens (vibraphone, percussion).

Incorporating multidimensional photography by Davyd Betchkal, chief soundscape technician at Denali National Park, “Sound Ecology” includes the world premiere of “You are Owling!” The work, which pays tribute to the endangered Northern Spotted Owl, was inspired by bio-acoustic field studies conducted this past summer by Wood for the Siuslaw National Forest owl research team.

Other compositions on the program are “The Apalachicola,” inspired by the Apalachicola National Forest; “Natural Sounds and Night Skies,”  acknowledging the National Park Service’s Natural Sounds and Nights Skies Division; which was premiered in a March concert at the First Existentialist Congregation; “Untrammeled,” a piece that evokes the Yukon-Charley Rivers Preserve; and “Evening,” a graphic score that interprets the energetic transference of sound at dusk.

Sat., Nov. 16. 7-10 p.m. Generator, Telephone Factory Lofts, 828 Ralph McGill Boulevard N.E. Tickets $15 available at Eventbrite. https://www.facebook.com/events/2176088465824010/

!!!  Original silent movie scores
Watching a classic silent film requires a slightly altered state of mind. The use of title cards for dialogue and narrative exposition sparks a different set of synapses than is employed for a conventional movie, while a heightened attentiveness to mise-en-scène is sometimes necessary to fully comprehend the subtler aspects of the unfolding drama. Then there is the musical accompaniment to consider.

A century or so ago, standardized practices for supplying music for films was nonexistent. To produce suitable cinematic accompaniment, soloists (usually a pianist or organist) and small ensembles drew from a mixed bag of vaudeville tunes, popular songs, orchestral works, and some original compositions. In many cases, the music was improvised on the spot, opening up a window for experimentation and innovation.

In the 21st century, a renewed interest in silent cinema preservation spawned a spate of screenings with live musical accompaniment, which in turn inspired a small subset of contemporary musicians and composers to channel their artistic impulses into this rarefied realm.

Cue “Changing Score: Classic Films Reimagined,” a presentation by Georgia Tech Arts, scheduled for Friday, November 15, at the Ferst Center for the Arts. This special concert/screening features segments from legendary silent filmmakers Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Jean Renoir accompanied by original scores from French composer Gaëll Lozac’h performed by the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Chaowen Ting. The program includes clips from Chaplin’s The Vagabond (1916), Keaton’s The Haunted House (1921), Lloyd’s Safety Last! (1923) and Renoir’s La Petite Marchande d’Allumettes (The Little Match Girl) (1928).

Since 2008, Lozac’h has been composing for silent films in conjunction with the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie, the Orchestre du Lycée Janson de Sailly and the Orchestre du conservatoire de Bourg-la-Reine. He has recorded soundtracks for Lobster Films, a Paris-based distribution company specializing in early cinema.

“Lozac'h's scores are wonderful treats, clean and compact with elegant melodic lines often accompanied by light orchestration lending energizing pulses,” says conductor Ting. “He combines a wide range of styles from the baroque to contemporary in a true demonstration of the past re-imagined in the now.”

Same as it was a century ago, performing a “live” film soundtrack calls for a different set of skills by members of the Georgia Tech Symphony Orchestra, who are trained to play Beethoven symphonies by the book.

“The biggest challenge for the orchestra is to match certain musical moments with the film, such as a gunshot, an object falling, or a jumping Jack-in-the-Box toy,” Ting says. “We spent much of the rehearsal practicing those moments to make sure the timing was as accurate as possible. It's been a great training experience, which will enhance the orchestra’s overall musicianship and ensemble skills.”

“Changing Score: Classic Films Reimagined.”  For tickets at $15-$25, 8 p.m. Fri., Nov. 15. Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech, 349 Ferst Drive N.W. 404-894-9600.    H. Robert Baker ADVENTUROUS MUSICIANS: Co-founded by Georgia State University faculty members Jan Berry Baker (front row, second from left) and Stuart Gerber (back row, far left), Bent Frequency begins its 16th season featuring “work by composers who explode the marginalized programming trend … in classical music.”  0,0,1                                 LISTENING POST: Bent Frequency bends toward adventurous chamber music "
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Friday November 1, 2019 01:14 pm EDT
In its 16th season, Atlanta-based post-classical chamber ensemble champions historically underrepresented composers | more...
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  string(12012) "Some folks’ home movies are more interesting than others’. For the past four decades, Chris Verene has been documenting the saga of his extended family in photographs and, more recently, on video. In the process, the former Atlantan has created a remarkable body of work, which has garnered national and international critical acclaim and a fair amount of popular renown.

On Thursday, October 10, as part of Atlanta Celebrates Photography, the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema will host the world premiere of Verene’s Home Movies (2019), which chronicles the hardscrabble life and troubling times of the artist’s family, friends, and neighbors in Galesburg, Illinois, an economically depressed rural city of about 32,000 located 45 miles northwest of Peoria. A post-screening panel discussion featuring Verene; photographer Ashley Reid; and Mona Bennett, Ambassador of the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, will be moderated by Felicia Feaster.

In conjunction with the screening of Home Movies, Marcia Wood Gallery is exhibiting a selection of Verene’s photographs along with a video-loop of select vignettes from an earlier edition of Home Movies, which was released in 2014. Verene attended the gallery opening September 18 and will be at the closing reception on October 12 at Marcia Wood Gallery in Castleberry Hill.

Born in 1969 in DeKalb, Illinois, Verene moved with his family to Atlanta in 1982. He attended Druid Hills High School, double-majored in film studies and philosophy at Emory University and earned an MFA in photography at Georgia State University. His father, Donald Phillip Verene, is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy and director of the Institute for (Giambattista) Vico Studies at Emory University. His mother, Molly Black Verene, is assistant director of the Institute.

In the ’80s and ’90s, Verene made his mark on the alternative arts scene in Atlanta as a founding member of Dairy Queen Empire (shortened to DQE after lawyers got wind of the unauthorized moniker) with Grace Braun (now Anna Trodglen) and Zak Sitter. A founding and former member of the Rock*A*Teens, who proudly and loudly shoulder the legacy of Cabbagetown rock in the 21st century, Verene also founded Bach on a Hook with Marty Matteson, which showcased interpretations of J. S. Bach’s Cello suites on percussion, drum set, and viola.

Verene produced a lot of the artwork for his bands’ albums. His photograph of a house crushed by a tree during a tornado adorns the cover of the Rock*A*Teens 2018 release, Sixth House. Verene currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with wife Ani (pronounced ahn-nee) Cordero, a Puerto Rican musician and activist, and their son Nico.

Doug DeLoach: When did you start taking the photographs that led to the Galesburg family series?

Chris Verene: In 1986, when I was a junior in high school, I got a camera and learned how to develop film. I also borrowed a medium-format camera around that time. My family was my first subject. I wasn’t keeping records then, but I know I was making contact sheets in the high school darkroom of stuff that I shot when my family would go to Galesburg to visit.

When did you start thinking about photography from an artistic perspective, as opposed to merely snapping photos while on a family vacation or at a birthday party?

CV: Even before I had my first camera, in freshman or sophomore year, I took photos with my mom’s point-and-shoot camera. That was when I was in Dairy Queen Empire, and we were making art pictures, which was before I started making the family pictures.

From the beginning, I knew it was art and I knew what art was. I came from a background that made me aware of the significance of what we were doing. Even the earliest photographs were made with artistic intention.

There is an often-quoted review of my work in the ’90s, which says something like, ‘Chris Verene is like Diane Arbus.’ I remember thinking at the time, ‘That’s very astute of the New York Times critic to say so, because, when I was a kid, I was aware of Arbus’ work. My parents had one of her books.

When did you move to New York and what prompted the relocation?

CV: I moved around 1999-2000. I’m a total homebody and never would have moved, but I had this ongoing long-distance relationship with Ani (Cordero), who had been living in Atlanta. I used to take the Greyhound bus to Tucson to visit her. That got to be difficult, so we said if one of us is going to move, where could we both move and live together?

If it hadn’t been for Ani, I would still be living in Cabbagetown. I got an adjunct professorship at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and then the Biennial happened (the 2000 Whitney Biennial, Verene’s breakout exhibition).

The subject of your photography and Home Movies are people who live in this economically depressed city in the Midwest. You’re often chronicling a bleak, depressing side of American life. Do you ever have misgivings about pointing the camera at or videotaping a particularly discomfiting scene?

CV: No, I don’t. You know, I’m an old teacher. I’ve been working with students who work on the streets and document all kinds of things. When I’m holding the camera, sometimes I’m looking for some balance. I’m hoping there will be some joy or some humor, and (that) it’s not all about sorrow.

The fact is, economic depression in the area that includes Galesburg is and has been suffocating. My taking pictures of what’s happening, if anything, will call attention to the situation and maybe wake people up about what’s going on. I can’t fix it, but not making the pictures or succumbing to some sort of emotional blockage isn’t going to help anybody.

We wouldn’t have the photograph of the “Migrant Mother” if Dorothea Lange had put down her camera because it was so fucking depressing in the Dust Bowl. And we need “Migrant Mother” to know what we’re up against when we look at society now. Change comes from looking at people and families that are not like yours and who are suffering more than yours. We need to be uncomfortable and know about people who are having a different struggle than we are.

About Home Movies, a New York Times critic wrote, “Made with low-budget cameras, it’s a riveting, sad and sometimes comical series of short, documentary portraits of poor, white working-class people getting by…” How accurate is that description?

CV: That was written about the first set of Home Movies (2014). I would say that was a good review, and he’s right. But now, the characters have evolved and the message has deepened. The newer work deals more directly with meth addiction, government housing, and includes stories about black people and children. The new work, Home Movies (2019), which we’ll be showing at the Landmark, is going to relegate that review to apply exclusively to the previous work.

Expound on the notion of the message or subject matter deepening.

CV: This isn’t the result of Chris waking up one day and saying, “My God, we have to deal with meth addiction.” It’s because I’m always following the same people around, and whatever happens happens. I wouldn’t be making a movie about meth addiction if my cousin wasn’t in prison for it.

What is the relationship between the photographs and Home Movies?

CV: What’s going on in Marcia Wood’s gallery, which includes both photographs and selections from Home Movies (2014), is a way of making the work reach a broader audience. It was never possible for me to make films before. Now that I can combine the two, it’s a way of creating a broader, deeper bond with the audience.

The show at Marcia’s is the best form my work has taken. It’s THE way to do it. You come, and you’re face-to-face with pictures which are big enough to walk into, and you also have this living movie, which is screening at the same time and contains some of the same characters in the photographs. Your mind can wander through the whole thing. The video will probably exist in a web-based form like Netflix at some point, but I’m still clinging to this idea that you have to show up and be with the work.

In Home Movies, you are more than just a documentarian. Your presence in the scene is not disassociated from the action, as in a traditional documentary.

CV: So many things are happening. I’m holding a baby while I’m filming or whatever it might be. There’s very little artifice or pretense about being “the filmmaker.” There is some voice-over narration, which I resisted for a while because I didn’t want to be the omniscient narrator. But now I think it works because, when you get down to it, most of my work is me explaining the work: This is my family, and here is my grandmother or my cousin, that sort of thing. In a sense, I’m a performative photographer. I’m on an endless lecture tour, explaining what is happening and who is in my pictures.

The videos are not really set up for someone to watch them unfold like a conventional narrative film. They need some narration. As much as I personally would enjoy sitting down and watching three hours of things unfolding, I’m making these films for a pop culture. I’ve always been interested in an audience beyond the museum, an audience that doesn’t have to have special training to appreciate the work.

My favorite photograph from the exhibition at Marcia Wood Gallery is “Nico and Mercedes.” I’m fascinated by the setting and the super hero costumes worn by the youngsters. The composition is so dramatic with the boys in motion and the deteriorating phone booth, which is an archaic thing evoking Superman’s secret identity, anchoring the scene.

CV: That photograph is one of my personal favorites. There is so much going on. The loss of the phone, which is a contemporary phenomenon. The various shades of red in the frame from the brick to the phone booth to the costumes. Fans will note there are costumes from two different eras of Spider-Man.

The kids are really in motion. At that age, they so much want to be superheroes. The hula hoop, which has some sort of imaginary power — it’s not about hula-hooping, maybe it’s a force field. That element of play in their body language is so powerful. They’re moving very quickly. It’s one of those pictures that I hardly can believe I made.

I’m turning 50 and I’ve been doing this a long time. I’m starting to notice that, although pictures are documents and they’re so specific, there is something spiritual going on behind the scenes, which may not have a physical manifestation in the picture, but actually counts for something.
(In “Nico and Mercedes”), while you can recognize all the shades of red and things like that, something about that picture sings and reaches people the right way. It’s made in a genuine way; it’s not constructed, I didn’t say, “‘Hey, kid, put on this costume, and stand over there and I’ll take your picture.” I don’t work like that. Sally Mann works that way, and it’s fucking great. But, for me, I have to be an observing photographer, and the spiritual message behind it has to be pure even if you can’t really tell what or where it is. That picture has it.

That’s what I got into photography and music for. That’s why I spend all my free time making art and all my money making this art. That’s why I will compromise everything and go into debt — because I’m hoping to get that phone booth picture.

ACP Film Series: Home Movies by Chris Verene. VIP $200 (includes signed book and invitation to private reception after the screening), $25 general admission, $10 student. Thurs., Oct. 10, 7-8:45 p.m. Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive N.E., Suite C-212. 404-879-0160. Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/acp-film-series-home-movies-by-chris-verene-tickets-73166911201."
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  string(12172) "Some folks’ home movies are more interesting than others’. For the past four decades, Chris Verene has been documenting the saga of his extended family in photographs and, more recently, on video. In the process, the former Atlantan has created a remarkable body of work, which has garnered national and international critical acclaim and a fair amount of popular renown.

On Thursday, October 10, as part of __Atlanta Celebrates Photography__, the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema will host the world premiere of Verene’s ''Home Movies'' (2019), which chronicles the hardscrabble life and troubling times of the artist’s family, friends, and neighbors in Galesburg, Illinois, an economically depressed rural city of about 32,000 located 45 miles northwest of Peoria. A post-screening panel discussion featuring Verene; photographer Ashley Reid; and Mona Bennett, Ambassador of the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, will be moderated by Felicia Feaster.

In conjunction with the screening of ''Home Movies'', Marcia Wood Gallery is exhibiting a selection of Verene’s photographs along with a video-loop of select vignettes from an earlier edition of ''Home Movies,'' which was released in 2014. Verene attended the gallery opening September 18 and will be at the closing reception on October 12 at Marcia Wood Gallery in Castleberry Hill.

Born in 1969 in DeKalb, Illinois, Verene moved with his family to Atlanta in 1982. He attended Druid Hills High School, double-majored in film studies and philosophy at Emory University and earned an MFA in photography at Georgia State University. His father, Donald Phillip Verene, is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy and director of the Institute for (Giambattista) Vico Studies at Emory University. His mother, Molly Black Verene, is assistant director of the Institute.

In the ’80s and ’90s, Verene made his mark on the alternative arts scene in Atlanta as a founding member of Dairy Queen Empire (shortened to DQE after lawyers got wind of the unauthorized moniker) with Grace Braun (now Anna Trodglen) and Zak Sitter. A founding and former member of the Rock*A*Teens, who proudly and loudly shoulder the legacy of Cabbagetown rock in the 21st century, Verene also founded Bach on a Hook with Marty Matteson, which showcased interpretations of J. S. Bach’s Cello suites on percussion, drum set, and viola.

Verene produced a lot of the artwork for his bands’ albums. His photograph of a house crushed by a tree during a tornado adorns the cover of the Rock*A*Teens 2018 release, ''Sixth House.'' Verene currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with wife Ani (pronounced ahn-nee) Cordero, a Puerto Rican musician and activist, and their son Nico.

__Doug DeLoach: When did you start taking the photographs that led to the Galesburg family series?__

__Chris Verene:__ In 1986, when I was a junior in high school, I got a camera and learned how to develop film. I also borrowed a medium-format camera around that time. My family was my first subject. I wasn’t keeping records then, but I know I was making contact sheets in the high school darkroom of stuff that I shot when my family would go to Galesburg to visit.

__When did you start thinking about photography from an artistic perspective, as opposed to merely snapping photos while on a family vacation or at a birthday party?__

__CV:__ Even before I had my first camera, in freshman or sophomore year, I took photos with my mom’s point-and-shoot camera. That was when I was in Dairy Queen Empire, and we were making art pictures, which was before I started making the family pictures.

From the beginning, I knew it was art and I knew what art was. I came from a background that made me aware of the significance of what we were doing. Even the earliest photographs were made with artistic intention.

There is an often-quoted review of my work in the ’90s, which says something like, ‘Chris Verene is like Diane Arbus.’ I remember thinking at the time, ‘That’s very astute of the ''New York Times'' critic to say so, because, when I was a kid, I was aware of Arbus’ work. My parents had one of her books.

__When did you move to New York and what prompted the relocation?__

__CV:__ I moved around 1999-2000. I’m a total homebody and never would have moved, but I had this ongoing long-distance relationship with Ani (Cordero), who had been living in Atlanta. I used to take the Greyhound bus to Tucson to visit her. That got to be difficult, so we said if one of us is going to move, where could we both move and live together?

If it hadn’t been for Ani, I would still be living in Cabbagetown. I got an adjunct professorship at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and then the Biennial happened (the 2000 Whitney Biennial, Verene’s breakout exhibition).

__The subject of your photography and ____''Home Movies''____ are people who live in this economically depressed city in the Midwest. You’re often chronicling a bleak, depressing side of American life. Do you ever have misgivings about pointing the camera at or videotaping a particularly discomfiting scene?__

__CV:__ No, I don’t. You know, I’m an old teacher. I’ve been working with students who work on the streets and document all kinds of things. When I’m holding the camera, sometimes I’m looking for some balance. I’m hoping there will be some joy or some humor, and (that) it’s not all about sorrow.

The fact is, economic depression in the area that includes Galesburg is and has been suffocating. My taking pictures of what’s happening, if anything, will call attention to the situation and maybe wake people up about what’s going on. I can’t fix it, but ''no''t making the pictures or succumbing to some sort of emotional blockage isn’t going to help anybody.

We wouldn’t have the photograph of the “Migrant Mother” if Dorothea Lange had put down her camera because it was so fucking depressing in the Dust Bowl. And we need “Migrant Mother” to know what we’re up against when we look at society now. Change comes from looking at people and families that are not like yours and who are suffering more than yours. We need to be uncomfortable and know about people who are having a different struggle than we are.

__About ____''Home Movies, a New York Times''__ __critic wrote, “Made with low-budget cameras, it’s a riveting, sad and sometimes comical series of short, documentary portraits of poor, white working-class people getting by…” How accurate is that description?__

CV: That was written about the first set of ''Home Movies'' (2014). I would say that was a good review, and he’s right. But now, the characters have evolved and the message has deepened. The newer work deals more directly with meth addiction, government housing, and includes stories about black people and children. The new work, ''Home Movies'' (2019), which we’ll be showing at the Landmark, is going to relegate that review to apply exclusively to the previous work.

__Expound on the notion of the message or subject matter deepening.__

__CV:__ This isn’t the result of Chris waking up one day and saying, “My God, we have to deal with meth addiction.” It’s because I’m always following the same people around, and whatever happens happens. I wouldn’t be making a movie about meth addiction if my cousin wasn’t in prison for it.

__What is the relationship between the photographs and ____''Home Movies''__?

__CV:__ What’s going on in Marcia Wood’s gallery, which includes both photographs and selections from ''Home Movies'' (2014), is a way of making the work reach a broader audience. It was never possible for me to make films before. Now that I can combine the two, it’s a way of creating a broader, deeper bond with the audience.

The show at Marcia’s is the best form my work has taken. It’s THE way to do it. You come, and you’re face-to-face with pictures which are big enough to walk into, and you also have this living movie, which is screening at the same time and contains some of the same characters in the photographs. Your mind can wander through the whole thing. The video will probably exist in a web-based form like Netflix at some point, but I’m still clinging to this idea that you have to show up and be with the work.

__In ____''Home Movies''____, you are more than just a documentarian. Your presence in the scene is not disassociated from the action, as in a traditional documentary.__

__CV:__ So many things are happening. I’m holding a baby while I’m filming or whatever it might be. There’s very little artifice or pretense about being “the filmmaker.” There is some voice-over narration, which I resisted for a while because I didn’t want to be the omniscient narrator. But now I think it works because, when you get down to it, most of my work is me explaining the work: This is my family, and here is my grandmother or my cousin, that sort of thing. In a sense, I’m a performative photographer. I’m on an endless lecture tour, explaining what is happening and who is in my pictures.

The videos are not really set up for someone to watch them unfold like a conventional narrative film. They need some narration. As much as I personally would enjoy sitting down and watching three hours of things unfolding, I’m making these films for a pop culture. I’ve always been interested in an audience beyond the museum, an audience that doesn’t have to have special training to appreciate the work.

__My favorite photograph from the exhibition at Marcia Wood Gallery is “Nico and Mercedes.” I’m fascinated by the setting and the super hero costumes worn by the youngsters. The composition is so dramatic with the boys in motion and the deteriorating phone booth, which is an archaic thing evoking Superman’s secret identity, anchoring the scene.__

__CV:__ That photograph is one of my personal favorites. There is so much going on. The loss of the phone, which is a contemporary phenomenon. The various shades of red in the frame from the brick to the phone booth to the costumes. Fans will note there are costumes from two different eras of Spider-Man.

The kids are really in motion. At that age, they so much want to be superheroes. The hula hoop, which has some sort of imaginary power — it’s not about hula-hooping, maybe it’s a force field. That element of play in their body language is so powerful. They’re moving very quickly. It’s one of those pictures that I hardly can believe I made.

I’m turning 50 and I’ve been doing this a long time. I’m starting to notice that, although pictures are documents and they’re so specific, there is something spiritual going on behind the scenes, which may not have a physical manifestation in the picture, but actually counts for something.
(In “Nico and Mercedes”), while you can recognize all the shades of red and things like that, something about that picture sings and reaches people the right way. It’s made in a genuine way; it’s not constructed, I didn’t say, “‘Hey, kid, put on this costume, and stand over there and I’ll take your picture.” I don’t work like that. Sally Mann works that way, and it’s fucking great. But, for me, I have to be an observing photographer, and the spiritual message behind it has to be pure even if you can’t really tell what or where it is. That picture has it.

That’s what I got into photography and music for. That’s why I spend all my free time making art and all my money making this art. That’s why I will compromise everything and go into debt — because I’m hoping to get that phone booth picture.

__''ACP Film Series: Home Movies''__ by Chris Verene. VIP $200 (includes signed book and invitation to private reception after the screening), $25 general admission, $10 student. Thurs., Oct. 10, 7-8:45 p.m. Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive N.E., Suite C-212. 404-879-0160. Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/acp-film-series-home-movies-by-chris-verene-tickets-73166911201."
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  string(12731) " Nico And Mercedes Press Web  2019-09-25T15:14:09+00:00 Nico_And_Mercedes_Press_web.jpg     An art gallery and cinema theater showcase former Atlantan’s starkly poignant photographs and videos 23852  2019-09-25T15:12:22+00:00 LISTENING POST: Chris Verene’s Home Movies premiere jim.harris@creativeloafing.com Jim Harris Doug Deloach Doug DeLoach 2019-09-25T15:12:22+00:00  Some folks’ home movies are more interesting than others’. For the past four decades, Chris Verene has been documenting the saga of his extended family in photographs and, more recently, on video. In the process, the former Atlantan has created a remarkable body of work, which has garnered national and international critical acclaim and a fair amount of popular renown.

On Thursday, October 10, as part of Atlanta Celebrates Photography, the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema will host the world premiere of Verene’s Home Movies (2019), which chronicles the hardscrabble life and troubling times of the artist’s family, friends, and neighbors in Galesburg, Illinois, an economically depressed rural city of about 32,000 located 45 miles northwest of Peoria. A post-screening panel discussion featuring Verene; photographer Ashley Reid; and Mona Bennett, Ambassador of the Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, will be moderated by Felicia Feaster.

In conjunction with the screening of Home Movies, Marcia Wood Gallery is exhibiting a selection of Verene’s photographs along with a video-loop of select vignettes from an earlier edition of Home Movies, which was released in 2014. Verene attended the gallery opening September 18 and will be at the closing reception on October 12 at Marcia Wood Gallery in Castleberry Hill.

Born in 1969 in DeKalb, Illinois, Verene moved with his family to Atlanta in 1982. He attended Druid Hills High School, double-majored in film studies and philosophy at Emory University and earned an MFA in photography at Georgia State University. His father, Donald Phillip Verene, is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy and director of the Institute for (Giambattista) Vico Studies at Emory University. His mother, Molly Black Verene, is assistant director of the Institute.

In the ’80s and ’90s, Verene made his mark on the alternative arts scene in Atlanta as a founding member of Dairy Queen Empire (shortened to DQE after lawyers got wind of the unauthorized moniker) with Grace Braun (now Anna Trodglen) and Zak Sitter. A founding and former member of the Rock*A*Teens, who proudly and loudly shoulder the legacy of Cabbagetown rock in the 21st century, Verene also founded Bach on a Hook with Marty Matteson, which showcased interpretations of J. S. Bach’s Cello suites on percussion, drum set, and viola.

Verene produced a lot of the artwork for his bands’ albums. His photograph of a house crushed by a tree during a tornado adorns the cover of the Rock*A*Teens 2018 release, Sixth House. Verene currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with wife Ani (pronounced ahn-nee) Cordero, a Puerto Rican musician and activist, and their son Nico.

Doug DeLoach: When did you start taking the photographs that led to the Galesburg family series?

Chris Verene: In 1986, when I was a junior in high school, I got a camera and learned how to develop film. I also borrowed a medium-format camera around that time. My family was my first subject. I wasn’t keeping records then, but I know I was making contact sheets in the high school darkroom of stuff that I shot when my family would go to Galesburg to visit.

When did you start thinking about photography from an artistic perspective, as opposed to merely snapping photos while on a family vacation or at a birthday party?

CV: Even before I had my first camera, in freshman or sophomore year, I took photos with my mom’s point-and-shoot camera. That was when I was in Dairy Queen Empire, and we were making art pictures, which was before I started making the family pictures.

From the beginning, I knew it was art and I knew what art was. I came from a background that made me aware of the significance of what we were doing. Even the earliest photographs were made with artistic intention.

There is an often-quoted review of my work in the ’90s, which says something like, ‘Chris Verene is like Diane Arbus.’ I remember thinking at the time, ‘That’s very astute of the New York Times critic to say so, because, when I was a kid, I was aware of Arbus’ work. My parents had one of her books.

When did you move to New York and what prompted the relocation?

CV: I moved around 1999-2000. I’m a total homebody and never would have moved, but I had this ongoing long-distance relationship with Ani (Cordero), who had been living in Atlanta. I used to take the Greyhound bus to Tucson to visit her. That got to be difficult, so we said if one of us is going to move, where could we both move and live together?

If it hadn’t been for Ani, I would still be living in Cabbagetown. I got an adjunct professorship at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and then the Biennial happened (the 2000 Whitney Biennial, Verene’s breakout exhibition).

The subject of your photography and Home Movies are people who live in this economically depressed city in the Midwest. You’re often chronicling a bleak, depressing side of American life. Do you ever have misgivings about pointing the camera at or videotaping a particularly discomfiting scene?

CV: No, I don’t. You know, I’m an old teacher. I’ve been working with students who work on the streets and document all kinds of things. When I’m holding the camera, sometimes I’m looking for some balance. I’m hoping there will be some joy or some humor, and (that) it’s not all about sorrow.

The fact is, economic depression in the area that includes Galesburg is and has been suffocating. My taking pictures of what’s happening, if anything, will call attention to the situation and maybe wake people up about what’s going on. I can’t fix it, but not making the pictures or succumbing to some sort of emotional blockage isn’t going to help anybody.

We wouldn’t have the photograph of the “Migrant Mother” if Dorothea Lange had put down her camera because it was so fucking depressing in the Dust Bowl. And we need “Migrant Mother” to know what we’re up against when we look at society now. Change comes from looking at people and families that are not like yours and who are suffering more than yours. We need to be uncomfortable and know about people who are having a different struggle than we are.

About Home Movies, a New York Times critic wrote, “Made with low-budget cameras, it’s a riveting, sad and sometimes comical series of short, documentary portraits of poor, white working-class people getting by…” How accurate is that description?

CV: That was written about the first set of Home Movies (2014). I would say that was a good review, and he’s right. But now, the characters have evolved and the message has deepened. The newer work deals more directly with meth addiction, government housing, and includes stories about black people and children. The new work, Home Movies (2019), which we’ll be showing at the Landmark, is going to relegate that review to apply exclusively to the previous work.

Expound on the notion of the message or subject matter deepening.

CV: This isn’t the result of Chris waking up one day and saying, “My God, we have to deal with meth addiction.” It’s because I’m always following the same people around, and whatever happens happens. I wouldn’t be making a movie about meth addiction if my cousin wasn’t in prison for it.

What is the relationship between the photographs and Home Movies?

CV: What’s going on in Marcia Wood’s gallery, which includes both photographs and selections from Home Movies (2014), is a way of making the work reach a broader audience. It was never possible for me to make films before. Now that I can combine the two, it’s a way of creating a broader, deeper bond with the audience.

The show at Marcia’s is the best form my work has taken. It’s THE way to do it. You come, and you’re face-to-face with pictures which are big enough to walk into, and you also have this living movie, which is screening at the same time and contains some of the same characters in the photographs. Your mind can wander through the whole thing. The video will probably exist in a web-based form like Netflix at some point, but I’m still clinging to this idea that you have to show up and be with the work.

In Home Movies, you are more than just a documentarian. Your presence in the scene is not disassociated from the action, as in a traditional documentary.

CV: So many things are happening. I’m holding a baby while I’m filming or whatever it might be. There’s very little artifice or pretense about being “the filmmaker.” There is some voice-over narration, which I resisted for a while because I didn’t want to be the omniscient narrator. But now I think it works because, when you get down to it, most of my work is me explaining the work: This is my family, and here is my grandmother or my cousin, that sort of thing. In a sense, I’m a performative photographer. I’m on an endless lecture tour, explaining what is happening and who is in my pictures.

The videos are not really set up for someone to watch them unfold like a conventional narrative film. They need some narration. As much as I personally would enjoy sitting down and watching three hours of things unfolding, I’m making these films for a pop culture. I’ve always been interested in an audience beyond the museum, an audience that doesn’t have to have special training to appreciate the work.

My favorite photograph from the exhibition at Marcia Wood Gallery is “Nico and Mercedes.” I’m fascinated by the setting and the super hero costumes worn by the youngsters. The composition is so dramatic with the boys in motion and the deteriorating phone booth, which is an archaic thing evoking Superman’s secret identity, anchoring the scene.

CV: That photograph is one of my personal favorites. There is so much going on. The loss of the phone, which is a contemporary phenomenon. The various shades of red in the frame from the brick to the phone booth to the costumes. Fans will note there are costumes from two different eras of Spider-Man.

The kids are really in motion. At that age, they so much want to be superheroes. The hula hoop, which has some sort of imaginary power — it’s not about hula-hooping, maybe it’s a force field. That element of play in their body language is so powerful. They’re moving very quickly. It’s one of those pictures that I hardly can believe I made.

I’m turning 50 and I’ve been doing this a long time. I’m starting to notice that, although pictures are documents and they’re so specific, there is something spiritual going on behind the scenes, which may not have a physical manifestation in the picture, but actually counts for something.
(In “Nico and Mercedes”), while you can recognize all the shades of red and things like that, something about that picture sings and reaches people the right way. It’s made in a genuine way; it’s not constructed, I didn’t say, “‘Hey, kid, put on this costume, and stand over there and I’ll take your picture.” I don’t work like that. Sally Mann works that way, and it’s fucking great. But, for me, I have to be an observing photographer, and the spiritual message behind it has to be pure even if you can’t really tell what or where it is. That picture has it.

That’s what I got into photography and music for. That’s why I spend all my free time making art and all my money making this art. That’s why I will compromise everything and go into debt — because I’m hoping to get that phone booth picture.

