NewTown, L.A. FIlmforum & Cinefamily Present:
Blast Phemy! #5
A Mid-week Music/Media Mashup!
James Whitney Films (Yantra & Lapis), Gregg Johnson &
Montino Bourbon, Music
Lucky Dragons Luke Fishbeck and Sara Rara) with Selected Films
Transvalue with Chuck Britt, Spoken Word; Michael Vlatkovich, Compositions, David Crigger, percussion; Steve Shoffner, Projections
Video Documentation - Part 1
Video Documentation - Part 2
- Where: Cinefamily • 611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
- Date: Wednesday, May 26 • 8:00PM
- Admission: $13.00 • $9.00 NewTown, CInefamily & Los Angeles Filmforum Members
- Reservations: Box Office: (323) 655-2510 - Advance Ticket Purchase Recommended - BUY TICKETS HERE!
- Photographs: Available on Request
- Information & Photographs: Richard Amromin, Artistic Director, NewTown firstname.lastname@example.org (626) 398-9278
Experience the contemplative mastery of James Whitney’s exquisite abstract experimentations wedded to the award winning percussive mastery of the legendary Gregg Johnson making a rare SoCal appearance. New, exquisite digital transfers of Yantra and Lapis were supervised by the Whitney Estate and the Academy Film Archive The first half concludes with the multimedia mastery of Lucky Dragons whose song-based explorations with home-made synthesizer, vocal virtuosity and found object percussion meld with experimental films to "encourage connections between show-goers over the standard-issue connection between a band and their creation and the audience's emotions". We conclude with Transvalue, the prodigious brainbaby of trombonist/composer Michael Vlatkovich, percussionist David Crigger and spoken word artist Chuck Britt, melding virtuosic musical settings for L.A.’s finest jazz musicians supporting, surrounding and interacting with Mr. Britt’s growling, hissing, warbling and verbal dances, all graced with the visual explosions of Steve Shoffner. This show will never be replicated on this planet.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
JAMES WHITNEY FILMS WITH GREGG JOHNSON AND MONTINO BOURBON
James Whitney (1921-81) began collaborating on abstract films with his older brother John in the early 1940s. James became increasingly involved in contemplative, spiritual interests-Jungian psychology, alchemy, yoga, Tao, Krishnamurti and consciousness expansion-which became the subject matter of the films on which he labored for over 30 years. The two works in this program – Yantra (1957, 8 mins, 16mm, color) and Lapis (1966, 9 mins, 16mm, color) – are seminal works of visual music, as vital and stunning today as they were almost half a century ago.
Gregg Johnson is an innovator in modern hand drumming and percussion, synthesizing the musical traditions of India within contemporary classical contexts of ‘junk’ and ‘found object’ percussion. Gregg is an award winning composer for theatre and film, having received a Dramalogue Critic's Circle award for sound design and performance in a score for Steven Berkoff's adaptation of Kafka's Metamorphosis at the Mark Taper Forum. He composed and performed for multiple seasons of the LA Music Center’s Improvisational Theatre Project and for THEATREWORKS’ Pericles, Prince of Tyre and A `Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Montino Bourbon was born in Rome in 1942, and has been a musician all his life. In 1967 he started studying with Ali Akbar Khan, considered the greatest Indian musician of the 20th century. He finished his studies in 1979, and since then lives in Santa Barbara, where he teaches, gives concerts, and composes original music.
LUCKY DRAGONS With SELECTED FILMS
"lucky dragons" means any recorded or performed or installed or packaged or shared or suggested or imagined pieces made by Luke Fischbeck, Sarah Rara, and/or any sometimes collaborators who claim the name.
the name "lucky dragons" is borrowed from a japanese fishing boat caught in the fallout of hydrogen bomb test at bikini atoll in the 1950's. the crew stricken ill, and the boat itself contaminated, the "lucky dragon" became a crystalizing symbol for the previously diffuse worldwide anti-nuclear sentiment. eventually the boat was painted black, renamed the "dark falcon", and put into reuse as a fishing vessel, until it was retired and disposed of on the man-made trash island "dream island", where it remains today.
lucky dragons are about the birthing of new and temporary creatures--equal-power situations in which audience members cooperate amongst themselves, building up fragile networks held together by such light things as skin contact, unfamiliar language, temporary logic, the spirit of celebration, and things that work but you don't know why. There have been hundreds of these simple yet shifting and unpredictable instances--with audiences ranging from the intense intimacy of one person to the public spectacle of thousands of people. At the heart of it all is playing together--building up social collectivities, re-engaging the wonder and impossibility of technological presence. It sounds--and looks--like simple and ancient patterns coming together and falling apart in a sincere attempt to let wires and screens and words become clear and crystal.
