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Though the Miami New Drama-commissioned “Queen of Basel” will have its official world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington D.C. next season, you don’t have to wait or travel to discover how playwright Hilary Bettis has reimagined August Strindberg’s controversial 1888 classic “Miss Julie.” With three powerful actors and a small audience sharing the stage space at Miami Beach’s Co..

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, now 33, was named a MacArthur “genius” grant winner in 2016, the same year his play “Gloria” was chosen as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Earlier, his provocative, stylistically diverse, subversive plays “Appropriate” and “An Octoroon” (the latter was produced by Coral Gables’ Area Stage last fall) each won best new American play Obie Awards. ..

"The Other Mozart" is a suitcase play – one of those shows where a single actress can pack the entire contents that creates the setting – costume, wig, and props, and go anywhere in the world. It is the way Samantha Hoefer will arrive in Miami to present Sylvia Milo's one-woman play about Maria Anna Mozart, the not nearly as famous older sibling of that 18th century rock star Wolfgang Ama..

Early on in the Argentinean film “El Último Traje” (The Last Suit), which makes its U.S. theatrical debut this week, a deceptively quaint and humorous scene takes place between the film’s protagonist, 88-year-old Abraham Bursztein and his young granddaughter. The little girl refuses to join in a family photo with Abraham surrounded by his many grandchildren. When he cajoles and insists, ..

Gone are the days when filmmakers needed huge budgets, and major movie studios backing them with big bucks to get their films seen, according to two producers who spent decades in Los Angeles, and have now moved their base to Miami Beach. "From a creative standpoint, there are amazing opportunities for filmmakers today," says producer Kevin Chinoy, who, along with producing partner Frances..

Mark St. Germain has achieved ongoing success with small-cast plays involving historical figures in fictional scenarios, and South Florida has been as welcoming to his work as the rest of the country. St. Germain’s “Camping With Henry and Tom,” about a 1920s camping trip involving Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Warren G. Harding, was produced in 1996 by New Theatre in Coral Gables..

Mexico City-based theater collective Teatro Ojo's works are constantly evolving. Nothing is ever really finished. That's because they take from every performance. Whatever the audience experiences, observes, feels, and offers feedback, which they highly encourage, all is used, considered, and included in the evolution of the same piece, or introduced into another new work. Two of the ..

“America’s Greatest and Least Known Playwright.”This is how the Cuban-American playwright Maria Irene Fornes is referred to several times throughout Michelle Memran’s documentary “The Rest I Make Up,” which makes its Florida debut this Saturday as part of Miami-Dade College’s Miami Film Festival. Fornes has been called the “Mother of Avant-Garde Theater.” Theater giants like Edward A..

“Once” has always been touched with magic. And as anyone who has seen the sublime new production of the show by Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables would tell you, the musical’s spellbinding pull is as powerful as ever. When Irish director-screenwriter John Carney first told the tale of a heartbroken Irish street musician and the spunky Czech pianist who reignites his passion, a 200..

Consider the idea of land in Palestine, and conflict may be the first thing to come to mind. But for Jumana Emil Abboud, the Palestinian landscape evokes other, older, associations – with mythological creatures like water spirits and ghouls. “These stories were told way before 1948,” says the Galilee-born artist, speaking by phone from her home in Jerusalem. She suggests looking back ..

Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami has been on a trajectory best described as meteoric. In its first 18 months DDTM has been a 2017 Knight Challenge Grant recipient and now will debut at New Y..

Amirah Sackett came up as a dancer in Chicago’s hip hop scene at a time when women were rare in the mostly male community. But she also visibly stood out as a Muslim. She keeps her hair cover..

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One of the signatures of the National Water Dance project since its inception seven years ago was that dance troupes, large or small, professional or school groups, were free to perform whate..

Miami City Ballet is in league with Russians – in a good way -- and this promises to make a selection of dances look great again. The company’s final program this season brings back Apollo an..

Hidden behind a busy street in North Miami Beach is the Ancient Spanish Monastery, where Dance Now! Miami will bring the past into the present – and back into the past. Ekphrasis describes th..

Sometimes dance seems as easy as walking down the street. John Heginbotham, founder and artistic director of Dance Heginbotham, describes his dancers as moving in an unaffected, natural manne..

On the heels of a year-plus parade of #MeToo confessions, celebrity shamings and women’s marches, comes Marisa Alma Nick’s female-power-packed “A Rebel in Venus.” “It wasn’t planned that ..

Choreographers are usually curious people. Augusto Soledade’s curiosity leads him in many directions, including ideas on Madonna, voguing, and selfies. It all began with “thoughts on identity..

