Sam Green + Quavers + yMusic

Jun 20 9pm

East River Esplanade, Pier 15
Film, Music
Presented by LMCC as part of the Laurie Anderson curated track in partnership with Rooftop Films

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green (The Weather Underground) teams up with two local musical outfits, the Quavers and yMusic, to create a night of outdoor music and cinema. In recent years, Green has explored the intersection of film and performance through “live documentary,” in which Green narrates a film in person and cues images onto a screen while a band plays a live soundtrack.

As part of the program, Green screens two new pieces: Love Letter to the Fog, a meditation on fog, grief, and the sublime in San Francisco; as well as The Biggest-Smallest, a poem about fate and the outer contours of human experience.

The performance is a follow-up to Green’s internationally-acclaimed live film The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, a collaboration with the band Yo La Tengo. Both of these new works feature the same unique combination of film clips and live music, as Green’s in-person cinematic narration draws inspiration equally from old travelogues, the Benshi tradition, and TED talks.

Directed and Performed by Sam Green
Musician/Composers: T. Griffin, Catherine McRae, Brendan Canty
Musicians: Rob Moose, CJ Camerieri, Clarice Jensen, Alex Sopp, Hideaki Aomori, Nadia Sirota

For more information on the Laurie Anderson curated series see Anderson


Sam Green is a documentary filmmaker based in San Francisco and New York. Green has made many movies including most recently The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller, a live cinematic collaboration with the indie rock band Yo La Tengo. His documentary The Weather Underground was nominated for an Academy Award and included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial as well as broadcast nationally on PBS. His other films include Utopia in Four Movements, lot 63, grave c, Utopia Part 3: the World’s Largest Shopping Mall, and The Rainbow Man/John 3:16. Green has received grants from the Creative Capital, Rockefeller, and Guggenheim Foundations, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. Green holds an M.A. in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied documentary with acclaimed filmmaker Marlon Riggs.

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The Quavers are a Brooklyn-based band made up of T. Griffin, Catherine McRae, and guest drummer Brendan Canty (Fugazi). In what they describe as “porch techno,” The Quavers coax a luminous sound out of decayed samplers, walkmans, vibraphonette, footpedal loopers, tape echo violin, and homespun harmonies. Like a space-age Carter Family, they weave low-tech electronics around songs sturdy enough to stand up even if the power goes out. Together and separately, the members of The Quavers have collaborated with musical luminaries including Vic Chesnutt, Patti Smith, Tom Verlaine, Yo La Tengo, members of The Ex, Fugazi, and godspeed you! black emperor. They have created live soundtrack projects with filmmakers such as Jem Cohen and Brent Green, and theater directors Anne Bogart and Richard Maxwell.

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yMusic is a sextet of young performers who overlap classical and pop music worlds. Hailed by NPR‘s Fred Child as “one of the groups that has really helped to shape the future of classical music,” the group plays a unique combination of instruments: string trio, flute, clarinet, and trumpet. This orchestration has inspired an expanding repertoire of works by some of today’s most important artists including indie rock luminaries Annie Clark (St. Vincent) and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), who have crafted instrumental works specifically for the ensemble. yMusic’s debut album, Beautiful Mechanical, was recently named Time Out New York‘s #1 Classical Record of 2011.

yMusic also serves as a ready-made collaborative unit for bands and songwriters, launching projects with Dirty Projectors, Gabriel Kahane, and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire. These affiliations have brought yMusic to prominent stages around the world. yMusic can be heard on a forthcoming record of compositions by Richard Reed Parry.

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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Sam Green received support for this project from Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), The Exploratorium Museum, San Francisco, National Endowment for the Arts, and
The Cultural Equity Grants program of the San Francisco Arts Commission.