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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tangerine Dreams

Revered as the architects of a wide range of instrumental genres that came of age in the 80s, including kraut rock, new age, and electronic dance, the German band Tangerine Dream has been equally responsible over the past three decades for giving movie music a new, modern heartbeat. In more than 30 films that run the gamut from low-budget genre flicks to lavish Hollywood productions to European art cinema, the band has used its complex soundscapes to deepen the ominous mood of a slasher flick (Strange Behavior), highlight romance in an FX-driven fantasy (Legend), and evoke a criminal’s existential crisis (Thief).

Burbling beneath the highly stylized visuals of the great filmmakers they have chosen to work with—among them Michael Mann, Philippe Garrel, and Kathryn Bigelow—Tangerine Dream’s audacious layering of sonic blips, spacey atmospherics, and intricate synth patterns has not only extended the vocabulary of modern film music, but also demonstrated the emotional range of the synthesizer—an instrument that in the 80s was still subject to swift changes in technology and was disdained by many serious music lovers.

In celebration of the band’s North American tour launching in June, BAMcinématek presents a week-long sampling of their work in film. In the line-up is a handful of rarities, including the North American premiere of Philippe Garrel’s surrealistic Le berceau de cristal, starring Nico and Dominique Sanda. Below we’ve gathered some of the band’s seminal tracks, from both their studio albums and their film scores—so get ready for some of the most otherworldly sounds ever put to wax. We’ve also spoken with writer/director Steve De Jarnatt about collaborating with Tangerine Dream on Miracle Mile, the film that opens the series this Friday, June 1.

Steve De Jarnatt on Tangerine Dream

I wrote the first drafts of Miracle Mile in 1978. Usually in the middle of the night—always with the Sorcerer soundtrack blasting away. The mood and momentum of that breakthrough work was a prime catalyst for me in imagining the dreamscape of an empty Los Angeles—the engine for envisioning the plight of my average joe character dealing with his apocalyptic "chicken little" knowledge.

It was such a coup to be able to get them to score the film almost a decade later. And even better I got to go over to work with them for several days in their studio outside Vienna.

For my little opus—the band was, of course, Edgar (Froese) who is Tangerine Dream. Others come and go but Edgar is the constant—the heart, soul and brain of beast. Also collaborating was a young classically trained prodigy, Paul Haslinger, and it was just the two of them together on Miracle Mile. Paul is now a thriving composer working in LA (after many years of being an A list programmer and often ‘ghost composer’ for many others, with the Underworld series of films among many other credits.)

It was one of my favorite experiences in my whole career. I had sent over a work print with temp music (85% theirs, with a bit of Peter Gabriel’s Birdy soundtrack I think)—just to give them my inkling of how I felt it might be scored, but every cue they did trumped those selections and brought everything to life. Heightened tension, covered myriad flaws. It was just a magical process to be able to work with them, they were so gracious and collaborative. I think I’d put in a cue from Risky Business (for the lighter earlier date sequence) and rather than perhaps be miffed by this, they would do an adaptation of that same feeling and create a different but equally effective sonic texture. The ticking clock motif used towards the end I am so lucky to have in my film—think its one of their most emotional and evocative pieces. Wall to wall—I love every note in their amazing score.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Eat, Drink & Be Literary: Ann Patchett

Photo of Ann Patchett by Melissa Ann Pinney
If there’s one criticism of Ann Patchett’s latest novel, State of Wonder, it’s that the title doesn’t do justice to the book’s intriguing plot twists or its inexorable, seductive rhythms, luring you along morsel by morsel.

State of Wonder begins in Minneapolis where the protagonist, Marina, works for a pharmaceutical company. From this relatively bland, clinical setting, things branch out, up, down, and definitely sideways as she is dispatched reluctantly to Brazil to attempt to both check up on one of the company’s awol rockstar researchers presumably hot on the trail of a drug that would revolutionize human reproduction, and to recover the possessions of a lost office mate who was, dismayingly, sent for the very same reason.

Patchett’s storytelling is so skillful that numerous themes and plot threads are braided together by the novel’s end. Marina is a bit like a contemporary Dorothy, plucked from her home and spun helplessly into a dizzying, transformative Oz. Marina’s past history, along with a variety of clashing cultures, real and adoptive familial ties, the ethics of tampering with nature, the Faustian bargain of extending female fertility, and the sundry and unexpected sources of love all surface and resurface. Apart from the satisfying intellectual calisthenics elicited by State of Wonder, on a purely experiential level, Patchett’s prose paints both urban and wild settings so vividly that you can practically smell and hear them.