Subtropics: Unique Experimental Music Fest Returns for a 24th Edition

Photo: AlbaTriana 'Microcosmos'
Written by: George Fishman
Article Rating

Gustavo Matamoros’ beard has gone gray, but his passionate promotion of listening as a way of engaging the world remains fresh.Whether bats in the Everglades, shrimp in Biscayne Bay or the normally inaudible resonances of a bronze sculpture, Matamoros records these kinds of sounds, then combines and transforms them into unique musical compositions. Acute curiosity about how we perceive the world through our ears also underlies his role as impresario.

Since arriving in Miami in 1967, Caracas-born Matamoros has initiated a range of public performance programs to showcase the adventurous work of colleagues, local and far-flung. Best known is Subtropics Festival for Experimental Music, now beginning its 24th edition.

The three-week festival offers a unique mix of conceptually based music, sound art installations and freely improvised music from these genre’s most advanced practitioners, explained Matamoros. The program also features a series of films by Charles Recher, a respected colleague and frequent collaborator who died in January.

“LISTEN,” a sound installation produced in partnership with HistoryMiami Museum exhibition designer Freddy Jouwayed, opens the festival on July 5 in ArtCenter/South Florida’s Project 924 gallery on Lincoln Road. It pays homage to the original Listening Gallery at the ArtCenter’s flagship home sold several years ago, that surreptitiously presented nine original sound art compositions by multiple composers through speakers mounted under the Center’s storefront awnings along Lincoln Road. This re-interpretation “is a chance to experience these pieces in a more contemplative environment,” Matamoros said. Jouwayed has created concentric rings of colorful translucent walls that surround a central listening chamber. His intervention filters the bright window walls of the gallery space, leaving a circular array of speakers visible, but shielded.

Nearby, in Studio #209, Colombian-born Alba Triana will unveil her sound sculpture, “Microcosmos,” which remains on view through September 3. In this new piece, combining the sensibilities of a poet and scientist, she explores the fundamental properties of sound and light waves in a mounted brass cymbal. “Here is a musical instrument,” she says, “but nobody plays the instrument.” Instead, she activates it via electronic signals. The generated vibrations, intuitively programmed as an elegant eight-minute looping composition, are audible – and simultaneously visible as a shimmering “aura” around the disc.

Hands-on (or ears-on) workshops, led by prominent scholar-experimenters in sound art, Jennie Gottschalk and Christoph Cox, will guide participants in focusing on the sound environment and then teach them practical strategies for collecting sound and creating their own pieces. Many works of sound art explore the ambiguous boundaries between private and public, interior and exterior spaces, noise and music.

The 45-seat, acoustically balanced Audiotheque space in the 924 building serves as a sound art lab and cozy presentation venue for Subtropics concerts and follow-up discussions. Live performances will include works by internationally known Olivia Block, John Driscoll, Richard Garet, Barbara Held and Matamoros himself. They range from multilayered compositions, including works by guests from Spain’s Association of Electro-acoustic Music, to extravagant improvisations by solo saxophonist Jack Wright, who will also lead a workshop.

Veteran percussionist/band leader and martial-arts aficionado, Abbey Rader, delivers a classic melding of jazz arrangements with spontaneous responses by ensemble members to the spirit of the moment.

John Driscoll’s kinetic DIY instruments combine sophisticated miniature electronics with household odds and ends. Joysticks and other devices allow the performer to whimsically tweak various programmed tones, warbling feedback and other sounds.

Olivia Block’s immersive sonic installations derive from her processing of sampled radio broadcasts, fragments of found microcassette tapes and instrumental music. She composes these elements to create sound experiences, customized to specific performance spaces, such as Audiotheque.

The Subtropics Marathon festival finale is on July 22. Primarily featuring regional artists’ short works, the predictably unruly program will run from 5:00 p.m. until around midnight and likely encompass audience participation, noise, high-tech gadgetry and virtuosic musicianship.

Spanish-born composer José Hernández Sánchez, for example, will present “Broken English,” which offers unsettling discontinuities by introducing a minimalist refrain, then interrupting that flow with classical melodies and sound effects. The composer’s skillful weaving back of “loose threads” provides coherence, even as he determinedly unravels listeners’ comfort – perhaps paralleling the “broken English” that regularly enlivens and confounds a vital aspect of our daily sound environment.

During a period when our sensibilities are relentlessly assaulted by contentious political noise, Subtropics 24 offers a welcome alternative focus for ears, minds and hearts.

ArtburstMiami.com is a non-profit source of theater, dance, music and performing arts news.

Video interviews: https://vimeo.com/223551000

 

Subtropics XXIV Summer Festival, July 5 through July 22; exhibitions through Sept. 3; ArtCenter/South Florida, 924 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach.

For a complete schedule of performances, times and locations: http://subtropics.org.

 


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About The writer

Artist, performance arts and music writer

George Fishman is a writer and mosaics artist who has also worked with audio projects. He has worked in traditional mosaics for 20 years, mostly c..

About the Writer

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