Making music from art with the Vessel Orchestra

Vessel orchestra at the Met BreuerWe are a musically inventive species, fascinated by sound. For millennia, we have explored every conceivable item as an instrument to create music. Rocks. Fire. Water. Wind. Roads. Plants. Vegetables. Stalactites. Bowls. Radio waves. Now we have the Vessel Orchestra. Artist Oliver Beer has created his own jug band at the Met Breuer comprising objects from the museum’s collection. He assembled thirty-two sculptures, utilitarian containers, and decorative objects ranging from ancient Persia to modern America. Continue reading →

Odd instruments to shock and amuse

Odd instrument comprised of singing stonesFor millennia, humans have used every conceivable item as an instrument to create music. We bang on things, blow on things, pluck things, affix electrodes and microphones. We use natural objects, found objects, deconstructed objects, repurposed objects. Is there anything we haven’t thought of? Here is a partial list of interesting sources from fire to roads that we’ve used to create unique, odd instruments. Continue reading →

The audible language and singing of plants

T.M. Glass and the audible language of plantsDid you know plants make music? I found that out today when I stumbled on an exhibit of digital photographs by T.M. Glass, hosted at Ontario College of Art and Design University gallery space on Richmond Street. The enormous photographs are breathtaking. From ten feet back, they look like perfectly composed photographs (which they are). Floral arrangements spring from exquisite vases, usually set against a black backdrop. But up close, the images have been digitally manipulated with miniature swirls that recall the undulations of Van Gogh. Continue reading →

Horror drag in performance, music, and books

Charity Kase horror dragThroughout the years, drag and horror have not paired off as much as one might like. At least, not unless the pairing springs from comedy. But that may be changing.

When they aren’t awing us with the illusion of a real woman, drag artists traditionally serve as clowns, their exaggerated attitude rooted in camp and satire. I remember watching a humble drag version of Brian de Palma’s Carrie during the late 90s in San Francisco. Hilarious. So I appreciate the clowning around. Especially when, like Lear’s fool, the queen helps us discover some profound truth about the world.

But there’s now a richer world of drag horror waiting to be unleashed. The humor hasn’t necessarily been bled from it completely, but the horror element has a more prominent role. And the drag queens themselves are taking control of the narrative, dissatisfied with being portrayed simply as victims or villains. So let’s take a look at the history of drag and horror. Continue reading →