ARSTY: Brother From Another Planet


Lecture: John Szwed, Author of Space Is The Place

Whenever Wednesday, July 8 @ 7pm
Institute of Contemporary Art · University of Pennsylvania
118 S. 36th St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-3289 · 215.898.5911

Hear a lecture by John Szwed, the biographic expert on all things Ra. He is an anthropologist, musicologist and historian who teaches at Columbia University and is the author of Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra (Da Capo Press, 1998).

[Complete listing of upcoming Sun Ra-related events after the jump]

Philadelphia Record Fair 2009

Saturday, July 11 @ 9am-5pm
$10 from 9-11am
FREE from 11am-5pm

A day of vinyl nirvana! ICA hosts the annual benefit for Vox Populi, Philadelphia’s acclaimed artist-run collective and gallery. Flip through bins. Find your treasure.

Conversation: Tavares Strachan and Robert Hobbs

Whenever Wednesday, July 15 @ 6:30pm

Take a glimpse into the future through the rubric of scientific exploration. Art historian Dr. Robert Hobbs, the Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair at Virginia Commonwealth University and visiting professor at Yale University whose work joins social history with literary criticism, aesthetics, and feminist and postcolonial theory, talks with Project Space artist Tavares Strachan about the most recent stage of his Orthostatic Tolerance project.
Installation photo: Aaron Igler.

Outdoor Double Feature: Brother from Another Planet and A Joyful Noise, curated by Jesse Pires

Whenever Wednesday, July 15 @ 8pm
Rain or shine. FREE

Sun Ra: Brother from Another Planet
(Dir. Don Letts, UK, 2005, video, 59 mins)
Don Letts, the legendary London DJ who introduced reggae and ska to a generation of punk rockers, delves into the mysterious world of Sun Ra in this British, made-for-television documentary. Sun Ra biographer John Szwed, musician Archie Shepp and members of Sun Ra’s Arkestra discuss the life and work of one of jazz music’s pre-eminent pioneers. For the uninitiated, Brother from Another Planet is a great introduction to Sun Ra, and for Ra devotees, it’s required viewing.

Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise
(Dir. Robert Mugge, USA, 1980, video, 61 mins)
Consisting of explosive live footage of the Sun Ra Arkestra and fascinating interviews with the man himself, A Joyful Noise is the complete Sun Ra experience. Filmed in and around Philadelphia and Washington D.C. when the Arkestra was living in Germantown, Robert Mugge’s documentary captures the group at the height of its creative powers. Each live performance featured in the film further illustrates the distinctive alchemy Sun Ra was able to create with his disciplined band. Ra makes his case for a better world through music, transcending banal, earthbound realities to produce a strange and fascinating aesthetic fusing ancient history with future visions.

Image: A Joyful Noise.

Performance: “Saturn Never Sleeps”

Whenever Wednesday, July 22 @ 7pm

“Saturn Never Sleeps” is a cosmic adventure in contemporary music. For this artist-curated event, Philadelphia DJ, composer and producer King Britt, in collaboration with multimedialist Rucyl, present a night of sonic and visual funk taking micro-edits of Sun-Ra source music and combining it with live experimentation together with video collage.

Visit Saturn Never Sleeps for more details.

Death’s Headquarters: In Celebration of Le Sony’r Ra

Whenever Wednesday, July 29 @ 7pm

Curated by Ars Nova Workshop.
Featuring performances from Sonic Liberation Front & Planet Y.

Please join Ars Nova Workshop and ICA for two very special performances in conjunction with Pathways to Unknown Worlds. An expanded 12-member Sonic Liberation Front, the Philadelphia ensemble acclaimed for their iconoclastic combination of Free Jazz passion and Afro-Cuban percussion, will premiere “Jetway Confidential No.3 (for Sun Ra)”, a new composition dedicated to Sun Ra and commissioned specifically for this performance, and perform an arrangement of Sun Ra’s “Where Pathways Meet” from 1978’s Lanquidity recording, which featured saxophonist and SLF member Julian Pressley. This evening will also feature a very rare appearance from Planet Y—Buchla Music Easel master Charles Cohen and Stinking Lizaveta’s Yanni Papadopoulos, best described as “Subotnick meets Sun Ra meets Schnitzler.” (Aquarius Records) In addition, newly-unearthed archival films will be projected on the gallery walls.

Image: Sonic Liberation Front

ICA acknowledges the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation and the Philadelphia Eagles for support of education programs related to Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago’s Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-1968. ICA also wishes to thank WPRB, Princeton, NJ for in-kind promotional support for this exhibition.

Visit us online at
Institute of Contemporary Art · University of Pennsylvania
118 S. 36th St., Philadelphia, PA 19104-3289 · 215.898.5911

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