Thom Blum had a beautiful installation at the Cowell Theater last night, comprising a long hallway, a collection of friends' ipods and an assortment of speakers donated by Boston Acoustics. I've been hearing him talk about the piece as it developed, but it was far more striking and far more intense than I imagined. Having experienced it, I don't know why he hasn't done installations like this before, because it so perfectly connects to his oeuvre. A number of his concrète pieces are travelogues: recordings made from captured sonic landscapes of far away places. Years ago he wanted to build a Walkman/iPod-like device that would process the sound around you and feed it into your earbuds. The new work is a travelogue of sorts, a collaboration between Thom and one's perambulation through it, glimpses of sound and music past and present near and far, including a modified bit of The Comfort of Solitude from The Bed You Sleep In. Oh, let's listen for a moment to that old chestnut, shall we?
The hallway led to a performance of Deborah Slater's Desire Line, one of her best works, featuring a number of my favorite dancers and social-networking site friends: Kerry Mehling, Travis Rowland, Shaunna Vella; and based on the paintings of Alan Feltus (see example above). Travis and Kerry dance as one person, both amazingly fluid and strong, with spectacular moves following in unanticipated succession. And the all-important-and-possibly-my-reason-for-being-in-the-arts cast party was a religious ecstasy of salmon and flan incroiable and broken glass and Absolut and lithe inked flesh in 104° water. Some parts of it seem to be missing after the fifth tumbler but even though Lynne had to leave early, driving off in her rented Mercedes, I'm relatively sure I was nothing if not the perfect gentleman in the aftermath.