Painting is Dead?—In discussions about contemporary art, you occasionally hear mutterings that painting is an old-fashioned medium that's outlived its usefulness. In an age of photographic, cinematic, digital and multimedia creation, who needs quaint ol' paint?
with Mammal Eggs and Lionhead Bunny
Wednesday, June 7, Out ch'Yonda Performance Space/Omnirootz. (all-ages, 8 p.m); $5: At one point I thought calling music “experimental” was like calling music “alternative;” just a meaningless categorization for the unimaginative. And for awhile I did know a handful of people around Albuquerque who made music out of glitch beats, calling it experimental.
Then I studied John Cage--his chance operations and ambient sound, the way he would light paper on fire and print it--and avant-garde art in general. One professor told me that the avant-garde was dead and I became obsessed with finding out if that was true. Is there and will there ever be anything truly new in art? What I determined was that if the avant-garde is dead, it’s not dead forever.
Experimental music, like that which will be performed tonight, if only partially, is the avant-garde in action. The music questions music and performance itself and revolves around the outcome, not an ego-driven rehearsal. And if it’s not avant-garde, it’s pleasantly unusual, at least.
Animental is a three-woman animal-costumed multimedia performance, imported from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Philadelphia, Pa., which tells a tale of animal purity and the corruption of man. It is “both an old-timey story and future myth.” With live and prerecorded sound, dance and props, among other things, the performance is sure to be fascinating, especially since it is accompanied by Mammal Eggs (experimental/glam/country) and new transplants from Chicago, Lionhead Bunny (experimental/folk/comedy). Both are said to be mind-blowing, always different and possibly the most interesting thing happening in Albuquerque right now. So go and feast your eyes on what just might be the avant-garde.
A Little White Shadow
Not all poetry comes to us whole. Paper erodes, tablets are smashed. We will never retrieve much of what was delivered orally. In a recent translation of Sappho, the ancient Greek female poet, the classicist Anne Carson reminds us how flagrantly time steals. "On a papyrus roll the text is written in columns ... To read such a text is hard even when it comes to us in its entirety and most papyri don't. Of the nine books of lyrics that Sappho is said to have composed, one poem has survived complete. All the rest are fragments."
Chamber Music Albuquerque celebrates its 65th birthday
Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, lots of people still tend to think of our little Albuquerque as a cultural wasteland. No art? No theater? No music? Are you kidding me?
Bag of Broken Things
The Dead Fish Museum
"You know your diagnosis," says one character to another in Charles D'Ambrosio's second story collection. "Fruit of the Loom IV," replies the narrator, sarcastically, "it doesn't matter." In other words, having something wrong with you doesn't mean you're special. "People were hospitalized when their feelings reached an acute phase," the narrator explains, "but if you eavesdropped on all the jabbering, all the lonely, late-night calls, the whole history of pain and madness fused into a single hum-drum story, without much drama. It went flat."