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From the Open-Publishing Calendar
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Indybay Feature


Wednesday, April 25, 2007
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Event Type:
Kattt Sammon
Location Details:
Pacific Film Archive (PFA)
2575 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94720
Tickets: $8


NOISY PEOPLE is a feature length video documentary that opens a window into a tightly-knit group of unusual sound artists and
musicians from the San Francisco improvisational music community.

FEATURING: George Cremaschi, Tom Djll, Greg Goodman, Phillip
Greenlief, Cheryl Leonard, Dan Plonsey, Gino Robair, Damon Smith. Also includes dozens of other creative musicians from the
improvisational sound community, including Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith and Jack Wright.

Perkis, himself a well-respected player in the Bay Area experimental music scene, followed his subjects for a year, filming them in their homes and studios, rehearsals and performances. What emerges is a set of funny and lively portraits of some very creative and quirky people -- and a portrait of a way of life outside the commercial musical
mainstream of America.

The film highlights eight musicians ranging in age from their
twenties to their fifties. Though coming from a variety of
backgrounds and lifestyles these Bay Area artists share a desire to experiment with new forms -- to explore, and to expand, the boundary land between music and sound, at the same time making a living teaching, installing satellite dishes, writing, putting up posters: whatever pays the bills.

These artists have pursued their work passionately, finding different ways to balance their art with their personal lives and the struggle to make a living -- and in the process have created a world-wide following and a supportive community at home. Local players travel to gigs throughout Europe, Japan and the US, as well as hosting musicians from around the world when they pass through town.

The music itself is an unclassifiable and unruly child born of
avant-garde jazz, rock and modern classical, living on the extreme edge of each of these forms but doing its own thing. Jazz and its rich tradition of improvisation is the clearest cultural antecedent, but the notion of taking accepted musical structures and experimenting with them in an unfettered way (think Stockhausen) also comes from 20th century classical movements. Rock music, especially punk rock, also contributes both a sensibility of working outside the norm and a downright exuberant noisiness to this musical artform. "In the Bay Area we have everything from music department academics to punk rockers to working jazz artists performing in the experimental
music scene," notes Perkis. "They all belong to the same family of experimental and improvisational music composers, but each one produces work that is unique and different from the others."

"Improvisation, by its nature, fosters cooperation, so there s a
sense of being part of a tribe, a respect for each other and absence of competitiveness that is one of the real strengths of this community."

Perkis knows his subjects well, having worked with many of them on stage over the years. This personal connection brings the sense of camaraderie to the film. The interviewees are comfortable and revealing in front of the camera in a way that perhaps only an insider to the scene could elicit.

The filmmaker notes:
"As the work evolved, I realized that the film is also something of a love-letter to the Bay Area music community which I have enjoyed for the past 25 years. This community exemplifies many of the best attributes of a sound de-mocratic culture: people are prized here for their uniqueness and individuality, but running through it there is also an understanding that all meaningful creation arises from engagement, generosity and cooperation."


DAMON SMITH, a young bass player who went from being a competitive BMX bike stunt rider and punk rock bassist, to free jazz player.

CHERYL LEONARD writes compositions for her ensemble that plays pine cones, driftwood and moss.

GINO ROBAIR, conservatory-trained percussionist and suburban family man who gets 40 musicians to show up for a 40th birthday party to record his improv opera "Emperor Norton." Robair is a man who isn t afraid to use the sound of styrofoam on glass or vibrating pens on drum heads in a piece of music if it works.

TOM DJLL, an accomplished trumpet and honky tonk piano player, uses his "Mockracy Ensemble" to satirize govern-ment at the same time as experimenting with new musical forms. Djll has been known to play two trumpets at once and to disassemble his instrument and put it together backwards to see what new sounds he can get.

GREG GOODMAN has produced hundreds of both theatrical and
improvisational music shows over the past 25 years or more in his Berkeley home, a performance space known as "Woody Woodman's Finger Palace."

Bass player GEORGE CREMASCHI divides his time between San Francisco and the Czech Republic, and does battle with club owners everywhere: "I don't mind being treated like the dishwasher, but at least pay me as much as the dishwasher!"

PHILLIP GREENLIEF plays his saxophone on classical compositions in the recording studio but also takes it to Native American reservations for free concerts of improv music.

DAN PLONSEY likes to write pieces for whoever, and whatever, is
available in front of him, from kids beginning on the clarinet to
Toychestra, a group of women who play musical toys, to guitar legends like Fred Frith.

TIM PERKIS has been working in the medium of live synthesized sound and video for many years, performing widely in North America, Europe and Japan. He is also a well known performer in the world of improvised music, having performed on his electronic improvisation instruments with over 100 artists and groups, including Chris Brown, John Butcher, Eugene Chadbourne, Fred Frith, Elliott Sharp, Leo Wadada Smith and John Zorn. Ongoing groups he has founded or played in include the League of Automatic Music Composers and the Hub -- pioneering live computer network bands --and Rotodoti, the Natto Quartet, Fuzzybunny, and Wobbly/Perkis/Antimatter. Recordings of his musical work have appeared on a dozen European and American recording labels. NOISY PEOPLE is his first feature film.

Added to the calendar on Tue, Apr 3, 2007 5:07PM
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