22 September 2008

Jenny Graf Sheppard Throws a Feast at High Zero

Spent all week here.

Now I feel like I've re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. Headed towards the ocean. Ah, the cool of the ocean.

Surprisingly, ironically, (not really, not around here anyway), I think the best -- really really the best as in one of the best concert experiences I've ever had (and I've had a few) -- was Jenny Sheppard's second performance on Sat afternoon:

2. Threshold for Action and Sound

threshold-
1 A level, point, or value above which something is true or will take place and below which it is not or will not.
2 The point that must be exceeded to begin producing a given effect or result or to elicit a response.

This piece transforms the audience into creators and the creators into audience. All are involved in the live production of a sound score to which the High Zero musicians respond. Building the piece together, the audience and performers are co-dependent in this improvised composition of sound and activity.

The consumption of a nutritious meal will be central to this composition for sound, instigating action by the group. Those in attendance will be given several menus to choose from. A vegan option will be provided.

Musicians:
Tetuzi Akiyama: acoustic guitar
John Berndt: electronics, reeds, inventions
Tom Boram: synthesizer, voice
Alessandro Bosetti: electronics, voice
Tony Buck: drums
G. Lucas Crane: tapes
John Eaton: alto saxophone, voice
Camel Zekri: oud, guitar, electronics



Basically, Jenny turned the stage into a big dinner for the audience. And in short order it turned as rowdy as a Bad Brains show. There will surely be video coming out documenting this soon, but to put it in perspective, the performance turned into a sort of surreal manifestation of the sort of spirit evoked in the sorted stories of the infamous dinner Picasso and his friends threw in honor of H. Rousseau in 1908, I believe. This is most wonderfully described in Richardson's biography (I think in the first volume). Apparently everyone in attendance -- including Gertrude Stein and Max Jacob and the like -- got completely nuts and by the end of the party, Rousseau wound up sleeping on a makeshift throne wearing a crown of candles dripping down his forehead.

Richardson called it something along the lines of the last optimistic thing to happen in the 20th century. I think Jenny just brought optimism back.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hear Jenny was actually a better tennis player than her sister, Steffi.

Anonymous said...

Luke Crane on the tapes? does that mean what I think it does?
he actually takes out one cassette tape and inserts another into the 'tape-deck' during the show?

please tell me I'm wrong

Liz Stambaugh said...

I would like to get your email so I can send you an invitation to a Baltimore Food Bloggers Diner at Woodberry Kitchen