In her novel The Patron Saint of Liars, Patchett delineates a mise en scène that's far more contained—a home for unwed, pregnant mothers. The biological concept of family rubs against the conceptual definition, and acts of grace contrast with the unspeakable. Patchett won a Pen/Faulkner Award for her gripping book Bel Canto, a cultural thriller (if there is such a thing) and has penned six novels total. In addition to her writing, she opened Parnassus Books in her hometown of Nashville, TN with publishing veteran Karen Hayes in the absence of an independent bookstore. Catch this accomplished, best-selling author and entrepreneur in person Thursday.

Patchett will read from and discuss her work at Eat, Drink & Be Literary on May 31st in BAMcafé, co-presented by the National Book Foundation.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tweeting Einstein on the Beach

 Spaceship © Lucie Jansch 2012
Why tweet Einstein on the Beach?

On this day in 1919, there was a solar eclipse that allowed scientists to confirm Einstein’s theory of relativity, upending previous notions of time and space and fundamentally altering the course of history.

In 1976, Robert Wilson and Philip Glass met at a small restaurant on Sullivan Street to discuss collaborating on a portrait of a historical figure. After rejecting Charlie Chaplin, Adolf Hitler, and Mahatma Gandhi, they finally settled on Albert Einstein. And so Einstein on the Beach was born, a work that left an indelible mark on the history of performance that stands as one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century.

The experience of Einstein on the Beach is like no other. Four and a half hours in length, the opera eschews traditional narrative in favor of presenting an uninterrupted continuum of sensory data that is loosely constructed around the idea of Einstein, with punctuated, dreamlike staging, dance, densely structured music, and spoken texts scattered throughout.

Untweetable, you say? Well, you might be right. Any Twitter performance of Einstein would fail to capture the “living pictures” of Robert Wilson, the intense choreography of Lucinda Childs, and some of the most beautiful, heart-shattering music that Philip Glass has ever written. Einstein is an alternate universe that requires an extended visit, and that universe simply can’t be reduced to 140 characters.

But we noticed that whenever we have tweeted about the performance, people are compelled to quote the production, or start counting, or both. We've marveled at the contemporary resonance of aphorisms like “prematurely air-conditioned supermarkets” and “it could be so fresh and clean.” Listening to the repeating phrases, we became conscious of patterns and sequences in the language—much like the structures embedded in Glass’ score. We delighted in the pop flotsam and cultural jetsam sprinkled throughout—from Carole King lyrics to references to the infamous Crazy Eddies electronics store.

Written by Christopher Knowles, Samuel M. Johnson, and Lucinda Childs, the fragmentary, non-linear libretto of Einstein is uniquely suited for Twitter. The spoken text is a work of poetry in its own right, full of rhythmic, alliterative, and allusive phrases that allow an audience to generate its own meanings. Using Twitter as our conduit, we hope people become intrigued by the endlessly rich and imaginative language, and recognize Einstein as an expression of the unconscious poetry of our age.

Starting at sunset tonight (8pm) we will tweet the entire libretto from the handle @EinsteinBeach. Tweets will be sent out every 15 minutes. We encourage you to follow along, retweet your favorite lines, and comment using the hashtag #Einstein2012. The goal? To dive into an ocean of language and paddle around, to hear the poetry already present in our daily lives, and to achieve an Einstein state of grace. Impossible you say? Yes, just as impossible as it is for us to express Einstein's impact.

All these are the days my friends and these are the days my friends...

Einstein on the Beach returns to the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on September 14.

Friday, May 25, 2012

DanceAfrica Vendor Spotlight: WOW WOW by Wunmi

Wunmi wearing her clothing line WOW WOW
The DanceAfricaBazaar features many vendors from all over the world. One of our favorite vendors is Wunmi (aka Ibiwunmi Omotayo Olufunke Felicity Olaiya), a fashion designer who is also one of the most well-known Afrobeat singers today. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for us from the road, even while she was on tour. Look for her booth this Memorial Day weekend at BAM!

