Shodo Performance Koshien is an annual competition, held in Ehime, of massive-scale Japanese calligraphy performed live by teams of high school students. (The videos with two-digit numbers in their titles are actual performances.) This year's will be held in Shikokuchuo-shi, Ehime, on July 26. Interested in trying it yourself, but don't feel like breaking the bank on an enormous horsehair brush? Try using a modified mop!
Alabama Shakes - Don't Wanna Fight [YouTube] From the new album "Sound & Color", live on Saturday Night Live. Previously.
I wanted to know why Emmett Kelly was such a big name. I mean there was no shortage of tramp clowns. Why was he a star? I was going to make it my business to find out. When the famous Joey joined on in Altoona, I watched every thing he did. There wasn’t much to watch. He had no props. He did no bits. He did not participate in the producing clown’s gags. He simply wandered around eating leaves from a head of cabbage. Mostly, he just sat in the audience, in full costume, looking sad, like Chaplin’s little tramp, eating cabbage. I was mystified, and disappointed. Why would a sharp guy like George A. hire such a lame act to do practically nothing? I didn’t get it. What’s so funny about eating raw cabbage? …by Lee Kolozsy at Sideshow World [more inside]
Playing for Change presents a video of children around the world performing the Bobby McFerrin classic. PFC works with local community groups to "inspire and connect the world through music". Some of their initiatives include helping to create a new music school in Cajuru, Brazil, providing resources to the Mother’s Society in Tintale, Nepal who help educate women and girls about their rights through music drama and dance, and a music program for children in the slums of Khlong Toey, Bangkok. They also create videos of performances by musicians around the world, like this fantastic version of Guantanamera performed by 75 Cuban musicians from Havana and Santiago to Miami, Barcelona and Tokyo. [more inside]
Wild Ones Live is an arresting reading accompanied by music, a collaboration performed as part of a live magazine by author Jon Mooallem, a science and nature writer whose book Wild Ones ruminates on the strange, ignorant, hopeful and poignant ways humans imagine other animals, and the musical project Black Prairie. Listen at your desk if you must, but if you can, pop in your earbuds and go outside for a long walk while you take it all in. [more inside]
"In my experience, the reminder that the sexual fantasy isn’t real, that the women who perform availability aren’t ACTUALLY available, that we aren’t ACTUALLY clamouring to be sexualized by men, that we control when the fantasy starts and stops, and that our performance is just that, a performance that requires compensation… well, some men find that hard to swallow." [more inside]
Exhibit B is a performance art piece by white South African Brett Bailey. The piece features black actors in still images depicting scenes of slavery and as asylum seekers in living installations that recall the human zoos (previously) of the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The piece has been highly controversial, it has attracted significant critical acclaim, being described by art critics as unbearable and essential and "hugely powerful, deeply unsettling, but vital viewing". [more inside]
Brenna Twohy, representing Portland, OR, performs her poem "Fantastic Breasts and Where To Find Them," about Harry Potter, pornography, and non-consent, at the 2014 National Poetry Slam.
"How High the Moon": Drag duo CoLo and Desarae Demuir warm up to Ella Fitzgerald.
Artist Walks A Cabbage In Public To Question How Society Value Things In a project that started since year 2000, Chinese artist Han Bing has documented a series of photographs that see him walking a cabbage on a leash in public.
How did Donelle Woolford's work cause Yams Collective (mNSFW) to withdraw from the Whitney Biennial? [more inside]
Multimedia artist Shigeyuki Kihara created Siva in Motion (SLYT), an entrancing exploration of taualuga, a Samoan type of dance. [more inside]
“Putting magic at the center of a play about a magician doesn’t seem like that radical a choice,” explained Teller’s co-director and co-adapter Aaron Posner. "But in the history, at least the modern history of producing 'The Tempest', it is a radical choice."
In 1952 Malaya, cabaret dancer Rose Chan's bra snapped on stage. Noticing the enthusiastic response from the audience, she decided to capitalise on this, and transformed herself into Malaysia's first (and so far only) Queen of Striptease. (Many of these links have NSFW pictures) [more inside]
Lousiana State University sophomore Lloimincia Hall becomes an Internet sensation after her perfect 10 performances in the floor exercise, combining gymnastics technical proficiency with hot dance moves.
Last night, the synthpop band Future Islands (previously on MF) previewed their new LP performing “Seasons (Waiting On You)” on Late Show with David Letterman. Singer Samuel T. Herring’s performance is always something to behold, but his gravely shouts and epic dance moves had a particular effect on Letterman, who seemed even more jazzed than usual.
