Sunday, December 28, 2008

We're back home

You can find all our latest posts at the new CatSynth.

Thanks to everyone who visited us here at the "trailer" while we rebuilt our site, and offered their support and encouragement.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Upcoming Shows: Saturday, Sunday and tonight!

In the midst of everything else going on, I have three upcoming shows, including two this weekend:

Saturday, December 6, 8PM
:plug4: headphone festival
5lowershop, 992 Peralta Ave., San Francisco.

The headphone festival returns. I will be performing ofter electronic music, with a playful bent. It is a "headphone" event where people live at the venue as well as those listening online will be using headphones. For those who are interested, you can also listen live online on Saturday. visit or for more info.


Sunday, December 7, 7:30PM
Musicians Union Hall, 9th St @ Mission St, San Francisco.

SIMM Series Outsound Year End Blow Out Show

Polly Moller/Amar Chaudhary duo
CJ Borosque/Matt Davignon duo
Rent Romus, Philip Everett, Pete Martin, John Vaughn
and more guests! solos, duos, trios, and the Outsound SuperSize Ensemble.

The mission of Outsound Presents is to raise public awareness of sound and unique events not otherwise made available by presenting public performance, co-op promotion, and education throughout the year. Donations from this evening will be used to support Outsound's future programming efforts...


And a bonus show, tonight:

Thursday, December 4, 8PM
Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street @ 6th Street, San Francisco
Outsound Presents Ad-hoc experimental freeform improv.

Ad-hoc experimental freeform improv like dude whatever jam, followed by Chris Skebo (trumpet)/Luigi Marino (computer)/Karl Evangelista (guitar)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: MoMA Atrium, NYC

MoMA, Miró, Modernism and Theremins

In addition to my adventures on the F train, I did have a small amount of time to enjoy art and music while was in New York for the Thanksgiving holiday.

One of the featured exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927–1937. Miró often appears in my artistic travels - I have been to multiple retrospectives and visited the Miró Museum in Barcelona. This exhibition was more specific, focusing on a single decade of his career, during which he challenged the definition of "painting." It opens with his declaration in 1927 "I want to assassinate painting” and features several examples of "non-painting", including collages (such as Composition with Wire, shown to the right) and wooden sculptures. At the same time, however, many of the works are things we would consider paintings. Some of the canvases are unprimed, and several use new media such as masonite. But there are still primarily two-dimensional works involving paint on a surface. And most of the paintings and non-paintings include Miró's signature elements in his more famous works such as bulbous abstract figures, curing shapes, stars, and scarabs. In addition to the theme of "anti-painting", the exhibition follows the events in Europe, and particularly in Spain, in the late 1920s and 1930s, with the impending civil war and rise of Fascism. It ends with the Fascists coming to dominance in 1937 and the painting Still Life with Old Shoe that marks the end of Miró's period of anti-painting.

The MoMA's website includes a detailed online exhibition.

A few of the smaller exhibits also caught my attention. Dreamland: Architectural Experiments since the 1970s featured experiments in architecture, primarily centered around New York, or the modernist urban ideal of New York, as seen be architects. Some of the ideas, such as those in Rem Koolhaas's Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan, can be quite fantastic, such as an island oasis in a glass bubble atop a highway. Others were not only more realistic, but also realized, including some impressive homes in the country surrounding New York. It's always great to see a celebration of modernism as it once was, before contemporary design and architecture took a turn away towards more mundane ideas.

Keeping with the idea of the 1960s and 1970s as particularly modern decades, the exhibit Looking at Music features visualizations of music from the era. This includes direction visualizations, such as the scores of John Cage, as well as early media works by Nam June Paik, Laurie Anderson, Steven Reich and others.

I did have a chance to hear some music as well. The weekend after Thanksgiving is often low on opportunities for new music (which is probably why I was able to book an NYC show without much difficulty after Thanksgiving in 2005). But the reliable Issue Project Room in Brooklyn hosted a show sponsored by the New York Theremin Society. The first set featured rather graphic stereo photos from World War I - still a horrific war when viewed a century later - with theremin accompaniment, presented by Robert Munn and Sara Cook. By Munn's own admittance, this was not a performance for the faint of heart. The second set featured "Master Thereminist" Kip Rosser, who treated us to a series of jazz and pop standards that would be very much at home at a wedding or bar-mitzvah. It is interesting to think about a hybrid program featuring Rosser's light jazz on theremin against Munn and Cook's disturbing images from the Great War. But perhaps that would be a bit too ironic.

Sunday, November 30, 2008 on the F train

Yesterday while was in the F train in New York, a young blond man came through the crowded car soliciting donations. I would not have given him much notice, except that as he was carrying a small black cat, and supposedly collecting for an organization called "Homeless Pets NYC" with a website The URL will take you to a site that describes the person I saw and his black cat, and suggests that like most subway solicitations it's a scam. Very sad.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Miracle Cats that survived a wildfire

I had planned to post the story of Adam and Abe, the cats that survived a wildfire for Thanksgiving after reading their story on Monday. That was before more of the world started burning - some of the fires are natural, some human-made, and all are tragic. But perhaps this story is still appropriate, to know that these beautiful and much-loved black cats both survived the terrible wildfires in southern California and that small joys are always possible.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend Cat Blogging #181: More Luna in Exile

As the construction at CatSynth HQ drags on longer and longer, Luna remains at her home away from home. I go to visit her quite often, and she is usually happy and excited by my arrival. Here is one of her many greetings, she has gotten quite good at standing on her hind legs to head-butt:

She is quite active and social, and enjoys cruising the hallways. Also playing in her own room:

and especially looking down from her alcove:

This is often where she sits as I leave, peering through the outer door at me. These visits are both joyous and melancholy. It would be better to be back at home. But I do know she is being well cared for, and is happy and healthy.

There is a radio on in the cats' area, usually tuned one of our many pop-music stations. Usually, I don't notice it much, but when I'm sitting on the concrete floors and some R&B from the 1960s or 1970s comes on, the whole image feels "right." Again, quite melancholy, but still somehow positive, something out of a story I haven't bothered to write down...

I do try to keep these visits as unmediated as possible, and often don't bring the camera at all. But today is one of those days that I did. Of course, I couldn't resist taking a few city photos in the waning November-afternoon sun. It's been a little while since I have done that.

We're going to take a break for the holidays, and hopefully after that we'll be back in our real homes, at both the reconstructed CatSynth site and the reconstructed CatSynth HQ.

Weekend Cat Blogging is hosted this weekend by the Cats in Maryland. Extreme cuteness alert, with baby pictures.

The Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos will be hosted by
Miz Mog and the Kitties. Chaos is an apt term for life these days.

The Carnival of the Cats is going up this Sunday at Artsy Catsy.

And of course the Friday Ark is at the modulator.