Performance Archive

  • Apart from articulating a debate on race and rhythm, black nationalism and the urban struggle in the 1950s US, the 1959 experimental film "The Cry of Jazz" shows cosmic philosopher and Afro-futurist Sun Ra during his Chicago period.

    Sun Ra: “The Cry of Jazz” and the Sounds of Black Liberation

    Apart from articulating a debate on race and rhythm, black nationalism and the urban struggle in the 1950s US, the 1959 experimental film "The Cry of Jazz" shows cosmic philosopher and Afro-futurist Sun Ra during his Chicago period.

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  • Jorge Luis Borges forged into the realm of literary magic, he led his readers down through the Garden of Forking Paths, wandering the red and tranquil labyrinths in Elegy, growing old in so many mirrors, seeking in vain the marble gaze of statues, compiling regrets of a fantastic nature. Watch the BBC profile on him as an elder of strange destiny who had seen nothing, or almost nothing, but the face of a girl from Buenos Aires, a face that does not want you to remember it.

    Jorge Luis Borges: On Literary Magic and Garden Labyrinths

    Jorge Luis Borges forged into the realm of literary magic, he led his readers down through the Garden of Forking Paths, wandering the red and tranquil labyrinths in Elegy, growing old in so many mirrors, seeking in vain the marble gaze of statues, compiling regrets of a fantastic nature. Watch the BBC profile on him as an elder of strange destiny who had seen nothing, or almost nothing, but the face of a girl from Buenos Aires, a face that does not want you to remember it.

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  • "The Atrocity Exhibition" is J.G. Ballard’s instruction manual in how to disrupt mass media and recontextualize technology in a dystopian landscape overrun with industrial waste and technological white noise. Watch the piece on Ballard and the Motorcar, that careens across the landscape of his controversial novel, "Crash."

    J. G. Ballard: Atrocity Exhibition and the Modernist Motorcar Dystopia

    "The Atrocity Exhibition" is J.G. Ballard’s instruction manual in how to disrupt mass media and recontextualize technology in a dystopian landscape overrun with industrial waste and technological white noise. Watch the piece on Ballard and the Motorcar, that careens across the landscape of his controversial novel, "Crash."

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  • The Mexican film Macario (1960) weaves a tale of magical realism - with special appearances by God, the Devil and Death. It all begins on the Day of the Dead, when a campesino named Macario goes on a hunger strike. B. Traven, the mysterious German writer exiled in Mexico, wrote the story, inspired from indigenous folk tales.

    B. Traven’s “Macario” – Magical Realist Journey on Day of the Dead

    The Mexican film Macario (1960) weaves a tale of magical realism - with special appearances by God, the Devil and Death. It all begins on the Day of the Dead, when a campesino named Macario goes on a hunger strike. B. Traven, the mysterious German writer exiled in Mexico, wrote the story, inspired from indigenous folk tales.

    Continue Reading...

  • Film and music of shimmering yet jarring beauty play together on a South Seas beach in "Legong: Dance of the Virgins." It's a rarely screened 1935 silent movie, shot entirely in Bali with a Balinese cast, mixed with a new score by Club Foot Orchestra and Gamelan Sekar Jaya. Presented in a crude but rich two-strip early Technicolor process, one of the last silent films made by Hollywood, it depicts Bali as Westerners idealized it at the time.

    Legong Film: Balinese Dream Dance of Nymphs in Heaven

    Film and music of shimmering yet jarring beauty play together on a South Seas beach in "Legong: Dance of the Virgins." It's a rarely screened 1935 silent movie, shot entirely in Bali with a Balinese cast, mixed with a new score by Club Foot Orchestra and Gamelan Sekar Jaya. Presented in a crude but rich two-strip early Technicolor process, one of the last silent films made by Hollywood, it depicts Bali as Westerners idealized it at the time.

    Continue Reading...

  • Bicycle Thieves (Italian: Ladri di biciclette), also known as The Bicycle Thief, is director Vittorio De Sica's 1948 story of a poor father searching post-World War II Rome for his stolen bicycle, without which he will lose the job which was to be the salvation of his young family.

