Shreveport Regional Arts Council: UNSCENE!SHREVEPORT, LA
We enter November with our first UNSCENE! Under our belt. On Friday, October 11, 2013 UNSCENE! debuted as a ‘Prelude’ to the MSPS New Music Festival (MSPSNMF), sponsored by Swampland, INC, minicine?, Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and UNSCENE!. To prepare for the fun just days before the community-wide UNSCENE! event, the people of Shreveport Common convened in a smaller setting for a neighborhood meeting. In September, the Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC) and the Shreveport Common management team hosted the first Common Talk and Walk for the residents and received such positive feedback that the decision was made to make it a monthly gathering.
Leon Dayries, developer of the Salvation Army Condos on Crockett Street, opened his home for the October meeting. The informal, intimate gathering created the feel of an old fashioned community in a modern day urban downtown. Many of the neighbors—made of residents, business owners, organization leaders and others—met for the first time. Those who attended the month before greeted each with familiarity as budding relationships strengthen with each gathering.
The Common Talk and Walk gave the neighbors a platform to share information about what’s going on in Shreveport Common– volunteer opportunities at the community garden, the opening of a new, local restaurant, and the developments of UNSCENE! and other revitalization projects in Shreveport Common, and much more. The group then took to the streets in a walking tour led by Shreveport Common Design Manager Gregory Free. The Shreveport Common Talk and Walk will take place every second Wednesday of the month in various locations throughout Shreveport Common.
The major win this month was the launch of UNSCENE! The event was unlike anything ever seen in the area and the people of Shreveport Common fully embraced it. People of all ages, backgrounds and musical tastes from Shreveport-Bossier and beyond gathered for MSPS Prelude: Presented by UNSCENE!
In partnering with MSPS New Music Festival (MSPSNMF), UNSCENE! was based on experimental sound and music. Many in attendance were predating fans of the genre, while many others were UNknowing of what to expect of experimental music. By the end of the night, everyone was left enlightened by the experience.
MSPSNMF is based on exploring experimental tendencies, legacies, and new directions in music and installation art with origins, roots, or associations to the American South. The streets, alleyways, and buildings of Shreveport Common came alive with original music, art installations, an UNKNOWN artists’ market and much more. Throughout the night local performers took to the two levels of the Andress Ford Garage and the garage below the Fairmont Towers Apartments to create a continuous, flowing concert. Performances included an artist amplifying the sound of as he ate a 5-course dinner. An energetic performer wearing a bedazzled banana suit and sunglasses lead the audience in songs, chants and dancing. A DJ spun records outside the Kallenberg Artist Tower, leaving no area of UNSCENE! UNtouched by sound. The final act of the night was of the highly anticipated narration by national artist Homer Flynn who spoke about the legendary music group The Residents. Homer Flynn is a Shreveport-native who is vice president and director of The Cryptic Corporation. He is also rumored to be the founder of The Residents, an American art collective best known for avant-garde music and multimedia works. The evening concluded with Party Party Partners playing a collection of songs by The Residents.
Take a peek at our photo gallery of MSPS Prelude: Presented by UNSCENE!
In the arts world it is known that every production has its hiccups, and UNSCENE! was no different. The first 30 minutes of UNSCENE! were unseen as the generators and backup generators didn’t perform. Also, before the event, we had focused so much on production and respecting the curatorial interests of national artists Robert Peterson and Robert Greenwood that we failed to convey all of the expectations about mutually promoting all of the MSPSNMF and UNSCENE! events. However, we found good cooperation and adaptability prevailed and the first UNSCENE! as well as the second day of MSPSNMF received tremendous coverage and media support.
This month we have learned that there will always be unexpected variables, but the true test is in how these unpredictable obstacles are handled. Next time we will set us generators a day before the event for testing. Next time we will better communicate with our partners to ensure fairness and balance. Next time we will be bigger and undeniably better.
The next UNSCENE! is November 9, 2013 and will be in collaboration with Texas Avenue Community Association’s (TACA) Makers Fair. For more information on participating, volunteering and attending upcoming UNSCENE! monthly events, visit www.unsceneshreveport.com.