Into the Past Brightly

September 28th, 2015

Cage-Cunningham Program001

I’ve been sorting through some old stuff and came across this. I’ve saved it all these years because this performance changed my life. I was a clueless 18-year-old college freshman, pretty much overwhelmed by the whole college experience. I was not well prepared for college by my high school. I’d never really been exposed to things like modern dance or “classical” music.

But I was taking a required course called Comparative Arts. Going to this concert was a requirement of the class. (Thank you Ivan West.)

I had no idea what to expect when I walked into “Mem Aud.” I certainly couldn’t have imagined what was to come. Before the concert began they were playing one of John Cage’s compositions. It, of course, made no sense to me at all. Just seemed like discordant noise.

But that didn’t prepare me for what was to follow. In later years as I studied John Cage I learned what it was he did at that concert, though I couldn’t figure it out that night. He was reading from two decks of cards. One deck had numbers on it, the other short stories or koans. He would draw a card from each deck and read the story for the number of seconds indicated on the number card. Merce Cunningham danced to this.

Most of my classmates were upset and even angered by this concert and were quite vocal about it in class. My reaction was very different. I knew there was something important and meaningful in what I had seen and heard. I wanted to understand it. That concert was the real beginning of my education. The experience I had that night has obviously stuck with me. It has influenced, even directed, my work ever since.

It opened my mind. Thank you John Cage and Merce Cunningham.

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Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

Since it does contain nude photos, this blog is not intended for viewing by anyone under the age of 18.

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