Ya know what we need? We need a timeout from all things painfully serious by gettin' ourselves some seriously wacky laughs, courtesy of Reggie Watts at TED2012:
Phew, that felt good!
Ya know what we need? We need a timeout from all things painfully serious by gettin' ourselves some seriously wacky laughs, courtesy of Reggie Watts at TED2012:
Phew, that felt good!
The process of artsy creation is always complicated and always messy, and anybody who tells ya different has never gotten his/her brain dirty--all right now, y'all know what I mean, sheesh! In the most obvious yet poignant metaphor in English literature, Mary Shelly told us so in her Gothic novel Frankenstein--a.k.a The Modern Prometheus. While she narrates nearly nothing of what must surely be a gruesome procedure of animating inanimate matter, we gather all too well that the process of bringing a new creation into this world is filled with both wonder and terror. Ask any mom--she'll tell ya that plus more than ya ever wanted to know!
So if that's the case, if it's so damn tricky and scary to create, why do we do it at all? Fair question, kids. Ya gotta be at least half off your nut to even try, right? Well, yes, but being half off your nut just means you're human, so that's no excuse, and being human means you not only try in spite of the tricky/scary but because of the tricky/scary, right? Right on!
In that spirit, Danceworks invites you and the artistic partner of your choice to apply for participation in its DanceLAB Art to Art 2013, an experimental performance event featuring works created by multiple two-artist teams who practice different disciplines. It's an artsy cross-pollination hootenanny!
One stipulation: One member of each team should be a choreographer or at least know a little sumpin' sumpin' about choreography. Pretty sure dancing along with the Glee gang in your living room doesn't count, but if you got the gumption and a high level of what-the-hell attitude, I'm not gonna tell ya you can't apply.
For the rest of you in film, music, theatre and visual arts, all you gotta do is find yourself one of those fancy dance types to partner with and you're good to go. Easy peasy!
Go to the Danceworks website to download the Art to Art 2013 application--it's under the DanceLAB tab--so you can face the wonder and the terror together!
John Cage can be fairly described as a jack-of-all-arts. A composer, performance artist, visual artist, writer, poet, mycologist--that's somebody who studies mushrooms at a super smart nerd level, and anyone who's experienced his abstract experimental music should not gasp with surprise at that fact--and an all-around lovable freaky dude. On September 5 of this year Mr. cage would have been the very venerable--some would say waaay too old--age of 100. Celebrations have been taking place 'round the world and Miltown is no exception.
Spearheaded by Thomas Gaudynski--himself a lovable freaky dude--and co-sponsored by Woodland Pattern Book Center and the Urban Ecology Center, the John Cage Centennial Literary Musicircus this Sunday will feature volunteer readers, um, reading various works penned by Cage that are sure to blow each and every mind in the general aural vicinity.
So what makes this event remarkable? Well, the readers will be scattered throughout Riverside Park, so in order for you to hear the profound, sometimes wacky words and line breaks crafted by Cage you'll have to move your booties instead of sitting like a lifeless lump on a giant 'shroom à la Alice In You Know Where. Ha! The tables do a turn, don't they? Indeed.
Just be clear, there will not be any music, though the name certainly might give you that impression. This is a literary event, but the "Musicircus" reference is to honor Cage's spark of genius when he had musical and other performers do their thing simultaneously while the event-goers traipsed around them. It's a happening, man.
The John Cage Centennial Literary Musicircus takes place Sunday, August 26, from 1-4PM in Riverside Park if the sun be a'shining or in the Urban Ecology Center if the rain be a'drizzling. If you'd like to volunteer to read, contact Thomas Gaudynski at tgaudynski at mindspring dot com.
It's that time of year again, y'all! No, not time for the Plague Of Locusts. And, no, not time for the Scary Clown Parade, though we've got some fantastic weather for that, eh? It's time for the Woodland Pattern Music Marathon to Benefit Alternating Currents Live. Whoot and Hooray!
Tomorrow--that's Saturday, August 18, for those of you lost to time and space--musicians of all kinds will gather at the cozy digs of Woodland Pattern Book Center at 720 East Locust Street in the lovely Riverwest neighborhood to play their hearts, hands, voices, and souls out all for the great good Alternating Currents Live brings to lucky us every single year.
The Alternating Currents radio show, which airs on WMSE 91.7 FM on Sundays from 6 to 9PM, and its sister live show is hosted by Miltown's very own experimental music guru Hal Rammel, and there's absotootly nothing--nothing, I tell you!--like it on this small blue planet. Each year Mr. Rammel lures artists with the best experimental chops from around the world to our humble burg so they can show us new ways of hearing and thinking about sound and music.
