by Mike Breen
Welsh musician's "investigative" concert tour stop to feature rare Boom Bip appearance
Welsh musician Gruff Rhys is bringing his current unique (and brief) tour to Cincinnati's Contemporary Arts Center tomorrow (Thursday). The show starts at 8 p.m. Click here to grab your tickets. Those
attending the tour’s stop at the CAC will also be treated to an extra
rare bonus — Rhys’ Neon Neon project-mate and Cincinnati native Boom Bip (aka Bryan Hollon, who now works from out of the West Coast) will be
joining Gruff onstage after the main performance for a one-of-a-kind DJ
set. Rhys’ band Super Furry Animals released its major label debut, Rings Around the World,
in 2001 and the group appeared to be a successor to the throne occupied
by fading superstars like Blur and Oasis. The album (following SFA’s
excellent debut, Fuzzy Logic,
and a trio of experimental-oriented albums put out by king-maker Alan
McGee’s Creation Records) put a brilliant, creative spin on “Brit Pop,”
highlighted by fascinating sounds between the grooves, but also an
extraordinary knack for writing incredibly potent melodies. Rings
contained several hit-songs-in-waiting and did well in the U.K., but
never fully grabbed the ears of the U.S. mainstream like a few of the
band’s predecessors did. While some artists would have simply
gone back and cleaned up/out the sound of their potential breakthrough
to appeal more to the mainstream, it soon became clear that Rhys and the
Furries weren’t interested in pandering. The band had always been
underlined by a progressive, adventurous streak (early works embraced
Electronic and Ambient music, among other approaches) and it was evident
that the opportunity to crossover or become a massive success was less
important to Rhys and Co. than following their own creative whims. (By
the mid-’00s, SFA had left the Sony family for the artist-friendlier
confines of Rough Trade Records).
Rhys’ work outside of the Furries’ domain has been even more
exploratory. Rhys’ eclectic solo albums have contained songs sung
alternately in Welsh, English and Spanish. And he’s a huge fan of
collaboration, working with artists like Mogwai, Sparklehorse, De La
Soul, Gorillaz, Simian Mobile Disco and Brazilian artist Tony da
Gatorra, to name a few. One of his most celebrated collaborations has
been with Boom Bip; the pair’s Neon Neon project has
been widely acclaimed, earning a Mercury Prize nomination in 2008 for
the album Stainless Style (a loose concept piece about the life of John De Lorean). Rhys’ current project/tour is a follow-up to Separado!,
a feature film/multimedia venture during which film crews followed the
musician as his “investigative concert tour” traveled through South
America. The film followed Rhys on his journey to learn more about his
“long lost, guitar-playing, poncho-wearing uncle, Rene Griffiths.” Given
his musical output, it was fitting that Rhys’ intellectual and creative
curiosity had led him down such another unique path.Here's the trailer for Rhys' "psychedelic western musical," Separado!Rhys’
current “investigative tour” is another adventure in genealogy and
travel, as the artist (again trailed by a film crew for a planned
movie sequel/music/prose/photo project) journeys through North America to find
the burial site of John Evans, another distant relative who allegedly
left Wales in the late 1700s on a quest to verify the legend of a
Welsh-speaking tribe of Native Americans. Rhys put this call out
to anyone with info that could help: “Gruff urges anyone with clues
regarding Evans’s unknown burial place; imaginary volcanos; wandering
tribes of Welsh Speakers, or lingering river reptiles to come to the
shows, where their help with his investigations will be appreciated and
featured in the movie.” You might even make the film's final cut just by showing up and checking out the show.Rhys’ performance will include music,
discussion, his cutting humor and more. As the trailer above suggests, and anyone who’s seen SFA live knows (the band's criminally under-attended show at the Southgate House many years ago was one of my all-time favorite concerts), don't go into one of Gruff’s appearances with too many expectations
because, most likely, they’ll be blown out of the water.
3 Comments · Wednesday, August 8, 2012
An interesting battle about the future of
contemporary art — and what should be shown in museums devoted to it —
is occurring in Los Angeles right now, where the director of the Museum
of Contemporary Art is accused of leaning too heavily on pop
culture/celebrity trendiness for his shows.
