Writing about “Broken Snow,” the Ben Andron thriller now getting its world premiere at the J’s Cultural Arts Theatre (JCAT) in North Miami Beach, is a proposition almost as tricky as the play itself. The intricately structured 90-minute drama is loaded with surprises, twists and turns, all revealed at precisely the right moment so that the play builds to its shattering conclusion..
'Death & Harry Houdini' Makes Another Magical Moment at ArshtDennis Watkins knows how to make an entrance. In the House Theatre of Chicago’s “Death & Harry Houdini,” now back at the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater five years after it first wowed Miami audiences, Watkins arrives onstage with the help of theater technology unknown in Houdini’s day. Dangling upside dow..
Director Carlos Lechuga’s masterful unspooling of time in his second feature film “Santa y Ándres” constructs a uniquely Cuban mix of tedium and despair, resulting in an emotionally intense experience that sneaks up on the viewer in plain sight. The film opens with the stillness of a landscape painting: the eastern Cuban countryside of 1983 – rugged, lush, and verdant. The statuesque..
Memory – deep-seated, fragile, slippery, mutable – is at the heart of Jordan Harrison’s “Marjorie Prime.” A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2015, the play is a family tragicomedy given a sci-fi makeover; in other words, this thought-provoking theater piece charts its own, fresh path. Now getting its South Florida premiere as the second professional production from the Main Street Players, ..
The stage is a fixed space. It is the axis around which story, conflict, and character revolve. When that fixed space shifts, new possibilities emerge. Starting Wednesday, April 23, a shifting site for theater emerges at Deering Estate, a 444-acre environmental, archeological, and historical preserve along the edge of Biscayne Bay in Palmetto Bay. Four local playwrights have collaborated ..
Nearly two years ago, Miami’s Zoetic Stage took its first trip into the world of Harold Pinter with an intense, superbly acted production of the Nobel laureate’s 1978 hit “Betrayal” in the Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater. Now Zoetic is delving further back into the Pinter canon with a riveting production of “The Caretaker.” This 1960 work is, like “Betrayal,” a three-character ..
Imagine animation created live on stage, with mini backdrops, puppets, and low-tech props. Channel it through multiple cameras and mix it live into a projected film. Add a string quartet and a DJ. This is the structure of “Nufonia Must Fall,” an upcoming project presented by MDC Live Arts. The show is slated for appearances around the world, from Asia and the Middle East to Europe and..
That Actors’ Playhouse opened its production of Robert Schenkkan’s “All the Way” on the same day that the American Health Care Act was pulled from a vote by the House of Representatives is ironic and more than a little instructive. The much-touted replacement for Obamacare didn’t have enough sure votes to ensure passage, as Speaker Paul Ryan told President Donald Trump, so the “replac..
The take-no-prisoners world of high finance and ruthless business deals has long been a tantalizing subject for artists. From filmmaker Oliver Stone’s 1987 “Wall Street,” with its antihero Gordon Gekko spouting “greed is good,” to Damien Lewis’ slick hedge fund mogul Bobby Axelrod in the Showtime series “Billions,” movies and television allow those of us in the 99 percent a glimpse at wha..
Miami’s venerable M Ensemble is a company that sometimes dips into its rich history to mount fresh productions of past shows. For its second production in its versatile new home at the Sandrell Rivers Theater in Liberty City, the troupe is revisiting Darren Canady’s “Brothers of the Dust.” Winner of the 2012 M. Elizabeth Osborn Award from the American Theatre Critics Association, the ..
The process of creating “Shade,” choreographer Augusto Soledade’s latest full-length work, has been one of remembering and reconfiguring memory to discover new ways of talking about identity ..
Upcoming this week, Tigertail presents choreographer Myriam Gourfink and musician Kasper Toeplitz. Hailing from France, the two will be present for a 3-day residency at Subtropics’ South Beac..
From her home base at 6th Street Dance Studio in Little Havana, longtime Miami dance figure Brigid Baker has been slowly crafting a new performance piece. It’s not conceptual or political like con..
