A FEW WORDS
As wildlife communicates globally, with intelligence and nobility, from supplication to outrage, mostly in voices from distant places, it seemed __________ to suddenly see majestic wildlife speaking from Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda.
Since globally the great wonders of nature's creatures are reaching out, trying to find territorial balance and perhaps an accord, it seemed important to respond to the display of majestic egrets that arrived in a struggling city park in late fall 2011.
Since Nature seems to be communicating through all wildlife and suddenly has majestic egrets in the city, it seemed worthwhile to explore from the egrets perspective, as they are projecting an elaborate rosetta stone language of art, dance, music, symbology.
I've invited composers, choreographers, dancers, as well as scientists and architects to respond to the egrets, to see what sense they make of the seemingly highly arts oriented language that the egrets are projecting, as they move into the developed human habitat.
They are setting up colonies in city parks and urban neighborhoods, places where many of nature's wonders -- elephant, tiger, whale, gorilla, polar bear -- obviously cannot go. The egret-heron family is possibly, by default, an ambassador for those who cannot setup a colony in the human habitat to present their way of life, up close and personal. The egrets, and the herons and others, seem to have created a forum. On October 8, in Alameda, we're presenting my egret photographs. Three composers are performing compositions that they've contributed to the exhibit.
After a few words about the photographs, I'm featuring Egrets With Us by composer Douglas McKeehan (Aircraft, Ancient Future) who has sampled the egret voices and composed a very danceable ballet piece with egret lead vocals and rhythm tracks in an environment of kalimba and African drum and classical flute. (Diane Grubbe plays flute to the recorded egret composition.)
The egrets are amazing. The music leads to closer inspection of the photographs, which suggest the egrets are focused and they are conveying something from the heart of the human urban habitat. Whatever it is, it's beautiful and commanding. The choreographers seem to know at once that they are dealing with visual language, from which they are inspired to create dances in response to the egrets.
In Japan the egrets are respected symbols of peace and are celebrated in festivals and in Japanese drama. There are highly desirable cities in Japan and China, that are dedicated to the egret. The cities are apparently prosperous, clean and romantic. The Bay Area, with all its cities around the bay, is ripe for such an embracing of majestic wildlife.
Another composition Oulipo by composer and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud (Kronos Quartet) captures this beautiful flowering mood of cities of peace. We'll play her recorded Ouilipo with Joan on cello and the equally amazing drum wizard William Winant (Zorn, Sonic Youth, dozens of collaborations) on vibraphone. Joan will likely be there. She's worth looking up on the internet. Her website server is down but there is a lot on the internet.
The Oakland Museum Director, Kelly McKinley, or her representatives, are expected. You might find yourself in some good conversations. Golden Gate Audubon Director, Cindy Margulis plans to be there. She has an egret story, that's stunning, witnessing their intelligence and skill, and compassion as one rescues another from total entrapment.
The exhibit is upstairs with comments by John P. Kelly, Director of Conservation Science, Audubon Canyon Ranch, Cypress Grove Research Center.John won't be there. He's traveling.