Honking taxis and idling engines in creeping traffic may not be music to your ears now, but experience those sounds enhanced and remixed into electronic compositions during the Subtropics Experimental Music and Sound Arts Festival (presented by South Florida Composers Alliance's interdisciplinary Sound Arts Workshop) and it may turn the cacophony of your evening commute into symphonic bliss. Subtropics is celebrating seventeen years of infiltrating alternative sounds into Miami's music scene. SFCA founder Gustavo Matamoros started the festival after his involvement with the New Music America event in 1988. "I saw the impact it had on the community ... and we're in the business of trying to promote new and experimental music in town," says Matamoros. The festival opens tonight at the Dorsch Gallery (151 NW 24th St., Miami) with "Sounds in Space: Works from the Diapason Archive," curated by Michael J. Schumacher. The central command for sound art in New York, Diapason Gallery "is one of only a handful of spaces in the world that provides artists and listeners alike with an environment conducive to the appreciation of this new medium that combines the emotional force of music with the contemplative intensity of visual art," says Schumacher.
Another New Yorker featured in tonight's reception is electronic musician and composer Tom Hamilton, whose sound installation London Fix is based on gold prices. After a neighbor inspired him to learn more about the stock market, Hamilton saw music in the highs and lows. "When you're attracted to something in your life, you manifest it in your own way," says Hamilton. Music is made from fluctuations in the market. "The price charts are used to control all elements: pitch, rhythm, duration, and location of the sound," Hamilton explains.
Other festival highlights include the E.A.R. Unit (above), a chamber ensemble that blends electronic and acoustic music with a video component. It will perform Squint, an autobiographical montage of an altered state of being stuck in traffic. John Luther Adams will present Mathematics of Resonant Bodies, which reveals "a series of öauras' derived from the inner resonance of the instruments themselves," as described by the composer from his home in Alaska. A mobile sound machine, Transfers is a multimedia cab ride by digital media artist Matt Roberts, who is "interested in ways to get art outside the gallery and into areas that are more real." The festival runs Thursday, February 24 through Saturday, March 5. Tonight's opening reception is free; tickets for other events cost from $10 to $15. For a complete schedule and admission prices call 305-981-0600, or visit subtropics.org. --Lyssa Oberkreser
Say It, Sisters
100 years in one night
From the end of legal slavery to the beginning of legislated civil rights for black people: 100 years. That's a millisecond in historical time, and a parallel to the lives of Sadie and Bessie Delany. The sisters were pioneers who overcame oppression. Their stories get represented in Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years. Running through March 20 at the Black Box Theatre (1300 NW 50th St., Miami), the play gets a gala tonight one hour prior to the 8:00 curtain time. Tickets cost $25 (less for other performances). Call 305-751-4043. --Greg Baker
A lot of wacky shenanigans go on in hotel rooms across South Florida, but those tales don't usually get the type of treatment they do in Suite 305. This presentation by Dance Now! interprets the stories originating from one particular room in a mostly dance but somewhat theatrical format. Think of it as a dance-centric California Suite. The hoofing starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Byron Carlyle Theater, 500 71st St., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $10 to $20. Call 305-867-4194. -- Margaret Griffis
Tonight marks the Florida premiere of Orange Flower Water. The play -- by Craig Wright, who also pens for the HBO hit Six Feet Under -- follows, in real time, the endgame of two rapidly devolving marriages in the mythical town of Pine City, Minnesota. Produced by the Promethean Theatre, Orange Flower Water is directed by Margaret M. Ledford. It runs through March 25 at the Main Street Playhouse, 6766 Main St., Miami Lakes. Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets cost $20, or $8 for students. Call 786-317-7580. -- Margaret Griffis