Other Minds Film Festival
John Cage & Friends
September 22, 2012 - 2:00 PM-Midnight
3117 16th Street
San Francisco, California
Thanks to all who attended.
Other Minds proudly presents a one-day film festival in celebration of the 100th birthday of maverick composer/artist/essayist John Cage. Taking over the Roxie Cinema on Saturday, September 22, "John Cage & Friends" features wildly entertaining and rare archival footage of the iconoclastic master and his pioneering collaborators -- including choreographer Merce Cunningham, artist Robert Rauschenberg, and musician/tech guru David Tudor. It's nothing less than a mind-blowing overview of radical art practice.
Hailed as "an inventor of genius," Cage infamously explored new possibilities for the construction and performance of music, including the 'prepared piano,' use of everyday objects and chance operations in composition, and a recognition of silence. His investigations and achievements were paralleled by his longtime partner and collaborator Merce Cunningham, and friends Robert Rauschenberg and David Tudor. These historic films provide an invaluable touchpoint for artists, composers, and performers today.
The Other Minds Film Festival gives audiences a first-hand experience of Cage and Cunningham performing and discussing their work - a central influence on twenty-first century art. Curated by by filmmaker Peter Esmonde (Trimpin: The Sound of Invention).
A $100. contribution to Other Minds gets you a VIP Pass -- which means:
a ticket to see each and every one of the festival films, and limited edition John Cage & Friends T-shirt, a Cage CD (18 Microtonal Ragas), plus entree to a VIP paella dinner alongside notable musicians, performers, and artists who worked closely with Cage and Cunningham. Dinner guests include legendary choreographer Margaret Jenkins, dance star Holley Farmer, sound sculptor (and MacArthur "Genius" Fellow) Trimpin, conductor John Kennedy, and acclaimed percussionist William Winant.
So get your pass, watch the movies, put on your new John Cage T-shirt, pick up your CD, and head off to a convivial and entertaining VIP dinner! A C-note gets you in.
Please join us! Get your VIP pass here.
The Film Program:
2 PM—PROGRAM ONE: CAGE IN HIS TIME
I’VE GOT A SECRET
(1960, 10 minutes)
On February 24, 1960, prime time television met the musical avant-garde when John Cage performed "Water Walk" on this popular game show. Brief labor dispute notwithstanding (should Cage's radios be installed by musicians or electricians?), Cage's dry wit and focused performance entertain a national audience with host Gary Moore.
NEW MUSIC: SOUNDS AND VOICES FROM THE AVANT-GARDE
Blackwood Productions (1971, 51 minutes)
Produced for German TV, this revealing, behind-the-scenes glimpse at New York’s downtown new music scene by Michael Blackwood was only recently released in the U.S. We see a half-dozen young American composers wrestling with Cage's legacy: David Tudor, Alvin Lucier, Gordon Mumma, Max Neuhaus, and Ben Patterson discuss electronic music; Morton Subotnick synthesizes sound; Phil Corner grapples with a piano; and Fluxus artist Joe Jones revels in amusing musical inventions . . . plus footage of a young Steve Reich and Philip Glass.
ASPECTS OF A NEW CONSCIOUSNESS, DIALOGUE III
Merrill Brockway/Camera Three (1969, 30 minutes)
In this rarely screened interview for CBS, Cage clearly and patiently explains his aesthetics, creative processes and artistic strategies, and comments on some of his more important pieces, including Williams Mix and Variations II.
4 PM—PROGRAM TWO: CAGE MEDIA MIX
80 minutes total
In 1966, a group of innovative NY artists—including Cage, Robert Rauschenberg, Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Whitman, and David Tudor—collaborated with research scientists from Bell Labs on a series of wildly innovative tech performance pieces. Presented under the aegis of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), these performances (which took place in NYC's cavernous 69th Street Armory building) are legendary, groundbreaking examples of performance and installation art.
JOHN CAGE: VARIATIONS VII
Billy Klüver, Julie Martin, Barbro Schultz Lundestam
(1966; edited 2008, 40 minutes)
Cage's Variations VII signals a radical use of electronics and telephony, juxtaposing realtime sounds from such diverse sources as downtown traffic, restaurant clatter, NYC's utilities systems, ongoing live performance . . . and the turtle tank in Terry Riley's apartment.
ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG: OPEN SCORE
(1966; edited 2007, 20 minutes)
A fascinating precursor of installation art, Open Score begins with a tennis game, played with rackets outfitted with contact mics and FM transmitters. Each ball hit triggers a loud bell and switches off one of the court lights—leading eventually to music in the dark. This startling piece also used new infrared television cameras, amplified audio, and large-screen projection. With Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Simone Forti.
DAVID TUDOR: BANDONEON ! (factorial)
(1966; edited 2009, 20 minutes)
Working with Bell Labs technicians, Cage's frequent collaborator David Tudor uses a wired accordion to trigger a complex system of audio and visual signals throughout the Armory space. Shifting sound across multiple speakers, activating lights and video images, Tudor's Bandoneon! (a combine) becomes an enormous living, breathing installation.
7:30 PM—PROGRAM THREE: CAGE INTRODUCTORY
79 minutes total
COMPOSITION IN BLUE
Oskar Fischinger (1935, 4 minutes)
A stunning short color animation from a major pioneer of abstract film. Fischinger's remarks to his assistant John Cage—"everything in the world has its own spirit, and this spirit becomes audible by setting it into vibration"—profoundly influenced the young man's thinking about percussion and its possibilities.
JOHN CAGE: I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY AND I AM SAYING IT
Alan Miller and Vivian Perlis (1990, 60 minutes)
An entertaining introduction to Cage and his work, highlighting lively excerpts from his pieces for prepared piano, percussion, conch shells, bird calls, etc. With art world luminaries Marcel Duchamp and Robert Rauschenberg, plus David Tudor, Laurie Anderson, Nam June Paik, Charlotte Moorman, Margaret Leng Tan, and more.
JOHN CAGE: 19 QUESTIONS
Frank Scheffer and Andrew Culver (1992, 15 minutes)
In this straightforward late interview, Cage delivers aphoristic statements on various subjects – from Zen and Indeterminacy to Death and Ronald Reagan - using chance operations to determine both the order and duration of his colorful and witty answers.
9:30 PM—PROGRAM FOUR: CAGE & CUNNINGHAM
98 minutes total
Oskar Fischinger (1936, 3 minutes)
Hyperkinetic early color animation by Oskar Fischinger, who was a seminal early influence on Cage - and a prescient pioneer of abstract film.
Elliot Caplan (1991, 95 minutes)
This feature traces the extraordinary fifty-year collaboration of composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham. Filmed over eight years, Cage/Cunningham is a remarkable behind-the-scenes double portrait; it includes extensive early footage, rehearsal sequences, plus interviews with Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Nam June Paik, Carolyn Brown, Viola Farber, David Tudor, and many others. A sensitive portrait of two artists whose groundbreaking, iconoclastic partnership revolutionized contemporary art and performance.