Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Little Night Music

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It's not so unusual to have a music performance outdoors at night. It is different to have one on a cool autumn evening, with most of the audience and all of the performers standing or walking around. This created a fluid auditory experience. What you heard depended on where you were, where you were going, the audience around you and the musicians' wanderings. Add shimmering colored panels and you have entered new territory.                  

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Alarm Will Sound Plays 10,000 Birds

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So after the symphony on Sunday afternoon we got a bite to eat in the Grand Centre district, then walked down to the new Public Media Commons. The contemporary music ensemble Alarm Will Sound gave a performance of John Luther Adams' new work 10,000 Birds. Adams was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music.
The piece has been described as:

based on the songs of birds native to Missouri and the western limit of the eastern hardwood forest, [it] will fully embrace the orchestral range of colors in the instrumentation of Alarm Will Sound. . . Each page in the score will be its own self-contained world that occupies its own physical space and its own time. Each of these pages/places can be performed for an indefinite duration. They can be combined, simultaneously and sequentially, in varied ways.
It was ethereal. The performers carried small digital stopwatches and received cues on their iPhones as they wandered around the plaza. More to come.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

A Musical Offering

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It was a wonderful day for music in The Lou on Sunday. We attended a spectacular concert by the St. Louis Symphony, led by Conductor Laureate Leonard Slatkin. His reading of Berlioz's Symphony Fantastique was like none I have ever heard, played with exceptional clarity and nuance.

Then in the early evening there was another performance in the new Public Media Commons. It's late as I write this so just a teaser image. It wasn't what it looks like.                       

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Artica: A Game Of Croquet

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Everyone knows you don't play croquet using a flamingo for a mallet and a hedgehog for a ball, except Alice and the Queen of Hearts. There was only one fake flamingo hanging around the Artica site. Had there been more they would have been put to good use.

There was a second day of activities planned for last Sunday but it was chilly and drizzly and not many people showed up. Those who attended contributed to a pot-luck brunch. I brought a case of White Castles, which was very well received. The afternoon's main activity was a bizarre game of croquet, played on several physical and probably metaphysical levels. There may have been a winner but it did not go down in the record book.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Remember Michael Brown

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I assume that everyone knows about Michael Brown, the young black man who was shot and killed by a policeman in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. No need for further editorializing from me. The continuing passion was shown by banners inside the Cotton Belt Building last weekend.                            

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Friday, October 17, 2014

The Mural

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There is a project underway to turn the east face of the Cotton Belt Terminal Building into a gigantic mural, easily visible from the new I 70 bridge across the Mississippi. The web page for the project has a remarkable illustration of what it will look like when completed (click it to enlarge).

Design of the project is by Nita Turnage and Hap Phillips. It take a lot of paint to cover those walls. Locals, if you would like to contribute to the effort click here

The bottom picture shows part of the festival entrance gait. It literally has a crossbar with a counterweight to raise it. You could walk right around it but that would violate the spirit of the day.              

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Tour Of The Cotton Belt Building

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The Artica festivities were held in and around the abandoned Cotton Belt Railway freight terminal. As noted by Dave of Tamarindo Daily Photo, who lived in STL at one time, there was another Cotton Belt Building downtown that started as a hotel and became an office building. It was demolished two years after I started working downtown but I have no memory of it.

The freight terminal is a five story building that served a particular railroad. It is now owned by an acquaintance of mine who has great hopes of redevelopment but, as usual these days, cannot get funding. Tomorrow we will look at the great wall facing the Mississippi and what it may become.                          

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