On Wednesday June 6, at 7:30 pm, the Soundwaves new music series at the Santa Monica Public Library presents poet Brendan Constantine performing John Cage’s “Lecture on Nothing” in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium of the Main Library at 601 Santa Monica Blvd.
John Cage was one of the most influential and controversial artists of the twentieth century. His use of silence, noise, chance, and other unusual sounds and structures had a profound effect in music and beyond, notably in dance, through his collaboration with his life partner, choreographer Merce Cunningham.
Cage was born in Los Angeles and lived on the Westside into his twenties. The first performance of his music was at the Santa Monica Bay Women’s Club, just blocks from the Main Library. Cage played piano at that show, accompanying singer Harry Hay, who was also the founder of the Mattachine Society, one of the first gay civil rights organizations in the US. In honor of Cage, Cunningham, and Hay, this concert is part of Santa Monica’s first-ever Pride Month.
“Lecture on Nothing” is a section of Cage’s 1961 book Silence. It has been interpreted theatrically and musically by various artists. Brendan Constantine has published eleven books of poetry and taught at the Windward School, Beyond Baroque, and Santa Monica’s Camera Obscura ArtsLab. He has been recognized for both the “dreamy abstraction” of his writing and the “emotional intensity” of his readings. His presentation of Cage’s text should not be missed.
Soundwaves is a concert series emphasizing artists who appear on the DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music) streaming service. The Santa Monica Public Library is the first public library to offer this service to its cardholders. Listings of past and upcoming Soundwaves shows as well as sound and video recordings are at SoundwavesNewMusic.com
Admission is free and all are welcome. Seating is limited and on a first-arrival basis. The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For other disabled services, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 at least one week prior to event. For more information, visit smpl.org or contact the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600.
Submitted by Jeff Schwartz, Reference Librarian