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Monday, November 28, 2016

In Context: A Gun Show

Sō Percussion’s gives the Second Amendment a soundtrack in this affecting foray into America’s fraught relationship with guns, directed by Obie-winning director Ain Gordon. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of related articles and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #AGunShow.

Program Notes

A Gun Show (PDF)


StoryCorps Initiative
Reflecting on Guns, part of A Gun Show (BAM blog)
Join the StoryCorps conversation about your relationship to guns, and their place in your daily and imaginative life. Read all about it on the BAMblog before adding your voice.


So Percussion: Taking Aim at Guns in America (The Log Journal)
"I write this essay in the throes of the aftermath of our national election...It seems impossible now to write about the intersection between social issues and art without acknowledging this new reality."

Complicated Work:: Exploring A Gun Show (the operating system [beta])
An interview with Sō Percussion’s Adam Sliwinski about the political impetus for the piece, the collaborators the company’s accrued along the way, and the process of developing the work.

Gun Violence Archive
This nonprofit accumulates easy-to-read data on gun violence nationwide.

A Bunch of Drummers and Friends, Thinking About Home and John Cage (The New York Times)
A review of the 2012 Next Wave production Where (we) Live, the previous collaboration between Sō Percussion, Emily Johnson, and director Ain Gordon.

Watch & Listen

So Percussion: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert (YouTube)A whimsical Tiny Desk Concert with Sō Percussion.

Emily Johnson, "The Thank-You Bar" (YouTube)
An excerpt from choreographer Emily Johnson’s Bessie Award-winning piece The Thank-You Bar.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #AGunShow.


  1. While I understand the program was conceived after the Sandy Hook shootings, I didn't understand a lot of what the performers were doing or saying and what it all meant. I don't necessarily need to have messages or intent explained to me, but in this case I could certainly have used it. I wanted to understand what everything meant, but most of it just didn't make any sense to me. I just enjoyed the displays of percussion ... and understood the fact that a portion of the show was performed on guns purchased on the Internet. I really hate to say that the intricacies of the message were muddled, but they were and as much as I tried to understand, I couldn't. I'm curious what others think.

  2. I think that was the point--that there is no definitive thing to say about what guns are now. I was blown away by this show (excuse the pun). I went on the hook that it might just be one of those wonderfully corky performances BAM New Wave is known for, but I got something spectacular. They are artists doing what artists do which is to make something superb art wise but also to ... I don't want to say respond... maybe use what they have? Make art that thinks too? Something happens when the performance is high caliber (they sure can drum) the production is surgically precise (every move of a hand without its redacted drum was riveting) and relevant. You walk away feeling whole even in fractured times.