Greetings from New York City, and welcome to my column! Here, I write about new music and media, and people who create it. Thanks for checking it out.
On February 22 2015, I had a concert in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The tour was something of a 10-day multimedia blitzkrieg, with a good result. The main event of the tour, Svjetlana Bukvich and Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company A CONCERT OF NEW MUSIC, MOVEMENT, AND VIDEO ART, took place at the National Theater, as part of Sarajevo Winter Festival, now in its 31st season. On the program were electro-acoustic compositions from my latest release EVOLUTION (Big Round Records), along with the world premiere of I Never Saw You Cry, created for the very special electric violinist Melika Hadzic (Amsterdam). The terrific Carolyn Dorfman Dance (USA) performed a collage of their signature pieces, along with the techno savvy audience favorite, Interior Designs, for which I created the music. The trip was funded by a grant from USArtists International, and private donors. I am still landing from the experience.
I pick: Carolyn Dorfman and her unwavering vision; Ibrahim Spahic, the director of Winter fest Sarajevo, who manages the unmanageable; the gutsy violinist Melika Hadzic who jumped in last minute and rehearsed with me on Skype; the festival volunteers who carried me through the rapids with nuance and a gentle hand; the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Sarajevo, the American embassy in Sarajevo, the Jewish Community Center, Blow Up tech rental, and, of course, the Sarajevo taxi drivers who always tell it as it is.
In an uniquely complex part of the world I got people to work together, who otherwise wouldn’t. That feels good. My e-mails didn’t always produce the desired scaffolding ahead of time, so I was nervous. Miraculously, everything got done over the phone, from the moment I landed. I networked, I blackmailed, I inspired, and I talked in press and on TV. It was my hometown, after all. Around the fourth day into my multimedia occupation, I felt the magic starting to glue the particles of what was to become, according to the major Sarajevo newspaper Dnevni avaz, “a new theater aesthetic”.
During our time in Sarajevo, American dancers interacted with local ones. An acoustic and beautiful old theater founded in 1919, became, for a brief while, the hottest media destination in town. There was a huge project banner (!?) on the theater building. There was also the grumpy box office guy who, visibly transformed, had a grin on his face the morning after the performance. We had a full house, a standing ovation, and an audience that cried with us – joy, artistic freedom, possibility, power, all mixed, and reflecting off of one another. I want more of this. Making a place better because of art. A historical moment, which spells fragile? Not a problem. Emotional octanes without scrupulous disinfection? Went for it. The timing could not have been better, actually.
What now? The post-show deflated feelings permeate, while I watch the perky skyscrapers, and spring, teasing. The next project’s in view.
Get in touch and let me know about what inspires you art-wise on your part of the globe. And, if all else fails, you can always like me on Facebook.
100 years of history: Historic hotel celebrates worker heritage
If you’re the curious sort who enjoys exploring historic sites in your free time, you’re far from alone.
Because people are fascinated with learning more about how Americans lived, thought and dreamed in the past, many seek out such cultural enclaves anytime they travel. That helps explain the $762 million in revenues logged by U.S. historic sites in 2013, according to Statista. Other research predicts the revenues realized by U.S. museums and historic sites will more than double between 2018 and 2022.
“Historic places create connections to our heritage that help us understand our past, appreciate our triumphs and learn from our mistakes,” the National Trust for Historic Preservation recently noted. “Historic places help define and distinguish our communities by building a strong sense of identity. When you visit a historic site, you learn from their stories.”
One fascinating and culturally rich historic site you may not have visited is The American Club, a Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond resort hotel in the heartland of Kohler, Wisconsin. The iconic hotel owned by Kohler Co., global leader in plumbing, was built in 1918 as a dormitory for its immigrant workers. This year the multifaceted national attraction celebrates its centennial anniversary in grand style, with even more activities and offerings for its guests.
Year-long features of the celebration include a new history exhibit, guided tours and a new cast iron sculpture installation, “The Immigrant,” created by artist Stephen Paul Day. Day took part in the Arts/Industry program and was inspired by the company history. The four-star restaurant, The Immigrant, will offer a tasting menu featuring dishes from France, the Netherlands, Germany, Normandy, Denmark and Great Britain — the primary homelands of original Kohler employees. Group Director Lodging for Kohler Co., Christine Loose explains, “The concept of gracious living and creating a sense of belonging has always been important to the company and our heritage.”
