As any shrewd local will tell you, when temperatures cool down, culture heats up in Fort Greene thanks to the Next Wave Festival. On September 17, 2013, the arts fest returns to BAM for its 30th season, which runs through December 22.
Big names in various mediums perform throughout this latest edition of Next Wave. Music buffs, listen up for maverick composer Fred Ho's Muhammad Ali–themed Sweet Science Suite or Questlove's electronic-music tribute, Electronium. Discerning dance fans, keep an eye out for a new interpretation of Stravinsky's modernist classic Rite of Spring courtesy of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Anne Bogart’s SITI Company. Theater enthusiasts, don't miss Nosferatu, a creepy take on the Dracula legend via Grzegorz Jarzyna. And pop-culture fiends, attain lowbrow-highbrow nirvana with Anna Nicole, an opera based on the late doomed beauty queen. Whatever show you choose, you'll leave energized and enthused about the limitless scope of the Brooklyn arts scene.
Quebecois director-writer and sometime actor Robert Lepage, a polymath auteur perpetually drawn to epic scale, returns to BAM's Next Wave Festival to star in a sequel to his career-establishing 1985 work The Dragons' Trilogy. Set in China, the new piece—cowritten with Marie Michaud for Lepage's Ex Machina troupe—picks up 20 years after the previous one left off.
BAM Next Wave Festival. Primal, sophisticated, quirky and tuneful, this show by Polish quartet Karbido focuses on exactly what its title states: a wooden table that gets amplified, battered, beaten, stabbed, strummed and serenaded with voices and didgeridoo. Judging by video previews, it's a little bit Blue Man Group, a little bit Timber and a whole lot of heady fun.
BAM Next Wave Festival. The late Playboy model and reality-TV personality Anna Nicole Smith might not seem like the ideal inspiration for a serious opera, but what resulted when English composer Mark-Anthony Turnage and librettist Richard Thomas turned their heads to the subject was a tragedy emblematic of our media-besotted time, and a 2011 smash hit for Covent Garden. Mounted here by BAM in cahoots with New York City Opera, the work's NYC premiere is directed by Richard Jones and conducted by Steven Sloane.
BAM Next Wave Festival. Mounted in collaboration with Wordless Music, this moody multimedia creation juxtaposes indie-cinema director Jem Cohen's stark footage of Nova Scotia's Cape Breton with newspaper clippings and poems from the region. An all-star post-rock ensemble, fronted by Mira Billotte and including members of Fugazi, Dirty Three, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the Quavers, provides live accompaniment.
Bill T. Jones and Janet Wong collaborate with director Anne Bogart and her theater troupe SITI Company for A Rite. Presented as part of BAM's Next Wave Festival, the piece celebrates the centennial of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring by using its history, as well as its contemporary social relevance as inspirations.
BAM Next Wave Festival. Inspired by a 1971 EPA project that sent out 100 photographers across the country to explore how Americans relate to their homeland, radical string quartet Ethel teams with director Steve Cosson and projection artist Deborah Johnson to bring the resulting images to life in music. Composers involved include Mary Ellen Childs, Kip Jones, Ulysses Owens Jr., Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, Tema Watstein and James Kimo Williams, plus Ethel members Ralph Farris and Dorothy Lawson.
BAM Next Wave Festival. Given the uncanny balance of rigor and whimsy in the music of clarinetist, bandleader and composer Andy Biskin, we can think of no one better qualified to play alongside black-and-white animated film shorts depicting the madcap inventions of cartoonist Rube Goldberg. When Biskin slips and slides with his all-star sextet, the only question will be whether BAM's tiny Fisher Space can contain such explosive mirth.
BAM Next Wave Festival. Boxing has been an unlikely sensation in the new-music world lately, with boxing-ring operas staged in Washington, D.C., and St. Louis already this season. Add to that match card composer-saxophonist Fred Ho's The Sweet Science Suite, a Muhammad Ali–inspired work for Ho's 18-piece Green Monster Big Band; choreography by Ho and Emmanuel Brown no doubt will have its interpreters floating like butterflies and stinging like bees.
The choreographer presents Come, and Back Again, an evening-length premiere that looks at love and mortality, and features five musicians playing songs by the Atlanta band Smoke. The show also includes work by Brooklyn sculptor Jonah Emerson Bell in collaboration with street artist Caledonia "Swoon" Curry.
The Belgian choreographer returns to BAM with her company Rosas in two works: En Atendant, which explores the transition of twilight into night, and Cesena, in which 19 dancers perform on a circle of sand along with the singers of graindelavoix, a collective directed by Björn Schmelzer. The latter refers to the bubonic plague and a medieval massacre in the northern Italian city Cesena. On Oct 19 at 4:30pm, Anna Kisselgoff moderates an artist's talk with De Keersmaeker ($20).