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Last Wednesday 20 December Il Bisbigliatore held a Pataphysical Freak-Out Happening dedicated to the Winter Solstice. The event has been kindly hosted by the Rockodile, a pub and wine-bar in via delle Tre Cannelle 9 in Rome, Italy. The Rockodile is quite nice and perfectly equipped from the audio point of view.

Music for the event has been selected and mixed by Stefano Carbutti, Fulvio Savagnone e Aldo Semunuk (the latter two are dj podcaster of Radio Rock TO). There was the exhibition of the strong, matter-made and highly fauve paintings of Alberto Antonucci and of Stefano Carbutti’s pictures of suburban landscapes, plus selected video and all the rest.

There should have been a reading of poetry and prose with Michele de Vitis, but a sudden flu caught his one-year old child so Michele couldn’t be with us. Best wishes for a prompt recovery!

Below I’ve put some photos of the evening. You cannot hear the music, but rest assured of its high quality: we went from psychedelic rock of the ’60 to German cosmic rock of the ’70, from the ’80 dark forth to the contemporary avant-garde.

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Aldo Semenuk. The bat seems to rest on his shoulder with the greatest ease.

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Myself proposing the darkest music, contrary to my usual style…

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Alberto Antonucci (the green checkered shirt distinguishes the contemporary artist) turns his back to his portrait of Gregory Corso, painted in occasion of the event that celebrated the poet’s death.

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Stefano Carbutti (il Bisbigliatore himself) entertains the audience.

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Another work of Alberto.

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The evening was closed by the Bisbigliatore himself at the console.

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On Wednesday 20 December 2006 Il Bisbigliatore will organise a Pataphysical Freak-Out Happening dedicated to the Winter Solstice, @ the Rockodile, a pub and wine-bar in via delle Tre Cannelle 9, right in the centre of Rome.

star1a.gifThe event will consist of poetry and prose readings with Michele de Vitis, music selected and mixed by Stefano Carbutti and yours truly (and maybe by some other podcaster of Radio Rock TO…), improvised painting with Alberto Antonucci, video projections and all the rest.star2a.gif

Winter solstice is a very strong symbol in the whole ancient world, from Celts to Scandinavians, from Germans to Romans. Celebrated under many names (Yuletide in the north of the world, Saturnalia among the Romans) it has been swallowed up by Christians, that have put their celebration for Jesus’ birth on top of it.

sun3.gifBe it as it may, the shortest day of the year is therefore also a symbol of rebirth: we have reached the bottom, it will still be cold for a couple of months, but the sun will shine a little longer every day that passes… Such will be our theme. Music, as in every PFOH, will be rather on the psychedelic side…

Come, all ye of good will!!!

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UPDATE
Aldo Semenuk, dj podcaster of Radio Rock TO as myself, will be part of the event with his musical selections

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77 Million Paintings

December 1, 2006

gallery3.jpgBrian Eno has just released a DVD by the title of 77 Million Paintings. It is the first release of a large-scope project: in Eno’s own words, it is “Two things in one – it’s firstly a software engine that allows things to be configured and shuffled, and secondly it’s a stack of images that I have made that are then manipulated by that engine”.

In this first release there are 300 images, scanned at high resolution from Eno’s paintings, that the software fades randomly in succession, layering four of them at the same time. The visual effect is stunning: colours, drawings, modified pictures and images that slowly morph one into the other, all this on top of a beautiful soundtrack obviously produced by Eno himself. The artist states that the projection of the result of such manipulation is something between TV, painting and cinema. Personally I would think it is something far beyond…

gallery5.jpg77 million is the number of all the possible combinations: the software allows the morphing speed to be changed, but such number is so large that even at the fastest speed it would take 9000 years to visualise them all…

This piece of art is already very much enjoyable – one could spend hours being lulled by sounds and lights (veeeery psychedelich… 😉 ) but the next steps of the project would foresee the distribution of the morphing software, which would allow users to manipulate their own images.

But the nicest thing is that buying the DVD allows you the free use for non-commercial purposes of Eno’s compound images, as long as the artist and the title of the work are given credit. In practice the copyright is on the DVD and on the single images. Eno is on the path of saintliness…
Below is the copyright note of 77 Million Paintings:

COPYRIGHT© 2006 All Saints Records / Wordsalad, under license to Rykodisc.
All rights reserved.
Please do not copy this software.
However, you are welcome to use the compound images 77 Million Paintings generates for any non-commercial purposes you wish BUT PLEASE CREDIT THE ARTIST AND 77 MILLION PAINTINGS.
All compound images © Brian Eno


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I haven’t recently posted much. I’ve been busy recording podcasts for Radio Rock To, your trustworthy PodRadio and helping DJ Peedie, aka my beloved Blondini, aka Emily Little, for her forthcoming vernissages in two important Scottish Art Galleries, the Broughton Gallery and the Smithy Gallery.

