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: ..
After a tryout run in Chicago, 34 previews and 746 performances on Broadway, and a tour launch in Buffalo, “On Your Feet!” has finally opened in the place where Cuban-born music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan made their dreams come true: Miami. At Friday’s red carpet opening at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, with the Estefans and their extended family in atte..
Whether the comedy is high or low, performer-writer Steve Martin has been making moviegoers, “Saturday Night Live” fans and theater lovers laugh for more than half a century – hard to believe it’s been that long, but he started early. Martin’s way with both cerebral jokes and physical comedy is abundantly on display in “The Underpants,” his 2002 adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s once-ban..
Robert Schenkkan’s “Building the Wall” begins as a wary conversation between two strangers: Rick, a white male convict awaiting a likely death sentence, and Gloria, a black female historian and college professor. For 90 minutes, the two talk. She probes; he explains and justifies and slowly paints a picture of a man-made Seventh Circle of Hell. By the time the play ends, the audience ..
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Even before the election that transformed billionaire reality TV star Donald J. Trump into the 45th president of the United States, playwright Robert Schenkkan was so disturbed by the candidate’s anti-immigrant rhetoric that he decided to respond. Not with a Tweet. Not with an opinion-page essay. The Pulitzer Prize winner spoke back to candidate Trump with a full-length play. “Building..
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Rafael Nofal’s play “El tiempo de la mandarinas” (“Season for Tangerines”) tackles the very relevant and disturbing theme of human trafficking. Produced by Antiheroes Project, this moving play is in its last week at Artefactus Teatro, a well-purposed black box and gallery space in a smattering of warehouses in Kendall. Nofal’s text removes overt violence and male characters fr..
Joshua Harmon’s savagely funny “Bad Jews” is an emotional cage match set in a pricey Manhattan studio apartment. The combatants are Daphna Feygenbaum (Hannah Benitez), a soon-to-be Vassar grad who plans to move to Israel, marry a man no one in the family has met and become a rabbi, and her cousin Liam Haber (Joseph Paul Pino), a master’s degree candidate and atheist who intends to..
The play begins, as it must, with the velvet voice of Nat King Cole crooning “Mona Lisa.” After all, how many paintings inspire an Oscar-winning song? For that matter, how many masterpieces survive damage, theft and the rapacious covetousness of collectors for more than half a millennium? Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Gioconda,” popularly known as the Mona Lisa, is that inspi..
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The songs are familiar; the love story is also familiar but made fresh in “On Your Feet!,” the musical biography that comes to Miami this week. The narrative of Emilio and Gloria Estefan meet..
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Watching Neri Torres rehearse is a study in focus and concentration. She demonstrates each step with an ease developed from years of immersion in the study and performance of Afro-Cuban ..
Sun-drenched it is, but Miami is sound-drenched as well. Parrots screech complaints from the Grove’s canopy of palms. I-95 is a perpetual sound lab of squeaking brakes, tires rubbing asphalt and the pulse of horns. On Coral Way, abuelaschat in melodic Spanglish about nietos as 747s rumble overhead.
Tod Machover – composer and Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media at the M.I.T. Media Lab – hears music in Miami’s noise and believes its soundscapes are ready to be sampled. With filmmaker David Kane, and representatives from New World Symphony and the Knight Foundation, Machover unveiled Project 305 at the New World Center on Miami Beach to a packed room of reporters, teachers, administrators and artists clutching coffees on an early Monday morning last December.
Looking the part of composer-technologist in black t-shirt, jacket and pants, Machover described Project 305 as a “crowd-sourced city symphony.” For 100 days from January 31to May 12, Miamians will be encouraged to record and submit on smartphone apps short audio files capturing the city’s sounds and images.
Then a team that includes Machover, composer Ted Hearne, Kane, and New World Symphony Artistic Director and co-founder Michael Tilson Thomas, will sift through the submissions. The goal is to gel them into a distinctively Miami symphony.
Similar projects by Machover in Lucerne, Switzerland; Toronto; Edinburgh; and Perth, Australia derived inspiration from cow bells on the sides of Alpine mountains, conductor’s whistles, footsteps on a bridge, ice cubes clinking in glasses, a butcher wielding a cleaver, the clink and hiss of an electric plant. Machover’s Symphony in D, described as “a cacophonous love letter to Detroit,” used over 15,000 sound bites.
Contributions from young people have a prominent role in the project. Machover highlighted the Media Lab’s Hyperscore software that makes music composition accessible to children. Using Hyperscore, students generate music not by writing notes on a staff but by drawing sounds using shapes and colors. He encouraged local schools to access the program, and added there are plans for making that software freely available to educational organizations during the project.
The time frame is compact -- the final work will premiere Saturday, October 21, 2017 at the New World Center, with subsequent viewings taking place at partner venues in communities throughout Miami-Dade County.
Machover’s hope is that Project 305 will shape for Miami, as it has in other cities, a fresh, radical “musical ecology with new connections and new creative centers for Miami-based artists, musicians and writers.”
After the presentation, that ecology showed signs of life as many of the attendees networked, exchanging ideas. Ryon Coote, philanthropy director for McLamore Children’s Center, saw Project 305 as “the opportunity to get some exposure for our demographic” and was particularly interested in the compositional software for children.
Miami will be the first city to accompany its symphony with video and photographs. Ronald Baez, artistic director at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, heard in Machover’s presentation an opportunity for local film-makers to make use of the center’s equipment to generate contributions.
Submissions can be made from January 31 to May 12 by sending sound and video clips using the iPhone or Android app, project305.org.
For questions or information, contact Stephanie Torok at Project305@nws.edu, or call 305.428.6722.
New World will hold three public launch day events Jan. 31 throughout the city where the community is invited to come out and learn more about the project and how to start submitting their audio/visuals! Details below:
8:00 - 9:30 am, Sandrell Rivers Theater in Liberty City, 6101 NW 7th Avenue, Miami.
3:30 - 5:00 pm, Koubek Center in Little Havana, 2705 SW 3rd Street, Miami; Parking - $3
7:00 - 8:30 pm, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 Southwest 211 St., Cutler Bay.
Sean Erwin is a writer and assistant professor of Philosophy at Barry University, with a focus on aesthetics and contemporary french philosophy.
Sean Erwin is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Barry University and received his Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy from Vanderbilt. He has presented and published on topics in political philosophy, Italian and French philosophy, and technology and performance studies. He currently serves as the senior editor of the Humanities and Technology Review.
Erwin is also a performance critic for Artburst, with performance previews and reviews appearing regularly there and in other South Florida publications. Artburst gives him the platform to critique the aesthetic principles he writes on as a professional philosopher through analysis of the concrete movements embodied by performers.
He is also an accomplished dancer and teacher in the Argentine Tango community. In 2000 he founded and served as editor of the Chicago webzine, Tango Noticias, a specialty dance periodical dedicated to examining Argentine Tango as a set of social practices rooted to the Southern cone’s history, politics, and culture.
Since his move to South Florida, he has both taught philosophy and served as a principal tango instructor for the Miami-based, Shimmy Club, a non-profit program that teaches Argentine Tango to vision-impaired teens. Through his involvement with the program, Erwin has been featured in articles and several news outlets including Univision, Telemundo, NBC News, KPFK Los Angeles, and the Miami Herald. For more information, see erwinsean.com.
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