How to Be in Two Places at Once: The Firesign Theatre in the US and Vietnam As four comedians trained in poetry and psy-ops, Firesign Theatre created dense, album-length art-objects that could take multiple spins to understand. Their comedy took the form of inscrutable and often abrasive soundscapes that reviewers were as likely to call “frightening” as “funny.” This week, we explore how these albums were listened to collectively: in groups, teenage house parties, poet John Ashbery’s pot smoke-filled living room, and military bases in Vietnam.
Antigonick Antigone is one of the most widely performed plays in the world. Poet Anne Carson’s experimental translation of Sophocles’ tragedy incorporates 2,500 years of its performance and interpretation. The play’s emotional core persists even as we view Antigone through all of the ways she has been viewed and used throughout her history.
The Gospel of Ndegeocello Meshell Ndegeocello’s debut album kicked off the era of neo-soul, inspiring Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and D’Angelo. Twenty-three years later, Ndegeocello is still making art, but she’s expanded her medium with a new project that’s part theater, part church revival, with an unexpected saint at its center.
A 700-Foot Mountain of Whipped Cream From in utero to the studio, Clive Desmond gives us a history of the golden age of radio ads, featuring Frank Zappa, Ken Nordine, Linda Ronstadt, and Randy Newman. While the 1960s shift in print and TV advertising has been heavily documented and mythologized by Mad Men, Madison Avenue’s radiophonic collision with the counterculture is less well known. Here, in Clive’s private tour, each jingle becomes a Proustian madeleine.
Incense, Sweaters, and Altadena: An Interview with Martine Syms Fresh off her first solo show at the MoMA, Martine Syms talks with the Organist about how growing up in Altadena, a red-lined suburb of Los Angeles led to her fascination with DIY culture and conceptual art. Syms draws inspiration from both famed furniture designer Charles Eames and the Ten-Point Program of the Black Panthers as she pushes herself to continually experiment in new media and new forms.
magnificentwebsite.com In this four-part episode, MF Doom, in absentia, sends imposters to wear his steel gladiator mask and rap at his concerts. Joshua Cohen, author of Moving Kings, writes a novel live online while heckled by Reddit-grade hate speech. Novelist Fiona Maazel explores the nascent form of the podcast from a 4 am retirement home toilet seat, as performed by actor Zoe Lister-Jones. Brian McMullen recites his epic catalog of unclaimed URLs.
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