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Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival: Spirit of Detroit
Meridian Gallery
San Francisco, CA
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Music for People & Thingamajigs Festival: Spirit of Detroit
Artist statement:

In this performance I try to find meaning in the complex swirl of emotions, thoughts, impulses that range from deeply sad to burning rage evoked by seeing the photographs of Philip Jarmain.
Using a ground cloth I painted on the streets of Detroit 25 years ago, I have created a kind of urban camouflage suit, inclduing a cape and other clothing articles. This suit produces a desolate sound that I imagine could be heard blowing across the vast vacant areas of Detroit.
Through movement, text, singing, and an audio collage, against the backdrop of mural sized photographs of the once stately and regal buildings of decaying Detroit, I try to sort through the isms that ate the heart out of the city of my birth and artistic growth.
Apart from the home of my childhood, which looks much the same, except for the requisite burglar bars, most of the buildings in which the meaningful experiences of my life and creative growth took place have disappeared, have been erased, plowed down, paved over or left as tracts of plain dirt. When this personal loss is multiplied hundreds of thousands of times over, the destruction becomes biblically epic and enormous.

About the Festival

Thingamajigs presents another year of exciting new musical works for homemade instruments, found objects, DIY inventions, and alternate tunings by some of the Bay Area's most innovative artists. This year audiences will see first hand instruments as unique as Fred Frith's homemade string instruments, Danishita Rivero's Hydrophone water instruments, sonic suits from Bob Marsh, re-tuned Fischer-Price instruments by Dennis Aman and the premiere of a new opera incorporating objects from the sea by David Samas.

The Music For People & Thingamajigs Festival is an annual event featuring experimental and traditional musicians and performing artists who incorporate made/found instruments and alternate tuning systems in their work. Each year, MFP&T invites such artists to join in a festival of workshops, music making, and performances with the goal of reaching a large, diverse audience of all ages. People can participate in instrument building and tuning and educational workshops, as well as hear unique sounds and compositions from up and coming artists.

Now in its 16th year, Thingamajigs' genre-crossing MFP&T Festival is the only annual event completely dedicated to music created with made/found materials and alternate tuning systems. Past participants include Carla Kihlstedt, Walter Kitundu, Pauline Oliveros, Brenda Hutchinson, Electric Junkyard Gamelan, and Laetitia Sonami.

History and Mission Statement

Thingamajigs is a genre-crossing arts organization that promotes, presents and performs music and other art forms created with made and found materials or alternate tuning systems.

Our mission is to develop and nurture the exploration of alternate materials and methods of creating sound, as well as promote collaborative efforts within other artistic disciplines. With open workshops, performances, artists exchanges and an educational program, we welcome audiences/participants of all ages and backgrounds to join in a wonderful tradition started in the Bay Area by such composers as Harry Partch, Lou Harrison, and John Cage.

Thingamajigs was founded as an art project in 1997 at Mills College, Oakland California. Created by Edward Schocker and Dylan Bolles, the project was originally conceived as a forum for composers/performers who develop new and unique ways of producing sound. The project soon broke out of the college environment and into an annual music festival called Music for People & Thingamajigs (now in its 15th year). In 2004 a permanent group of unpaid volunteer organizers and advisors was created. Together they expanded the yearly festival as well as created a season of international artist exchange programs (The Pacific Exchange) and an education program (Thingamakids!)



Meridian Gallery (View)
535 Powell St
San Francisco, CA 94108
United States

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Music > Experimental
Music > Festivals

Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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