    Vittorio De Sica: The Alienated Unemployed in “Bicycle Thieves”

    Bicycle Thieves (Italian: Ladri di biciclette), also known as The Bicycle Thief, is director Vittorio De Sica's 1948 story of a poor father searching post-World War II Rome for his stolen bicycle, without which he will lose the job which was to be the salvation of his young family.

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  • In 1934, Henry Miller, then aged forty-two and living in Paris, published his first book. In 1961, finally published in his native land the book promptly became a best-seller and a cause célèbre. By now, the "controversies" dominate his legacy, including issues of censorship, obscenity, misogyny and anti-Semitism, clouding the import of Henry Miller's words. "Tropic of Cancer" broke literary ground, mixing novelistic forms with autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, and surrealist free association.

    Henry Miller’s Free Association into the Surreal

    In 1934, Henry Miller, then aged forty-two and living in Paris, published his first book. In 1961, finally published in his native land the book promptly became a best-seller and a cause célèbre. By now, the "controversies" dominate his legacy, including issues of censorship, obscenity, misogyny and anti-Semitism, clouding the import of Henry Miller's words. "Tropic of Cancer" broke literary ground, mixing novelistic forms with autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, and surrealist free association.

    Continue Reading...

  • Robert Pinsky on Sylvia Plath: "Thrashing, hyperactive, perpetually accelerated, the poems of Sylvia Plath catch the feeling of a profligate, hurt imagination, throwing off images and phrases with the energy of a runaway horse or a machine with its throttle stuck wide open."

    Lady Lazarus: The Hurt Imagination of Sylvia Plath

    Robert Pinsky on Sylvia Plath: "Thrashing, hyperactive, perpetually accelerated, the poems of Sylvia Plath catch the feeling of a profligate, hurt imagination, throwing off images and phrases with the energy of a runaway horse or a machine with its throttle stuck wide open."

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  • A community of coffee farmers in Uganda has formed the Peace Kawomera Fair Trade Cooperative, focused on people of different faiths putting aside their differences to overcome generations of conflict and poverty. Now a Smithsonian Folkways recording has been released to celebrate their achievements.

    Uganda: Coffee Farmers Sing Delicious Peace

    A community of coffee farmers in Uganda has formed the Peace Kawomera Fair Trade Cooperative, focused on people of different faiths putting aside their differences to overcome generations of conflict and poverty. Now a Smithsonian Folkways recording has been released to celebrate their achievements.

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  • Almost forty years after his violent death, Pier Paolo Pasolini, filmmaker, poet, journalist, novelist, playwright, painter, actor, and all-around intellectual public figure, remains a subject of passionate argument. Best known for a subversive and difficult body of film work, loaded with Renaissance and Baroque iconography, he championed the disinherited and damned of postwar Italy, mingling an intellectual leftism with a fierce Franciscan Catholicism.

    Pier Paolo Pasolini: A Subversive Champion of the Disinherited

    Almost forty years after his violent death, Pier Paolo Pasolini, filmmaker, poet, journalist, novelist, playwright, painter, actor, and all-around intellectual public figure, remains a subject of passionate argument. Best known for a subversive and difficult body of film work, loaded with Renaissance and Baroque iconography, he championed the disinherited and damned of postwar Italy, mingling an intellectual leftism with a fierce Franciscan Catholicism.

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  • Lou Harrison: A World of Music is an intimate portrait of an eclectic composer who traded a fast-paced New York career for a remote cabin in the woods. Harrison, a polymath, iconoclast, writer and activist, embraced artistic playfulness over the business of composing. Experimenting freely with western, eastern and custom made instruments, Harrison forged a new course for 20th century music.

    The Gamelan Vibrations of Lou Harrison

    Lou Harrison: A World of Music is an intimate portrait of an eclectic composer who traded a fast-paced New York career for a remote cabin in the woods. Harrison, a polymath, iconoclast, writer and activist, embraced artistic playfulness over the business of composing. Experimenting freely with western, eastern and custom made instruments, Harrison forged a new course for 20th century music.

