Archive for the ‘Performing Arts’ Category

Love Hurts

The moon set on the final performance of Dracula Saturday night.  Though the story is as old as the Count himself, it came to life anew in the Burke Theater.

The spotlight shown down through the dark on the eternal drama between: the flash of youth and the thirst of age, the shadow of madness and the hope of reason, the hypnotic power of love and the use of love to gain power over others.

Love Hurts

In other words this wasn’t your father’s old Dracula.  From the moment a dank fog settled over the theater and the audience settled into their seats, a gothic world arose where heaven and hell were separated by only a kiss.

Front Row Seat

The Good Doctor

Van Helsing

What goes on in Dracula's Castle

Innocent Youth


A Richard & Mel Production

Eerie lighting & sound engineers

And remember, if you dare, there are more photos at BurkePix (courtesy of the ever photopresent and not too scary Steve O’Keefe) and the Burke Media Gallery (thx to Burke’s correspondent at large, Alison Merow)… thanks also to the scores of students, parents and staff who helped bring the play to life…

And don’t forget as you go to sleep that this night is not so very different than the night envisioned by Bram Stoker….

Bram Comes Alive


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Eleanor Freidberger, 1/2 of the Fiery Furnaces along with her brother Matt, just released her first solo album, Last SummerSure enough, the album was recorded last summer and saved for release this July.  Where the Furnaces sang elliptical, runic-like lyrics surrounded by late-Beatles influenced musical suites, Last Summer uses powerfully straight-forward rock song structures to tell detailed personal stories.

Check out the video for “My Mistakes” which contrasts footage of Eleanor at 19, while attending the University of Texas in Austin, with her doing the same things—talking on the phone, putting on a record, doing sit-ups—then and now.  The film and the song loop time, balance change and similarity, mirror identity and wonder at who we are and who we were.

Here’s a live version from a very recent show at DC’s Black Cat:

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The Capital Fringe Festival is back, in full swing from now until July 24.  Never been?  Not sure what it is?  Well, it’s simple:  Fringe provides all artists, whether new or established, a venue to express and develop their talents and artistic visions in total freedom.

And it’s a lot: last year Fringe sold 28,000 tickets to 715 performances of 137 productions, featuring over 2,000 artists at 12 venues located around the Mt. Vernon, Chinatown, and Penn Quarter neighborhoods.

Time to get - Frank

And this year, for all us Bengals, there’s an extra, not-so-fringe treat: Our own Cory Frank, former Burke Performing Arts Director, has his own video blog, the Daily Dose, with an every day who, what, where, when about the not-so-every-day events at the Cap Fringe….As  Cory says:  “It’s time to get — Frank” and check out the Fringe:

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Jump Jive ‘N Wail

Jump Jive 'n Wail!

The Maestro

The curtain came down on Burke’s 2011 Band Camp a week ago.  But not before the (pretty) big band played a concert before an SRO crowd.  The band included musicians from 7th through 12 grades, as well as 3 alum teachers, and one Jumpin’ Jivin’ ‘n Wailin’ Maestro (John Howard).   The show covered the full set of songs they learned in just 2 weeks, spanning the radio dial from Louis Prima to Taylor Swift, from the Beatles to War.

Thanks to John for another great Camp session and to the musicians and alums for a great show!  Thanks also to Marshall, Ed, and Austin for the sound and video.

A few more pics below – and you can find them all at BurkePix.  Scroll down to catch the whole show (be sure to get to the end for John on Jump Jive!).

More Cowbell!

I'm Yours

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Scott Kenison

Make sure to check out the great spread in today’s Washington Post about Scott Kenison, who is leaving his 8 year role as COO of the Atlas Performing Arts Center, a cultural anchor on the H St., corridor.  Money line from the article: “Now Kenison, […,*] and his partner, David Shapiro, have decided it’s time for a lifestyle change [and are] relocating to Palm Springs.” In other words – Scott gets top billing!!

In addition to his roles at the Atlas and with David, Scott has also been a great friend and benefactor to Burke.  Thanks Scott… we’ll miss you!

[Editor: * edit to delete the Post’s violation of the Actor’s Code 😉 ]

[Editor: After being told by a (former head) little birdie, we corrected the misspelling of Mr. Kenison’s name – and have taken disciplinary action against the errant blogger.  Sorry Scot!]

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Storybook Story

I’ve spent much of the last 24 hours doing a retrospective of the great Americana musician, Willy Deville.  He grew up on Jackie Wilson, Ben E. King, Elvis, Platters, ’60’s girl groups, before becoming a hard to peg, not-really punk icon in the late ’70’s.  His seminal band, Mink Deville, was a fixture at CBGB’s when it was ground zero for the re-ordering of the pop music world.

His first record was tough, romantic, retro, rock, latin, and more – all at once.  His signature song, Spanish Stroll, captures it all: the song manages to marry the Crystals’ Da Doo Ron Ron with an early homage to the music and themes of Lou Reed – all in his own Spanish Harlem and Lower East Side brew.

After that his life was a triptych over the many byways of the history and geography of American music… from Latin rock of NYC, to cabaret ballads from Paris, to dusty country tunes from the great Southwest, to eerie Cajun swamp soul of the Louisiana Bayou:

His life involved the twists and turns that have charmed and haunted the lives of other American legends that went to the “crossroads”.  Looking back, Deville was very much the traveling troubadour.  He dressed the part, sometimes the Latin tough, sometimes the gypsy, and late in his life, a Native American shaman of rock and roll (he was part Pequot). Before his death almost two years ago, Deville traveled the world singing old songs and new, from Mississippi Blues to punk – in ways that made it hard to tell which was which – and made them all very much his own.  Along the way he was nominated for an Academy Award Nomination for his song Storybook Love, which was featured in the movie The Princess Bride.  Like the song, his life was very much “like a storybook story.” Like the characters in the song, he lived and loved a life of music that was as true and as “real as the feelings [he’d] feel.”

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Burke Band D lays down its Money for Nothing… w/ a crazy behind the back solo by Walker ’11.  Videography thanks go to Bob Somerville… the trumpet player’s dad!

More to come…

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