“Avant-cellist” and composer Zoë Keating does not perform in the normal sense of the term, playing a single score through from start to end. Rather, she collaborates with the limitless voices she creates on her instrument, inventing textured scrims and bursts of sound which are recorded and looped through a computer, layer on layer in harmony and accompaniment. On the stage of the Swyer Theatre at The Egg, she did this in real time, an Apple laptop and foot-controlled multi-track switchboard her ensemble, multiplying and replicating herself in music dense with complex dialogues, echoes, shouts and replies…
Keating performed a dozen pieces, drawn mostly from her 2005 debut album One cello x 16: Natoma and that work’s beguiling 2010 follow-up, Into the Trees. The concert also featured unrecorded compositions from an album in the works, as well as “scraps,” as Keating called them, and a bit of Beethoven.
Keating’s art draws equally from the patterned language of classical music and the free-range exuberance of pop songs. Her aesthetic is one of spectacle and ceremony, of aspiration, verge, turbulence, transcendence. A passage or figure was recorded in performance, then instantly played back through the computer as beat, root, feedback, pattern, continuo, counterpoint, polyphony, discord.
Cheney, Condi, Bush, Ashcroft, and Rummy from 'Right in the Oval Office" (photo by Ed Atkeson)
Artist Ed Atkeson launched his love affair with puppets in 2004 with the premiere of “Right in the Oval Office,” a one-act political satire by Gene Mirabelli that was staged at Firlefanz Gallery, the now sadly defunct art gallery that Atkeson operated with his wife, Cathy Frank on Lark Street in Albany.
He designed and built the puppets and gathered a collective of artists, poets, dancers, musicians and other like-minded folks to act as the voices and puppeteers. Thus was born Firlefanz Puppets with a mission of proving that puppets aren’t just for kids.
Jazz singer Tierney Sutton uses her voice like certain painters use color. Ever inspired by the emotional possibilities of musical tints and hues, she never lets the narrative of a song impede her imagination or daring.
At The Egg last Friday, Sutton cut a bright path through the American songbook with longtime band mates Christian Jacob on piano, Kevin Axt on bass and Ray Brinker on drums. “We’ve been together for more than 17 years,” she announced at the beginning of the show, like a woman proud of a long marriage. The musicians collaborate closely with the singer on all arrangements, and play with such intimacy they do almost seem to be finishing each others’ phrasing.
We love the Spectrum 8 Theatres in Albany. Of course, we love them for the cool movies that they screen there. But we also love ’em for their commitment to art.
The front lobby is an art gallery. And they added a sculpture nook in the lobby, too.
But our favorite exhibition space at the Spectrum – no, actually our favorite exhibition space in all of Nippertown – is the theater’s former ticket window. It’s so democratic. You don’t even have to go into the theater. The window faces out onto Delaware Ave. day and night. You can walk by and see some unexpected – and almost always interesting – art. On the street. For free.
The current installation in the Spectrum’s window is a piece by arts writer-photographer Timothy Cahill. It’s titled “The Pleasure of the Text II.”
Cahill says, “Someone today told me the window is ‘a succinct, minimalist expression of your ambivalence toward writing. To see all those images coming out of your typewriter!’ Hell, I just play the damn instrument; I don’t control what music comes out of it.”
An untitled assemblage by Dennis Herbert featuring Nipper
But I really wasn’t aware of the work of 75-year-old German multi-mediaist Mary Bauermeister, whose fascinating, 1969 box, “The Great Society,” is the cover story of the current issue of Art Conservator, published by the Williamstown Art Conservation Center.
She describes “The Great Society” as an “optical box: a multi-dimensional circumscribbling of my interpretation of life.”
Mary Bauermeister: The Great Society
Editor Timothy Cahill conducted an interview with Bauermeister earlier this year via a series of transatlantic faxes (?!?). While the magazine features intriguing excerpts during which she discusses the origins of her fascinating work and the influence of Stockhausen, Rauschenberg and Dylan.
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