1. How many years have you been a vendor at DanceAfrica?

My first time vending at DanceAfrica was in 2006. I shared a booth with another vendor, so it is now seven years. Wow!

2. Tell us about your clothing line WOW WOW and what makes it unique.

WOW WOW is based on what I love to wear during summer. I began creating one-of-a-kind dresses for myself, and then designing for the majority of the top black dance companies in the USA—such as Alvin Ailey, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and Evidence, to name a few—thanks to my collaboration work with choreographer Ronald K. Brown.

I source all my materials from West Africa, especially Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, and Guinea. I use mainly 100% cotton hand-printed batik (known in Nigeria by the Yoruba tribe as Adire) and not the imported Dutch wax, which folks call Africa Print.

WOW WOW is unique because of the fact that the materials I use are indigenous to West Africa, and each dress I make is unique in its own way… because the fabrics are only made in 5/6 yard lengths and no two are exactly the same!

3. You’re an accomplished performer as well as a fashion designer—tell us about how your experiences on stage translate into your fashion designs.

My experience on stage translates into my fashion in so many ways… but I would say first and foremost because I love drama, and the material/textiles I use bring a lot of drama! WOW WOW stands for “Want it, Own it, Wear It, Wunmi Olaiya Wear.” Also, when folks wear WOW WOW the first thing people say when they see them is wow!

4. Lastly, what makes DanceAfrica a special event for the community?

DanceAfrica is a special event for the community because DanceAfrica truly embraces Africa and the diaspora. Everyone who attends every year that I know comes back… because every year there is something new! And it is also loved because of the inclusion of the youths of the community… it is truly a village.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Caretaker's Caretaker—Behind the Scenes with Terry Dale

Terry Dale surrounded by The Caretaker's Alan Cox (Aston) and Alex Hassell (Mick)
Terry Dale is company manager for The Caretaker, at the BAM Harvey Theater through June 17. He served as GM project manager at BAM for several years, in addition to company manager for Ireland's Abbey Theatre and the Radio City Rockettes. He talks about his current position and returning to his old stomping ground.

What kinds of responsibilities do you have as company manager for The Caretaker?
In my experience, company manager is a catchall title. A broad definition would be that you function as the brother, lawyer, father, friend, physician, psychiatrist, cruise director, caterer, accountant, and cop. On the road, I represent the producer when dealing with theaters, unions, and the press, while also acting as the actors' and crews' advocate regarding schedules, travel, accommodations, payroll, extracurricular activities, etc. In BAM language, the company manager for a touring company is like being a one man artist services/GM representative for the production.

The paperwork and day-to-day of a company on the road varies little from production to production, so it’s the “family life" you create that gives each tour its individual personality. One of the pleasures of working with a small company like we have on The Caretaker is having the opportunity to get to know everyone as individuals. I’ve been on tour with as many as 70 people and while those were also fantastic experiences that yielded lifelong friendships there is something special about spending one-on-one time with a small group as you travel the country together.

Working in the theater means dealing with the unexpected. Have you had to deal with surprises good and bad, and if so, any examples?
Fortunately for me nothing serious, knock wood, has happened during a performance. A few unexpected things have come up over the years. I had to unexpectedly (and successfully) talk a post-911 airline gate attendant into letting a company member board a plane from Greece to the US without their passport. I had the unexpected need to talk to the police and engage a lawyer because a member of the crew was arrested on stage during a load out. One evening, raw sewage quite unexpectedly started to back up in the backstage area, then the backstage dressing rooms, then the backstage bathrooms until finally it started to back up in all of the first floor lobby restrooms and seep into the carpeted lobby area just as act 2 went up. Many mops, city engineers, and industrial fans later we were back onstage the next night.

Over the years it has felt at times like Mother Nature is not a fan of the theater. I’ve been in the position of having performances canceled due to blizzards. Flights and trains canceled for days to come because of the storms and only 48 hours to convince a bus company to get a company of 50 from DC to North Carolina—including having to get out and push a bus stuck in the snow. The thing about the bad is that in almost every case it leads directly into something unexpected in a good way. A blizzard trapping everyone in one place leads to the entire company commandeering the hotel lobby to watch the Super Bowl together.

