Stop. Look. Listen.
I spent both Thursday and Saturday nights at the 7th annual Look & Listen Festival, which puts new music concerts in art galleries in Chelsea and Soho. This sort of thing is nothing new - Steve Reich and Philip Glass used to play almost exclusively in Soho lofts and galleries - but it's an idea that makes sense, giving the listener something to look at other than the musicians, who are focusing on - duh - the music.
Both evenings featured a mix of acoustic and electric instruments, with WNYC's John Schaefer and New Music Box's Molly Sheridan filling in the set changes with composer interviews. Personal highlights: So Percussion, 2 Foot Yard (with Carla Kihlstedt singing and playing violin), and Mark Stewart's homemade instrumentarium, assisted by members of the Ethel, Daedalus and Electric Kompany quartets.
The real fun was, though, was afterwards at the Broome Street Bar, where most of the composers and musicians turned up. More on that later.
Thursday May 1, Robert Miller Gallery, Chelsea
Odd Appetite (Ha-Yang Kim and Nathan Davis)
2 Foot Yard (Marika Hughes, Carla Kihlstedt, Shahzad Ismaily)
John Schaefer with Ha-Yang Kim
Saturday, May 3, OK Harris Gallery, Soho
Ethel and Electric Kompany with composer Nick Didkovsky