independent study documentary: "Phasors Built My Hot Rod"
// week6:

"The Show Goes On"


The Frying Pan is an amazing space.

I only wish I had more cameras. One of the batteries died after just about an hour of shooting, and we were a little disorganized, a little too disorganized to find all the blank tapes and camera AC adapters and such. But Quin Charity, my gracious camerawoman, did a great job of shooting the event.

I spent all day in lab trying to get things working well (finally, at the end, most of it worked well), and then it took so long to get things together that basically got there when we were supposed to go on.

In retrospect, I tried to do too much. Organizing, scheduling, and playing in the event ruined any chance I had of also filming, except for a brief moment after Mark Argo and Yuriko Fuji's very dramitic and captivating set, during which I finally managed to grab a blank tape and find a wall outlet.

It went off really well, and there was a great crowd (maybe 30+) and great music, but I'm sitting in my kitchen the morning after, kicking myself for all the great moments that I couldn't capture on video.

There was a great moment when Gideon, our NIME'02 prof, left the Frying Pan (he was one of the last to go), and gave a really heartfelt thanks to me and the rest of the crew for organizing and playing this show. This kind of musical experimentation really connects with Gideon, who's created new interfaces into music professionally for museums, and who has more than a passing interest in the universe of music and music history.

If I could have, I would have filmed my girlfriend Dana. She called a few hours before because she was too tired to come, but I needed her there last night, and I told her as much. She gets up early, but last night she stayed late to watch the first half of the performance. We stood up on the front deck, next to an old wooden ship radio and a door commemorating the service of a sailor from the 1950's, and she looked beautiful and tired and excited all at the same time. That's an important part of the story, too - the dedicated and loving people who live with people like us, who are built to create and experiment and take risks, who put up with us.

The Frying Pan also deserves more insight. Bob mentioned to me, both times off-camera, that we could probably play a lot more dates at the Frying Pan, but its not clear whether or not they can make any money unless they draw many more people than I think we're capable of on any given weeknight. There is another story in here, maybe about how a fledgling group of performers from the thick of the technology-in-the-arts-scene in search of something new and interesting find a home in something old and interesting way out in the nowhere of the waterfront piers.

It's an amazing space, I know that I've said it before, but it really is. It inhabits the both the realms of seedy-looking NYC underground venues, and historical curiousities. Also, it's actually a boat. A real, old, boat. It floats, rocks (slightly) when the waves start to churn against the piers at Chelsea, and has all of these cool, decrepit old rooms and rusty, important-looking pipes and switches that are straight out of the original "Frankenstein" movie. For experimental electronic instruments, it is the perfect place to play. And the sound is amazing, probably due to all the metal - strange openings and pipes and such.

I did get a lot out of just the performing aspect of the night. I realized that my SoundShell instrument is not a great "performing" instrument, but really a cool "sound environment" piece that sits and accompanies a performance but that you really can't play. The Bang-o-phone, on the other hand, is wicked cool, but also a little chaotic by design. It really needs a more in-depth control, though. It can get repetitive.

All-in-all, I'm happy, and glad that it's over. Now, on to ITP on friday.

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