Archive for September, 2008

Interview: Ibrahim Quraishi

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Ibrahim QuraishiIbrahim Quraishi is a conceptual artist, writer, director and choreographer. A graduate from Columbia University, and a former student of Edward W. Said, he has been collaborating with artists as diverse as DJ Spooky, Vijay Iyer, Komar & Melamid, and Valery Gergiev. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, as well as multiple Rockefeller Fellowships and Arts International Grants.

In this interview we talk with Quraishi about his installation Islamic Violins, his contribution to DJ Spooky’s recent book Sound Unbound, and his interest in exploring film work.

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G.O.P. R.I.P.-off

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Photo by Mick Orlosky — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

What is it about Republicans ripping off rock music?

As posed this week in KArts Culture News, the Republicans are at it again, or as their paramount leader used to say, “There you go, again.”

To celebrate the end of their nominating convention, they played Heart’s “Barracuda,” in honor of Sarah Palin’s high school nickname. (What is it about Republicans and nicknames of aggressive death inducing figures?)

The USA’s Republican party is determined to be cool, to be with it, to be hip, so they keep playing rock ‘n roll music for their big events. However, they keep forgetting that many cool rockers can’t stand Republican politics.

Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart didn’t like the connection between their art and Republican philosophy. Earlier this campaign, neither did John Mellencamp, who protested McCain’s use of the hit, “Our Country,” nor did Boston’s Tom Scholz like Huckabee’s use of “More than a Feeling,” nor Jackson Brown that of “Running on Empty“ in a McCain commercial.

McCain’s misguided use of the Jackson Brown was not only an example of a bad vetting process (Brown is a very public Obama supporter), but also a clear copyright violation. (What is it about Republicans and the rule of law?)

At the convention, public venues generally have a blanket public performance license with ASCAP/BMI to play recorded music, such as music during breaks in play at sports stadiums. There is also an ephemeral use of exception that covers live televised events, so that the networks are not obligated to pay for the rights to songs as they would in a regular recorded or self-produced television show.

However, the financial and moral coins turn when the songs become theme songs for their campaign. At the very least, you would think they would want to check if that the rockers support their candidate, let alone ask permission? Wouldn’t that be the nice — un-barracuda, non-Darth Vader — thing to do?

For all the Clintons’ moral dilemmas, at least they asked for permission to use “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”

New campaign slogan? Crime doesn’t pay, but criminals do; Politics does pay, but politicians don’t.

The infringement isn’t on the musician’s rights, but it is on their politics.

Maybe every politico should use the one song guaranteed to get them elected: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Wonder what the campaign theme songs should be for Putin, Kim Jong II, Robert Mugabe, Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown, or Hugo Chávez? The ultimate party mix!

- Bill Reichblum

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Arts Presenters: Susan Feldman

Monday, September 8th, 2008

Susan FeldmanSusan Feldman is the Artistic Director of St. Ann’s Warehouse, based in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. Throughout its history, St. Ann’s has commissioned, produced and presented an eclectic and innovative body of work that has garnered multiple awards, including an OBIE for the development of new work.

In this podcast we talk with Susan about the role St. Ann’s Warehouse plays in cultivating and nurturing talent, and why partnership and collaboration is essential to creating great art — sometimes against all odds.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

Photo by Nicole Bengiveno

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Our World’s Enforced Disappearances

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Photo by Anna Visini — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Our friends from the Belarus Free Theatre have sent out a special notice: August 30, 2008 marked the 25th anniversary of the International Day of the Disappeared.

On this day the relatives of the disappeared and human rights defenders commemorate the disappeared and call on all governments to ratify the new convention against disappearances. In the Netherlands the organization Aim for Human Rights has supported the cause of the relatives of the disappeared since 1993, and is coordinating the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances. This global coalition of more than 30 organizations was established last year to campaign for this new convention.

On September 17, Aim for Human Rights, Belarus Free Theatre, and De Internationale Keuze van de Rotterdamse Schouwburg contribute to the global campaign with a special programme. At 8:30 pm Irina Krazovskaya will present a photo publication to a high government official calling on the Netherlands to support the campaign for the convention, followed by a unique performance of Discover Love, written by Nikolai Khalezin and Natalia Koliada, co-founders of Belarus Free Theatre.

Discover Love is based on the real-life story of Irina Krasovskaya and her husband Anatoly Krasovski. Irina’s story is interwoven with similar stories from Asia and South America, where loved ones have been kidnapped and murdered or made political prisoners. Ingrid Betancourt, whose story is referenced in this piece, was one such person. The news of her release reached Belarus after the underground opening night of Discover Love, much to the joy of the Free Theatre members.
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Anatoly Krasovksi ‘disappeared’ along with his friend Victor Gonchar, a high-profile political opponent of Alexander Lukashenko on 16 September 1999. Their bodies have never been found, nor have the bodies of Yuriy Zakharenko, Ex-Minister of Internal Affairs and Dmitriy Zavadskiy, a cameraman who recorded the participation of the Belarusian soldiers in Chechnya. The Council of Europe, the US State Department and Amnesty International are among the international bodies to have called on the Belarusian authorities to investigate these disappearances.

They might capture you at any time. When you’re at work, sleeping, walking down the street, doing your grocery shopping. Day or night. They might wear military or civilian clothes while taking you away, not giving you a reason or a warrant. They do not hesitate to use violence as they force you to come along. The officials deny knowing anything. It is as if you ceased to exist.

An enforced disappearance of a person is a grave human rights violation that has hurt tens of thousands of persons and their families. It creates victims all over the globe still today.

On August 30th the ICAED members appealed to heads of states across the globe to sign, ratify and implement the Convention against Enforced Disappearances.

Will the courage of our leaders appear?

- Bill Reichblum

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Interview: Howard Fishman

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Howard FishmanHoward Fishman is a composer, guitarist and bandleader who has headlined at many venues including The Blue Note, NJPAC and Joe’s Pub. His performances combine the exuberance and spontaneity of jazz with a storyteller’s sense of drama, emotional depth and play.

In this interview we talk with him about the beauty of live performance, the connection with his audience and his all-encompassing use of different genres of music.

Photo by Jack Vartoogian

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