Enra dance troupe performs Pleiades, synchronizing body movements with projected light and animation. [more inside]
Dakh Daughters are a band/theatrical performance art group from the Dakh Theatre in Ukraine, based around "rapid merging of styles and unexpected sound collages". A handful of songs on youtube: Rozy/Donbass, Gannusya, Papirosy, Блудница, Доля (a performance at/in support of the Euromaidan protests in Kiev).
Scholars often speak of ancient Greek masculinity and manhood as if there was a single, monolithic, simple conception. I will show that the ancient Greeks, like us today, had competing models or constructions of gender and that what it meant to be a man was different in different contexts. I will focus on three constructions of the masculine gender in ancient (classical and post-classical) Greece: the Athenian civic model, the Spartan martial model, and the Stoic philosophical model. I will focus on how these share certain commonalities, how they differ in significant ways, how each makes sense in terms of larger ideological contexts and needs, and, finally how constructions of masculinities today draw from all three. (10 page PDF) [more inside]
Is perfume art? Could it be? Or is it something else: a craft, a commercial product, an ornament, a luxury, a prosthetic, an aphrodisiac, a love letter, a prayer, a con? Why does it matter?[more inside]
Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos: Live "From this rich catalog, Cooder cherry-picked only a dozen songs to include on Live but they’re fairly representative of his eclectic oeuvre. His picks also feature plenty of his guitar playing, which will please fans who felt (as I sometimes did) that his recent albums were a bit stingy with his greatest asset. " "The shows also were a family affair. The Corridos Famosos include Ry’s son Joachim on drums, Joachim’s wife Juliet Commagere on vocals, and her brother Robert Francis on bass, as well as an old friend and collaborator, Flaco Jimenez, the Tejano accordionist who was at Cooder’s side when he played this venue 34 years earlier. Terry Evans, another veteran of the 1977 shows, handles backup vocals, along with Arnold McCuller, filling in for Cooder’s other longtime singing partner Bobby King." Don't miss the clip at the end of the review. [more inside]
Everything Is Terrible digs up a real find: highlights from a Disney suited character performer training tape from 1976!
In the 2012 superbowl half-time show, rapper M.I.A. flipped off the camera while performing with Madonna. On September 19, the Hollywood Reporter revealed that the NFL has been waging a "secret legal war" over the incident, demanding $1.5 million and an apology from M.I.A. This week M.I.A. responded with a video statement (transcript at Pitchfork):
So, now, they’re scapegoating me into figuring out the goalposts on what is offensive in America. Like, is my finger offensive, or is the underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience? That’s basically what it comes down to. It's a massive waste of time, a massive waste of money, it’s a massive display of powerful corporation dick-shaking. They want me on my knees and say sorry so they can slap me on my wrist. Basically, so they can say it’s OK for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female than to display female empowerment through being punk rock. That is what it boils down to, and I’m being sued for it.[more inside]
Box. A choreographed performance incorporating a live human, two industrial robots, and projection mapping onto moving surfaces. You've seen projection mapping onto static surfaces, typically buildings. This takes it several steps beyond… and the result is stunning and beautiful.
The 1991 CBs made-for-TV movie adaptation of Shadow Of A Doubt and the 1943 Alfred Hitchcock version are based on the same source material and contain many of the same lines, beats, and scenes. So why is one considered a classic film noir and the other a flop? The Dissolve puts the two movies next to each other and tries to find out.
The release today of the documentary Blackfish has SeaWorld, the setting of the documentary, in an unusually aggressive yet defensive public relations battle with the makers of the film. The film centers on the orca that perform in captivity at SeaWorld, and explores the 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau by the actions of the orca Tilikum. In January, the documentary series Frontline explored the world of captive cetaceans, particualrly at SeaWorld in their film, A Whale of a Business. [more inside]
Catherine Bennett is a Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model. Taking time out from her work as a palaeontologist, Bennett has released two songs to date: debut single Apathy and a follow-up, Animal Kingdom. [more inside]
In an idle moment, you've probably drummed on a desk with your pen. But chances are middle schoolers could show you some skills. Masters like Shane Bang and many less well-known practitioners are pushing the old idea of pen-as-drumstick - Pen Beats, aka Pen Tap - to new heights. [more inside]
“We did our first show in a bar...all of a sudden, the whole room was quiet. And then we got everyone to sit on the floor cross-legged to watch our crankies.” [more inside]
Cirque du Soleil Reinvents the Circus: La Cirque Réinventé. Nouvelle Expérience. Saltimbanco. A Baroque Odyssey. Alegría. Quidam. La Nouba. Dralion. Journey of Man. Varekai. Midnight Sun. Kà. Corteo. Delerium. Koozå. All Together Now. Amaluna. Worlds Away. [more inside]
Marina Abramović is a performance artist, who in 2010 performed The Artist is Present - sharing a minute of silence with each spectator that wished to. Over the 736 hour performance, hundreds of people sat across from her quietly. Marina had shared a passionate and tempestuous relationship with Uwe Laysiepen, with the relationship ending when they each starting walking from from one end of the Great Wall of China, met in the middle, shared a hug and left - never expecting to speak again. 20 years after that hug, Ulay attended the opening night of her performance without her knowing. This is their moment.
