Blair Thomas Performs The Selfish Giant at the Three Oaks Theater Festival

June 4th, 2013 by ari salomon No comments »
July 6, 2013
1:00 pmto2:00 pm

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Blair Thomas’ popular show The Selfish Giant, based on the Oscar Wilde fairy tale, will play at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, Michigan, Saturday, July 6, at 1:00 pm. The performance appears as part of the Three Oaks Theater Festival. TimeOut Chicago had this to say about The Selfish Giant:

“Blair’s magnificent puppetry breathes some fresh air into the well-known tale of a giant whose refusal to allow children to play in his garden results in an eternal winter. His craftsmanship and ability to manipulate his creations allow the large-scale giant to convey emotion. Even the smaller marionette children, birds and bees appear full of life when the children sneak back into the garden and bring spring along with them. And Smith’s ability to render the entire play in song adds a folksy, fun sensibility to the story that is appreciated as much—perhaps even more—by the grown-ups in the audience.”

Time: 1:00pm.
Admission: $15.00 (children under 4 are free).
Age restrictions: All Ages.
Box office: 269-756-3879.
Address: 107 Generations Dr., Three Oaks, MI
Venue phone: 269-756-3879.

Blair Thomas & Company: Puppets Take Strathmore

June 4th, 2013 by ari salomon No comments »
August 3, 2013
10:00 amto12:00 pm
August 4, 2013
1:00 pm
4:00 pm

Around the world, across the centuries, puppets have transcended cultures as one of the most expressive, adaptable art forms—its origins can be traced back to Egypt, about 4000 years ago. From Saturday, June 22–Tuesday, August 17, 2013, the campus-wide festival Puppets Take Strathmore (North Bethesda, Maryland) observes contemporary puppet culture through performance, workshops and an art exhibition, proving that puppets don’t only serve as children’s entertainment, but also as powerful tools for storytelling and for communicating ideas to people of all ages. From award-winning Broadway shows like War Horse and Disney’s The Lion King to astonishing new stagings of opera and dance, puppets have transformed the arts in America. Puppets Take Strathmore invites artists and experts such as Cashore Marionettes, Blue Sky Puppet Theatre, Nana Projects and the preeminent Blair Thomas & Company to share the stage with their creations and explore this amazing medium. For additional information and tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.

_M0E1647In Hard Headed Heart (D.C. Premiere), a trio of interconnected solo vignettes, Chicago-based puppet artist Blair Thomas creates new art where puppetry and performance art collide. The performance, featuring music performed live by Chelsey Green and The Green Project, is based on the words of Federico García Lorca, Wallace Stevens, and the blues classic “St. James Infirmary.” Thomas is “a controlled maelstrom, at once scene-shifter, shape-shifter, storyteller, and one-man band…” (ChicagoMag.com). A sellout in Chicago, this is Hard Headed Heart’s D.C. premiere. Best for ages 14 and up; this show is intended for adults. Sunday, August 4, 2013, 1 & 4 p.m. City Dance Studio 405 Theater at Strathmore (Music Center at Strathmore), Tickets $15

_M0E1625In Blair’s workshop, The Puppet Tells the Story, participants create their very own puppet show, complete with handmade rod puppets and scripted skit. Best for ages 8-12. Kids dive in with paper, cardboard, sticks, ink markers and lots of hot glue to create their two dimensional performance masterpieces. Saturday, August 3, 2013, 10 a.m. –noon, Mansion at Strathmore, Tickets $25.

Strathmore patrons can extend their experience by visiting the Puppets Take Strathmore microsite, featuring a history of puppets around the world as well as education and performance guides.

