Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Street songs on the pier
The Public Art Fund showed Dara Friedman's 48-minute film Musical tonight on a pier off Riverside Park South, as dark clouds loomed but didn't break and night fell. I missed seeing it when it was at Gavin Brown's Enterprise last month, but I think seeing the film out in the open, among people, was a much more fitting way to experience it. After all, the film - shot over a few weeks last fall - consists of dozens of people singing a capella in public places, roaming the streets of Midtown Manhattan or standing in some of its most famous indoor spaces: the MoMA lobby, Grand Central Terminal. It doesn't really have a story line beyond the ones captured in the lyrics of each song, but the film brought to mind: movie musicals shot on the streets of New York, iPod lip synching, street buskers, the Joshua Bell experiment in Washington, reality television, and the way we do or do not reveal our reactions to things that don't fit our expectations. Almost all of the performers sing pretty well and mostly in key, and when they don't, it's usually for effect or just plain funny. It's one of those pieces of art that makes you look a little more closely at the people around you. What songs or stories are they carrying around in their head?