ACP Film Series: Home Movies by Chris Verene. VIP $200 (includes signed book and invitation to private reception after the screening), $25 general admission, $10 student. Thurs., Oct. 10, 7-8:45 p.m. Landmark Midtown Arts Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive N.E., Suite C-212. 404-879-0160. Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/acp-film-series-home-movies-by-chris-verene-tickets-73166911201.    Chris Verene CHRIS VERENE ON DISPLAY NOW: 'Nico and Mercedes' is one of Chris Verene’s photographs on display at Marcia Wood Gallery through October 12.  The world premiere of Verene’s "Home Movies" is October 10 at the Landmark Art Cinema.  0,0,1                                 LISTENING POST: Chris Verene’s Home Movies premiere "
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Wednesday September 25, 2019 11:12 am EDT
An art gallery and cinema theater showcase former Atlantan’s starkly poignant photographs and videos | more...
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  string(18306) "Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a feature-length documentary about the mercurial jazz trumpeter, composer and pop icon who died in 1991 at age 65, opens at the Plaza Theatre this Friday, Sept. 13. Directed by McArthur “genius” grantee Stanley Nelson (The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders), Birth of the Cool offers a compelling portrait of a brilliant, complex, charismatic and deeply conflicted man whose influence on the course of jazz, in particular, and popular culture more generally, rivals the impact of any artist in any field back through the ages.

It helps to bring some knowledge of the subject to the screening experience. The deeper the knowledge, the more rewarding the experience will be, especially regarding the music. While Nelson does a nice job of laying out the essential chronology and evolutionary twists of Davis’ life and career, the musical passages are edited for 21st century attention spans. Davis fans will appreciate the never-before-seen photos, home movies and concert footage, but the artistry sometimes plays second trumpet to the documentary formula.

“Music has always been like a curse with me,” intones actor Carl Lumbly at the beginning of the film in a voice-over mimicking Davis’ trademark raspy near-whisper (a self-inflicted consequence of failing to heed the rehab regimen following larynx surgery in 1956). This narrative technique is used throughout, with Lumbly quoting from Miles: The Autobiography. The book’s co-author, Quincy Troupe, also serves as one of the many commentators drawn from Davis’ circle of friends, fellow musicians and family members, along with critics, historians and industry colleagues

“I’ve always felt driven to play music,” the voice-over continues as the scene depicts Davis shadowboxing in a ring. “I always go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. It’s always there. It comes before everything.”

Single-mindedness is not an uncommon trait among successful people, but can lead to unintended, undesirable repercussions if left unchecked. Nelson’s documentary does a remarkable job of exploring the central dialectic of Davis’ life and artistic output, which pits an obsessive, anti-social malcontent against a sensitive, visionary genius.

Birth of the Cool refers both to Davis’ landmark collaboration with arranger Gil Evans, which spawned a seminal series of recordings by a nine-piece ensemble between 1948 and 1950, and the trumpeters’ cultivated persona and style, which combined aloof sophistication and cynical detachment with an appreciation for finely tailored clothes and high performance sports cars.

“Miles Davis was the personification of cool,” remarks Tammy Kernodle, a professor of musicology and author of Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams, in the documentary. “He becomes our black Superman.”

Black or white, Superman is vulnerable to kryptonite, a mineral remnant from his home planet, exposure to which can cripple or kill him. Davis’ kryptonite comes in the form of a misogynistic streak inherited from his father who once struck his wife so hard a couple of her teeth were knocked out. Tellingly, when Davis reflects on the domestic violence he witnessed as an adolescent, he says, “It had to affect us somehow, but I don’t really know how.”

Nelson pointedly answers Davis’ self-query through interviews with the musician’s former wives and girlfriends a number of whom relate their own tales of mistreatment. Davis’ first wife, Frances Taylor, was a professional dancer on the rise when she met Davis in 1958. She describes how, out of spiteful jealousy, Davis demanded she drop out of the original cast of ‘West Side Story.’ In a later incident, he knocked her to the floor. (Taylor left Davis in 1965 and died last year at age 89).

Davis’ contradictory nature permeates Birth of the Cool. Cruel and dismissive, he was also a preternaturally gifted improviser who used a horn and mute to articulate some of the most deeply emotive music a human has ever produced. He was the most successful jazz musician of his day who was also a black man living and working in not so great America.

Birth of the Cool vividly recounts a notorious incident in New York City in August 1959 when Davis was playing at Birdland. It was near the end of a two-week run promoting the release of ‘Kind of Blue,’ destined to become one of the highest-selling jazz albums of all time. One night, during a break between sets, Davis escorted a white woman outside the club so she could catch a cab. When a white police officer ordered Davis to “move on,” he refused to comply, pointing to the marquee on which his name was prominently displayed. The officer moved to arrest Davis and a struggle ensued. An off-duty detective walking by joined the fray, repeatedly striking Davis with a club. Beaten and bloodied, the trumpeter was arrested, but subsequently acquitted of disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer.

“That incident changed me forever, made me much more bitter and cynical than I might have been,” Davis says.

At this point, ‘Birth of the Cool’ is barely half over. Still to come is the dissolution of the ‘Kind of Blue’ band, which included John Coltrane, followed by the assembling of the incredible Sixties quintet with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and 17-year-old Tony Williams; the revolutionary experiments with electronic instruments culminating in the landmark 1969 album Bitches Brew; protracted struggles with drugs and depression; a return to the concert stage at Avery Fisher Hall after years of withdrawal and isolation; the influence of Betty Mabry, Davis’ second wife, and Cicely Tyson, his third; reminiscences by Davis’ son, Erin, and cousin, Vince Wilburn, who administers the music side of the Miles Davis estate with other family members; and even more beauty, tragedy, exaltation and exasperation.

Birth of the Cool is probably the most comprehensive compendium of the life and art of Miles Davis the world is likely to get. The man was a tough subject when he was alive. Telling his story undoubtedly required a few tough calls by Stanley Nelson. The result is an engaging, unflinching document, which is sure to be studied for years to come.

Special Note: Jazz great and former Davis collaborator Jimmy Heath and Davis family members Vince Wilburn Jr. (Davis’ nephew) and Erin Davis (Davis’ son) will be present for a Q&A following the 7 p.m. screening on Friday, Sep. 13. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, 470-225-6503.

Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera: Capitol City Opera, which was formed in 1983 to provide classically trained singers in the Atlanta area with an opportunity to learn and perform complete opera roles and to develop their vocal and acting skills on a professional level, is presenting a free concert Saturday afternoon, September 14. “Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera” features songs by American composers Lee Hoiby and Charles Ives, as well as selections from operas set in America including Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land and Mark Adamo’s Little Women. The performers include Allison Nance (mezzo-soprano), Robin Sewell (soprano) and Catherine Giel (piano). Suggested donation $10. 3 p.m. Sat., Sep. 14. High Point Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia 30342. 404-252-3324.

Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat: Saturday’s concert, featuring Kronos Quartet with Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat, at Emory University’s Emerson Concert Hall kicks off the 2019-2020 Candler Concert Series. It promises to be an extraordinary experience. The program features newly commissioned works by composers from the greater Muslim world including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Somalia, Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, as well as fresh arrangements of related pieces drawn from Kronos’ vast repertoire.

The setlist was originally conceived as a response to President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order (EO) limiting entry of immigrants and refugees to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The EO was immediately challenged by various courts, which found the ban un-Constitutional based on its blatantly anti-Muslim sentiment (a breach of the Establishment Clause). Although certain legal challenges remain unresolved today, the Trump administration revoked and revised the EO a number of times until it finally passed muster and was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2018.

Meanwhile, Vahdat and her sister, Marjan, also a professional singer, are banned from singing in Iran while they await sentencing on charges stemming from a headscarf-free performance in a music video shot on a rooftop in Tehran. Furthermore, Marjan is not allowed to perform in the U.S. because she does not possess the proper visa. How I wish I was making this up.

For further details on this 21st century fundamentalist crackerbox saga, see the interview conducted by Andrew Alexander and Mark Gresham at EarRelevant. In addition to discussing the Vadhat sisters’ plight and Sunday’s program, Harrington dives into the relationship between Western classical and other types of music and the important role music plays in troubled times. As he puts it, “It’s part of a musicians’ responsibility to lift our audience out of ‘un-knowledge.’ Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat. $65. 8 p.m., Sat. Sep. 14. , Emerson Concert Hall, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 North Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA 30322. 404-727-5050.

Glenn Phillips Band CD/DVD/Book release show: To anyone who hasn’t yet read Chad Radford’s interview with Glenn Phillips online and in the current print edition of Creative Loafing, rectify that oversight post haste. When you get back here, you’ll know that Phillips has written a memoir, Echoes: The Hampton Grease Band, My Life, My Music and How I Stopped Having Panic Attacks.  The book is packaged with a full-length album of new music, The Dark Parade (the guitarist’s first solo album in 16 years) and a DVD chronicle of a 2015 concert marking the 40th anniversary of Phillips’ first solo album, Lost At Sea. The concert DVD features the original players on Phillips’ epic first solo release along  with Cindy Wilson of The B-52s guesting on the encores.

For those of you still hopelessly lost at sea at this point, Phillips is our town’s very own homegrown (actually, he was born in New England, but that doesn’t count anymore) intergalactic guitar wizard who initially materialized on this musical plane as a founding member of the Hampton Grease Band (there were earlier bands, but those don’t count, either). Since then, Phillips has conjured up something like 20 albums in cahoots with everybody from Bob Weir and Pete Buck to Henry Kaiser and Elliott Sharpe. Additionally, Supreme Court, an ongoing, decades-long project with Swimming Pool Qs founder Jeff Calder, continues yielding wondrous material.

While the chat with Radford will fill you in on the panic attack side of Phillips’ story, which is gripping and inspirational in its own right, I encourage with extreme prejudice your presence at Eddie Owen’s Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth Saturday night for the official release show for the Echoes book/CD/DVD joint. Phillips will be joined onstage by regular cohorts Bill Rea, John Boissiere and Calder, along with special guests Dana Nelson and Hampton Grease Band bassist Mike Holbrook. First set at 7:30; second set: 8:45 p.m. All are welcome to stay for both sets.

Country Music Watch Party Most Listening Post readers are aware by now of documentarian Ken Burns’ latest magnum opus, Country Music, which premiers this Sunday on PBS. As CL resident country music expert James Kelly recently penned in a gracious plenty preview of the series, the opening episode of Burns’ eight-part, 16-hour documentary highlights the integral role played by Atlanta in the origin of the indigenous American art form, which became known as country music.

In 1923, New York-based Okeh Records sent to Atlanta a team of engineers equipped with one of the world’s first portable recording machines. Their mission was to capture on wax cylinders a posse of southern musicians, which included multi-time state fiddle champion John Carson, doing their various things (e.g., jazz, blues, gospel). Of the many recordings produced during the multi-day sessions, which took place in a small now vacant building at 152 Nassau Street, the 78 rpm recording of Fiddlin’ John Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane”/”The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow” was a smash success. Today, it’s widely considered the first record by a country music artist, although at the time no such genre label existed.

In recent months, a public campaign led by Save 152 Nassau has been advocating for the preservation of the downtown building where American music history was made, which is threatened by demolition to make room for, of all things, a Margaritaville Restaurant.

All of which brings us to Sunday’s “Country Music Watch Party” at ASW Whiskey Exchange located in the Lee + White development along the West End Beltline. Sponsored by Save 152 Nassau, the event features live music by the Skillet Lickers, whose roots extend back four generations to the earliest years of the American recording industry in the 1920s, followed by the broadcast premiere of Country Music. A portion of sales during the evening’s festivities will benefit the Atlanta Music Project.

”Country Music Watch Party,” Free, Sun., Sep. 15. Music 6-8 p.m., screening of “Country Music” 8-10 p.m. ASW Whiskey Exchange, 1000 White St. Suite A, Atlanta GA 30310. 404-590-2279

Tinariwen at Variety Playhouse w/ Lonnie Holley Formed in 1979 while in exile in Algeria, Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg musicians from northern Mali who have been hailed worldwide for their superb musicianship; bluesy, mesmerizing electric guitar-driven sound; and powerful messaging, which celebrates the nomadic Tuareg culture. During a period of relative stability, Tinariwen returned to their homeland until 2012-13 when an uprising of Islamist extremists again made living in Mali a dangerously untenable proposition. Since then, Tinariwen has been touring and recording outside of the country, and sharing stages with Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana.

In 2012, Tinariwen was named Best Group in the Songlines Music Awards for their album Tassili, which also garnered a Grammy for Best World Music Album. Currently touring in support of their latest album, Amajdar, which dropped September 6, Tinariwen will perform at the Variety Playhouse on Monday, September 16, with Lonnie Holley opening. The following day, Tuesday, September 17, Tinariwen travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a gig at Ramkat, a local venue, also with Lonnie Holley as the opener.

The concert caused a stir several weeks ago when a couple of sponsored Facebook posts announcing the show caught the attention of the usual assortment of bigots, racists and “patriots.” “Take the fucking towels off your god damn heads,” wrote one commenter. “Any true American will not support this bunch of trash,” chimed in another, followed by “Taliban rock?,” “Shootout at midnight?” etc., etc. ad nauseam. One of Ramkat’s owners quoted in the local press said the venue plans to hire extra security for the gig.

There’s no limit to the many ways America is being made great again.

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: there is no Other tour: Rhiannon Giddens is a singular phenomenon. The classically trained, infinitely flexible, pellucidly clear voice; the virtuosic touch, whether on violin, viola or minstrel banjo; the imaginatively challenging choice of material; the unmistakable poise, strength and charisma; Giddens is one of the boldest, bravest, baddest musicians on planet Earth.

Her latest album, there is no Other (Nonesuch), which dropped In May, features Giddens paired with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, the same duo that will be performing Friday, Sep. 20 at City Winery. Recorded with minimal fiddling and tweaking, the album includes original songs penned by Giddens; interpretations of traditional ballads, shanties and folk songs, such as Ola Belle Reed’s “I’m Gonna Write Me a Letter,” Oscar Brown, Jr’s “Brown Baby,” and “Pizzica di San Vito” (an Italian traditional); and “Black Swan,” the somber lullaby from Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera, The Medium.

With Giddens and Turrisi playing an array of acoustic instruments drawn from African, Arabic, European, and American cultures, there is no Other weaves a magnificent 12-track tapestry of contemplative space and otherworldly beauty.

In January, I interviewed Giddens for Songlines, a world music magazine headquartered in London. The main focus of the interview was the album she had just finished, Songs of Our Native Daughters, for Smithsonian Folkways. When I asked her about upcoming projects, she mentioned there is no Other and the tour with Turrisi, which included a performance at Big Ears.

“It’s a meditation on how all of these different sounds we play come together,” Giddens said. “We have this idea that world music is a recent phenomenon, but actually it’s a very old idea. The sounds of the frame drum and the minstrel banjo or a playing a trans-drum from Iran called the daf on an Appalachian ballad — all of these sorts of things work really well because they’re all coming from the same source.”

“I’m so proud of the record; it’s really killer,” she continued. “It’s got accordion and piano and viola and violin, all of these different beautiful sounds from around the world that work together because we are, in fact, all together.”

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi. $50-$60 {SOLD OUT). Friday, Sep. 20, 6 p.m-9 p.m. City Winery Atlanta, 650 North Avenue NE Ste. 201, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. 404-946-3791."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(20055) "''Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool,'' a feature-length documentary about the mercurial jazz trumpeter, composer and pop icon who died in 1991 at age 65, opens at the Plaza Theatre this Friday, Sept. 13. Directed by McArthur “genius” grantee Stanley Nelson (''The Murder of Emmett Till,'' ''Freedom Riders''), ''Birth of the Cool'' offers a compelling portrait of a brilliant, complex, charismatic and deeply conflicted man whose influence on the course of jazz, in particular, and popular culture more generally, rivals the impact of any artist in any field back through the ages.

It helps to bring some knowledge of the subject to the screening experience. The deeper the knowledge, the more rewarding the experience will be, especially regarding the music. While Nelson does a nice job of laying out the essential chronology and evolutionary twists of Davis’ life and career, the musical passages are edited for 21st century attention spans. Davis fans will appreciate the never-before-seen photos, home movies and concert footage, but the artistry sometimes plays second trumpet to the documentary formula.

“Music has always been like a curse with me,” intones actor Carl Lumbly at the beginning of the film in a voice-over mimicking Davis’ trademark raspy near-whisper (a self-inflicted consequence of failing to heed the rehab regimen following larynx surgery in 1956). This narrative technique is used throughout, with Lumbly quoting from [https://www.amazon.com/dp/0671725823/?tag=thneyo0f-20|Miles: The Autobiography]. The book’s co-author, Quincy Troupe, also serves as one of the many commentators drawn from Davis’ circle of friends, fellow musicians and family members, along with critics, historians and industry colleagues

“I’ve always felt driven to play music,” the voice-over continues as the scene depicts Davis shadowboxing in a ring. “I always go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. It’s always there. It comes before everything.”

Single-mindedness is not an uncommon trait among successful people, but can lead to unintended, undesirable repercussions if left unchecked. Nelson’s documentary does a remarkable job of exploring the central dialectic of Davis’ life and artistic output, which pits an obsessive, anti-social malcontent against a sensitive, visionary genius.

''Birth of the Cool'' refers both to Davis’ landmark collaboration with arranger Gil Evans, which spawned a seminal series of recordings by a nine-piece ensemble between 1948 and 1950, and the trumpeters’ cultivated persona and style, which combined aloof sophistication and cynical detachment with an appreciation for finely tailored clothes and high performance sports cars.

“Miles Davis was the personification of cool,” remarks Tammy Kernodle, a professor of musicology and author of ''Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams'', in the documentary. “He becomes our black Superman.”

Black or white, Superman is vulnerable to kryptonite, a mineral remnant from his home planet, exposure to which can cripple or kill him. Davis’ kryptonite comes in the form of a misogynistic streak inherited from his father who once struck his wife so hard a couple of her teeth were knocked out. Tellingly, when Davis reflects on the domestic violence he witnessed as an adolescent, he says, “It had to affect us somehow, but I don’t really know how.”

Nelson pointedly answers Davis’ self-query through interviews with the musician’s former wives and girlfriends a number of whom relate their own tales of mistreatment. Davis’ first wife, Frances Taylor, was a professional dancer on the rise when she met Davis in 1958. She describes how, out of spiteful jealousy, Davis demanded she drop out of the original cast of ‘West Side Story.’ In a later incident, he knocked her to the floor. (Taylor left Davis in 1965 and died last year at age 89).

Davis’ contradictory nature permeates ''Birth of the Cool.'' Cruel and dismissive, he was also a preternaturally gifted improviser who used a horn and mute to articulate some of the most deeply emotive music a human has ever produced. He was the most successful jazz musician of his day who was also a black man living and working in not so great America.

''Birth of the Cool'' vividly recounts a notorious incident in New York City in August 1959 when Davis was playing at Birdland. It was near the end of a two-week run promoting the release of ‘Kind of Blue,’ destined to become one of the highest-selling jazz albums of all time. One night, during a break between sets, Davis escorted a white woman outside the club so she could catch a cab. When a white police officer ordered Davis to “move on,” he refused to comply, pointing to the marquee on which his name was prominently displayed. The officer moved to arrest Davis and a struggle ensued. An off-duty detective walking by joined the fray, repeatedly striking Davis with a club. Beaten and bloodied, the trumpeter was arrested, but subsequently acquitted of disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer.

“That incident changed me forever, made me much more bitter and cynical than I might have been,” Davis says.

At this point, ‘Birth of the Cool’ is barely half over. Still to come is the dissolution of the ‘Kind of Blue’ band, which included John Coltrane, followed by the assembling of the incredible Sixties quintet with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and 17-year-old Tony Williams; the revolutionary experiments with electronic instruments culminating in the landmark 1969 album ''Bitches Brew''; protracted struggles with drugs and depression; a return to the concert stage at Avery Fisher Hall after years of withdrawal and isolation; the influence of Betty Mabry, Davis’ second wife, and Cicely Tyson, his third; reminiscences by Davis’ son, Erin, and cousin, Vince Wilburn, who administers the music side of the Miles Davis estate with other family members; and even more beauty, tragedy, exaltation and exasperation.

''Birth of the Cool'' is probably the most comprehensive compendium of the life and art of Miles Davis the world is likely to get. The man was a tough subject when he was alive. Telling his story undoubtedly required a few tough calls by Stanley Nelson. The result is an engaging, unflinching document, which is sure to be studied for years to come.

__Special Note:__ Jazz great and former Davis collaborator Jimmy Heath and Davis family members Vince Wilburn Jr. (Davis’ nephew) and Erin Davis (Davis’ son) will be present for a Q&A following the 7 p.m. screening on Friday, Sep. 13. [http://plazaatlanta.com/movie/miles-davis-birth-of-the-cool/|Plaza Theatre], 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, 470-225-6503.

__Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera: __[http://www.ccityopera.org/home|Capitol City Opera], which was formed in 1983 to provide classically trained singers in the Atlanta area with an opportunity to learn and perform complete opera roles and to develop their vocal and acting skills on a professional level, is presenting a [https://www.facebook.com/events/399409050683903/|free concert Saturday afternoon, September 14]. “Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera” features songs by American composers Lee Hoiby and Charles Ives, as well as selections from operas set in America including Aaron Copland’s ''The Tender Land'' and Mark Adamo’s ''Little Women.'' The performers include Allison Nance (mezzo-soprano), Robin Sewell (soprano) and Catherine Giel (piano). Suggested donation $10. 3 p.m. Sat., Sep. 14. High Point Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia 30342. 404-252-3324.

__Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat__: Saturday’s concert, featuring Kronos Quartet with Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat, at Emory University’s Emerson Concert Hall kicks off the 2019-2020 Candler Concert Series. It promises to be an extraordinary experience. The program features newly commissioned works by composers from the greater Muslim world including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Somalia, Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, as well as fresh arrangements of related pieces drawn from Kronos’ vast repertoire.

The setlist was originally conceived as a response to President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order (EO) limiting entry of immigrants and refugees to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The EO was immediately challenged by various courts, which found the ban un-Constitutional based on its blatantly anti-Muslim sentiment (a breach of the Establishment Clause). Although certain legal challenges remain unresolved today, the Trump administration revoked and revised the EO a number of times until it finally passed muster and was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2018.

Meanwhile, Vahdat and her sister, Marjan, also a professional singer, are banned from singing in Iran while they await sentencing on charges stemming from a headscarf-free performance in a music video shot on a rooftop in Tehran. Furthermore, Marjan is not allowed to perform in the U.S. because she does not possess the proper visa. How I wish I was making this up.

For further details on this 21st century fundamentalist crackerbox saga, see the [https://www.earrelevant.net/2019/09/david-harrington-talks-about-kronos-quartets-music-for-change/|interview] conducted by Andrew Alexander and Mark Gresham at [http://www.earrelevant.net/|EarRelevant]. In addition to discussing the Vadhat sisters’ plight and Sunday’s program, Harrington dives into the relationship between Western classical and other types of music and the important role music plays in troubled times. As he puts it, “It’s part of a musicians’ responsibility to lift our audience out of ‘un-knowledge.’ ''[https://tickets.arts.emory.edu/single/eventDetail.aspx?p=120445|Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat]. $65. 8 p.m., Sat. Sep. 14. , Emerson Concert Hall, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 North Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA 30322. 404-727-5050.''

__Glenn Phillips Band CD/DVD/Book release show__: To anyone who hasn’t yet read Chad Radford’s [https://creativeloafing.com/content-440209-glenn-phillips-and-the-dark|interview with Glenn Phillips] online and in the current print edition of ''Creative Loafing'', rectify that oversight post haste. When you get back here, you’ll know that Phillips has written a memoir, ''[https://glennphillipsband.square.site/product/pre-order-ships-august-14-echoes-the-hampton-grease-band-my-life-my-music-and-how-i-stopped-having-panic-attacks-book-cd-dvd/21|Echoes: The Hampton Grease Band, My Life, My Music and How I Stopped Having Panic Attacks]''.  The book is packaged with a full-length album of new music, ''The Dark Parade'' (the guitarist’s first solo album in 16 years) and a DVD chronicle of a 2015 concert marking the 40th anniversary of Phillips’ first solo album, ''Lost At Sea.'' The concert DVD features the original players on Phillips’ epic first solo release along  with Cindy Wilson of The B-52s guesting on the encores.

For those of you still hopelessly lost at sea at this point, Phillips is our town’s very own homegrown (actually, he was born in New England, but that doesn’t count anymore) intergalactic guitar wizard who initially materialized on this musical plane as a founding member of the Hampton Grease Band (there were earlier bands, but those don’t count, either). Since then, Phillips has conjured up something like 20 albums in cahoots with everybody from Bob Weir and Pete Buck to Henry Kaiser and Elliott Sharpe. Additionally, Supreme Court, an ongoing, decades-long project with Swimming Pool Qs founder Jeff Calder, continues yielding wondrous material.

While the chat with Radford will fill you in on the panic attack side of Phillips’ story, which is gripping and inspirational in its own right, I encourage with extreme prejudice your presence at Eddie Owen’s Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth [https://eddieowenpresents.com/events/eddie-owen-presents-glenn-phillips-band-cd-dvd-book-release-show/|Saturday night] for the official release show for the ''Echoes'' book/CD/DVD joint. Phillips will be joined onstage by regular cohorts Bill Rea, John Boissiere and Calder, along with special guests Dana Nelson and Hampton Grease Band bassist Mike Holbrook. First set at 7:30; second set: 8:45 p.m. All are welcome to stay for both sets.

__Country Music Watch Party__ Most Listening Post readers are aware by now of documentarian Ken Burns’ latest magnum opus, ''[https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/country-music/|Country Music],'' which premiers this Sunday on PBS. As ''CL'' resident country music expert James Kelly recently penned in a [https://creativeloafing.com/content-440326-three-chords-and-the-truth-and-then-some|gracious plenty preview] of the series, the opening episode of Burns’ eight-part, 16-hour documentary highlights the integral role played by Atlanta in the origin of the indigenous American art form, which became known as country music.

In 1923, New York-based Okeh Records sent to Atlanta a team of engineers equipped with one of the world’s first portable recording machines. Their mission was to capture on wax cylinders a posse of southern musicians, which included multi-time state fiddle champion John Carson, doing their various things (e.g., jazz, blues, gospel). Of the many recordings produced during the multi-day sessions, which took place in a small now vacant building at 152 Nassau Street, the 78 rpm recording of Fiddlin’ John Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane”/”The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow” was a smash success. Today, it’s widely considered the first record by a country music artist, although at the time no such genre label existed.

In recent months, a public campaign led by [http://www.nassaustreetsessions.com/?fbclid=IwAR3Ued1PntWh6iZ48v_LDxXRrMg9AJajwjzUHPAyykDqb5NZ6u_MULiAKe8|Save 152 Nassau] has been advocating for the preservation of the downtown building where American music history was made, which is threatened by demolition to make room for, of all things, a Margaritaville Restaurant.

All of which brings us to Sunday’s “Country Music Watch Party” at ASW Whiskey Exchange located in the [https://leeandwhiteatl.com/|Lee + White development] along the West End Beltline. Sponsored by Save 152 Nassau, the event features live music by the [https://skilletlickers.org/|Skillet Lickers], whose roots extend back four generations to the earliest years of the American recording industry in the 1920s, followed by the broadcast premiere of ''Country Music.'' A portion of sales during the evening’s festivities will benefit the [https://www.atlantamusicproject.org/|Atlanta Music Project].

''”[https://www.facebook.com/events/2587839381267187/|Country Music Watch Party],” Free, Sun., Sep. 15. Music 6-8 p.m., screening of “Country Music” 8-10 p.m. ASW Whiskey Exchange, 1000 White St. Suite A, Atlanta GA 30310. 404-590-2279''

__Tinariwen at Variety Playhouse w/ Lonnie Holley__ Formed in 1979 while in exile in Algeria, Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg musicians from northern Mali who have been hailed worldwide for their superb musicianship; bluesy, mesmerizing electric guitar-driven sound; and powerful messaging, which celebrates the nomadic Tuareg culture. During a period of relative stability, Tinariwen returned to their homeland until 2012-13 when an uprising of Islamist extremists again made living in Mali a dangerously untenable proposition. Since then, Tinariwen has been touring and recording outside of the country, and sharing stages with Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana.

In 2012, Tinariwen was named Best Group in the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songlines_Music_Awards|Songlines Music Awards] for their album ''Tassili,'' which also garnered a Grammy for Best World Music Album. Currently touring in support of their latest album, ''Amajdar,'' which dropped September 6, Tinariwen will perform at the Variety Playhouse on [https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1847361?utm_medium=api|Monday, September 16], with Lonnie Holley opening. The following day, Tuesday, September 17, Tinariwen travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a gig at Ramkat, a local venue, also with Lonnie Holley as the opener.

The concert caused a stir several weeks ago when a couple of sponsored Facebook posts announcing the show caught the attention of the usual assortment of bigots, racists and “patriots.” “Take the fucking towels off your god damn heads,” wrote one commenter. “Any true American will not support this bunch of trash,” chimed in another, followed by “Taliban rock?,” “Shootout at midnight?” etc., etc. ad nauseam. One of Ramkat’s owners quoted in the local press said the venue plans to hire extra security for the gig.

There’s no limit to the many ways America is being made great again.

__Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: t''here is no Other'' tour:__ Rhiannon Giddens is a singular phenomenon. The classically trained, infinitely flexible, pellucidly clear voice; the virtuosic touch, whether on violin, viola or minstrel banjo; the imaginatively challenging choice of material; the unmistakable poise, strength and charisma; Giddens is one of the boldest, bravest, baddest musicians on planet Earth.

Her latest album, ''[https://www.nonesuch.com/journal/rhiannon-giddens-new-album-francesco-turrisi-there-no-other-out-now-nonesuch-records-2019-05-03|there is no Other]'' (Nonesuch), which dropped In May, features Giddens paired with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, the same duo that will be performing Friday, Sep. 20 at City Winery. Recorded with minimal fiddling and tweaking, the album includes original songs penned by Giddens; interpretations of traditional ballads, shanties and folk songs, such as Ola Belle Reed’s “[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6t7zowxgO5A&list=RDKBIQ_tjBt0M&index=3|I’m Gonna Write Me a Letter],” Oscar Brown, Jr’s “Brown Baby,” and “Pizzica di San Vito” (an Italian traditional); and “Black Swan,” the somber lullaby from Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera, ''The Medium.''

With Giddens and Turrisi playing an array of acoustic instruments drawn from African, Arabic, European, and American cultures, ''there is no Other'' weaves a magnificent 12-track tapestry of contemplative space and otherworldly beauty.

In January, I interviewed Giddens for Songlines, a world music magazine headquartered in London. The main focus of the interview was the album she had just finished, ''Songs of Our Native Daughters,'' for Smithsonian Folkways. When I asked her about upcoming projects, she mentioned ''there is no Other'' and the tour with Turrisi, which included a performance at Big Ears.

“It’s a meditation on how all of these different sounds we play come together,” Giddens said. “We have this idea that world music is a recent phenomenon, but actually it’s a very old idea. The sounds of the frame drum and the minstrel banjo or a playing a trans-drum from Iran called the ''daf'' on an Appalachian ballad — all of these sorts of things work really well because they’re all coming from the same source.”

“I’m so proud of the record; it’s really killer,” she continued. “It’s got accordion and piano and viola and violin, all of these different beautiful sounds from around the world that work together because we are, in fact, all together.”

''Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi. $50-$60 {SOLD OUT). Friday, Sep. 20, 6 p.m-9 p.m. [https://www.facebook.com/citywineryatl/?eid=ARD990qpBbp-dkD47M5sQZCHPlhFWtm-ss4cKWuUurmER8AKWWrMZlVwPNoCDGcd5VreYaBaRA2tnOSJ|City Winery Atlanta], 650 North Avenue NE Ste. 201, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. 404-946-3791.''"
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  string(18947) " 15156 M SONY (1) Copy  2019-09-12T19:40:54+00:00 15156_M_SONY (1) copy.jpg    milesdavis birthofthecoolmovie plazatheatre New documentary finds the trumpeter shadowboxing with himself 23090  2019-09-12T19:40:28+00:00 LISTENING POST: Miles Davis and the ‘Birth of the Cool’ tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris Doug DeLoach  2019-09-12T19:40:28+00:00  Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a feature-length documentary about the mercurial jazz trumpeter, composer and pop icon who died in 1991 at age 65, opens at the Plaza Theatre this Friday, Sept. 13. Directed by McArthur “genius” grantee Stanley Nelson (The Murder of Emmett Till, Freedom Riders), Birth of the Cool offers a compelling portrait of a brilliant, complex, charismatic and deeply conflicted man whose influence on the course of jazz, in particular, and popular culture more generally, rivals the impact of any artist in any field back through the ages.

