Author Archives: Marcia Morgado

Classical & Hip Hop Fuse at the Arsht

By mimorg33

 

Decadancetheatre-2-Photo-by-Daniel-

Decadancetheatre-2-Photo-by-Daniel-

Brooklyn-based with Jennifer Weber at the helm, the Decadantheatre has been a staple of dance festivals since its inception in 2004. Made up of an all-female group of dancers from the US, France, Germany, Norway, Nigeria and Japan, the ensemble has toured across the United States, the UK and France. It has performed at the long-running Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, in The Berkshires; at B Supreme Festival of Women in Hip Hop, in London’s Southbank Center and at LEAP, in Liverpool.

Decadancetheatre will be featured as part of a special collaboration with Miami-based composer Sam Hyken and the Nu Deco Ensemble, a genre-bending chamber orchestra, in a unique classical music / hip hop dance performance.

Nu-Deco-Ensemble-Alex-Markow-Photography

Nu-Deco-Ensemble-Alex-Markow-Photography

 

Hyken has re-imagined Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in a piece titled The Vivaldi Project ‘4’ to be interpreted by Decadancetheatre and Nu Deco Ensemble; together they will also perform Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird Suite. Nu Deco will play J. S. Bach’s Toccata & Fugue and Hyken’s Nu Deco Suite No. 1 – The B Sides.

This exciting fusion will be on stage Friday, April 28 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts’ Knight Concert Hall to cap the 2016-2017 Masterworks Season – Meidar and Alfi Family Foundation Classical Music Series.

The Vivaldi Project ‘4’

April 28

8 pm

Knight Concert Hall

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A night of jazz reverie

By mimorg33

marsalis_01_2016_palma-kolansky

Branford Marsalis

Three-time Grammy winner saxophonist Branford Marsalis, a member of one of America’s most distinguished musical families, will play on March 17th at the Arsht Center’s Knight Hall for the next-to-last concert of 2016-17 Jazz Root Series season. It is not customary for Marsalis along with Joey Calderazzo on piano, Eric Revis on bass, and Justin Faulkner on drums, to invite other musicians to play with them. Yet the tight-knit group welcomed superb jazz vocalist Kurt Elling to collaborate on the Upward Spiral project. Together they not only earned a Grammy but also were recently nominated for the 2017 Echo Jazz Awards. On Friday, the ensemble will bring their original, intense jazz sound to the Miami stage.

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Kurt Elling

And if that weren’t enough, our own Carmen Lundy, who is celebrating the release of the Code Noir album, will be opening for the quartet. Lundy, a jazz vocalist and a Miami native, will be accompanied by Patrice Rushen on piano and keyboards, James Genus on bass, Kendrick Scott on drums and Andrew Renfroe on guitar.
Don’t miss what promises to be a memorable night of jazz.

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

Knight Hall
March 17th, 8 p.m.

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A Business Gathering with a Spanish Accent

By mimorg33

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Under a waxing moon with a lovely breeze swaying the palm branches, the Miami skyline shone picture perfect as the backdrop for the second year of Next Destination, Málaga: Gateway to Andalusia, where members of the cruise and shipping industry from Málaga got together with their Miami counterparts along with tour operators, travel agents and other professionals.
The air was perfumed with amontillado wine, tapas and paella; flamenco music played in the background welcoming guests to the Island Gardens on Watson Island for a night of Spanish-style business : with joie de vivre. The Consulate General of Spain in Miami, Don Cándido Creis Estrada, and his charming wife, Carla, presided over the event with typical relaxed style. Despite its laid back demeanor, Málaga is positioning itself to increase its traffic from the North America cruise traveler who in 2015 made up 48% of the total 23 million passengers in that category.

Monteajaque, one of the many White Towns.

Monteajaque, one of the many White Towns.

The area emphasized the many alluring possibilities available to visitors arriving to the port of Málaga that may be easily scheduled as excursions for cruise ship travelers: from the enchantment of the city itself with its many cultural and culinary offerings, to attractions such as the astonishing White Towns, the vibrancy of the Costa del Sol, as well as other cities in that area with the same lovely, easygoing Andalusian poise.

