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My Barbarian wanted to take Miami on a boat ride. “We wanted to interact and be out in the public,” Alex Segade reveals over the phone from Los Angeles, where he just got out of rehearsal for My Barbarian’s first Miami show, coming up this Saturday at the Miami Light Project, as part of Miami-Dade College’s Museum of Art and Design’s “Living Together” performance series this season. ..

The time seems right for Karen Finley to be visiting Miami, to be performing in the black box space of the Miami Light Project at the Goldman Warehouse, and to present her latest performance-art manifesto about the current political landscape, “Unicorn Gratitude Mystery.” In the show, which she began developing as a response to the U.S. presidential election in 2016, Finley plays a unicor..

Getting into a true holiday spirit can be tough in South Florida, where palm trees, expansive beaches and balmy skies signal perpetual summer. Ever-earlier store décor and the incessant push to buy presents – more about commercialism than celebration – can make many of us feel more anxious than festive. Not to worry. Just squeeze in a trip to Miami’s Arsht Center, where City Theatre h..

One of the centerpieces of this year’s Art Week is not a static art work, and it is also one of the most sensuous and disorienting. Lebanese performance artist Tania El Khoury is producing her “Gardens Speak” for the week, courtesy of MDC Live Arts, a piece that has been applauded in cultural capitals throughout Europe and the United States. “It is a work,” she says, “that can only co..

Since its founding in 1996, City Theatre has been an important part of South Florida’s theatrical landscape, though the company’s visibility has always been highest in the month of June. That’s when its popular Summer Shorts festival takes place; for more than a decade, its high-profile venue has been the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Arsht Center. Though the company founded by S..

If you were to predict who might become a nationally famous – OK, world-famous – multiplatform sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer would probably not be your first choice. Born in Germany in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel, the 4’7” Dr. Ruth seems more like the doting Jewish grandmother she is than a woman who used her nationally syndicated radio show, TV shows and 40-some books to help hun..

Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..

We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..

“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..

With the closing of Tigertail Productions last year, Miami lost one of its preeminent artistic champions. Under the direction of founder Mary Luft, Tigertail brought an endless parade of boundary-..

Anytime would be a good time to devote a dance program to the works of Jerome Robbins, our most versatile and celebrated American-born choreographer. But, given that 2018 marks the centennial..

Due to winter storms in the Northeast impacting travel, with great regrets the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company announced the cancellation of the Saturday, Jan. 6 performance. At age..

It is fitting at this time of the year that our thoughts often turn to what connects us not what divides us. Whether we are driven by religious or secular motives, many of us are in the spiri..

The end of the 19th century was a golden age for ballet. In 15 years of collaboration, two great Russian geniuses – choreographer Marius Petipa, and composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky – produced ballet st..

Here’s a riddle – name the 1892 box office flop panned by critics for lack of seriousness and for casting too many kids, which has now transformed into a force of nature timed to occur yearly..

It happens every year, right around Thanksgiving, productions of the Nutcracker pop up from coast to coast, marking the start of the holiday season. But on Saturday, Miami audiences have the ..

As Art Week approaches, Miami choreographer Marissa Alma Nick’s Alma Dance Theater is getting ready to add its distinctive voice, rehearsing for the upcoming performance of “Flowers” at the C..

Promising a night of airiness and ardor, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami will bring “Ballet’s Pointe of Passion” to the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, where the company joins an att..

A Subtropic 'Frozen Music' Picnic

Photo: From L. to R.: David Dunn, Gustavo Matamoros, Rene Barge
Written by: Dan Dickinson
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The green lawn at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden was raucous on this Sunday afternoon with the calls of frogs, cicadas, crickets, and birds. The event was Frozen Music: Picnic 5, and the sounds were courtesy of the three unassuming gentlemen who call themselves Frozen Music, seated at a folding table behind laptops, an awning tilted at a jaunty angle to best block the afternoon sun.

The three men -- Gustavo Matamoros, Rene Barge, and David Dunn -- have been performing their live sound installations in Miami and elsewhere since 2009. An ensemble of sound artists, each brings a vast personal library of sounds that they have recorded over the years in various places using various techniques. Matamoros was most recently spending time in the Everglades, and those sounds featured prominently in the mix this day: animals that you sort of recognize but probably can’t name. Dunn, based in Santa Fe, has gained some renown for his innovative work recording bark beetles inside trees. Barge, who like Matamoros lives in South Florida, features a strong visual component in his individual work.

As Matamoros previously explained to Artburst, each artist improvises a four-channel audio experience right there on the spot. The three individual products are then combined into what emerges from the four speakers: “In essence, what is happening in Frozen Music is that each of us designs his own system of sound production and his own strategies for producing sounds that actually come out of the speakers. We don’t rehearse. We simply think of these systems as ecology. When you think of the mockingbirds: there’s a flock of mockingbirds in the botanical garden, and they’re doing what they’re doing. In the meantime the cars are going by. There’s no relationship between the cars and the mockingbirds. But when you’re sitting there you can make a relationship by simply listening in certain ways.”

On a marbled rock on the edge of the lawn, beneath the sweet rotten smell of a clown fig tree, Artburst sat and worked on that relationship. The sensation was like being transported aurally into a nighttime wilderness with some curious additions: some eight-bit electronics burbled underneath, and a howling sound from the speakers played counterpoint against the birthday party that was happening in the shade.

It all works perfectly in the Botanical Garden: like most gardens, it’s an artificial landscape made of manipulated nature. That’s exactly what Frozen Music was doing: starting with nature, manipulating it, and producing an artificial soundscape. It maintains the connection to its source, but allows us to experience it in a situation that would not be possible without human intervention.

The speakers were covered in black plastic to protect them from the rain that kept threatening. Frustrated by what she took to be an artistic deception, a little girl insisted: “Everybody knows it comes from these. Why cover it up?” In our daily lives, we might be more adept at mentally covering up and ignoring the sound itself. How often do we sit and ponder the droning omnipresent music of the South Florida air conditioner?

Frozen Music appeared at Miami Beach Botanical Garden on Sunday, September 21. You can find out more at http://subtropics.org/frozen-music. 

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About The writer

Music writer, musician, composer

Dan Dickinson is a composer, improviser, and bassist living in Miami. He especially enjoys the challenge of creating meaningful works in real-time..

About the Writer

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