It helps to bring some knowledge of the subject to the screening experience. The deeper the knowledge, the more rewarding the experience will be, especially regarding the music. While Nelson does a nice job of laying out the essential chronology and evolutionary twists of Davis’ life and career, the musical passages are edited for 21st century attention spans. Davis fans will appreciate the never-before-seen photos, home movies and concert footage, but the artistry sometimes plays second trumpet to the documentary formula.

“Music has always been like a curse with me,” intones actor Carl Lumbly at the beginning of the film in a voice-over mimicking Davis’ trademark raspy near-whisper (a self-inflicted consequence of failing to heed the rehab regimen following larynx surgery in 1956). This narrative technique is used throughout, with Lumbly quoting from Miles: The Autobiography. The book’s co-author, Quincy Troupe, also serves as one of the many commentators drawn from Davis’ circle of friends, fellow musicians and family members, along with critics, historians and industry colleagues

“I’ve always felt driven to play music,” the voice-over continues as the scene depicts Davis shadowboxing in a ring. “I always go to bed thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. It’s always there. It comes before everything.”

Single-mindedness is not an uncommon trait among successful people, but can lead to unintended, undesirable repercussions if left unchecked. Nelson’s documentary does a remarkable job of exploring the central dialectic of Davis’ life and artistic output, which pits an obsessive, anti-social malcontent against a sensitive, visionary genius.

Birth of the Cool refers both to Davis’ landmark collaboration with arranger Gil Evans, which spawned a seminal series of recordings by a nine-piece ensemble between 1948 and 1950, and the trumpeters’ cultivated persona and style, which combined aloof sophistication and cynical detachment with an appreciation for finely tailored clothes and high performance sports cars.

“Miles Davis was the personification of cool,” remarks Tammy Kernodle, a professor of musicology and author of Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams, in the documentary. “He becomes our black Superman.”

Black or white, Superman is vulnerable to kryptonite, a mineral remnant from his home planet, exposure to which can cripple or kill him. Davis’ kryptonite comes in the form of a misogynistic streak inherited from his father who once struck his wife so hard a couple of her teeth were knocked out. Tellingly, when Davis reflects on the domestic violence he witnessed as an adolescent, he says, “It had to affect us somehow, but I don’t really know how.”

Nelson pointedly answers Davis’ self-query through interviews with the musician’s former wives and girlfriends a number of whom relate their own tales of mistreatment. Davis’ first wife, Frances Taylor, was a professional dancer on the rise when she met Davis in 1958. She describes how, out of spiteful jealousy, Davis demanded she drop out of the original cast of ‘West Side Story.’ In a later incident, he knocked her to the floor. (Taylor left Davis in 1965 and died last year at age 89).

Davis’ contradictory nature permeates Birth of the Cool. Cruel and dismissive, he was also a preternaturally gifted improviser who used a horn and mute to articulate some of the most deeply emotive music a human has ever produced. He was the most successful jazz musician of his day who was also a black man living and working in not so great America.

Birth of the Cool vividly recounts a notorious incident in New York City in August 1959 when Davis was playing at Birdland. It was near the end of a two-week run promoting the release of ‘Kind of Blue,’ destined to become one of the highest-selling jazz albums of all time. One night, during a break between sets, Davis escorted a white woman outside the club so she could catch a cab. When a white police officer ordered Davis to “move on,” he refused to comply, pointing to the marquee on which his name was prominently displayed. The officer moved to arrest Davis and a struggle ensued. An off-duty detective walking by joined the fray, repeatedly striking Davis with a club. Beaten and bloodied, the trumpeter was arrested, but subsequently acquitted of disorderly conduct and assaulting a police officer.

“That incident changed me forever, made me much more bitter and cynical than I might have been,” Davis says.

At this point, ‘Birth of the Cool’ is barely half over. Still to come is the dissolution of the ‘Kind of Blue’ band, which included John Coltrane, followed by the assembling of the incredible Sixties quintet with Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock and 17-year-old Tony Williams; the revolutionary experiments with electronic instruments culminating in the landmark 1969 album Bitches Brew; protracted struggles with drugs and depression; a return to the concert stage at Avery Fisher Hall after years of withdrawal and isolation; the influence of Betty Mabry, Davis’ second wife, and Cicely Tyson, his third; reminiscences by Davis’ son, Erin, and cousin, Vince Wilburn, who administers the music side of the Miles Davis estate with other family members; and even more beauty, tragedy, exaltation and exasperation.

Birth of the Cool is probably the most comprehensive compendium of the life and art of Miles Davis the world is likely to get. The man was a tough subject when he was alive. Telling his story undoubtedly required a few tough calls by Stanley Nelson. The result is an engaging, unflinching document, which is sure to be studied for years to come.

Special Note: Jazz great and former Davis collaborator Jimmy Heath and Davis family members Vince Wilburn Jr. (Davis’ nephew) and Erin Davis (Davis’ son) will be present for a Q&A following the 7 p.m. screening on Friday, Sep. 13. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306, 470-225-6503.

Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera: Capitol City Opera, which was formed in 1983 to provide classically trained singers in the Atlanta area with an opportunity to learn and perform complete opera roles and to develop their vocal and acting skills on a professional level, is presenting a free concert Saturday afternoon, September 14. “Made in America: A Concert of American Art Song and Opera” features songs by American composers Lee Hoiby and Charles Ives, as well as selections from operas set in America including Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land and Mark Adamo’s Little Women. The performers include Allison Nance (mezzo-soprano), Robin Sewell (soprano) and Catherine Giel (piano). Suggested donation $10. 3 p.m. Sat., Sep. 14. High Point Episcopal Community Church, 4945 High Point Road Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia 30342. 404-252-3324.

Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat: Saturday’s concert, featuring Kronos Quartet with Iranian vocalist Mahsa Vahdat, at Emory University’s Emerson Concert Hall kicks off the 2019-2020 Candler Concert Series. It promises to be an extraordinary experience. The program features newly commissioned works by composers from the greater Muslim world including Azerbaijan, Egypt, Somalia, Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria, as well as fresh arrangements of related pieces drawn from Kronos’ vast repertoire.

The setlist was originally conceived as a response to President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order (EO) limiting entry of immigrants and refugees to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The EO was immediately challenged by various courts, which found the ban un-Constitutional based on its blatantly anti-Muslim sentiment (a breach of the Establishment Clause). Although certain legal challenges remain unresolved today, the Trump administration revoked and revised the EO a number of times until it finally passed muster and was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2018.

Meanwhile, Vahdat and her sister, Marjan, also a professional singer, are banned from singing in Iran while they await sentencing on charges stemming from a headscarf-free performance in a music video shot on a rooftop in Tehran. Furthermore, Marjan is not allowed to perform in the U.S. because she does not possess the proper visa. How I wish I was making this up.

For further details on this 21st century fundamentalist crackerbox saga, see the interview conducted by Andrew Alexander and Mark Gresham at EarRelevant. In addition to discussing the Vadhat sisters’ plight and Sunday’s program, Harrington dives into the relationship between Western classical and other types of music and the important role music plays in troubled times. As he puts it, “It’s part of a musicians’ responsibility to lift our audience out of ‘un-knowledge.’ Kronos Quartet with Mahsa Vahdat. $65. 8 p.m., Sat. Sep. 14. , Emerson Concert Hall, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 North Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA 30322. 404-727-5050.

Glenn Phillips Band CD/DVD/Book release show: To anyone who hasn’t yet read Chad Radford’s interview with Glenn Phillips online and in the current print edition of Creative Loafing, rectify that oversight post haste. When you get back here, you’ll know that Phillips has written a memoir, Echoes: The Hampton Grease Band, My Life, My Music and How I Stopped Having Panic Attacks.  The book is packaged with a full-length album of new music, The Dark Parade (the guitarist’s first solo album in 16 years) and a DVD chronicle of a 2015 concert marking the 40th anniversary of Phillips’ first solo album, Lost At Sea. The concert DVD features the original players on Phillips’ epic first solo release along  with Cindy Wilson of The B-52s guesting on the encores.

For those of you still hopelessly lost at sea at this point, Phillips is our town’s very own homegrown (actually, he was born in New England, but that doesn’t count anymore) intergalactic guitar wizard who initially materialized on this musical plane as a founding member of the Hampton Grease Band (there were earlier bands, but those don’t count, either). Since then, Phillips has conjured up something like 20 albums in cahoots with everybody from Bob Weir and Pete Buck to Henry Kaiser and Elliott Sharpe. Additionally, Supreme Court, an ongoing, decades-long project with Swimming Pool Qs founder Jeff Calder, continues yielding wondrous material.

While the chat with Radford will fill you in on the panic attack side of Phillips’ story, which is gripping and inspirational in its own right, I encourage with extreme prejudice your presence at Eddie Owen’s Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth Saturday night for the official release show for the Echoes book/CD/DVD joint. Phillips will be joined onstage by regular cohorts Bill Rea, John Boissiere and Calder, along with special guests Dana Nelson and Hampton Grease Band bassist Mike Holbrook. First set at 7:30; second set: 8:45 p.m. All are welcome to stay for both sets.

Country Music Watch Party Most Listening Post readers are aware by now of documentarian Ken Burns’ latest magnum opus, Country Music, which premiers this Sunday on PBS. As CL resident country music expert James Kelly recently penned in a gracious plenty preview of the series, the opening episode of Burns’ eight-part, 16-hour documentary highlights the integral role played by Atlanta in the origin of the indigenous American art form, which became known as country music.

In 1923, New York-based Okeh Records sent to Atlanta a team of engineers equipped with one of the world’s first portable recording machines. Their mission was to capture on wax cylinders a posse of southern musicians, which included multi-time state fiddle champion John Carson, doing their various things (e.g., jazz, blues, gospel). Of the many recordings produced during the multi-day sessions, which took place in a small now vacant building at 152 Nassau Street, the 78 rpm recording of Fiddlin’ John Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane”/”The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow” was a smash success. Today, it’s widely considered the first record by a country music artist, although at the time no such genre label existed.

In recent months, a public campaign led by Save 152 Nassau has been advocating for the preservation of the downtown building where American music history was made, which is threatened by demolition to make room for, of all things, a Margaritaville Restaurant.

All of which brings us to Sunday’s “Country Music Watch Party” at ASW Whiskey Exchange located in the Lee + White development along the West End Beltline. Sponsored by Save 152 Nassau, the event features live music by the Skillet Lickers, whose roots extend back four generations to the earliest years of the American recording industry in the 1920s, followed by the broadcast premiere of Country Music. A portion of sales during the evening’s festivities will benefit the Atlanta Music Project.

”Country Music Watch Party,” Free, Sun., Sep. 15. Music 6-8 p.m., screening of “Country Music” 8-10 p.m. ASW Whiskey Exchange, 1000 White St. Suite A, Atlanta GA 30310. 404-590-2279

Tinariwen at Variety Playhouse w/ Lonnie Holley Formed in 1979 while in exile in Algeria, Tinariwen is a band of Tuareg musicians from northern Mali who have been hailed worldwide for their superb musicianship; bluesy, mesmerizing electric guitar-driven sound; and powerful messaging, which celebrates the nomadic Tuareg culture. During a period of relative stability, Tinariwen returned to their homeland until 2012-13 when an uprising of Islamist extremists again made living in Mali a dangerously untenable proposition. Since then, Tinariwen has been touring and recording outside of the country, and sharing stages with Robert Plant, The Rolling Stones, Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana.

In 2012, Tinariwen was named Best Group in the Songlines Music Awards for their album Tassili, which also garnered a Grammy for Best World Music Album. Currently touring in support of their latest album, Amajdar, which dropped September 6, Tinariwen will perform at the Variety Playhouse on Monday, September 16, with Lonnie Holley opening. The following day, Tuesday, September 17, Tinariwen travel to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, for a gig at Ramkat, a local venue, also with Lonnie Holley as the opener.

The concert caused a stir several weeks ago when a couple of sponsored Facebook posts announcing the show caught the attention of the usual assortment of bigots, racists and “patriots.” “Take the fucking towels off your god damn heads,” wrote one commenter. “Any true American will not support this bunch of trash,” chimed in another, followed by “Taliban rock?,” “Shootout at midnight?” etc., etc. ad nauseam. One of Ramkat’s owners quoted in the local press said the venue plans to hire extra security for the gig.

There’s no limit to the many ways America is being made great again.

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: there is no Other tour: Rhiannon Giddens is a singular phenomenon. The classically trained, infinitely flexible, pellucidly clear voice; the virtuosic touch, whether on violin, viola or minstrel banjo; the imaginatively challenging choice of material; the unmistakable poise, strength and charisma; Giddens is one of the boldest, bravest, baddest musicians on planet Earth.

Her latest album, there is no Other (Nonesuch), which dropped In May, features Giddens paired with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, the same duo that will be performing Friday, Sep. 20 at City Winery. Recorded with minimal fiddling and tweaking, the album includes original songs penned by Giddens; interpretations of traditional ballads, shanties and folk songs, such as Ola Belle Reed’s “I’m Gonna Write Me a Letter,” Oscar Brown, Jr’s “Brown Baby,” and “Pizzica di San Vito” (an Italian traditional); and “Black Swan,” the somber lullaby from Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera, The Medium.

With Giddens and Turrisi playing an array of acoustic instruments drawn from African, Arabic, European, and American cultures, there is no Other weaves a magnificent 12-track tapestry of contemplative space and otherworldly beauty.

In January, I interviewed Giddens for Songlines, a world music magazine headquartered in London. The main focus of the interview was the album she had just finished, Songs of Our Native Daughters, for Smithsonian Folkways. When I asked her about upcoming projects, she mentioned there is no Other and the tour with Turrisi, which included a performance at Big Ears.

“It’s a meditation on how all of these different sounds we play come together,” Giddens said. “We have this idea that world music is a recent phenomenon, but actually it’s a very old idea. The sounds of the frame drum and the minstrel banjo or a playing a trans-drum from Iran called the daf on an Appalachian ballad — all of these sorts of things work really well because they’re all coming from the same source.”

“I’m so proud of the record; it’s really killer,” she continued. “It’s got accordion and piano and viola and violin, all of these different beautiful sounds from around the world that work together because we are, in fact, all together.”

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi. $50-$60 {SOLD OUT). Friday, Sep. 20, 6 p.m-9 p.m. City Winery Atlanta, 650 North Avenue NE Ste. 201, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. 404-946-3791.    Photographer Jim Marshall/ Sony Music Archives Courtesy of Abramorama/ Eagle Rock. THE MAN WITH THE HORN: Miles Davis On Stage, 1970.  0,0,1    MilesDavis BirthoftheCoolmovie PLazaTheatre                             LISTENING POST: Miles Davis and the ‘Birth of the Cool’ "
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Thursday September 12, 2019 03:40 pm EDT
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  string(105) "Juried exhibit of one man’s trash as another man’s treasure comes to 378 to celebrate Deacon Lunchbox"
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  string(8761) "Think “waste not, want not,” as my mother used to say, or “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” as Kelly Hogan sings on The Jody Grind’s 1991 album of the same name. Those are shorthand themes for Repurposed, a special two-day-only (July 26-27), juried art exhibition at 378, the newly launched gallery and performance space on Clifton Road in Candler Park. Friday’s opening includes a celebration of the life and times of Deacon Lunchbox hosted by Bill Taft, featuring live music, film/video, and poetry by guest performers.

The Repurposed call for submissions specifically solicits two- and three-dimensional works including ready-mades, assemblages, found objects, aesthetically repurposed items, artistically reused interactives, curbside manipulatives, and over-painted prints and paintings. From such a wide casting call, a rogue’s gallery of offbeat, second-hand wonders will be on display in a fitting (repurposed building) showcase.

“The idea is to get people to view repurposed items as valuable in some way,” says chief juror Clare Butler. “It’s a commentary on our throw-away culture and the notion that, when you think something only has one purpose, you discard it after using it, even though it may have meaning for someone else.”

Speaking of repurposing, as Lady Clare, Butler was an original member of Now Explosion, a pioneering DIY-pop band which embodied the kitschy glam-drag-dance scene that flourished in Atlanta in the 1980s. Lady Clare also made regular appearances on the American Music Show, a queer public-access TV program produced in Atlanta between 1981 and 2005, which featured local celebs including RuPaul, Larry Tee, DeAundra Peek, Duffy Odum, Tom Zarrilli, Lady Bunny, and Jayne County.

Zarrilli, an actor, journalist, former club impresario, and retired school librarian, was recruited to manage 378 by singer-songwriter Clay Harper, who, with his business partner Mike Nelson, co-own the building, along with being the co-founders of Atlanta’s Fellini’s Pizza. At the opening in May, Harper performed selections from his most recent album, Bleak Beauty, in the performance space downstairs from the main gallery, followed by a set from Kevn Kinney & Friends.

For the opening of Repurposed, Zarrilli is delving into the archives to pay tribute to Deacon Lunchbox, the stage name of poet-performance artist Tim Ruttenber. A gifted language wrangler and fearless performer, Ruttenber possessed a sharply honed sense of the absurd and a keen eye for the devil’s details. Rarely deviating from a bellowing rant, Deacon Lunchbox recited poetic ruminations, which he called “redneck psychobabble,” on subjects ranging from lumberjacking, bikers, sex, and terrorism to suburban blight and cheese-and-pickle sandwiches. Usually, he accompanied himself by smacking the side of a surplus naval torpedo with a carpenter’s hammer and hollering into a sheetrock bucket to achieve special reverb effects. In 1992, on the way back to Atlanta from a gig in Pensacola, Florida, Ruttenber perished in an automobile accident along with two members of The Jody Grind, Robert Hayes and Rob Clayton.

“I look back on Deacon Lunchbox as a living found object, a stranger in a strange band,” Zarrilli says.

The same socio-cultural impetus that spawned Now Explosion and Deacon Lunchbox begat the Opal Foxx Quartet, which included Ruttenber, Taft, and lead vocalist Benjamin (Robert Dickerson, who died in 1999). The latter was the subject of Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen’s award-winning documentary film Benjamin Smoke (2000). Back in the day, Zarrilli successively managed the Nitery and Celebrity Club, two venues located blocks apart on Ponce De Leon, where these and many similarly inclined artists frequently performed.

“Bill (Taft) and others in his circle are the last remaining connections to that milieu,” Zarrilli says.

Among the scheduled tributeers is Rupert Fike, whose most recent book, Hello the House: Poems (Snake Nation Press), was named one of 2018’s “Books All Georgians Should Read” by the Georgia Center for the Book. James Kelly, frontman for Slim Chance & the Convicts, will perform two songs: "Loweena (the Urban Redneck Queen)” — which Deacon Lunchbox regularly sang with the band at the Austin Avenue Buffet and other “redneck underground” haunts, most of which are long gone — and “I Miss You Most on Sundays,” a poignant remembrance of Ruttenber by way of his passion for NASCAR racing.

Vintage footage of Deacon Lunchbox will be screened, including Neil Fried’s short feature film, Lawrence of Lawrenceville Highway, and “home video” shot by Judy Rushin (now an art professor at Florida State University) of an outing to Road Atlanta in which Deacon, using a can of insect repellent as a microphone, interviews “the greatest American race car driver from France” (Taft). A concert clip of Deacon performing with the Opal Foxx Quartet on the Georgia state capitol steps may also be included.

“Deacon’s style was assemblage,” says Taft. “On stage, he was a kinetic sculpture, waving a chainsaw, shooting a blank gun, banging a hammer on an oil drum, flashing plastic breasts. His life was dedicated to repurpose. In the mid-’80s, he exiled himself from the hippie era, left the mountains of North Carolina, moved to the heart of midtown, and refurbished his life. He was born again as a poet and performer.”

In Western art history, the tradition of repurposing objects for artistic purposes stretches back through millennia. Butler recalls being dazzled as a youngster by an unusual painting she ran across in an art book. Vertumnus, a portrait by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, a Mannerist artist, was painted in Milan around  1590–1591. It depicts Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II with a face and torso fashioned from flowers, fruits, and vegetables, symbolizing the Roman god of seasonal metamorphosis and natural bounty.

“I was fascinated by that painting and the idea of combining random things to create a recognizable image,” Butler says.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, the technique of altering and recombining pre-fab and found objects to serve the artistic muse is manifest across categories ranging from surrealism and pop to minimalism and “visionary” (contemporary folk) art. A few decades ago, Atlanta-based artist and musician Lonnie Holley initially garnered international attention with his deeply evocative assemblages constructed from discarded objects (farm implements, bicycle parts, furniture, bric-a-brac) and repurposed materials (wood, cloth, glass, wire, metal), which were found on the side of the road, along railroad tracks, in fields, drainage ditches, construction sites, and everywhere else his keen curiosity led him.

“When people use material like that, in what’s considered an ‘untrained’ manner, some people say it’s because they can’t afford art supplies, but that’s beside the point,” Butler observes. “They’re using what’s available as an artistic medium, which is relevant to the artist’s life and experiences. As a result, the art is more meaningful than if they went to an art supply store and bought a nice set of acrylic paints.”

Repurposed includes works by local Atlanta and out-of-town artists. Among the submissions are pieces by Lanny Brewster, Susan Cipcic, Melissia Fernander, Benjamin Harubin, Karen Hennessee, Tim Hunter, Rob Lombardo, William Makepeace, Patty Nelson Merrifield, Rob Nixon, Leisa Rich, Blake Wilkerson, John Woodson, and Cindy Zarrilli. Full disclosure: your Listening Post correspondent has a small piece in the show.

“My personal taste tends toward found objects, which have been repurposed into an artistic vision by combining or manipulating them, rather than something picked up by somebody that coincidentally looks like something else,” Butler says.

Regardless of genre, technique, or motivation, elevating the status of discarded things and encouraging their accumulation runs against popular cultural trends focused on decluttering, “death cleaning,” and filtering out possessions that fail to “spark joy.” Butler views the situation through her own lens.

“I don’t think you should hang onto things you don’t want,” she says. “On the other hand, re-envisioning or reimagining things is a way to entertain yourself and create the feeling that value in the objects around you arises from their artistic, rather than utilitarian, nature.”

“If something doesn’t spark joy,” Butler adds, “reuse or repurpose it so it does.”

Or, as Deacon Lunchbox used to say: “Life is an illusion, so you might as well make it a good one.”"
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(9414) "Think “waste not, want not,” as my mother used to say, or “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” as Kelly Hogan sings on The Jody Grind’s 1991 album of the same name. Those are shorthand themes for Repurposed, a special two-day-only (July 26-27), juried art exhibition at 378, the newly launched gallery and performance space on Clifton Road in Candler Park. Friday’s opening includes a celebration of the life and times of Deacon Lunchbox hosted by Bill Taft, featuring live music, film/video, and poetry by guest performers.

The Repurposed call for submissions specifically solicits two- and three-dimensional works including ready-mades, assemblages, found objects, aesthetically repurposed items, artistically reused interactives, curbside manipulatives, and over-painted prints and paintings. From such a wide casting call, a rogue’s gallery of offbeat, second-hand wonders will be on display in a fitting (repurposed building) showcase.

“The idea is to get people to view repurposed items as valuable in some way,” says chief juror Clare Butler. “It’s a commentary on our throw-away culture and the notion that, when you think something only has one purpose, you discard it after using it, even though it may have meaning for someone else.”

Speaking of repurposing, as Lady Clare, Butler was an original member of [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_TbP0g1EYQ|Now Explosion], a pioneering DIY-pop band which embodied the kitschy glam-drag-dance scene that flourished in Atlanta in the 1980s. Lady Clare also made regular appearances on the [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqAMHzXGQck|American Music Show], a queer public-access TV program produced in Atlanta between 1981 and 2005, which featured local celebs including RuPaul, Larry Tee, DeAundra Peek, Duffy Odum, Tom Zarrilli, Lady Bunny, and Jayne County.

Zarrilli, an actor, journalist, former club impresario, and retired school librarian, was recruited to manage 378 by singer-songwriter Clay Harper, who, with his business partner Mike Nelson, co-own the building, along with being the co-founders of Atlanta’s Fellini’s Pizza. At the opening in May, Harper performed selections from his most recent album, [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1WMBK0hIO8&list=PLI_C5jMT4w2phHabKaIq3dbGRTcnGuOdK|Bleak Beauty], in the performance space downstairs from the main gallery, followed by a set from Kevn Kinney & Friends.

For the opening of Repurposed, Zarrilli is delving into the archives to pay tribute to [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffo0e99HL7c|Deacon Lunchbox], the stage name of poet-performance artist Tim Ruttenber. A gifted language wrangler and fearless performer, Ruttenber possessed a sharply honed sense of the absurd and a keen eye for the devil’s details. Rarely deviating from a bellowing rant, Deacon Lunchbox recited poetic ruminations, which he called “redneck psychobabble,” on subjects ranging from lumberjacking, bikers, sex, and terrorism to suburban blight and cheese-and-pickle sandwiches. Usually, he accompanied himself by smacking the side of a surplus naval torpedo with a carpenter’s hammer and hollering into a sheetrock bucket to achieve special reverb effects. In 1992, on the way back to Atlanta from a gig in Pensacola, Florida, Ruttenber perished in an automobile accident along with two members of The Jody Grind, Robert Hayes and Rob Clayton.

“I look back on Deacon Lunchbox as a living found object, a stranger in a strange band,” Zarrilli says.

The same socio-cultural impetus that spawned Now Explosion and Deacon Lunchbox begat the [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B26mB1hFxs|Opal Foxx Quartet], which included Ruttenber, Taft, and lead vocalist Benjamin (Robert Dickerson, who died in 1999). The latter was the subject of Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen’s award-winning documentary film [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaSLSCXOZLQ|Benjamin Smoke] (2000). Back in the day, Zarrilli successively managed the Nitery and Celebrity Club, two venues located blocks apart on Ponce De Leon, where these and many similarly inclined artists frequently performed.

“Bill (Taft) and others in his circle are the last remaining connections to that milieu,” Zarrilli says.

Among the scheduled tributeers is Rupert Fike, whose most recent book, [http://snakenation.press/fikecvrhouse-indd|Hello the House: Poems] (Snake Nation Press), was named one of 2018’s “Books All Georgians Should Read” by the [http://snakenation.press/fikecvrhouse-indd|Georgia Center for the Book]. James Kelly, frontman for Slim Chance & the Convicts, will perform two songs: "Loweena (the Urban Redneck Queen)” — which Deacon Lunchbox regularly sang with the band at the Austin Avenue Buffet and other “redneck underground” haunts, most of which are long gone — and “I Miss You Most on Sundays,” a poignant remembrance of Ruttenber by way of his passion for NASCAR racing.

Vintage footage of Deacon Lunchbox will be screened, including Neil Fried’s short feature film, ''Lawrence of Lawrenceville Highway'', and “home video” shot by Judy Rushin (now an art professor at Florida State University) of an outing to Road Atlanta in which Deacon, using a can of insect repellent as a microphone, interviews “the greatest American race car driver from France” (Taft). A concert clip of Deacon performing with the Opal Foxx Quartet on the Georgia state capitol steps may also be included.

“Deacon’s style was assemblage,” says Taft. “On stage, he was a kinetic sculpture, waving a chainsaw, shooting a blank gun, banging a hammer on an oil drum, flashing plastic breasts. His life was dedicated to repurpose. In the mid-’80s, he exiled himself from the hippie era, left the mountains of North Carolina, moved to the heart of midtown, and refurbished his life. He was born again as a poet and performer.”

In Western art history, the tradition of repurposing objects for artistic purposes stretches back through millennia. Butler recalls being dazzled as a youngster by an unusual painting she ran across in an art book. ''[https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/rudolf-ii-of-habsburg-as-vertumnus/TAGn3nhWHkbIBA?hl=en&ms={"x":0.5,"y":0.5,"z":8.51798384779611,"size":{"width":2.6837831785647626,"height":1.2375226574274376}}|Vertumnus],'' a portrait by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, a Mannerist artist, was painted in Milan around  1590–1591. It depicts Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II with a face and torso fashioned from flowers, fruits, and vegetables, symbolizing the Roman god of seasonal metamorphosis and natural bounty.

“I was fascinated by that painting and the idea of combining random things to create a recognizable image,” Butler says.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, the technique of altering and recombining pre-fab and found objects to serve the artistic muse is manifest across categories ranging from surrealism and pop to minimalism and “visionary” (contemporary folk) art. A few decades ago, Atlanta-based artist and musician [https://www.lonnieholley.com/|Lonnie Holley] initially garnered international attention with his deeply evocative assemblages constructed from discarded objects (farm implements, bicycle parts, furniture, bric-a-brac) and repurposed materials (wood, cloth, glass, wire, metal), which were found on the side of the road, along railroad tracks, in fields, drainage ditches, construction sites, and everywhere else his keen curiosity led him.

“When people use material like that, in what’s considered an ‘untrained’ manner, some people say it’s because they can’t afford art supplies, but that’s beside the point,” Butler observes. “They’re using what’s available as an artistic medium, which is relevant to the artist’s life and experiences. As a result, the art is more meaningful than if they went to an art supply store and bought a nice set of acrylic paints.”

Repurposed includes works by local Atlanta and out-of-town artists. Among the submissions are pieces by Lanny Brewster, Susan Cipcic, Melissia Fernander, Benjamin Harubin, Karen Hennessee, Tim Hunter, Rob Lombardo, William Makepeace, Patty Nelson Merrifield, Rob Nixon, Leisa Rich, Blake Wilkerson, John Woodson, and Cindy Zarrilli. [[Full disclosure: your Listening Post correspondent has a small piece in the show.]

“My personal taste tends toward found objects, which have been repurposed into an artistic vision by combining or manipulating them, rather than something picked up by somebody that coincidentally looks like something else,” Butler says.

Regardless of genre, technique, or motivation, elevating the status of discarded things and encouraging their accumulation runs against popular cultural trends focused on decluttering, “death cleaning,” and filtering out possessions that fail to “spark joy.” Butler views the situation through her own lens.

“I don’t think you should hang onto things you don’t want,” she says. “On the other hand, re-envisioning or reimagining things is a way to entertain yourself and create the feeling that value in the objects around you arises from their artistic, rather than utilitarian, nature.”

“If something doesn’t spark joy,” Butler adds, “reuse or repurpose it so it does.”

Or, as Deacon Lunchbox used to say: “Life is an illusion, so you might as well make it a good one.”"
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  string(9338) " 2 Harubin Repurposed Crap  2019-07-08T21:36:33+00:00 2 Harubin Repurposed Crap.jpg   Well, and then she said ......  Juried exhibit of one man’s trash as another man’s treasure comes to 378 to celebrate Deacon Lunchbox 20191  2019-07-08T21:23:32+00:00 LISTENING POST: Repurposed — but is it art? tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris DOUG DELOACH Doug DeLoach 2019-07-08T21:23:32+00:00  Think “waste not, want not,” as my mother used to say, or “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” as Kelly Hogan sings on The Jody Grind’s 1991 album of the same name. Those are shorthand themes for Repurposed, a special two-day-only (July 26-27), juried art exhibition at 378, the newly launched gallery and performance space on Clifton Road in Candler Park. Friday’s opening includes a celebration of the life and times of Deacon Lunchbox hosted by Bill Taft, featuring live music, film/video, and poetry by guest performers.

The Repurposed call for submissions specifically solicits two- and three-dimensional works including ready-mades, assemblages, found objects, aesthetically repurposed items, artistically reused interactives, curbside manipulatives, and over-painted prints and paintings. From such a wide casting call, a rogue’s gallery of offbeat, second-hand wonders will be on display in a fitting (repurposed building) showcase.

“The idea is to get people to view repurposed items as valuable in some way,” says chief juror Clare Butler. “It’s a commentary on our throw-away culture and the notion that, when you think something only has one purpose, you discard it after using it, even though it may have meaning for someone else.”

Speaking of repurposing, as Lady Clare, Butler was an original member of Now Explosion, a pioneering DIY-pop band which embodied the kitschy glam-drag-dance scene that flourished in Atlanta in the 1980s. Lady Clare also made regular appearances on the American Music Show, a queer public-access TV program produced in Atlanta between 1981 and 2005, which featured local celebs including RuPaul, Larry Tee, DeAundra Peek, Duffy Odum, Tom Zarrilli, Lady Bunny, and Jayne County.