Algatocin, one of the White Towns

Algatocin, one of the White Towns

Chapeau to the organizers of Next Destination, Malaga: Gateway to Andalusia: the Málaga Port Authority, the City of Málaga Tourism and Marketing Department, the Costa del Sol Tourism and Planning Department, the Tourism Department, the Andalusia Advisory Tourism and Sport Board, and Málaga Cruises. In Miami, the effort was supported by the Consulate General of Spain, the Board of Andalusia Foreign Promotion Agency, the Spanish Tourism Office (OET), and the Business Office of the Spanish Embassy. Also several businesses contributed to the success of the evening: Málaga Virgen, Mahou-San Miguel, COVAP, Inés Rosales, Cardenal Mendoza, La Gitana, Hidalgo Imports, Montecristo y La Española.

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Two great performances and the promise of more

by mimorg33

Salty, affable, sexy

Alan Cumming at Carnegie hall, photo by Tré.

Alan Cumming, photo by Tré.

Defiance, intelligence, and intimacy with a twist of endearing naiveté make Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs absolutely seductive. His modulation with that lovely, earthy Scottish rolling “r”s while exercising the balance to keep from going over the top as he introduced number after number were equally fascinating. He demonstrates deft control in the selection of the material he has been performing for a couple of years. Best known to many as the Emcee in Cabaret and Ely Gold in CBS’ The Good Wife, he opened Sappy Songs at the Arsht’s Knight Concert Hall with Annie Lennox’s Why, followed by Miley Cyrus’ chart-topping The Climb; he dedicated Billy Joel’s Goodnight Miss Saigon to his maternal grandfather Tommy Darling, who died in World War II and “to all victims of PTSA: It’s going to be a fun night ladies and gentlemen!”. To liven things up he narrated the story of a condom commercial together with its jingle. Scotland came into full light in Mother Glasgow, a lovely ballad seeping nostalgia. His complicated relationship with his dad, Alex Cumming, is the subject of his memoir Not My Father’s Son and here he sang Rufus Wainwright’s Dinner at Eight “the schism” telling song that almost brought him to tears. A Liza Minnelli anecdote brought a too-early end to the 75-minute cabaret-format show that left one wanting for more than the encore de rigueur: Ladies Who Lunch. Come back soon Alan Cumming, as an actor but mostly as this uniquely gifted individual with the gift of a sexy raconteur.

 

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Ray Chen

Excellence displayed

The Bamberg debut performance at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts reminded the audience why it has been one of Europe’s most respected touring orchestras for the last 75 years. Form the Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 and the pièce the résistance of the evening: Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26 the orchestra was the perfect instrument to Christoph Eschenbach mesmerizing and expansive directorial arch.
Ray Chen displayed flawless virtuoso fireworks especially in the third movement: the Allegro energico as well as the encore when he played Paganini’s Capriccio No. 21, an ideal vehicle for his absolute control of the flying staccato passages.

Nonetheless, the night belonged to Eschenbach, his fresh reading of Beethoven’s Eroica made it sound like a recently discovered piece. The receptive audience responded appreciatively and it was rewarded with an encore, not usual from an orchestra. They played Beethoven’s lovely Overture to The Creatures to Prometheus with equal sense of adventure and discovery. It was an exhilarating event that left one wishing that both Eschenbach and the Bamberg come back regularly to the Arsht.

18 Gennaio 2010, ore 20.00, TEATRO ALLA SCALA, MILANO Direttore: Christoph Eschenbach Programma: Anton Bruckner, Sinfonia n.7


Direttore: Christoph Eschenbach<br

Pianos on the horizon at the Arsht’s Knight Concert Hallchick-corea-gonzalo-rubalcaba-duet-2017-hi

A night of controlled improv

On February 24th, the Jazz Roots program features Piano Titans: Chick Corea and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Solos and Duets two renowned jazz keyboard giants, both Grammy winners. Corea recently celebrated his 75th birthday with an 8-week stint at the Blue Note. Rubalcaba a jazz piano master who continues to bridge the musical traditions of his native Cuban with that of North American jazz. Whether playing together or doing solos, jazz lovers will be treated to a scintillating event.

