Last year saw choreographer Bruce Wood’s foray into his long-aborning, all-male dance project, My Brother’s Keeper. Such an approach is no longer such a novelty. Just this week, The New York Times reported on London’s BalletBoyz, an entirely male troupe. But what still distinguishes My Brother’s Keeper is its multi-generational theme. Inevitably, having nothing but men pairing and dancing gives a work a gay aesthetic/sexuality. But Wood may be unique in also working with older male dancers, exploring issues of fathers and sons. In this case, he’s even cast the 78-year-old Jac Alder, executive producer-director of Theatre Three.
So, with Bruce Wood Dance Project’s new season opening this weekend with the premiere of his new, expanded version of My Brother’s Keeper, we decided to re-post my story about it from last year, a personal favorite of mine.
- KERA radio story:
- Expanded online story:
[sounds of Wood rehearsing dancers to Philip Glass music starts and continues under]
Bruce Wood hadn’t planned on working with older dancers. For two decades now, groups like Paradigm and the Nederlands Dans Theater 3 have developed works for older dancers. Such works are still relatively unusual, but some say the growing trend is partly a response to the aging boomer audience, so we probably are going to be seeing more of them. But Wood actually wanted to create something almost as unusual as a dance work for performers in their 40s and above: a major, all-male dance work. Wood was investigating how onstage, men dance differently when they’re with men than with women.
Wood: “Guys can be a little rougher with each other. They’re obviously heavier, you know. Like, it’s virtually impossible to lift another guy over your head. So all the stuff that you see guys doing with girls is out the window.”
South by Southwest’s tech conference is winding down in Austin. More than 25,000 people were in town talking about the latest in the tech world. KERA’s Lauren Silverman talked with host Sam Baker about a few big trends this year.
Now that the price of a desktop 3D printer has dropped to only a few grand, it’s become accessible to people who might never before been able to get their hands on the new technology. There are doctors printing custom prosthesis, manufacturers printing components for aircraft, even fashion designers printing jackets.
Check out other objects people are creating using 3D printers.
Self-Monitoring For Health
This year at SXSW it’s all about apps to learn about you. Especially popular are apps like FitBit and Jawbone Up, which you pair with a wristband to monitor your health and fitness goals – how many calories you’ve consumed, how high your blood pressure is, hours you’ve slept.
At one SXSW Interactive presentation, Leslie Ziegler described a full year of tracking everything from how much time she was spending in meetings to her weight gain and blood sugar levels.
Ziegler says there are two major problems with the wristbands and apps currently on the market: precision and usability. For example, right now many of the sleep monitors available aren’t accurate, if you toss and turn they think you’re awake and that can mess up your data. The other problem, Ziegler says, is that the hardware you wear around your arm or clip on your shoes isn’t always comfortable, or you forget to bring it with you. So for self tracking to really catch on, she says it needs to be much more passive and not require strapping on so many clunky gadgets.
Afternoon Delight is a daily diversion for when you’re just back from lunch, but not quite ready to get down to work. Check back weekdays at 1 p.m. for another one.
If you’ve been waiting anxiously for the possibility of a deadmau5 and Imogen Heap collaboration, your day is here! But the real reason to watch this video is the 20 animators who provide the visuals.
LOS LANDSCAPES: The Meadows Museum at SMU is currently hosting the first-ever retrospective of Spanish landscape painter Martín Rico y Ortega. It’s the only American stop for the show, which was organized by the Prado. But you can be excused if you’ve never heard of him. “He was a Barbizon School painter in the time of impressionism, and this helped relegate him to the history of also-rans,” Gaile Robinson writes in her dfw.com review of the show. “During a time of the artistic avant-garde, Rico played it safe.” Still, she says his landscapes – particularly his pictures of Venice – are “perfectly pleasing.” If you’d like to take a quick European vacation and be home in time for dinner, this sounds like a solid option.
