The Source for Media Coverage of The Arts in Miami.
Articles, reviews, previews and features on dance and music performances and events.
Sign Up
No one logged in. Log in

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, ..

Artistic director and founder of Juggerknot Theatre Company, Tanya Bravo, had her first brush with immersive theater in New York City when she met director Tamilla Woodard. Working on the play “Broken City,” Bravo and other actors led audience members on a theatrical journey through the streets of the Lower East Side. “I was so blown away by the concept and the lines that were crossed between ..

We humans do love our rituals. When an extended family gathers for the holidays, familiar traditions promise a comforting respite from an increasingly complex, chaotic world. Still, realistically, troubles and fears refuse to be left behind. They surface like unwelcome guests. So do resentments and stinging remarks born of deep knowledge. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you wonder: ..

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..

Great friendships can nurture and prod an artist to make greater work. Think Pablo Picasso and Wifredo Lam, James Baldwin and Toni Morrison, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Such is also the case fo..

It’s a tall order to present a season as surprising as it is moving, as disturbing as it is delightful. Miami-Dade College’s Live Arts 2017-2018 season -- Ojala/Inshallah: Wishes from the Mu..

It was only a few decades ago that finding a professional, locally produced performance was an aerobic dance in itself. But after the Miami City Ballet (established 1985), the New World Schoo..

A 50th anniversary calls for gold in celebration. But Balanchine’s “Jewels”­—a sublime marriage of music and choreography from 1967—brings Emeralds, Rubies,and Diamonds. Those pre..

When the Limon Dance Company returns to Miami-Dade this weekend, it brings with it the powerful vision of founder José Limon. He was a man deeply concerned about and connected to the humanity..

Car-Horn Composition: Steve Parker's Symphony I-95?

Photo:
Written by: Michelle F. Solomon
Article Rating

Creating music from car horns and bicycles and other non-instruments isn't new. Composer and conceptualist John Cage waxed poetic about traffic noise saying that there is a way "to capture and control these sounds, to use them not as sound effects, but as musical instruments." Frank Zappa wowed talk show host Steve Allen and his audience playing bicycle spokes on national television in 1960s.

So, to speak with Steve Parker about his site specific "Traffic Jam" piece that uses Miami's transportation woes as its inspiration is not so much about how the music is created as it is to why.

On Saturday, Dec. 3, in the midst of Miami's worst traffic weeks of the year, during Art Basel and Miami Art Week, Parker will culminate a series of unconventional and interactive performances with the grand finale of "Traffic Jam," where he'll present a free and open to the public car-horn orchestration at MDC Wolfson Campus Parking Lot 1, Biscayne Boulevard between NE 5th and NE 6th streets in downtown Miami.

Parker first presented his “Traffic Jam” last year in Austin, Texas, where the trombonist-composer lives. It was staged at the only drive in movie theater in Austin, Blue Starlite Drive-In, as part of the Fusebox Festival, a 12-day festival in Austin that's become a platform for adventurous artists. This was the springboard for “Traffic Jam,” which caught the attention of MDC Live Arts Executive Director Kathryn Garcia, who thought the mad rush during Miami Art Week would be the perfect time to present Parker.

"Austin shares transportation challenges like Miami," explains Parker. "I use a lot of materials found locally in the way that I write and an overabundance of traffic is one of the commodities that is plentiful in Austin."

Parker says what first inspired him about creating a composition using car horns, lights and windshield wipers, was the idea of "creating something melodic and beautiful out of something that could be pretty ugly and absurd." He found the absurdity of Miami's transportation system, its accessibility, or lack thereof, to be as inspiring as what he knew of Austin.

Parker has been to Miami only three times in the past three months and has gleaned these observations that, he says, will inspire the overall palette of "Traffic Jam."

"Miami seems to have this disjointed public transportation system – the People Mover and the trolley system. They all have good intentions but there isn't anything that's connecting them. It's a system that has a lot of parks that seem useful but they work in isolation."

These are the kinds of ideas that find their way into Parker's unconventional works. "It's not so much about where you can find music, but what constitutes a venue or an ensemble, what does it mean to be a performer or musician, what is an instrument?' I like to break these conventions apart."