 

Ardent keyboard performance

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For those who attend the Lang Lang in recital at the Knight Concert Hall on the night of the 25th the 34-year old larger-than-life Chinese musician will play Claude Debussy’s Ballade Slave followed by Franz Liszt’s musically demanding and intensely emotional Piano Sonata in B Minor, op 178. The program also includes a selection of Spanish composers: Suite Española by Isaac Albéniz, Danza Ritual del Fuego by Manuel de Falla, and Goyescas Op. 11 by Enrique Granados. Continue reading

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Yo Yo Ma at the Arsht and much more

by mimorg33

It was an evening of magnificent music. The unequaled Yo Yo Ma returned to Miami’s Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts last February 3rd where he joined The Cleveland Orchestra under director Franz Welser-Möst to play Antonin Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor, op 114. It is an exquisitely melancholic rendering of the Czech composer’s inner universe pulsating with homesickness for his native Bohemia. He completed it in New York, on February 10th, 1895, the same day his son Otakak turned 10 years old. His last New World work premiered in London on March 1896 with the composer at the baton.

Ma’s quintessential interpretation of the lyrical, poignant and expansive composition made for a memorable experience. In the Allegro Ma elaborated with melodic scaling the theme introduced by Michael Mayhem’s superbly executed horn solo. But in the Adagio Ma seemed transfixed with such alluring emotion and for the Finale he established an intense dialogue with concertmaster William Peucil that built up to the rapturous coda. The delighted audience rewarded him with an extended standing ovation that culminated with an elegant encore: an arrangement for cello and orchestra of Dvorak’s pensive Silent Woods, op 68.

yoyo-ma-concertmaster

 

It is fascinating to witness Yo Yo Ma display his charming personality, from the reverence he shows for his instrument to the amiability he demonstrates toward his fellow musicians. Once he finished playing he filled the Knight with sheer joie de vivre: hugging Peucil, shaking hands with other players, laughing and, finally dancing with Welser-Möst. You couldn’t help feeling happy.

greeting-audience

After a brief pause, the orchestra returned to play Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, op. 45, its final movement dominated by the intense brass and percussion with the dance rhythms inspired on the popular tarantella.

The Cleveland Orchestra under Maestro Welser-Möst is back on March 24 – 25 for the last two concerts of its 2016 – 2017 season at the Arsht at which time Italy will be the theme of the program. Two ballet pieces by Verdi from the operas Macbeth and Don Carlo; the Italian Symphony by Mendelssohn and, Respighi’s monumental Pines of Rome.

Two of the performances to take note at the Arsht this week are:
February 10th: 8 p.m.

Knight Concert Hall

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs

Alan Cumming at Carnegie hall, photo by Tré.

Alan Cumming at Carnegie hall, photo by Tré.

The multifaceted Cumming brings to Miami his adrenaline driven one-man cabaret show where he runs the gamut from bitter to anguished, romantic to humorous through songs with depth, irony, theatricality and an intense dose of humanity. This is a unique opportunity to catch a uniquely talented performer in a very personal staging.

February 11th, 8 p.m.

Chen, Eschenbach and the Bamberg Symphony

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A winning musical trio brought together for the second concert of the 2016 – 2017 Masterworks Season of the Classical Music Series at the Arsht Center. The concert will open with the overture to Mozart’s Don Giovanni followed by Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and conclude with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, the ambitious and revolutionary (Eroica). We will be watching with anticipation how the young virtuoso violinist Ray Chen will perform Bruch’s very demanding piece with its brilliantly rousing Finale.

 

 

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Holiday spirit at the Arsht

By mimorg33

kch-family-fest-59-justin-namon

 

Smooth jazz saxophonist David Koz’ second stop on the 19th edition of his annual Christmas Tour will take him to Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts on November 26 for the Jazz Roots program 10th season second show. The always-engaging Koz, whose multi-faceted career as a recording artist, humanitarian, radio host, entrepreneur and instrumental music advocate is a shining example to the young students participating in the Sound Check educational program. During each season 1,000 aspiring jazz musicians from different high schools in the Miami-Dade Public Schools system are invited to the sound check at the Knight Concert Hall, talk to internationally renowned musicians and attend a Jazz Roots concert free of charge.

