Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kirby Olson

Is society shifting to the left as a consequence of the Bush presidency? One of the few Conservatives I know is Kirby Olson. Once he was a hippie liberal poet scholar; in years past, for instance, he wrote a book about Gregory Corso. But now his opinions seem insane; or is he just a turncoat?

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Contemporary composers make opera. Film makers film these operas. The Op on Screen Festival, free to the public, celebrates this new musical theater for seven weeks October 6 to November 17 with a fresh program each Saturday. This screening presentation was facilitated by the New York Public Library branch at Hamilton Fish Park.

October 20

Elodie Lauten’s ORFREO, a short opera inspired by the art and mysterious death of Ray Johnson, with libretto by Michael Andre, was premiered at Merkin Hall (2004) by Baroque ensemble The Queen’s Chamber Band, with countertenor Marshall Coid and soprano Meredith Borden. A DVD of this production, edited and produced by Ludi Askins, was recently released on 4Tay.

THE DEATH OF DON JUAN, Lauten’s first foray into multimedia theater, received a National Endowment for the Arts award. The DVD documents the new 2005 large-scale production at Franklin Pierce College, directed by Robert Lawson.

WAKING IN NEW YORK, Lauten's 'rocking' tribute to her friend the poet Allen Ginsberg was shown at the New York City Opera VOX in 2004. The document presented here is of an earlier production at the 14th St Y Theater, conducted by Mimi Stern-Wolfe.

Elodie Lauten’s music was presented by the Lincoln Center Festival, the New York City Opera, WNYC, The Whitney Museum, The Kitchen, the Performing Garage, La Mama, and at the Paris Museum of Modern Art. Her discography includes 26 titles to-date. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts , the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, The Music Liberty Initiative, as well as ongoing support from ASCAP, Meet the Composer, and the American Music Center. She is currently on the composition faculty at NYU.

ORFREO--Among Michael Andre’s books of poetry are Experiments in Banal Living and Studying the Ground for Holes. His art criticism has appeared in Art News, The Village Voice and Art in America. He recently edited Archifanfaro, a libretto by Carlo Goldoni, translated by W.H. Auden. He is the publisher Unmuzzled OX, a magazine of poetry, politics and art.

Elaine Comparone, the founding member of Bach with Pluck, Trio Bell’Arte and The Queen's Chamber Band, has received multiple awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council of the Arts. She has performed both solo and with her ensemble at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Merkin Concert Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Dayton Art Institute and the Library of Congress. She is very active in commissioning new work for harpsichord. She produced ORFREO.

THE DEATH OF DON JUAN--Robert Lawson is a writer, director, composer, screenwriter & visual artist. His music/theater work “…but the rain is full of ghosts” was performed at the Kennedy Center as part of the National American College Theater Festival (April 2003). Recent work includes direction & set design of The Magic Flute for the Granite State Opera, for which he also directed the 2001 production of The Barber of Seville; an ongoing series of workshops in Creative Process and film for the Donau University in Austria; and co-writing and producing an independent feature film - Safety Glass. He is on faculty at Franklin Pierce University. Note that In THE DEATH OF DON JUAN 2005 production directed by Robert Lawson, the original electro-acoustic soundtrack was used, augmented by live performance by Elodie Lauten (synthesizer) and Jonathan Hischman (electric guitar). Some of the original performers on this soundtrack were Peter Zummo and Arthur Russell.

WAKING IN NEW YORK---Allen Ginsberg is Allen Ginsberg. With William Burroughs, Gregory Corso and Jack Kerouac, he invented Beat literature. The censorship trial of his first book of poetry, Howl and Other Poems, made him famous; Howl has become one of the most widely read poems of the century. Ginsberg received Yugoslavia’s Struga Poetry Festival "Golden Wreath" in 1986. A member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters, Ginsberg co-founded o the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute, the first accredited Buddhist college in the Western world. Michael Andre interviewed and published him and Elodie Lauten starred in his all-girl rock group..

Meredith Borden and Marshall Coid star in ORFREO!

Meredith Borden, soprano, a graduate of New England Conservatory in Boston, found her way into the world of microtonal music via Joe Maneri's microtonal music class where he taught his students to defy the 12-Tone music "standard" in order to sing and play 72-Equal Tempered notes to the octave. From this point on, Borden began developing her own uniquely virtuosic microtonal singing style, along the way performing works by Philip Glass and Meredith Monk, and other new music composers. Defining herself as a "blues coloratura," Borden combines her classical virtuosity with a blues passion. Although Borden is celebrated for her ability to
master challenging microtonal works, her vocal repertoire ranges from early music to contemporary musical theatre, featured in works as diverse as Bach's Jauchzet Gott in Allen Landen to touring with the musical Hair in Europe. Paul Griffiths of the New York Times described her performance of Harry Partch's The Potion Scene as "gripping."

Marshall Coid has a multi-faceted career as a counter tenor, violinist, composer, writer and actor. Since graduating from the Juilliard School in 1979 he has appeared as a soloist for Lincoln Center Great Performers, Spoleto Festival, the Kennedy Center, the New York Shakespeare Festival, New York Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, His television credits include Fame, Another World, Guiding Light, and Nosferatu on MTV. On Broadway he has appeared in Rags, Ghetto, Barnum, Sunset Boulevard and Chicago. Currently he is a soloist with the Queen's Chamber Band and the New York Ensemble for Early Music at St. John the Divine. He is on the music faculty of Columbia University.

In addition to Orfreo Michael Andre and Elodie Lauten collaborated on S.O.S. W.Y.C. (2001), Sex and Pre-Anti-Post-Modernism (2002) and Justification by Faith and the Long Ball (for Daniel Berrigan) 2006.

Saturday at 2pm October 20:

New York Public Library
Hamilton Fish Park Branch
415 Houston Street (Ave C)
Program Information: 212-388-0202
October 6 to November 17, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Indians eliminate Yankees

Back in 1999 just before the Millennium, God and Allah were in a bar up in heaven. God has always been a Yankee fan. Allah favors the Mets. “Jeez, God,” said Allah, “for like a thousand years the Yankees always win. Why don’t you make it interesting? how about giving my boys a chance?”

All right, said God, games should be fair. The Mets can win henceforward sometimes, and the Yankees accordingly will lose. And such is The All-new Divine Plan.

But Lo! The Yankees immediately in that Very Millennial Year, 2000, defied the Lord’s Plan and humiliated the Mets to win the World Series. Allah sneered. Some God! Saith Allah, come October You can’t even control nine guys on a ball field.

Maybe they’re more afraid of Steinbrenner than Me, saith the Lord. You Allah may smite New York Itself and henceforward I assure You until the Mets win and win again, the Yankees will come close and then closer but, like the Cubs, with whom I am also wroth, never again triumph.

Allah cackled. He prepared his mighty airliners.