About this blog
The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival from the interns' point of view
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I am sure everyone has heard of a little silent movie called The Artist. The musical score in this film brought the picture to life. The growing popularity of this film within mainstream culture has expanded the somewhat limited view we have about what qualifies as a good movie. For most, a “quality” film means explosions, a good love story and some 3D glasses. FLEFF, with the help of improvisational musician Robby Aceto, is bringing back the idea of beauty within simplicity. And even though there may be no explosions, simple does not mean boring. Because there is nothing boring about improvisational live music to a silent film.
Improvisation is all about evoking a response from the audience. It is interesting to think that improvisation could be considered the utopia for music—if we are applying the definition of utopia as a state of being without guidelines or restrictions. And this is not the only way in which the idea of a utopia, or better yet a microtopia, applies to improvisational music and its process. Aceto states in his improvisational trio, the first thing they need to do is establish a common base for their understanding of the film. There has to be a respect for the wish and intent of the director. Once that communication has taken place and once that basic understanding is met, all factors will work together, even if perspectives and interpretations between the musicians are different. Because differences create a textural sound-scape that allows the pictures to come to life off the screen (and without 3D glasses, imagine that!). As I have said before, FLEFF is all about the texture. In the microtopia FLEFF creates, communication is key. Though we may all be attending FLEFF for different reasons and with different viewpoints, we all have one thing in common: a basic respect for environmental advocacy and art through film. All the other differences, the unexpected interpretations of our minds—or even of the music—add texture, interest and excitement. Something you can’t get from your standard, explosion-filled blockbuster film.
What do you think of the idea that the category of improvisation is a musical microtopia?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Blog Posting written by Meagan McGinnes, Journalism '14, FLEFF intern, Norwood, MA
Even the most unrelated topics become related, weaved together in lively and interesting way. It is the magic of FLEFF, stringing things together to make unexpected, but wonderful sense.
Example: combining a film festival with a musical concert.
Brad Hougham, assistant professor for performance studies (voice), said this concert is one of his favorites to perform in because of his musical freedom. And, man, did he use that freedom!
The repertoire includes pieces utilizing an orchestra, organ, harpsichord, cello, piano and more. The material spans from lullabies to gospel. At times, they vocally will be trying to sound like other instruments to add an interesting and cool effect.
These pieces vary in rhythms, harmonies and dissonance. Just by listening there would be no obvious connection. Yet, the differences create intrigue. Intrigue leads to conversation. Conversation leads to community. Communities lead to microtopias.
“What you see will be something different than you could have possibly ever imagined,” Hougham said.
The same can be said about the FLEFF festival: it will be different than you ever imagined. FLEFF brings a diverse group of people with imaginative minds, creating a responsive environment. And what can move people to responsiveness more than music, an art form known for stirring emotions and kindling a spark in the soul.
“I love bringing excellent music to life in a different way so old music can speak to people,” Hougham said.
Music, similar to microtopias, is fragmented and yet it can come together. It is a safe place to push boundaries, to question the preconceived and to create textures both vibrant and new.
Has music ever moved you to responsiveness? What material's texture do you feel best exemplifies the "texture" of FLEFF?