NewTown, Los Angeles Filmforum & Cinefamily Present:
Blast Phemy! #5
A Mid-week Music/Media Mashup!
At Cinefamily • 611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
Tickets $13 general; $9 for Cinefamily, Filmforum, and NewTown members.
Advance purchase recommended, available at:
Tonight, our Blast Phemy! residency draws to a dynamic close. First, experience the contemplative mastery of "visual music" maestro James Whitney’s exquisite abstract experimentations Yantra and Lapis (presented in new digital transfers supervised by the Whitney Estate and the Academy Film Archive), wedded to the award-winning percussive sounds of the legendary Gregg Johnson in a rare SoCal appearance with Montino Bourbon. Then, witness the multimedia magic of local underground duo Lucky Dragons, whose song-based explorations with home-made synthesizer, vocal virtuosity and found object percussion meld seamlessly with experimental film projections. We conclude with Transvalue, the prodigious brainbaby of trombonist/composer Michael Vlatkovich, percussionist David Crigger and spoken word artist Chuck Britt, melding virtuosic musical settings for L.A.’s finest jazz musicians supporting, surrounding and interacting with Mr. Britt’s growling, hissing, warbling and verbal dances, all graced with the visual explosions of Steve Shoffner. A show never again to be replicated anywhere on the planet!
About The Artists
Gregg Johnson is an innovator in modern hand drumming and percussion, synthesizing the musical traditions of India within contemporary classical contexts of ‘junk’ and ‘found object’ percussion. Gregg is an award winning composer for theatre and film, having received a Dramalogue Critic's Circle award for sound design and performance in a score for Steven Berkoff's adaptation of Kafka's Metamorphosis at the Mark Taper Forum. He composed and performed for multiple seasons of the LA Music Center’s Improvisational Theatre Project and for THEATREWORKS’ Pericles, Prince of Tyre and A `Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Montino Bourbon was born in Rome in 1942, and has been a musician all his life. In 1967 he started studying with Ali Akbar Khan, considered the greatest Indian musician of the 20th century. He finished his studies in 1979, and since then lives in Santa Barbara, where he teaches, gives concerts, and composes original music.
http://www.hawksandsparrows.org/ and http://www.myspace.com/luckydragons
"lucky dragons" means any recorded or performed or installed or packaged or shared or suggested or imagined pieces made by Luke Fischbeck, Sarah Rara, and/or any sometimes collaborators who claim the name.
lucky dragons are about the birthing of new and temporary creatures--equal-power situations in which audience members cooperate amongst themselves, building up fragile networks held together by such light things as skin contact, unfamiliar language, temporary logic, the spirit of celebration, and things that work but you don't know why. There have been hundreds of these simple yet shifting and unpredictable instances--with audiences ranging from the intense intimacy of one person to the public spectacle of thousands of people. At the heart of it all is playing together--building up social collectivities, re-engaging the wonder and impossibility of technological presence. It sounds--and looks--like simple and ancient patterns coming together and falling apart in a sincere attempt to let wires and screens and words become clear and crystal.
They keep a busy schedule of performances and visits and festivals and workshops and things, in the present, and in the past: The Institute for Contemporary Arts London, the 2008 Whitney Biennial, NY's PS1, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Philadelphia Institute for Contemporary Art, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle, Los Angeles' The Smell, NY's The Kitchen, The Smithsonian Institute's Hirshorn Museum, Cooper Union, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, etc. Lucky dragons live in Los Angeles California and have recorded 19 albums which are all available for downloading.
"Lucky Dragons... create ecstatic music that completely transcends genres. My attempts to describe what their music actually sounds like always fall short of the magic they are making. I guess you could say it sounds like—ecstatic magic. Challenging stereotypes that electronic music is cold and sterile, Lucky Dragons' live show, though conducted via computers, is a truly great celebration of the human spirit, giving real hope for the techno-future our society is racing toward." -artforum (March 2006)
Recent article in the LA Times on Lucky Dragons:
Since 1980, under the name Transvalue, trombonist/composer Michael Vlatkovich has been, with his unique brand of improvisationally-friendly compositions, creating musical settings to support, surround and interact with the writings and vocal performances of spoken word artist Chuck Britt.
Over the years, Transvalue has grown into a sort of repertory company of West Coast experimental jazz artists with the instrumentation and personnel varying with the needs of the material. Beyond Michael and Chuck, one mainstay of this repertory company has been drummer/percussionist, David Crigger, whose role as recording engineer/mixer has grown beyond mere capturing of performances, but the editing, shaping and extending those performances to match Transvalue’s current vision of itself.
Other player’s having performed on all three Transvalue recordings include bassist, Domenic Genova; multi-woodwindist, Vinny Golia; trumpeter, Lou Gonzales; and keyboardist, Warren Hartman.
Transvalue’s latest recording, “Book III” also features Glenn Horiuchi on piano; Jay Hutson and Bill Plake on woodwinds; Mark Underwood on trumpet; George McMullen on trombone; Bill Roper on Tuba; Melanie Cracchiolo and Chuck Sabitino on lead vocals; plus many other guests.
Steve Shoffner is a native artist born in Redding California. He traveled out of state to obtain his BA in Art from Linfield College in McMinnville Oregon where he focused his interests on photography and mixed media. He returned to California to earn his MFA from Claremont Graduate University in 2003 where he explored the combination of performance, video, and installation. After graduate school, he began his career exhibiting and teaching in the Los Angeles area where he now resides. Steve is currently teaching art courses at Santa Monica and Pierce College.
NewTown strives to make people aware that contemporary art forms are innovative, accessible, enjoyable and important parts of society's fabric. NewTown often defines itself as “a laboratory for innovative presentational formats.” The goals of these formats are to bring new audiences to today’s cutting-edge art, while providing artists with new and challenges contexts in which to make new art. NewTown has brought new art works and new art forms to an estimated 171,000 people, many of whom had never encountered "experimental" art, with many of the events free and in public spaces; been a leading advocate for small, grassroots arts organizations; and maintained minimal administrative costs, so over 85% of all memberships, grants and ticket sales go directly to artists and event production.
About Los Angeles Filmforum
Filmforum was incorporated in 1975 to promote a greater understanding of film as an art form and the filmmaker as an artist by providing a forum for independently produced, experimental films, which have little opportunity of reaching the general public through normal channels of commercial distribution. Presenting approximately 45 screenings annually, Filmforum is currently the only venue in Southern California dedicated exclusively to the ongoing, non-commercial exhibition of independent, experimental, and progressive cinema. www.lafilmforum.org
The Cinefamily is an organization of movie lovers devoted to finding and presenting interesting and unusual programs of exceptional, distinctive, weird and wonderful films. The Cinefamily’s goal is to foster a spirit of community and a sense of discovery, while reinvigorating the movie-going experience. Like campfires, sporting events and church services, we believe that movies work best as social experiences. They are more meaningful, funnier and scarier when shared with others. Our home is the Silent Movie Theatre, one of Hollywood’s most beloved and beautiful cultural landmarks. There, The Cinefamily will provide a destination spot for Los Angelenos and others to rediscover the pleasures of cinema.
Built in 1942 by John and Dorothy Hampton, The Silent Movie Theatre ran for decades as the only fully functioning silent movie theatre in the country. It has been fully restored to its original, vintage 1940s art deco design, along with a brand new screen and sound system, to help a new generation enjoy the pleasures of cinema in a beautiful theater.