When we will be back I’ll tell you about art galleries in the Scottish Autumn…

Meanwhile, to keep you entertained, I am posting a hilarious movie on how to eat sushi, the Japanese way…


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The Castle from the south side

Very well, here I am, writing my first “proper” post after my summer holidays in Scotland and a minor bout of laziness.
My good friend Ale, who manages the Angolo Nero blog, said in her comment that I had lost a good occasion to write a travelling blog. I don’t know… in retrospect, I can see a number of reasons why I didn’t even think of doing that.

First, I didn’t want to bring with me my somewhat battered, modem-powered, beloved old PowerBook G3.
Second, Internet cafés in Edinburgh are a bit costly. They could even ask 1 pound sterling for 20 min. Let’s say that the bargain is about 1,50 – 1,20 pounds per hour. It is still a bit expensive, if you ask me.
Third, Internet cafés can be found only in big cities – not in the middle of Glen Coe, just to make an example.
Fourth, and most important, I usually want to be totally immersed in my journeys. I do not like to filter my experiences through writing about them, or through filming them. I can write about them later. That’s why I am here now.
I took some pictures, though… 🙂

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Now, let’s start with Edinburgh and its festival, or festivals, I’d better say.

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This year was the Fringe 60th anniversary. Numbers at the end of the fair are impressive: 71 million hits on the website, more than 1,5 million tickets sold, 333 venues (proper theatres and halls, churches, pubs, yards, cellars, caves…), more than 28000 performances, more than 17000 artists…
More than 1800 shows, from comedy to music, from theatre to children’s shows, from dance to art exhibitions; and many other events, including food, wine and whisky tasting plus some show or other, Shakespeare at breakfast (free coffees and croissants), pub crawling with accompanying music, you name it.

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Anybody can present a show at the Fringe. Its staff is very helpful, suggesting procedures, ways for finding a venue, and so on.

But a great deal also goes on in the streets.

Flyerers in High Street

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There’s the crowd in High Street (part of the Royal Mile ), where hundreds of youngsters hand you flyers of shows, doing their best to tell you why you shouldn’t miss it. In 15 minutes you can collect a bookful of flyers… Most of the times it’s the artists themselves that do the job.

Then you have all sort of buskers, jugglers, acrobat, street artists in general. Just wandering around you can enjoy yourself for a whole day.

The Mound is another venue for artists showcasing their performance. So if you’re not sure whether something is worth the ticket, you may be lucky to see an excerpt.

I saw there a showcase that was almost the whole show (that was going on in an important theatre), by a Japanese collective called “Jump!”: they mixed martial arts, clownerie and music in a nice package.

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We didn’t see many shows: even going for cheap tickets you can reach quite an expenditure seeing something every day – as you would like to do…
Then some shows we wanted to see (Jason Byrne, Ed Byrne – no relatives, Danny Bhoy) were sold out even before the start of the Fringe.
These are the things we managed to see:

CHANBARA
A Japanese show mixing taiko drumming and sword (katana) choreographies. The latter were performed by the group that worked with Quentin Tarantino for Kill Bill’s sword scenes.

MUMMENSCHANZ
The legendary, beautiful, playful show of mime, mask, puppetry by the Swiss-Italo-American group. I last saw them at the end of the Eighties…

DAVID O’DOHERTY
A stand-up comedian from Ireland smashing corporations and human stupidity in general, aiding himself with a cheap Casio toy keyboard…

ANDY PARSON’S INTERNATIONAL INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIP MOANING
ROTFL for one of the best stand-up comedians and his ferocious social and political satire.

EDDI READER
A superb Glaswegian folk (but not only) singer, one of the mellowest, honey-toned and at the same time powerful voices I’ve ever listened to. After having done backing vocals for, among others, Eurythmics, she embarked in a solo career that has topped (IMHO) in 2003 with an album of songs based on Robert Burns poems.
The concert was absolutely fantastic. She was in top form and the band followed suit. Just perfect.

BOTH SIDES OF THE BAR
A play staged in a pub, about a successful actor, his fiancé (to whom he’s unfaithful) and a wannabe actor who has to work in the pub to support himself and who’s secretly in love with the other’s fiancée… Sort of fun, the three actors were much better than the play itself. I confess I went because of the free beer included in the ticket…

victoria-street.jpgAnd then there’s Edinburgh itself, its museums, pubs, gardens…
Beautiful, full of life and of kind people.

A city that doubles its popolation during the festivals month and still manages to look normal, as if guests from the whole world just belonged there and were part of the city texture.

A joy to be there.

P.S.