As a one-time BAM employee, what do you like best about having a long run at the Harvey?
As everyone knows once you’re part of the BAM family you never really leave. I’ve stayed in touch with many current and now former employees. The Caretaker is the second production that’s brought me back to BAM since leaving in 2008 but the first time I’ve been back to the Harvey. The funny thing is the first time I ever went to BAM was as company manager on Sir Peter Hall’s As You Like It, which played at the Harvey. I think what I like best about being here for a long run is the simultaneous feelings of anticipation and familiarity.

While on tour with The Caretaker in San Francisco and Columbus I kept thinking as much fun as I’m having it will be great to get back to BAM. Being here for a long run gives me enough time to really get to experience all BAM has to offer beyond my own production. It gives me an appreciation for what I got to do here and for the opportunities I’ve had since leaving. I’ve traveled to many places since my time at BAM but whether as a patron or with a production it always feels like I’m at home here. That’s a great anchor to have.

Chairman's Circle Dinner

Alan Fishman, Chairman of the Board and guests
BAM hosted the Chairman's Circle Dinner on Tuesday Evening, in honor of our loyal Chairman's Circle members. Guests attended an exclusive cocktail reception and dinner held in BAM's gorgeous Lepercq Space, followed by a performance of The Caretaker, starring Jonathan Pryce at the Harvey Theater.

Jump ahead to learn more about this exciting event!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DanceAfrica 35th Anniversary Celebration

BAM toasted 35 extraordinary years of DanceAfrica this past Sunday night at the DanceAfrica 35th Anniversary Celebration. Over 400 guests celebrated in the Lepercq Space following the afternoon's performance, including DanceAfrica founder and artistic director Baba Chuck Davis, the evening's performing companies and past alumni companies, New York State and City government officials, and BAM donors. 

Click below for more highlights and photos from this historic event!
For a full Event Album, click here.

DanceAfrica Eats: Lookman Mashood's Efo

A short film about Lookman Mashood, owner of Nigerian restaurant Buka in Clinton Hill

Promise you won't tell anyone.

What we have here is a secret recipe for efo, a Nigerian dish made from shredded spinach, onions, and dried fish, courtesy of DanceAfrica Bazaar vendor Lookman Mashood. Lookman (featured in the video above) is owner and chef of Buka ("Eating House") on Fulton Street in Clinton Hill, the current go-to place for foods like Nigerian Pepper Soup, listed by Lonely Planet as one of the world's 10 hottest foods, or a hearty goat stew served with "mashes" like fufu, amala, and eba, or a glass of ginger juice. Whip up some efo for yourself, then stop by Lookman's booth at DanceAfrica from May 26—28 to meet the man behind recipe.

Courtesy of Lookman Mashood
Buka Nigerian Restaurant in Clinton Hill

Frozen chopped spinach
1 onion
1 red pepper
Scotch bonnet pepper (to taste)
Smoked fish
4 tbsp Palm oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in pot and sauté onion for 5 minutes. Chop all vegetables. Add all vegetables other than spinach and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Salt to taste and add smoked fish, cook for another 5 minutes, then add spinach. Cook for another 6 minutes, and stir from time to time so that it doesn't stick to the pan. Enjoy a beautiful plate of EFO.

Read the New York Times review of Buka here
Read the Village Voice review here

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How Many Dashikis Does Baba Chuck Davis Have, and more...

Baba Chuck Davis. Photo: Julieta Cervantes
2012 is a big year for DanceAfrica, BAM's longest running series. It celebrates 35 years, and its founder and artistic director, Baba Chuck Davis, turned 75! Here, Davis answers a few questions, including one pertaining to being the perennial "best-dressed" at DanceAfrica.

Q: Congratulations on your 35th DanceAfrica, BAM's longest running series. What inspires you to keep the festival going?

Baba Chuck Davis: I am inspired to continue DanceAfrica every time I read or hear of the negative images associated with any of the countries on the continent. I am also encouraged each time I visit a different country and witness how many students are eager to learn about cultures other than their own, and the role dance and music has in the preservation of same. I am encouraged every time I am asked—at this stage of the game, by many people, of all genders/races/ages—if Africans wear shoes!!! Mercy.

Q: How do you find new companies from Africa and the diaspora?

CD: Once a theme has been selected, I strive to prepare a program that will please our supporters. I look for areas in Africa which have not been given much attention.

Q: What cities is DanceAfrica in now, and are there plans to expand it even more?