by Hannah Cook
Posted In: Music
at 02:23 PM | Permalink
Reflections on LCD Soundsystem's 'Shut Up and Play the Hits'
There’s a tremendous breach between a life of stardom and a life of ordinariness; it’s a point of view most of us Joes take. Constantly forming idols for ourselves, we forget that those deemed as “famous” perform such mundane tasks as even putting on underwear in the morning. For some reason, famous people don’t wear underwear — that’s too routine. They don’t have routines, they have fabulous, spontaneous lives. Perhaps they were never even children. Their birth was the moment that you fell in love with what they do. They are an entirely different kind.Shut Up and Play the Hits bridges that gap for us, though. The documentary, directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace, was screened in select theatres for only one night — a seemingly arrogant tactic, though I think it was done mostly just because it was the easiest and most affordable (the opposite of arrogant). Lucky for Cincinnati, the Contemporary Arts Center showed it in the lobby of its stone, skate park-like building to a full audience.Shut Up and Play the Hits tells the visual tale of dance/punk band LCD Soundsystem’s final moments as one of the world’s most respected and adored musical entities. The band’s ending, oddly constructed as it was, provoked curiosity: Why stop at the pinnacle of your career? Did you have this planned all along?Using shots of the band’s last show to a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden on April 2, 2011, mastermind James Murphy’s life before and after the show, and an actually informative interview, Shut Up and Play the Hits does some explaining, which was what Murphy really wanted. Not only that, but it also takes us through the inevitable emotional roller coaster Murphy and his bandmates rode on, anywhere from feeling “disturbingly normal” to breaking down in the presence of the band’s now jaded yet memorable musical equipment.The film takes a spiral shape, starting and ending at the same spot — the cleaning up of LCD Soundsystem’s farewell show — but with two very different dispositions. At the beginning, we’re still confused as to why, but by the end, as that final heavy synth note rings out, we are understanding — content even — with Murphy’s decision to wholly join a life of normalcy.This normal life seems to revolve around Murphy’s dog. Waking up at 10:32 the morning after the final, drunken show, Murphy lays pensively sleepy with his little dog on his belly, just staring at him. Maybe it’s the dog that keeps him from accepting the sadness of the end, or maybe he just hasn’t been able to look — really look — at his dog in quite some time. Either way, it’s an endearing moment that contrasts like a flash of lightening to the madness of their final show. The back and forth filming techniques foster those aesthetics.In the moments of the show, the film actualizes just how much people treasure LCD Soundsystem. Slow-mo shots of the audience, focusing in on particularly passionate people, combined with the circling lights of the massive disco ball and LCD’s absorbing sounds gave life to the movie, like we were there ourselves. Murphy thanked the fans and his family with an authentic sense of farewell, leading into their final song “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” which was almost too fitting for the circumstances — almost.In many moments throughout the film, Murphy’s gaze suggests a complexity of despondency and hopefulness all at once, whether he’s making coffee or glowing in front of an 18,000-person show. The end is near and never has such an ending become so suddenly swallowed up. The film symbolically leaves us with a weeping fan staring at the dispersing stage, gracefully blurring the line of the sacred and profane. Murphy only wished to leave a stain, but that final note of that final song could very well ring out forever.
by Jac Kern
at 11:26 AM | Permalink
True Theater, the
local group that organizes shows of real, live storytelling, presents another
evening of true tales tonight at Know Theater with trueGRIT. Hear accounts of survival, determination and courage told
by the people who lived through it — regular folks in the community. Tonight’s
show will feature a man who took on his employers to fight racial
discrimination; a woman who’s life changed with a gunshot; a man who took on
nature in a brave fight and more intriguing, relatable stories. Tickets to the
7:30 p.m. event are $15.
but can’t seem to get past the DIY boards on Pinterest? The Contemporary Arts
Center hosts a unique, weekly craft night with “One Night One Craft.” Each
Monday, crafters of all levels are invited to learn a new project, mingle with
friends, enjoy a drink and walk home with a fantastic handmade item. This week,
Professor John Humphries will instruct visitors on painting with wine, coffee
and other pigmented beverages. Attendees can expect to create around 5-6
drawings by the end of the night. And don’t worry, the wine isn’t just for
painting — there will be a cash bar. Just bring a $5 material fee and leaver
your artistic reservations at the door. One Night One Craft: Vintage Views of the City - Painting
with Wine runs 6-8 p.m. tonight.Jewish young professionals (ages 21-35) and their dates are invited to a
wood-fired pizza cooking class tonight at A Forkable Feast. Access (an
initiative of The Mayerson Foundation) presents this event, where JYPs will create
their own pizzas from scratch, fire them up and —best of all — eat ‘em! The fun
begins at 7 p.m. Guests should have already RSVPed here.
is in full swing this week, with plenty of exhibits, rides, classic grub and
various contests. Today, visitors can check out the Valley Exotics petting zoo
(noon-9 p.m.), carnival rides (2-11 p.m.), “baby contest” (which I can only
assume is a child auction; 4 and 8 p.m.), a tractor pull at 7 p.m. and live entertainment
from Willis Music students (7-11 p.m.). The fair continues 8 a.m.-midnight
daily through Saturday. Admission is $10, most rides included with entry.