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  • Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 masterpiece, "The Battle of Algiers," as a study of the brutality of urban guerrilla warfare, serves an Arab-street-level counterpoint to Kathryn Bigelow's US-imperialism-centered, torture-driven war propaganda film, "Zero Dark Thirty."

    The Battle of Algiers: A Brutal Portrait of Urban Guerrilla Warfare

    Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 masterpiece, "The Battle of Algiers," as a study of the brutality of urban guerrilla warfare, serves an Arab-street-level counterpoint to Kathryn Bigelow's US-imperialism-centered, torture-driven war propaganda film, "Zero Dark Thirty."

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  • The Seventh Seal (Det Sjunde Inseglet) is a 1957 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Set in Sweden during the Black Death, it tells of the journey of a medieval knight and a game of chess he plays with the personification of Death, who has come to take his life.

    Ingmar Bergman: A Tenuous Searching Faith in “The Seventh Seal”

    The Seventh Seal (Det Sjunde Inseglet) is a 1957 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Set in Sweden during the Black Death, it tells of the journey of a medieval knight and a game of chess he plays with the personification of Death, who has come to take his life.

    Continue Reading...

  • E.T.A. Hoffmann's Literary Gothic: Every New Year's Eve the Devil keeps a special treat for me. He knows just the right moment to jam his claw into my heart, keeping up a fine mockery while he licks the blood that wells out.

    E.T.A. Hoffmann: The Soul’s Adventure on New Year’s Eve

    E.T.A. Hoffmann's Literary Gothic: Every New Year's Eve the Devil keeps a special treat for me. He knows just the right moment to jam his claw into my heart, keeping up a fine mockery while he licks the blood that wells out.

    Continue Reading...

  • Emily Dickinson was a great poet whose life has remained a mystery. The time has come to dispel the myth of a quaint and helpless creature, disappointed in love, who gave up on life. Unafraid of her own passions and talent, she embraced the world around her, yet faced a debilitating illness and family intrigue.

    Emily Dickinson: A Mystic of Stillness Who Mocked Heaven

    Emily Dickinson was a great poet whose life has remained a mystery. The time has come to dispel the myth of a quaint and helpless creature, disappointed in love, who gave up on life. Unafraid of her own passions and talent, she embraced the world around her, yet faced a debilitating illness and family intrigue.

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  • Suddenly, mice fill the room and the Christmas tree grows to dizzying heights. The Nutcracker also grows to life-size. Marie finds herself in the midst of a battle between an army of Gingerbread man soldiers and the mice, led by the fierce Mouse King. The mice begin to eat the gingerbread soldiers.

    The Nutcracker Prince Battles the King of Mice at Christmas

    Suddenly, mice fill the room and the Christmas tree grows to dizzying heights. The Nutcracker also grows to life-size. Marie finds herself in the midst of a battle between an army of Gingerbread man soldiers and the mice, led by the fierce Mouse King. The mice begin to eat the gingerbread soldiers.

    Continue Reading...

  • Devilry and mischief pervades the night before Christmas in Nikolai Gogol's dark ode called Christmas Eve. The devil absconds with the moon hidden in his pocket. Thereafter, he roams around tormenting people as he pleases.

    Nikolai Gogol: Magical Ukrainian Fairy Tale on Christmas Eve

    Devilry and mischief pervades the night before Christmas in Nikolai Gogol's dark ode called Christmas Eve. The devil absconds with the moon hidden in his pocket. Thereafter, he roams around tormenting people as he pleases.

    Continue Reading...

  • Matthew Pallamary's acclaimed novel "Land Without Evil," recently performed as an aerial acrobatic stage show, narrates the true story of a young shaman of the Guaraní people of South America facing European conquest and conversion to Catholicism in the 1700s.

    Matt Pallamary: Guaraní Shaman’s Quest for “Land Without Evil”

    Matthew Pallamary's acclaimed novel "Land Without Evil," recently performed as an aerial acrobatic stage show, narrates the true story of a young shaman of the Guaraní people of South America facing European conquest and conversion to Catholicism in the 1700s.

    Continue Reading...