This year's Music Marathon at Woodland Pattern runs 4-9PM. Tickets at the door go for $6 for WP members, $7 for students & seniors and $8 for members of the always appreciated general public.
There's still room for a few more musicians to sign-up, gather a minimum of $30 in pledges and show off for a full 10 minutes in the 6PM time slot. Also, anyone wanting to offer support of the monetary kind are encouraged to call 414-263-5001 and do so.
Link (Thanks, Robert!)
Most exhibitions have one good run, then they're done. Indeed, many last just one night or one weekend and pass into the annals of artistic happenings, sequestered to a section rarely visited. But a few have more staying power than your grandmother's fruitcake, while managing to refresh themselves year after year—something which granny's edible brick o' candied goodness cannot do.
And so it is that Indiana Green, brainchild of artist Frank Juarez, will rank among the steadfast by bringing an artsy experience to the fine city of Sheboygan, Wisconsin for a third year—this time hosted in Juarez's own gallery EFFJAY PROJEKTS.
Co-curated by Juarez and Melissa Dorn Richards—Director of Cultural & Alumni Relations at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) and former Executive Director of Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN)—Indiana Green 2012 presents the work of 18 regional artists: Pamela Anderson, Brandon Bauer, Daniel Fleming, Jenie Gao, Frank Juarez, AC Klein, Dale Knaak, Tiffany Knopow, Mary Overman, Melissa Dorn Richards, Sara Risley, Rafael Francisco Salas, Jessica Z Schafer, Leah Schreiber, Becky Tesch, Christopher Willey, William Zuback, and Steve White. Whoa doggies, that's a whole lotta artists, no? Yes!
Of particular interest to audiophiles—you know who you are—is a piece created by Milwaukee composer/sound designer/musician Steve White. According to Juarez:
"This is the first time that Melissa & I invited a Milwaukee composer into the mix of artists. Steve approached me with an idea that could not be resisted. The idea was to create music to a specific work of art that he was attracted to visually. The music that he would compose would be heard through some type of sound box that would be installed in front of this so called piece. When the viewer stands underneath this sound box, then he/she would listed to Steve's interpretation. When you step away from the sound box, then you would not be able to hear the music, which would be looped."
In the end, White created music for Becky Tesch's "Chain" sculpture, which hangs from the 8 foot ceiling. To get a taste of White's work, go to his SoundCloud page. The samples there are quite impressive and varied. I'm especially enamored with his "First Movement" through "Seventh Movement" pieces, all of which have an uncluttered yet challenging appeal that I lurv so good, so it's definitely work the click, kids.
Okay, so Indiana Green kicks off with an artists' reception on April 21 from 5 to 8pm at EFFJAY PROJEKTS Gallery, 604 Erie Avenue, Lower Level, in Sheboygan. Added bonus: The artists will give a talk starting at 6pm. The exhibit runs until May 19, 2012.
For more information on all the participating artists, go here.
Here's a little scenario I've no doubt you've suffered through before: You're standing in a gallery space, completely immersed in an awesome exhibit of finely crafted comix--only losers spell it the old-fashioned way and you, my friend, are no loser--when it suddenly dawns on you that the only way this stupendous experience could possibly be even more noodle-exploding is if there was live music. You look around, listen hard and hear only the largely non-musical jabberings of other human beings. We've all been there, people, and it hurts--it hurts bad.
Well, good news, kids! Woodland Pattern Book Center will save us from such pain and agony this weekend with two exciting events happening simultaneously: Hal Rammel's Comix & Cartoons and the 3rd Annual Music Marathon & Benefit for Alternating Currents Live--Whoot and Hooray!
First up is Mr. Rammel's exhibit Comix & Cartoons in the Woodland Pattern Gallery. "What?!" I hear you cry. "Hal Rammel draws comix and cartoons? But isn't it enough that he's the experimental music guru of all of Miltown and points beyond, creating his own compositions and sharing those of others on his Alternating Currents show that airs on WMSE 91.7 FM every Sunday from 6-9PM?" The answer to that fair if overly wordy question is "Yes, he does and, no, it is not enough." Ya see, when you've got a fantastically active brain like Hal's, you've always got to keep it moving or else. Don't know what the "or else" might be, but let's not dwell on that, 'kay? 'Kay.
While it may be news to some, Hal's been puttin' ink to paper for a mighty long time, and this exhibit will display 30 years of his work, including new drawings and cartoons. There's an artist's reception on Thursday--the night that the cool kids know actually starts the weekend--August 18, beginning at 6PM, with live music--you heard me--supplied by guitarist Chris Rosenau at 7PM. The exhibit runs to September 25, 2011.
