“Sound was his life,” says poet Betty Neals, one of the people interviewed in director Adam Kahan’s documentary about reed player Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Kirk’s playing of multiple instruments, often at the same time, was sometimes derided, even by listeners who appreciated jazz, as sheer gimmickry. Kahan’s documentary reminds listeners of just how rooted Kirk was in the traditions of African-American music.
Elizabeth Streb has been called the Evel Knievel of dance. For more than three decades, this "Extreme Action Architect," has gained a reputation and won awards for pushing the boundaries of what the human body can do. She calls company members "action heroes" because they must deal with challenges and potentially dangerous situations in her work.
She considers her new show, "STREB: Forces!" to be her best extreme action extravaganza yet. "I have never seen action this exquisite," Streb said in a telephone interview.
In the introduction to her 2010 book “Composed: A Memoir,” Rosanne Cash writes, “For me music has always involved journeys, both literal and metaphoric.” Her new collection of songs, “The River & the Thread,” is the product of a journey through the South, as Cash and her husband and collaborator, John Leventhal, traveled, in the words of one of the new songs “to touch the gumbo soul.”
For some societies to take one’s picture is to rob that person of the soul. In this “Face-to-Face” juried competition it is not the soul the artists wish to steal, rather it is to reveal some hidden thoughts of the sitter. In fact, in the call there is the suggestion that to look in someone’s eyes can capture a candid moment which may open a window into another person’s world.
Last Friday, The Ten Tenors sang “New York, New York” on NBC’s the “Today Show,” and indeed, they’ve made it there and everywhere. The Australian opera singers are on tour singing Broadway songs, and will perform March 20 at the Durham Performing Arts Center.
Tenor Paul Gelsumini spoke with The Herald-Sun on Tuesday from Oklahoma, where they had a performance that night. After the “Today Show” aired, they spent two hours being photographed around New York City in their suits, which was cold, he said, but they did get to see the sights.
The national tour of “Evita” brings a musical masterpiece to the masses, with a performance unlike anything else at the Durham Performing Arts Center this season. It is on stage at DPAC through Sunday.
When Broadway producer Hal Luftig saw the original production of “Evita” in New York in 1979, it changed how he saw theater. It was the first time he had seen something sung through like that, and using very little set, he said. It starred Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin and won a Tony Award in 1980. “Evita” is the story of the rise of Argentina’s first lady Eva Peron in the 1940s.
Fast forward to London in 2006, when a new production debuted that was “authentic and completely reorchestrated,” Luftig said, with so much more knowledge of the Perons.
The audience at Sunday’s Durham Symphony concert will get an experience that is eclectic, ecumenical, and, to use Duke Ellington’s phrase, “beyond category.” Listeners will get their ears expanded with a new piece from the symphony’s composer of the year Steven Bryant, hear some arrangements of pieces from jazz musicians with North Carolina connections, and go to church.
The concert is a collaboration of many local musicians. William Henry Curry, musical director and conductor of the symphony, asked local musicians to take a look at the music of North Carolina musicians. He gave them a list of 12 compositions or arrangements by John Coltrane, Nina Simone, Billy Strayhorn and other musicians and asked them to pick something to perform. “I’ve learned enough working with artists to turn them loose on what they love,” Curry said. A grant from the North Carolina Arts Council allowed the symphony to hire more guest artists for the concert, he said.
For Lost in the Trees’ new recording “Past Life,” composer and singer Ari Picker wanted the sound “to feel like a band versus an ensemble.” For the band’s previous recordings “All Alone in an Empty House” (2008) and “A Church that Fits Our Needs” (2012), Picker would write the parts for a strings section, but for “Past Life,” he wanted a sound he calls less dense. On the new recording, a single guitar sound or synthesizer performs the same function as strings, brass and winds.
Eleven Brazilian dancers and work by French choreographer Mourad Merzouki wowed a packed Memorial Hall audience Tuesday in a program that showcased a passion for dancing and dance-making. Dancers display great heart, energy, strength and flexibility while Merzouki exhibits his limber imagination and creativity.
This choreographer’s early circus training continues to serve him well, especially in the sense of putting on a show that elicits joy and delight. His work is playful, comic, whimsical. He also creates some dance magic when he figures out how to turn ordinary, clear plastic cups into rain and make dancers appear to have two extra legs.
The set for PlayMakers Repertory Company’s production of Deborah Salem Smith’s play “Love Alone” contains what scenic designer Lee Savage calls “a wall of windows.” The set also has hanging squares that contain fluorescent lights, and three video screens. All of these design elements are intended to help draw the audience into two different worlds affected by a medical procedure gone wrong – the survivors grieving the loss of a loved one, and the doctors who are being sued for malpractice.
There are no “evil doctors’ in Salem Smith’s play, said director Vivienne Benesch. “What’s important about the play is that it’s not black and white,” she said. “Love Alone” follows the lives of the patients and doctors in a malpractice suit and becomes “a very beautiful, personal play about dealing with grief and forgiveness,” Benesch said.
In 1854 Commodore Matthew Perry of the United States Navy sailed into Edo Harbor and demanded that the Japanese open their gates to the West and they did. There are many explanations why the Shoguns opened up trade to this American when they had closed their country to foreign influence for more than 200 years. The history of Japan at this moment in time is beyond the scope of this column, but the results of this incident, especially those that affected Western art, reached halfway around the world and were a key influence in the development of modern art.