Zarrilli, an actor, journalist, former club impresario, and retired school librarian, was recruited to manage 378 by singer-songwriter Clay Harper, who, with his business partner Mike Nelson, co-own the building, along with being the co-founders of Atlanta’s Fellini’s Pizza. At the opening in May, Harper performed selections from his most recent album, Bleak Beauty, in the performance space downstairs from the main gallery, followed by a set from Kevn Kinney & Friends.

For the opening of Repurposed, Zarrilli is delving into the archives to pay tribute to Deacon Lunchbox, the stage name of poet-performance artist Tim Ruttenber. A gifted language wrangler and fearless performer, Ruttenber possessed a sharply honed sense of the absurd and a keen eye for the devil’s details. Rarely deviating from a bellowing rant, Deacon Lunchbox recited poetic ruminations, which he called “redneck psychobabble,” on subjects ranging from lumberjacking, bikers, sex, and terrorism to suburban blight and cheese-and-pickle sandwiches. Usually, he accompanied himself by smacking the side of a surplus naval torpedo with a carpenter’s hammer and hollering into a sheetrock bucket to achieve special reverb effects. In 1992, on the way back to Atlanta from a gig in Pensacola, Florida, Ruttenber perished in an automobile accident along with two members of The Jody Grind, Robert Hayes and Rob Clayton.

“I look back on Deacon Lunchbox as a living found object, a stranger in a strange band,” Zarrilli says.

The same socio-cultural impetus that spawned Now Explosion and Deacon Lunchbox begat the Opal Foxx Quartet, which included Ruttenber, Taft, and lead vocalist Benjamin (Robert Dickerson, who died in 1999). The latter was the subject of Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen’s award-winning documentary film Benjamin Smoke (2000). Back in the day, Zarrilli successively managed the Nitery and Celebrity Club, two venues located blocks apart on Ponce De Leon, where these and many similarly inclined artists frequently performed.

“Bill (Taft) and others in his circle are the last remaining connections to that milieu,” Zarrilli says.

Among the scheduled tributeers is Rupert Fike, whose most recent book, Hello the House: Poems (Snake Nation Press), was named one of 2018’s “Books All Georgians Should Read” by the Georgia Center for the Book. James Kelly, frontman for Slim Chance & the Convicts, will perform two songs: "Loweena (the Urban Redneck Queen)” — which Deacon Lunchbox regularly sang with the band at the Austin Avenue Buffet and other “redneck underground” haunts, most of which are long gone — and “I Miss You Most on Sundays,” a poignant remembrance of Ruttenber by way of his passion for NASCAR racing.

Vintage footage of Deacon Lunchbox will be screened, including Neil Fried’s short feature film, Lawrence of Lawrenceville Highway, and “home video” shot by Judy Rushin (now an art professor at Florida State University) of an outing to Road Atlanta in which Deacon, using a can of insect repellent as a microphone, interviews “the greatest American race car driver from France” (Taft). A concert clip of Deacon performing with the Opal Foxx Quartet on the Georgia state capitol steps may also be included.

“Deacon’s style was assemblage,” says Taft. “On stage, he was a kinetic sculpture, waving a chainsaw, shooting a blank gun, banging a hammer on an oil drum, flashing plastic breasts. His life was dedicated to repurpose. In the mid-’80s, he exiled himself from the hippie era, left the mountains of North Carolina, moved to the heart of midtown, and refurbished his life. He was born again as a poet and performer.”

In Western art history, the tradition of repurposing objects for artistic purposes stretches back through millennia. Butler recalls being dazzled as a youngster by an unusual painting she ran across in an art book. Vertumnus, a portrait by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, a Mannerist artist, was painted in Milan around  1590–1591. It depicts Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II with a face and torso fashioned from flowers, fruits, and vegetables, symbolizing the Roman god of seasonal metamorphosis and natural bounty.

“I was fascinated by that painting and the idea of combining random things to create a recognizable image,” Butler says.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, the technique of altering and recombining pre-fab and found objects to serve the artistic muse is manifest across categories ranging from surrealism and pop to minimalism and “visionary” (contemporary folk) art. A few decades ago, Atlanta-based artist and musician Lonnie Holley initially garnered international attention with his deeply evocative assemblages constructed from discarded objects (farm implements, bicycle parts, furniture, bric-a-brac) and repurposed materials (wood, cloth, glass, wire, metal), which were found on the side of the road, along railroad tracks, in fields, drainage ditches, construction sites, and everywhere else his keen curiosity led him.

“When people use material like that, in what’s considered an ‘untrained’ manner, some people say it’s because they can’t afford art supplies, but that’s beside the point,” Butler observes. “They’re using what’s available as an artistic medium, which is relevant to the artist’s life and experiences. As a result, the art is more meaningful than if they went to an art supply store and bought a nice set of acrylic paints.”

Repurposed includes works by local Atlanta and out-of-town artists. Among the submissions are pieces by Lanny Brewster, Susan Cipcic, Melissia Fernander, Benjamin Harubin, Karen Hennessee, Tim Hunter, Rob Lombardo, William Makepeace, Patty Nelson Merrifield, Rob Nixon, Leisa Rich, Blake Wilkerson, John Woodson, and Cindy Zarrilli. Full disclosure: your Listening Post correspondent has a small piece in the show.

“My personal taste tends toward found objects, which have been repurposed into an artistic vision by combining or manipulating them, rather than something picked up by somebody that coincidentally looks like something else,” Butler says.

Regardless of genre, technique, or motivation, elevating the status of discarded things and encouraging their accumulation runs against popular cultural trends focused on decluttering, “death cleaning,” and filtering out possessions that fail to “spark joy.” Butler views the situation through her own lens.

“I don’t think you should hang onto things you don’t want,” she says. “On the other hand, re-envisioning or reimagining things is a way to entertain yourself and create the feeling that value in the objects around you arises from their artistic, rather than utilitarian, nature.”

“If something doesn’t spark joy,” Butler adds, “reuse or repurpose it so it does.”

Or, as Deacon Lunchbox used to say: “Life is an illusion, so you might as well make it a good one.”    Benjamin Harubin "REPURPOSED CRAP:" Artist: Benjamin Harubin, metal, plastic, paper wood.  0,0,2                                 LISTENING POST: Repurposed — but is it art? "
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Article

Monday July 8, 2019 05:23 pm EDT
Juried exhibit of one man’s trash as another man’s treasure comes to 378 to celebrate Deacon Lunchbox | more...
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  string(60) "LISTENING POST: Chronicling the ‘Cabbagetown Chronicles’"
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  string(57) "The onetime mill town has nurtured a diverse music scene"
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  string(11799) "Documenting a century’s worth of music-making in one of Atlanta’s most historically idiosyncratic neighborhoods is a daunting task. Rising to the challenge is James Kelly, a behavioral psychologist, songwriter, leader of Slim Chance & the Convicts, and longtime resident of Cabbagetown.

Cabbagetown Chronicles is a recording-project-in-process spearheaded by Kelly along with John Dirga, who books the annual “ Chomp & Stomp Chili Cook-off and Bluegrass Festival ,” and Steve Seachrist, sound engineer and co-founder with viola player Katie Butler of The Chumblers. Scheduled for release in the fall, Cabbagetown Chronicles features a unique track selection format to showcase original, cover, and never-before-released material by former inhabitants of Cabbagetown — the neighborhood squeezed into a small spiderweb of streets flanked by Oakland Cemetery to the west, the railroad yards to the north, Pearl Street to the east, and Memorial Boulevard to the south. Contributors to the project include Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Elise Witt (Small Family Orchestra), Kelly Hogan (The Jody Grind), Tommy Roe, Fiddlin’ John Carson, Joyce Brookshire, members of the Opal Foxx Quartet and Smoke, The Rock*A*Teens, and a specially formed gospel troupe from a local Pentecostal church.

“For a hundred years, Cabbagetown has been a powerful, nurturing environment for a wide array of music,” says Kelly, who periodically contributes to Creative Loafing. “It’s a phenomenon that needed to be documented in a tangible, lasting way.”

In 1992, Kelly purchased a single-story home with an front porch glider on Pearl Street. Today, he and his cohorts are plumbing the rich musical legacy of their neighborhood from multiple intersecting angles. Last year, the trio launched the Cabbagetown Concert Series (CCS). The next event in the series, on Thursday, June 20, is a double bill featuring the Parsons Rocket Project with K. Michelle DuBois and W8ing4UFOs. Both DuBois and W8ing4UFOs are featured on Cabbagetown Chronicles, covering songs by seminal Cabbagetown artists and contributing original work.

Two more CCS events are on the 2019 calendar, each on the third Thursday in September and October. All of the concerts are staged outdoors in Cabbagetown Park in the Joyce Brookshire Amphitheater, named for the late folk singer-songwriter, community activist, and descendent of the original Cabbagetown community who died in 2017. Brookshire’s music is celebrated on Cabbagetown Chronicles by close friend and singer-songwriter Elise Witt.

“The last time I saw Joyce, she was in the hospital, lying in her bed in a coma,” Witt says. “I started singing and she started singing with me — in harmony. We sang six or seven songs.”

Cabbagetown as a music mecca dates to the late 1800s and the construction of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, now the site of Fulton Mill Loft Apartments and The Stacks Condominiums, on the southeast corner of downtown. Adjacent to the textile manufacturing facility, the original owners constructed the “Factory Lot,” a warren of small, one- and two-story cottages and shotgun shacks where mill workers were cheaply and conveniently housed. For reasons that remain in dispute, the “Factory Lot” eventually became known as Cabbagetown.

Lured by the promise of steady factory work, which was somewhat less arduous and dangerous than coal mining and not nearly as fickle as farming, many of the first Cabbagetown residents hailed from the Piedmont lowlands and other Appalachian locales. Others came from the back hollers and cotton fields surrounding post-Reconstruction era Atlanta, as well as the city’s sizable population of hardscrabble denizens and itinerant laborers. At the height of production, the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill employed around 2,600 people.

One of those employees was John Carson, an experienced textile worker and prodigious fiddle player from north Georgia who in 1911 moved with his family into a four-room house on Carroll Street. When his 11-hour shift operating a weaving machine ended, Carson busked the streets of Cabbagetown and neighboring enclaves for pocket change. He also competed in contests, which he usually won, at state fairs and showcase venues, such as the Municipal Auditorium (now Georgia State University’s Dahlberg Hall). Regular appearances on broadcasts from the studio of newly established WSB, the South’s first major commercial radio station, elevated Carson’s stature as one of the state’s most popular entertainers.

In June 1923, engineers from New York-based Okeh Records set up a temporary recording studio in a vacant building on Nassau Street in downtown Atlanta. Using one of the first portable recording machines, the Okeh crew documented Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” and “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow.” Sales of the resulting 78 rpm record established Fiddlin’ John Carson as a bona fide national celebrity and, in hindsight, signaled the arrival of the genre now commonly known as “country music.”

Cabbagetown Chronicles is organized in a series of tripartite track groupings. Each grouping features an original song by a seminal Cabbagetown musician, a cover of one of the artist’s songs by a current or former Cabbagetown musician or band, plus an original song by the same musician/band.

The album kicks off with Fiddlin’ John Carson’s 1924 recording of “Boil Dem Cabbage Down,” a traditional folk song, which predates Cabbagetown. The Carroll Street Troubadours, a group of area residents who regularly perform at The Patch Works Art & History Center , are contributing a Fiddlin’ John cover, which the band has not yet chosen. The Troubadours original selection is titled "Hell No.”

Tommy Roe, one of the biggest names from the world of bubblegum pop in the 1960s, known for Top 40 radio hits including “Sheila” and, “Dizzy,” lived on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown for the first six years of his life. His memoir, From Cabbagetown to Tinseltown, was published in 2016. When Kelly contacted Roe about the Cabbagetown Chronicles, the mostly now-retired singer, who toured England with The Beatles in 1963, was eager to contribute to the project.

Roe authorized the use of “Cabbagetown,” a guitar-twanging, classic country fandango from a 2019 EP titled Tommy Roe Meets Barefoot Jerry. The four-track release, recorded in Nashville, features Roe with longtime session guitarist Wayne Moss who played on Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” among other landmark recordings. On Cabbagetown Chronicles, Roe’s ode to his beloved home village is matched by K. Michelle DuBois covering his 1970 single “Pearl,” plus one of her originals, yet to be chosen.

“When I first heard Tommy’s song, I almost cried,” Kelly says. “It set the bar very high for everything else we’re doing.”

The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill closed in 1977, leaving Cabbagetown a blighted community isolated by urban geography, economic prospects, and cultural proclivities. Many of the original residents and their offspring fled for greener pastures.

In the mid-1980s, John D. Thomas, then a CL staffer with an irascible sense of humor and a gift for bohemian rabble-rousing, pioneered the occupation of Cabbagetown’s empty, neglected abodes, spurred by the lure of the cheapest rent in the city and a youthful urge to become a global superstar.

Soon, a subculture of musicians emerged. Bound by a no-holds-barred, DIY aesthetic, they wrote songs while lounging on each other’s thrift-store couches. They practiced and partied like it was the 1980s in each other’s front porches, dilapidated kitchens, and bedrooms. The Chowder Shouters with Thomas, roommate Eric Kaiser, and Cleveland transplant Bill Taft; An Evening with the Garbageman, Taft’s band that spawned The Jody Grind; The Opal Foxx Quartet, another Taft project, which led to Smoke, both featuring the inimitable vocal styling of the late Robert Curtis “Benjamin” Dickerson; Slim Chance & the Convicts; Amy Pike and Greasetrap; Dirt; Seersucker; and countless others played in ramshackle honky tonks like the White Dot, the Austin Avenue Buffet, Sylvia’s Atomic Café, Dottie’s, and The Clermont Lounge, as well as in warehouse spaces including Pillowtex, the Mattress Factory, and 800 East.

Cabbagetown Chronicles documents this extraordinarily fertile period in the neighborhood’s history with several track groupings including a yet-to-be-revealed recording by Cat Power, Chan Marshall’s nom du art, combined with W8ing4UFOs’ cover of “Headlights.” The latter, a nightmarish first-person account of a fatal car wreck, received limited distribution as a single in 1993. A subsequent version, with different accompanists, was included on Cat Power’s 1995 debut album, Dear Sir.

Most analyses of “Headlight’s” fail to note the song’s significance as a darkly elegiac tribute to three of Marshall’s friends who lost their lives in an automobile accident in April 1992. Tim Ruttenber, better known as poet- performance-artist Deacon Lunchbox; Robert Hayes, bassist for The Jody Grind, with whom Marshall once shared a house in Cabbagetown; and the band’s drummer, Robert Clayton, were returning to Atlanta from a gig in Pensacola when their car was struck head-on by a drunk driver whose motor home crossed the grassy interstate divider.

“Yes, ‘Headlights’ is about the accident on Easter morning,” Marshall confirms in an email exchange. “The black crows were all gathered in a nearby tree,” she recalls, “all cawing and suddenly silent when I began weeping, when I went to sit with Robert Hayes at his grave the day I left to move to New York City.”

The torchy southern-fried brilliance of Jody Grind vocalist and former Cabbagetown resident Kelly Hogan is showcased on a still-to-be- determined recording from the period between the quartet’s first (One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure, 1990) and second (Lefty’s Deceiver, 1992) albums on DB Recs. The Chumblers will cover The Jody Grind’s “ Eight-Ball ”; their original contribution is called “Ghost Story.”

Many Cabbagetown Chronicles track groupings have blank spaces to be filled out. The Opal Foxx Quartet/Smoke entry features a TBA recording currently under consideration by Taft and W8ing4UFOs cellist and former Opal Foxx/Smoke bandmate Brian Halloran. That selection will be allied with a performance of “Somebody's House Always Burns at Christmas” by T. Thomas Mahoney, plus a Mahoney original. The Rock*A*Teens have yet to choose their showcase number, while their song, “Arm in Arm In the Golden Twilite, We Loitered On,” is covered by Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause. And the list goes on.

From the roots of country music to the heights of international pop stardom, Cabbagetown Chronicles traces an arc of artistic expression through the music of people who lived, loved, laughed, and struggled in a village wrought by Southern industrialization after the Civil War. The album’s producers hope to release a video document of the project. The plan is to schedule a CD-release show at the Milltown Arms Tavern and have CDs for sale at Cabbagetown’s Chomp & Stomp Festival in November. All proceeds will be donated to the Patch Works Art & History Center.

“This is something I can do to give back to the community,” says Kelly, who routinely holds yard sales of records, CDs, and DVDs that he’s collected, to benefit musicians with health problems and doctor bills.

It’s a gift that promises to benefit a much larger community of music lovers and historians."
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''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' is a recording-project-in-process spearheaded by Kelly along with John Dirga, who books the annual “ Chomp & Stomp Chili Cook-off and Bluegrass Festival ,” and Steve Seachrist, sound engineer and co-founder with viola player Katie Butler of The Chumblers. Scheduled for release in the fall, ''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' features a unique track selection format to showcase original, cover, and never-before-released material by former inhabitants of Cabbagetown — the neighborhood squeezed into a small spiderweb of streets flanked by Oakland Cemetery to the west, the railroad yards to the north, Pearl Street to the east, and Memorial Boulevard to the south. Contributors to the project include Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Elise Witt (Small Family Orchestra), Kelly Hogan (The Jody Grind), Tommy Roe, Fiddlin’ John Carson, Joyce Brookshire, members of the Opal Foxx Quartet and Smoke, The Rock*A*Teens, and a specially formed gospel troupe from a local Pentecostal church.

“For a hundred years, Cabbagetown has been a powerful, nurturing environment for a wide array of music,” says Kelly, who periodically contributes to ''Creative Loafing''. “It’s a phenomenon that needed to be documented in a tangible, lasting way.”

In 1992, Kelly purchased a single-story home with an front porch glider on Pearl Street. Today, he and his cohorts are plumbing the rich musical legacy of their neighborhood from multiple intersecting angles. Last year, the trio launched the Cabbagetown Concert Series (CCS). The next event in the series, on Thursday, June 20, is a double bill featuring the Parsons Rocket Project with K. Michelle DuBois and W8ing4UFOs. Both DuBois and W8ing4UFOs are featured on ''Cabbagetown Chronicles,'' covering songs by seminal Cabbagetown artists and contributing original work.

Two more CCS events are on the 2019 calendar, each on the third Thursday in September and October. All of the concerts are staged outdoors in Cabbagetown Park in the Joyce Brookshire Amphitheater, named for the late folk singer-songwriter, community activist, and descendent of the original Cabbagetown community who died in 2017. Brookshire’s music is celebrated on ''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' by close friend and singer-songwriter Elise Witt.

“The last time I saw Joyce, she was in the hospital, lying in her bed in a coma,” Witt says. “I started singing and she started singing with me — in harmony. We sang six or seven songs.”

Cabbagetown as a music mecca dates to the late 1800s and the construction of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, now the site of Fulton Mill Loft Apartments and The Stacks Condominiums, on the southeast corner of downtown. Adjacent to the textile manufacturing facility, the original owners constructed the “Factory Lot,” a warren of small, one- and two-story cottages and shotgun shacks where mill workers were cheaply and conveniently housed. For reasons that remain in dispute, the “Factory Lot” eventually became known as Cabbagetown.

Lured by the promise of steady factory work, which was somewhat less arduous and dangerous than coal mining and not nearly as fickle as farming, many of the first Cabbagetown residents hailed from the Piedmont lowlands and other Appalachian locales. Others came from the back hollers and cotton fields surrounding post-Reconstruction era Atlanta, as well as the city’s sizable population of hardscrabble denizens and itinerant laborers. At the height of production, the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill employed around 2,600 people.

One of those employees was John Carson, an experienced textile worker and prodigious fiddle player from north Georgia who in 1911 moved with his family into a four-room house on Carroll Street. When his 11-hour shift operating a weaving machine ended, Carson busked the streets of Cabbagetown and neighboring enclaves for pocket change. He also competed in contests, which he usually won, at state fairs and showcase venues, such as the Municipal Auditorium (now Georgia State University’s Dahlberg Hall). Regular appearances on broadcasts from the studio of newly established WSB, the South’s first major commercial radio station, elevated Carson’s stature as one of the state’s most popular entertainers.

In June 1923, engineers from New York-based Okeh Records set up a temporary recording studio in a vacant building on Nassau Street in downtown Atlanta. Using one of the first portable recording machines, the Okeh crew documented Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” and “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow.” Sales of the resulting 78 rpm record established Fiddlin’ John Carson as a bona fide national celebrity and, in hindsight, signaled the arrival of the genre now commonly known as “country music.”

''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' is organized in a series of tripartite track groupings. Each grouping features an original song by a seminal Cabbagetown musician, a cover of one of the artist’s songs by a current or former Cabbagetown musician or band, plus an original song by the same musician/band.

The album kicks off with Fiddlin’ John Carson’s 1924 recording of “Boil Dem Cabbage Down,” a traditional folk song, which predates Cabbagetown. The Carroll Street Troubadours, a group of area residents who regularly perform at The Patch Works Art & History Center , are contributing a Fiddlin’ John cover, which the band has not yet chosen. The Troubadours original selection is titled "Hell No.”

Tommy Roe, one of the biggest names from the world of bubblegum pop in the 1960s, known for Top 40 radio hits including “Sheila” and, “Dizzy,” lived on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown for the first six years of his life. His memoir, ''From Cabbagetown to Tinseltown,'' was published in 2016. When Kelly contacted Roe about the ''Cabbagetown Chronicles,'' the mostly now-retired singer, who toured England with The Beatles in 1963, was eager to contribute to the project.

Roe authorized the use of “Cabbagetown,” a guitar-twanging, classic country fandango from a 2019 EP titled ''Tommy Roe Meets Barefoot Jerry.'' The four-track release, recorded in Nashville, features Roe with longtime session guitarist Wayne Moss who played on Bob Dylan’s ''Blonde on Blonde'' and Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” among other landmark recordings. On ''Cabbagetown Chronicles,'' Roe’s ode to his beloved home village is matched by K. Michelle DuBois covering his 1970 single “Pearl,” plus one of her originals, yet to be chosen.

“When I first heard Tommy’s song, I almost cried,” Kelly says. “It set the bar very high for everything else we’re doing.”

The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill closed in 1977, leaving Cabbagetown a blighted community isolated by urban geography, economic prospects, and cultural proclivities. Many of the original residents and their offspring fled for greener pastures.

In the mid-1980s, John D. Thomas, then a ''CL'' staffer with an irascible sense of humor and a gift for bohemian rabble-rousing, pioneered the occupation of Cabbagetown’s empty, neglected abodes, spurred by the lure of the cheapest rent in the city and a youthful urge to become a global superstar.

Soon, a subculture of musicians emerged. Bound by a no-holds-barred, DIY aesthetic, they wrote songs while lounging on each other’s thrift-store couches. They practiced and partied like it was the 1980s in each other’s front porches, dilapidated kitchens, and bedrooms. The Chowder Shouters with Thomas, roommate Eric Kaiser, and Cleveland transplant Bill Taft; An Evening with the Garbageman, Taft’s band that spawned The Jody Grind; The Opal Foxx Quartet, another Taft project, which led to Smoke, both featuring the inimitable vocal styling of the late Robert Curtis “Benjamin” Dickerson; Slim Chance & the Convicts; Amy Pike and Greasetrap; Dirt; Seersucker; and countless others played in ramshackle honky tonks like the White Dot, the Austin Avenue Buffet, Sylvia’s Atomic Café, Dottie’s, and The Clermont Lounge, as well as in warehouse spaces including Pillowtex, the Mattress Factory, and 800 East.

''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' documents this extraordinarily fertile period in the neighborhood’s history with several track groupings including a yet-to-be-revealed recording by Cat Power, Chan Marshall’s nom du art, combined with W8ing4UFOs’ cover of “Headlights.” The latter, a nightmarish first-person account of a fatal car wreck, received limited distribution as a single in 1993. A subsequent version, with different accompanists, was included on Cat Power’s 1995 debut album, ''Dear Sir.''

Most analyses of “Headlight’s” fail to note the song’s significance as a darkly elegiac tribute to three of Marshall’s friends who lost their lives in an automobile accident in April 1992. Tim Ruttenber, better known as poet- performance-artist Deacon Lunchbox; Robert Hayes, bassist for The Jody Grind, with whom Marshall once shared a house in Cabbagetown; and the band’s drummer, Robert Clayton, were returning to Atlanta from a gig in Pensacola when their car was struck head-on by a drunk driver whose motor home crossed the grassy interstate divider.

“Yes, ‘Headlights’ is about the accident on Easter morning,” Marshall confirms in an email exchange. “The black crows were all gathered in a nearby tree,” she recalls, “all cawing and suddenly silent when I began weeping, when I went to sit with Robert Hayes at his grave the day I left to move to New York City.”

The torchy southern-fried brilliance of Jody Grind vocalist and former Cabbagetown resident Kelly Hogan is showcased on a still-to-be- determined recording from the period between the quartet’s first (''One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure,'' 1990) and second (''Lefty’s Deceiver,'' 1992) albums on DB Recs. The Chumblers will cover The Jody Grind’s “ Eight-Ball ”; their original contribution is called “Ghost Story.”

Many ''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' track groupings have blank spaces to be filled out. The Opal Foxx Quartet/Smoke entry features a TBA recording currently under consideration by Taft and W8ing4UFOs cellist and former Opal Foxx/Smoke bandmate Brian Halloran. That selection will be allied with a performance of “Somebody's House Always Burns at Christmas” by T. Thomas Mahoney, plus a Mahoney original. The Rock*A*Teens have yet to choose their showcase number, while their song, “Arm in Arm In the Golden Twilite, We Loitered On,” is covered by Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause. And the list goes on.

From the roots of country music to the heights of international pop stardom, ''Cabbagetown Chronicles'' traces an arc of artistic expression through the music of people who lived, loved, laughed, and struggled in a village wrought by Southern industrialization after the Civil War. The album’s producers hope to release a video document of the project. The plan is to schedule a CD-release show at the Milltown Arms Tavern and have CDs for sale at Cabbagetown’s Chomp & Stomp Festival in November. All proceeds will be donated to the Patch Works Art & History Center.

“This is something I can do to give back to the community,” says Kelly, who routinely holds yard sales of records, CDs, and DVDs that he’s collected, to benefit musicians with health problems and doctor bills.

It’s a gift that promises to benefit a much larger community of music lovers and historians."
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  string(12338) " Photo #3 Slim & Convicts Session Bryan Brownlow  2019-06-06T17:09:32+00:00 Photo_#3_Slim_&_Convicts_session_Bryan_Brownlow.jpg     The onetime mill town has nurtured a diverse music scene 18590  2019-06-06T16:56:55+00:00 LISTENING POST: Chronicling the ‘Cabbagetown Chronicles’ will.cardwell@gmail.com Will Cardwell Doug DeLoach  2019-06-06T16:56:55+00:00  Documenting a century’s worth of music-making in one of Atlanta’s most historically idiosyncratic neighborhoods is a daunting task. Rising to the challenge is James Kelly, a behavioral psychologist, songwriter, leader of Slim Chance & the Convicts, and longtime resident of Cabbagetown.

Cabbagetown Chronicles is a recording-project-in-process spearheaded by Kelly along with John Dirga, who books the annual “ Chomp & Stomp Chili Cook-off and Bluegrass Festival ,” and Steve Seachrist, sound engineer and co-founder with viola player Katie Butler of The Chumblers. Scheduled for release in the fall, Cabbagetown Chronicles features a unique track selection format to showcase original, cover, and never-before-released material by former inhabitants of Cabbagetown — the neighborhood squeezed into a small spiderweb of streets flanked by Oakland Cemetery to the west, the railroad yards to the north, Pearl Street to the east, and Memorial Boulevard to the south. Contributors to the project include Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Elise Witt (Small Family Orchestra), Kelly Hogan (The Jody Grind), Tommy Roe, Fiddlin’ John Carson, Joyce Brookshire, members of the Opal Foxx Quartet and Smoke, The Rock*A*Teens, and a specially formed gospel troupe from a local Pentecostal church.

“For a hundred years, Cabbagetown has been a powerful, nurturing environment for a wide array of music,” says Kelly, who periodically contributes to Creative Loafing. “It’s a phenomenon that needed to be documented in a tangible, lasting way.”

In 1992, Kelly purchased a single-story home with an front porch glider on Pearl Street. Today, he and his cohorts are plumbing the rich musical legacy of their neighborhood from multiple intersecting angles. Last year, the trio launched the Cabbagetown Concert Series (CCS). The next event in the series, on Thursday, June 20, is a double bill featuring the Parsons Rocket Project with K. Michelle DuBois and W8ing4UFOs. Both DuBois and W8ing4UFOs are featured on Cabbagetown Chronicles, covering songs by seminal Cabbagetown artists and contributing original work.

Two more CCS events are on the 2019 calendar, each on the third Thursday in September and October. All of the concerts are staged outdoors in Cabbagetown Park in the Joyce Brookshire Amphitheater, named for the late folk singer-songwriter, community activist, and descendent of the original Cabbagetown community who died in 2017. Brookshire’s music is celebrated on Cabbagetown Chronicles by close friend and singer-songwriter Elise Witt.

“The last time I saw Joyce, she was in the hospital, lying in her bed in a coma,” Witt says. “I started singing and she started singing with me — in harmony. We sang six or seven songs.”

Cabbagetown as a music mecca dates to the late 1800s and the construction of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, now the site of Fulton Mill Loft Apartments and The Stacks Condominiums, on the southeast corner of downtown. Adjacent to the textile manufacturing facility, the original owners constructed the “Factory Lot,” a warren of small, one- and two-story cottages and shotgun shacks where mill workers were cheaply and conveniently housed. For reasons that remain in dispute, the “Factory Lot” eventually became known as Cabbagetown.

Lured by the promise of steady factory work, which was somewhat less arduous and dangerous than coal mining and not nearly as fickle as farming, many of the first Cabbagetown residents hailed from the Piedmont lowlands and other Appalachian locales. Others came from the back hollers and cotton fields surrounding post-Reconstruction era Atlanta, as well as the city’s sizable population of hardscrabble denizens and itinerant laborers. At the height of production, the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill employed around 2,600 people.

One of those employees was John Carson, an experienced textile worker and prodigious fiddle player from north Georgia who in 1911 moved with his family into a four-room house on Carroll Street. When his 11-hour shift operating a weaving machine ended, Carson busked the streets of Cabbagetown and neighboring enclaves for pocket change. He also competed in contests, which he usually won, at state fairs and showcase venues, such as the Municipal Auditorium (now Georgia State University’s Dahlberg Hall). Regular appearances on broadcasts from the studio of newly established WSB, the South’s first major commercial radio station, elevated Carson’s stature as one of the state’s most popular entertainers.

In June 1923, engineers from New York-based Okeh Records set up a temporary recording studio in a vacant building on Nassau Street in downtown Atlanta. Using one of the first portable recording machines, the Okeh crew documented Carson performing “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” and “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow.” Sales of the resulting 78 rpm record established Fiddlin’ John Carson as a bona fide national celebrity and, in hindsight, signaled the arrival of the genre now commonly known as “country music.”

Cabbagetown Chronicles is organized in a series of tripartite track groupings. Each grouping features an original song by a seminal Cabbagetown musician, a cover of one of the artist’s songs by a current or former Cabbagetown musician or band, plus an original song by the same musician/band.

The album kicks off with Fiddlin’ John Carson’s 1924 recording of “Boil Dem Cabbage Down,” a traditional folk song, which predates Cabbagetown. The Carroll Street Troubadours, a group of area residents who regularly perform at The Patch Works Art & History Center , are contributing a Fiddlin’ John cover, which the band has not yet chosen. The Troubadours original selection is titled "Hell No.”

Tommy Roe, one of the biggest names from the world of bubblegum pop in the 1960s, known for Top 40 radio hits including “Sheila” and, “Dizzy,” lived on Wylie Street in Cabbagetown for the first six years of his life. His memoir, From Cabbagetown to Tinseltown, was published in 2016. When Kelly contacted Roe about the Cabbagetown Chronicles, the mostly now-retired singer, who toured England with The Beatles in 1963, was eager to contribute to the project.

Roe authorized the use of “Cabbagetown,” a guitar-twanging, classic country fandango from a 2019 EP titled Tommy Roe Meets Barefoot Jerry. The four-track release, recorded in Nashville, features Roe with longtime session guitarist Wayne Moss who played on Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” among other landmark recordings. On Cabbagetown Chronicles, Roe’s ode to his beloved home village is matched by K. Michelle DuBois covering his 1970 single “Pearl,” plus one of her originals, yet to be chosen.