DSO TOUR DIARY: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is enjoying a few days rest before continuing its European tour Saturday in Vienna. And the players should be riding high after a very well-received performance in Jaap van Zweden’s hometown of Amsterdam. If you want to keep up with the orchestra from a behind-the-scenes perspective, senior principal associate concertmaster Gary Levinson is keeping a tour diary for theaterjones.com. His first entry is now up, in which he recounts his rocky trip across the Atlantic.
DAVE GROHL SPEAKS: Dave Grohl will deliver the music keynote address at South By Southwest this morning at 11 a.m. Not in Austin? No worries – our friends at the NPR mothership will live stream his sure-to-be-entertaining speech. For more on all things Grohl, maybe revisit my post about the documentary he made, Sound City.
KERA news reporters Lauren Silverman and Stephen Becker are on their way home from SXSW’s interactive and film conference, and the crew from KXT 91.7 FM is gearing up now for the music conference. KERA’s Sam Baker asked KXT Program Director Mark Abuzzahab what band was getting the most early buzz leading in to the conference.
- Listen to Mark and Sam on KERA FM:
- Or read a summary:
Mark Abuzzahab: I think Chvches is the band that is the most universally written about in the music press. They’re an electronic band from Scotland, they toured here in the U.S. last year, opening for Passion Pit. Their new record isn’t out yet and there’s a lot of excitement about them because they have this supposedly incredible live show.
Sam Baker: Well, they spell the name CHvrch?
Mark: I think that goes back to the running joke that all the great band names have been taken.
Sam: One of the great things about living in North Texas is so many bands playing at South by Southwest make a pit-stop, playing in this area.
Mark: Yeah, artists have to travel to perform at the festival in Austin. So either on their way there, or the way out, they want to make some money. We really benefit from geography in this case. One of the artists I’m really excited to see this year is Dana Falconberry. She played at 35 Denton this past week.
Dallas band the Relatives played SXSW 2 years ago. They’re playing again. And they’ve got their first new record out in 40 years. It’s such a great story, and the Relatives play here at the Kessler Theater coming up on March 22.
Sam: KXT is part of a unique collaboration at the music conference this year?
Mark: KXT is joining with four other public radio stations in New York, Austin, Philadelphia and Minneapolis, and we’re all sharing a public radio day stage. We’ll all be broadcasting the sets live, starting Friday at noon. Artists like Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Vampire Weekend, Divine Fits, Iron &Wine. It’s a great lineup, seven bands in all. And the whole thing will be live on KXT on Friday.
Sam: How is SXSW different from festivals like Austin City Limits?
Mark: The big difference is SXSW is bigger. Also SXSW is mainly for the music industry. However, SXSW has also evolved into a spring break destination, since its the same week as the spring break for most colleges in the area. There are a lot of day parties that happen and you don’t have to be registered for the conference to attend them. And you get this phenomenon of college students staying with friends in Austin, responding to invites on Facebook for the day parties. So it’s really multiple festivals going on all across the city of Austin. Whereas something like Austin City Limits is really concentrated in Zilker Park during the day, with a few after-shows in the evenings. SXSW is just massive and engulfs the whole city.
Sam: Any advice for anyone headed to Austin this weekend?
Mark: Wear comfortable shoes.
OK, we confess. This is not actually a photo shot in Texas. But it sure looks like it could have been, so we’re letting it in this week because we’re still poring over the great details, typical of a HDR (high dynamic range) image. They just elected an Argentinian pope, we can make an exception and admit a photo from Centralia, Washington.
The Dallas Symphony is on tour in Europe. Tuesday night, it received an ecstatic response from the audience in Amsterdam’s famous music hall, the Concertgebouw. KERA reporter Jerome Weeks talked with Jonathan Martin, the DSO’s president who’s on tour with the orchestra.
