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Archive for the ‘Laurie Anderson’ tag

Mesmerizing Forces of Human Nature…

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Entrancing. Provocative. Celebratory. Poignant. Mythic. These are just some of the ways I have heard people in the community describe their engagement with the ideas and performances shared by the Imagination Fair and Laurie Anderson this past weekend. My family was downtown on Friday evening to capture the performances and music there on an early summer evening and witnessed the atmosphere created by That 1 Guy and others on the Oak Street Plaza. So caught up were we in the relaxed, fun filled atmosphere, we did not even make it to see what was happening at Opera Galleria! Others, however, journeyed on to be captivated by the Laser Harps and the works of local artists presented in CoCOA’s annual member exhibition at the Poudre River Arts Center as they voted on the People’s Choice Awards and celebrated our own local art community at the First Friday Gallery Walk.

Then on Saturday, a close to full house at the Lincoln Center witnessed the extraordinary talent of Laurie Anderson as she mixed music, metaphor, social commentary, light, life and air to fill that space with imagination, laughter and reflection. With stories ranging across the continent and beyond, Anderson enthralled the audience with accounts of small Amish boys learning to kiss without affection, hitch-hiking to the North Pole, staying in bed all day and teaching adult students at night school, narrowly escaping a hatchet and more successfully escaping the burn ward as a child,  not to mention the precise performances of working at McDonald’s. She, the “ugly one with the jewels”, also spoke on indigenous people’s encounters with that strange tribe that calls themselves ‘anthropologists’, all the time reminding the audience of the ways we learn to be with each other and the multiple and diverse motivations for our actions, be they money, salvation, education and of course, self-preservation and identity.

Outlining “the stories of stories”, Anderson asked the audience “what are days for?” and to reflect on what some have described as the end of ‘American Empire’, when the people realized, like her little dog, that “attacks could come from above as well.” It was an evening of remembering (re-membering, or the ways in which we bring people from the back of our mind to the forefront of same) and forgetting, not to mention reflecting on what we choose to remember and forget in our stories. As I watched her skip lithely on stage to acknowledge her standing ovation for the third time, I dreamed that I might find myself at her age, capable of such wit, energy, art and love of life. It was an evening that will stay with me for a long time.

Tomorrow, the Science Café presents Dr Arlyn Andrews of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Laboratories) in Boulder. Dr Andrews’ presentation is entitled “Carbon Detectives” and discusses her colleagues’ efforts to monitor and understand the global carbon cycle and the importance of taking quick action to reduce carbon dioxide pollution. The event is free and starts at 5:30pm at the Stonehouse Grille – we hope to see you there!

With thanks to I,Timmy, Janet 59 and doctorious for their wonderful images…:)

Don’t forget to leave us a comment on your experiences of these events – it would be great to hear from you!

Kirsten Broadfoot

Imagination gives you the picture!

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I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

Albert Einstein

The fewer expectations you have, the better.
Laurie Anderson

Although we often separate art and science as distinct pursuits, innovative art and science are connected by the process of creative imagination.  Throughout history, human imagination has consistently stretched the question of “why?” into the realm of “why not?” and in the process, adjusted our very concepts of reality.  However you define it, Imagination, involves the process of reorganizing what we think we know.  It’s the ability to question and risk seeing something outside the boundaries of what is “supposed,” to be—the rearranging of variables in new ways!  Collectively, we often imagine someone like Albert Einstein, with his signature tousled hair, as a genius for his construction of knowledge and contributions to physics.  Einstein published over 300 hundred scientific works, (and more than 150 non-scientific ones)—no small feat—he also said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” 

Another innovative thinker, Carl Sagan said, “Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.”  Where has your imagination taken you lately?  This weekend you don’t have to physically travel very far to explore new possibilities, and stretch your imagination.  At the free Beet Street Imagination Fair, downtown, Fort Collins, (June 5, 5-9 p.m.) you can experience performances and demonstrations that explode the boundaries of science and technology, art and music!  This month’s First Friday Gallery Walk (the monthly, evening, opportunity to explore the visual art offerings in Old Town) has an added performance dimension where cutting edge technology meets artistic expression.

