Heroes and Demons Review - Fulcrum Point New Music Project

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According to the Mission of the Harris Theater: They are committed to presenting world-class music and dance organizations in order to maintain their reputation as a venue of growing importance. The Harris Theatre also makes it a point to work to advance arts education for children and adults through public school initiatives and community engagement.

Kalyan Pathnak on "La Tabla"- all photos courtesy of photographer David Cortes

This mission statement was incredibly clear to me as I sat in the audience at the presentation of the “Heroes and Demons: Legends of Urban, Latin and Native America by: the Fulcrum Point New Music Project. It was night filled with a fusion of creative musical composition, songs, poetry, dance and even rap.

The production was a complex web of creativity that were brought into fruition through the creative spirit of Stephen Burns: Artistic Director, Randall Woolf: Composer in Residence and featured guests: Kalyan Pathnak and Yang Wei. The evening incorporated pieces that were inspired by myths, legends and the urban story lines.

Kathleen Brauer on violin- all photos courtesy of photographer David Cortes

Musical pieces done in spoken word in the Mayan language accompanied by the Luna Negra dance troupe were a play on the audience’s senses. Strange sounds and interesting music came out at the audience from all sides and could be at times strange and at other times very intriguing. Yet, it would seem that the whole point was to bring a bit of sensory overload to the viewer.The dancers energy throughout the number was unstoppable. The group included: Marc Marcaranas, Tanya Myers, Hamilton Nieh, Hilda Paredes and Veronica Guadalupe.

Luna Negra Dancers bringing movement to the Ooxpeel ik' il' t'aan piece-all photos courtesy of photographer David Cortes

The Fulcrum Point New Music Project is truly pushing the envelope in terms of experimental music fusion. As a young, urban and creative audience member, I definitely was able to see the deeper meaning behind this creative innovation, but at times it did seem as if some of the other audience members were a bit confused. The goal of this project was to pull together different styles of music and expose it to those people who are not usually exposed to it.

The final piece, Urban Legends by: Randall Woolf was definitely a piece that exposed the audience to new styles of music. The idea of incorporating rap and classical styling’s is as innovative as they come. Yet, once again, some in the audience seemed not to connect as well as others.  The pieces created an ironic feeling in my mind in terms of their political fire amidst a very conservative audience. It ignited an excitement for me to see an audience pushed to the brink in terms of experiencing opposing opinions.

Instrumentalists bringing the vision of Stephen Burns to life- all photos courtesy of photographer David Cortes

The story behind Urban Legends truly highlights the ideals that the Harris Theatre has in terms of connecting arts and education. The piece incorporated rappers from inner cities who are pushing themselves to get off the streets and do something incredible and proactive with their lives. Jeremy Inspo Smith is one of those rappers. He’s a 19 year old young man who is budding with touching creativity and inspiring words. His bio stated, “I want to go to college to do something better than being on the streets…because I’ve been there and it’s not fun anymore”.

The group playing music from Sulvastrua- all photos courtesy of photographer David Cortes

Harris Theatre has done an incredible job of pulling innovative reportoire into their seasons and exposing young creative’s in the positive light that they need to be in. They are genuinely following the goals they set for themselves and are gaining a new and interesting audience in the process.


Fulcrum Point Mythis Directives

Myths grow stronger—and more meaningful—as cultures overlap, cross borders, dance together. Each of these pieces evokes the ancient power of storytelling through new, surprising juxtapositions. Indigenous Mexican tales are set in motion anew as Luna Negra Dance Theatre debuts a work to Paredes score. The spellbinding power of myths—the layers, the loss, the loves—provides the common bond for four rappers’ reinvention of urban myths transformed in Woolf’s world premiere.

The next Fulcrum Point performance, Machines, will be May 19th 2010 at 7:30 PM.

Is New Art Music a cyborg? Technology—from creative amplification to interactive computer soundscapes—brings new strength to the most human of expressions. This program spins haunting moods from three turntables, unexpected percussion instruments, and urban rap embedded in a cushion of strings, blending roots and the never-before imagined.

The Chicago Fluxus Ensemble, led by original Fluxus artist Simon Anderson, will stage performance pieces throughout the building before the concert; arrive early for a jolt of the unexpected!

History (www.harritheatrechicago.org)

In 1990, a study by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation identified a need for a state-of-the-art downtown performance venue in Chicago for use by some of the city’s world-renowned and emerging, but itinerant performing arts companies. Vital to these not-for-profit groups was the creation of a facility that would be affordable to rent, offer superior technical facilities, and have the flexibility to serve a range of performance needs. Many of Chicago’s major philanthropic organizations and resident performing arts companies formed a partnership to bring the project to life.

After reviewing more than 20 prospective sites, the City of Chicago invited the organization to locate the theater on East Randolph Drive, anchoring the northeast corner of the new Millennium Park. With the ground breaking in February 2002, the newly named Harris Theater for Music and Dance promised to become the first multi-use performing arts venue to be built in the Chicago downtown area since 1929. The Board of Trustees and the organizations that had assisted throughout the project celebrated the Theater’s inaugural performance on November 8, 2003.

Today, the Theater is proud to be the home of a myriad of Chicago’s most exciting music and dance companies, including Chicago Opera Theater, Music of the Baroque and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, as well as serve as host to internationally renowned companies and artists, including San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, Laurie Anderson, and eighth blackbird.

For tickets contact:

205 E. Randolph Drive
Phone: 312-334-7777
FAX: 312-334-3153
Phone: 312-334-2400
FAX: 312-334-2498

Be sure to visit Harris Theatre online: www.harristheatrechicago.org

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