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Saturday, September 20, 2014

In Context: Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters



Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters come to BAM September 27 as part of Nonesuch Records at BAM. Context is everything, so get even closer to Plant and band with this curated selection of articles, and videos related to the show. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Friday, September 19, 2014

BAM Blog Questionnaire: Liubo Borissov of Landfall

Landfall. Photo: Marc Allan


Landfall, inspired by the experience of Hurricane Sandy, was written by Laurie Anderson for Kronos Quartet. Liubo Borissov programmed the software Erst used in Landfall—dense projected texts are triggered musically, lapping and overlapping as Anderson spins stories. Landfall is at the BAM Harvey Theater, Sep 23—27, part of Nonesuch Records at BAM. Borissov was kind enough to participate in a BAM Blog Questionnaire.

How did you meet Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet?
Laurie and I first met a few years ago when she was looking for some ideas redesigning her live performance setup into a more compact and streamlined system. In one of our sessions the collaboration with Kronos came up before anyone knew it was going to become Landfall.

What is unique about the software you have designed for Landfall? 
Typically software design has utilitarian connotations of a general tool with some practical functionality, e.g. a word processor, which is not really what I do. Instead, code is more of a means of expression, and the piece of software that is the result is much closer to a custom-built musical instrument or an open-ended score that one has to learn how to play. In that sense almost everything about it is unique because it serves the purpose of bringing a specific idea to life and is part of the work of art.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

In Context: Caetano Veloso



Brazilian songwriting legend Caetano Veloso performs at BAM September 25—26 as part of Nonesuch Records at BAM. Context is everything, so get even closer to the run with this curated selection of articles, interviews, and videos related to the show. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

In Context: Rokia Traoré, Toumani Diabaté and Sidiki Diabaté


Rokia Traoré, Toumani Diabaté and Sidiki Diabaté perform at BAM on September 24. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of articles, interviews, and videos related to the artists. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

In Context: ABACUS




ABACUS comes to BAM from September 24—27. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles, and videos related to the show. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Kronos Quartet's Unlikely Collaborations

Kronos Quartet, photo by Jay Blakesburg

Few string quartets can claim to have been around for over 40 years, small changes in personnel aside. But fewer still—we'll go out on a limb and say precisely zero, aside from Kronos Quartet—can boast of having commissioned over 800 new works and collaborated with so many artists outside of the classical and new-music purview. Maybe no one told Nine Inch Nails, the Romanian gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks, Tom Waits, Noam Chomsky, or even Kronos itself that the string quartet was born out of the princely courts of 18th-century Austria and not the postmodern schizophrenia of the shuffle mode. But whatever the reason for their open-minded audaciousness, we're grateful for it.

Add Natalie Merchant, Sam Amidon, Olivia Chaney, and Rhiannon Giddens (September 20), as well as Laurie Anderson (September 23—27) to the list, all of whom are coming to BAM with Kronos as part of Nonesuch Records at BAM. For a little context, here are 10 other Kronos collaborations that have turned preconceived notions of their genre inside out.

In the Wake of Joyce: Five Questions for the President of the James Joyce Society

Editor Danis Rose's personal copy of Finnegans Wake.



Finnegans Wake is likely James Joyce’s most experimental text, boasting a trippy, dream-like narrative and plenty of idiosyncratic language. According to Joyce scholars, it's also best experienced when read aloud. For her show riverrun, (Sep 17—20) actress Olwen Fouéré obliges, transforming the Wake's final book into into a riveting, “life-changing” (The Telegraph) one-woman performance.

To help make sense of both the book and Fouéré's brilliant adaptation, we asked A. Nicholas Fargnoli, president of the James Joyce Society, to answer a few questions.


Give us Finnegans Wake in a nutshell.

Finnegans Wake is one of the most innovative works in all of literature. Published in 1939, the Wake is a masterpiece that culminates a literary output marked by an extraordinary experimental narrative style and artistic techniques that defy classification. With a language simulating the nocturnal world of dreams, the Wake’s nonlinear universe is unconstrained by spatial and temporal limits. One of the characteristics of Finnegans Wake is the dramatic interplay of voice that freely moves in and out of narrative fluidity and that uniquely lends itself to theatrical performance.      


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In Context: Tweedy


Tweedy comes to BAM September 23. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of articles, and videos related to the artists. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

In Context: Landfall


Landfall comes to BAM from September 23—27. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of articles, and videos related to the show. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Borderline Personality: An Interview with Paul Abacus

Photo of Paul Abacus, courtesy of Steve Gunther

















Paul Abacus is a Japan-based international presenter of ideas, and has become well known for his perspective on the workings of contemporary persuasion, particularly the presentation format itself. A disciple of polymath Buckminster Fuller, Abacus is a leader of the movement to dissolve national borders. His live presentation ABACUS was last seen at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and will be at BAM from September 24—27.

We asked Abacus to sit down with us for an interview. He sent us this instead.