On Saturday, at the Oak Street Plaza, Christopher “C3” Cardone demonstrates that becoming an accomplished musician is not a destination, but the ticket to musically travel even further.  He builds his own instruments to create an amazing range of sounds and rhythms.  Don’t miss your opportunity to journey to his corner of the universe—you never know what will be included in his performance!   Later, That 1 Guy, aka Mike Silverman, will continue to push the limits of making music.  Silverman, a classically trained upright bassist, imagined and engineered a bass out of electronically wired steel plumbing in an effort to find the perfect sound.  You’re invited to hear his solutions!

At Opera Galleria (123 North College), event partner, Discovery Science Center, Colorado’s NASA link site, will showcase NASA exhibits and “hands-on” activities.  You can also see award-winning student science fair exhibits.  The Poudre School District’s Alpine Robotics Team 159 (students from Poudre High School, Lincoln and Preston Junior Highs) will demonstrate their robotic inventions, and the CSU Engines and Energy Conservation Laboratory will showcase their low cost, high-performance cookstoves, engineered for the developing world. Imagine that!  Kids of all ages are also invited to not only listen but “play” Laser Harps with traditional harp strings replaced by laser strings.  The harps were designed so that large groups can play simultaneously, using interactive movement, dance, and light to trigger sound. The result?  A visual and musical performance you won’t forget!  Impact Dance Company will also join in for special collaborative performances at 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm.

Then on Saturday evening, creative pioneer, visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist Laurie Anderson will be in Fort Collins to follow the Imagination Fair.  Get your ticket to be transported by her Burning Leaves: A Retrospective, Songs and Stories 2009 at the Lincoln Center box office. Anderson, a self proclaimed “techno-geek,” spins offbeat adventure stories, in an intimate evening of voice, electronics and violin.  Her songs and stories include pieces from her acclaimed solo shows The Speed of Darkness, Happiness, The End of the Moon, and Homeland.  Among many accomplishments, in 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA—and you can hear some of her avant-garde interpretation of her adventures into that great unknown.  Don’t be surprised if her surreal melodies and your imagination sweep you off on an unexpected trip!

Nothing happens without a start as a dream.

Thanks for the photos Don Solo and Jorge Barahona

Deborah Lombard

Strangers + Eggplant Parmigiana = Community

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“You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go.”
T.S. Eliot

If you had the day off on Memorial Day, you may have gathered with family and friends.  All over, people came together to mark the day or celebrate graduations, and be together.

This holiday, my family found that even rain can not completely dampen the fun of combining food, friends, and singing together!  Sometimes, I think it’s fun to try and remember how I became friends with someone.  Not just remembering meeting them, but trying to define when our relationship changed from strangers to friends.  There is an invisible line that gets crossed–it might take time to reach that point, but it can also happen quickly.  Lately, I’ve talked to a number of people about making connections in a new community.  In an electronic discussion last week, one member asked, “How do you feel about having dinner with a stranger?” Mark Shouldice of Toronto did exactly that—not by chance, but by identifying Franke James (author, artist, and photographer) as someone he thought would be interesting to get to know.

Shouldice came across James’ website and came up with a creative solution for a Christmas present by requesting her company as a gift—James was a complete stranger!  (You can read the play by play of how the dinner came about at Franke James’ website.)  Shouldice, a 4/5 grade Toronto teacher, arranged the gift of dinner and conversation for his partner.  They had discussed the power of conversations with strangers and how people are more likely to divulge things when they connect as strangers.  Shouldice believes that a conversation with a stranger erases the potential pressure that something you say will be held against you in the future!

When Shouldice emailed James, he explained that he was interested in her work and offered to donate $200 to a charity of her choice in exchange for hosting him and a guest for dinner.  Although James’s initial reaction to the email was to question if it was a joke, she liked how the letter was written and ultimately decided it was an interesting idea (she also Googled Shouldice’s name to try and find out a little about him.) The dinner took place on January 24, 2009 (eggplant Parmigiana, pasta, arugula and spinach “Greek” salad, snow peas, carrots, and apple pie with ice cream).

