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Photos from Vidas Perfectas

4 Aug 2014

Vidas Perfectas, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

While we’re catching our breath after this past weekend’s Marfa Dialogues/St. Louis, we thought we’d share photos from the stunning performances of Vidas Perfectas, Alex Waterman’s Spanish-language production of Robert Ashley’s groundbreaking work Perfect Lives (1983). Thanks to everyone who helped make Vidas Perfectas happen. See the full list of thanks and acknowledgements here.

All photos by Alex Marks,
July 18 and 19,2014.

 

Jane Crockett, Rocky Barnette, and Bob Crockett, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Rob Crowley and Alex Waterman, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Fairfax Dorn and Alex Waterman, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Music Producer Peter Gordon, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Vidas Perfectas, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Elisa Santiago, Ned Sublette, and Elio Villafranca, Vidas Perfectas, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

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Elisa Santiago, Ned Sublette, and Raul de Nieves, Vidas Perfectas, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Vidas Perfectas, July 18, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

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Raul de Nieves, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

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Peter Gordon, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Elio Villafranca, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Raul de Nieves, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Elisa Santiago and Elio Villafranca, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Scott Kiernan, Victoria Keddie, Alex Waterman, Ned Sublette, Elisa Santiago, Elio Villafranca, Raul de Nieves, and Peter Gordon, Vidas Perfectas, July 19, 2014. Photo by Alex Marks.

Vidas Perfectas on Vimeo

2 Jul 2014

If you’re unable to attend the West Texas and Mexico performances of Vidas Perfectas, or just want a sample of what’s coming up, check out all seven episodes of the work on Vimeo (recorded in front of a live audience during the Whitney Biennial).

El Parque (The Park):

Vidas Perfectas – El Parque (17 Apr 2014 @ 4:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

El Supermercado (The Supermarket):

Vidas Perfectas – El Supermercado (19 Apr 2014 @ 12pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

El Banco (The Bank):

Vidas Perfectas – El Banco (18 Apr 2014 @ 1:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

El Bar (The Bar):

Vidas Perfectas – El Bar (19 Apr 2014 @ 4:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

El Salon (The Living Room):

Vidas Perfectas – El Salon (18 Apr 2014 @ 1:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

La Iglesia (The Church):

Vidas Perfectas – La Iglesia (17 Apr 2014 @ 1:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

El Patio De Atras (The Backyard):

Vidas Perfectas – El Patio De Atras (19 Apr 2014 @ 4:30pm) from Alex Waterman on Vimeo.

And if you’re really in a Robert-Ashley frame of mind, treat yourself to watching the original Perfect Lives: An Opera for Television, four episodes of which are available on YouTube.

The Park (Privacy Rules):

The Supermarket (Famous People):

The Bank (Victimless Crime):

The Bar (Differences):

And if you still can’t get enough,

Alex Waterman on Celebrating Robert Ashley

11 Mar 2014

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Above photo, production still shot on location in Marfa, TX, February 2014 Courtesy of Alex Waterman and Peter Szollosi

Waterman, the director of Vidas Perfectas, a co-production with Ballroom Marfa and the El Paso Opera, recently shared this letter via email with friends and supporters after Robert Ashley’s passing on March 3. The subject was “Celebrating Robert Ashley’s Life and Work”:

Dear Friends and Supporters,

On February 21, 2014, we launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to compensate the extraordinary talent and to cover the costs of all the technical equipment we need to stage 3 Operas by Robert Ashley at the Whitney Biennial.

On March 3, 2014, our friend, inspiration, and the composer of these incredible operas, Robert Ashley, passed away.

As we grieve and come to accept the new reality of these productions without Bob, we still face the daunting and awkward task of fundraising.

What’s clear to us is that these operas need to be staged. Bob would not have wanted a memorial concert. What he would want is for his work to be appreciated and performed with love and care, with a thoughtfulness that comes from spending days, months, years… working together and sharing these stories.

At the Whitney Biennial, we don’t want to grieve, we want to celebrate. Bob’s work has always been grounded in an every day life, even when the music veers to the cosmic. His operas are about the people he knew, the stories shared, the books read, the questions asked, the revelations unveiled. By staging his work, we celebrate a mind keen to the nuances of conversation and thought, and a life lived fully.

As difficult as it is to ask under these circumstances, we do need your help. We want these operas to be staged with the best possible sound, lighting, video, and sets, in order to honor Robert Ashley and his work. 12 days remain to raise nearly $35,000. My gratitude goes to those who have already donated. If we don’t reach our goal, we lose it all.

RIP Robert Ashley: Long Live the Avant-Garde

4 Mar 2014


Highlights from the premiere of Vidas Perfectas, a Spanish-language version of Robert Ashley’s opera Perfect Lives

It’s a testament to the timelessness Robert Ashley’s work that so many artists and musicians from across a broad range of disciplines are marking his passing by pointing out his profound impact on an entire universe of challenging and inspirational work. Remembrances are pouring in from NPR, Frieze, Bomb, Fader, Pitchfork and Hyperallergic plus a new generation of sound composers — C. Spencer Yeh, Daniel Lopatin, M. Geddes Gengras, Sun Araw, Amen Dunes et al — all citing Ashley’s influence.

For those not yet familiar with Ashley, we point you to Ubu Web’s Twitter feed, which has become a steady flow of links to his magnificent works.

Ballroom Marfa is also grateful to join Ashley’s friend and collaborator Alex Waterman in continuing work on Vidas Perfectas, a Spanish-language adaptation of Ashley’s Perfect Lives, to debut at the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

Long live the avant-garde, indeed …