Karen Peterson is the artistic director of Karen Peterson and Dancers, a company that brings professional dancers with and without disabilities together in the same piece of choreography, and..
Revivals are hot on Broadway these days with “CATS”and “Hello, Dolly!“once again gracing the Great White Way. There is a certain nostalgia in taking a second or even third viewing of a belove..
What happens when urban dance style meets classical music? We’ll find out when Brooklyn-based hip-hop dance troupe Decadancetheater takes the stage, backed by Miami’s own experimental classic..
“What does it mean to belong? What does it mean to not want to belong?” These are questions that choreographer Reggie Wilson contemplates in his provocative piece “CITIZEN,“ which makes its M..
If even a modicum of redemption can be forged from the hellish after-effects of gun violence, we must listen to the communities most affected by the violence. To this end, “Trigger,” a hip-ho..
Celebrating 35 years is an amazing achievement for any dance company in Miami, but especially one founded in a decade better known for its ties to drugs than to the arts. Momentum Dance Compa..
Variety is the spice of guitarist Mary Halvorson’s musical life.
Consider her taste in music. Asked what she’s listening to now, she reports having just gone through a “really heavy Elliott Smith phase,” referring to the late singer/songwriter with a dark bent best known for his Oscar nomination for “Miss Misery” in 1998 for the movie Good Will Hunting. She’s listening as well to the late jazz guitarist Johnny Smith; Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, saxophonist and flutist Henry Threadgill; the new record by the bassist Stephan Crump, a bandmate in one of the many ensembles of which she is part – and there’s the new Fiona Apple, which she likes a lot.“I go through so many phases,” she explains.
Halvorson is one of a growing number of women players in improvised music, in an arena that used to associate women mostly as vocalists. When she appears in Miami on Thursday, Oct. 27, as part of Tigertail Productions’ season, she expects to present a program “leaning toward more experimental forms of jazz, avant-garde jazz, and a lot of rock music influences.”
Her website lists the bands with which she’s involved; their names don’t fit on a single screen. They include Ingrid Laubrock’s Anti-House, the Tomeka Reed Quartet, and the Tom Rainey Trio. At avant-garde composer and saxophonist John Zorn’s upcoming Bagatelles marathon, she’ll lead her own quartet and perform with another led by pianist Kris Davis.
Halvorson, now a resident of Brooklyn, tours at a break-neck speed. She has performed in over 130 concerts just this past year in the United States and Europe, including at festivals. A glance at that prolific touring schedule reveals performances with a mind-boggling number of ensembles – quartets, octets, trios and more, some playing music described as avant-rock, or improvised, or jazz. So one wonders: when does she sleep? She laughs. “It’s actually not quite as crazy as it sounds. None of them are performing all the time.”
But Miami will get something even a little extra and different -- it’ll just be her and her custom-built traveling guitar. “Playing solo is something I’ve only started doing in the past couple of years,” says Halvorson, who released “Meltframe,” her first solo album, last year.
“As part of my practice routine I’ll often work on jazz standards,” she explains. “As I was practicing that stuff without the intention of turning it into a performance, I started thinking about ways I could arrange these songs for solo guitar that might be different.”
This search for uniqueness is to be expected from one mentored by musical innovator and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton, with whom Halvorson studied at Wesleyan University. She also has played in some of his ensembles, including his trio, septet, and 12+1tet.
“One thing that I really took from him was he would tell all his students, go out and make mistakes, really you can try anything, there’s no limit on what you can do musically.”
Braxton’s work challenges categorization, and some members of the jazz establishment have decreed it is not jazz. Halvorson also operates beyond the strictures of genre. An improviser, she does not call herself a jazz guitarist, though that’s what she studied in college and she is often referred to that way.
“I guess labels are complicated,” she says, adding that if her work had to be put under some large umbrella, jazz would probably be the closest.
“I guess I’m not too bothered whether it’s jazz or not.”
Whatever it is categorized, it will expose Miami to one of the most intriguing guitarists around today.
‘Mary Halvorson solo guitar,’ Thursday at 8:30 p.m., On.Stage Black Box at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami. Tickets $30; VIP table seating is $50; www.tigertail.org.
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