Philanthropy is hot (I wrote a new opera work…)

by


Philanthropy is hot.

So are summer nights.

I like a good pairing.

Dear pen pal,

I write you today with official announcements and pleas from the orchestra pit of my wolverine heart. A storm cycle is passing through. That’s only half a metaphor. My pianos are groaning and I am in a dream-like swoon. I need to hold your hand and tell you about some very big shit.

Let me tell you about big freaking ideas and snake pits. Let me tell you about the glory at the other end of a perfect storm you SURVIVE.

I have embarked on a terrifying and thrilling adventure. I have written an opera. 

No not like the kind of opera you’re thinking of, it’s certainly not classical music and I’m your diva-employ so it certainly won’t be sung exclusively in crystalline tones.

This opera is called “Animal Wisdom” and I am performing it at the Bushwick Starr in October. It’s both a concert and a requiem mass. It’s a community event that deals with talking to the dead, writing music, longing for empathy, and communing with strangers in song– which is all pretty much the same thing as I understand it. It features a blues Requiem mass that I have been writing over the last year, sung by a community choir, and features some of the most badass museo-performers I have ever had the pleasure to work with. 

It is the pearl of my heart

It is the apple of my thinking

It is a big freaking thing.

 

Now let’s back up about 600 years. (800 years? listen I was never very good at time or space)

In ancient (and not so Ancient) times in Europe, when an artist dedicated their lives to investigation and toiling and trying to deal with existence with color and sound, the only way to do this and not starve was to seek patronage. 

(you know this, right.)

That’s how Sistine chapel, that’s how the Mona Lisa, that’s how Chartes and Beethoven’s ninth symphony. The most famous family who dedicated a majority of their money to the patronizing of artists were the Medici family.

(you know this, right.)

(cuz you can watch two versions of this story on Netflix)

Without them, Michaelangelo would have made a Neptune out of butter instead of Carrera marble, and time as it rolled would have melted that beautiful sucker in the sun, and you and me never would have known it was ever a thing.

Lo and behold, time moves forward like a bat out of hell (you also know this) and history has different ideas about art and it’s worth.

And BOOM somehow we end up in a golden age of art making in the late 1800s early 1900s, and WHOA then here comes capitalism and then it was REALLY fun for a while and now-

Well, now we are here.

 (there is a sob story about arts funding in America and the death of some very important industries, but you know what? I’m just not gonna. We’re gonna go straight to silver lines and bypass the whole cloud.)

I tell you this in earnest. Philanthropy is hot. And is the ONLY way that large scale works get made anymore. 

Fast forward.

This large scale piece of art I am trying to make needs to make a pretty hefty sum of money if I am going to pay any musicians or any costume designers or any lighting designers anything at all. 

And it is for this purpose, that I have called in all my favors, from stars much bigger than me, to sing at a fundraiser and blow the doors off this snake pit of infeasibility.

THIS. THIS. Is going to be one hellovashow.


For ONE NIGHT ONLY I am singing songs from my alternative blues Requiem with the following famous and fabulous individuals!

DAVE MALLOY!

ANAIS MITCHELL!

MARIA CHRISTINA OLIVERAS!

MARGO SEIBERT!

SALTY BRINE!

JILL FRUTKIN!

ANDREW SCHNEIDER!

SASHA BROWN!

AND MORE!

WE HAVE JUST RELEASED a very limited number of tickets for this star studded situation. 10 bucks gets you a reservation, a seat at the show, and an opportunity to bid on some INCREDIBLY exciting auction items, including art pieces I have commissioned from a dozen Downtown NYC Theater Stars Animals, wisdoms and ghosts, and SO much more. 

I didn’t make this piece for any institution. I made it because I have a compulsion to make things. I made it because music is a jackhammer through the concrete of our own personal bullshit, and the surest fire way  to connect with virtual strangers. 

Show up, I will try to prove that point.

Deep breath my love,

You can expect a hard sell from me in the coming weeks. This is a big thing, and you are my buddy.

I bless you for listening.

 Go get em, Guggenheim.

Xoxo

H