by Mike Breen
'Shut Up and Play the Hits' debuts tonight nationwide for one-time-only screening
Following the successful screening of acclaimed Sigur Ros concert film Inni in April, the Contemporary Arts Center is showing another hot music flick. Tonight (on the same night and at the same time as an ever-growing list of theaters and venues nationwide) the CAC is screening Shut Up and Play the Hits, the much-anticipated concert film/documentary about hugely popular Electronic/Dance/Rock band LCD Soundsystem’s final concert, which took place April 2, 2011, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.The film — which has received awards from both the Sundance and SXSW film festivals — features plenty of live footage from the finale, but the narrative focuses on bandleader James Murphy’s day-to-day life leading up to the show (and the day after) as he ponders the “personal and professional ramifications” that come with deciding to break up one of the top bands on the planet at its peak. As of this morning, tickets were surprisingly still available (most screenings around the country have sold out). I'd call ahead to make sure there are some left (513-345-8431). Or if you can get to the box office early, tickets are on sale for $10 ($5 for CAC members) in the CAC Store. Screening is at 9 p.m., but you can show up starting at 7:30 p.m., have some drinks and tour the museum. Here's a brief clip from the film.
by Jac Kern
at 11:59 AM | Permalink
Pride Week is underway, so don your hottest rainbow garb, stay cool and get ready to celebrate the local LGBTQ community. It's been a good year to be gay and there are plenty of events this weekend to cap it all off. You can find a full guide in our Pride Issue, but weekend highlights include Friday's Skyy Vodka Pub Crawl — 4 Shuttle Loops, 16 Stops, & 17 Bars for $10, Saturday's Cincinnati Pride Parade and Festival — 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Downtown, and NKY Pride Sunday.What better weekend for the opening of an exhibit called Fly Your Own Freak Flag? Northside's Thunder-Sky, Inc. will display 60 flags created by funky artists from across the city, country and world, beginning with a reception from 6-10 p.m. Friday. The exhibit runs through Aug. 11 and some flags will be featured in Wednesday's Northside Fourth of July Parade.The Madeira Criterium Bike Race invites cyclists of all skill levels to compete Friday beginning at 4:30 p.m. Bikers will zip around the one-mile course on Laurel and Miami avenues, as onlookers enjoy a street festival with plenty of food, drinks and live music. Cash prizes go to the winners of each race heat. And speaking of heat, if you're going as a competitor or an onlooker, be sure to stay hydrated on this scorcher.The Contemporary Arts Center hosts an interactive film screening and dance party Saturday at 9 p.m. Set to the music from Girl Talk's All Day album, Girl Walk / / All Day is a long-form music video follows three dancers in New York City. After you watch the pros turn the urban landscape into their own stage, bust out your own moves at a DJ dance party. Arrive early for a pre-screening dance class at 8 p.m., where choreographer Heather Britt will teach the routines seen in Girl Walk. Doors open at 7:30. Free for members, all others pay CAC admission.First Sundays May-October mean Tri-State Antique Market in Lawrenceburg, Ind. Ring in July with some bargain hunting and vintage shopping at Indiana's largest antiques market, open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Each month is different, but shoppers can expect fine art, jewelry, pottery, home goods, furniture and more retro knick-knacks than an episode of American Pickers.
1 Comment · Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Word has started to get out that
Contemporary Arts Center’s 2012-2013 season will feature a major show by
Patti Smith. But it hasn’t yet been made clear — because the show isn’t
scheduled until next May — that this is meant to be far more than just a
local stop on a national museum tour.
by Mike Breen
'Shut Up and Play the Hits' to screen nationwide on July 18
After a successful screening of an acclaimed Sigur Ros concert film recently, the Contemporary Arts Center is showing another concert flick soon, this time on the same night as dozens of theaters nationwide. On July 18, the CAC is listed as one of the venues screening Shut Up and Play the Hits, the much anticipated concert film/documentary that follows LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy as he preps for his band's final ever concerts, which took place at Madison Square Garden last spring. The film will be in theaters (or art museums, in our case) for one night only, then presumably be issued on DVD. (No release date on that yet.)Tickets for most screenings go on sale June 8. Click here for updates. The film will be shown at the CAC at 9 p.m. and accompanied by a DJ set. Here's the superb trailer for Shut Up and Play the Hits.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Jannis Varelas’ exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center, Sleep, My Little Sheep Sleep,
is a multi-media installation of exaggerated figures collaged together
from banal materials, the first in a series of projects organized by
guest curators from around the world.
Posted In: Music News
at 02:04 PM | Permalink
Canadian singer/songwriter calls music video exhibit "incredible"
Singer/songwriter Leslie Feist (best known for her hit "1, 2, 3") was in town April 9 to discuss her work in the music video world at the Contemporary Arts Center downtown. Her appearance with director Martin de Thurah (who directed her clip for "The Bad in Each Other") was a part of the programming related to the current exhibit, Spectacle: The Music Video, which, according to the clip below, Feist quite enjoyed (and enjoyed being a part of).Feist on 'Spectacle: The Music Video' from CincyCAC on Vimeo.If you haven't seen Spectacle yet, you still have plenty of time. The exhibit is up through Sept. 3. Click below for a couple more clips about the show.