|W.A.S.P. guitarist Doug Blair and his Blade guitar.|
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
|Port playwright Joshua Faigen, back at the Big Show.|
|Playwright Leslie Pasternack with Sylvia, um, Simon.|
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Strictly speaking, there's still nearly three decades left of the so-called American Century, the somewhat jingoistic phrase coined in 1941 by Henry Luce, the American Century's first multimedia mogul, to spur on the good old USA to dominate the world stage in politics, business and culture, not necessarily in that order, just the way God wanted it. But, truth be told, it looks like our century has passed in everything but the cultural realm and, while we may make it to the finish line of our designated time, we will probably be limping and hurting and gasping for breath, impressing no one, save for the cheerleaders for the power de jour and its hangers-on. So, the Boston-based collective Amercan Century Music seems a little unstuck in time, historically speaking, seeing how much, if not most, of its programming comes from before our self-proclaimed time — and far more benign, referring to the period when American classical music found its own voice, but not shouting at people with it. In fact, all three pieces in "Voices of the Early American Century," the ensemble’s second performance in Newburyport, were created and performed before Luce ever shot off his big mouth. About that, anyhow.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Jeremy Barnard remembers the bad old days of infrared photography, back in the days of film and chemicals. He remembers them well, the bad old days, remembers them as ... well, kind of like golf. Not because the work was mind-numbingly boring, like the so-called sport is for most, if not all, sentient beings, or because you are required to wear silly-looking clothes, but because of the way the game, and the style of photography, just takes it out of you — challenging you, taunting you, all but daring you to throw your clubs — or your camera — into the lake. Where they belong. Like most golfers, if you were working the infrared part of the light spectrum before the dawn of the digital age, you "stunk most of the time," says Barnard. Not for lack of talent or for an inability to keep your eye on the ball, but because the technology itself was, back then, unpredictable — and flawed. "It drives you out of your mind, but then, just as you're about to quit, after all that frustration and disappointment, you get something that's decent and, masochist that you are, you think, 'OK, I'll suffer with this a little longer.'" He eventually drifted away from infrared, but got back into the game when technology caught up with the format, with digital photography eliminating most of the headaches. When it came time to upgrade his equipment about three years ago, he replaced the low-pass filter in his digital SLR with a permanent infrared filter. Why? “Because something about infrared that speaks to me,” he says. The approach has an eerie effect in black-and-white photography, giving viewers blistering, eye-popping detail, sometimes on a surreal canvas, with leaves transformed plume-like on silvered branches and tree trunks. Or, as Barnard puts it, the images are like "an X-ray peering into the innermost life of Mother Nature ... allowing us to see more than we would with our naked eye." All of which you can see in "Beyond Our Vision," Barnard's new exhibit of infrared photography at the Firehouse.