CD: DanceAfrica is now in: New York; Dallas; Pittsburgh; Denver; Washington, DC; Atlanta. It has been in: Philadelphia; Chicago; Red Bank, NJ; Minneapolis; New Haven; Los Angeles. It is slated for a return to Los Angeles and Chicago, and to have premieres in Durham, NC, and some countries in Africa as well as, when politically possible... Cuba.

My goal is to have a DanceAfrica festival somewhere on this planet twice a month. Uh huh.

Q: How many dashikis do you have by now?

CD: At this present time Mr. Daniel “Oko” Deheer, the tailor who designs and makes my traditional regalia, has graced me with 40 complete ensembles; 30 mini ensembles; many pants and many tops. This year, 2012, for the anniversary, he has designed three ultra fabulous ensembles which are breathtaking… even if i say so myself.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

1977: The Origins of DanceAfrica

Chuck Davis Dance Company, circa 1970s
By the mid 1970s the Chuck Davis Dance Company was one of the highest profile African-American dance companies in New York City. Based in the Bronx, for many years the company had been busy with various community outreach programs. With grants from the NEA, CDDC taught choreography and physical education to Bronx teens, and in 1976 it was designated company in residence for the New York City Board of Education. Through lecture-demonstrations, movement workshops, and concerts, the company reached over 15,000 students in public schools across the city, serving as a motivational force designed to inspire greater academic achievement.

These activities laid the groundwork for what would come to be known as the first DanceAfrica: the February 1977 residency of the Chuck Davis Dance Company in the Lepercq space at BAM. Continuing its community-oriented work, CDDC added a new element to their mission: to promote the celebration of African heritage, which emerged as the hallmark of DanceAfrica.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fresh Hamm: The Prada Pina

Harvey Lichtenstein presents Pina Baush with her limited edition Prada purse
In 1994, Pina Bausch brought Two Cigarettes in the Dark to BAM. At the time of this production, it was common for the opening night party to function as a gala/fund raising event. Miuccia Prada, subject of a Metropolitan Museum exhibition, had just opened her first New York store and expressed admiration for Pina Bausch and her work. Ms. Prada offered to get involved and she wanted to do something special in addition to sponsorship. She designed a limited edition purse that BAM could use for fundraising, but she didn’t stop there… she created the décor for the party, menu and even designed the beautiful official party invitations. The opening was completely sold out and by all reports the party was a big success. Pina was formally presented with a purse, which she accepted with her typical humility.

Invite to the "Two Cigarettes in the Dark" Opening Night Reception
The Prada Pina purse is made out of black parachute nylon with nickel hardware. It features a chain link handle and a kiss lock closure. Inside is an imprinted piece of leather that says, “BAM Pina Bausch November 1994.” Lynn Stirrup, Director of Special Events for BAM at the time, remembers the limited edition run being around 100. The purses were sold by BAM in 1994 in the lobby and also by direct mail invitation, for around $500 each. They were also sold at the Prada store. The BAM Hamm Archives recently acquired a single purse through eBay!

If you know any more specifics about this item, or have any BAM related memorabilia to share, please contact the BAM Hamm Archives.

—Louie Fleck, BAM archivist

Thursday, May 10, 2012

BAMart Auction Closing

Art lovers of all ages came out to bid on the many works in BAMart's 8th Annual Art Auction!
This April the BAMart Silent Auction played the happy host of an incredible collection of artwork by artist from Andy Warhol to Willian Kentridge, Lillian Bassman, Kara Walker, Cindy Sherman, Richard Serra, Matthew Ritchie, Greg Lindquist, Terence Koh, Alex Katz, and Nan Goldin. This Eighth Annual BAMart Silent Auction was a major success, surpassing our fundraising goal and raising $480,000! For most of the 110 works bidding ended on April 22, with the BAMart Silent Auction Closing Reception. A special few of the works go on to be auctioned off tomorrow at Phillips de Pury & Company.

Click below for highlights of the auction and the closing reception!
A full Event Album can be found here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Documenting Performance: the Pina Bausch Archives and the BAM Hamm Archives

Two Cigarettes in the Dark, Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, 1994. Photo: Detlef Erler

Since 1984, BAM has been the only New York City venue presenting Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch—a friendship almost 30 years old. Over these years, hard-core Pina fans waited eagerly for the company to return while new devotees have been initiated into the fold, and virtually every performance sold out. BAM has also played an active role in helping to document the work.

