French surrealist and theatre theorist Antonin Artaud, so wished for a searing realness upon the stage, that he called for the actors to strip themselves of all artifice and to present themselves as “…being like victims burnt at the stake, signaling through the flames.” (The Theater and Its Double, 1931)
His writings had a tremendous influence on the creators of The Living Theatre, Julian Back and Judith Malina, when their vision was coming together in the 50s and 60s. A 1983 documentary about The Living is even titled, “Signals Through the Flames,” such is their association with the Artaud.
In their early days, the LT’s history is almost like a who’s-who of Village artists and aesthetic innovators from the theater, art, musical, and progressive political worlds. In 1959, with the help of a producer in collaboration with John Cage and Merce Cunningham they were able to open the theater on 14th St. and 6th Ave. which was the Theatre’s home for five years. Cunningham had his dance studio on the top floor. The Living occupied floors two and three.
Many years after that I met Judith when I was in my 20s and was lucky to work alongside her, creating music for theater, off and on for the group, for over twenty years. This included performances in the USA and extensively throughout Europe. The modus operandi abroad was that we would perform whatever current production we were touring plus we’d give workshops and create activist street theater with the local population. NYC was no exception. Performative political protests were a part of city life when the LT was based here. Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars might not have ever come into being had I not had this experience in my formation.
It is in that spirit, taking it to the streets, that we present our latest musical procession, as part of The Village Trip Festival opening on September 10th in Greenwich Village. For the event, we will premiere a new piece with that name: “Signals Through the Flames.”
This performance is dedicated to all of the politically active artists and troupes that The Village has given birth to over the years, but especially to The Living Theatre. Our aim is to bring positive attention to their work and legacy and to all of us who owe them a debt for initially breaking down The Fourth Wall.
To read more about The Living Theatre and its connection to The Village go to: https://www.livingtheatre.org/detailed-history by Thomas S. Walker. Some portions of this text were taken from that page.
Tilted Axes: Tilt Quintet performs for Open Streets L.E.S. on Avenue B, NYC on July 23, 2022. This was probably their “hottest” show ever with a city-wide heat index of 105 F. It didn’t matter. It was a great show. Electric Guitars: Angela Babin, Howie Kenty, John Halo — Electric Bass: Jeremy Nesse — Percussion: Patrick Grant. Photos: Bob Krasner @bobkrasner @bobkrasnertoo
Culture Lab LIC Season Opening — April 30, 2022
Beltane on B — May 1, 2022
STRiNGS & THiNGS Show: “On our series called “First Axe” we ask members of #TiltedAxes to tell us their electric guitar origin stories. This time we’re talking to Howie Kenty, who’s a faculty member at Kaufman Music Center, where he teaches music tech, composition, and theory. But his early guitar days were marked by the sounds of grunge, cassette recordings and questionable taste in stage-wear.”
NEW SHOW — STRiNGS & THiNGS: “This time, on our series called “First Axe” – stories about first guitars – we’ll hear from the founder of Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars. That’s composer, performer and producer Patrick Grant. He’ll take us back to his teen years in Detroit for the brief but noisy life of his first department store axe.” https://www.stringsandthingsshow.com/
Listen HERE: https://www.stringsandthingsshow.com/?p=7323 or where anywhere you find quality podcasts.
We’re back to bring you some new stories from the Tilted Axes circle of musicians. If you don’t know, Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars is an orchestra of guitarists and percussionists led by composer/performer Patrick Grant. They perform original music with mini-amps strapped over their shoulders, moving through public spaces in museums, parks and city streets. Its roster of musicians can change from performance to performance, city to city. And you’re going to meet one of them right now in this series of episodes called “First Axe” – stories about first guitars.
Elisa Corona Aguilar is a writer, translator, composer and guitarist from Mexico City. As a kid, she felt left out when her brother got a guitar and she didn’t. In this episode, she tell us how she finally got her own instrument, and how it still influences the music she makes today.