Re-reading everything, it may seems that I picked up the Scottish spirit for parsimony, but I strongly deny such hint…
Showcase at the Scott Monument

gentile1.jpgNot long ago I wrote a post on two great art exhibitions I saw in Rome. I concluded the post wishing to be able to see other important events.
Well, I missed Modigliani and Vermeer, but I managed to go to Fabriano to witness the exhibition on Gentile da Fabriano.

Fabriano is a city of the Marche region full of history (the first papermaking centre in Italy and probably in Europe, at the beginning of the XIII century) and today noted for its industries (the famous papermill, household appliances). In spite of this, Fabriano is set in beautiful hills, an area where agriculture is of great relevance.
Having said that, it is true that until last year life in Fabriano was not particularly lively. If I can have my saying, Fabriano used to be a bit boring…
This year Fabriano has made a quantum leap in its offer to visitors thanks to the Gentile’s exhibition. Perfectly organised, with plenty of side events in restored historical locations, the exhibition is really of high international level.
Unfortunately I should say “was”, as the exhibition closed on July 23… My fault, I didn’t find the time to write this.

Gentile da Fabriano is the highest (and probably last) expression of the style called “International Gothic”, a style that spans the late XIV and the early XV centuries in Italy, France, England and north Europe: a courtly art, rich, fairy-like, preciously refined, exquisite, but that is at the same time very careful in the exact representation of the beauty of Nature: Gentile is probably the first painter in the history of art to have painted a nocturnal scene.

Gentile was very famous in his time: he was used to obtain the richest commissions in Lombardia, Venezia, Firenze and Roma.

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He was a painter and a goldsmith: his use of the gold leaf, where he would grain ethereal angels, is unrivalled; the richness of his painted jewellery and draperies surpasses any imagination. At the same time, he showed an excellent spirit of observation in the representation of animals, flowers, boughs and trees.
His sacred characters showed calm and serene expressions, and the infant Jesus’ are cheerful in their sweetness.

An ideal world, symbolic and realistic at the same time, cherished and supported by the nobles and the richest, at its peak, and beginning to fade. Meanwhile, in Firenze a group of artists were starting to study the perspective, the body in its space as expression of ethic principles.
Brunelleschi, Donatello, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca are opening the way to the Renaissance.

As usual, the exhibition covers other artists of the time in connection with Gentile. The catalogue, rich and well printed, is available from Electa.

Great art in Rome

June 10, 2006

antonello.jpgI’ve recently visited two exhibitions in Rome that gave me the goose pimples. I’m talking about Antonello da Messina at the Scuderie del Quirinale (until June 25) and Raffaello at the Galleria Borghese (prolonged to September 10).

Antonello’s exhibition is really something special, as for the first time in history it collects almost all his works, with loans from London, Washington, New York, Paris, Vienna, Dresden, Antwerp and even some Hungarian and Rumanian museums.

antonello2.jpgLittle is known of Antonello’s short life, but the gentleness of his Madonna’s, the strength and wit of his portraits of Gentlemen, the grief of the Crucifixions show us how he was able to successfully merge the Mediterranean colours of his beginnings at the Aragonese court in Naples with the severity of the Flemish painting and the preciousness of his Venetian maturity, making his work one of the highest point of the XV century art.

As if this wasn’t enough, the exhibition contains works of Bellini, Cima da Conegliano, Alvise Vivarini…

Raffaello’s exhibition illustrates the Artist in the time of his moving from Florence to Rome, when Raffaello goes beyond the teachings of his master Perugino while absorbing Leonardo’s and Michelangelo lessons.
The exhibition is focused on the Pala Baglioni (which contains the powerful Deposizione, recently restored). The Pala is reassembled for the first time in all its parts, including preparatory sketches and cartoons.

Raffaello.jpgAlso this exhibition prides itself with great works on loan from the Louvre, London National Gallery, Palazzo Pitti… Of Raffaello almost all is known and much has been seen, but seeing once more with your own eyes the formal perfection that for ever changed the religious iconography is really something that nourishes our soul.

And then there is the Galleria Borghese, with Bernini’s sculptures (Pluto and Proserpine, David, Apollo and Daphne) and Canova’s Paolina Borghese. If we add Caravaggio, Rubens, Cranach, Lorenzo Lotto, Tiziano’s Amor Sacro and Amor Profano, we are in for an overdose of Beauty!

Having said so, I still have three exhibitions to see… There is Modigliani at the Complesso del Vittoriano (until June 20). Then, really not to be missed, Gentile da Fabriano in, well, Fabriano (Ancona, until July 23). Finally, at the Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica di Palazzo Barberini you can admire until June 18 a breathtaking Vermeer: the Love Letter, on loan from the Rijksmuseum di Amsterdam…

Will it be too much??!? I’ll let you know after I’ve seen them…