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Old 04.09.2009, 03:13 AM   #21
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It's a shame, in a way, about the involvement of John Paul Jones - I suspect that it will mean that no non-bootleg recording of the collaboration will ever see the light of day.
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Old 04.09.2009, 03:02 PM   #22
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It's a shame, in a way, about the involvement of John Paul Jones .

I just keep thinking this a joke. I can't take it seriously.
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Old 04.09.2009, 03:47 PM   #23
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Old 04.09.2009, 06:23 PM   #24
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Merce is too cool. First he gets to have sex with John Cage and now Sonic Youth honor him.
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Old 04.13.2009, 09:48 PM   #25
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maybe after this gig Sonic Youth and the 3 remaining Zeppelins will realize how much they need eachother and do a series of tripple-vinyl poly-gatefold SYR mega-jammmerz and tour the nation in a fleet of vintage customized vans (belching clouds of newly legalized marijuana smoke) with ridiculous airbrush art and singlehandedly revitalize the economy by uniting classic rockers and indie/noise/mess rockers in fist pumping motions visible from space.

nobody responded to my prediction of what the set would be like.
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Old 04.16.2009, 09:07 AM   #26
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Wednesday, April 15,2009 Lord Have Merce

Sonic Youth and other music pals play 90-year-old Cunningham’s birthday bash




By Joshua David Stein
 


The Merce Cunningham Company Dancers rehearse with the nearly 90-year-old choreographer. Sonic Youth wouldn't seem like a good birthday party band for most 90-year-olds. But Merce Cunningham isn’t your average nonagenarian. He doesn’t go in for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and pudding. But what more would you expect from the man who continually reaffirms his relevance as the most important modern dance choreographer since Martha Graham?

For his 90th birthday, Merce has invited some friends—among them Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth—to drop by BAM for three days from April 16 to 19 for a jam, and maybe some tea and biscuits too.
Also stopping by: Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones and mixed-media sound composer Takehisa Kosugi. Oh, and of course, the Merce Cunningham Company dancers.The event also functions as the pre miere of Nearly Ninety. It’s 89 minutes long. Ol’ Merce is pretty funny for an old guy.
Since the 1950s, when Cunningham began his choreographic career and long fruitful collaboration with composer John Cage, he has done away with staid conventions as dancing to music, dance as narrative and the entire idea that a performance is distinct from creation. Instead, Cunningham has relied on chance procedures to bring movement, music and dance and dancers into fruitful contact.

“The beauty of what Merce does is, it’s happening live and can’t be recreated the same way from night to night,” Ranaldo explains.Therefore, it’s not possible to write a “preview” of a Merce Cunningham dance performance any more than it’s possible to predict if a piece of bread will fall butterside up in a Tilt-a-Whirl caught in a tornado. I won’t even try. I don’t know what to expect at the Howard Gilman Opera House this week any more than any of the other collaborators do.Which is to say, I have a general idea that it will be excellent, but I can’t say exactly why.The only thing to be done is to sketch out the structure, identify the moving parts and maintain faith that a fortuitous wind will animate the structure come opening night.

According to Trevor Carlson, Executive Director of the Merce Cunningham Company, “Each time Merce makes a new piece, we all sort of come together to talk about it. And since it was Merce’s birthday, we sort of said, ‘Let’s go for it!’” So Merce asked his buddy John Paul Jones, who has worked for the company before, and Sonic Youth, members of which had also worked with the company in the past, along with Takehisa Kosugi, the musical director of the company, and asked them each to create 30 minutes of music.

Then he contacted architect Benedetta Tagliabue (wife of the late great Catalan architect, Enric Miralles) to craft a sculpture that would hold the three groups of musicians on stage. Italian fashion designer Romeo Gigli was asked to create the costumes for the piece. Ranaldo was surprised and chuffed to be asked. “It came out of the blue that we were invited to do this,” he says. “But I’ve been a huge fan of his work pretty much since I moved to New York in 1979.”

So Sonic Youth said of course it would participate. So did everyone else. And then everyone went on their separate paths and pretty much forgot about each other. “None of the projects will come together until the day before the performance in their entirety at the dress rehearsal,” says Trevor. “Merce called John Paul Jones to say, ‘Thank you for accepting to compose the piece. I’ll see you in April.’” And that was that.


