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John Cage & Friends

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JOHN CAGE & FRIENDS

Cage’s work in film spanned nearly half a century; to date, he has contributed to well over 100 films: as composer, certainly, but also as performer, animation assistant, walk-on extra, subject, oracle, muse, and (finally) director. A simple overview of Cage’s contributions to film and video would require more screen time than any festival could possibly offer. Of course, even the most cursory assessment of Cage’s achievement needs to take into account works with his partner, choreographer Merce Cunningham; the fearless pianist/composer David Tudor; and Robert Rauschenberg (who soon grew accustomed to design challenges). All of these films were selected with an eye (and an ear) on Cage’s collaborative spirit.

Each of the four film programs shares these objectives — and every one contains some truly astonishing gems: Cage’s famous 1960 performance of Water Walk on a national tv game show; a prescient 1966 installation by Rauschenberg; young composers (including Glass, Reich, Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, and Morton Subotnick) working their way through Cage’s influence; a rare glimpse of Fluxus artist Joe Jones and his sound sculptures; and some stunning examples of Merce Cunningham’s dancers at their finest.

 

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