  • Dr. James Hansen: We can fix this. The answer is a price on carbon. We must make the price of fossil fuels honest, reflecting their cost to society including the economic devastation wrought by storms like Sandy, the toll on farmland and ecosystems, as well as priceless human lives.

    Chasing Ice: The New “Inconvenient Truth” – Arctic Melting Before Our Eyes

    Dr. James Hansen: We can fix this. The answer is a price on carbon. We must make the price of fossil fuels honest, reflecting their cost to society including the economic devastation wrought by storms like Sandy, the toll on farmland and ecosystems, as well as priceless human lives.

    Continue Reading...

  • Oscar-entry documentary chronicles the unsolved mystery of the car bombing of Old-Growth Forests Activists and their later arrest by the FBI for their own injuries. The film also illustrates the Redwood Summer movement to save the Headwaters Forest of Northern California and Judi Bari's victorious 1st Amendment lawsuit.

    Who Bombed Earth First! Organizer Judi Bari?

    Oscar-entry documentary chronicles the unsolved mystery of the car bombing of Old-Growth Forests Activists and their later arrest by the FBI for their own injuries. The film also illustrates the Redwood Summer movement to save the Headwaters Forest of Northern California and Judi Bari's victorious 1st Amendment lawsuit.

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  • Dithyrambalina will look like a house, but sound like a musical instrument. A growing group of local and national sound artists are experimenting with interactive instruments that can be built into its walls and floorboards allowing visitors and musicians to bring the house to life through their touch. In 2011 they debuted prototypes in a temporary installation called THE MUSIC BOX, A Shantytown Sound Laboratory, and now look to build the first five structures.

    New Orleans: Shantytown Soundings at The Music Box

    Dithyrambalina will look like a house, but sound like a musical instrument. A growing group of local and national sound artists are experimenting with interactive instruments that can be built into its walls and floorboards allowing visitors and musicians to bring the house to life through their touch. In 2011 they debuted prototypes in a temporary installation called THE MUSIC BOX, A Shantytown Sound Laboratory, and now look to build the first five structures.

    Continue Reading...

  • Fellini in the 1969 experimental documentary on US television opines on his Felliniesque creative process: "I think almost exclusively in images, which explains why an actor's face and body are more important to me than plot structure . . . . The key word to understanding my kind of cinema is vitality. What I seek is to live the expression itself."

    Federico Fellini: Intuitive Visual Art

    Fellini in the 1969 experimental documentary on US television opines on his Felliniesque creative process: "I think almost exclusively in images, which explains why an actor's face and body are more important to me than plot structure . . . . The key word to understanding my kind of cinema is vitality. What I seek is to live the expression itself."

    Continue Reading...

  • Caroline Libresco: DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance.

    Detropia: Detroit as Utopia or Dystopia?

    Caroline Libresco: DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance.

    Continue Reading...

  • The Seebühne, a floating opera stage of bewildering proportions rises every summer from Austria's Lake Constance, the centerpiece of the annual Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival). It has staged productions such as Verdi's "Aida," Giordano's "André Chénier," Bernstein's "West Side Story," and next year will be Mozart's "The Magic Flute."

    Austria: Operatic Spectacles Rise from the Lake at the Bregenz Festival

    The Seebühne, a floating opera stage of bewildering proportions rises every summer from Austria's Lake Constance, the centerpiece of the annual Bregenzer Festspiele (Bregenz Festival). It has staged productions such as Verdi's "Aida," Giordano's "André Chénier," Bernstein's "West Side Story," and next year will be Mozart's "The Magic Flute."

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  • John Cage’s 1948 magnum opus for prepared piano, takes the listener through an hour-long journey told as a meditative story. Influenced by the Hindu aesthetic theory of rasa, or emotional character, it intones the listener toward tranquility.

    John Cage: Sonatas and Interludes – A Meditative Journey

    John Cage’s 1948 magnum opus for prepared piano, takes the listener through an hour-long journey told as a meditative story. Influenced by the Hindu aesthetic theory of rasa, or emotional character, it intones the listener toward tranquility.

    Continue Reading...