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Culture, The Exhibitionist John Cage's <i>Renga</i> Brought Thoreau to Life

John Cage's Renga Brought Thoreau to Life

There’s a popular complaint among people who feel like they don’t understand contemporary art, and that is the idea that because a piece might not look technically demanding, it doesn't hold the same merit of its meticulously planned counterparts.…
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Dining, Bouncer More Bars in More Places: Bouncer Signs Off

More Bars in More Places: Bouncer Signs Off

Composer John Cage was big on something called "chance operations." He would use the I Ching to help him write, compose, and make art by tossing the tiles and using the random symbols that came up to lead him to…
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Music, Hear This John Cale: Show Preview

John Cale: Show Preview

You don't really think of John Cale as just one of the other guys in the Velvet Underground, do you? Because it turns out that while, yes, Cale did co-found the Velvets with Lou Reed, he's also made some incredible…
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Film, Rep Showtimes

Arthouse Movie Listings Sept 19-25, 2012

Artists' Television Access. The Treatment: Documentary about the world of live performance art. Wed., Sept. 19, 8 p.m. $6. Dirty Hearts (Corações Sujos): Part of the 2012 Latino Film Festival. Thu., Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. $12. Under My Nails: Part…
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Calendar, Night&Day Read Between the Lines

Read Between the Lines

It takes a brave artist to relinquish control over the creative act. John Cage did it when he used the I Ching to compose both his music and his art. Yoko Ono, inspired in large part by Cage, took the…
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Calendar, Night&Day Broke, but Not Broken

Broke, but Not Broken

San Francisco recently surpassed New York as the most expensive place to live in the U.S. This should not come as a shock to anyone who's ever paid $72 for a parking ticket or $7 for a bottle of "organic"…
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Calendar, Night&Day Purposeless Play

Purposeless Play

If sfSoundSeries had a spiritual godfather, it would be John Cage, and he would be proud. Since 1999, the experimental music series has been presenting concerts that have stretched and elevated our experience of music, through intimate recitals and big…
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Calendar, Night&Day Drink Yourself Creative

Drink Yourself Creative

The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends Is the Highest Form of Art. Agree or disagree, it's the name of San Francisco artist Tom Marioni's most famous work and a good starting point to his approach to creativity. Since 1970,…
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Calendar, Night&Day WHIZ! BANG!

WHIZ! BANG!

Frustrated by the institutionalization of the avant-garde, the founders of POW! Mini Performance Art Festival have taken matters into their own hands: For three nights, an unseemly union of sound, movement, video, comedy, concept, theater, and prose writhes beneath a…
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Calendar, Night&Day The Zero Effect

The Zero Effect

Choreographer Keith Hennessy and his performance troupe, Circo Zero, are known for "intimate spectacular circus," a style that mixes a scintillating arte povera ("art of the poor") ambience of participatory art with a limber aesthetic that makes audiences marvel as…
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News, Sucka Free City

Sounds of Silence

When San Francisco conceptual artist Jonathon Keats came up with an idea for an unusual cellphone ringtone, he set up a pitch meeting with John Doffing, CEO of Start Mobile, which specializes in custom ringtones by independent artists. Keats brought…
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Culture, Art (Un)Settling Scores

(Un)Settling Scores

Anyone who has doodled in the margins of a high school notebook and admired the results — the rich mix of text, formulas, yellow highlighter, graffiti, cartoon portraits, and mazes — will appreciate Charles Gute's current work. His eight wry…
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Music, OK Then

Getting to Know Him

When they found him in 2001, he was working the graveyard shift at an adult bookstore and playing keyboards in a four-piece during his regular nightly gig at the Rancho Bernardino Lounge. His bandmates at the time had no idea…
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Calendar, Performance Digitized Dance

Digitized Dance

FRI-SAT 2/6-7 In the 60 years since he presented his first dance program with the late John Cage, Merce Cunningham has become the standard-bearer for the American modernist movement. He has famously valued chance and change in his work, and…
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Music, House of Tudor House of Tudor

House of Tudor

As one always to be in front of the curve and behind the eight ball, Geoff Ellsworth (of the one-man musical troupe the Towne Dandies) has abandoned his pirate musical for a lone wolf on the prairie sort of thing…
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Calendar, Night&Day Golden Era

Golden Era

Maverick choreographer Merce Cunningham doesn't create easily accessible dances. His pieces include few dramatic climaxes and no explicit meanings behind the movements, and often the music, set design, and choreography remain independent (rather than integrated) onstage. In these ways, he…
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Music, Pop Philosophy Zappa and Spooky and Grainger -- oh my!

Zappa and Spooky and Grainger -- oh my!

Open your mind and your art will follow During the 1986 BBC documentary West Coast Story: Frontiers of New Music, when a journalist asks John Cage why he never stays with one style of work, the esteemed composer answers, "Thoreau…
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Music, Far Afield

Far Afield

On the introduction to John Cage's 1965 album Variations IV, a narrator quotes the composer: "Music is all around us, if only we had ears. There would be no need for concert halls if man could learn to enjoy the…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Gordon MummaRenowned composer, educator, pianist, and electronic music engineer Gordon Mumma doesn't think of himself as an avant-garde artist, just a musician dedicated to going his own way. Yet his pioneering work begun in the 1950s -- using machine-generated sound…
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Music, Making Up Their Minds

Making Up Their Minds

People consider that composers are, for the most part, dead," says New York composer/performer Annie Gosfield. "So the fact that festivals give people the opportunity to see that composers are in fact living, breathing, working people is certainly helpful." Gosfield…
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