Somebody's Child

Please also visit Interarts Collaborations and Links

featuring Andrew Spina, Narrator

for tape, 1-3 dancers, and virtually any combination of improvised instruments

L.A. Kessler
February 1998

PERFORMANCES: London, Oldenburg Germany, New York, Rome

--Listen to Somebody's Child in Real Audio format. [28.8] [ISDN]
or download and listen to an audio sample of
Somebody's Child in MP3 format.

--View a vido clip of the New York
performance in Real Media. [28.8] [ISDN]

[Click on image to view at full size]

New York
New York
Where the strong come to be weakened
Where the weak come to be strengthened
Where the impatient are allowed to act rude
Where patience and kindness are scorned as naivete
Where the mask of your career risings and aspirations must be permanently soldered to your soul
Where honesty is far too impractical
and where time is the most valuable resource

New York
Where money is the only thing that people listen to - as long as it doesn't take too long
Where human beings are confined to spaces and lifestyles that are little different from the dignity of the cockroaches with whom they cohabitate
Where trust and faith are soon shelved to join the archived remnants of a Midwest childhood
Where the trendiest thing on 5th Avenue is fashionable cynicism passing as "experience" and wisdom

Where somewhere in a far off street corner, a few iron flowers dare to bloom through the asphalt and mice, to question the emotional traffic around them

Hello and Welcome to New York City
Where good intentions fail to materialize through the bureaucracy of a navy suit
Where a nice girl must become a man to survive
Where young people act old prematurely, yet never really grow up
Where nose rings, belly buttons and pierced tongues become mass conformations of "non-conformity"
Where nothing you can do will be too terribly shocking or obscene, unless of course you dare to be ordinary

New York City
Where millions of lonely, self-centered, misunderstood people pass each other daily without seeing Eleanor Rigby
Where you are still isolated emotional miles away in seclusion in a crowded subway car or classroom
Where sharing your vulnerability is more embarrassing to other people listening, than it might be to you

Welcome to Manhattan
Where you can rent a friend for $110 an hour and sit on a nice fluffy couch or a tall bar stool
Where if you're really insecure, you can spend $200 on a haircut or $3,000 on a dress or hotel room
Where people with freedom seek the glamour and stability of golden handcuffs
Where intellectual snobbism is no longer a defense mechanism but an addendum to Darwin's Survival of the Fittest

Where every second, a new seed is planted with hopes of blossoming through the rubbish and smog

Somebody's child came here with a goal accompanied by the requisite ambition and drive
Somebody's child was once lovingly instilled with enough courage and determination to dive head first into the great technical sea
Somebody's child came here with ideal intentions, having prepared all the right research and planning, and arriving --
with the perfect resume in the perfect font and the perfect format
Somebody's child indeed

But once you are here, you are Nobody's child
Nobody's child, Nobody's care, Nobody's concern, and certainly -
Nobody's dead weight

And you realize that the first 25 years are over and maybe didn't even account for much of anything - except as a conditioning exercise perhaps.
And like the snake down on Wall Street, it is time to shed your skin and re-invent your purpose

Somebody's child is going to be holding onto the same pole as you in the subway car tonight
And Somebody's child is hoisting shiny golden handcuffs as the prescription for a prestigious Rite of Passage
Somebody's child struggled through student loans to support a family, and now toasts to Maalox and Zantac every night
Somebody's child ... is sitting next to you

Someone else's child is just trying to run away from all of us

Every second

And new seeds are planted with hopes of blossoming through the rubbish and smog


In a far off street corner, a few iron flowers dare to bloom through the asphalt and mice,
To question the emotional traffic around them

Score Notes:

Somebody's Child is a piece about the strenuous and inhumane realities of life in 21st Century "Civilization," which everyone can relate to. Compositionally, the focus of the piece lies with the narration which is manipulated by digital audio editing and blurred by audio textures of fluttering heartbeats, car horns, subways and wind blowing. The live instruments conduct themselves as emotional improvisations in response to the subject, sometimes becoming characters themselves in a bitterly ironic story. The intent is to create a collective emotion rather than tell a story. The performers are encouraged to "create" a character of their choice and act-out/improvise it in an atmosphere of organized chaos.

Somebody's Child is a piece which can never be performed the same way twice. In some performances, we have even experimented with turning down the volume of the tape completely in phases to give the instrumentalists moments of complete silence to work around. This piece is ideal for advanced performers who can "act" with their instrument and have a good grasp of extended techniques, i.e. the saxophone can become very physically and sonically antagonistic toward the dancer (and even the audience). Since all the music is improvised (other than the tape), I like to tell performers that this piece is the ideal showcase for them to showcase all their favorite virtuoso techniques they don't get to display often enough. It may be intimidating to classically trained players who shy away from experimental music, but is a good piece for anyone looking to extend their comfort zone.

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International New Music Consortium European Tour '98
St. Giles Cripplegate Church of London / Barbican
Monday, March 16, 1998

Performed by INMC English Ensemble

Laurie Behunin-Maus - Dancer
Roger Heaton - Clarinet
Corrado Canonici - Double Bass
L.A. Kessler - Actress / Dancer
Ed Kliszus and Dinu Ghezzo - Piano

--View a clip from the London performance of
Somebody's Child in Real Media. [28.8] [ISDN]

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International New Music Consortium European Tour '98
Univ. of Oldenburg, Germany
Friday, March 20, 1998

Performed by INMC English Ensemble

Laurie Behunin-Maus - Dancer,
Ulrich Krieger - Saxophones, Didjeridu
Kirsten Reese - Flutes (in C, Alto, Bass)
Ray Kaczynski-Drums, Small Percussion
Ed Kliszus - Piano
L.A. Kessler - Actress/Dancer

--View a clip from the Oldenburg performance of
Somebody's Child in Real Media. [28.8] [ISDN]

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1998 NYU Spring Marathon Concert
Monday, May 11, 1998
Frederick Loewe Theater
35 West 4th Street
New York City

Laurie Behunin-Maus - Dancer
Anne Epperly - Flute
Heather Findlay - Dancer
Ron Mazurek - Synthesizers
Tom Beyers - Drums
Linda Past - Actress

--View a clip from the New York performance of
Somebody's Child in Real Media. [28.8] [ISDN]

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International New Music Consortium Italian Fall Tour '98
Universita de la Musica
Roma, Italy
November 21, 1998

Performed by INMC Italian Ensemble

Laurie Behunin-Maus - Dancer
Corrado Canonici - Double Bass
Dinu Ghezzo - Piano

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