“When I first heard Tommy’s song, I almost cried,” Kelly says. “It set the bar very high for everything else we’re doing.”

The Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill closed in 1977, leaving Cabbagetown a blighted community isolated by urban geography, economic prospects, and cultural proclivities. Many of the original residents and their offspring fled for greener pastures.

In the mid-1980s, John D. Thomas, then a CL staffer with an irascible sense of humor and a gift for bohemian rabble-rousing, pioneered the occupation of Cabbagetown’s empty, neglected abodes, spurred by the lure of the cheapest rent in the city and a youthful urge to become a global superstar.

Soon, a subculture of musicians emerged. Bound by a no-holds-barred, DIY aesthetic, they wrote songs while lounging on each other’s thrift-store couches. They practiced and partied like it was the 1980s in each other’s front porches, dilapidated kitchens, and bedrooms. The Chowder Shouters with Thomas, roommate Eric Kaiser, and Cleveland transplant Bill Taft; An Evening with the Garbageman, Taft’s band that spawned The Jody Grind; The Opal Foxx Quartet, another Taft project, which led to Smoke, both featuring the inimitable vocal styling of the late Robert Curtis “Benjamin” Dickerson; Slim Chance & the Convicts; Amy Pike and Greasetrap; Dirt; Seersucker; and countless others played in ramshackle honky tonks like the White Dot, the Austin Avenue Buffet, Sylvia’s Atomic Café, Dottie’s, and The Clermont Lounge, as well as in warehouse spaces including Pillowtex, the Mattress Factory, and 800 East.

Cabbagetown Chronicles documents this extraordinarily fertile period in the neighborhood’s history with several track groupings including a yet-to-be-revealed recording by Cat Power, Chan Marshall’s nom du art, combined with W8ing4UFOs’ cover of “Headlights.” The latter, a nightmarish first-person account of a fatal car wreck, received limited distribution as a single in 1993. A subsequent version, with different accompanists, was included on Cat Power’s 1995 debut album, Dear Sir.

Most analyses of “Headlight’s” fail to note the song’s significance as a darkly elegiac tribute to three of Marshall’s friends who lost their lives in an automobile accident in April 1992. Tim Ruttenber, better known as poet- performance-artist Deacon Lunchbox; Robert Hayes, bassist for The Jody Grind, with whom Marshall once shared a house in Cabbagetown; and the band’s drummer, Robert Clayton, were returning to Atlanta from a gig in Pensacola when their car was struck head-on by a drunk driver whose motor home crossed the grassy interstate divider.

“Yes, ‘Headlights’ is about the accident on Easter morning,” Marshall confirms in an email exchange. “The black crows were all gathered in a nearby tree,” she recalls, “all cawing and suddenly silent when I began weeping, when I went to sit with Robert Hayes at his grave the day I left to move to New York City.”

The torchy southern-fried brilliance of Jody Grind vocalist and former Cabbagetown resident Kelly Hogan is showcased on a still-to-be- determined recording from the period between the quartet’s first (One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure, 1990) and second (Lefty’s Deceiver, 1992) albums on DB Recs. The Chumblers will cover The Jody Grind’s “ Eight-Ball ”; their original contribution is called “Ghost Story.”

Many Cabbagetown Chronicles track groupings have blank spaces to be filled out. The Opal Foxx Quartet/Smoke entry features a TBA recording currently under consideration by Taft and W8ing4UFOs cellist and former Opal Foxx/Smoke bandmate Brian Halloran. That selection will be allied with a performance of “Somebody's House Always Burns at Christmas” by T. Thomas Mahoney, plus a Mahoney original. The Rock*A*Teens have yet to choose their showcase number, while their song, “Arm in Arm In the Golden Twilite, We Loitered On,” is covered by Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause. And the list goes on.

From the roots of country music to the heights of international pop stardom, Cabbagetown Chronicles traces an arc of artistic expression through the music of people who lived, loved, laughed, and struggled in a village wrought by Southern industrialization after the Civil War. The album’s producers hope to release a video document of the project. The plan is to schedule a CD-release show at the Milltown Arms Tavern and have CDs for sale at Cabbagetown’s Chomp & Stomp Festival in November. All proceeds will be donated to the Patch Works Art & History Center.

“This is something I can do to give back to the community,” says Kelly, who routinely holds yard sales of records, CDs, and DVDs that he’s collected, to benefit musicians with health problems and doctor bills.

It’s a gift that promises to benefit a much larger community of music lovers and historians.    Bryan Brownlow RECORDING IN CABBAGETOWN: Slim Chance and the Convicts.  0,0,11                                 LISTENING POST: Chronicling the ‘Cabbagetown Chronicles’ "
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Thursday June 6, 2019 12:56 pm EDT
The onetime mill town has nurtured a diverse music scene | more...
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  string(98) "Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel are on an odyssey born of a love for non-fixed pitch improvisation"
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  string(8009) "While it’s a given that May is the month of jazz in Atlanta, with the annual Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park dominating the scene, other worthy musical gambits are in play during the run-up to Memorial Day weekend.

On Sunday, May 12, The Bakery serves up an exceptionally tasty triple-bill featuring Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, Space-Saver, and Helton &Bragg. Listening Post regulars will no doubt be familiar with DfTaLS, the world’s most successful and longest-lived pairing of non-fixed pitch instrument players. Space-Saver is the latest project of Travis Thatcher, an Atlanta ex-pat who conjures up joyous and frightening free noise collages from saxophones, drums, and oddments. For the last several years, homeboys Blake Helton (percussion, synth, electronics) and Colin Bragg (guitars, electronics) have been channeling everything from sci-fi soundtracks and Eberhard Weber to Indian ragas and Funkadelic.

Since forming in 2006, DfTaLS has regularly performed at all the standard alternative venues around town including Eyedrum, Railroad Earth, Avondale Towne Cinema, and various art studios. They’ve toured New England and around the Southeast, and performed in Paris, France, and New York City. In 2018 they played Big Ears in Knoxville, Tennessee.

DfTaLS has officially released five albums: Untitled (2006), Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel (2007), Live (2009), Collaborations (2013), and 10 (2016 on CD, vinyl in 2018). An abundance of music is available on the DfTaLS site and Bandcamp including collaborations with Helton & Bragg, Cave Bat, and Rob Rushin, as well as studio recordings and live shows, much of which is free to download and stream.

Listening Post recently caught up with Scott Burland (theremin) and Frank Schultz (lap steel) of DfTaLS to get an update on what’s been going on in their world.

Listening Post: What was the original impetus for forming Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel?

Frank Schultz: One night, at an Eyedrum open improv session at the Contemporary, Scott brought a theremin and I brought a slightly modified lap steel. We never got to play together, but the idea around what those two instruments might sound like stayed in my head for weeks. I got in touch with Scott to ask whether he was interested. He was.

Scott Burland: Yeah, this wouldn’t have happened without Frank searching for an opportunity to make music that hadn’t been heard before. In a wonderful bit of kismet, something clicked in his mind, which brought this project to life.

Listening Post: What were the first few practice sessions like?

Schultz: Heaven and hell on earth (laughs). In a word, fun.

Burland: Listening back, as I do from time to time, I appreciate our naiveté while we were learning to play our instruments. I wanted to include some of those early recordings on 10, our 10th anniversary release. In one respect, I think it’s best we didn’t. On the other hand, those recordings are truly experimental and serve a historical purpose.

Listening Post: DfTaLS creates a contemplative ambient soundscape in which the listener has a lot of room to wander and wonder, to think and daydream. What are you two thinking about when you're performing?

Schultz: When I’m not checking email on the laptop (wink, wink) … Seriously, I’m usually not thinking as much as I am listening and reacting, getting lost in the moment. When I need to change what I am doing, I will think about how to make that transition. Other thoughts may include “that is a nice cardigan” or “where is my vibrator?”

Burland: I’m always thinking about the music: what Frank is playing, how I’m responding and vice versa. We rarely, if ever, make eye contact, so the music is in charge. At a recent gig, we had a relatively specific discussion about a “plan.” I found myself thinking about the plan, which was a detriment. We are at our best when we are listening intently to what the other person is doing, what we as individuals are doing and how that effort coalesces.

Listening Post: Describe the process of improvising and composing. For an album, I imagine you have to establish some parameters within which to work. What are the differences in recording an album as opposed to improvising in a live setting?

Schultz: Actually, we didn’t set parameters for our releases. On Collaborations, the only parameter was that the pieces were collaborations with other folks. With 10, we got together for a weekend and recorded our improvisations, with the exception of “Dulcamara,” which was an idea we had been playing around with, and picked our favorites from those improvisations that were recorded a couple of months earlier. This was the first album where we went in and messed with the improvisations by adding overdubs, additional effects, and triggering synths. About half of the songs were messed with after the original recording while the other half were just as we played them. So, the short answer is, there is not much difference.

Burland: Most of our releases have been documents of unaltered live performances. The difference with 10 was, during the recording process we came to the realization that we could do whatever we wanted with the original recordings. We were able to add, subtract, and enhance the pieces to paint a different picture. I hope we do more of that in the future. A good example was asking Jeff Crompton to add saxophone and clarinet to “Absinthium,” one of the tracks on 10.

Listening Post: Touring as an improvising ambient electronic duo must come with a few unusual moments. What are some of the more memorable concert experiences?

Schultz: Big Ears (in 2018) was such a milestone for us. Then there was Eyedrum on my birthday in 2008, playing with Shaking Ray Levis and Davey Williams, who recently passed. And we were on tour with Good Noise Bad Noise from England, which was a great adventure. Joe’s Pub in NYC with the New York Theremin Society. Pilot Light (in Knoxville, Tennessee) in 2012 where we had a late-night dance party with the staff listening to Steely Dan.

Burland: Frank picked some good ones, but I will add our first performance at Eyedrum in December of 2006. There was a nice, attentive, quiet crowd with many Eyedrum regulars including board members who were as jaded as they come. What I mean by that is we received compliments from board members who had heard hundreds of performances over the years. That was an important affirmation or validation about what we were doing.

Listening Post: Did you ever imagine DfTaLS would be thriving all these years later?

Schultz: I am always amazed, when looking back, by how we got here. I hate to imagine us not playing together in the future.

Burland: In the early days, we were just getting together every couple of weeks and seeing what developed. At one point, I thought, “OK, what’s the plan? Should we make a CD or do a performance, then move on to other things?” When we decided to perform in front of an audience, the reaction was positive to the extent that we thought we should continue. We’re not finished with this project. There are still many ways in which we can develop it. We are not done, by any means.

Listening Post: What’s next for DfTaLS?

Schultz: We have a nine-day tour in September, which takes us to Chicago, where we’ve never played. We hope to have a new CD release by the end of year.

Burland: We did a gig recently at the Bakery billed alongside violinist Mike Khoury, which ended with an impromptu jam session. That was interesting from the standpoint of learning that there are other musicians with whom we can collaborate and other types of music from which we can draw inspiration. During the September tour, we will be performing with dancers in Chattanooga who improvise movement along with sound and visuals.

It’s been a great ride and we’ve met so many great people and musicians along the way. We are very fortunate."
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On Sunday, ~~#000000:__May 12__~~, The Bakery serves up an exceptionally tasty triple-bill featuring [https://www.duetonline.net/?fbclid=IwAR2gHv8v36xZ8WI6kQGJsydZoXaBXeFUlXapQeMu-CILeJC-je7WcA2aR74|Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel], [https://space-saver.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR2JvFma1sD5zPkqqGMm73EZZ37z_xB6zy7No4jE7mJGBJiYLtoxXG92wqk|Space-Saver], and [https://heltonbragg.bandcamp.com/album/dust-garden?fbclid=IwAR3XO1mP2Vb7HPU6Jtf3DvHd2iQYMQubEGTGKD2ILfh8y3D4Mg9Yy-tUjhA|Helton &Bragg]. Listening Post regulars will no doubt be familiar with DfTaLS, the world’s most successful and longest-lived pairing of non-fixed pitch instrument players. Space-Saver is the latest project of Travis Thatcher, an Atlanta ex-pat who conjures up joyous and frightening free noise collages from saxophones, drums, and oddments. For the last several years, homeboys Blake Helton (percussion, synth, electronics) and Colin Bragg (guitars, electronics) have been channeling everything from sci-fi soundtracks and Eberhard Weber to Indian ragas and Funkadelic.

Since forming in 2006, DfTaLS has regularly performed at all the standard alternative venues around town including Eyedrum, Railroad Earth, Avondale Towne Cinema, and various art studios. They’ve toured New England and around the Southeast, and performed in Paris, France, and New York City. In 2018 they played Big Ears in Knoxville, Tennessee.

DfTaLS has officially released five albums: ''Untitled'' (2006), ''Duet ''''for Theremin and Lap Steel'' (2007), ''Live'' (2009), ''Collaborations'' (2013), and ''10'' (2016 on CD, vinyl in 2018). An abundance of music is available on the DfTaLS site and [https://dftals.bandcamp.com/|Bandcamp] including collaborations with Helton & Bragg, Cave Bat, and Rob Rushin, as well as studio recordings and live shows, much of which is free to download and stream.

Listening Post recently caught up with Scott Burland (theremin) and Frank Schultz (lap steel) of DfTaLS to get an update on what’s been going on in their world.

Listening Post: What was the original impetus for forming Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel?

Frank Schultz: One night, at an Eyedrum open improv session at the Contemporary, Scott brought a theremin and I brought a slightly modified lap steel. We never got to play together, but the idea around what those two instruments might sound like stayed in my head for weeks. I got in touch with Scott to ask whether he was interested. He was.

Scott Burland: Yeah, this wouldn’t have happened without Frank searching for an opportunity to make music that hadn’t been heard before. In a wonderful bit of kismet, something clicked in his mind, which brought this project to life.

Listening Post: What were the first few practice sessions like?

Schultz: Heaven and hell on earth (laughs). In a word, fun.

Burland: Listening back, as I do from time to time, I appreciate our naiveté while we were learning to play our instruments. I wanted to include some of those early recordings on ''10'', our 10th anniversary release. In one respect, I think it’s best we didn’t. On the other hand, those recordings are truly experimental and serve a historical purpose.

Listening Post: DfTaLS creates a contemplative ambient soundscape in which the listener has a lot of room to wander and wonder, to think and daydream. What are you two thinking about when you're performing?

Schultz: When I’m not checking email on the laptop (wink, wink) … Seriously, I’m usually not thinking as much as I am listening and reacting, getting lost in the moment. When I need to change what I am doing, I will think about how to make that transition. Other thoughts may include “that is a nice cardigan” or “where is my vibrator?”

Burland: I’m always thinking about the music: what Frank is playing, how I’m responding and vice versa. We rarely, if ever, make eye contact, so the music is in charge. At a recent gig, we had a relatively specific discussion about a “plan.” I found myself thinking about the plan, which was a detriment. We are at our best when we are listening intently to what the other person is doing, what we as individuals are doing and how that effort coalesces.

Listening Post: Describe the process of improvising and composing. For an album, I imagine you have to establish some parameters within which to work. What are the differences in recording an album as opposed to improvising in a live setting?

Schultz: Actually, we didn’t set parameters for our releases. On ''Collaborations'', the only parameter was that the pieces were collaborations with other folks. With ''10'', we got together for a weekend and recorded our improvisations, with the exception of “Dulcamara,” which was an idea we had been playing around with, and picked our favorites from those improvisations that were recorded a couple of months earlier. This was the first album where we went in and messed with the improvisations by adding overdubs, additional effects, and triggering synths. About half of the songs were messed with after the original recording while the other half were just as we played them. So, the short answer is, there is not much difference.

Burland: Most of our releases have been documents of unaltered live performances. The difference with ''10'' was, during the recording process we came to the realization that we could do whatever we wanted with the original recordings. We were able to add, subtract, and enhance the pieces to paint a different picture. I hope we do more of that in the future. A good example was asking Jeff Crompton to add saxophone and clarinet to “Absinthium,” one of the tracks on ''10''.

Listening Post: Touring as an improvising ambient electronic duo must come with a few unusual moments. What are some of the more memorable concert experiences?

Schultz: Big Ears (in 2018) was such a milestone for us. Then there was Eyedrum on my birthday in 2008, playing with Shaking Ray Levis and Davey Williams, who recently passed. And we were on tour with Good Noise Bad Noise from England, which was a great adventure. Joe’s Pub in NYC with the New York Theremin Society. Pilot Light (in Knoxville, Tennessee) in 2012 where we had a late-night dance party with the staff listening to Steely Dan.

Burland: Frank picked some good ones, but I will add our first performance at Eyedrum in December of 2006. There was a nice, attentive, quiet crowd with many Eyedrum regulars including board members who were as jaded as they come. What I mean by that is we received compliments from board members who had heard hundreds of performances over the years. That was an important affirmation or validation about what we were doing.

Listening Post: Did you ever imagine DfTaLS would be thriving all these years later?

Schultz: I am always amazed, when looking back, by how we got here. I hate to imagine us not playing together in the future.

Burland: In the early days, we were just getting together every couple of weeks and seeing what developed. At one point, I thought, “OK, what’s the plan? Should we make a CD or do a performance, then move on to other things?” When we decided to perform in front of an audience, the reaction was positive to the extent that we thought we should continue. We’re not finished with this project. There are still many ways in which we can develop it. We are not done, by any means.

Listening Post: What’s next for DfTaLS?

Schultz: We have a nine-day tour in September, which takes us to Chicago, where we’ve never played. We hope to have a new CD release by the end of year.

Burland: We did a gig recently at the Bakery billed alongside violinist Mike Khoury, which ended with an impromptu jam session. That was interesting from the standpoint of learning that there are other musicians with whom we can collaborate and other types of music from which we can draw inspiration. During the September tour, we will be performing with dancers in Chattanooga who improvise movement along with sound and visuals.

It’s been a great ride and we’ve met so many great people and musicians along the way. We are very fortunate."
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  string(9123) " DfT&LS Brandon English  2019-05-08T16:46:27+00:00 DfT&LS_Brandon_English.jpg     Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel are on an odyssey born of a love for non-fixed pitch improvisation 17280  2019-05-09T16:27:00+00:00 Adventurous duo creates ethereal soundscapes chad.radford@creativeloafing.com Chad Radford Doug DeLoach Doug DeLoach 2019-05-09T16:27:00+00:00  While it’s a given that May is the month of jazz in Atlanta, with the annual Jazz Festival in Piedmont Park dominating the scene, other worthy musical gambits are in play during the run-up to Memorial Day weekend.

On Sunday, May 12, The Bakery serves up an exceptionally tasty triple-bill featuring Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, Space-Saver, and Helton &Bragg. Listening Post regulars will no doubt be familiar with DfTaLS, the world’s most successful and longest-lived pairing of non-fixed pitch instrument players. Space-Saver is the latest project of Travis Thatcher, an Atlanta ex-pat who conjures up joyous and frightening free noise collages from saxophones, drums, and oddments. For the last several years, homeboys Blake Helton (percussion, synth, electronics) and Colin Bragg (guitars, electronics) have been channeling everything from sci-fi soundtracks and Eberhard Weber to Indian ragas and Funkadelic.

Since forming in 2006, DfTaLS has regularly performed at all the standard alternative venues around town including Eyedrum, Railroad Earth, Avondale Towne Cinema, and various art studios. They’ve toured New England and around the Southeast, and performed in Paris, France, and New York City. In 2018 they played Big Ears in Knoxville, Tennessee.

DfTaLS has officially released five albums: Untitled (2006), Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel (2007), Live (2009), Collaborations (2013), and 10 (2016 on CD, vinyl in 2018). An abundance of music is available on the DfTaLS site and Bandcamp including collaborations with Helton & Bragg, Cave Bat, and Rob Rushin, as well as studio recordings and live shows, much of which is free to download and stream.

Listening Post recently caught up with Scott Burland (theremin) and Frank Schultz (lap steel) of DfTaLS to get an update on what’s been going on in their world.

Listening Post: What was the original impetus for forming Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel?

Frank Schultz: One night, at an Eyedrum open improv session at the Contemporary, Scott brought a theremin and I brought a slightly modified lap steel. We never got to play together, but the idea around what those two instruments might sound like stayed in my head for weeks. I got in touch with Scott to ask whether he was interested. He was.

Scott Burland: Yeah, this wouldn’t have happened without Frank searching for an opportunity to make music that hadn’t been heard before. In a wonderful bit of kismet, something clicked in his mind, which brought this project to life.

Listening Post: What were the first few practice sessions like?

Schultz: Heaven and hell on earth (laughs). In a word, fun.

Burland: Listening back, as I do from time to time, I appreciate our naiveté while we were learning to play our instruments. I wanted to include some of those early recordings on 10, our 10th anniversary release. In one respect, I think it’s best we didn’t. On the other hand, those recordings are truly experimental and serve a historical purpose.

Listening Post: DfTaLS creates a contemplative ambient soundscape in which the listener has a lot of room to wander and wonder, to think and daydream. What are you two thinking about when you're performing?

Schultz: When I’m not checking email on the laptop (wink, wink) … Seriously, I’m usually not thinking as much as I am listening and reacting, getting lost in the moment. When I need to change what I am doing, I will think about how to make that transition. Other thoughts may include “that is a nice cardigan” or “where is my vibrator?”

Burland: I’m always thinking about the music: what Frank is playing, how I’m responding and vice versa. We rarely, if ever, make eye contact, so the music is in charge. At a recent gig, we had a relatively specific discussion about a “plan.” I found myself thinking about the plan, which was a detriment. We are at our best when we are listening intently to what the other person is doing, what we as individuals are doing and how that effort coalesces.

Listening Post: Describe the process of improvising and composing. For an album, I imagine you have to establish some parameters within which to work. What are the differences in recording an album as opposed to improvising in a live setting?

Schultz: Actually, we didn’t set parameters for our releases. On Collaborations, the only parameter was that the pieces were collaborations with other folks. With 10, we got together for a weekend and recorded our improvisations, with the exception of “Dulcamara,” which was an idea we had been playing around with, and picked our favorites from those improvisations that were recorded a couple of months earlier. This was the first album where we went in and messed with the improvisations by adding overdubs, additional effects, and triggering synths. About half of the songs were messed with after the original recording while the other half were just as we played them. So, the short answer is, there is not much difference.

Burland: Most of our releases have been documents of unaltered live performances. The difference with 10 was, during the recording process we came to the realization that we could do whatever we wanted with the original recordings. We were able to add, subtract, and enhance the pieces to paint a different picture. I hope we do more of that in the future. A good example was asking Jeff Crompton to add saxophone and clarinet to “Absinthium,” one of the tracks on 10.

Listening Post: Touring as an improvising ambient electronic duo must come with a few unusual moments. What are some of the more memorable concert experiences?

Schultz: Big Ears (in 2018) was such a milestone for us. Then there was Eyedrum on my birthday in 2008, playing with Shaking Ray Levis and Davey Williams, who recently passed. And we were on tour with Good Noise Bad Noise from England, which was a great adventure. Joe’s Pub in NYC with the New York Theremin Society. Pilot Light (in Knoxville, Tennessee) in 2012 where we had a late-night dance party with the staff listening to Steely Dan.

Burland: Frank picked some good ones, but I will add our first performance at Eyedrum in December of 2006. There was a nice, attentive, quiet crowd with many Eyedrum regulars including board members who were as jaded as they come. What I mean by that is we received compliments from board members who had heard hundreds of performances over the years. That was an important affirmation or validation about what we were doing.

Listening Post: Did you ever imagine DfTaLS would be thriving all these years later?

Schultz: I am always amazed, when looking back, by how we got here. I hate to imagine us not playing together in the future.

Burland: In the early days, we were just getting together every couple of weeks and seeing what developed. At one point, I thought, “OK, what’s the plan? Should we make a CD or do a performance, then move on to other things?” When we decided to perform in front of an audience, the reaction was positive to the extent that we thought we should continue. We’re not finished with this project. There are still many ways in which we can develop it. We are not done, by any means.

Listening Post: What’s next for DfTaLS?

Schultz: We have a nine-day tour in September, which takes us to Chicago, where we’ve never played. We hope to have a new CD release by the end of year.

Burland: We did a gig recently at the Bakery billed alongside violinist Mike Khoury, which ended with an impromptu jam session. That was interesting from the standpoint of learning that there are other musicians with whom we can collaborate and other types of music from which we can draw inspiration. During the September tour, we will be performing with dancers in Chattanooga who improvise movement along with sound and visuals.

It’s been a great ride and we’ve met so many great people and musicians along the way. We are very fortunate.    Brandon English DUET FOR THEREMIN AND LAP STEEL: Scott Burland (right) on theremin and Frank Schultz on lap steel create contemplative ambient soundscapes. DfTaLS will be performing at The Bakery on Sunday, May 12, with Space-Saver and Helton & Bragg.  0,0,10  Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel, A Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel primer, Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel: Live, Record Review - Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel: Live, Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel turns 10, Duet For Theremin and Lap Steel featured on PBA30's 'This is Atlanta', Duet For Theremin and Lap Steel: An unlikely pair makes magical sounds, Duet finds new depth in droning ambiance, Music of the moment                               Adventurous duo creates ethereal soundscapes "
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Article

Thursday May 9, 2019 12:27 pm EDT
Duet for Theremin and Lap Steel are on an odyssey born of a love for non-fixed pitch improvisation | more...

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  string(9280) "In this week’s musical happenings we find a unique convergence of celli performances by two rising stars operating in two different musical realms. Thursday through Saturday, April 25-27, English prodigy Sheku Kanneh-Mason of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle royal wedding recital fame plays Sir Edward William Elgar’s celebrated Cello Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday afternoon, Atlanta’s own Okorie “OkCello” Johnson presents a combined children’s workshop and program of original music at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus.

2019 marks the centenary of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, which is being celebrated in concert performances and festivals around the world. The work dates from the summer of 1919 when the 62-year-old composer was living with his wife and daughter in a thatched cottage in the Sussex countryside. Only a few months prior, the evening quietude was frequently accompanied by the distant roar of World War I artillery bombardment reverberating across the English Channel from France.

A starkly romantic composition in four movements, Elgar’s Cello Concerto ranges in expression from emphatically somber and highly agitated to sparingly pastoral and richly elegiac. The eleven-and-a-half-minute final passage challenges the soloist and orchestra to render anguish, grief and despair with interludes of consolation and reflection – the emotional flux of humanity defiled by apocalyptic war.

The concerto received its world premiere in October 1919 in a performance by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer and featuring young British cellist Felix Salmond. By all accounts, the debut was a debacle, largely attributed to scant rehearsal time given to the work by Albert Coates who was charged with conducting the remainder of the concert program.

After languishing for decades, Elgar’s Cello Concerto vaulted its way to mainstream popularity in the 1960s thanks to the prodigious talent of Jacqueline du Pré. Born in 1945 in Oxford, England, du Pré began cello lessons at age five and won numerous competitions as an adolescent. In her teens, she ascended to rock-star notoriety during a tragically truncated performing career, which ended years before her death from multiple sclerosis at age 42.

When she was 20, du Pré recorded the E minor Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra, garnering international praise for her performance and elevating Elgar’s composition to mainstay status in the classical repertoire. During a six-month tutorship in 1966 under Mstislav Rostropovich, the revered Russian cellist reportedly declared his pupil capable of eclipsing his own lofty achievements.

“Jacqueline du Pre’s recording of the Elgar concerto is one that made me fall in love with the cello,” Kanneh-Mason, who also cites Rostropovich as a major influence, admits in a recent email exchange. “I have since fallen in love with other recordings of the piece and now, coming to play it myself, I feel I have developed my own interpretation, inspired by others but also by the score itself.”

It was Kanneh-Mason’s choice to include the Elgar composition in his ASO debut. Also on the program, which will be conducted by Uruguayan maestro Carlos Kalmar, are Schumann's Second Symphony and a rarely performed overture by Sir Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan fame.

“I think it is the detail of expression that attracts me,” he says. “The music was written by a man directly affected by the emotions it portrays.”

The last several months have been a whirlwind, but Kanneh-Mason was already a young phenom raising eyebrows in England before performing at the royal wedding last May. In 2016, he was named a BBC Young Musician and made his BBC Proms debut the following year. His full-length debut album, Inspiration, released earlier this year, includes an original arrangement of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry.”

“I have enjoyed all these different experiences, but my main focus is always developing as a musician,” says Kanneh-Mason. “All of these experiences have supported that effort.”

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St, Atlanta, 404-733-4900, box office 404-733-5000, Thursday - Saturday, April 25 - 27, 8 p.m. Thursday evening’s activities at Symphony Hall include a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. by ASO program notes annotator Ken Meltzer, that is free for all ticket holders.
 

!!!Okorie “OkCello” Johnson at the Michael C. Carlos Museum
In the past year, cellist, composer, storyteller and educator Okorie Johnson, who performs under the tag name “OkCello,” has been a very busy man. He released his second album, Resolve, named by this reviewer as one of 2018’s Top 5 albums; performed a food-themed set with chef Taria Camerino on the ChooseATL house party/stage at SXSW; opened for Van Hunt (“one of my heroes”) at The Loft/Vinyl at Center Stage; and worked on a project stemming from the Alliance Theater's Reiser Lab Grant, which will result in a multi-media reading in September distilled from OkCello’s solo concert program.


“I feel very engaged right now, very full,” Johnson tells me during a telephone conversation. “I feel like I’m growing a lot and developing capacity, which did not previously exist. I feel like Resolve was the beginning of that process.”


On Saturday afternoon, Johnson will present a reprise of “Making Music with Okorie,” which debuted last year at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus. It starts with a workshop during which the cellist leads a group of schoolchildren on a tour of the museum’s collection of African art and artifacts. A discussion with the youngsters about the art serves as inspiration for a composition by Johnson, which he will perform as part of the free public concert following the workshop.

“I’m a storyteller,” Johnson says. “It’s important to me to bury narrative into a song.”

As a performer and cellist, Johnson is continually experimenting with technology and staging to complement the music and engage the audience. Tape loops allow for melodic accompaniment and harmonic texturing. For certain programs, lighting effects and video projection create fantastical environments. As an explorer and educator, Johnson brings a keen sense of history and ancestry to his projects.

“My wife is a New York-born, Canadian-raised Jamaican,” he says. “My stepdad is Bahamian. My stepsister is Bahamian and married to a Kenyan. I’m very much connected with the Caribbean community through my wife and other friends. I have a West African name, which has always kind of connected me with Nigeria. All of those connections show through in Resolve.

On May 26, during the Atlanta Jazz Festival, OkCello will play a solo set, mostly drawn from Resolve, on the Oak Hill Stage. One of his goals this year is to perform the same music at four or five contact points along the African diaspora.

“I want the first show to be in Cuba and the last show to be in Lagos, Nigeria,” Johnson says.

It’s an ambitious plan, but a man with resolve is capable of accomplishing remarkable things.

Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, Ackerman Hall, Level Three, 571 S. Kilgo Circle NE, Atlanta, 404-727-4282, Saturday, April 27, 4 p.m., concert is free and open to the public.

!!!Short Takes
!!!Wednesday, April 24
!!!Atlanta Improvisers Orchestra at First Existentialist
Based on Listening Post’s experience at the last Atlanta Improvisers Orchestra (AIO) concert at the First Existentialist Congregation in Candler Park, I can’t wait to see and hear what this gathering of free jazz specialists comes up with Wednesday night. The outcome is purposely unpredictable, as AIO founder Ofir Klemperer shapes the sonic contour of the proceedings using hand signals loosely based on a system developed by the late composer-cornetist Lawrence Douglas “Butch” Morris. At the last performance, Klemperer invited other orchestra members to try their hand at “conduction.” It was fascinating to hear the different melodic, harmonic and rhythmic textures each conductor elicited from their fellow musicians.

First Existentialist Congregation, 470 Candler Park Drive NE, Atlanta, 404-378-5570, Wednesday, April 24, doors at 9 p.m., $5-10 suggested donation.

