Archive for October, 2008

Heart of Palpatine, or Actor’s True Character

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Ian McDiarmid

Photo by Pete Vilmur — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Life itself is performance, hence the theatrical is implicit in our every action.

Luigi Pirandello was obsessed with the interplay between the make-believe and the real. (He titled a collection of his plays Naked Masks). For Pirandello, the key to understanding a person, and a character, is to perceive how they approach the process of costruirsi, or to build one’s self up, to create a mask, to impose a reality that is fictional.

How impressed he would be then with Ian McDiarmid, currently appearing in one of Pirandello’s masterpieces, Six Characters in Search of An Author.

As posted on KadmusArts Culture News this week, McDiarmid might have suffered a heart attack on onstage — and kept on performing. During the opening night performance McDiarmid suffered from dizzy spells while onstage. The offstage crew decided to call an ambulance about ten minutes before the end of the show at the Gielgud Theatre.

Paramedics arrived in time to catch the end, and watch McDiarmid gingerly make it through the curtain call. He then exited the stage and entered the ambulance.

In addition to his popular portrayal of political-evil-incarnate, Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars, McDiarmid is a distinguished stage actor and director. McDiarmid and Jonathan Kent led the Almeida from 1990 to 2001, during which time the Almeida became one of the most exciting theatres in Europe. (McDiarmid has also had the rare opportunity to play an elderly character, as he did for Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi (1983), and then twenty years later play the same character as a younger man.)

After a week’s absence for recovery, the sixty-four year old McDiarmid has returned to his role as the Father in Six Characters in Search of An Author, (which Shaw said was the “most original play every written”).

As for the reviews of his opening night ambulance-in-waiting performance? Pretty good. The almost-seen-it-all Times critic Benedict Nightingale noted, “He looked ghastly, but then he was meant to.”

“A man lives…and does not see himself. Well, put a mirror before him and make him see himself in the act of living. Either he is astonished at his own appearance, or else he turns away his eyes so as not to see himself , or else in disgust he spits at his image, or again, clenches his fist to break it. In a world, there arises a crisis, and that crisis is my theatre.”

Wonder what McDiarmid saw in that moment of his internal flutter, his crisis?

McDiarmid’s next scheduled role is to play Sir Denis Thatcher in a television production of Margaret. Here’s hoping the excitement and dash of Denis doesn’t overwhelm McDiarmid’s body or talent.

- Bill Reichblum

Interview: Mike Daisey

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Mike DaiseyWe interviewed monologist Mike Daisey in 2007 about his work “Invincible Summer”. His newest monologue is titled “If You See Something, Say Something”, a work about security and what we are willing to sacrifice for it. You can see it at The Public Theater in New York City through November 30th, 2008.

 Interview: Mike Daisey [7:09m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Stayin’ Alive, or Another One Bites the Dust

Monday, October 20th, 2008


A heart-warming story of how the arts can not only improve our lives, but save them as well.

As posted this week in KArts Culture News, a group of doctors in the United States have found that using the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive can actually help doctors perform CPR on heart attack victims. Honestly, this is a true story.

They don’t have to sing falsetto, but if the doctors or emergency personnel use the beat to the song they will get to the right rate of chest pumps.

Apparently, there are those who are afraid to perform CPR because they are not sure of the correct number of pumps per minute to help the victim. The American Heart Association sets the standard to push the chest 100 times per minute. In a study led by Dr. David Matlock at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria, he found that keeping the Bee Gees’ masterpiece in their minds worked extremely well for fifteen doctors and med students. Stayin’ Alive has 103 beats per minute. (Of course, doctors need to make sure their leisure suits do not impede their movements.)

So, as a public service we present other appropriate rock anthems that clock in at 100 beats per minute:

  • Another One Bites the Dust (Queen)
    - Might be best not to sing this out loud while you are giving CPR.
  • Onward Christian Soldiers
    - Might be very confusing to the patient to switch between this and Another One Bites the Dust.
  • Aeroplane (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
    - Everyone already has their shirt off, so it fits right in.
  • Do You Really Want to Hurt Me (Culture Club)
    - Sort of a reverse guilt trip idea, if you die you would hurt me.
  • Big Bang Generation (Duran Duran)
    - Gives the patient an opportunity to focus on who was this generation?
  • The Potion (Ludacris)
    - Be cured and become hip at the same time.
  • Boss of Me (They Might Be Giants)
    - Good time to address the question of who is really the boss.
  • Don’t Believe the Hype (Public Enemy)
    - Might not necessarily provide the right degree of confidence for the patient.
  • Mysterious Ways (U2)
    - Very comforting: everyone knows Bono can do anything.
  • Walk On (U2)
    - You see: he has a second song which helps save lives.

At KadmusArts we connect the world to the arts, and now have a new way of keeping audiences alive for the arts.

What songs will you use?

- Bill Reichblum

Interview: John Gros

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Papa Grows FunkJohn Gros of the New Orleans-based band Papa Grows Funk has redefined the funk-jam band. Starting as a series of Monday night jam sessions among friends in 2000, the band has become one of the hottest acts on the concert circuit, most recently headlining the Garden Stage at the 50th Monterey Jazz Festival.

