54 - A New Performance up on the Web
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 8:48AM

Over the weekend, we went up to Sydney, for the opening of "54" at SNO Contemporary Art Projects in Marrickville, Sydney.  SNO is a delightful small gallery run by Billy Gruner, with assistance from a number of other folks, such as Daniel Argyle and Ruark Lewis.  SNO stands for Sydney Non Objective, and the idea of the gallery is to promote works which are indeed, in some sense, not figurative, or representational, but deal with materials in a very straighforward way.  They're showing my video piece "Five Unconventional Realizations for Ruark Lewis" this month (see poster below, if you're in the Sydney region), and asked if I'd like to do a small performance at the opening.  I said sure, and thought that if they're non-objective, this is my chance to go completely formalist and have fun.  Since they don't name their shows, only number them, I thought that "54" would be an ideal topic for a piece.  Catherine, bless her soul, video-ed the whole thing (despite a very sore arm).  I was delighted with both the performance and the video, and I've now cut up both the performance and the Question and Answer session afterwards into the less than 10 minute chunks that YouTube requires.  Rather than imbed 4 videos on this page, I'll just cut and paste the YouTube links here, and you can put these in your own browser and explore from there.

54 Part 1

54 Part 2

54 Q&A Part 1

54 Q&A Part 2

Note: In the Q&A section I make several errors of fact, which I'd like to correct here.

1) I said that "Car 54, Where Are You?" starred two Yiddish theatre veteran actors.  This is not true - only one of the actors, Joe E. Ross, was from a Yiddish comedy tradition.  The other, Fred Gwynne, was an academically trained Episcopalian.  This made sense to me - I'm an academically trained Episcopalian, and three of my closest collaborators over the years, Chris Mann, Ron Robboy and Al Wunder, are all, if not from a Yiddish comedy tradition, at least related tangentially to it.  It seems to be a good synergy.

HOWEVER, I have recently (Nov 26) received an email from Ron Robboy, informing me that Fred Gwynne did indeed sing Yiddish.  He sent me a link to an episode of Car 54, Where Are You which is up on YouTube, which, at 1:19 in, has Fred singing not only with Joe E. Ross, but also with Yiddish theatre star Molly Picon (who apparently guest starred in 3 episodes of Car 54). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVrAqjH8wDY&feature=related.  And for those of you truly interested in early 1960s American popular culture, here are the links to all four segments of the show, complete with, as Ron says, the boffo po-mo punchline.  Those of you interested in post modern architecture, or Prince Charles' take on the same, will be interested in the fate of the architect, one of the comic foils in this episode....


2) I said that Larry Austin was 75.  He is not.  He's 79 this year.

3) I said that John Cage was delighted with Larry's "Williams (re) Mixed", his computerization of Williams Mix.  Cage died in 1992, Austin started "Williams (re) Mixed" in 1997 and finished it in 2001.  So in fact, there's no way that John could approve or disapprove of Larry's work.  However, it seems so much in the spirit of what John was doing, that I think had he been alive, he would have been delighted, or at least pleasantly amused.

The problems of speaking off the cuff.  Historical accuracy goes out the window.  Tch, tch, tch.....I hope you find the videos as enjoyable as I found the performing.

Software note:  If you look at the score in the "walkaround" at the first part of the Q&A video, you might see the notation "Patch: Plogue 54 Alchemy."  That was from an earlier version of the piece.  Actually, for the performance, I used Ross Bencina's AudioMulch, with the Camel Audio Alchemy Softsynth, and everything controlled by Algorithmic Arts' ArtWonk.  All the texts I performed were generated with ArtWonk as well.

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