!!!Saturday, April 27
!!!Etienne Charles: With the Georgia State University Jazz Band
Trinidad-born, Julliard-trained trumpet player and composer Etienne Charles brings the live version of his latest project, Carnival: The Sound of a People, Vol. I, to the Rialto Center for the Arts in concert with the Georgia State University Jazz Band. Based on a visit to the Trinidad village of Paramin and his impressions of Jab Molassie, the blue, fire-breathing characters whose identities the villagers assume during Carnival, Charles has created an elegantly complex, swinging, multi-vectored musical odyssey grounded in jazz, blues, funk, calypso, soca and other Caribbean styles.
Rialto Center for the Arts, 80 Forsyth Street, Atlanta, Saturday, April 27, 8 p.m., box office 404-413-9849, tickets starting at $24."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(10133) "In this week’s musical happenings we find a unique convergence of celli performances by two rising stars operating in two different musical realms. Thursday through Saturday, April 25-27, English prodigy __[https://shekukannehmason.com/|Sheku Kanneh-Mason]__ of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle royal wedding recital fame plays Sir Edward William Elgar’s celebrated Cello Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday afternoon, Atlanta’s own__ [https://www.okcello.com/|Okorie “OkCello” Johnson]__ presents a combined children’s workshop and program of original music at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus.

2019 marks the centenary of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, which is being celebrated in concert performances and festivals around the world. The work dates from the summer of 1919 when the 62-year-old composer was living with his wife and daughter in a thatched cottage in the Sussex countryside. Only a few months prior, the evening quietude was frequently accompanied by the distant roar of World War I artillery bombardment reverberating across the English Channel from France.

A starkly romantic composition in four movements, Elgar’s Cello Concerto ranges in expression from emphatically somber and highly agitated to sparingly pastoral and richly elegiac. The eleven-and-a-half-minute final passage challenges the soloist and orchestra to render anguish, grief and despair with interludes of consolation and reflection – the emotional flux of humanity defiled by apocalyptic war.

The concerto received its world premiere in October 1919 in a performance by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer and featuring young British cellist Felix Salmond. By all accounts, the debut was a debacle, largely attributed to scant rehearsal time given to the work by Albert Coates who was charged with conducting the remainder of the concert program.

After languishing for decades, Elgar’s Cello Concerto vaulted its way to mainstream popularity in the 1960s thanks to the prodigious talent of Jacqueline du Pré. Born in 1945 in Oxford, England, du Pré began cello lessons at age five and won numerous competitions as an adolescent. In her teens, she ascended to rock-star notoriety during a tragically truncated performing career, which ended years before her death from multiple sclerosis at age 42.

When she was 20, du Pré recorded the E minor Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra, garnering international praise for her performance and elevating Elgar’s composition to mainstay status in the classical repertoire. During a six-month tutorship in 1966 under Mstislav Rostropovich, the revered Russian cellist reportedly declared his pupil capable of eclipsing his own lofty achievements.

“Jacqueline du Pre’s recording of the Elgar concerto is one that made me fall in love with the cello,” Kanneh-Mason, who also cites Rostropovich as a major influence, admits in a recent email exchange. “I have since fallen in love with other recordings of the piece and now, coming to play it myself, I feel I have developed my own interpretation, inspired by others but also by the score itself.”

It was Kanneh-Mason’s choice to include the Elgar composition in his ASO debut. Also on the program, which will be conducted by Uruguayan maestro Carlos Kalmar, are Schumann's Second Symphony and a rarely performed overture by Sir Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan fame.

“I think it is the detail of expression that attracts me,” he says. “The music was written by a man directly affected by the emotions it portrays.”

The last several months have been a whirlwind, but Kanneh-Mason was already a young phenom raising eyebrows in England before performing at the royal wedding last May. In 2016, he was named a BBC Young Musician and made his BBC Proms debut the following year. His full-length debut album, ''Inspiration'', released earlier this year, includes an original arrangement of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry.”

“I have enjoyed all these different experiences, but my main focus is always developing as a musician,” says Kanneh-Mason. “All of these experiences have supported that effort.”

''Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St, Atlanta, 404-733-4900, box office 404-733-5000, Thursday - Saturday, April 25 - 27, 8 p.m. Thursday evening’s activities at Symphony Hall include a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. by ASO program notes annotator Ken Meltzer, that is free for all ticket holders.''
 

!!!__Okorie “OkCello” Johnson at the Michael C. Carlos Museum__
In the past year, cellist, composer, storyteller and educator Okorie Johnson, who performs under the tag name “OkCello,” has been a very busy man. He released his second album, ''Resolve'', named by this reviewer as one of 2018’s Top 5 albums; performed a food-themed set with chef Taria Camerino on the ChooseATL house party/stage at SXSW; opened for Van Hunt (“one of my heroes”) at The Loft/Vinyl at Center Stage; and worked on a project stemming from the Alliance Theater's Reiser Lab Grant, which will result in a multi-media reading in September distilled from OkCello’s solo concert program.


“I feel very engaged right now, very full,” Johnson tells me during a telephone conversation. “I feel like I’m growing a lot and developing capacity, which did not previously exist. I feel like ''Resolve'' was the beginning of that process.”

{img fileId="16738" stylebox="float: right; margin-left: 25px;" max="900px" desc="desc" styledesc="font-family: 3560DF, sans-serif;"}
On Saturday afternoon, Johnson will present a reprise of “[https://carlos.emory.edu/events/calendar?trumbaEmbed=view=event&eventid=131536461|Making Music with Okorie],” which debuted last year at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus. It starts with a workshop during which the cellist leads a group of schoolchildren on a tour of the museum’s collection of African art and artifacts. A discussion with the youngsters about the art serves as inspiration for a composition by Johnson, which he will perform as part of the free public concert following the workshop.

“I’m a storyteller,” Johnson says. “It’s important to me to bury narrative into a song.”

As a performer and cellist, Johnson is continually experimenting with technology and staging to complement the music and engage the audience. Tape loops allow for melodic accompaniment and harmonic texturing. For certain programs, lighting effects and video projection create fantastical environments. As an explorer and educator, Johnson brings a keen sense of history and ancestry to his projects.

“My wife is a New York-born, Canadian-raised Jamaican,” he says. “My stepdad is Bahamian. My stepsister is Bahamian and married to a Kenyan. I’m very much connected with the Caribbean community through my wife and other friends. I have a West African name, which has always kind of connected me with Nigeria. All of those connections show through in ''Resolve.''

On May 26, during the [https://atlantafestivals.com/artist/okcello/|Atlanta Jazz Festival], OkCello will play a solo set, mostly drawn from ''Resolve,'' on the Oak Hill Stage. One of his goals this year is to perform the same music at four or five contact points along the African diaspora.

“I want the first show to be in Cuba and the last show to be in Lagos, Nigeria,” Johnson says.

It’s an ambitious plan, but a man with resolve is capable of accomplishing remarkable things.

''Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, Ackerman Hall, Level Three, 571 S. Kilgo Circle NE, Atlanta, 404-727-4282, Saturday, April 27, 4 p.m., concert is free and open to the public.''

!!!__Short Takes__
!!!__Wednesday, April 24__
!!!__Atlanta Improvisers Orchestra at First Existentialist__
Based on Listening Post’s experience at the last [https://www.facebook.com/events/308536573149765/|Atlanta Improvisers Orchestra] (AIO) concert at the First Existentialist Congregation in Candler Park, I can’t wait to see and hear what this gathering of free jazz specialists comes up with [https://www.facebook.com/events/308536573149765/|Wednesday night]. The outcome is purposely unpredictable, as AIO founder [https://ofirklemperer.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR01QtILq-5Zs1pJVEK-e6nR1D_HOyF0YEWzmdYcC_8ChrLA4tTuMnYPgUw|Ofir Klemperer] shapes the sonic contour of the proceedings using hand signals loosely based on a system developed by the late composer-cornetist Lawrence Douglas “Butch” Morris. At the last performance, Klemperer invited other orchestra members to try their hand at “conduction.” It was fascinating to hear the different melodic, harmonic and rhythmic textures each conductor elicited from their fellow musicians.

''First Existentialist Congregation, 470 Candler Park Drive NE, Atlanta, 404-378-5570, Wednesday, April 24, doors at 9 p.m., $5-10 suggested donation.''

!!!__Saturday, April 27__
!!!__Etienne Charles: With the Georgia State University Jazz Band__
Trinidad-born, Julliard-trained trumpet player and composer [https://www.etiennecharles.com/?fbclid=IwAR09-XEFRkWZ-r06Ao3G8xCBDRuj4Uqqnq1hP4_B-4S7S3wJD4CYcJXQ1mQ|Etienne Charles] brings the [https://www.facebook.com/events/316963085705031/|live version] of his latest project, ''Carnival: The Sound of a People, Vol. I,'' to the [https://rialto.gsu.edu/?fbclid=IwAR3Cd9rr0moAC2VSzbcIOUZo21_ZgPLRAkci6qn0-_2KbV9aHqYTwLm2qUk|Rialto Center for the Arts] in concert with the Georgia State University Jazz Band. Based on a visit to the Trinidad village of Paramin and his impressions of Jab Molassie, the blue, fire-breathing characters whose identities the villagers assume during Carnival, Charles has created an elegantly complex, swinging, multi-vectored musical odyssey grounded in jazz, blues, funk, calypso, soca and other Caribbean styles.
''Rialto Center for the Arts, 80 Forsyth Street, Atlanta, Saturday, April 27, 8 p.m., box office 404-413-9849, tickets starting at $24.''"
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  string(9968) " Sheku Kanneh Mason   Credit Lars Borges  2019-04-23T18:42:06+00:00 Sheku Kanneh-Mason - credit Lars Borges.jpg     Cello phenoms shine in two different musical realms 16731  2019-05-02T18:35:00+00:00 LISTENING POST: A convergence of celli tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris DOUG DELOACH Doug DeLoach 2019-05-02T18:35:00+00:00  In this week’s musical happenings we find a unique convergence of celli performances by two rising stars operating in two different musical realms. Thursday through Saturday, April 25-27, English prodigy Sheku Kanneh-Mason of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle royal wedding recital fame plays Sir Edward William Elgar’s celebrated Cello Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday afternoon, Atlanta’s own Okorie “OkCello” Johnson presents a combined children’s workshop and program of original music at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus.

2019 marks the centenary of Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, which is being celebrated in concert performances and festivals around the world. The work dates from the summer of 1919 when the 62-year-old composer was living with his wife and daughter in a thatched cottage in the Sussex countryside. Only a few months prior, the evening quietude was frequently accompanied by the distant roar of World War I artillery bombardment reverberating across the English Channel from France.

A starkly romantic composition in four movements, Elgar’s Cello Concerto ranges in expression from emphatically somber and highly agitated to sparingly pastoral and richly elegiac. The eleven-and-a-half-minute final passage challenges the soloist and orchestra to render anguish, grief and despair with interludes of consolation and reflection – the emotional flux of humanity defiled by apocalyptic war.

The concerto received its world premiere in October 1919 in a performance by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by the composer and featuring young British cellist Felix Salmond. By all accounts, the debut was a debacle, largely attributed to scant rehearsal time given to the work by Albert Coates who was charged with conducting the remainder of the concert program.

After languishing for decades, Elgar’s Cello Concerto vaulted its way to mainstream popularity in the 1960s thanks to the prodigious talent of Jacqueline du Pré. Born in 1945 in Oxford, England, du Pré began cello lessons at age five and won numerous competitions as an adolescent. In her teens, she ascended to rock-star notoriety during a tragically truncated performing career, which ended years before her death from multiple sclerosis at age 42.

When she was 20, du Pré recorded the E minor Concerto with the London Symphony Orchestra, garnering international praise for her performance and elevating Elgar’s composition to mainstay status in the classical repertoire. During a six-month tutorship in 1966 under Mstislav Rostropovich, the revered Russian cellist reportedly declared his pupil capable of eclipsing his own lofty achievements.

“Jacqueline du Pre’s recording of the Elgar concerto is one that made me fall in love with the cello,” Kanneh-Mason, who also cites Rostropovich as a major influence, admits in a recent email exchange. “I have since fallen in love with other recordings of the piece and now, coming to play it myself, I feel I have developed my own interpretation, inspired by others but also by the score itself.”

It was Kanneh-Mason’s choice to include the Elgar composition in his ASO debut. Also on the program, which will be conducted by Uruguayan maestro Carlos Kalmar, are Schumann's Second Symphony and a rarely performed overture by Sir Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan fame.

“I think it is the detail of expression that attracts me,” he says. “The music was written by a man directly affected by the emotions it portrays.”

The last several months have been a whirlwind, but Kanneh-Mason was already a young phenom raising eyebrows in England before performing at the royal wedding last May. In 2016, he was named a BBC Young Musician and made his BBC Proms debut the following year. His full-length debut album, Inspiration, released earlier this year, includes an original arrangement of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry.”

“I have enjoyed all these different experiences, but my main focus is always developing as a musician,” says Kanneh-Mason. “All of these experiences have supported that effort.”

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St, Atlanta, 404-733-4900, box office 404-733-5000, Thursday - Saturday, April 25 - 27, 8 p.m. Thursday evening’s activities at Symphony Hall include a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m. by ASO program notes annotator Ken Meltzer, that is free for all ticket holders.
 

!!!Okorie “OkCello” Johnson at the Michael C. Carlos Museum
In the past year, cellist, composer, storyteller and educator Okorie Johnson, who performs under the tag name “OkCello,” has been a very busy man. He released his second album, Resolve, named by this reviewer as one of 2018’s Top 5 albums; performed a food-themed set with chef Taria Camerino on the ChooseATL house party/stage at SXSW; opened for Van Hunt (“one of my heroes”) at The Loft/Vinyl at Center Stage; and worked on a project stemming from the Alliance Theater's Reiser Lab Grant, which will result in a multi-media reading in September distilled from OkCello’s solo concert program.


“I feel very engaged right now, very full,” Johnson tells me during a telephone conversation. “I feel like I’m growing a lot and developing capacity, which did not previously exist. I feel like Resolve was the beginning of that process.”


On Saturday afternoon, Johnson will present a reprise of “Making Music with Okorie,” which debuted last year at the Michael C. Carlos Museum on the Emory University campus. It starts with a workshop during which the cellist leads a group of schoolchildren on a tour of the museum’s collection of African art and artifacts. A discussion with the youngsters about the art serves as inspiration for a composition by Johnson, which he will perform as part of the free public concert following the workshop.

“I’m a storyteller,” Johnson says. “It’s important to me to bury narrative into a song.”

As a performer and cellist, Johnson is continually experimenting with technology and staging to complement the music and engage the audience. Tape loops allow for melodic accompaniment and harmonic texturing. For certain programs, lighting effects and video projection create fantastical environments. As an explorer and educator, Johnson brings a keen sense of history and ancestry to his projects.

“My wife is a New York-born, Canadian-raised Jamaican,” he says. “My stepdad is Bahamian. My stepsister is Bahamian and married to a Kenyan. I’m very much connected with the Caribbean community through my wife and other friends. I have a West African name, which has always kind of connected me with Nigeria. All of those connections show through in Resolve.

On May 26, during the Atlanta Jazz Festival, OkCello will play a solo set, mostly drawn from Resolve, on the Oak Hill Stage. One of his goals this year is to perform the same music at four or five contact points along the African diaspora.

“I want the first show to be in Cuba and the last show to be in Lagos, Nigeria,” Johnson says.

It’s an ambitious plan, but a man with resolve is capable of accomplishing remarkable things.

Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, Ackerman Hall, Level Three, 571 S. Kilgo Circle NE, Atlanta, 404-727-4282, Saturday, April 27, 4 p.m., concert is free and open to the public.

!!!Short Takes
!!!Wednesday, April 24
!!!Atlanta Improvisers Orchestra at First Existentialist
Based on Listening Post’s experience at the last Atlanta Improvisers Orchestra (AIO) concert at the First Existentialist Congregation in Candler Park, I can’t wait to see and hear what this gathering of free jazz specialists comes up with Wednesday night. The outcome is purposely unpredictable, as AIO founder Ofir Klemperer shapes the sonic contour of the proceedings using hand signals loosely based on a system developed by the late composer-cornetist Lawrence Douglas “Butch” Morris. At the last performance, Klemperer invited other orchestra members to try their hand at “conduction.” It was fascinating to hear the different melodic, harmonic and rhythmic textures each conductor elicited from their fellow musicians.

First Existentialist Congregation, 470 Candler Park Drive NE, Atlanta, 404-378-5570, Wednesday, April 24, doors at 9 p.m., $5-10 suggested donation.

!!!Saturday, April 27
!!!Etienne Charles: With the Georgia State University Jazz Band
Trinidad-born, Julliard-trained trumpet player and composer Etienne Charles brings the live version of his latest project, Carnival: The Sound of a People, Vol. I, to the Rialto Center for the Arts in concert with the Georgia State University Jazz Band. Based on a visit to the Trinidad village of Paramin and his impressions of Jab Molassie, the blue, fire-breathing characters whose identities the villagers assume during Carnival, Charles has created an elegantly complex, swinging, multi-vectored musical odyssey grounded in jazz, blues, funk, calypso, soca and other Caribbean styles.
Rialto Center for the Arts, 80 Forsyth Street, Atlanta, Saturday, April 27, 8 p.m., box office 404-413-9849, tickets starting at $24.    Lars Borge MORE THAN POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE: English cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, widely known for his performance at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last summer, performs with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall Thursday through Saturday.  0,0,11                                 LISTENING POST: A convergence of celli "
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  string(9151) "What better way to usher in spring than by taking in an enchanting, millennia-old form of Javanese puppetry accompanied by the mellifluous overtones and tranquil thronging of an Indonesian gamelan? The opportunity comes on Saturday, April 6, when the Emory Gamelan Ensemble performs “Celebration of Arjuna,” a mythical tale derived from the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata about a heroic warrior, master archer, and companion of the Hindu god Krishna.

Joining the Emory Gamelan Ensemble in this family-friendly wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) program are two world-renowned specialists. On loan from Wesleyan University is artist-in-residence Professor Sumarsam, a dalang (puppet master), master drummer, and the author of Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java and Javanese Gamelan and the West. Darsono Hadiraharjo, a visiting fellow from Cornell University, is a master drummer and dalang who accompanies dancers at the royal court of Mangkunegaran in Surakarta, near the Javanese village where he was born.

“In our 21-year history, this is the first time the Emory gamelan has had the luxury of hosting an Indonesian master to teach us for an extended period,” says Sarah Muwahidah, director of the Emory Gamelan Ensemble.

Muwahidah is referring to a specially funded program, which brought Hadiraharjo to the Emory campus for a series of weeks-long educational sessions during the past year. For “Celebration of Arjuna,” Hadiraharjo is serving as the ensemble’s music director while Sumarsam, who has previously worked with the Emory troupe, supervises the puppetry side of things. Sumarsan will also deliver a lecture-demonstration about wayang kulit, with live accompaniment by Hadiraharjo on Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Cannon Chapel.

“Because our last few wayang kulit shows have told stories from the Ramayana, we are very excited about this program, which enacts a story from the Mahābhārata,” says Neil Fried, acting music director of the Emory Gamelan Ensemble. “We want to see how the textual change affects the rasa, or artistic feeling, of the performance.”

At 100,000 verses, the Mahābhārata, which dates from the 4th century BCE, contains what is perhaps the best known of all the revered Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita. Scholars do not take the term for these texts, itihasa, which roughly translates as “oral history,” too literally, since they chronicle myths and legends every bit as phantasmagorical as the stories found in Greek fables and contemporary superhero comics.

The protagonist of “Celebration of Arjuna” is an immaculately conceived warrior-prince who becomes the confidant of Lord Krishna, generally considered the greatest figure in Hindu mythology. In this particular adventure, Arjuna sets off on a self-imposed pilgrimage to a mountain retreat, and along the way, falls in love with a beautiful maiden, Subhadra, who is coveted by a demon king. The inevitable struggle between good and evil is resolved within a narrative that encompasses dancing, singing, a wedding, and mortal combat.

In wayang kulit performances, the narrator is accorded plenty of leeway to embellish the story with humorous expressions, local references, and other elements aimed at entertaining the audience. In past productions with the Emory Gamelan Ensemble, Sumarsan and Hadiraharjo have demonstrated why their mastery of this particular aspect of the craft is so highly regarded.

“Performing for puppets is an amazing experience,” says Fried. “Mimesis is a powerful concept, especially in the context of accompanying a wayang kulit production. A challenge for the ensemble is to not be hypnotized during the performance!”

As sure as spring has sprung, Saturday’s performance at the Emory University Performing Arts Studio promises a similarly immersive and engaging experience to everyone in attendance.

!!!Nels Cline, Gerald Cleaver, and Larry Ochs Trio at the Bakery
Like malodorous cheese, postmodernist literature, and professional wrestling, free jazz and avant-garde music aren’t everyone’s cup of entertainment. In each case, a certain amount of initial willpower and sustained exposure is required to discover the rewards within.

With that in mind, consider the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio, which makes its Atlanta debut at The Bakery Sunday, April 14. Brashly unpredictable, loudly unnerving, and sweetly seductive, often within the same song, the trio is one of the most palatable groupings of free improv musicians currently touring.

Cline is best known as the lead guitarist in Wilco, a position he has held since 2004. While his indie-rock cred is thereby assured, Cline’s professional resume covers an astonishing array of projects including a duo with the transcendently talented guitarist Julian Lage; as well as a quartet, The Nels Cline Four, with Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey. Additionally, Cline has more than 200 album appearances to his credit, at least 30 of those as leader of the pack.

Cleaver (drums) brings to the triumvirate a solid grounding in the Detroit jazz scene, a distinguished career as an educator, and an impeccable record as accompanist to jazz luminaries such as Roscoe Mitchell, Matt Shipp, Charles Lloyd, and Miroslav Vitous. Ochs (saxophones) bears the legacy of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, the widely celebrated all-reed improv band he co-founded in San Francisco some five decades ago, which has performed in Atlanta a number of times. Ochs and Cline have been collaborating since the late 1990s and performing as a duo since 2013.

Sharing the bill with the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio is Outside Voice, a quartet of outstanding local jazz improvisers featuring Kenito Murray (percussion), Quinn Masonry (saxophones/electronics), Mamaniji Azanyah (upright bass), and Rafael Villanueva (guitar).

Admittedly, the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs concert is not for everyone. It represents an opportunity for the musically adventurous and the merely curious to try something completely different. Who knows? You might like what you hear. The rest of us can hardly wait for the stinky madness to hit the mat.

!!!Klimchak, Avneesh Sarwate (AV Performance), Infinite Third

The Bakery continues its envelope-pushing roll with an evening of “Experimental, Electroacoustic, and Audiovisual Art” on Wednesday, April 24, featuring Klimchak, Avneesh Sarwate and Infinite Third. With improvisation the middle name of the game for all three musicians, suffice it to say some of the material on tap for the “EEAV” gig has yet to be conceived.

“I really won’t finalize my pieces until I get back from Big Ears next week,” says Klimchak, a familiar figure on the Atlanta improv scene. Referring to the three-day experimental music festival in Knoxville, he continues, “Seeing all that amazing music might blow my mind to the point where I’ll end up going in a completely different direction. At the very least, the experience will influence the work I’m already planning on doing.”

Planned for the Bakery gig are three pieces based on structured improvisation. One is a solo work for “Kanjira” (a small drum covered in lizard skin and played with one hand, while the other hand presses the head to change the pitch), augmented by vocal percussion. Another piece features the “Jaltarang,” a homebuilt melodic instrument made with tuned rice bowls, accompanied by throat-singing. The third piece was envisaged for solo theremin.

Klimchak recently returned from a three-week residency at Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center in Florida, energized as much by the mode of transportation as the learning experience. The trip was the first undertaken by the musician in his Ford Transit van, which was painted in spectacularly psychedelic fashion by famed Pakistani truck artist Haider Ali.

“I’ve always taken musical inspiration from visual art,” Klimchak says, “and the paint job on the Transit has been a constant source of new ideas.”.

On the trip, Klimchak composed a new work called “Bowled Over,” which uses pairs of steel bowls connected with a piece of tubing. Raising and lowering the bowls, which are filled with water, changes the pitch of the sound produced when they are struck.

“The trick is that, because the bowls are connected, one bowl goes up in pitch, while the other bowl goes down in pitch,” explains Klimchak. “Writing for the instrument involves figuring out the relationship between two sets of pitches.”

While in Florida, Klimchak performed an in-process version of “Bowled Over” at Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center with input from master drummer Sean Hamilton. He hopes to finish the piece for an Atlanta premiere later this year.

As for other musicians on the “EEAV” bill, I haven’t yet caught Avneesh Sarwate in concert, but the work posted on his website is intriguing enough. A fairly recent house concert by Billy Mays III (Infinite Third) has me very much looking forward to his return to Atlanta."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(11152) "What better way to usher in spring than by taking in an enchanting, millennia-old form of Javanese puppetry accompanied by the mellifluous overtones and tranquil thronging of an Indonesian [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEWCCSuHsuQ|gamelan]? The opportunity comes on Saturday, April 6, when the [https://www.emorygamelan.org|Emory Gamelan Ensemble] performs “[http://music.emory.edu/home/performance/events.html#/?i=1|Celebration of Arjuna],” a mythical tale derived from the Sanskrit epic [http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/maha/index.htm|Mahābhārata] about a heroic warrior, master archer, and companion of the Hindu god Krishna.

Joining the Emory Gamelan Ensemble in this family-friendly wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) program are two world-renowned specialists. On loan from Wesleyan University is artist-in-residence Professor Sumarsam, a dalang (puppet master), master drummer, and the author of ''[https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/G/bo3624233.html|Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java]'' and ''[https://www.worldcat.org/title/javanese-gamelan-and-the-west/oclc/852158253|Javanese Gamelan and the West]''. Darsono Hadiraharjo, a visiting fellow from Cornell University, is a master drummer and dalang who accompanies dancers at the royal court of Mangkunegaran in Surakarta, near the Javanese village where he was born.

“In our 21-year history, this is the first time the Emory gamelan has had the luxury of hosting an Indonesian master to teach us for an extended period,” says Sarah Muwahidah, director of the [http://music.emory.edu/home/performance/gamelan.html|Emory Gamelan Ensemble].

Muwahidah is referring to a specially funded program, which brought Hadiraharjo to the Emory campus for a series of weeks-long educational sessions during the past year. For “Celebration of Arjuna,” Hadiraharjo is serving as the ensemble’s music director while Sumarsam, who has previously worked with the Emory troupe, supervises the puppetry side of things. Sumarsan will also deliver a [https://www.facebook.com/events/488560585007905/|lecture-demonstration] about wayang kulit, with live accompaniment by Hadiraharjo on Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. at [http://arts.emory.edu/plan-your-visit/venues/cannon-chapel.html|Cannon Chapel].

“Because our last few wayang kulit shows have told stories from the Ramayana, we are very excited about this program, which enacts a story from the Mahābhārata,” says Neil Fried, acting music director of the Emory Gamelan Ensemble. “We want to see how the textual change affects the rasa, or artistic feeling, of the performance.”

At 100,000 verses, the Mahābhārata, which dates from the 4th century BCE, contains what is perhaps the best known of all the revered Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita. Scholars do not take the term for these texts, itihasa, which roughly translates as “oral history,” too literally, since they chronicle myths and legends every bit as phantasmagorical as the stories found in Greek fables and contemporary superhero comics.

The protagonist of “Celebration of Arjuna” is an immaculately conceived warrior-prince who becomes the confidant of Lord Krishna, generally considered the greatest figure in Hindu mythology. In this particular adventure, Arjuna sets off on a self-imposed pilgrimage to a mountain retreat, and along the way, falls in love with a beautiful maiden, Subhadra, who is coveted by a demon king. The inevitable struggle between good and evil is resolved within a narrative that encompasses dancing, singing, a wedding, and mortal combat.

In wayang kulit performances, the narrator is accorded plenty of leeway to embellish the story with humorous expressions, local references, and other elements aimed at entertaining the audience. In past productions with the Emory Gamelan Ensemble, Sumarsan and Hadiraharjo have demonstrated why their mastery of this particular aspect of the craft is so highly regarded.

“Performing for puppets is an amazing experience,” says Fried. “[https://www.britannica.com/art/mimesis|Mimesis] is a powerful concept, especially in the context of accompanying a wayang kulit production. A challenge for the ensemble is to not be hypnotized during the performance!”

As sure as spring has sprung, Saturday’s performance at the [https://www.facebook.com/EmoryPAS/?eid=ARDxtV2k85j_koIaNzVC6acCO9A_4zjFoKDTIkNSe1NDCAo2Nk3SjUQUVBEfkgLyugSzZnELptl0qXhQ|Emory University Performing Arts Studio] promises a similarly immersive and engaging experience to everyone in attendance.

!!!__Nels Cline, Gerald Cleaver, and Larry Ochs Trio at the Bakery__
Like malodorous cheese, postmodernist literature, and professional wrestling, free jazz and avant-garde music aren’t everyone’s cup of entertainment. In each case, a certain amount of initial willpower and sustained exposure is required to discover the rewards within.

With that in mind, consider the [http://www.ochs.cc/groups/cline-cleaver-ochs.html|Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio], which makes its Atlanta debut at The Bakery Sunday, April 14. Brashly unpredictable, loudly unnerving, and sweetly seductive, often within the same song, the trio is one of the most palatable groupings of free improv musicians currently touring.

Cline is best known as the lead guitarist in Wilco, a position he has held since 2004. While his indie-rock cred is thereby assured, Cline’s professional resume covers an astonishing array of projects including a duo with the transcendently talented guitarist [http://www.julianlage.com/new-page|Julian Lage]; as well as a quartet, The Nels Cline Four, with Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey. Additionally, Cline has more than 200 album appearances to his credit, at least 30 of those as leader of the pack.

[https://www.allmusic.com/artist/gerald-cleaver-mn0000945381/biography|Cleaver] (drums) brings to the triumvirate a solid grounding in the Detroit jazz scene, a distinguished career as an educator, and an impeccable record as accompanist to jazz luminaries such as Roscoe Mitchell, Matt Shipp, Charles Lloyd, and Miroslav Vitous. [http://www.ochs.cc|Ochs] (saxophones) bears the legacy of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, the widely celebrated all-reed improv band he co-founded in San Francisco some five decades ago, which has performed in Atlanta a number of times. Ochs and Cline have been collaborating since the late 1990s and performing as a duo since 2013.

Sharing the bill with the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio is Outside Voice, a quartet of outstanding local jazz improvisers featuring [https://www.facebook.com/kenito.murray|Kenito Murray] (percussion), [https://www.facebook.com/marquinn.mason|Quinn Masonry] (saxophones/electronics), [https://www.facebook.com/Mamaniji-Azanyah-130550850347518/|Mamaniji Azanyah] (upright bass), and [https://rafstronaut.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR2Y2pV1-eF8H6ilP90puq96o8v87BvW48GeQdnLWL5PTRr0dycdQztYleQ|Rafael Villanueva] (guitar).

Admittedly, the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs concert is not for everyone. It represents an opportunity for the musically adventurous and the merely curious to try something completely different. Who knows? You might like what you hear. The rest of us can hardly wait for the stinky madness to hit the mat.

!!!__Klimchak, Avneesh Sarwate (AV Performance), Infinite Third__
{img fileId="15904" stylebox="float: right; margin-left: 25px;" desc="INSPIRATIONAL TRANSPORT: DIY multi-instrumentalist Klimchak, who will be performing at The Bakery on April 24, stands proudly beside his trusty Ford Transit, which has been painted by Pakistani truck artist extraordinaire Haider Ali. Photo by Anne Cox." styledesc="font-family: sans-serif;"}
The Bakery continues its envelope-pushing roll with an evening of “[https://www.facebook.com/events/649545112140456/|Experimental, Electroacoustic, and Audiovisual Art]” on Wednesday, April 24, featuring [https://klimchakmusic.com/?fbclid=IwAR08dyke4lAFa5dlHiJ-1Ub34Lkuqi2iks0iNbjjE4dlmE_1SVAO5DO14Ps|Klimchak], [http://www.avneeshsarwate.com/#|Avneesh Sarwate] and [http://rememberyouaredreaming.com/infinitethird?fbclid=IwAR3m6J_S-GmHJtB1evKdB-iADvZMQqE9wWafPr9Du0iMeTRWMMxOD6IgPT8|Infinite Third]. With improvisation the middle name of the game for all three musicians, suffice it to say some of the material on tap for the “EEAV” gig has yet to be conceived.

“I really won’t finalize my pieces until I get back from [https://bigearsfestival.org|Big Ears] next week,” says Klimchak, a familiar figure on the Atlanta improv scene. Referring to the three-day experimental music festival in Knoxville, he continues, “Seeing all that amazing music might blow my mind to the point where I’ll end up going in a completely different direction. At the very least, the experience will influence the work I’m already planning on doing.”