With its trademark red brick, striking Tudor architecture and soaring roof peaks and slate tile, the landmark is recognized by both the Historic Hotels of America and the National Register of Historic Places.
Aside from the historic elements of The American Club, visitors and guests can partake of several other features offered in or near the surrounding resort known as Destination Kohler. Key attractions include the Forbes Five-Star Kohler Waters Spa; a lakeside boutique hotel known as the Inn at Woodlake; cycling and yoga studios; four championship golf courses (Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits, the latter hosting the revered 2020 Ryder Cup); 12 dining establishments, renovation inspiration at the Kohler Design Center, and daily factory tours led by retired Kohler employees spotlighting the evolution of day-to-day manufacturing operations.
Destination Kohler is an hour north of Milwaukee and 2.5 hours north of Chicago. Learn more about its many attractions at DestinationKohler.com.
Weaving profits in Azerbaijan
Artisans in Azerbaijan who practice the traditional art of carpet making are being provided with new business opportunities thanks to a project supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
Weaving carpets is a skill that has been passed down through the generations and in the central Asian country is largely the work of women.
Although Azerbaijan is located on the ancient trading route known as the Silk Road, many artisans, especially those living in mountainous areas, are finding it increasingly difficult to get their carpets to market.
Small and Medium sized enterprises, like the carpet weavers of Azerbaijan, account for 60-70 per cent of global employment, according to the UN.
As the International Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day is marked across the world on June 27, the Azerbaijani authorities, with the support of UNDP, are boosting efforts to help artisans sell their goods.
New interactive Story Maps make Europe’s cultural heritage more accessible
On the occasion of the first ever European Cultural Heritage Summit, the European Commission has released a set of interactive maps which will help to raise awareness of cultural heritage in Europe.
Speaking at the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin today, Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said: “Making cultural heritage more accessible to everyone is one of my main goals for the European Year. The Story Maps will play an important role in this, offering valuable information in a user-friendly way. The Joint Research Centre has already developed a number of tools that help us preserve cultural heritage, such as 3D scanning technologies that can be used to map heritage sites as well as smart materials for their reconstruction. Now the interactive Story Maps will help open up opportunities for Europeans to explore our shared heritage and get involved in safeguarding it for the future.”
The Story Maps, developed by the Joint Research Centre, the Commission’s science and knowledge service, inform in an easily accessible way about several initiatives across Europe linked to cultural heritage. These include actions like the European Heritage Days, the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage or the European Heritage Label, funded by Creative Europe, the EU programme that supports the cultural and creative sectors. The website also contains links to the digital collections of Europeana – the EU digital platform for cultural heritage. This platform allows users to explore more than 50 million artworks, artefacts, books, videos and sounds from more than 3500 museums, galleries, libraries and archives across Europe. These maps will be updated and developed, for example taking into account tips from young people exploring Europe’s cultural heritage through the new DiscoverEU initiative.
The online tool was launched by Commissioner Tibor Navracsics at the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin today. This Summit is one of the main events of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage and is attended by high-level representatives of EU Institutions, civil society organisations and Member States, including German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. to protect, promote and raise awareness of cultural heritage in Europe. to protect, promote and raise awareness of cultural heritage in Europe. to protect, promote and raise awareness of cultural heritage in Europe.
The Story Maps were presented to a wider audience at the European Cultural Heritage Summit, co-hosted by Europa Nostra, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the German Cultural Heritage Committee. The Summit is one of the key events of the European Year of Cultural Heritage taking place in Berlin from 18 to 24 June. It will see the adoption of the “Berlin Call to Action – cultural heritage for the future of Europe”, which supports the idea of a European Action Plan on Cultural Heritage, announced by the Commission in the New Agenda for Culture proposed in May. The Call to Action asks citizens, institutions and organisations to build on the momentum of the European Year, to recognise the positive and cohesive power of shared cultural heritage and values to connect Europe’s citizens and communities and to give a deeper meaning to the entire European project.
The purpose of the European Year of Cultural Heritage is to raise awareness of the social and economic importance of cultural heritage. Thousands of initiatives and events across Europe will give citizens from all backgrounds opportunities to discover and engage with cultural heritage. The aim is to reach out to the widest possible audience, in particular children and young people, local communities and people who are rarely in touch with culture, to promote a common sense of ownership.
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