The entire composition, according to Parker, is driven (no pun intended) by a series of situations coming together at once – the artists collaborating, the vehicles involved, the parking lot, and the participants. "This is where it becomes an interesting social experiment," says the composer. Volunteer participants who will become part of Saturday's car-horn orchestra will receive "sheet music" prepared by Parker. The piece begins with everyone beginning at the same time using a stop watch. "Everyone follows along on a sort of Guitar Hero type score that scrolls along horizontally. When it's blacked out, participants honk their horns."

Pop-up performances are also part of “Traffic Jam” that continue through Dec. 3 throughout Miami. They'll include fleets of musical bicycles, mobile sound sculptures showing up in unexpected hubs of transportation (people mover, parking garages and bus stops, and performances with the Hobo Roadshow, a hand built trailer bar and tattoo parlor on wheels with "elements of surprise performances.")

On Saturday, the 3:00 p.m. Traffic Jam Carnival, will also feature:

Emerge Miami creating interactive automobile installations that examine the different ways people engage with their vehicles; featuring a make-out car complete with an artificial “make-out point” vista to facilitate canoodling.

Artists Manita Brug-Chmielenska and Randy Burman presenting a large scale, interactive xylophone made from automobile hoods and parts. The parts will be amplified and can be played by audience members with a variety of objects provided.

Inlets Ensemble presenting new site specific works for skateboarding ukulele players, car stereos, and electric car windows by Jorge Gomez and Robert Blatt.

Kunstwaffen 1916 performing a quartet for choreographed musical bicycles. Prepared in the manner of John Cage and Frank Zappa, bicycle wheels will be outfitted with guitar strings and other noise-making objects.

Karen Peterson Dance presenting an intimate duet for mixed ability dancers Katrina Weaver and John Beauregard. A live musical score will be created from amplified and processed components of the wheelchair and dancer bodies.

The car-horn finale completes the Traffic Jam experience at 4:00 p.m.

He named his previous car-horn composition after Austin's congested I-35. So what to make of his Miami symphony?

Symphony I-95 seems quite fitting.

To find out more about the performances and to participate in the interactive presentations of Traffic Jam, go to http://mdclivearts.org/

 


Leave a comment...
Must be Logged in
No one logged in. Log in
Leave a comment...
Was this helpful?
No Very

Captcha Image

About The writer

Michelle Solomon is a long-time writer and editor, whose works regularly appear in magazines throughout South Florida.

..

About the Writer

La tradicional temporada de Cascanueces del Miami City Ballet (MCB) tendrá algo nuevo este año. La compañía que dirige Lourdes López ha decidido renovar los diseños de la superproducción que..

El programa que Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) presentó el sábado pasado en su exitoso debut como compañía en residencia del South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center (SMDCAC) y a solo ..

Hay pocos artistas que han tenido el impacto en sus disciplinas como el guitarrista Paco De Lucía tuvo en flamenco. En este género, hay un antes y después de De Lucía. Expandió el vocabul..

Dance NOW! Miami, la Florida Dance Education Organization (FDEO), Miami Dance Futures y la New World School of the Arts (NWSA) colaboraron el fin de semana pasado para presentar la Daniel Lew..

Esta es una gran noticia para el público amante del ballet en Miami. Tras un paréntesis de diez años en los que solo nos visitó de manera esporádica, la Primera Bailarina mexicana Katia Carra..

Solo hay que aplicar el concepto “seis grados de separación” a uno de los artistas que se han presentado en las Galas de Estrellas del Festival Internacional de Ballet de Miami (IBFM por sus ..

El debut de Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) en noviembre del año pasado fué un acontecimiento artístico y un descubrimiento sumamente agradable. Una sola función en el Miami-Dade Cou..

El festival “Out in the Tropics”, patrocinado por Fundarte en conjunto con el Centro Cultural Español y el Miami Book Fair International, normalmente trae artistas del mundo LGBTQ e hispanoha..

La Gala anual de Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami (CCBM) es un evento que esperan con ansiedad los aficionados al ballet en Miami y, sobre todo, los admiradores del estilo cubano. Desde su deb..