Elisa has won several literary prizes and her most recent book is Doctor Vertigo and the Temptations of Imbalance and she’s translated Mingus & Mingus, the autobiography of Sue Graham Mingus and her life with Charles Mingus in Mexico. She’s been a member of Robert Fripp and the Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists, Music for Contemplation, the Contemporary Guitar Ensemble, Música y Letras at El Taller Latinoamericano de Nueva York, Tilted Axes: Music For Mobile Electric Guitars and the guitar duet Doble vida. She has a solo project called Sierpe and Other Stories, a series of compositions with electric guitar, loop, iPhone, music box, poetry and spoken word in different languages. She’s pursuing her PhD in music (NYU) and is a member of the prestigious National Endowment for Art Creators of Mexico (SNCA).
NEW PODCAST — Creative Confidential w/ Jude Kampfner — Episode 7: Patrick Grant – Exploring Music as Ritual and Spectacle.
Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars
opens its spring season in New York City
Two performances free to the public!
Long Island City — Saturday, April 30, 6:30pm-7:45pm
Culture Lab LIC, 5-25 46th Ave, Queens, NY
Performance commences in the outdoor gallery and moves inside
East Village — Sunday, May 1, 3:00-4:15pm
Hekate Café & Elixir Lounge, 167 Avenue B, NYC
Celebrate Beltane with a big, witchy block party from 12pm-9pm
Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars is an orchestra of guitarists and percussionists led by post-rock composer/performer Patrick Grant. They perform original music untethered via mini-amps strapped over their shoulders.
They perform anywhere there are people, excelling in untraditional venues. Its roster of musicians can change from performance to performance, city to city. The musicians learn a common repertoire created by diverse composers and rehearse it in workshops.
The project takes on aspects of spectacle informed by municipal band tradition, avant-garde theater, and world music. It takes music out into the world and seeks transformative situations meant to change community conversation.
These shows are part of Tilted@10, Tilted Axes’ Tenth Anniversary Season. It includes new music by Howie Kenty, Elisa Corona Aguilar, and Patrick Grant and movement direction by Christopher Caines.
Tilted Axes — Elisa Corona Aguilar, Gene Ardor, Angela Babin, Jason Goldstein, Patrick Grant (music director), John Halo, Howie Kenty, Alex Lahoski, Chad Ossman, Kevin Pfieffer, Sean Satin, Dmitri Shapira: electric guitars — Jeremy Nesse: bass —John Ferrari, David Demnitz, Christopher Caines: percussion
Tilted Axes: Music for Mobile Electric Guitars is a project of Peppergreen Media and is powered by Vox Amplification courtesy of KORG USA. We thank our performance partners Culture Lab LIC, Hekate Café & Elixir Lounge, Astor Place Hairstylists, Alchemical Studios, and Mercy Sound Studios NYC.
Our Tilted@10 anniversary season is made possible in part bythe New York State Council on the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The ASCAP Plus+ Awards, the NYU Tisch Adjunct Development Fund, but mostly through the generous support of the public.
#tiltedaxes — http://www.tiltedaxes.com — @tiltedaxes
2022 DMA Nominee
Outstanding Classical Composer —
My first publicly performed piece was “Cantata for the Easter Mass” when I was 15 years old at the Our Lady of Victory Church in Northville, MI. It was written for soloists, choir, strings and organ. While I’m not a traditionally religious person at all, I have retained this sense of ceremony in all my work ever since. It seeks to find a place in the world. And there is always a feeling of a larger narrative. My work with the Tilted Axes mobile electric guitars project is another branch of this same aesthetic. Some times it asks: What is classical music? Is it an instrumentation or an intention? Is it as the venue it’s performed in or can it be found anywhere? Is it solely a technique or is it what we find beyond it if we know where to look? And yet other times the music aims to say as little as possible. It only asks you to listen with prejudice. One thing I have found to be common to all things “classical”, whether it’s traditional or it’s pushing the envelopes of genres: It seeks to elevate us all by pulling us into the present. Together. And if the composer is from Detroit, it’s also not unusual if it has a mean groove. — Patrick Grant
Final Phase DMA Voting closes on March 6th at 11:59pm.