If renowned mushroom-picking, multidisciplinary avant-garde composer John Cage were still alive, he'd be 100 this year. If his spirit was reincarnated in another being after his death, that being turns 20 this year. It's more straightforward to commemorate the former, so that's what performance collective 7 Ate 9 is doing in the third of their series of Third Saturday shows at Modified Arts, tomorrow night, Saturday, April 21, at 8 (as in ate) p.m.
The first question on everyone's lips has got to be "Is 4'33" on the program?" The answer is yes, and the musicians who will be not-performing the legendary work are Laptop Orchestra of Arizona State (LOrkAS).
(The second question on my lips was "If seven ate nine, how much did each one eat?" so I figured it out. There's no particular reason to think that each of the seven ate the same amount, but let's say that they all have excellent manners and decided to divide the check evenly. In that case, each of them paid for 1.285714..., plus a healthy tip. And the restaurant might want to consider serving larger portions of whatever that is.)
LOrkAS will be joined by ASU grad student percussionists Jeremy Muller, performing Composed Improvisation, and Suzie Berndt, along with the experimental contemporary improvisation of The D&SPAIR Club -- it stands for dance & sonic performance art improvisation research.
If you are at ASU Tempe this afternoon with some time on your hands, you can check out a solo project by 7 Ate 9 and The D&SPAIR Club sonic priestess, Courtney Brown: an installation of Singing Hadrosaur, a recreation (thanks to fossils, CT scans, and computers) of a Corythosaurus dinosaur skull and nasal passages, with a mechanical larynx that performers and visitors can blow into to create resonance that might resemble the sound the animal made. It's a fascinating idea (and a little less scary than Brown's Seductivism manifesto). The installation is part of a free School of Arts, Media and Engineering Digital Culture Showcase in Stauffer Hall from 12 to 5 p.m.
Admission to Saturday night's John Cage centennial celebration show is $7. After about an hour of satisfying weirdness, the evening will conclude, as all 7 Ate 9 events do, with an Argentine tango afterparty. Learn, dance, or just hang out. At that point, if you haven't gotten enough, you can order a font based on John Cage's handwriting and sketches.