The festival kicks off with No Strings Attached, a fine art exhibition featuring an eye–popping collection of photography, representative sculpture, masks and multi-dimensional puppets of every size, color, culture and description. No Strings Attached examines the role of fine arts in the creation of puppets, and the reverse, puppetry’s influence on visual art. The exhibition highlights puppets large and small to showcase the genre’s depth, from Don Becker’s palm-sized marionettes to the larger-than-life, interactive mutant puppet-creatures of international touring group, Big Nazo. Heather Henson’s IBEX entertainment company is providing the puppet short Yamasong with puppets from the film, as well as shorts from the film Handmade Puppet Dreams, Volume IV. Other highlights of the exhibition include the stop-motion short film Cicada Queen; 14 vintage puppets from the Ballard Museum of Puppetry including Punch and Judy puppets from the early 1900s and marionette replicas of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers from the 1930s; puppets caught  in action through the photography of Richard Termine and the still life dioramas of Elyse Harrison, vignettes that combine to form a full narrative; and Philip Huber-designed (Being John Malkovich, Oz the Great and Powerful) puppets from the Broadway production, Busker Alley. Fourteen artists and organizations are represented in the exhibition.

Performances from Cashore Marionettes, Blue Sky Puppet Theatre, Nana Projects and Blair Thomas & Company illustrate the dynamism and sophistication of puppetry as an art form. Emma Jaster, Katherine Fahey, Pointless Theatre Co., Sarah Olmsted Thomas and Alex Vernon, Colette Searls and many more artists will be featured in the Puppet Slam and outdoor concert puppet performances. A trio of rich education experiences will see participants creating their own puppet shows, learning about puppets as a storytelling tool and the representation of puppetry in contemporary American theater. The festival culminates with an academic panel discussion and puppet slam featuring some of the best local artists performing short, new works, and the Washington premiere of Blair Thomas & Company’s critically acclaimed Hard Headed Heart.

For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit www.strathmore.org or call (301) 581-5100.

Flute on its Feet in Scarsdale, NY

May 23rd, 2013 by Peter McDowell No comments »
June 15, 2013
3:00 pm

Lawler_back_to_back_med-resNew York City based flutist/dancer Zara Lawler performs “The Flute on its Feet,” with dancer/choreographer C. Neil Parsons as part of Flute Plus XXXVII at Hoff-Barthelson Music School, Scarsdale, NY, on June 15, 2013 at 3:00pm. Admission is free, but reservations are suggested. Please call 914-723-1169 or email hb@hbms.org. The Hoff-Barthelson Music School is located at 25 School Lane, Scarsdale, NY.

The Flute on its Feet is a virtuoso tour de force that includes classics of the flute repertoire, new works by American composers, and pieces choreographed for flutist/dancer Zara Lawler by innovative choreographer C. Neil Parsons. The Flute on its Feet offers audiences a new and truly unique experience within the world of classical music: instrumental performance of the highest quality fully integrated with dance, theater and storytelling.

Zara Lawler has created a new genre of performance that defies definition. Dance and story create new entry points into the music for the uninitiated; for the experienced concertgoer, they intend to illuminate the music in a profound and moving way. At once groundbreaking and inviting to new audiences, Lawler offers a new performance standard for the 21st century.

Flute Plus XXXVII is the annual flute celebration at Hoff-Barthelson Music School, hosted by flute professor Elly Ball, and includes a full program by a guest artist, complemented by short performances by the Hoff-Barthelson Music School Flute Choir.

COMPLETE PROGRAM:

Lowell Liebermann (b. 1961), Eight Pieces (1997), choreography by C. Neil Parsons

David Loeb (b. 1939) Shummu (Dreams of a Spring Evening) (1998), choreography by C. Neil Parsons

Edie Hill (b. 1962), This Floating World (2004/2006), staged by Zara Lawler with texts by Basho

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), Fantasies, choreography by C. Neil Parsons

Ground-breaking flutist Zara Lawler, “an engaging, fluent, mellifluous soloist,” (Houston Chronicle) made her concerto debut with the Houston Symphony and her recital debut at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall. A recognized leader in the emerging field of interdisciplinary performance, Lawler has collaborated with choreographers, composers and stage directors to create new and adventurous concert experiences. Recently, Lawler directed a site-specific performance for 104 flutists of Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino’s “Il Cerchio Tagliato Dei Suoni” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and appeared in family performances for the New York Philharmonic and for the Kennedy Center.

