Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Experiencing Japanese Butoh & Nepalese Quilts

Entertainment and cultural enrichment may enter one's life in unexpected ways.

This summer the Steiny Road Poet was invited by her itinerant poet friend James Hopkins to see colorful quilts made by Nepalese mothers who are trying to provide education for their children. Quilts for Kids Nepal is a project James started to empower these mothers to improve the lives of their children, who are otherwise sent out on the streets of Kathmandu at age seven to beg.

In this dance video, one sees some of these quilts as well as the mesmerizing movement of Butoh. This is a stylized dance originally in protest of long held traditions. In this video, however, the slow execution of body movement allows plenty of time to see the quilt being used by the dancer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Opera as Habitat

 Like a bride after her reception of hands and hugs, strawberries and champagne, the Steiny Road Poet will toss the coveted bouquet to the virgins as a way of imagining How Many Midnights, the opera love story about Jane and Paul Bowles on which she is working with composer John Supko.
In this toss: music that breathes

Supko will provide computer screens to the singers and musicians. Every performance will be slightly different though statistically similar.

In this toss: music that breaks through artificiality

If a jazz band working improvisationally can sit in the window of time that is defined by the present moment, then HMM produced by Supko’s guided chance will also work with that time that is now and therefore avoid the collision with sounds that happened yesterday.

In this toss:  opera that renews the past

In the party scene where Jane Auer first meets Paul Bowles, Supko, using Markov chains, recombines the chords of Coleman Hawkins version of “Body and Soul.” 
In this toss: a scale-able opera

If Kabuki Theater tickets can be purchased by the act, HMM can be scaled to a given amount time or offered in shorter scenic productions. Supko would like this opera to be thought of as an installation for an art museum.

In this toss: opera with fragrance

In a true habitat, there are objects you can see, touch, and hear. HMM will have an optional element of fragrance similar to the spice market of Marrakech.

Note: How Many Midnights is a work-in-progress experimental opera by John Supko (music) and Karren LaLonde Alenier (words). Stay tuned for notices of public performances in 2012 that will sample the opera before its premier.