June 9, 2005
Yo La Tengo to Perform Live Score for Surreal Silent Film
(North Adams, Mass.)-- Featuring a live score by experimental indie rock trio Yo La Tengo, this event is as much concert as film - but the fish films, by revolutionary documentarian Jean Painleve, are stunning in their own right. In short, The Sounds of Science to be performed in MASS MoCA's outdoor Cinema Courtyard at 9 P.M. on Saturday, July 9, is a "happening" and is tied intimately to MASS MoCA's summer exhibition Becoming Animal.
As Moviepie described a recent performance in Seattle: "Though the pairing of the atmospheric, reverb-heavy, and genuinely lovely music of Yo La Tengo and Painlevé's surreal, spooky, and downright space-alien-esque aqua-critters seems like a match made in heaven, it was obvious that the vast majority of the people there weren't Painlevé groupies. 'YO! (La Tengo) I NEED A TICKET!' cried one poor fella's poster out on the sidewalk at the sold-out show. Though he got points for being clever, it didn't score him entrance to the event."
The evening starts with a sassy, rock-n-roll musical warm-up by Yo La Tengo before they begin the musical accompaniment to the first of many short (most are 5-10 minute) documentaries. Each film focuses on one particular animal-the sea anemone, the minuscule "creeping" starfish, and the hermit crab all get their moments of big-screen glory. The factual subtitles offer both information about the creatures portrayed, as well as tongue-in-cheek commentary. Yo La Tengo's accompanying score offers the octopus a dark moody score, another bouncy squishy creature a playful and sweet soundtrack -- the shrimp the most toe-tapping piece. As the beasties cannibalize one of their weaker brethren, Yo La's drummer Georgia Hubley kicks up a beat simultaneously radio-friendly and vaguely sinister.
Yo La Tengo is known for adventurous eclecticism, defiant independence, and restless creative ambition. So frequently compared to the Velvet Underground that they even portrayed the legendary group in the 1996 film I Shot Andy Warhol, the Hoboken, New Jersey-based unit explores the extremes of feedback-driven noise rock and sweetly melodic pop, shading its work with equal parts scholarly composure and fannish enthusiasm. Prolific and mercurial, Yo La Tengo ultimately transcended its myriad influences to ensconce itself as a beloved institution of the indie community. The core of Yo La Tengo (Spanish for "I've got it!") consists of singer/guitarist Ira Kaplan and his wife, drummer/vocalist Georgia Hubley, who formed the band in 1984 and were joined by bassist James McNew in the early '90s. Over the years the group has become known for sonic schizophrenia often including two Jekyll-and-Hyde versions of the same track -- one a gorgeous instrumental, the other a blistering feedback freakout.
The films of Frenchman Jean Painlevé span the decades, from silent films starting in the 1920s, through his later work in full color, and ending with his last film in 1960. Famous for groundbreaking camera work and imagery at once gorgeous and utterly compelling, Painleve's films have become cult favorites.
The event is sponsored by Blue Q and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The galleries will be open until 7:30 with a special admission price for ticket-holders. Seating will start at 8 P.M. Food and drink from Lickety Split and the MASS MoCA bar will be available before and during the event.
Tickets for Sound of Science with Yo La Tengo are $22 in advance or $26 the day of the show. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays) through June 20 and from 10 - 6 daily after July 1. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
In the case of inclement weather, the event will be moved inside to the Hunter Center.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Katherine Myers
(413) 664-4481 x8113