Lawler’s interdisciplinary performances, in which she plays, dances and acts, have been created in collaboration with choreographer C. Neil Parsons, stage director Gary Race, and composers Randall Woolf, Jerome Kitzke, and Alla Borzova among others. For many years, Lawler was the flutist and Co-Artistic Director of Tales & Scales, the innovative ensemble for children and family audiences. With T&S, she performed and co-created seven full-length works that integrated contemporary classical music with dance and theater, an experience described by New Music Connoisseur as “an enthrallingly visual and acoustic joy.” Lawler performed with T&S in some of the most prestigious venues in the country, including the Kennedy Center, the Kravis Center, TriBeca Performing Arts Center, and the Orange County Performing Arts Center and with the Atlanta, Utah, Indianapolis, and Oregon Symphonies, and the Buffalo Philharmonic.

Lawler has given solo recitals in New York, Santa Barbara, Hong Kong, and throughout the US, and has appeared as a soloist with orchestras such as the Houston Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Lawler spent two summers at the Marlboro School of Music, and has been a guest artist with eighth blackbird. Her critically acclaimed duo with marimbist Paul J. Fadoul (Lawler & Fadoul) is frequently heard in Washington, DC and New York City, and last year was in residence at Yellow Barn in Vermont.

 

Flute on its Feet Performance/Workshop at DANY

May 23rd, 2013 by Peter McDowell No comments »
June 16, 2013
3:30 pm

ZL-CNP-greek-key-webThe Flute on its Feet, a duo comprised of New York City based flutist/dancer Zara Lawler and dancer/choreographer C. Neil Parsons offer a performance/workshop at DANY (Dance Art New York), Studio 4/W on Sunday, June 16, 2013 from 3:30 – 5pm. Tickets are $25 (cash or check at the door), and reservations are required by emailing zara@zaralawler.com. DANY is located at 305 West 38th Street, New York, NY. For more information, call 212-564-3808.

Intended participants are flutists and other instrumentalists of all ages interested in exploring or adding movement and theater to music performance.

The Flute on its Feet is a virtuoso tour de force that includes classics of the flute repertoire, new works by American composers, and pieces choreographed for flutist/dancer Zara Lawler by innovative choreographer C. Neil Parsons. The Flute on its Feet offers audiences a new and truly unique experience within the world of classical music: instrumental performance of the highest quality fully integrated with dance, theater and storytelling.

In this workshop, Lawler and Parsons introduce participants to the basic principles of interdisciplinary performance, and demonstrate how to collaboratively create a mini-performance piece. They will cover both creating new works from the ground up as well as re-interpreting existing works to include extra-musical elements. The final collaboration will include participant-created elements, as well as a haiku by Matsuo Basho and a small section from Edie Hill’s This Floating World for solo flute.

COMPLETE PROGRAM:

Lowell Liebermann (b. 1961), Eight Pieces (1997), choreography by C. Neil Parsons

Edie Hill (b. 1962), This Floating World (2004/2006). staged by Zara Lawler with texts by Basho

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), Fantasies, choreography by C. Neil Parsons

timthumb.phpGround-breaking flutist Zara Lawler, “an engaging, fluent, mellifluous soloist,” (Houston Chronicle) made her concerto debut with the Houston Symphony and her recital debut at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall. A recognized leader in the emerging field of interdisciplinary performance, Lawler has collaborated with choreographers, composers and stage directors to create new and adventurous concert experiences. Recently, Lawler directed a site-specific performance for 104 flutists of Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino’s “Il Cerchio Tagliato Dei Suoni” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and appeared in family performances for the New York Philharmonic and for the Kennedy Center.

Lawler’s interdisciplinary performances, in which she plays, dances and acts, have been created in collaboration with choreographer C. Neil Parsons, stage director Gary Race, and composers Randall Woolf, Jerome Kitzke, and Alla Borzova among others. For many years, Lawler was the flutist and Co-Artistic Director of Tales & Scales, the innovative ensemble for children and family audiences. With T&S, she performed and co-created seven full-length works that integrated contemporary classical music with dance and theater, an experience described by New Music Connoisseur as “an enthrallingly visual and acoustic joy.” Lawler performed with T&S in some of the most prestigious venues in the country, including the Kennedy Center, the Kravis Center, TriBeca Performing Arts Center, and the Orange County Performing Arts Center and with the Atlanta, Utah, Indianapolis, and Oregon Symphonies, and the Buffalo Philharmonic.