Fischbeck and Rara have presented interactive performances and installations in a wide variety of contexts--including MOCA Los Angeles, The Smell, Smithsonian's Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Whitney Museum of American Art (as part of the 2008 Whitney Biennial), The Kitchen and PS1 in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, REDCAT and LACMA in Los Angeles, Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle, ICA London, ICA Philadelphia, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.
lucky dragons' sister projects include "sumi ink club"--a weekly collaborative drawing society, and "glaciers of nice"--a small press and internet community.
today's influences: nikki de st phalle, joan didion, CoBrA group, crass, hieronymous bosch, thomas jefferson, tina turner, allan kaprow, joan jonas, bruce nauman, mayan codices, ivor cutler, jacques ranciere, helio oiticica, lygia clark, giorgio agamben, pauline oliveros, terry riley, plastic people of the universe, eliane radigue, bruno munari.
TRANSVALUE With STEVE SHOFFNER
Since 1980, under the name Transvalue, trombonist/composer Michael Vlatkovich has been, with his unique brand of improvisationally-friendly compositions, creating musical settings to support, surround and interact with the writings and vocal performances of spoken word artist Chuck Britt. For this event they are joined by a third major collaborator and in percussionist David Crigger.
Over the years, Transvalue has grown into a sort of repertory company of West Coast experimental jazz artists with the instrumentation and personnel varying with the needs of the material. Beyond Michael and Chuck, one mainstay of this repertory company has been drummer/percussionist, David Crigger, whose role as recording engineer/mixer has grown beyond mere capturing of performances, but the editing, shaping and extending those performances to match Transvalue’s current vision of itself.
Other player’s having performed on all three Transvalue recordings include bassist, Domenic Genova; multi-woodwindist, Vinny Golia; trumpeter, Lou Gonzales; and keyboardist, Warren Hartman.
Transvalue’s latest recording, “Book III” also features Glenn Horiuchi on piano; Jay Hutson and Bill Plake on woodwinds; Mark Underwood on trumpet; George McMullen on trombone; Bill Roper on Tuba; Melanie Cracchiolo and Chuck Sabitino on lead vocals; plus many other guests.
Chuck Britt, Vocals/Poems/Verbal Expressions observes and invites us into his American life. From his loving but disturbed and too intense fifties family, through the polluted, war and riot torn, deteriorating sixties, the inflated, over watered desert of Los Angeles and the world of performance art and jazz in the seventies and eighties, through his visions of redemption in death and unlikely family healing over the last twenty years in the Northwest, Chuck growls, hisses, warbles and dances his vision. We can come or not… but it is clear that he will go on relentlessly.
Michael Vlatkovich, Trombone/Compostions, called by JAZZIZ magazine, “…one of the most extraordinary improvising trombonists in this country as well as overseas... a daring and emotionally charged performer... takes delight in blending a broad variety of jazz and world music styles into his own brand of engaging and unpredictable music and manages to express a raw power and beauty within a minimally structured format that allows extensive group improvisations to lead the way.”
William Roper, Tuba, has recorded with the rock bands: Thelonious Monster, The Fibonaccis and The Other Woman; poets: Jimmy Townes and Mark Weber; avant ensemble: Motor Totemist Guild; the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Parachute Express; as well as The Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, American Jazz Institute and Los Angeles Jazz Institute ensembles, the Orchestre Surreal, The Luckman Jazz Orchestra under James Newton, Bobby Bradford, Anthony Braxton, John Carter, Jimmy Cleveland, Billy Higgins, Yusef Lateef, Wadada Leo Smith, and Horace Tapscott.
Vinny Golia, Woodwinds, has presented his music to concert audiences in Europe, Canada, Mexico, Japan and the US; won numerous awards as a composer, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, The California Arts Council, and the American Composers Forum; won LA Weekly's "Best Jazz Musician" Award in 1999; ranked 1st in the Cadence Magazine Writers & Readers Poll in 1998; continually places in the Downbeat Critic's Poll for Baritone Saxophone; . Jazziz Magazine named him as one of the 100 people who have influenced the course of Jazz in our Century.
David Crigger, Drums/Percussion/Additional Keyboards/Programming & Sound Manipulation ...joined the Don Ellis Orchestra at age 18 and has since recorded and performed with Elvis Costello, Klaus Doldinger's Passport, Burt Bacharach, Brian Auger, Free Flight, Willie Bobo, as well as the big bands of Ralph Carmichael, Joe Roccisano and Bruce Lofgren; written for numerous magazines on music technology; engineered/produced CD's for Jeanette Wrate, Bruce Lofgren Jazz Orchestra, Bill Plake and others.