Okay, so in that same gallery space on Saturday, August 20, the 3rd Annual Music Marathon & Benefit for Alternating Currents Live will kickoff at 1PM and continue on until you keel over in utter amazement at all the talent harbored in our fair city or 9PM, whichever comes first. So far, the line-up's looking pretty sweet, with a few of our local favs, like Steve Nelson-Raney in the 3PM slot, John Muther at 4PM and our bud Dan Schierl--a.k.a. Dan of Earth--in the 8PM hour.
There's room for more musicians, folks, so if you'd like to strut/strum/blow/pluck/tap/bang your stuff in front of a live audience--let's keep it clean, people--and help raise funds for the outstanding Alternating Currents Live series hosted by Woodland Pattern, call 414-263-5001 to sign up! Artists get 10 minutes to perform, and 5 minutes for set-up. Also, ya gotta raise at least $25.00 in pledges, but you can do that in your sleep.
Phew! It's hard to believe that these two wondrous events will be happening in the exact same place in one weekend, isn't it? And yet it is true. Should you doubt my word, I can only advise that you find out for yourself by going to 720 East Locust Street for both and, in the process, renew your faith in a weekend well spent.
While nearly everyone and their uncle/aunt/pet of choice are readying themselves for this weekend's quarterly madness known as Gallery Night and Day, the curious and lucky students who enrolled in the Milwaukee Soundscapes summer Humanities course at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) are preparing to show the world the results of their intellectual, aural inquiry tonight at the Urban Ecology Center, getting a whole day's jump on the rest of the artsy crowd--so there!
Led by Thomas Gaudynski, their teacher and our compatriot in sound exploration, the students will be presenting their conclusions and non-conclusions gleaned from a whole summer semester spent in the deep state of active listening 'round our fair city.
As Thomas told me in a recent email:
"So the drive was to have students understand why the soundscape, in different places, inside and outside, sounds the way it does, rather than telling them or having the read Murray Schafer's great text The Soundscape. For the first six class periods we took soundwalks… from these initial experiences, they discovered what keynote sounds were… [t]hey identified Hi-Fi or Lo-Fi environments… they grappled with the cultural and design reasons for these characteristics… [and] they experienced the vastness of soundscapes such as Lake Shore State Park versus the close experience of Riverside Park where on a path you can hear insects, birds, and the rustling of leaves.
What they are going to present on Thursday are some general observations; some readings from their journals; a poetic (literary, visual, informational, and music) response to the sounds of the past inspired by the Faith Family Festa exhibit at the Historical Society; direct observations about traveling on the Milwaukee River; some interactive soundmaps created in google maps (specifically a Sound-Skate map by Sean Weber detailing skateboarding in the Third and Fifth Ward; a Romantic soundmap of the Third Ward by Brett Pearson suggesting places to take your partner for a good listen; and a Shopping SPREE soundmap by Lydia Yang where you can listen as you shop in the Third Ward). These maps where all chosen as best by the students as a group. Finally, three art or design soundscape proposals; again chosen by consensus."
Holy smorgasbord of super cool, sound-based art! Not only that, it's free for you to enjoy! A modest donation to the Urban Ecology Center is highly encouraged and appreciated.
Student creators of the show are Valerie Davis, Brennan Goodwin, Vedale Hill, Maxwell Morein, Brittany Patz, Brett Pearson, Alec Schuppel, Katherine Walton-Myers, Sean Weber, Julie Xiong, and Lydia Yang.
So, where ya gonna go tonight to kick-off your art filled weekend early? The Milwaukee Soundscapes show at the Urban Ecology Center in Riverside Park, 1500 E. Park Place, Milwaukee, that's where! It all starts at 6PM sharp.
It was with great and profound sadness that we learned of the passing of Gil Scott-Heron on May 27, 2011, at the age of 62.
A master poet and extraordinary musician, Scott-Heron was not only a major influence on the hip-hop and rap artists who followed in his footsteps but legions of spoken-word artists, writers and poets--like old Cricky here--introducing us to the power of socially conscious art.
His most famous piece "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," originally recorded in 1970, is laced with sardonic humor and timely cultural references, serving as both a scathing indictment of racism in America and a controlled yet sure warning that change is coming, ready or not:
Here's how he explained the piece in an interview for the series The 90's:
Though brilliantly insightful, Scott-Heron was plagued with drug addiction that waxed and waned for decades, proving that even the most remarkable among us can fall into downward spirals of self-destruction and self-abuse that at times exert such force we cannot free ourselves.
But that is not how those of us who owe so much to Gil Scott-Heron will remember him. No, we shall remember him as a man of intellectual and artistic prowess who taught us that truth-telling is the path to honorable art and a critical component to creating a just world.
As consistently stunning as it is to me--and perhaps to some of you--I am often asked, "Cricky, what's the secret to becoming a halfway decent writer?" After gathering myself from the impact of that colossal compliment and mentally stifling my initial instinct to answer, "Why don't ya ask me something simple, like the secret to world peace?" I nonetheless manage to muster up a far less snarky reply by saying, "Practice, practice, practice."
