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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In Context: On Behalf of Nature

Meredith Monk's On Behalf of Nature runs at BAM from December 3—7. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of articles, interviews, and videos related to the production. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

In Context: The Wanderer

Jessica Lang's story ballet The Wanderer runs at BAM from December 3—6. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of articles, interviews, and videos related to the production. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Vijay Iyer—Transformer

Vijay Iyer is a prominent jazz pianist and bandleader who also composes classical music. He majored in mathematics and physics in undergrad and graduate schools. Iyer, a MacArthur fellow, brings his genre-spanning music to the BAM Harvey Theater in VIJAY IYER: Music of Transformation (Dec 18—20). We spoke to him about his creative world.

Radhe Radhe. Craig Marsden/Prashant Bhargava

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Songs Without Words

by Marina Harss

If one believes in the notion of destiny—or even in its more prosaic cousin, genetic predisposition—it’s clear that Meredith Monk was bound to become a singer. Her maternal great-grandfather was a cantor in Tsarist Russia; her grandfather, Joseph Zellman, an operatic baritone who emigrated to the US in the late 19th century. Here in New York, he and his pianist wife Rose Kornicker founded the Zellman Conservatory, on Lenox Ave. Monk’s mother, Audrey Marsh, sang popular songs and jingles on the radio. “My childhood was a lot like Radio Days,” Monk told the director Anne Bogart (in the book Conversations with Anne, 2005), “every single day at one o’clock she would sing the DUZ Soap commercial” during the radio drama Road of Life.

Photo: Julieta Cervantes

Monday, November 24, 2014

William Friedkin on Making To Live and Die in L.A.

Academy Award-winning director William Friedkin joined us last year for a special retrospective of his 1970's work, and he returns to BAMcinématek’s screens this Wednesday with the opening night of Sunshine Noir, a film series curated by BAMcinématek and Next Wave artist Gabriel Kahane that soaks in the sun-drenched seediness of Los Angeles.

In the following excerpts from his memoir The Friedkin Connection, Friedkin discusses the process of making To Live and Die in L.A., his pulse-pounding cult classic which features an iconic car chase down the LA freeway.

John Pankow in To Live and Die in L.A. Photo: MGM/Photofest

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wayfinders—an interview with creator Holcombe Waller

by Chris Tyler

Holcombe Waller's Wayfinders opened Wednesday at BAM Fisher. An abstract, poetic rumination on the question, "Where are we?," Wayfinders "embraces the influences of science fiction and psychedelia to examine the interconnection of navigation and consciousness, the illusory nature of location and direction, and technology’s growing mediation between ourselves and the everyday world we perceive," as Waller notes.

We sat down with the Portland-based artist to learn a bit more about the process, the Spectacle, and exactly where we're all going.

A scene from Wayfinders. Photo: Kyle Richardson

Birds With Skymirrors—Climate Change Hits Home

by David Hsieh

Birds With Skymirrors. Photo: Jack Vartoogian

For people concerned about climate change, good news doesn't come often. (Certainly not with the increasingly violent weather patterns and the dire predictions of species going extinct!) But last week’s agreement between the US and China to limit future greenhouse gas emissions—with quantifiable goals—is certifiably good news.

It is fortuitous that on the heels of this historical agreement, BAM is presenting a show that grows out of a very tangible worry about global warming from an artist who knows first-hand its devastating effect.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Anni Albers Is at BAM! Really!

Anni Albers, Wall Hanging, 1984, wool, 98"x89". Collection of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.
When you next visit the BAM Peter Jay Sharp building, take a good look at the artwork hanging next to the escalator. It's a 1982 weaving by none other than Anni Albers, one of the leading lights of the Bauhaus (from which she received a degree in 1930) and its informal American outpost, Black Mountain College, where she taught from 1933 to 1939 along with her husband, Josef. The college is inspiration for Black Mountain Songs at the BAM Harvey this week, a collection of music put together by Bryce Dessner and Richard Reed Parry by some of our most creative songwriters, sung by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus under the baton of Dianne Berkun-Menaker.

Monday, November 17, 2014

10 Things You Might Not Know About Wayfinders' Holcombe Waller

by Chris Tyler

From tidal patterns and ancient ocean voyages to errand-running and GPS devices, navigation past and present propels Wayfinders, a new song cycle by Portland-based musician and composer Holcombe Waller opening at the BAM Fisher this Wednesday, November 19. We undertook our own voyage through cyberspace to bring you this series of interesting tidbits on the artist behind it all.

Holcombe Waller. Photo: Alicia J. Rose

Saturday, November 15, 2014

BAM Illustrated: Black Mountain College Yearbook

Black Mountain College was founded in North Carolina in 1933 as a new kind of college with art as its central focus. Students and teachers shared roles and work, boundaries between disciplines dissolved, and art bled into life, nurturing an atmosphere of unfettered creative collaboration. Only open for 24 years, the school was home to an impressive list of former students and teachers, many of whom were, and continue to be, hugely influential in the arts and beyond.

From November 20—23, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Bryce Dessner, Richard Reed Parry, and others celebrate the college with Black Mountain Songs. Below illustrator Nathan Gelgud revisits some of Black Mountain's famous alumni in our own Black Mountain College Yearbook. (Scroll down for additional information on each person.)