Dave Koz, Summer Horns photo shoot, Studio 1444, Hollywood, California. 10 February 2013.

Dave Koz, Summer Horns photo shoot, Studio 1444, Hollywood, California. 10 February 2013.

The lineup ushering the holiday spirit to one of the Magic City’s warmest concert venues includes well-known performers: jazzy R&B crooner Jonathan Butler and Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Kenny Lattimore.

Jonathan Butler

Jonathan Butler

Kenny Lattimore

Kenny Lattimore

 

Typical of the season there will a tinge of nostalgia when it welcomes acclaimed vocalist Valerie Simpson whose album Dinosaurs Are Coming Back Again marked her solo comeback after a long songwriting/performing/producing career with Nick Ashford before his passing in 2011. During their years as collaborators she co-wrote such classic hits as Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, You’re All I Need to Get By, Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand and Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing. Get ready to get into the spirit with classics that make you reminisce and inspire your to plan ahead.

Valerie Simpson

Valerie Simpson

DAVE KOZ CHRISTMAS TOUR 2016
Saturday, November 26, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets:  $45 – $125*
John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall

We’ll be looking forward to Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Orchestra next on the Jazz Roots schedule January 20. But more on that concert closer to the date.

 

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Fritas with style

the-cuban-frita

By mimorg33

Even though the days when black tie, haute jewelry and frequent Frank Sinatra sightings are gone, the glitzy quality infused in Morris Lapidus’ signature style can still be appreciated when one crosses the glass doors of his landmark design. The Fontainebleau Hotel, built in 1953, continues to reflect the glamour of Miami Beach’s past in the details that were carefully kept during the 2008 renovations such as the original bow tie stamped marble floor and the perforated outer walls of the sickle-shaped original building now called the Chalet Tower to which Miami architect John Nichols added two residential towers visible from the raised oceanfront walkway that overlooks the property.
Down the marble stairs at the Chateau Tower’s lobby where the dramatic chandeliers by internationally recognized Chinese dissident artist AiWeiWei reign one finds a welcome contrast to the other more formal dining spaces. Pizza and Burger by Michael Mina, a concept inspired in the chef’s own backyard kitchen by his two sons love for each item. It debuted during the summer as a pop up but its consistent popularity made it a permanent fixture among the property’s restaurants. Helming the family style fun eatery is Chef de Cuisine Timothy Elmore who comes to Pizza and Burger from Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak at the Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura. He is not only gracious but reflects great pride in the delectable made from scratch menu he has put together with farm-fresh products. It is comprised of tried and true favorites: a variety of pizzas and burgers with salads and side dishes loved by most.

grandma-the-butcher

Among the tempting appetizers I was sent to gustatory heaven with The Meatball ($12) on a thick marinara sauce and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; the sumptuous blue crab stuffing filling The Mushrooms ($14) was topped with garlic butter and parmesan breadcrumbs. My pizza of choice The Parmigiano ($21) combines perfectly fried chunks of eggplant and halved meatballs balanced with an unforgettable Sunday sauce, basil and whole milk mozzarella. Although The MM74 $22) is quite a delicious dry-aged steak burger with double-smoked bacon, American cheese sauce, lettuce and secret sauce when it comes to burgers the winner for me was The Cuban Frita ($22): the perfect balance of beef, chorizo and smoked paprika with an unexpected touch of aïoli sauce and incredibly crispy potato wisps sent me into a journey back to one my childhood myths, not letting down one bit all the sublimation one injects into them. The yummy coconut cream frosting made the Carrot Cake (11) the perfect end. Add to it the charming, attentive and well-informed service provided by Marvin.
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Put together it means repeat business for this Miami Beach secluded spot: a perfect after work refuge where to enjoy excellent drinks from an endless selection of locally beer brewers, daily wine specials as well as new versions of mixed cocktails such as Hair Trigger ($13) a sexy combination of Bulleit Bourbon, Drambuie, mint, ginger beer served over ice in a copper mug.
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Pizza and Burger is also a place where the kids feel quite welcome and comfortable with different games to keep busy. The music is easy enough that you can hold a conversation without straining your vocal chords.

