Dial-A-Poem Poets – Big Ego (1978)


“American label set up in 1972 by the poet John Giorno, the earliest releases were exclusively poetry collections of the ‘Dial-A-Poets’ (John Giorno, William S Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Allen Ginsberg, John Cage etc.): ‘In 1961 I was a young poet who hung out with young artists like Andy Warhol, Bob Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, as well as with members of the Judson Dance Theatre. The use of modern mass media and technologies by these artists made me realize that poetry was 75 years behind painting and sculpture, dance and music. And I thought, if they can do it, why can’t I do it for poetry. Why not try to connect with an audience using all the entertainments of ordinary life: television, the telephone, record albums, etc? It was the poet’s job to invent new venues and make fresh contact with the audience. This inspiration gave rise to Giorno Poetry Systems.’ – John Giorno”
Discogs
Discogs: Various ‎– Big Ego
UbuWeb (Video)

Video 50 – Robert Wilson (1978)


“Video 50 is an extraordinary video sketchbook, a highly original, visually dramatic and frequently humorous collection of one hundred abbreviated ‘episodes’ produced for television. Unfolding as a series of thirty-second vignettes, this enigmatic essay in style is characterized by a deadpan theatricality, symbolist imagery, surrealist juxtapositions and repetition of key visual motifs. Indelible images, precisely composed — a man teetering above a waterfall, a floating chair, a winking eye, a parrot against the New York skyline — are accompanied by an ‘architectural’ sound score that includes spoken ‘phonetic patterns’ rather than words. Fusing his surprising visual logic and rhythms with unexpected temporal manipulations, Wilson creates a work of startling wit and poetry. — EAI …”
UbuWeb (Video)
‘Robert Wilson: Video 50’ installation redefines the nature of filmmaking

Einstein on the Beach – Composed Philip Glass / Directed Robert Wilson (1976)


Einstein on the Beach is an opera in four acts (framed and connected by five ‘knee plays’ or intermezzos), composed by Philip Glass and directed by theatrical producer Robert Wilson. The opera eschews traditional narrative in favor of a formalist approach based on structured spaces laid out by Wilson in a series of storyboards. The music was written ‘in the spring, summer and fall of 1975’. Glass recounts the collaborative process: ‘I put [Wilson’s notebook of sketches] on the piano and composed each section like a portrait of the drawing before me. The score was begun in the spring of 1975 and completed by the following November, and those drawings were before me all the time.’ The premiere took place on July 25, 1976, at the Avignon Festival in France. The opera contains writings by Christopher Knowles, Samuel M. Johnson and Lucinda Childs. It is Glass’s first and longest opera score, taking approximately five hours in full performance without intermission; given the length, the audience is permitted to enter and leave as desired. … From the beginning of Glass and Wilson’s collaboration, they insisted on portraying the icon purely as a historical figure, in the absence of a storyline attached to his image. While they did incorporate symbols from Einstein’s life within the opera’s scenery, characters, and music, they intentionally chose not to give the opera a specific plot. This is in accord with Wilson’s formalist approach, which he asserts creates more truth on stage than naturalist theater. Wilson structured Einstein on the Beach as a repeating sequence of three different kinds of space. Between major acts are shorter entr’actes known as ‘knee plays,’ a signature technique that Wilson has applied throughout his oeuvre. Propelling idea of ‘non-plot’ within Einstein on the Beach, its libretto employs solfège syllables, numbers, and short sections of poetry. …”
Wikipedia
The Method and Madness of ‘Einstein on the Beach’
iTunes
NPR: The Minds Behind ‘Einstein On The Beach’ Talk Shop (Video)
UbuWeb: Einstein on the Beach: The Changing Image of Opera (Video)
THE EARTH MOVES. A documentary about Einstein on the Beach. (Video)
YouTube: Einstein on the Beach 4:36:23
YouTube: Philip Glass Ensemble “Train/Spaceship” part 1, “Train/Spaceship” part 2

Death, Destruction and Detroit – Robert Wilson (1979)


Death, Destruction and Detroit (DD&D) started with a photograph to which Robert Wilson was inexplicably attracted.  He kept it on his desk in New York and unknowing of what it depicted.  It was not until a studio visitor told him that the image featured Rudolf Hess in Berlin’s Spandau prison, with two other Nazi war criminals, half-heartedly and one-handedly raking leaves.  This rare photograph was reimagined as the prologue to DD&D, starring the famous German actor Otto Sander (1941-2013).  Other iconic scenes from DD&D include the actors Philippe Chemin and Heike Pfitzner, lounging in “Beach Chairs” (designed by Wilson) on a roof over New York City, while the city below is burning; and Hess (Sander) as Siegfried fighting two dinosaurs.”
Robert Wilson
LA Times: Apocalypse Is Here, and It’s Gorgeously Inviting