Sounds interesting

I am surprised at how quickly we can adapt. After only three years in New York City, I have forgotten how comfortable life can be elsewhere in these United States. As a matter of fact creature comforts make me somewhat uncomfortable. Why did that strange woman just smile at me? Why does the ladies room smell like amaretto extract? Why do the bellhops at the Hyatt swarm me with offers for cab service every time I exit the lobby?  Why is everything so...pleasant?
And so this is Denver. This unexpectedly flat, arid, elevated city perched on the edge of the Great Plains, gazing longingly at the Rockies. The city chosen by the National Performing Arts Convention (and the Democratic National Convention) for 2008. I had never been to Denver until I stepped off of the Jetblue flight on Monday morning. The most remarkable thing I've noticed so far (and appropriate for a performing arts convention) is the presence of citywide audio installations.   As my colleague and I stepped into the shuttle train at the Denver International Airport, a Jetsons-style voice cooed words of guidance over the speaker system before a couple bars of stride piano alerted us to the closing doors. An interesting take on sound cues -- the MTA just gives us a descending major third on the NYC subway.
Fast-forward past Monday night's dinner at the Buckhorn Exchange (buffalo, elk, quail, ostrich, rattlesnake on your plate and on the walls, bourbon and apple juice in your glass) to Tuesday morning at the Convention Center. The need for a Sharpie sent me scurrying out of ArtsTown and onto the escalator. Welling up from beneath the stairs were bubbles of laughter---women, children, men. The NPAC attendees in front of me began looking around for the source, quickly realizing it was a recording, which led them to laugh at themselves. I found myself laughing nervously as well. Is this designed to force people to laugh? If so, it's kind of like an unwanted tickle attack. But an interesting alternative to silence.
So I did a bit of quick research on Google and Wikipedia to find that these audio installations are the work of sound artist Jim Green. And there's more. In addition to the local voices and stride piano at the airport and the "Laughing Escalators" at the Convention Center, Jim Greene's work can be heard at the Denver Art Museum "Singing Sinks" and on Curtis Street between 15th and 16th Streets. I haven't heard the "Talking Sidewalk" yet but according to this Los Angeles Times article from June 8, "you will hear howling beasts, mysterious voices and thundering hoofbeats rising from the sidewalk grate."  Sounds like something to check out around midnight this Friday, the 13th.

posted by Sarah Baird, representing Boosey & Hawkes and noticing sound art....which, too?
June 11, 2008 5:08 PM | | Comments (0)

Leave a comment



About this blog From April 1 through June 9, 2008, weekly entries were posted here by some of the performing arts community's top bloggers. This 10-week intensive series served as a unique forum for digital debate and brainstorming, and both the entries and comments were archived for use at the live NPAC sessions in June.  Participants:

Jaime Green - Surplus
Nico Muhly
Kristin Sloan - The Winger
Jason Grote
Jeffrey Kahane
Eva Yaa Asantewaa - InfiniteBody
Greg Sandow
Hilary Hahn
Tim Mangan, Paul Hodgins, Richard Chang - The Arts Blog
Andrew Taylor -
The Artful Manager

During the convention, June 10 through June 14, 2008, a
ttendees from across art forms and job functions reported on their conference experiences. Participants:

Amanda Ameer
- web manager, NPAC
Sarah Baird - media and public relations executive, Boosey & Hawkes
Joseph Clifford - outreach and education manager, Dartmouth College Hopkins Center for the Arts
Lawrence Edelson - producing artistic director, American Lyric Theater
James Egelhofer - artist manager, IMG Artists
Jaime Green - literary associate, MCC Theatre
James Holt - composer; membership and marketing associate, League of American Orchestras
Michelle Mierz - executive director, LA Contemporary Dance Company
Mark Pemberton - director, Association of British Orchestras
Mister MOJO - star, MOJO & The Bayou Gypsies
Sydney Skybetter - artistic director, Skybetter and Associates
Mark Valdez - national coordinator, The Network of Ensemble Theaters
Amy Vashaw - audience & program development director, Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State
Scott Walters - professor, University of North Carolina at Asheville
Zack Winokur - student, The Juilliard School
Megan Young - artistic services manager, OPERA America

Please note: the views expressed in this blog are those of the independent contributors and participants, not the National Performing Arts Convention or the organizations they represent.

NPAC - the National Performing Arts Convention - took place in Denver, Colorado on June 10-14, 2008. "Taking Action Together," NPAC sought to lay the foundation for future cross-disciplinary collaborations, cooperative programs and effective advocacy. Formed by 30 distinct performing arts service organizations demonstrating a new maturity and uniting as one a sector, the convention was dedicated to enriching national life and strengthening performing arts communities across the country. 

Contact us


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Life's a Pitch published on June 11, 2008 5:08 PM.

Scattered notes from the opening session was the previous entry in this blog.

Think globally is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
Rebuilding Gulf Culture after Katrina
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Stage Write
Elizabeth Zimmer on time-based art forms

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.