Pizza & Burger by Michael Mina
Mon. – Thurs. / 5 pm – late
Fri. – Sun. | 12 pm – late
Social hour: daily 5 – 7
Fontainebleau Hotel
4441 Collins Avenue Miami Beach
Miami, FL 33140

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KYU: gastronomy with social conscience

KYUBar

By mimorg33

The rhythms of Wynwood with its graffiti-covered façades, kids moving in and out on their skate boards or bikes and art spaces popping up, express an urban language about this area of Miami that speaks of possibilities no other community in the county does. In the midst of this hipster environment one arrives to an open concrete area flanked by a “green wall” covered with ferns and other plants across another with a mural by artists Andrew Antonaccio and Filio Galvez. The minimalist mix of concrete, wood and metal interior is the setting for the Asian fusion food space with a wood-burning grill open kitchen.

KYUDesign
A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA), chef Michael Lewis trained with chefs David Bouley at Bouley Bakery and Market and Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin to later work under Jean-Georges at the Michelin three star Central Park West. Together with general manager Steven Haigh culinary excitement is infused at Kyu for local and visiting foodies. With affability Haigh balances his many duties keeping an overall view from the inviting bar with its tempting offerings such as the lovely Smoke & Mirrors ($16): Gracias a Dios mezcal combined with Aperol, Campari and fresh grapefruit juice. Like a missing piece of a puzzle Kyu fits perfectly in this area of urban possibilities.

KYUCocktail

The term Kyu has multiple meanings given the rich diversity of the Asian world most of us are not versed in. It mainly refers to the ranking system in modern martial arts where you are awarded another kyu for each level achieved. The accuracy with which karate movements are performed can be associated with the way each dish is carefully conceived, crafted and executed. Starting with the simple snacks: the elegant and crunchy kale siting on nam prik
 sauce ($7), crispy pork belly steamed bun
 ($12), fun to eat crispy-spicy hamachi tartare ($18) and the refreshing and delicate tuna tartare sitting on bib lettuce with a touch of yuzu sabayon ($16); one of the most popular veggie dishes is the roasted cauliflower and goat cheese with a shishito-herb vinaigrette ($14). Pairing the appetizers with the delicate Junmai Ginjo’s Rihaku Wandering Poet sake ($11) was a perfect decision. El Niño del Campilo, a 2013 tempranillo ($14) was the choice for an addictive, mouthwatering and flawlessly cooked butter braised chicory Korean fried chicken ($18) and the unforgettably melt-in-you-mouth black shichimi pepper wagyu beef brisket ($36).

Aside from their insistence on sustainable products, I appreciate how Lewis and Haigh live their social consciousness “for every tree we burn we replant 5”. Before opening in February, the restaurant partnered with Trees for the Future to donate 10,000 trees to be planted in Senegal, this was their way of compensating for the wood they would be burning; they also use an Orca composter to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and diminishing Co2 emissions.

KYUCrabBuns

KYU Miami in Wynwood Chef Michael Lewis Steven Haigh

I enjoyed Kyu so much that I returned the following Sunday for brunch and tried the yummy soft shell crab on a steamed bun ($12) and the gorgeously stacked beef short rib cooked with a perfectly delectable sweet soy and garlic sauce ($38). On both occasions the ideal complement for me was the Thai fried rice ($20) finished table side on a heated stone pot so that a crust that balances the glutinous short grained rice regularly associated with sushi. On Sunday we tried it with crab meat ($24) but either ways this fragrant dish is worth coming back for time and time again. Yet the grand finale was mom’s scrumptious not-to-be-missed KYU coconut cake ($8).

KYU by Lucky Frog Studios

As I walked out into the blazing hot Miami afternoon I immediately reminisced about the Raging Geisha ($17) I had enjoyed earlier. For a moment I felt inclined to run back for the coolness of the cucumber-basil topped concoction with IWAI Japanese whisky, St. Germain and yuzu. But in a zen-like moment I breathed deeply: one has to be patient and wait for future visits.