Sonic Youth set about creating its 30 minutes loosely. “We are going to create different chunks based on basic gestures of principles of attack, loud, soft, aggressive, different things like that,” explains Ranaldo. John Paul Jones, he says, is scoring his piece out in a much more traditional way, though Ranaldo notes he has no idea what his work sounds like. Kosugi, as Kosugi does, has divided his 30 minutes of highly electronic music into eight- or nine-minute discreet chunks. According to Trevor, the music will be cut up, patched back together, overlapped, spliced, separated and mixed according to chance-based procedures.Who knows what it will sound like.
As far as the movements go, well, Merce’s style is Merce’s style. It’s a dry and very difficult blend of chance-based movement—right leg high, left shoulder tilted, head held askew—and a rigorous training in the Graham technique, which gives the moments a fluid and sharp, suspended quality. It’s movement for movement’s sake, stripped of any narrative signifiers. And yet, it’s still oddly moving.

A certain cognitive dissonance occurs when watching all the randomly generated parts of Merce’s choreography move with one other.There’s no story or emotion lurking behind the dance, and yet so strong is the human need to sculpt a narrative, that one is woven from the disjointed fabric of the dance.

If you’ve recently been dumped, perhaps you’ll read the haunting electronic beeps and boops of Kosugi’s score—coupled with the contractions of the dancers—as a study of loss and sadness. If you are getting a large tax refund, you might focus on the joy in the frenzied synergy. If you’re young and green, you might read the piece as an inspirational cry that age doesn’t hamper vitality.

The story isn’t just Merce’s; but it isn’t just yours, either. It’s a combination of chance and talent that, like Almost Ninety, will never be repeated again.
> Merce Cunningham at 90
April 16 (spring gala), 17, 18 & 19. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave., 718-636- 4100; Thurs. 7; Fri.-Sat. 7:30; Sun. 3 p.m., $20-$75.
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Old 04.16.2009, 07:16 PM   #27
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Funny story in relation to this. I work at a bike shop a few blocks away from BAM. Earlier today a woman that works at BAM stopped by our shop. She wanted to know if she could borrow one of our bike pumps, as Merce Cunningham's wheelchair tires needed some air.

All of that said, I'm happy to say I've had a minor role in this production.
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Old 04.16.2009, 07:40 PM   #28
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anyone else going to this? im flying to NYC tonight for friday's show....
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Old 04.16.2009, 08:00 PM   #29
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I'd like to but not sure. Are they playing a few songs, full set?
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Old 04.17.2009, 01:03 AM   #30
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How much should I say? Do you want to be surprised? It was awesome, I loved it. Going 2 more times later this weekend, so yeah, I recommend it.
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Old 04.17.2009, 02:13 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Georgekrz
How much should I say? Do you want to be surprised? It was awesome, I loved it. Going 2 more times later this weekend, so yeah, I recommend it.

Surprise is no issue - it'll change each day - Jones says he just has his piece mapped out ... so. Tell away!
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Old 04.17.2009, 09:26 AM   #32
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Here's a GREAT review from a Led Zeppelin site.

I went lest night. I don't know if it's just me, but I didn't get it. It sounded like they gave Kosugi a bunch of random stuff to make noise with and he told JPJ and Sonic Youth to make a lot of noise and get some feedback. I guess Merce Cunningham's thing is having people dance wierd to noise. It was great if you're into that but for me, a huge Zeppelin fan who paid $60 to see JPJ play some music, I was kinda disappointed. After the show I waited around to see if I could possibly meet JPJ but had no luck. It wasn't the best night for me, as I also spent a half an hour driving around trying to find the Physical Graffiti building to find out that it no longer exists.

Hahahahahahahaaaaaa.....

"Didn't get it !!!" LOL
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Old 04.17.2009, 03:52 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by reginald
Here's a GREAT review from a Led Zeppelin site.

It wasn't the best night for me, as I also spent a half an hour driving around trying to find the Physical Graffiti building to find out that it no longer exists.


"Didn't get it !!!" LOL

The Physical Graffiti building still exists. It just doesn't have all those people's faces in the windows. How the hell did he miss that? You can Google the address instantly.
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Old 04.17.2009, 07:46 PM   #34
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Are we rolling Jimi?

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Originally Posted by Magic Wheel Memory
The Physical Graffiti building still exists. It just doesn't have all those people's faces in the windows. How the hell did he miss that? You can Google the address instantly.
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Old 04.18.2009, 10:18 AM   #36
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hehe, that picture is funny.

cheers for info!
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Old 04.18.2009, 10:35 AM   #37
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It's a shame, in a way, about the involvement of John Paul Jones

Apart from his Zep day job, he is/was quite the session man, world musician.
He seems to be a real solid bloke too, humble...
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Old 04.18.2009, 02:27 PM   #38
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I've no problem with JPJ for artistic reasons, just that I find it hard to imagine that what would probably make an interesting SYR would get a release because of lawyers and the like.
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Old 04.19.2009, 01:40 AM   #39
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http://www.brooklynvegan.com:80/arch...cunningha.html

 
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Old 04.19.2009, 08:52 AM   #40
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wow. that looks interesting...that stage (I don't even know how to call it)
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