In this interview we talk with John about the beauties of the Hammond B-3 organ, Mardi Gras Indians, and their most recent CD release, Mr. Patterson’s Hat.

 Interview: John Gros [9:37m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Rap the Judge

Monday, October 13th, 2008

The Judge

Honoré Daumier — Jaquinet God- (The Judge) (1833)

From the country that has brought you fast food, Paris Hilton, and theme parks, a United States judge has ruled on a new form of torture: classical music.

As posted in a KArts Culture News story, Classy Music as Punishment, a judge tried to use classical music to teach a twenty-four old rap-loving defendant a lesson.

In Urbana, Ohio (obviously, hardly urbane), Andrew Vactor was fined $150 for playing rap music too loudly from his car. Municipal Court Judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott (Urbana, Vactor, Fornof-Lippencott — aren’t these names turning into an Oscar Wilde play?) proposed that Vactor’s fine could be reduced to only $35 if he agreed to listen to twenty hours of Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin.

Vactor tried, he really did. However, he lasted only fifteen minutes.

No one has reported which composer he listened to first, what piece of theirs was playing, and by what orchestra. Aren’t these details pertinent to learning why he turned the music off? (Where’s Greg Sandow when you really need him?)

Vactor claimed that it wasn’t the music so much, but the time. He had to get to his basketball practice at Urbana University. So he took the hit on his budget, rather than budget his time.

Now, the judge has had to defend herself. She has said that the point of her offer was to put Vactor in the same position as his “victims.” She wanted him to be forced to listen to music he didn’t like.

Ok, the ol’ eye for an eye. Why, though, did she assume that if a person likes rap music it is a given that they won’t like classical music? Why punish with music? Isn’t the judge a bit too Clockwork Orange?

Rather than creating an enlightened approach to a small-minded problem, the judge demonstrated the kind of snobbish, pretentious, and self-serving point of view that turns our audiences away from culture.

The judge equates some of the world’s most imaginative and profound artists with taking distasteful medicine. The judge also implies that one kind of cultural expression is better than another.

So, in this case, the Urbana judge is the one who is guilty of off-putting and self-serving provincialism.

The punishment? Judge Fornof-Lippencott is sentenced to a year of Rap Festivals.

- Bill Reichblum

Interview: Maya Azucena

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Maya AzucenaBrooklyn-based singer/songwriter Maya Azucena is well on her way down the funky soulful road to success.

In this interview we talked with Maya about her travels with Rhythm Road, a cultural diplomacy program that took her to Burma, Sri Lanka, China and the Philippines. We also asked her about the state of the music industry and her upcoming projects.

Maya Azucena has also been kind enough to allow us to feature her new song, Get It Together as a free download for all members of the KadmusArts community - here is what she has to say about it:

GET IT TOGETHER, an offering:
This is a love letter to our past. This is a love letter to our future. I have been to countries where the right to vote is stripped from the people, where their voices are howling in the night, begging the world to hear. We, in America, have gone through a lot to be here today. YOU count. So, listen to this song and consider deeply your right to vote. And do it. Don’t you ever forget your power to affect the world around you. — Maya Azucena

 Interview: Maya Azucena [10:56m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

 Get It Together [3:43m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

R U Creative?

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Photo by Andrea Musso — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

What does a festival look like to you?

Here’s a challenge: Show us your Festival. Create festival art.

KadmusArts seeks your submission in the form of a photograph, a drawing, or any kind of image that shows the world your idea of what a festival is, or can be.

Feel free to explain why you chose the image, or leave it up to the viewer to come up with his or her own interpretation.

We will post the submissions on KadmusArts and on a Facebook page for everyone to view, discuss, and inspire.

To participate, simply scan your work and send it to Courtney at KadmusArts. (

Don’t have access to a scanner? Check out the “how to” tips for photographing artwork on and send the picture by email. To ensure that your submission looks its very best, please submit JPEG files only, no smaller than 1024X768, and no larger than 2592X1944.

At KadmusArts, we connect people with the world’s most exciting dance, theatre and music festivals all across the world. Every day, all around the globe, one million people are creating a festival experience. Now, your creativity can be part of the festival party.

Go forth and click, draw, paint, sketch, or snap.

What do you imagine when you think of a festival?

- Bill Reichblum

Interview: Gonzalo Orihuela and Solange Chapperon

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Gonzalo Orihuela and Solange ChapperonGonzalo Orihuela’s childhood years took him from South Africa to Patagonia, Argentina. In this new and different environmental and geographical context, he studied drama and discovered his great passion: Tango dance. Buenos Aires was his next destination, where he started thinking about how to link tango and drama, a goal that he eventually achieved, together with Solange Chapperon, his dance partner. Now they both live and work half of the year in Europe, and half in Argentina.

In their latest visit to the tango capital, Gonzalo and Solange talked with KadmusArts about how they approach tango dance from an acting perspective, and discussed El Sonido de las Caricias (The Sound of Caresses), a dance-theater piece that combines traditional tango with improvisation, sarcasm, irony and humor, as well as their interactive abstract piece iTango.

 Interview: Gonzalo Orihuela and Solange Chapperon [21:19m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download