Kyu is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sundays; closed on Mondays. For reservations: 786-577-0150 or kyumiami.com
251 Northwest 25th Street
Miami, Florida 33127

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Perigean Spring Tides

By mimorg33

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It’s a cyclical worldwide occurrence. This year it took place on the new moons of April 7 and May 8, during the full moon of October 16 and it will happen again on November 14. It comes as the result of the Sun, Earth and Moon being in alignment, bringing the two shining planets closest to ours. As their gravitational pull increases the sea levels rises. Some immediate consequences are cyclones, floods and storms; it also gives us a glimpse of what they might potentially be like in the future; not on particular lunar cycles but on any given day. This October the tidal strength came across under the sign of Aries; the warrior moon helped propel what is popularly known as King Tides. As its white light beamed across the water behind my home I read about out troops courageously supporting the Iraqi forces attempt to liberate the city of Mosul from ISIL’s stronghold.

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As the moon reappeared behind its veil of clouds similar to abstract brushstrokes and shined her motherly light on Earth some of us sent a prayer for our men and women to return home safe, for the Iraqi troops to achieve their goal and free Mosul from the yoke asphyxiating it. For the King Tides to be benevolent as they intrude on the US coastal areas in California, Florida, Maine, Maryland, South Carolina and Washington as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

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In the future some of us might take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the devastating impact of climate change through programs such as the King Tides Project.

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Alan Turing Speaks

By mimorg33

An especially poignant tribute to mathematician computer pioneer and WWII code-breaker Alan Turing is now permanently installed under Bishop’s Bridge Road in London. It is located near Sheldon Square and the Paddington station in the city of Westminster near the residential district of Maida Vale where he was born in 1912.
Turing who served with distinction during the war was one of hundreds of victims of the homophobia running rampant in Great Britain during the Fifties; as a result of which he was prosecuted, and found guilty of three counts of “gross indecency” in 1952 under what is known as the Labouchere Amendment of 1885. The first well-known victim of this nefarious statute was the writer Oscar Wilde back in 1895. Upon being found guilty Turing was given the choice of either prison or the “organo-therapy” he opted for. The treatment employed by the doctors at the Manchester Royal Infirmary consisted on the consumption of estrogen pills that not only caused him to grow breasts and left him impotent but also profoundly depressed him: he committed suicide on June 7, 1954 by eating a cyanide-laced apple; he was 41. The United Kingdom only decriminalized homosexual acts in 1967, a rather strong manifestation of atavistic thinking in that otherwise mostly forward moving nation.
Message From the Unseen World the Bishop’s Bridge Road permanent installation, is a collaboration between United Visual Artists, the group founded in 2003 by Matthew Clark, Chris Bird and Ash Nehru that specializes in large-scale temporary and permanent installations together with poet Nick Drake. The work was curated by Futurecity on behalf of Bristish Land, one of Europe’s largest publicly listed real estate companies. The piece consists of aluminum panels punctuated with holes that allow LED lights to shine through forming words from the poem that is Drake’s interpretation of Turing speaking about his life opening with the line: This is Alan Turing speaking… A Turing-inspired algorithm shuffles through the poem to form new versions of it that is unless you step back far enough to see it in its totality.

MESSAGE FROM THE UNSEEN WORLD
By Nick Drake

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This is Alan speaking
to you who pass by this bridge
in the enchantment of time
under the echoing arch
over the mirror of water
on your way to work or home
and to other places in the infinity
held in the secret dream cave
of your wonderful minds

This is Alan speaking
through this interface with time and space
I am the ghost in the universal machine
the one I dreamed as I lay on the grass
that grew in the green of lost time
of a meadow in Grantchester alone
thinking about whoever I was in love with at the time
and the unchanging truth of numbers
in their beautiful equations
and the enigma of human beings
in their infinite possible configurations –
I was puzzling the problem of the apple
of the knowledge of good and evil –
For on that day you eat of it
you shall surely die
but the winding snake
the only creature coded as a question
looked me in the eye and asked
in his intelligent high voice –

What’s wrong with this picture?
Why do starfish have five arms
and why are they fish not stars?
What connects stars and grains of sand?
What is the secret ciphered in a fir cone?
Why is the heart always on the left?
Natural wonders every child should know…