While this is indeed the best on-the-fly answer I've squeezed out of my noodle to date--one which I've stolen from others and seems to placate the majority of inquirers--there are a few key details left unsaid: Listen to, read and write poetry. That's right, poetry.
Now before you frantically click away in fear to find the latest video documentation of the very best jackassery humanity has to offer, let me just share a little mantra you can use to soothe your spirit as you read on: Poetry is not your enemy, poetry is your friend. Repeat while clicking your heels three times. Ha! That's a joke, people!
Okay, so now that you're feelin' as loose as Judy Garland did, well, most of the time--bless her talented, tipsy soul--I shall explain why the exposure to and the writing of poetry is the foundation to becoming a better wordsmith in general. You ready? Then let's do it.
In its most magnificent form, poetry focuses our brains on what is elemental, what is pure and what is basic. This, of course, is not to say that it lacks complexity, but through its intense and deliberate use of perfect words in perfect placement it presents an uncluttered vista at which we may gaze and perceive the true depth of any subject. Also, it very effectively teaches us the skill of elimination, ridding our work of the unnecessary writing that bores the crap out of our readers and ourselves.
Phew! That was a lot to absorb, I'll grant ya, but there's a reason for all that lead-up and it is to encourage you to witness firsthand the power that poetry grants us all by attending Woodland Pattern's 17th Annual Poetry Marathon. You are now free to holler, "Whoozzah!"
Beginning Saturday, January 29, at 10AM and going all the way until 1AM Sunday morning, the gallery space of Woodland Pattern Book Center will be abuzz with the constant stream of perfectly chosen, placed and uttered words, generating what will no doubt be described as an immaculate linguistic maelstrom by those who experience it. And you wanna be counted among them, don't ya? Course ya do.
To you poets, writers, performance artists, and musicians--yes, you're all welcome!--who haven't yet reserved your 5-minute time slot and/or raised at least $35 in pledges, waitin' around for fickle inspiration to kick ya in the caboose, considered yourselves booted and sign-up now!
It all happens Saturday, January 29, at 720 East Locust Street in Milwaukee, and all proceeds go toward Woodland Pattern programming.
With the exception of only the most dedicated followers of Plato's hugely contradictory and therefore wacky Philosophy of Aesthetics, few would rationally argue that art in all its forms is fundamentally dangerous and, as such, should be vetted and censored so that only the "right" sort is allowed to exist in society. Because you're way smart, I don't have to bore us all by pointing out the deep and inherent flaws rooted in his theory, do I? Course I don't.
And so, since we know that any danger art presents is not elementally bad for us--that, in fact, experiencing ideas and concepts that challenge our senses and perceptions is most often good for us, not to mention a ton o' fun!--we have acknowledged that education in literature, poetry, drama, visual art, and music is essential to helping us become the well-rounded and complex human beings we need to be in order to navigate the world around us. Unfortunately, this understanding of the great value of art education does not always garner the financial support it requires to flourish, which is very, very bad.
Like all types of creative education, music training has suffered the oh-so sharp blade of the budget knife for decades, depriving both children and adults of the goodness it offers and diminishing the quality of life for the whole society. Well, kids, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music (WCM), located right here in our fair Miltown, is bound and determined to stem the flow of this life-draining tide and they need your help to do it!
As a true community music school, WCM offers programs to everyone, and I mean everyone. From four-month-old toe biters to wily grand- and, yes, even great grandparents, all are welcome to learn and experience the awesome and unreserved power that music instills in our minds and spirits. Is that dangerous? Of course! Is that good? You bettcha!
Not only that but, through programs like Conservatory Connections, WCM brings music education to schools that have none and supplements those that do. Add its financial aid and scholarship programs and you've got a full-on, community wide music teachin' machine!
Now, humdrum full disclosure dictates that I come clean and inform y'all that I have recently become employed at WCM as its Communications Coordinator--a position for which I am fairly compensated--but that fact merely lends my positive opinion more credibility as I have borne witness to many of the fantastical things this school does up close and personal.
So, how can you help WCM and its incredibly worthy mission? By going to its annual Performathon and Open House this Sunday, November 21, that's how! With four stages of stellar performances by students of all ages--and, believe you me, the whole building will be alive with melodious sound!--a bake sale, a raffle for a 32GB WiFi iPad, and WCM merchandise available for your happy purchase, how could ya not show your adorable faces, huh?
Be there from 1-5PM on Sunday at 1584 N. Prospect Avenue, drop a little cash and show your support for all the dangerously beautiful music we humans can make!
Midnight Jazz 'Round Midday