BAM’s identity as a home for the contemporary performing arts is inextricably tied to Tanztheater Wuppertal. BAM’s Archives holds hundreds of photos, videos, press releases, clippings, invitations, posters, and correspondence from Tanztheater Wuppertal's 13 visits, presenting two dozen pieces.

It was therefore natural for Salomon Bausch, Marc Wagenbach, and Dirk Hesse of the Pina Bausch Foundation to visit the BAM Archives in October of 2010. They initially came to see the materials we had collected and we ended up talking over several days about the work of the company, our shared histories, and the unique challenges in documenting contemporary performance. As a result, I have visited Wuppertal twice in order to discuss the work of the Pina Bausch Archives. On my first visit, it was amazing to see performances in Wuppertal, including Two Cigarettes in the Dark, presented at BAM in 1994.

Read about the work of the Pina Bausch Foundation and the work being done on her Archives here.

Stay tuned for more updates on the project or contact the BAM Hamm Archives for more information.

DanceMotion USA, 2012—Taking American Dance to the World

Rennie Harris and the company with participants in the “hip hop camp” at the Zafer Al-Masri Foundation, Nablus, West Bank in March
Rennie Harris Puremovement is one of four American dance companies participating this year in the second DanceMotion USASM, a cultural diplomancy program produced by BAM under the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. DanceMotion USASM allows companies to share America's rich and varied contemporary dance culture with international audiences through performances and cultural exchange—including workshops, classes, and arts management seminars.

Companies, tour locations, and dates:

Rennie Harris Puremovement — Philadelphia, PA; hip-hop
Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories, Mar 9—Apr 6

Seán Curran Company — New York, NY; contemporary dance
Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Turkmenistan, Apr 5—May 3

Jazz Tap Ensemble — Los Angeles, CA; jazz and tap
Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe, Apr 9—May6

Trey McIntyre Project
— Boise, ID; contemporary dance
Cihina, South Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam, May 5—Jun 3

Follow the companies on tour on the DanceMotion USASM blog at and at the website,

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Creating a Graphic Identity for Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

At BAM, we pride ourselves on creating a visual identity as adventurous as the artists on our stages. From print materials to web presence, we continually play and reinvent our brand to reflect the programs, while keeping within the flexible style guidelines established by Pentagram's Michael Bierut in 1994. When announcing Crossing Brooklyn Ferry—a three day music and film festival curated by neighbors Bryce and Aaron Dessner of The National—we had an opportunity to create something really special that reflected the unique communal spirit of the Brooklyn artistic community.

Appropriately, the first seeds of the artistic identity sprouted from Karl Jensen, a Brooklyn artist who has worked with The National. The Dessners put us in touch with him, and we were blown away by his ideas—he was inspired by everything from Walt Whitman to Woodstock. Here are a few of the images he showed us:

Whitman himself, who penned 
the poem Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
Woodstock as an American Eden 
Early American frakturs
Some of Karl's sketches of Whitman-esque, musically-inclined children 
Most of all, we loved these incredible instruments he created out of cardboard. Lovingly hand-embellished and meticulously crafted, they spoke to the kind of DIY ethos we were trying to evoke, as well as a kind of childlike innocence—almost like playthings:

Here are a few words from Karl about the project:

I wanted to convey the intimacy of making things in the studio, the open-ended play and the joy of creating something. That sense of “I can do that,” giving yourself the freedom to make your own world. It’s all a very youthful thing to me. And of course Whitman, with his energy and sense of wonder, so easily embodies this.

Given such exciting source images, BAM's designers then had to work at transforming them into a website with its own distinct identity. Creating an identity involves many interconnected elements, such as a logo treatment, primary and secondary typefaces, color palettes, and guidelines for usage. For our designers, the challenge was to create something new that still fit in with our existing brand identity—something that still “looked like BAM.”

Being BAM employees, the web designers wanted to do something adventurous—to play with the instruments using the inventive technique known as parallax scrolling. This creates an illusion of depth perception on a flat screen, so it was particularly appealing for this project because Karl’s instruments would appear more real. It took a lot of work but we think the result is pretty groovy. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Check out the finished product at