Domenic Genova, Acoustic & Electric Bass is a mainstay of the Los Angeles music scene; has played/recorded with Seals & Croft, Tori Amos, Michelle Shocked, Olivia Newton-John, 5th Dimension, Melissa Manchester, Jeff Richman, and Thom Rotella". His Film and T.V. credits include Home Improvement, Star Trek Deep Space Nine, Roseanne, Happy Days, Little Mermaid, Married to the Mob, Naked Gun 3.5, Bye Bye Love, Leap of Faith, and Rookie of the Year.
Wayne Peet, Keyboards, moved to Los Angeles in 1978 to play with John Rapson. He played with Alex Cline, Nels Cline, Vinny Golia, and Steuart Liebig in the 1980s, and recorded for Golia's Nine Winds label. Peet has composed extensively for film and television, and also does production and engineering for Nine Winds, pfMentum, Blue Note, Enja, Atavistic, Little Brother, SST and other labels. He wrote arrangements for Brian Setzer from 1992-94, played with Bobby Bradford in 2000 and engineered the first Leviathan Brothers EP in 2005.
Steve Shoffner is an artist and designer who received his Masters of Fine Arts from Claremont Graduate University in 2003 with an emphasis in photography and digital media. Steve creates art in the studio as well as collaboratively with The League of Imaginary Scientists, a group of artists and scientists who engineer hybrid art works in the cross-section of their fields. The League's projects span the globe with their current endeavor taking them to Ireland to study the Mars Rovers’ findings on Mars and learn more about Ireland’s changing climate. His solo Looking Glass series are interactive installations that combine performance and video to create illusions that manipulate the perceptions and expectations of his audience. His work, inspired by the everyday’s peculiarities that are often overlooked, reenacts humorous scenarios where technology leaves viewers bewildered and disconnected. Steve exhibits his projects in public domains as well as traditional galleries, such as Track 16 Gallery in Santa Monica, The Armory in Pasadena, The Torrance Art Museum, Union College in New York and the Casula Powerhouse outside Sydney, Australia. His most recent project titled Cloud 29, a video existing on a unique arrangement of fifty-eight 46-inch screens placed end to end, will be unveiled at Los Angeles International Airport in the summer of 2010.
NewTown strives to make people aware that contemporary art forms are innovative, accessible, enjoyable and important parts of society's fabric. NewTown often defines itself as “a laboratory for innovative presentational formats.” The goals of these formats are to bring new audiences to today’s cutting-edge art, while providing artists with new and challenges contexts in which to make new art. NewTown has brought new art works and new art forms to an estimated 171,000 people, many of whom had never encountered "experimental" art, with many of the events free and in public spaces; been a leading advocate for small, grassroots arts organizations; and maintained minimal administrative costs, so over 85% of all memberships, grants and ticket sales go directly to artists and event production.
About Los Angeles Filmforum
Filmforum was incorporated in 1975 to promote a greater understanding of film as an art form and the filmmaker as an artist by providing a forum for independently produced, experimental films, which have little opportunity of reaching the general public through normal channels of commercial distribution. Presenting approximately 45 screenings annually, Filmforum is currently the only venue in Southern California dedicated exclusively to the ongoing, non-commercial exhibition of independent, experimental, and progressive cinema. Filmforum facilitates cross-cultural dialogue by collaborating with other arts organizations to bring alternative media into traditionally underserved communities and to bring work from those communities to its regular venue. This geographically-diverse, multi-site programming also encourages shared audiences among arts organizations. Filmforum encourages the production of diverse independent media art. Through its eclectic series of in-person screenings and workshops, Filmforum provides the inspiration, models, and information necessary for the production and distribution of new work by local and emerging artists. Filmforum champions the dual imperatives of aesthetic and cultural diversity as necessary components for 1) enriching the art form and 2) assuring inclusive, democratic participation in social discourse. Filmforum provides valuable exposure for local artists. Its First Sight Scene series features new work by artists in the formative stages of their careers, in a format highlighting new ideas and aesthetics emerging in our evolving city. Retrospectives of work by major figures in the history of alternative media are complimented by thematically-based programs combing works of all generations.
The Cinefamily is an organization of movie lovers devoted to finding and presenting interesting and unusual programs of exceptional, distinctive, weird and wonderful films. The Cinefamily’s goal is to foster a spirit of community and a sense of discovery, while reinvigorating the movie-going experience. Like campfires, sporting events and church services, we believe that movies work best as social experiences. They are more meaningful, funnier and scarier when shared with others. Our home is the Silent Movie Theatre, one of Hollywood’s most beloved and beautiful cultural landmarks. There, The Cinefamily will provide a destination spot for Los Angelenos and others to rediscover the pleasures of cinema. Built in 1942 by John and Dorothy Hampton, The Silent Movie Theatre ran for decades as the only fully functioning silent movie theatre in the country. It has been fully restored to its original, vintage 1940s art deco design, along with a brand new screen and sound system, to help a new generation enjoy the pleasures of cinema in a beautiful theater.