He smiled like the flickering pages of a book –
Christopher, my first true love, appeared
his beautiful fingers blue with ink
holding his telescope and the star globe
I made him as a present –
We lay side by side
looking through the window at the stars
naming the constellations
as they wheeled across the night
The maths brain lies often awake in his bed
Doing logs to ten places and trig in his head
When I woke in the shock of light
he was gone
and nothing was ever the same again

What happens to the dead
when spirit separates from matter?
Is time a river ever giving birth
in an endless wheel?
Why is loss always incalculable?
What is the heart’s square root,
its point and infinite recurrences?

This is Alan speaking
perhaps you wish to hear about the task
of deciphering the Enigma messages?
It was the impossible before breakfast
to imagine the unimaginable
the day after war was declared –
but a logical theorem says
you can deduce everything from a contradiction
so we imagined a cryptanalytic machine
an electric brain ticking away
to solve the insoluble
to sort the irrelevant from the essential
to discover the heart of the mystery
in thousands of meaningless signals every day
enciphered and sent by the enemy
in billions of different possible combinations –
like reading a poem written in random static
in wind and rain and dark
threaded with the dot and dash of Morse
encrypted transmitted transcribed
but there was one clue –
a letter was never enciphered as itself
so that was the starting point
to find the letters that made the only word
that helped to save ships and lives
in the middle of the Atlantic
and some say win the war –
We kept hush hush but I wondered

Could a machine be intelligent and if so how?
Could a machine be fascinated by another machine?
Could machines talk to each other?
Could a machine experience delight
and suffer fear and jealousy?
If a machine could dream what would it dream
in the forest of the night?
Could a machine fall sick or fall in love?
Could a machine imagine the future?

This is Alan speaking
we devised the Automatic Computing Engine
capable of calculating anything
quantified in an algorithm
and that was the basis of the future –
But how is it I found myself
a stranger in a room alone
a sequence of contradictory instructions
coded into my criminal heart?
Of gross indecency accused
I replied truthfully
Englishman atheist mathematician
Order of the British Empire
Recreations listed in Who’s Who
chess long-distance running gardening
(the last a kind of lie, I like wild flowers) –
Homosexual cryptographer
noble in reason or traitor in his bones?
Unable to say a word of what I knew
unable to speak the unspeakable
secret within the secret
I felt no guilt –
They offered me a choice
Prison or probation
with hormonal emasculation –
I made my decision
and emerged a different man

Why does nothing happen for a long time
Then everything suddenly changes?
Why does the rational give rise to the irrational?
Who is this man kissing me on the mouth?
Is he telling truth or lies?

This is Alan speaking
now as I could not speak before
to you who were unborn when I died –
Oh beautiful people of tomorrow
we are not fallen creatures
life is the only garden
the apple is love
two Adams, two Eves
in open celebration hand in hand
So I delight to watch you dance
in the enchantment of time
like angels in a forest of mirrors
but in the age of shopping
festivals and information consumption
the sign of the bitten apple is everywhere
and your lives are held in the beautiful devices
familiar in your hands –
So revel in your liberty
but read between the lines
you are becoming information
touch screen to touch screen
connected but alone
the algorithm of desires and dreams
end to end encryption held
in the infinite memory of the great ghost server

How did the zebra get its stripes
and the leopard its disguise of spots?
Why does a snail have a spiral shell?
Why do sunflowers follow not just the sun
but the Fibonacci sequence
in the structure of their beautiful faces?
How does a bud of cells generate your seeing eyes
and beating heart?

This is Alan speaking
I have been waiting a long time
puzzling everything and nothing –
I leave no note of explanation
but a mystery story
it is an ordinary summer evening
by the side of my bed is found
a half-eaten slice of apple
Dip the apple in the brew
let the sleeping death seep through –
I lie alone for the last time
at the edge of reality
my arms at my sides
like a badly-dressed figure on a tomb
looking out of the window at the sun
setting for the final night
a golden apple in the black branches
of a tree of shadows where the birds quibble –
until it disappears into the dark

This is Alan speaking
to you who pass by this bridge.

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