Top Secret Drum Corps performing at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2012. The 25 Swiss drummers and colorguard members were one of the first non-military, non-British Commonwealth acts to perform on the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle in 2003 and have made several reappearances. Drummers World features more videos, photos and information. (via Miss Cellania)
“The point of jamming, musical or sexual, is to find out what happens and to enjoy the process of getting there.” -Sex is like Jamming for the SexEd Project [more inside]
About a year after her participation in the groundbreaking Comedy Central documentary series the Comedians of Comedy, Maria Bamford was on stage at the Friars Club in LA when a heckler began shouting at her. What happened after that isn’t entirely clear, other than Bamford had a breakdown, walked off stage, and disappeared. She was found three months later selling clock radios on the sidewalks of Detroit. A fellow homeless person, who was also a Comedy Central fan, recognized Bamford and eventually her parents were contacted. They brought her back home to Deluth, Minnesota and began to get her help. Maria decided to document her recovery in a series of short videos called The Maria Bamford Show, which were first posted to the TBS networks' now abandoned Super Deluxe Web site. [more inside]
Visual artist Nick Cave (not of The Bad Seeds) worked together for months with students across various departments of the University of North Texas to present Heard, a visual and musical burst of vibrancy based on Cave's childhood experiences of colouring in horses and being told by his mother: "It doesn’t matter if it’s pink. If he wants it to be pink, it can be pink.". And not just pink, even.
Cello Fortress is a unique combination of a game and a live music performance. A cellist defends a fortress by improvising on his cello. Melodies control the guns, dissonant notes activate the flamethrowers. Players from the audience use game controllers to steer their tanks and attack the fortress. The cellist plays live music, while at the same time controlling the game to be a fun challenge for the players. Cello Fortress is an innovative experiment that blends concert and game.
Chef Grant Achatz plates the final dessert course at Alinea. Or perhaps you'd prefer the chocolate pumpkin pie or the edible balloon? Bon appetit!
Radio Colifata is a beloved weekly Buenos Aires radio show run by psychiatric patients that breaks down boundaries between the "interned" and the "externed." During his Argentina tour, radio supporter Manu Chao invited a few Colifatos to join him. LT22 Radio La Colifata is 94 minute a documentary (in Spanish) shot over ten years that celebrates the station and the tour.
Shakespeare: Globe to Globe was a series of 37 Shakespeare plays performed in 37 different languages presented at the reconstructed Shakespeare Globe theatre in London this summer. [more inside]
Contact juggling: a championship performance by Yanazo (Akihiro Yanai) at the Japan Juggling Festival 2012 earlier this month - it won first prize; he juggles one, two, and finally three balls by rolling them on his body, occasionally tossing them with his body movements instead of his hands. [more inside]
Nick Cave's Soundsuits: Calling up echoes of wild beasts, Carnival dancers, maskers and shamans, the "soundsuits" made of a wild diversity of materials by visual artist and dancer Nick Cave have life beyond the gallery. They're designed to be used in performances and 'invasions,' creating a sense of mystery, playfulness and joyful moments of community.
Wendy Melvoin is fresh from high school. She is a wearing a V-necked sleeveless top, and patterned shorts. She is playing the first chords of a new song on her purple guitar, opening chords that she wrote, a circular motif with a chorus effect. Wendy is nineteen and she has the high cheekbones and diffident confidence of a Hollywood upbringing. She half-smiles at the faces that crowd close to the low club stage. This is Wendy’s first gig with the new band, and the song she is playing is “Purple Rain,” and nobody in the audience has ever heard “Purple Rain” before because this is the night that Prince and the Revolution record the song.
"the idea of viral videos, and the huge audiences they generate, have forever changed the values and potential impact of video online."
There comes a time in the musical lives of some guitar players when six strings just won't get the job done. They need seven. Or eight. Or nine. Or ten. Or eleven. Or twelve. Or eighteen. [more inside]
Jennifer Egan's short story Safari can be read at NewYorker.com (~6600 words), or can be read to you in a wonderful performance by Hope Davis (59:00). Jennifer Egan previously.