- KERA radio report:
- Extended online report:
On the live streaming of the Dallas Symphony’s performance of Gustav Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, you can hear the famous ending that dwindles into pained silence — and then comes one final, symphonic outburst. Then a moment of held breath — and then comes an ovation so long you look at your watch. Don’t bother timing it, I already did. It lasted for four and a half minutes. And then came the encore from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde — which got another two minutes of applause. Dallas Morning News classical music critic Scott Cantrell wrote a review the likes of which he rarely pens (” If there was ever a time to be proud to be a Dallasite, it was Tuesday night…. On a stage where Gustav Mahler conducted 11 times between 1903 and 1909, the DSO has never played more electrically, or with as much finely finished detail”).
So, Jonathan, it sounded like conductor Jaap van Zweden, who used to play in the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, got a hero’s welcome from his hometown.
Martin: “It was an extraordinary homecoming for Jaap and for the Dallas Symphony. It was almost like you could feel the orchestra going from one stage of its development to another within the same concert. It was that important and it was that good.”
AUSTIN – You can call it a panel discussion, but anytime you hand four comedians microphones, it’s really a comedy club you’ve entered. That was the case Tuesday afternoon when Fred Armisen, Marc Maron, Scott Auckerman and Chris Gethard gathered to discuss transitioning alternative comedy to TV.
“I’m an alternative comedian that IFC is trying to figure out how to transition to TV, so I’m very much looking forward to hearing the advice of our panelists,” Gethard, the defacto interviewer, said by way of getting things started. The other three (Portlandia, Comedy Bang! Bang! and Maron) each have shows on the network.
Alternative comedy at this point is more a sensability than anything. Maron said the term began to describe comedians who worked outside the club circuit in alternative spaces – places where they could stretch the boudaries of convention a little more. Now, when you hear “alternative comedy,” you’re really describing anything with a certain level of quirk. And it doesn’t have to necessarily fall outside the main stream – plenty of what Saturday Night Live does these days qualifies.
So how did these guys get here? Aukerman and Maron mostly have very successful podcasts to thank. The beauty of the podcast, Auckerman said, is that, “Hundreds of thousands of people want to hear you, just not all at the same time.” And now that many people have DVRs and subscribe to services like Netflix and Hulu, they can also watch your show whenever they get around to it. But don’t get a podcast as a stepping stone to a TV show, they all said. (Easy for them to say.)
Maron said he knows the tricky transition to television well. He auditioned back in 1995 for Saturday Night Live and didn’t really connect well with Lorne Michaels (Armisen theorized that since he never really heard back from the show, maybe they’re still considering him.) And he pitched plenty of pilots to networks before IFC picked up Maron, which debuts this spring.
In the past, when other networks passed, Maron said he would just wait out his time on the bench.
“Then you hope your life becomes more interesting or worse so you can pitch it again two years later,” he said. “No, I’m not that guy anymore – I’m much sadder!”
After about a half hour, the floor was open to questions. And a useful lesson was learned: Be careful when you approach a table of live comedians. The first person who approached the mic asked about how the comedians’ humor translates internationally. Armisen explained that he was recently in Sweden and happy to see that there didn’t seem to be any cultural gap in understanding Portlandia. The woman seemed satisfied with that response and began to head back to her chair as Maron was about to add his two cents.
“Stand up! Get back at that microphone - we’re still answering your question!” Armisen shouted with mock rage. “What kind of a person asks a question and just walks away?”
After that, each audience member with a question politely asked if they could be seated once they received their answer.
Want to take your family on an adventure? You can when The Dallas Children’s Theater presents the theatrical adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s sci-fi classic, A Wrinkle in Time.
Travel across time and space with Meg and Charlie, and their neighbor Calvin on a mission to rescue Meg and Charlie’s dad. But you don’t really have to travel across the space–time continuum to do it. All you have to do is win this Big Deal – tickets for four good during the March 22 – April 14 run of the play at the Rosewood Center.
More adventures can be found with our other two deals this week - tickets to see Jeanne Robertson at the Majestic Theatre and tickets for Bob Schneider at the Granada Theater. And is always the case, you must first be an Art&Seek e-newsletter subscriber to win the Big Deal.
Sign up below for a chance to see A Wrinkle in Time.
UPDATE: We have our winners. Don’t forget to come back next week to play again!