THE ART ROCKERS
David Byrne/Talking Heads
Of course, David Byrne said it best himself. Whether he’s making an instrument out of a building, exposing the world to the wonders of color guard, or wearing a really silly big suit while singing songs and making shadows on the wall, Byrne is only ever up to one thing: “making the ordinary dramatic and the dramatic ordinary.” Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.
Do yourself a favor and just watch ALL of ‘Stop Making Sense’ if you haven’t seen it:
Peter Gabriel often used his theatricality in performance coupled with elaborate and detailed video projections to give audience members the feeling that they had stepped across a threshold into a totally independent and self-contained universe. Worlds on worlds rolling ever, with Gabriel as the buzzing bee spirit guide. This level of commitment to a sense of specific character, as opposed to the development of ‘persona’, throughout a performance hadn’t really been experienced in popular Rock & Roll up to this point. His impressively large audience was on his wavelength, often treating these concerts as an opportunity for mystical experiences.
Sure, if we try to explain something of this order to our co-workers at the water cooler the next day the language breaks down to the point of silliness…but our minds, bodies, and emotional centers have been altered in myriad of ways that will reveal themselves if we hold vigil.
A compilation of Peter Gabriel characters from 1973-1975:
John Cage/Merce Cunningham
Repetition & variation, the construction of elaborate devices (read: choreography), chance-controlled composition, listening as an act, the sound of silence. John Cage and Merce Cunningham’s contribution to live music performance delve far deeper than the above touch points, but they’re a start. These two pioneers were the at the core of influential figures in the development of modern dance. Cage’s 4’33” is one of the most brilliant compositions of for all times…it’s tempting to call it perfect.
Cage/Cunningham perform ‘Variations V’:
How did David Jones, the man, make peace with his death while promoting his final rebirth in recorded form? Did David Bowie, the performer, make a piece out of his death? Did he choose death as his final material collaborator…duel billing for the performance of a lifetime? May we now only interact with David Bowie, the icon? Do we fetishize our compact discs and compact cases? Do we pray?
At the center of it all, we sit at the viewing deck, calling past and future to rescue us in our present. Up until his end, Bowie taught us that redefining our Selves was not just a right, but a moral obligation. No man or spirit tells David Bowie how to die.
Blackstar Official Music Video:
We hope that this video tour of musicians and bands working with various immersive theater styles has been as fun for you to peruse as it was for us to put together. However, we feel it is best to end these proceedings with a mantra that we’ve come to use whenever asked directly about the Goldsmith by someone who has not yet felt the presence. It goes like this…
TO SPEAK of the Goldsmith is
ONLY to speak
OF WHAT the Goldsmith
Be With Us,
Not Blood Paint