Shouldice admits that at first, he was a little concerned about keeping the conversation going, but reports after dinner reveal that discussion flowed easily.  In fact, by the end of the evening, the participants reported that the whole situation felt completely normal!  James, for her part, inquisitively agreed to the dinner, but now realizes that the format has fundraising potential for community groups and charities.  So…would you make dinner for a stranger, in exchange for a donation to charity?

Shouldice and James’ adventure illustrates how one idea can lead to another.  In an action plan for the Entrepreneurship Forum of New England, Robert Leaver, discusses how this risktaking is part of creative community:
At the top of the list: creation of a vibrant, self-nourishing community of entrepreneurs.  These are the ones who assume the risk without knowing where all the resources will come from, or even all the bends in the road.  These are the ones for whom a passionate calling and innovation are like food and drink.  These are the ones who are constantly building the next way—whether they’re running a startup tech firm, leading an established company, or growing a community.  These are the ones for who[m] risk and failure is second nature.

If you aren’t ready to invite yourself to dinner, perhaps you can start small by doing something you think you would “never” do.  There are so many events, performances, and places to explore in and around Fort Collins.  You can hear Laurie Anderson, see an independent film at the Lyric Cinema, visit a thought provoking exhibition, or even help an artist create a horse sculpture!  Check out to see what else can challenge you!

If you keep on going, you’ll always get somewhere!

Thank you to Robyn Gallagher for the photo and to Franke James for her great illustrations!

Deborah Lombard

Art, Life and Laurie Anderson.

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Think of a quote that discusses the relationship between art and life. Have you got one? The one that almost always comes to my mind belongs to Oscar Wilde, the Irish poet, novelist, dramatist and critic — ” Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Wilde also encouraged our artistic selves in this manner, “one should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.” But two quotes which really speak to me about the relationship between art and life belong to Pablo Picasso and John Dewey respectively…

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

“Art has been the means of keeping alive the sense of purposes that outrun evidence and of meanings that transcend indurated habit.”

If you are looking for an artist whose life is a work of art, whose art cleanses our souls, keeping alive our sense of purpose and meaning, then you don’t need to go much further than Laurie Anderson. As the Rolling Stone puts it,“Laurie Anderson is a singer-songwriter of crushing poignance – a minimalist painter of melancholy moods who addresses universal themes in the vernacular of the commonplace.” Wow. Anderson’s music is evocative and provocative, lyrically seductive in the ways it speaks to your emotions but there is also something deeply physical about her music and I am reminded about how sound is so central to our consciousness, how rhythm and beats imitate the beating of our heart and the movements of our pulse. This is how music, as a form of art and performance, connects human beings with each other.

Laurie Anderson is also a creative pioneer. Visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist, she is known as a visionary in the use of technology in the arts, bringing to the arts to the most unfamiliar (you’d think) of places – NASA (their first and only artist in residence), Applied Minds to create an artwork to be displayed at the Guggenheim in New York this winter, and various prestigious cultural events, composing the music for the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Athens in 2004 and the World Expo in Aichi, Japan in 2005, as well as the acclaimed multimedia project O Zlozony/O Composite for the Paris Opera Ballet.

Anderson’s first performance-art piece was a symphony played on car horns in 1969. She has also played violin while wearing ice skates with blades frozen in ice. Yet many of her early performances and pieces remain on limited release or through private compilations. Moving in a group of some of the most avant-garde performers of the 1970s and 1980s, Anderson continued to build her craft, collaborating on film scores and productions as well as art installations, composing albums and taking singing lessons. In 1991 she appeared inThe Human Face a feature arts documentary directed by artist-filmmakers Nichola Bruce and Michael Coulson for BBC TV. Anderson was the presenter in this documentary on the history of the face in art and science. Her face was transformed using latex masks and digital special effects as she introduced ideas about the relationship between physiognomy and perception.

