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.

House of Yes this Friday

A couple months ago Ben Davis from Cuddlemagic contacted me about opening for their show at the House of Yes coming up this Friday. He then also asked me to join in on a few of their songs that they are currently recording and releasing soon. Not knowing much about the group at all, I  said yes and was pleasantly surprised when we started working together. One thing I felt I related to them immediately was their play with rhythm and meters. I decided to contribute on toy piano, music box and also handbells.

Cuddlemagic is a Brooklyn and Philly-based group. They’ve been on tour for a couple of weeks now and is making their second to last appearance  this Friday at the House of Yes. The Dustbusters will also be playing, a Brooklyn-based folk/roots music group. I hear that there will be a contra-dance following!