Here's the first example for 2017 of why Fresh Oysters Performance Research is a place I am never bored:
I saw the Lux String Quartet as the musical guest during Billy Mullaney's remounting of an episode of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, and I got a sampling of Tom Comitta's work in Mullaney's Uncreativity Festival. Now I get more of both, back to back - that's a win-win kind of evening in my book, at the same time that it's an experiment in being an audience for two very different kinds of art. If you're looking to finish off your weekend with some artistic input, Lux is at 5:30pm tonight and Comitta is at 7pm. Details below:
Fresh Oysters Performance Research Presents PIECE BY PIECE: LUX STRING QUARTET & TOM COMITTA
Lux String Quartet (MN), Tom Comitta (CA)
Fresh Oysters Performance Research 512 East 24th Street Minneapolis, MN 55404
5:30pm (Lux String Quartet) and 7:00pm (Tom Comitta) on Sunday January 22nd, 2017
$10 suggested donation at the door
“Lux must be pretty well practiced at collaboration because they do play beautifully.” —Classical MPR
“[Tom Comitta] strikes the rare chord of being cleverly comedic, visually intriguing, and conceptually challenging all at once.” —East Bay Express, Oakland, CA
On Sunday January 22nd at 5:30pm, Lux String Quartet will be playing a recital featuring works by Mozart and Dvorak. At 7:00pm, LA-based poet Tom Comitta will be reading selections from his forthcoming novel, The City of Nature.
Fresh Oysters Performance Research presents these two events side-by-side as modes of listening united by subject matter while radically separated by medium, structure, and centuries of history.
Minneapolis-based Lux String Quartet will kick off their Minneapolis leg of their 2017 season at Fresh Oysters with Dvořák’s American Quartet and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet. Dvořák composed this quartet during his residency in Spillville, Iowa; Lux performs Dvořák’s quartet in their visits to schools around the state, describing the music as illustrating the Czech-born composer’s experience of the rural Midwest landscape. The 1st violin’s soaring melody as "little leaf floating down a river”, the pulsating rhythm in the 2nd violin represents "waves on the water," and the the viola and cello’s arpeggios are the "river rolling slow and steady like the Mississippi”.
Comitta will be performing an excerpt of his forthcoming book The City of Nature, which exhaustively collects sentence-long nature descriptions from canonical novels—ranging from Ulysses to Their Eyes Were Watching God to Watership Down—and collages them together into a single, unbroken nature novel. All characters from source texts are removed apart from chirping birds, trotting horses and the whale from Moby-Dick.
Doubling as a kind of data analysis, the book documents how novelists drag nature through the peaks and troughs of human drama. Clouds and rain bring gloom (“the ground sobs”) and thunder brings rage, but when the sun returns it’s all smiles. The book is the result of three years’ worth of collecting, cataloguing, and compiling nature excerpts from countless books.
Audience members are welcome to come and go for either or both performances. Clearly, one should not expect a conventional listening experience: Both feature attempts to sonically describe the indescribable beauty and complexity of nature. Both evoke a listening experience of timelessness and reverie. Their methods, however, are radically different, as Lux’s classically-structured quartet pieces illustrate musical countrysides which stand in stark contrast with Tom’s overflowing description of nature, rendering a continuous landscape panorama through language.
Cocoa will be served.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Established in 2013, Lux String Quartet was named Classical MPR’s 2015-2016 Class Notes Artists, spending the season visiting schools around the state, performing and interacting with students. Continually exploring the boundaries of possibility for the string quartet form, they have been found unexpectedly performing in local coffee shops for “Lattes With Lux” as a way to insert the string quartet into everyday life, alongside classical venues for recitals ranging from standard repertoire to new music. Their members consist of Erika Blanco (violin), Sam Rudy (violin), Benjamin Davis (viola), and Lars Krogstad Ortiz (cello).
Tom Comitta is a Los Angeles-based poet and artist, whose language-based work has exhibited nationally and internationally. From 2011-12 Comitta composed and conducted nine operas with The San Francisco Guerrilla Opera Company. He has exhibited at LUMA Foundation, Zürich; swissnex, San Francisco; Reed College, Portland; Robert Berman/E6 Gallery, San Francisco and The Kala Art Institute, Berkeley. Comitta has two poems in The New Concrete (Hayward Publishing, UK), an anthology surveying the “rise of concrete poetry in the digital age.” Comitta has held residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Bay Area Video Coalition, Minnesota Street Project/Little Paper Planes and San Francisco Arts Education Project.