In case that was not enough, Anderson has also complete spoken word albums, audiobooks and written a supplemental article on the cultural character of New York City for the Encyclopædia Britannica and created a number of multimedia presentations, always exploring the effects of technology on human relationships and communication. One of my favorite pieces features Anderson and Lou Reed, entitled ‘Lost art of conversation’, a duet of vocals and guitar. Click here for a glimpse – it is wonderful!

In 2007, Anderson was awarded the 2007 Gish Prize for her “outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to humankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” Art and Life, indeed.

Laurie Anderson will be performing from 7pm on June 6th at the Lincoln Center. Tickets are $20 adults and $15 students/seniors (60+), available from the Lincoln Center Box Office by calling 970-221-6730, visiting them at 417 West Magnolia Street or going online to LCTIX.

See you there!

With thanks to Denis Collette…!!! for his beautiful river and jimdavidson for his image from the Baltimore Visionary Museum.

Kirsten Broadfoot

Keeping an event eye on the neighborhood….a little something for everyone!

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This is my favorite time of the year. I know I blogged earlier about festivals and summer but just this week, I have noticed a whole bunch of new cultural sprouts popping up in the community so I thought I would start with what I have seen around and then if you see some others, you could post them too and spread the word!

This weekend, Opera Fort Collins presents Il Trovatore or The Troubadour, at 7:30 pm on Friday and 2 pm on Sunday at the University Center for the Arts (Griffin Concert Hall), on Remington Street (which is a fabulous building by the way!). Tickets are $30/$40; $20 for CSU students and children ages 18 and younger. For more information, call 221-6730 or go to

If opera is not your thing, how about some Jane Austen? OpenStage Theatre kicks off their run of Pride and Prejudice (one of my all time favorite Austen books) at the Lincoln Center mini-theatre this weekend. There’s been many a movie based on this storyline and representing this storyline — who can forget Colin Firth as Mr Darcy! Ok, now I am showing some prejudice of my own! For more information about Pride and Prejudice, performances please visit OpenStage Theatre & Company , or for tickets please visit Lincoln Center Box Office.  Don’t forget that this week is also your last chance to catch OpenStage’s presentation of The Maiden’s Prayer by Nicky Silver which runs Friday and Saturday at 8pm with their final matinee performance Sunday May 24 at 2pm. The Maiden’s Prayer is at the Center for Fine Art Photography: Black Box at 44 N. College Ave.

Finally in May, over at FCMOCA , they are hosting “Fort Collins Collects” from May 22 through to July 18. This exhibit runs in the main gallery and is joined in June by Joseph Rafael in the Mezzanine Gallery for a run through the rest of summer. If you need an art fix more frequently, don’t forget that FCMOCA also hosts  “start your lunch break with an art break” every Wednesday at 12:15pm sharp where you can join a 15 minute guided talk about some of the objects on display. Don’t say we don’t try to inspire you!

As you know, June kicks off with Imagination Fair June 5th with That 1 Guy and Laser Harps and will take place in two locations in Old Town — Oak Street Plaza and Opera Galleria. In conjunction with the Imagination Fair, but separately presented, Laurie Anderson will perform her Burning Leaves show at the Lincoln Center on June 6, which will be outstanding! If you haven’t got your tickets yet, click here! We’re fighting over who will get to go and review her show!

The next weekend is one for the younger members of our community and kicks off with the Fossil Creek Park Bicycle Festival, featuring kids’ bike games, bike rides, food and all manner of cycling shenanigans! The festival runs from 11am-4pm. On Sunday, June 14, the Fort Collins Regional Library District presents A Victorian Sunday in the Park — an afternoon of music, song, vintage games and crafts, and historical bicycles, all provided by the Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Science Center and their friends, in the historic cabins of the museum’s courtyard.  Bring your lunch as the afternoon’s fun starts at 12 and goes til 4pm! Or you might pop over to the Taste of Fort Collins event in the Civic Center Park beforehand and pick up some tasty treats to take to the picnic! There’s food (of course), music, kids games and tons of fun there too…. All in all, an excellent weekend to get out and see what we have at our fingertips in the community!

