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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: ..

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 ..

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ award-winning play “An Octoroon” layers an antebellum melodrama with 21st-century parlance and perspective. The result is an innovative play-within-a-play that skillfully reminds us of slavery’s horrible past and its ever-present legacy. Area Stage Company’s production, thoughtfully directed by John Rodaz, brings together a talented cast to ensure this melodra..

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..

When Cardi B, with her trademark no-filter attitude, raps in her recent hit “Bodak Yellow” – Now I don’t got to dance/I make money move – she has something to sing about, with her smash hit N..

Despite a packed show schedule, including performing with the Frankfurt Opera in “Rinaldo,” Sarasota native, dancer and choreographer James McGinn had a chance to discuss the upcoming dance-opera ..

Anniversaries usually celebrate the success of a partnership with symbolic gifts of crystal, china, silver and gold. For the Arts Ballet Theater of Florida, the company celebrates 20 years of..

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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