Planned for the Bakery gig are three pieces based on structured improvisation. One is a solo work for “Kanjira” (a small drum covered in lizard skin and played with one hand, while the other hand presses the head to change the pitch), augmented by vocal percussion. Another piece features the “Jaltarang,” a homebuilt melodic instrument made with tuned rice bowls, accompanied by throat-singing. The third piece was envisaged for solo theremin.

Klimchak recently returned from a three-week residency at [http://www.safetyharborartandmusiccenter.com|Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center] in Florida, energized as much by the mode of transportation as the learning experience. The trip was the first undertaken by the musician in his Ford Transit van, which was painted in [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLhSTgeaBFc|spectacularly psychedelic fashion] by famed Pakistani truck artist [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haider_Ali_(artist)#References|Haider Ali].

“I’ve always taken musical inspiration from visual art,” Klimchak says, “and the paint job on the Transit has been a constant source of new ideas.”.

On the trip, Klimchak composed a new work called “Bowled Over,” which uses pairs of steel bowls connected with a piece of tubing. Raising and lowering the bowls, which are filled with water, changes the pitch of the sound produced when they are struck.

“The trick is that, because the bowls are connected, one bowl goes up in pitch, while the other bowl goes down in pitch,” explains Klimchak. “Writing for the instrument involves figuring out the relationship between two sets of pitches.”

While in Florida, Klimchak performed an in-process version of “Bowled Over” at Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center with input from master drummer Sean Hamilton. He hopes to finish the piece for an Atlanta premiere later this year.

As for other musicians on the “EEAV” bill, I haven’t yet caught Avneesh Sarwate in concert, but the work posted on his [http://www.avneeshsarwate.com/|website] is intriguing enough. A fairly recent house concert by Billy Mays III (Infinite Third) has me very much looking forward to his return to Atlanta."
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  string(9960) " Shadow Puppet Performance1 April 2018 Small  2019-04-02T16:46:38+00:00 Shadow_Puppet_Performance1_April_2018_small.jpg     Emory Gamelan Ensemble hosts Javanese masters for ‘Celebration of Arjuna’ 15860  2019-04-02T16:44:28+00:00 LISTENING POST: Javanese shadow puppetry brings the Mahābhārata to ‘life’ tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris Doug DeLoach Doug DeLoach 2019-04-02T16:44:28+00:00  What better way to usher in spring than by taking in an enchanting, millennia-old form of Javanese puppetry accompanied by the mellifluous overtones and tranquil thronging of an Indonesian gamelan? The opportunity comes on Saturday, April 6, when the Emory Gamelan Ensemble performs “Celebration of Arjuna,” a mythical tale derived from the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata about a heroic warrior, master archer, and companion of the Hindu god Krishna.

Joining the Emory Gamelan Ensemble in this family-friendly wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) program are two world-renowned specialists. On loan from Wesleyan University is artist-in-residence Professor Sumarsam, a dalang (puppet master), master drummer, and the author of Gamelan: Cultural Interaction and Musical Development in Central Java and Javanese Gamelan and the West. Darsono Hadiraharjo, a visiting fellow from Cornell University, is a master drummer and dalang who accompanies dancers at the royal court of Mangkunegaran in Surakarta, near the Javanese village where he was born.

“In our 21-year history, this is the first time the Emory gamelan has had the luxury of hosting an Indonesian master to teach us for an extended period,” says Sarah Muwahidah, director of the Emory Gamelan Ensemble.

Muwahidah is referring to a specially funded program, which brought Hadiraharjo to the Emory campus for a series of weeks-long educational sessions during the past year. For “Celebration of Arjuna,” Hadiraharjo is serving as the ensemble’s music director while Sumarsam, who has previously worked with the Emory troupe, supervises the puppetry side of things. Sumarsan will also deliver a lecture-demonstration about wayang kulit, with live accompaniment by Hadiraharjo on Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. at Cannon Chapel.

“Because our last few wayang kulit shows have told stories from the Ramayana, we are very excited about this program, which enacts a story from the Mahābhārata,” says Neil Fried, acting music director of the Emory Gamelan Ensemble. “We want to see how the textual change affects the rasa, or artistic feeling, of the performance.”

At 100,000 verses, the Mahābhārata, which dates from the 4th century BCE, contains what is perhaps the best known of all the revered Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita. Scholars do not take the term for these texts, itihasa, which roughly translates as “oral history,” too literally, since they chronicle myths and legends every bit as phantasmagorical as the stories found in Greek fables and contemporary superhero comics.

The protagonist of “Celebration of Arjuna” is an immaculately conceived warrior-prince who becomes the confidant of Lord Krishna, generally considered the greatest figure in Hindu mythology. In this particular adventure, Arjuna sets off on a self-imposed pilgrimage to a mountain retreat, and along the way, falls in love with a beautiful maiden, Subhadra, who is coveted by a demon king. The inevitable struggle between good and evil is resolved within a narrative that encompasses dancing, singing, a wedding, and mortal combat.

In wayang kulit performances, the narrator is accorded plenty of leeway to embellish the story with humorous expressions, local references, and other elements aimed at entertaining the audience. In past productions with the Emory Gamelan Ensemble, Sumarsan and Hadiraharjo have demonstrated why their mastery of this particular aspect of the craft is so highly regarded.

“Performing for puppets is an amazing experience,” says Fried. “Mimesis is a powerful concept, especially in the context of accompanying a wayang kulit production. A challenge for the ensemble is to not be hypnotized during the performance!”

As sure as spring has sprung, Saturday’s performance at the Emory University Performing Arts Studio promises a similarly immersive and engaging experience to everyone in attendance.

!!!Nels Cline, Gerald Cleaver, and Larry Ochs Trio at the Bakery
Like malodorous cheese, postmodernist literature, and professional wrestling, free jazz and avant-garde music aren’t everyone’s cup of entertainment. In each case, a certain amount of initial willpower and sustained exposure is required to discover the rewards within.

With that in mind, consider the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio, which makes its Atlanta debut at The Bakery Sunday, April 14. Brashly unpredictable, loudly unnerving, and sweetly seductive, often within the same song, the trio is one of the most palatable groupings of free improv musicians currently touring.

Cline is best known as the lead guitarist in Wilco, a position he has held since 2004. While his indie-rock cred is thereby assured, Cline’s professional resume covers an astonishing array of projects including a duo with the transcendently talented guitarist Julian Lage; as well as a quartet, The Nels Cline Four, with Lage, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Tom Rainey. Additionally, Cline has more than 200 album appearances to his credit, at least 30 of those as leader of the pack.

Cleaver (drums) brings to the triumvirate a solid grounding in the Detroit jazz scene, a distinguished career as an educator, and an impeccable record as accompanist to jazz luminaries such as Roscoe Mitchell, Matt Shipp, Charles Lloyd, and Miroslav Vitous. Ochs (saxophones) bears the legacy of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, the widely celebrated all-reed improv band he co-founded in San Francisco some five decades ago, which has performed in Atlanta a number of times. Ochs and Cline have been collaborating since the late 1990s and performing as a duo since 2013.

Sharing the bill with the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs Trio is Outside Voice, a quartet of outstanding local jazz improvisers featuring Kenito Murray (percussion), Quinn Masonry (saxophones/electronics), Mamaniji Azanyah (upright bass), and Rafael Villanueva (guitar).

Admittedly, the Nels Cline/Gerald Cleaver/Larry Ochs concert is not for everyone. It represents an opportunity for the musically adventurous and the merely curious to try something completely different. Who knows? You might like what you hear. The rest of us can hardly wait for the stinky madness to hit the mat.

!!!Klimchak, Avneesh Sarwate (AV Performance), Infinite Third

The Bakery continues its envelope-pushing roll with an evening of “Experimental, Electroacoustic, and Audiovisual Art” on Wednesday, April 24, featuring Klimchak, Avneesh Sarwate and Infinite Third. With improvisation the middle name of the game for all three musicians, suffice it to say some of the material on tap for the “EEAV” gig has yet to be conceived.

“I really won’t finalize my pieces until I get back from Big Ears next week,” says Klimchak, a familiar figure on the Atlanta improv scene. Referring to the three-day experimental music festival in Knoxville, he continues, “Seeing all that amazing music might blow my mind to the point where I’ll end up going in a completely different direction. At the very least, the experience will influence the work I’m already planning on doing.”

Planned for the Bakery gig are three pieces based on structured improvisation. One is a solo work for “Kanjira” (a small drum covered in lizard skin and played with one hand, while the other hand presses the head to change the pitch), augmented by vocal percussion. Another piece features the “Jaltarang,” a homebuilt melodic instrument made with tuned rice bowls, accompanied by throat-singing. The third piece was envisaged for solo theremin.

Klimchak recently returned from a three-week residency at Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center in Florida, energized as much by the mode of transportation as the learning experience. The trip was the first undertaken by the musician in his Ford Transit van, which was painted in spectacularly psychedelic fashion by famed Pakistani truck artist Haider Ali.

“I’ve always taken musical inspiration from visual art,” Klimchak says, “and the paint job on the Transit has been a constant source of new ideas.”.

On the trip, Klimchak composed a new work called “Bowled Over,” which uses pairs of steel bowls connected with a piece of tubing. Raising and lowering the bowls, which are filled with water, changes the pitch of the sound produced when they are struck.

“The trick is that, because the bowls are connected, one bowl goes up in pitch, while the other bowl goes down in pitch,” explains Klimchak. “Writing for the instrument involves figuring out the relationship between two sets of pitches.”

While in Florida, Klimchak performed an in-process version of “Bowled Over” at Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center with input from master drummer Sean Hamilton. He hopes to finish the piece for an Atlanta premiere later this year.

As for other musicians on the “EEAV” bill, I haven’t yet caught Avneesh Sarwate in concert, but the work posted on his website is intriguing enough. A fairly recent house concert by Billy Mays III (Infinite Third) has me very much looking forward to his return to Atlanta.    STEVE EBERHARDT CELEBRATION OF ARJUNA: Two Javanese masters of shadow puppetry and gamelan drumming, Sumarsam and Darsono Hadiraharjo, will perform with the Emory Gamelan Ensemble (seen here in a 2018 performance) Saturday, April 6, at the Emory University Performing Arts Studio.                                   LISTENING POST: Javanese shadow puppetry brings the Mahābhārata to ‘life’ "
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Tuesday April 2, 2019 12:44 pm EDT
Emory Gamelan Ensemble hosts Javanese masters for ‘Celebration of Arjuna’ | more...
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  string(11689) "In Atlanta these days, it seems you can hardly swing a stallion-hair cello bow around your head without hitting a chamber ensemble composer or member, or, go more than a few days without encountering a contemporary chamber music concert. The next few weeks are especially filled with examples of this welcome phenomenon, culminating in the 4th annual SoundNOW Festival, which runs April 7 through 13 at a variety of Atlanta venues.

“This music is happening all the time around town,” says Nickitas Demos, director of the School of Music at Georgia State University, artistic director of neoPhonia New Music Ensemble, and one of the founding organizers of SoundNOW. “The purpose of the festival is to present a microcosm of the scene within a one-week period.”

Over the course of seven days at multiple venues, nine different ensembles will perform recently written pieces and 20th-century repertoire by composers familiar and obscure. The concert programs cover everything from wilderness landscape impressions and prepared toy pianos to interactive computer programs and kitchen spices. The keynote engagement occurs midway through the week when 67-year-old composer, trombonist, and scholar George Lewis arrives for a three-day “residency.”

A Chicago native and currently the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University, Lewis is an academic free radical who roams with equal street cred between the jazz/improv and experimental/classical music scenes. One of his most notable compositions, Voyager, relies on a self-developed software program which creates “a nonhierarchical, interactive musical environment” enabling a dialogue between the improviser and a “virtual improvising orchestra.” As a virtuosic trombonist, Lewis has performed or recorded with everyone from Anthony Braxton and Count Basie to Laurie Anderson and the Globe Unity Orchestra.

Lewis’ three-day itinerary is sponsored by Bent Frequency, the new music ensemble and programming entity founded by Georgia State University professors Stuart Gerber and Jan Berry Baker. A program at GSU’s Florence Kopleff Recital Hall on Wednesday, April 9, features Lewis performing the world premiere of “In Memoriam of Albert Lee Murray,” a solo trombone work written especially for him by T.J. Anderson.

On the same bill, Bent Frequency will perform two Lewis compositions, “North Star Boogaloo” and “Anthem.” The ensemble will also play compositions by former Atlanta Symphony Composer-in-Residence Alvin Singleton, GSU alumna Collette Coward, UGA assistant professor Emily Koh, Anahita Abbasi, and Eve Beglarian.

“North Star Boogaloo,” for percussion and audio, was written by Lewis for Steven Schick, with text by poet Quincy Troupe, when all three were colleagues at the University of California at San Diego. The work features two “rappers”: the percussionist, whose part is completely notated, and “Virtual Quincy,” a computer program that samples the poet’s voice reading the text/poem. Supporting the rappers are hip-hop beats and other sounds keyed to the score, a strategy Lewis refers to as “part of my digital aesthetic of variation and difference.”

“Anthem,” composed by Lewis in 2009 under commission from Wet Ink, a New York-based collective of composers, performers, and improvisers, was written for an ensemble comprised of flute(s), tenor saxophone, piano/accordion, percussion, voice, violin, and electronics. A roiling, riotous journey, which conjures up swing bands, marching bands, dissonant cacophony, and sonorous elocutions, “Anthem” supports a text derived by following what Lewis calls “concatentative procedures.”

During his three-day stand in Atlanta, Lewis will preside over a symposium on improvisation, perform in an open rehearsal with Bent Frequency, and deliver two lectures. One of the lectures is on Lewis’s 2008 book about the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music. The other lecture is focused on his artistic process. All of the events are free and open to the public (see details on the SoundNOW website).

“George is a powerful influence on today’s new music scene,” says Demos. “He’s keenly focused on improvisation and always pushing boundaries, which makes Bent Frequency especially well-suited to presenting and performing his work.”

By design, the bulk of SoundNOW showcases homegrown players and a selection of locally composed music. On April 10, Chamber Cartel, led by percussionist Caleb Herron, will be premiering Philippe Hurel’s “3 études pour Atlanta” for flute and percussion. The Cartel will also play Augustin Braud’s “Dans les pas de la main (hommage à Cy Twombly),” and Drew Baker’s “Domination of Black.”

“All of the pieces are meditations on sound,” says Herron, “but they range in tonal color from light and virtuosic to somewhat darker and aggressive.”

This year’s festival marks the debut of smol ensemble. Recently formed by Amy O’Dell after working on a commission with Canadian composer and fellow toy piano enthusiast Monica Pearce, the duo will be augmented by percussionists Justin Greene and Paul Stevens for this program on April 13. The ensemble will be premiering works by Pearce and Greene, performing a composition by Eva-Maria Houben, and interpreting “Music for Amplified Toy Pianos” by John Cage.

“I can’t think of another instrument that so invitingly inspires exploration,” O’Dell says of the toy piano, which is currently enjoying something of a renaissance in 21st-century new music circles. “The combination of its miniature frame, delightful tones, and limited range makes everyone feel welcome to play around with the instrument.”

The neoPhonia New Music Ensemble will be premiering SoundNOW organizer Demos’ Ithaca. Written for baritone and ensemble, the work is based on a poem published in 1911 by Constantine P. Cavafy. To translate the poem into English Demos relied on Dr. Gregory Jusdanis, director of Modern Greek Studies at Ohio State University.

“I wanted it to be in English,” Demos explains, “because I want the audience to understand and follow the story, which boils down to the old adage about the journey being more important than the destination.”

Additional concerts feature Terminus Ensemble, led by artistic directors Sarah Hersh and Brent Milam; Cantos y Cuentos string quartet led by Tracy Woodard; Perimeter Flutes, a quartet of female flutists in residence at Georgia Perimeter College; and Moloq, a quartet representing the pop/electronic/experimental edge of the modern chamber envelope.

The 2019 edition of the SoundNOW Festival represents the best possible reason to stop missing out on some of the coolest new music in town.

!!!'The American Music Show'
Atlantans of either a certain socio-cultural inclination, or age, recall with great fondness The American Music Show. During the show’s televised broadcast from 1981 to 2005, TAMS presented an almost entirely improvised, hilariously wild-ass and unabashedly gay-weirdo version of the standard issue TV variety show. Co-produced by the late Dick Richards, David Goldman, James Bond, Potsy Duncan, and Bud "Beebo" Lowry, TAMS featured sketches, performances, films and recordings by a kaleidoscopic array of alt-Atlanta scensters including RuPaul, DeAundra Peek, Larry Tee, Duffy Odum, Lady Bunny, Tom Zarrilli, and Jayne County.

On Wednesday, March 20, the Emory University Rose Library celebrates TAMS’ crucial importance as an historical marker documenting Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ community with screenings of the show drawn from the library’s recently acquired collection of more than 700 VHS recordings. Rose Library curator Randy Gue, along with original cast members, will be on hand for the sold-out event to discuss the creation of TAMS and to dispel or augment salacious rumors, which have lingered since the show’s demise.

!!!In honor of women
On Sunday, March 24, a group of female musicians from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra — Emily Brebach (English horn), Marci Gurnow (clarinet), Julianne Lee (violin), Jessica Oudin (viola), Elisabeth Remy Johnson (harp), and Christina Smith (flute) — will perform a program of chamber music at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. "Listen: Works by Women" features compositions by Clara Schumann, the renowned composer and recitalist whose 200th birthday is marked in September; and Mary Kouyoumdjian, a young Armenian-American composer living in Brooklyn whose wondrously imaginative music frequently addresses the legacy carried by her ethnic origins. “Listen: Works by Women” is free and open to the public in honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day.

!!!Sonic Generator Redux
In 2014, Tom Sherwood, then principal percussionist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, announced that he was joining the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. With Sherwood’s departure, together with his wife, Jessica, an accomplished flutist and educator in her own right, Atlanta appeared to have lost Sonic Generator, one of the city’s most adventurous new music ensembles.

Founded by Sherwood in 2005 as an ensemble-in-residence at Georgia Tech, during its heyday Sonic Generator established a reputation for exceptional concert performances and ambitious programming. In 2011, SONICpalooza, a 10-hour marathon of contemporary acoustic and electronic music performed in the lobby of the Woodruff Arts Center, ended with a mesmerizing, midnight-hour rendition by Sonic Generator of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. A few months later, the ensemble collaborated with gloATL and ASO music director Robert Spano to stage Maa (1991), Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's highly adventurous, immersive, multimedia ballet. In 2012, an expanded version of Sonic Generator performed a new score composed by Argentinean Martin Matalon for Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent sci-fi film, Metropolis,, which was screened under the stars on an outside wall of the High Museum.

On April 3, Sonic Generator (sans the Sherwoods) makes its long-awaited return in a collaborative program with Café Momus, a student-led Georgia Tech ensemble which focuses on combining contemporary music and theater. Previous Café Momus projects include Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat and William Walton’s Façade, An Entertainment. For this performance Café Momus will be joined by members of the original Sonic Generator troupe in a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 21. One of modern chamber music’s landmark works, the full title of this atonal composition, which premiered in Berlin in 1912, is Three Times Seven Poems from Albert Giraud’s “Pierrot Lunaire.” Most classical music enthusiasts know it as “Pierrot Lunaire” or simply “Pierrot,” a reference to the cycle of poems by Belgian poet Albert Giraud, upon which the work is based.

“We’ve been looking for ways in which Sonic Generator can continue in some shape or form,” says Chaowen Ting, director of Orchestral Studies at Georgia Tech. “‘Pierrot’ was one that everyone was most interested in doing.”

Also on the program: Violinist Grant Gilman conducts Café Momus in Erich Korngold’s String Sextet, Op. 10 (1915), while Ted Gurch, associate principal clarinetist with the ASO and Sonic Generator alumnus, leads the student ensemble in a rendition of “Autumn Music” (1995) by Jennifer Higdon. The show takes place at Georgia Tech’s West Village Dining Center."
  ["tracker_field_contentWikiPage_raw"]=>
  string(13744) "In Atlanta these days, it seems you can hardly swing a stallion-hair cello bow around your head without hitting a chamber ensemble composer or member, or, go more than a few days without encountering a contemporary chamber music concert. The next few weeks are especially filled with examples of this welcome phenomenon, culminating in the 4th annual [https://www.atlantasoundnowfestival.com/|SoundNOW Festival], which runs April 7 through 13 at a variety of Atlanta venues.

“This music is happening all the time around town,” says [http://nickitasdemos.com/|Nickitas Demos], director of the School of Music at Georgia State University, artistic director of [https://music.gsu.edu/performanceensembles/new-music-ensembles/|neoPhonia New Music Ensemble], and one of the founding organizers of SoundNOW. “The purpose of the festival is to present a microcosm of the scene within a one-week period.”

Over the course of seven days at multiple venues, nine different ensembles will perform recently written pieces and 20th-century repertoire by composers familiar and obscure. The concert programs cover everything from wilderness landscape impressions and prepared toy pianos to interactive computer programs and kitchen spices. The keynote engagement occurs midway through the week when 67-year-old composer, trombonist, and scholar [https://music.columbia.edu/bios/george-e-lewis|George Lewis] arrives for a three-day “residency.”

A Chicago native and currently the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University, Lewis is an academic free radical who roams with equal street cred between the jazz/improv and experimental/classical music scenes. One of his most notable compositions, ''Voyager'', relies on a self-developed software program which creates “a nonhierarchical, interactive musical environment” enabling a dialogue between the improviser and a “virtual improvising orchestra.” As a virtuosic trombonist, Lewis has performed or recorded with everyone from Anthony Braxton and Count Basie to Laurie Anderson and the Globe Unity Orchestra.

Lewis’ three-day itinerary is sponsored by [http://bentfrequency.com/|Bent Frequency], the new music ensemble and programming entity founded by Georgia State University professors [http://stuartgerber.net/|Stuart Gerber] and [http://www.janberrybaker.com/|Jan Berry Baker]. A program at GSU’s Florence Kopleff Recital Hall on Wednesday, April 9, features Lewis performing the world premiere of “In Memoriam of Albert Lee Murray,” a solo trombone work written especially for him by T.J. Anderson.

On the same bill, Bent Frequency will perform two Lewis compositions, “North Star Boogaloo” and “Anthem''.''” The ensemble will also play compositions by former Atlanta Symphony Composer-in-Residence [http://www.alvinsingleton.com/|Alvin Singleton], GSU alumna [https://www.linkedin.com/in/colette-cc-coward-88536753/|Collette Coward], UGA assistant professor [https://emilykoh.net|Emily Koh], [http://anahitaabbasi.com|Anahita Abbasi], and [https://evbvd.com|Eve Beglarian].

“[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqLLwy5lI1U|North Star Boogaloo],” for percussion and audio, was written by Lewis for Steven Schick, with text by poet Quincy Troupe, when all three were colleagues at the University of California at San Diego. The work features two “rappers”: the percussionist, whose part is completely notated, and “Virtual Quincy,” a computer program that samples the poet’s voice reading the text/poem. Supporting the rappers are hip-hop beats and other sounds keyed to the score, a strategy Lewis refers to as “part of my digital aesthetic of variation and difference.”

“[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IplVN4o0QI0|Anthem],” composed by Lewis in 2009 under commission from Wet Ink, a New York-based collective of composers, performers, and improvisers, was written for an ensemble comprised of flute(s), tenor saxophone, piano/accordion, percussion, voice, violin, and electronics. A roiling, riotous journey, which conjures up swing bands, marching bands, dissonant cacophony, and sonorous elocutions, “Anthem” supports a text derived by following what Lewis calls “concatentative procedures.”

During his three-day stand in Atlanta, Lewis will preside over a symposium on improvisation, perform in an open rehearsal with Bent Frequency, and deliver two lectures. One of the lectures is on Lewis’s 2008 book about the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, ''A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music''. The other lecture is focused on his artistic process. All of the events are free and open to the public (see details on the [https://www.atlantasoundnowfestival.com/|SoundNOW] website).

“George is a powerful influence on today’s new music scene,” says Demos. “He’s keenly focused on improvisation and always pushing boundaries, which makes Bent Frequency especially well-suited to presenting and performing his work.”

By design, the bulk of SoundNOW showcases homegrown players and a selection of locally composed music. On April 10, [http://www.chambercartel.com/?fbclid=IwAR3XUdHmLJBnIDstYXE2uDQjANtSA0exN886jPy8yGf1qlUb1LfjUlCn17Y|Chamber Cartel], led by percussionist Caleb Herron, will be premiering Philippe Hurel’s “3'' ''études pour Atlanta''”'' for flute and percussion. The Cartel will also play Augustin Braud’s “Dans les pas de la main (hommage à Cy Twombly),” and Drew Baker’s “Domination of Black.”

“All of the pieces are meditations on sound,” says Herron, “but they range in tonal color from light and virtuosic to somewhat darker and aggressive.”

This year’s festival marks the debut of smol ensemble. Recently formed by [http://www.amy-odell.com/Site/Home.html|Amy O’Dell] after working on a commission with Canadian composer and fellow toy piano enthusiast [http://www.monicapearce.com/|Monica Pearce], the duo will be augmented by percussionists Justin Greene and Paul Stevens for this program on April 13. The ensemble will be premiering works by Pearce and Greene, performing a composition by [https://recordings.irritablehedgehog.com/album/eva-maria-houben-piano-music|Eva-Maria Houben], and interpreting'' ''“[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p-s8TpQbRc|Music for Amplified Toy Pianos]''”'' by John Cage.

“I can’t think of another instrument that so invitingly inspires exploration,” O’Dell says of the toy piano, which is currently enjoying something of a renaissance in 21st-century new music circles. “The combination of its miniature frame, delightful tones, and limited range makes everyone feel welcome to play around with the instrument.”

The neoPhonia New Music Ensemble will be premiering SoundNOW organizer Demos’ ''Ithaca''. Written for baritone and ensemble, the work is based on a poem published in 1911 by Constantine P. Cavafy. To translate the poem into English Demos relied on Dr. Gregory Jusdanis, director of Modern Greek Studies at Ohio State University.

“I wanted it to be in English,” Demos explains, “because I want the audience to understand and follow the story, which boils down to the old adage about the journey being more important than the destination.”

Additional concerts feature [http://terminusensemble.org/|Terminus Ensemble], led by artistic directors [http://www.sarahhersh.com/|Sarah Hersh] and [http://brentmilam.com/|Brent Milam]; Cantos y Cuentos string quartet led by [https://creativeloafing.com/content-408140-Tracy-Woodard:-No-fiddlin’-around|Tracy Woodard]; [https://www.perimeterflutes.com/|Perimeter Flutes], a quartet of female flutists in residence at Georgia Perimeter College; and [https://moloq.bandcamp.com/|Moloq], a quartet representing the pop/electronic/experimental edge of the modern chamber envelope.

The 2019 edition of the SoundNOW Festival represents the best possible reason to stop missing out on some of the coolest new music in town.

!!!__'The American Music Show'__
Atlantans of either a certain socio-cultural inclination, or age, recall with great fondness ''The American Music Show''. During the show’s televised broadcast from 1981 to 2005, ''TAMS'' presented an almost entirely improvised, hilariously wild-ass and unabashedly gay-weirdo version of the standard issue TV variety show. Co-produced by the late Dick Richards, David Goldman, James Bond, Potsy Duncan, and Bud "Beebo" Lowry, ''TAMS'' featured sketches, performances, films and recordings by a kaleidoscopic array of alt-Atlanta scensters including RuPaul, DeAundra Peek, Larry Tee, Duffy Odum, Lady Bunny, Tom Zarrilli, and Jayne County.

On Wednesday, [https://www.facebook.com/events/256714515215030/|March 20], the [https://www.eventbrite.com/e/recording-queer-atl-archives-of-the-american-music-show-tickets-55670970371?aff=ebdssbdestsearch|Emory University Rose Library] celebrates ''TAMS’'' crucial importance as an historical marker documenting Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ community with screenings of the show drawn from the library’s recently acquired collection of more than 700 VHS recordings. Rose Library curator Randy Gue, along with original cast members, will be on hand for the sold-out event to discuss the creation of ''TAMS'' and to dispel or augment salacious rumors, which have lingered since the show’s demise.

!!!__In honor of women__
On [https://www.facebook.com/events/1960638350672293/|Sunday, March 24], a group of female musicians from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra — Emily Brebach (English horn), Marci Gurnow (clarinet), Julianne Lee (violin), Jessica Oudin (viola), Elisabeth Remy Johnson (harp), and Christina Smith (flute) — will perform a program of chamber music at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. "[https://connect.oglethorpe.edu/event/3139489|Listen: Works by Women]" features compositions by [http://www.kapralova.org/journal13.PDF|Clara Schumann], the renowned composer and recitalist whose 200th birthday is marked in September; and [http://www.marykouyoumdjian.com/|Mary Kouyoumdjian], a young Armenian-American composer living in Brooklyn whose wondrously imaginative music frequently addresses the legacy carried by her ethnic origins. “Listen: Works by Women” is free and open to the public in honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day.

!!!__Sonic Generator Redux__
In 2014, Tom Sherwood, then principal percussionist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, announced that he was joining the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. With Sherwood’s departure, together with his wife, Jessica, an accomplished flutist and educator in her own right, Atlanta appeared to have lost Sonic Generator, one of the city’s most adventurous new music ensembles.

Founded by Sherwood in 2005 as an [https://gtcmt.gatech.edu/about|ensemble-in-residence at Georgia Tech], during its heyday Sonic Generator established a reputation for exceptional concert performances and ambitious programming. In 2011, SONICpalooza, a 10-hour marathon of contemporary acoustic and electronic music performed in the lobby of the Woodruff Arts Center, ended with a mesmerizing, midnight-hour rendition by Sonic Generator of Steve Reich’s ''Music for 18 Musicians.'' A few months later, the ensemble collaborated with gloATL and ASO music director Robert Spano to stage ''Maa'' (1991), Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's highly adventurous, immersive, multimedia ballet. In 2012, an expanded version of Sonic Generator performed a new score composed by Argentinean Martin Matalon for Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent sci-fi film, ''Metropolis,'', which was screened under the stars on an outside wall of the High Museum.

On [https://www.facebook.com/events/752252478487112/?active_tab=about|April 3], Sonic Generator (sans the Sherwoods) makes its long-awaited return in a collaborative program with [https://music.gatech.edu/events/cafe-momus-and-sonic-generator-contemporary-music-concert-0|Café Momus], a student-led Georgia Tech ensemble which focuses on combining contemporary music and theater. Previous Café Momus projects include Igor Stravinsky’s ''L’Histoire du Soldat'' and William Walton’s ''Façade, An Entertainment''. For this performance Café Momus will be joined by members of the original Sonic Generator troupe in a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsIATAaR-X0|Opus 21]. One of modern chamber music’s landmark works, the full title of this atonal composition, which premiered in Berlin in 1912, is ''Three Times Seven Poems from Albert Giraud’s “Pierrot Lunaire.”'' Most classical music enthusiasts know it as “Pierrot Lunaire” or simply “Pierrot,” a reference to the cycle of poems by Belgian poet Albert Giraud, upon which the work is based.

“We’ve been looking for ways in which Sonic Generator can continue in some shape or form,” says [https://chaowenting.com/biography/|Chaowen Ting], director of Orchestral Studies at Georgia Tech. “‘Pierrot’ was one that everyone was most interested in doing.”

Also on the program: Violinist [https://www.grantgilman.com/bio|Grant Gilman] conducts Café Momus in [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lORN94H6bYE|Erich Korngold’s String Sextet, Op. 10] (1915), while [https://www.atlantasymphony.org/About/Artists/ASO-Musicians/Ted-Gurch|Ted Gurch], associate principal clarinetist with the ASO and Sonic Generator alumnus, leads the student ensemble in a rendition of “[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzd-gwdfRrQ|Autumn Music]” (1995) by [http://jenniferhigdon.com/index.html|Jennifer Higdon]. The show takes place at Georgia Tech’s West Village Dining Center."
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  string(12509) " Toy Piano Amy O'Dell Credit Caleb Herron  2019-03-20T16:20:42+00:00 Toy piano Amy O'Dell credit Caleb Herron.jpeg     The 4th annual SoundNOW contemporary music festival showcases Atlanta’s fertile chamber music scene 15188  2019-03-20T16:20:28+00:00 LISTENING POST: SoundNOW freshens spring concert calendar tony.paris@creativeloafing.com Tony Paris DOUG DELOACH Doug DeLoach 2019-03-20T16:20:28+00:00  In Atlanta these days, it seems you can hardly swing a stallion-hair cello bow around your head without hitting a chamber ensemble composer or member, or, go more than a few days without encountering a contemporary chamber music concert. The next few weeks are especially filled with examples of this welcome phenomenon, culminating in the 4th annual SoundNOW Festival, which runs April 7 through 13 at a variety of Atlanta venues.