Lawler has given solo recitals in New York, Santa Barbara, Hong Kong, and throughout the US, and has appeared as a soloist with orchestras such as the Houston Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Lawler spent two summers at the Marlboro School of Music, and has been a guest artist with eighth blackbird. Her critically acclaimed duo with marimbist Paul J. Fadoul (Lawler & Fadoul) is frequently heard in Washington, DC and New York City, and last year was in residence at Yellow Barn in Vermont.

Zara Lawler has created a new genre of performance that defies definition. Dance and story create new entry points into the music for the uninitiated; for the experienced concertgoer, they intend to illuminate the music in a profound and moving way. At once groundbreaking and inviting to new audiences, Lawler offers a new performance standard for the 21st century.

Collaborative performance artist C. Neil Parsons has been pioneering interdisciplinary performance practices for over 15 years. While studying trombone performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, he designed an individual major (Interdisciplinary Performance & Education) to unite his interests in music, dance, theatre, and teaching. Since then, Neil has made a specialty of choreographing and directing musicians in interdisciplinary works, most notably with flutist Zara Lawler, *Asterisk, and The Fourth Wall. Neil currently resides in Bloomington, IN, where he is actively involved with several arts organizations, including the Bloomington Playwrights Project, Windfall Dancers, and the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra.

 

Chinese Fine Arts Society Celebrates
Asian American Heritage Month

May 3rd, 2013 by Peter McDowell No comments »
May 19, 2013
3:00 pm
May 21, 2013
12:00 pm
Pipa Master Wei Yang

Pipa Master Wei Yang

The Chinese Fine Arts Society (CFAS ) will present two free Chicago events in May 2013 in honor of Asian American Heritage Month:

The first, a free concert, on Sunday May 19, 2013 from 3-4pm will be our 24th Annual  All Chinese Music Concert held in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 East Washington Street, Chicago. www.ChicagoCulturalCenter.org.

Featuring some of Chicago’s finest Chinese musicians including Silk Road Project members Wei Yang (who plays pipa) and Betti Xiang (erhu player), CSO violinist Qing Hou and award-winning pianist XiaoMin Liang, the program will include the world premiere of “A Mothers’ Love” a new pipa work by Liu DeHai, paired with “The Ancient Battlefield” a traditional tour de force for pipa; Chen Gang and He Zhanhao‘s “Butterfly Lovers Concerto”, an iconic 20th century traditional Chinese work, arranged for erhu; Chen Yi‘s violin/piano duo “Fisherman’s Song”; Victoria Bond‘s “Jing Zhong Bao Guo” for pipa/violin duo inspired by the life of legendary soldier and patriot Yueh Fei. Bond’s work, written in 2000, was the Director’s Choice winner of CFAS’ Yueh Fei International Composition Competition in 1999-2000. This concert, dedicated to the memory of the late founder of CFAS, Barbara Tiao, also provides a preview to their 2014 Main stage programming: the Five Elements Concert series. It will feature exemplary traditional Chinese works paired with contemporary works inspired by them, mirroring the approach that informed much of Ms. Tiao’s work with the Chinese Fine Arts Society.

The second event, a free festival of Chinese folk arts including music and dance will take place at noon on Tuesday, May 21 at Daley Plaza, Chicago. Performers include Jin Qiu Yue Dance Studio, Sheng Quan, martial arts, and the Eight Tones Ensemble of traditional Chinese instrumentalists. Richard J. Daley Center – 118 North Clark Street, Chicago – www.explorechicago.org.

Since 1984, the Chinese Fine Arts Society, a small, fully-independent arts organization has brought together people from diverse backgrounds over a common goal: to celebrate the beauty and majesty of traditional and contemporary Chinese music and art. CFAS is dedicated to promoting the appreciation of Chinese culture, enhancing cultural exchange and pursuing excellence in Chinese music, dance and visual arts. For further information about the Chinese Fine Arts Society contact 312-369-3197 or info@chinesefinearts.org and visit ChineseFineArts.org.