You may not think classical music and bike riding have much in common, but the two will harmonize during Cycling Night at the New World Symphony on Friday, Nov. 8, which will include a group bike ride, a 30-minute concert by the symphony, and the premiere of the film ‘Bicycle Dreams’ on the New World Center’s 7,000 square foot projection wall (full details). Ahead of the event, New World Symphony violinist and avid cyclist Alex Chaleff describes the intertwined and transformational impact that music and cycling have on his life. — Editor’s note
Here’s what was supposed to happen: Actor and alleged poet James Franco was to read from his recently published book of short stories, Palo Alto, in the main hall of the New World Symphony while an enrapt packed house wondered to itself why God makes some so pretty and others just eh. Instead, a confluence of vicissitude — persistent rain and President Obama vetoing the airspace above the Magic City as Air Force One left Miami International — made it so Franco’s plane sat on a runway in Orlando two hours after the O, Miami event was scheduled to start.
Disaster, right? Not exactly. As you can see from the above photo, the Green Goblin did eventually make it, and though he was conspicuously in no mood to flash a smile at hundreds of starry-eyed strangers and sign whatever they put under his pen, he did exactly that for more than an hour.
But that wasn’t what saved the evening.
Thursday night, at the New World Symphony in South Beach, Hip Hop godfather Kool Moe Dee took the stage to discuss the nexus of rap and poetry as O, Miami kicked off its final weekend. Yale Anthology of Rap editor Adam Bradley, English emcee Monie Love, and poets Adrian Castro and Adrian Matejka also dropped knowledge on the topic, but KMD proved himself Master of the Mic when he answered his own question — “How do we use vocabulary?” — with a 40-second freestyle. Enjoy the audio clip (after the jump), and a video of Kool Moe Dee answering another self-posed question: “What would the emcee be without the music?”
On this week’s podcast, we take a sonic journey through the weekend-that-was in Miami, with the spinning spokes of La Noche Criterium (March 17), the mournful melody of Big Night in Little Haiti (March 18), and the sublime strings of the New World Symphony’s Mendelssohn mini-concert (March 19). For those of you who noticed and, bless your hearts, lamented that we did not post a podcast last Thursday, we are planning to do them every two weeks from now on to give us more time to do the job right.
Make sure to subscribe to our podcast RSS feed to get a free mp3 download beamed your way every other Thursday morning. If you have any suggestions — a person to interview, an event to forecast, a worthy reupholsterer to send Michael Tilson Thomas’s way — please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last night I walked over to New World Symphony’s new Miami Beach campus and found the mega projector in Soundscape, a 2.5 acre public park with a really bad name, beaming a series of images onto the 7,000-square-foot plaster wall of the Frank Gehry-designed concert hall.
I believe each slide consisted of the “shards” of images of the campus under construction as if frozen in mid shatter (but maybe someone spiked my vitamin water). The image resolution was incredible, and watching concerts and films in Soundscape should pretty much rule. (NB: The first “Wallcast” is this Friday night, free of charge.)
Last night’s slideshow did not transition smoothly from image to image (à la your typical Mac fade-and-zoom photo slideshow) but in a measured, slowly-turning-gear kind of way. For the hell of it, I took a series of photos of the projection wall as the images cycled and decided to try to duplicate the effect with an animated .gif, something I’d never made before. (Again, I suspect the water.) You can check out the result after the jump, as we have a strict policy against moving objects on our front page.
On Wednesday, the New World Symphony will perform the opening concert at its new campus in Miami Beach. Designed by starchitect Frank Gehry, the campus centerpiece is a 756-seat concert hall that NWS artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas hopes will do no less than fundamentally transform the general public’s impression of classical music. Put simply: MTT hopes the building will make classical music cool. With this goal, it is no surprise he turned to long-time friend and former babysitter (!) Gehry, who, at 81, is one of the world’s brashest builders and has a track record of turning “Where?” to “THERE” with a single structure (see Bilbao).
Of course, Miami itself is on the map, but classical music is pretty much invisible in terms of its popularity among today’s youth. (Name one contemporary composer.) MTT apparently did not interpret this as evidence of the genre’s irrelevance in the age of Beiber Fever, nor as proof of the deterioration of the contemporary ear. Rather he came to the conclusion that young’ns today would love classical music — maybe even tweet about it (@PGlass *only* five minutes of silence? #weak) — if they ever experienced it.
To this end, Gehry devised a building that the masses can enter without ever walking through the front door. Its facade consists of a large, latticed glass wall that allows passersby to see in and, importantly, NWS musicians to see out. In other words, it isn’t a wall; it’s a window through which MTT hopes the public and his musicians will come to recognize each other as fellow earthlings. Gehry, for his part, no doubt hopes everyone will find a moment to gawk at the design of the lobby, a serene composition of papery practice rooms that somehow appear to be falling apart and coming together at the same time.