Looking Glass ReWondered

Rob and I are excited to finally mount Looking Glass ReWondered at various theaters in New York this Spring. The project will be shown in many different forms, leading to its final culmination scheduled to take place April 14-16 at the New York City Tech College in Brooklyn, Voorhees Theater. As the artist in resident for this season, we are working with students and staff to conceive a full-scale production involving full lighting,set and sound design that becomes the bread and butter of their course load.  This will be the first time Rob and I have a full crew for our multi-media production.

Last week when I was visiting the college for a production meeting, I also perused through their gear room which consisted of some  of the most professional-grade  microphones, mixers, amps, etc. Rob and I have grown quite accustomed to making many of our home-made basement technical solutions  that their gear room looked like a gold mine.    Tomorrow, I return for my open audio presentation of the work with the students at City Tech. Please visit our project site to find out more details!

Aluminum 40 Lake for Katinka Kleijn

aluminum40lakeA couple of months ago, Katinka Kleijn asked me if I was interested in writing a movement of a work Oil-Free Blush exploring the toxic,carcinogenic properties in cosmetics for the upcoming Chicago Humanities Festival. It immediately made me think of my many allergic reactions to cosmetics.

Cosmetics have been used in a large variety of styles that reflect beauty of different cultures.  I have been shocked by the Asian ideal of beauty as a flawless, porcelain white face. This face has been depicted in centuries in their art and still proves to be a popular desire among modern Asian women. Because of this desire to appear immaculate, Asian women are seeking a monotonous idea of beauty that erases their own individuality,emotions and expressions. The idea of suffocation is only brought to more attention when men would be playing the roles of women in painted white faces in traditional Chinese operas.

I chose the ingredient  Aluminum 40 Lake because I wanted to create a piece that had something to do with color. “Lake” is often associated with pigments or dyes and in this case, from aluminum, a metal that has been considered toxic to ingest in many ways. I do not know if Aluminum 40 Lake is in many of the popular whitening cremes, but I found it fascinating that the Asian women try to take color out of their skin, whereas blush is something that is suppose to bring color. Either way, both types of cosmetics are bound to be very toxic if they are trying to change the color/pigment of your skin.

In this piece, the loops are introduced in correlation to a cosmetic product, creating more and more layers as it unfolds. The music slowly becomes more distorted beyond recognition until finally, a match is struck to light fire. Here’s a picture of the score.

Strange Powers at Film Forum

I just watched Strange Powers, a documentary on Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields last night at the Film Forum. If you are a Magnetic Fields fan, you will love seeing the behind-the-scenes stories on him and his bandmates. Wow– I felt like I was transported back to Coraline rehearsals when seeing him work out some of his songs. You meet a number of characters in his life throughout the documentary and see a lot of young photos of Stephin with Claudia. Strange Powers will be playing until November 9th.

Stephin is also dj-ing tonight the Showpaper Gallery, a really funky gallery/performance space on 42nd Street. (They also have an arcade exhibit going on!