January 815, 1998
The Beepmobile is a giant, mobile, three-wheel horn complete with a driver that controls the tuba-like noise through pedals and tubes. Imagine that on I-95.
Corrosion of Conformity
Shaking up art in preparation for the millennium.
by a.d. amorosi
As a new millennium grows near, you'd think artists and musicians would throw caution to the wind and create innovative and passionate works of art. I'm not talkin' Sodom and Gomorrah. Maybe more like Alphabet City in the '80s or Berkeley in the '60s. Things just seem so staid these days.
Look around, there are more student photographers exploiting the homeless, more performance artists electric-taping their mouths and more "conventional" bandsguitar, bass, drums, singerplaying bar rock.
Look at the diversity and craftsmanship locals put into opening restaurants. It's frightening to think that there's more vivacious ideas being put into a shank of veal than into a piece of music. Yet it's true.
My mission for every musician, painter, filmmaker and human is to wake up past reality and start dreaming up new ways to create. Even bad dreams might work, but motivate yourself beyond the norm. Here are some suggestions.
Accentuate Punctuation: Every phrase or sentence has its own in-built pause, rhythm or punctuation. Right? When you repeat a phone number or state an idea it has a particular flow. Or does it? If you're a writer like me and looking to take chances you can do what I've been doing to my editors for years and screw up all your punctuation marks. Nothing is riskier than presenting a savvy editor with "Mayor Rendell; ate-all of the lemon? meringue! Georges Perrier% created for# the evening"s event^"
The Beepmobile is a giant, mobile, three-wheel horn complete with a driver who controls the tuba-like noise through pedals and tubes. Imagine that on I-95
Roll (or Blow) Your Own: One of the strangest compilations in recent history is the CD/book combo Gravikords, Whirlies & Pyrophones: Experimental Musical Instruments (Ellipsis Arts). It celebrates those who like to create their own instruments to make pulsatingly brainy and veiny sounds. Innovators like Wendy Mae Chambers (who built the Car Horn Organ) and Barry Hall (who forged a Flowerpotophone from clay) go beyond a standard 12-tone scale and standard forms to create instruments that challenge the usual ways of listening. Look at Arthur Frick's sculptures such as the Stomper, a percussive instrument made of shoes and wide men's pants, or the Beepmobile, a giant, mobile, three-wheel horn complete with a driver who controls the tuba-like noise through pedals and tubes. Imagine that on I-95.
Qubais Reed Ghazala replicates the sound of the human voice on instruments like the Trigon Incantor and the Photon Clarinet. Reed Ghazalawith the help of light sensors, suction cups and steel ballscreates a throaty maelstrom of emotion as spooky and lovely as a dove or as angry as lion. Phil Dadson's end-struck tubes and tuned bamboo sound similar to primitive surf guitar, like before God created Jan and Dean. Then there's Ken Butler's Bicycle Wheel: a guitar that sounds like a Philip Glass composition played on 7,000 rubber bands.
For those who know composers like Harry Partch and Leon Theremin, these self-created tones and toys are no secret. To the uninitiated they're magically musical and distinctively muscular; as devastating in their homemade sonics as they are an artform in creation. The box introduces you to the sound, but there's an exhibit by the same name at New York City's Winter Garden at the World Financial Center (200 Liberty St.,  433-3907) from Jan. 8-16. There will be free performances by Butler, Chambers and Frick.
Lose (or Gain) Your Religion: "The last time we hit the millennium people were freaking out," says Lisa Steiner, the 25-year-old graphic designer behind The Witches' Gatheringa soon-to-be-monthly party of people looking for godliness in nature and beyond.
"Even when 1899 turned to 1900 people were having heart attacks in churches," she says, "worrying that the world would end. With the new millennium approaching, people need a spirituality to guide them. Yet there's no one correct way."
With that we can let Steiner inform you on the way of the pagan and the design behind her meeting of non-conformist souls looking for a new life in holistic medicines, natural healing and good feeling.
The Witches' Gathering is set to be an evening of different pagansdruids, Celtics, Wiccanscoming together to eat, chat, dance and be dazzled with new approaches to old problems. But rather than be a silly soiree full of pointed hats and dwarves being turned into newts (although there's some folk I'd love for that to happen to), Steiner's event will be filled with guest speakers, DJs, musicians, healers and vendors such as Jim Hendricks discussing past-life regression, homemade aromatherapy items and massage therapy.
"New age ideology and paganism is really about home healing and alternative approaches to it," says Steiner, who turned to paganism after the passing of her father. "Paganism is a nasty word that Catholicism came up with for people who didn't have the exact belief," she explains about the nature-based, animalistic belief system. "It's an earth-conscious religion with no evil, no Satan and no devils. Those images were applied by those afraid of it."
With the exotica of percussive circle Green Tribe (whom you are encouraged to join in with), the debut of A.J. Cohen's The City Witch newspaper, and conversation ranging from house blessing to contacting loved ones from the beyond, it is simplicity that Steiner values most in these parties. She laughs as she says, "Expect not so much the secret of the universe revealed but a great bunch of people looking to have a great time together."
The Witches' Gathering, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 8 p.m., Brasil's, 112 Chestnut St. Info: 545-4489.
SPACEJUNK: Strip Search: Look for major shakeups in ownership and staff at Delilah's Den... Producers Phil Nicolo, Ian Cross and Barry "Eve of Destruction" Maguire will guide Mercury label locals Grey Eye Glances through disc two at Studio 4. To keep up with Nicolo & Co. (I've seen Phil knock kids 'round the ring pretty bad) GEG'll warm up at T.L.A. on Saturday, Jan. 10, for the newly named Echolyn (now Always AlmostHUH?!) opening... Local choreographer Van Grimes will debut Setting Sons at the Community Education Center (3500 Lancaster Ave.) Jan. 9-10. A member of the Philly Dance Alliance, Grimes' piece explores the changing relationship between fathers and sons. Accompanying him are Stephen Welsh and Lorin Lyle, videographer Carmella Vasor and son Evan... The Market Street space that held Fringe Festival HQ will turn into a quaintly chic Lucy's Hat Shop Cafe & Bar around Jan. 16... Dizzy? Fluid doubles up on Tuesday, Jan. 13, offering four turntables simultaneously spun by two DJs upstairs, and, downstairs at Latest Dish, DJs will spin plates, glasses and personal pan pizzas while balancing hula hoops. Spinning: Willyum, Mark Coleman, Carl Michaels and Sean Thomas... Wily, earnest rockers Juliet's Wishing Well from Wilmington will debut their self-released Far From Winter CD at Sam Adams Jan. 15... Kathy Hughes of Sugar Mom's and Tattooed Mom has bought out her partner Joey Maritato at Sugar leaving her as the Reigning Mom of all moms... Congrats to Eighth Street Lounge bar guy Brendan and Shampoo lovely Kasey who got engaged Christmas Day.