Right on the solstice, when Spring becomes Summer on June 20 and 21, the Fort Collins Irish Festival arrives in the Civic Center Park for the weekend  and the Father’s Day 5k Run/Walk to benefit Northside Aztlan Community Center Youth Programs. The run starts at 8am with registration from 6:45-7:45am in Old Town Fort Collins. The Irish Festival has a special gift for the first 300 dads to enter its gates as well! Fun for the whole family!

Then, just in case, you haven’t had enough fun already, June 27 and 28, is……that’s right! Colorado Brewer’s Festival!!! Get ready! Proceeds from the Festival help to fund the Lucky Joe’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Santa Claus, The Holidays Downtown, free summer concerts, and the 4th of July Downtown. This is a reason in and of itself to attend, but in case you need some more persuading…. there will be music, 50 different Colorado beers, food and fun from 11am to 6pm on both days!

Phew! That’s what I have got coming up! If you have any other information on events in the community that you would like to share, please feel free to add them here in the comments and we can send out the word!

With appreciation to Roger Smith, sarako and oschene for their beautiful images!

Remember – art is part of everyday life!

Kirsten Broadfoot

Determined. Inspirational. Brave.

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Over the next few weeks here in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado, we will be visited by several inspiring, determined and brave artists and scientists as we explore diverse forms of creativity across many realms of life. Tomorrow, Wednesday May 13, we will be amazed at Science Café to discover new forms of waste management using biogas technologies as Dr. Sybil Sharvelle, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at CSU leads us in a discussion on renewable and renewing energies. Science Café will be held at the Stonehouse Grille from 5:30 to 7pm and is free to attend.

On Monday, May 18 at the Lincoln Center, Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle, her bestselling memoir will share with us her story of struggle, determination and inspiration in a childhood characterized by hunger, love, poverty, beauty and chaos. Her story, as the latest in our series of Thought Leaders highlights the strength of the human spirit and its ever renewing and renewable energy and the power of inspiration to turn adversity to triumph. Once a reporter making her money from celebrity gossip, in The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls turns the spotlight on her own life to show that indeed, truth can be stranger than fiction! Her work is used all over the nation in literature, psychology and child development courses; and Walls demonstrates to her audiences how everyone has a story and we are more alike than we think, suffering the same struggles, inspired by similar dreams and blessed with strong spirits.  The conversation starts at 7pm with tickets available at Check out the audio interview here!

As schools get out and graduation caps get thrown in the air, June and its promise of summer also brings several events to lift our musical spirits and imaginations starting with the Imagination Fair on Friday June 5th, featuring Laser Harps and That 1 Guy. The Laser Harps are immersive installations that replace traditional harp strings with laser strings, using interactive movement, dance and light to trigger sound. The harps are designed to enable large groups to play simultaneously, resulting in a visual and musical performance to remember. That 1 Guy, alias Mike Silverman, is an upright bassist often hired as a one-man-rhythm-section, functioning as a bassist, drummer, and entire mini orchestra simultaneously. All in all, Imagination Fair presents the community with a vision of creation, innovation and imagination that merges science, technology, music and art in a thrilling variety of forms at three venues to enhance the First Friday Gallery Walk in downtown Fort Collins. I can hardly wait for this event – it sounds extraordinary!!!

Imagination Fair is closely followed by Laurie Anderson, one of the world’s premiere performance artists, on Saturday June 6,  at the Lincoln Center. Anderson’s ability to personify innovation will move your heart and your mind. Over the next few weeks we will preview more of what is to come on June 6 but in the meantime, find out more about Laurie here and get ready to get some tickets quickly as she sells out fast!

“Laurie Anderson is a singer-songwriter of crushing poignance – a minimalist painter of melancholy moods who addresses universal themes in the vernacular of the commonplace.” Rolling Stone

Determined. Inspirational. Brave. We look forward to seeing you out and about in our community over the coming creative weeks!

With special thanks to h.koppdelaney for his image!

Kirsten Broadfoot