“This music is happening all the time around town,” says Nickitas Demos, director of the School of Music at Georgia State University, artistic director of neoPhonia New Music Ensemble, and one of the founding organizers of SoundNOW. “The purpose of the festival is to present a microcosm of the scene within a one-week period.”

Over the course of seven days at multiple venues, nine different ensembles will perform recently written pieces and 20th-century repertoire by composers familiar and obscure. The concert programs cover everything from wilderness landscape impressions and prepared toy pianos to interactive computer programs and kitchen spices. The keynote engagement occurs midway through the week when 67-year-old composer, trombonist, and scholar George Lewis arrives for a three-day “residency.”

A Chicago native and currently the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University, Lewis is an academic free radical who roams with equal street cred between the jazz/improv and experimental/classical music scenes. One of his most notable compositions, Voyager, relies on a self-developed software program which creates “a nonhierarchical, interactive musical environment” enabling a dialogue between the improviser and a “virtual improvising orchestra.” As a virtuosic trombonist, Lewis has performed or recorded with everyone from Anthony Braxton and Count Basie to Laurie Anderson and the Globe Unity Orchestra.

Lewis’ three-day itinerary is sponsored by Bent Frequency, the new music ensemble and programming entity founded by Georgia State University professors Stuart Gerber and Jan Berry Baker. A program at GSU’s Florence Kopleff Recital Hall on Wednesday, April 9, features Lewis performing the world premiere of “In Memoriam of Albert Lee Murray,” a solo trombone work written especially for him by T.J. Anderson.

On the same bill, Bent Frequency will perform two Lewis compositions, “North Star Boogaloo” and “Anthem.” The ensemble will also play compositions by former Atlanta Symphony Composer-in-Residence Alvin Singleton, GSU alumna Collette Coward, UGA assistant professor Emily Koh, Anahita Abbasi, and Eve Beglarian.

“North Star Boogaloo,” for percussion and audio, was written by Lewis for Steven Schick, with text by poet Quincy Troupe, when all three were colleagues at the University of California at San Diego. The work features two “rappers”: the percussionist, whose part is completely notated, and “Virtual Quincy,” a computer program that samples the poet’s voice reading the text/poem. Supporting the rappers are hip-hop beats and other sounds keyed to the score, a strategy Lewis refers to as “part of my digital aesthetic of variation and difference.”

“Anthem,” composed by Lewis in 2009 under commission from Wet Ink, a New York-based collective of composers, performers, and improvisers, was written for an ensemble comprised of flute(s), tenor saxophone, piano/accordion, percussion, voice, violin, and electronics. A roiling, riotous journey, which conjures up swing bands, marching bands, dissonant cacophony, and sonorous elocutions, “Anthem” supports a text derived by following what Lewis calls “concatentative procedures.”

During his three-day stand in Atlanta, Lewis will preside over a symposium on improvisation, perform in an open rehearsal with Bent Frequency, and deliver two lectures. One of the lectures is on Lewis’s 2008 book about the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music. The other lecture is focused on his artistic process. All of the events are free and open to the public (see details on the SoundNOW website).

“George is a powerful influence on today’s new music scene,” says Demos. “He’s keenly focused on improvisation and always pushing boundaries, which makes Bent Frequency especially well-suited to presenting and performing his work.”

By design, the bulk of SoundNOW showcases homegrown players and a selection of locally composed music. On April 10, Chamber Cartel, led by percussionist Caleb Herron, will be premiering Philippe Hurel’s “3 études pour Atlanta” for flute and percussion. The Cartel will also play Augustin Braud’s “Dans les pas de la main (hommage à Cy Twombly),” and Drew Baker’s “Domination of Black.”

“All of the pieces are meditations on sound,” says Herron, “but they range in tonal color from light and virtuosic to somewhat darker and aggressive.”

This year’s festival marks the debut of smol ensemble. Recently formed by Amy O’Dell after working on a commission with Canadian composer and fellow toy piano enthusiast Monica Pearce, the duo will be augmented by percussionists Justin Greene and Paul Stevens for this program on April 13. The ensemble will be premiering works by Pearce and Greene, performing a composition by Eva-Maria Houben, and interpreting “Music for Amplified Toy Pianos” by John Cage.

“I can’t think of another instrument that so invitingly inspires exploration,” O’Dell says of the toy piano, which is currently enjoying something of a renaissance in 21st-century new music circles. “The combination of its miniature frame, delightful tones, and limited range makes everyone feel welcome to play around with the instrument.”

The neoPhonia New Music Ensemble will be premiering SoundNOW organizer Demos’ Ithaca. Written for baritone and ensemble, the work is based on a poem published in 1911 by Constantine P. Cavafy. To translate the poem into English Demos relied on Dr. Gregory Jusdanis, director of Modern Greek Studies at Ohio State University.

“I wanted it to be in English,” Demos explains, “because I want the audience to understand and follow the story, which boils down to the old adage about the journey being more important than the destination.”

Additional concerts feature Terminus Ensemble, led by artistic directors Sarah Hersh and Brent Milam; Cantos y Cuentos string quartet led by Tracy Woodard; Perimeter Flutes, a quartet of female flutists in residence at Georgia Perimeter College; and Moloq, a quartet representing the pop/electronic/experimental edge of the modern chamber envelope.

The 2019 edition of the SoundNOW Festival represents the best possible reason to stop missing out on some of the coolest new music in town.

!!!'The American Music Show'
Atlantans of either a certain socio-cultural inclination, or age, recall with great fondness The American Music Show. During the show’s televised broadcast from 1981 to 2005, TAMS presented an almost entirely improvised, hilariously wild-ass and unabashedly gay-weirdo version of the standard issue TV variety show. Co-produced by the late Dick Richards, David Goldman, James Bond, Potsy Duncan, and Bud "Beebo" Lowry, TAMS featured sketches, performances, films and recordings by a kaleidoscopic array of alt-Atlanta scensters including RuPaul, DeAundra Peek, Larry Tee, Duffy Odum, Lady Bunny, Tom Zarrilli, and Jayne County.

On Wednesday, March 20, the Emory University Rose Library celebrates TAMS’ crucial importance as an historical marker documenting Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ community with screenings of the show drawn from the library’s recently acquired collection of more than 700 VHS recordings. Rose Library curator Randy Gue, along with original cast members, will be on hand for the sold-out event to discuss the creation of TAMS and to dispel or augment salacious rumors, which have lingered since the show’s demise.

!!!In honor of women
On Sunday, March 24, a group of female musicians from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra — Emily Brebach (English horn), Marci Gurnow (clarinet), Julianne Lee (violin), Jessica Oudin (viola), Elisabeth Remy Johnson (harp), and Christina Smith (flute) — will perform a program of chamber music at the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art. "Listen: Works by Women" features compositions by Clara Schumann, the renowned composer and recitalist whose 200th birthday is marked in September; and Mary Kouyoumdjian, a young Armenian-American composer living in Brooklyn whose wondrously imaginative music frequently addresses the legacy carried by her ethnic origins. “Listen: Works by Women” is free and open to the public in honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day.

!!!Sonic Generator Redux
In 2014, Tom Sherwood, then principal percussionist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, announced that he was joining the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. With Sherwood’s departure, together with his wife, Jessica, an accomplished flutist and educator in her own right, Atlanta appeared to have lost Sonic Generator, one of the city’s most adventurous new music ensembles.

Founded by Sherwood in 2005 as an ensemble-in-residence at Georgia Tech, during its heyday Sonic Generator established a reputation for exceptional concert performances and ambitious programming. In 2011, SONICpalooza, a 10-hour marathon of contemporary acoustic and electronic music performed in the lobby of the Woodruff Arts Center, ended with a mesmerizing, midnight-hour rendition by Sonic Generator of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. A few months later, the ensemble collaborated with gloATL and ASO music director Robert Spano to stage Maa (1991), Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho's highly adventurous, immersive, multimedia ballet. In 2012, an expanded version of Sonic Generator performed a new score composed by Argentinean Martin Matalon for Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent sci-fi film, Metropolis,, which was screened under the stars on an outside wall of the High Museum.

On April 3, Sonic Generator (sans the Sherwoods) makes its long-awaited return in a collaborative program with Café Momus, a student-led Georgia Tech ensemble which focuses on combining contemporary music and theater. Previous Café Momus projects include Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat and William Walton’s Façade, An Entertainment. For this performance Café Momus will be joined by members of the original Sonic Generator troupe in a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s Opus 21. One of modern chamber music’s landmark works, the full title of this atonal composition, which premiered in Berlin in 1912, is Three Times Seven Poems from Albert Giraud’s “Pierrot Lunaire.” Most classical music enthusiasts know it as “Pierrot Lunaire” or simply “Pierrot,” a reference to the cycle of poems by Belgian poet Albert Giraud, upon which the work is based.

“We’ve been looking for ways in which Sonic Generator can continue in some shape or form,” says Chaowen Ting, director of Orchestral Studies at Georgia Tech. “‘Pierrot’ was one that everyone was most interested in doing.”

Also on the program: Violinist Grant Gilman conducts Café Momus in Erich Korngold’s String Sextet, Op. 10 (1915), while Ted Gurch, associate principal clarinetist with the ASO and Sonic Generator alumnus, leads the student ensemble in a rendition of “Autumn Music” (1995) by Jennifer Higdon. The show takes place at Georgia Tech’s West Village Dining Center.    Caleb Herron “MUSIC FOR A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE:” Amy O’Dell performs on toy pianos in an Atlanta streetcar during a special concert presented by Bent Frequency in 2015. O’Dell and Bent Frequency are among the many chamber music performers in the 2019 SoundNOW Festival, which runs April 7-13 at multiple venues.                                   LISTENING POST: SoundNOW freshens spring concert calendar "
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Wednesday March 20, 2019 12:20 pm EDT
The 4th annual SoundNOW contemporary music festival showcases Atlanta’s fertile chamber music scene | more...
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  string(8434) "Howdy, y’all. It’s been a minute. Starting in the early 1980s and running into the 1990s, I wrote a regular column for Creative Loafing called “Listening Post.” The column covered a constellation of artists, performances, recordings, and trends, which tended toward the Ort cloud of the musical solar system: the unjustly neglected, the frequently misunderstood, the elusively classifiable. That meant everything from jazz and free improv, electronic noise and world music, to avant-garde chamber ensembles, contemporary opera productions, and obscure singing troupes. That did not mean excluding popular genres including rock, rap, hip hop and funk, blues, folk, bluegrass, and Americana.

Fast-forward a few decades, and here we are with the first installment of a reconstituted Listening Post. The plan is to be here every other week with news, previews, reviews, and random musings keeping in line with the original column’s relatively unrestrictive purview. I’ll need help keeping up with everything, so feel free to send press releases, download codes and secret messages to doug.deloach at creativeloafing.com. Physical material goes to P.O. Box 170106, Atlanta, GA 30317.

Thanks in advance for your time and eyeballs. And, welcome — or welcome back — to “Listening Post.”

Atlanta’s contemporary chamber music calendar is slam full of activity, particularly over the next several weeks leading up to the SoundNOW Festival in April. I’ll be exploring this refreshing phenomenon in some detail in a future Listening Post. For now, be aware that on Friday, March 9 the Unheard-of//Ensemble returns to town as part of a Southern tour in support of Unheard-of//Dialogues, which dropped in January.

“The album presents a mosaic of different styles, opinions and stories, which showcase the fruitful and informative experiences from our past year’s touring,” says clarinetist Ford Fourqurean who, along with violinist Matheus Souza, cellist Issei Herr, and pianist Daniel Anastasio (piano), form the core of the New York-based Unheard-of//Ensemble.

Unheard-of//Dialogues features works by eight different composers including Nickitas Demos, director of the School of Music at Georgia State University. The ensemble and composer first met in 2016 when Unheard-of//Ensemble played a concert at Mammal Gallery on a bill with Atlanta-based Chamber Cartel. Inspired by the encounter, the ensemble commissioned Demos to write what became “Frontlash,” which premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2017 and served as a catalyst for Unheard-of//Dialogues.

“During the writing of this piece, it was impossible to escape the seemingly unending turmoil surrounding the White House and a deeply troubling sense of chaos engulfing society,” says Demos. “As discourse gives way to virulent disagreement, backlashes, as well as angry reactions before any word or action occurs, become more prevalent.” Hence, the 21st-century phenomenon dubbed “frontlash.”

“Frontlash” gives each voice in the ensemble — clarinet, violin, cello, piano — a solo, but the solos are aggressively interrupted by the other three instruments before the soloist can fully articulate the idea. As the interruptions escalate in cacophonic intensity, traces of the original solo can be heard within the din. Eventually, though, discordance reigns supreme and the soloist is compelled to join the fray.

“I’m saddened when I hear musical ideas crushed, never to return in a small chamber piece,” Demos remarks. “How much more tragic is it for society when voices of reconciliation, understanding, empathy, and peace are shouted or beaten down and lost forever?”

Other composers, such as Christopher Stark, composed new works specifically for Unheard-of//Dialogues. Stark’s “Maple” is a dense, complex composition, which incorporates acoustic interplay with synthesizers, field recordings, and CD-glitch electronics. A linear (some would say minimalist or Glass-ian) rhythmic surge drives “Maple” forward while melodic and harmonic elements joust for attention. The mellifluous magic in the work stems from the precise mixing and mastering of the ensemble’s performance with the electronic components, a process which transpired over several months at Oktaven Audio, north of the Bronx, in Mt. Vernon, NY.

“During our Midwest tour in February, we had audience members so intrigued, they were asking questions about the compositions in between performances,” says Fourqurean. “It’s so exciting to have people listening, thinking, and enjoying the music.”

The audience at GSU’s Kopleff Recital Hall can expect an equally stimulating experience when neoPhonia presents Unheard-of//Ensemble Friday evening.

Unheard-of//Ensemble, Fri., March 8. Florence Kopleff Recital Hall on the GSU campus, 15 Gilmer St. S.E. Free; free parking. 7:30 p.m. (doors). 404-413-5900.

The following evening, Saturday, March 9, the future contour of the global soundscape hangs in the balance when Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts hosts the 21st Margaret Guthman New Musical Instrument Competition. An annual event aimed at identifying the next generation of musical instruments, the Guthman competition invites musicians, inventors, and artists to design, build, and play uniquely original instruments.

Prior to Saturday’s program, the instruments are judged by a panel of experts, which this year includes composer, performer, and media artist Pamela Z; Roger Linn, winner of a Technical Grammy Award in 2011 and inventor of the LM-1, the first programmable drum machine; and electronic musical instrument designer Ge Wang, an associate professor at Stanford University and author of Artful Design. Previous Guthman competitions introduced to the world the OP-1, Roli Seaboard, and Mimu Gloves, which became mainstream products following their Ferst Center “premiere.”

The 2019 Guthman Competition features more than a dozen competitors from multiple countries including two from Atlanta. One of them, Alice Barbe, is the event’s first-ever high-school age entrant. A homeschooled student, Barbe has been attending the Guthman Competition since she was a youngster. Last year, Barbe formed a club with members of her local high school community to create musical instruments, which can be used to demonstrate scientific properties. The instrument entered by Barbe in the Guthman competition, called the Biot-Savharp, was co-created with Asimm Hirani.

“Alice’s instrument the Biot-Savharp is fired by magnetic induction,” says Jason Freeman, professor and chair of the School of Music at Georgia Tech University. “It looks a little bit like a harp, but, instead of plucking the instrument, electromagnets induce the strings to create other-worldly sounds, kind of like an E-bow.”

Other Guthman entries include a Koritas and a Spider Harp. The former, created by a competitor named Kordan from Rome, Italy, fuses five instruments from different continents: a South American (more precisely, Afro-Peruvian) cajón, African kora, Indian tampura, Australian didgeridoo, and Japanese koshi. Looking weirdly like its name, Chet Udell’s Spider Harp features a robotic spider contraption straddling a web constructed with orange parachute cord. Described as “a seamless collaboration between the performer; the robot, which translates plucks into location, distance, and intensity data; and custom software, which transforms the data into melodies, harmonies, and rhythms,” the Spider Harp is said to produce “enchanting sounds and haunting melodies.”

I’ll believe it when I hear it — and I can’t wait to hear the Spider Harp and Koritas, along with the other idiosyncratic musical instruments, at the Ferst Center Saturday night.

Guthman Instrument Competition, Sat., March 9. Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus, 350 Ferst Drive N.W. 404-894-2787, Free. Free parking. 7 p.m. http://arts.gatech.edu/.

Star Calendar: Sarah Louise with The Infinite Yes, Lebo Jenkins, March 21, 8 p.m. at the Bakery, $5-10 donation. Now an outer metro Ashevillian, Georgia native Sarah Louise Henson expertly flatpicks and thrums 12-string acoustic and 6-string electric guitars, which she graces with electronic looping and layering, and frequently augments by ethereal chanting, to create enthralling ambient soundscapes.''"
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  string(8636) "Howdy, y’all. It’s been a minute. Starting in the early 1980s and running into the 1990s, I wrote a regular column for Creative Loafing called “Listening Post.” The column covered a constellation of artists, performances, recordings, and trends, which tended toward the Ort cloud of the musical solar system: the unjustly neglected, the frequently misunderstood, the elusively classifiable. That meant everything from jazz and free improv, electronic noise and world music, to avant-garde chamber ensembles, contemporary opera productions, and obscure singing troupes. That did not mean excluding popular genres including rock, rap, hip hop and funk, blues, folk, bluegrass, and Americana.

Fast-forward a few decades, and here we are with the first installment of a reconstituted Listening Post. The plan is to be here every other week with news, previews, reviews, and random musings keeping in line with the original column’s relatively unrestrictive purview. I’ll need help keeping up with everything, so feel free to send press releases, download codes and secret messages to doug.deloach@creativeloafing.com. Physical material goes to P.O. Box 170106, Atlanta, GA 30317.

Thanks in advance for your time and eyeballs. And, welcome — or welcome back — to “Listening Post.”

Atlanta’s contemporary chamber music calendar is slam full of activity, particularly over the next several weeks leading up to the SoundNOW Festival in April. I’ll be exploring this refreshing phenomenon in some detail in a future Listening Post. For now, be aware that on Friday, March 9 the __Unheard-of//Ensemble__ returns to town as part of a Southern tour in support of ''Unheard-of//Dialogues'', which dropped in January.

“The album presents a mosaic of different styles, opinions and stories, which showcase the fruitful and informative experiences from our past year’s touring,” says clarinetist Ford Fourqurean who, along with violinist Matheus Souza, cellist Issei Herr, and pianist Daniel Anastasio (piano), form the core of the New York-based Unheard-of//Ensemble.

''Unheard-of//Dialogues'' features works by eight different composers including Nickitas Demos, director of the School of Music at Georgia State University. The ensemble and composer first met in 2016 when Unheard-of//Ensemble played a concert at Mammal Gallery on a bill with Atlanta-based Chamber Cartel. Inspired by the encounter, the ensemble commissioned Demos to write what became “Frontlash,” which premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2017 and served as a catalyst for'' ''''Unheard-of//Dialogues''.

“During the writing of this piece, it was impossible to escape the seemingly unending turmoil surrounding the White House and a deeply troubling sense of chaos engulfing society,” says Demos. “As discourse gives way to virulent disagreement, backlashes, as well as angry reactions before any word or action occurs, become more prevalent.” Hence, the 21st-century phenomenon dubbed “frontlash.”

“Frontlash” gives each voice in the ensemble — clarinet, violin, cello, piano — a solo, but the solos are aggressively interrupted by the other three instruments before the soloist can fully articulate the idea. As the interruptions escalate in cacophonic intensity, traces of the original solo can be heard within the din. Eventually, though, discordance reigns supreme and the soloist is compelled to join the fray.

“I’m saddened when I hear musical ideas crushed, never to return in a small chamber piece,” Demos remarks. “How much more tragic is it for society when voices of reconciliation, understanding, empathy, and peace are shouted or beaten down and lost forever?”

Other composers, such as Christopher Stark, composed new works specifically for ''Unheard-of//Dialogues''. Stark’s “Maple” is a dense, complex composition, which incorporates acoustic interplay with synthesizers, field recordings, and CD-glitch electronics. A linear (some would say minimalist or Glass-ian) rhythmic surge drives “Maple” forward while melodic and harmonic elements joust for attention. The mellifluous magic in the work stems from the precise mixing and mastering of the ensemble’s performance with the electronic components, a process which transpired over several months at Oktaven Audio, north of the Bronx, in Mt. Vernon, NY.

“During our Midwest tour in February, we had audience members so intrigued, they were asking questions about the compositions in between performances,” says Fourqurean. “It’s so exciting to have people listening, thinking, and enjoying the music.”

The audience at GSU’s Kopleff Recital Hall can expect an equally stimulating experience when neoPhonia presents Unheard-of//Ensemble Friday evening.

''[https://calendar.gsu.edu/event/unheard-of_ensemble|Unheard-of//Ensemble, Fri., March 8. Florence Kopleff Recital Hall ]on the GSU campus, 15 Gilmer St. S.E. Free; free parking. 7:30 p.m. (doors). 404-413-5900.''

The following evening, Saturday, March 9, the future contour of the global soundscape hangs in the balance when Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts hosts the 21st __Margaret Guthman New Musical Instrument Competition.__ An annual event aimed at identifying the next generation of musical instruments, the Guthman competition invites musicians, inventors, and artists to design, build, and play uniquely original instruments.

Prior to Saturday’s program, the instruments are judged by a panel of experts, which this year includes composer, performer, and media artist Pamela Z; Roger Linn, winner of a Technical Grammy Award in 2011 and inventor of the LM-1, the first programmable drum machine; and electronic musical instrument designer Ge Wang, an associate professor at Stanford University and author of Artful Design. Previous Guthman competitions introduced to the world the OP-1, Roli Seaboard, and Mimu Gloves, which became mainstream products following their Ferst Center “premiere.”

The 2019 Guthman Competition features more than a dozen competitors from multiple countries including two from Atlanta. One of them, Alice Barbe, is the event’s first-ever high-school age entrant. A homeschooled student, Barbe has been attending the Guthman Competition since she was a youngster. Last year, Barbe formed a club with members of her local high school community to create musical instruments, which can be used to demonstrate scientific properties. The instrument entered by Barbe in the Guthman competition, called the Biot-Savharp, was co-created with Asimm Hirani.

“Alice’s instrument [[the Biot-Savharp] is fired by magnetic induction,” says Jason Freeman, professor and chair of the School of Music at Georgia Tech University. “It looks a little bit like a harp, but, instead of plucking the instrument, electromagnets induce the strings to create other-worldly sounds, kind of like an E-bow.”

Other Guthman entries include a Koritas and a Spider Harp. The former, created by a competitor named Kordan from Rome, Italy, fuses five instruments from different continents: a South American (more precisely, Afro-Peruvian) cajón, African kora, Indian tampura, Australian didgeridoo, and Japanese koshi. Looking weirdly like its name, Chet Udell’s Spider Harp features a robotic spider contraption straddling a web constructed with orange parachute cord. Described as “a seamless collaboration between the performer; the robot, which translates plucks into location, distance, and intensity data; and custom software, which transforms the data into melodies, harmonies, and rhythms,” the Spider Harp is said to produce “enchanting sounds and haunting melodies.”

I’ll believe it when I hear it — and I can’t wait to hear the Spider Harp and Koritas, along with the other idiosyncratic musical instruments, at the Ferst Center Saturday night.

''[https://www.facebook.com/events/386932592066281/|Guthman Instrument Competition], Sat., March 9. Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus, 350 Ferst Drive N.W. 404-894-2787, Free. Free parking. 7 p.m. [http://arts.gatech.edu/].''

__Star Calendar: __[https://www.facebook.com/events/2599526743607142/|__Sarah Louise with The Infinite Yes, Lebo Jenkins__,] March 21, 8 p.m. at the Bakery, $5-10 donation. Now an outer metro Ashevillian, Georgia native Sarah Louise Henson expertly flatpicks and thrums 12-string acoustic and 6-string electric guitars, which she graces with electronic looping and layering, and frequently augments by ethereal chanting, to create enthralling ambient soundscapes.''"
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  string(9273) " LIST POST Unheard Of Ensemble  2019-03-04T17:12:03+00:00 LIST POST_Unheard of Ensemble.jpg     New chamber works and innovative instruments on tap at GSU and Georgia Tech 14396  2019-03-14T17:14:00+00:00 LISTENING POST: Return now to the thrilling days of 'Listening Post' douglassdeloach@gmail.com Doug DeLoach DOUG DELOACH  2019-03-14T17:14:00+00:00 Creative Loafing is happy to welcome back 'Listening Post,' Doug DeLoach's bi-weekly column of contemporary music. Howdy, y’all. It’s been a minute. Starting in the early 1980s and running into the 1990s, I wrote a regular column for Creative Loafing called “Listening Post.” The column covered a constellation of artists, performances, recordings, and trends, which tended toward the Ort cloud of the musical solar system: the unjustly neglected, the frequently misunderstood, the elusively classifiable. That meant everything from jazz and free improv, electronic noise and world music, to avant-garde chamber ensembles, contemporary opera productions, and obscure singing troupes. That did not mean excluding popular genres including rock, rap, hip hop and funk, blues, folk, bluegrass, and Americana.

Fast-forward a few decades, and here we are with the first installment of a reconstituted Listening Post. The plan is to be here every other week with news, previews, reviews, and random musings keeping in line with the original column’s relatively unrestrictive purview. I’ll need help keeping up with everything, so feel free to send press releases, download codes and secret messages to doug.deloach at creativeloafing.com. Physical material goes to P.O. Box 170106, Atlanta, GA 30317.

Thanks in advance for your time and eyeballs. And, welcome — or welcome back — to “Listening Post.”

Atlanta’s contemporary chamber music calendar is slam full of activity, particularly over the next several weeks leading up to the SoundNOW Festival in April. I’ll be exploring this refreshing phenomenon in some detail in a future Listening Post. For now, be aware that on Friday, March 9 the Unheard-of//Ensemble returns to town as part of a Southern tour in support of Unheard-of//Dialogues, which dropped in January.

“The album presents a mosaic of different styles, opinions and stories, which showcase the fruitful and informative experiences from our past year’s touring,” says clarinetist Ford Fourqurean who, along with violinist Matheus Souza, cellist Issei Herr, and pianist Daniel Anastasio (piano), form the core of the New York-based Unheard-of//Ensemble.

Unheard-of//Dialogues features works by eight different composers including Nickitas Demos, director of the School of Music at Georgia State University. The ensemble and composer first met in 2016 when Unheard-of//Ensemble played a concert at Mammal Gallery on a bill with Atlanta-based Chamber Cartel. Inspired by the encounter, the ensemble commissioned Demos to write what became “Frontlash,” which premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2017 and served as a catalyst for Unheard-of//Dialogues.

“During the writing of this piece, it was impossible to escape the seemingly unending turmoil surrounding the White House and a deeply troubling sense of chaos engulfing society,” says Demos. “As discourse gives way to virulent disagreement, backlashes, as well as angry reactions before any word or action occurs, become more prevalent.” Hence, the 21st-century phenomenon dubbed “frontlash.”

“Frontlash” gives each voice in the ensemble — clarinet, violin, cello, piano — a solo, but the solos are aggressively interrupted by the other three instruments before the soloist can fully articulate the idea. As the interruptions escalate in cacophonic intensity, traces of the original solo can be heard within the din. Eventually, though, discordance reigns supreme and the soloist is compelled to join the fray.

“I’m saddened when I hear musical ideas crushed, never to return in a small chamber piece,” Demos remarks. “How much more tragic is it for society when voices of reconciliation, understanding, empathy, and peace are shouted or beaten down and lost forever?”

Other composers, such as Christopher Stark, composed new works specifically for Unheard-of//Dialogues. Stark’s “Maple” is a dense, complex composition, which incorporates acoustic interplay with synthesizers, field recordings, and CD-glitch electronics. A linear (some would say minimalist or Glass-ian) rhythmic surge drives “Maple” forward while melodic and harmonic elements joust for attention. The mellifluous magic in the work stems from the precise mixing and mastering of the ensemble’s performance with the electronic components, a process which transpired over several months at Oktaven Audio, north of the Bronx, in Mt. Vernon, NY.

“During our Midwest tour in February, we had audience members so intrigued, they were asking questions about the compositions in between performances,” says Fourqurean. “It’s so exciting to have people listening, thinking, and enjoying the music.”

The audience at GSU’s Kopleff Recital Hall can expect an equally stimulating experience when neoPhonia presents Unheard-of//Ensemble Friday evening.

Unheard-of//Ensemble, Fri., March 8. Florence Kopleff Recital Hall on the GSU campus, 15 Gilmer St. S.E. Free; free parking. 7:30 p.m. (doors). 404-413-5900.

The following evening, Saturday, March 9, the future contour of the global soundscape hangs in the balance when Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts hosts the 21st Margaret Guthman New Musical Instrument Competition. An annual event aimed at identifying the next generation of musical instruments, the Guthman competition invites musicians, inventors, and artists to design, build, and play uniquely original instruments.

Prior to Saturday’s program, the instruments are judged by a panel of experts, which this year includes composer, performer, and media artist Pamela Z; Roger Linn, winner of a Technical Grammy Award in 2011 and inventor of the LM-1, the first programmable drum machine; and electronic musical instrument designer Ge Wang, an associate professor at Stanford University and author of Artful Design. Previous Guthman competitions introduced to the world the OP-1, Roli Seaboard, and Mimu Gloves, which became mainstream products following their Ferst Center “premiere.”

The 2019 Guthman Competition features more than a dozen competitors from multiple countries including two from Atlanta. One of them, Alice Barbe, is the event’s first-ever high-school age entrant. A homeschooled student, Barbe has been attending the Guthman Competition since she was a youngster. Last year, Barbe formed a club with members of her local high school community to create musical instruments, which can be used to demonstrate scientific properties. The instrument entered by Barbe in the Guthman competition, called the Biot-Savharp, was co-created with Asimm Hirani.

“Alice’s instrument the Biot-Savharp is fired by magnetic induction,” says Jason Freeman, professor and chair of the School of Music at Georgia Tech University. “It looks a little bit like a harp, but, instead of plucking the instrument, electromagnets induce the strings to create other-worldly sounds, kind of like an E-bow.”

Other Guthman entries include a Koritas and a Spider Harp. The former, created by a competitor named Kordan from Rome, Italy, fuses five instruments from different continents: a South American (more precisely, Afro-Peruvian) cajón, African kora, Indian tampura, Australian didgeridoo, and Japanese koshi. Looking weirdly like its name, Chet Udell’s Spider Harp features a robotic spider contraption straddling a web constructed with orange parachute cord. Described as “a seamless collaboration between the performer; the robot, which translates plucks into location, distance, and intensity data; and custom software, which transforms the data into melodies, harmonies, and rhythms,” the Spider Harp is said to produce “enchanting sounds and haunting melodies.”

I’ll believe it when I hear it — and I can’t wait to hear the Spider Harp and Koritas, along with the other idiosyncratic musical instruments, at the Ferst Center Saturday night.

Guthman Instrument Competition, Sat., March 9. Ferst Center for the Arts on the Georgia Tech campus, 350 Ferst Drive N.W. 404-894-2787, Free. Free parking. 7 p.m. http://arts.gatech.edu/.

Star Calendar: Sarah Louise with The Infinite Yes, Lebo Jenkins, March 21, 8 p.m. at the Bakery, $5-10 donation. Now an outer metro Ashevillian, Georgia native Sarah Louise Henson expertly flatpicks and thrums 12-string acoustic and 6-string electric guitars, which she graces with electronic looping and layering, and frequently augments by ethereal chanting, to create enthralling ambient soundscapes.''    Michael Yu VOICES OF RECONCILIATION: Returning to Atlanta in support of their latest album, Unheard-of//Ensemble (l-r: Matheus Souza, Daniel Anastasio, Issei Herr, Ford Fourqurean) will perform Friday, March 8,  at Georgia State’s Florence Kopleff Recital Hall.                                   LISTENING POST: Return now to the thrilling days of 'Listening Post' "
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Thursday March 14, 2019 01:14 pm EDT
New chamber works and innovative instruments on tap at GSU and Georgia Tech | more...