City Alive with Dreams Concert

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the tremendous project by Carron Little called “City Alive with Dreams.” It is a multi-faceted project based on interviews about people’s nighttime dreams that she conducted on a weekly basis for at least a year. She wrote poetry based on the interviews and they were turned into wondrous songs. I had attended the first production of those songs. The choir performed at the Cultural Center last week where Carron Little is an Artist-in-Residence. Sadly, I missed the show since I was away. However, I was pleased to that I could make another performance of the work at the Hyde Park Art Center on Saturday.

It was being held in John Preus’ the Beast. It’s an art installation of a space within a room. He constructed this giant beast where the belly is a room that faces the outside. Within there are chairs, a chalkboard, even a swing made from old school desk chairs. There is even a little space to go upstairs. Inside the building but outside of the beast, you can actually see the head. The Beast is a meditation on public spaces. So it has a lot of events within it like “City Alive with Dreams.” If you are in the area, it’s worth checking out.

John Preus' The Beast

John Preus’ The Beast

It was one of those wonderfully serendipitous moments for the choral concert. One of the songs was based on a classic chasing dream. The song was about a giant beast pursuing the dreamer. Seemed appropriate given we were inside the beast. I love it when these incredible coincidences happen!

The concert began with the choir walking out slowly chanting. Each member was wearing a blue and pink mask. They were led by Carron Little as Queen of Luxuria. (In fact, each mask is composed of the negative space in the Queen of Luxuria’s outfit).

Queen of Luxuria conducting the concert

Queen of Luxuria conducting the concert

Then there was a single baritone signing hauntingly about a train pulling into the station. With his incredible voice, he communicated the dread and the fear of this train, constantly pulling in. For me, the song spoke largely of the nightmare of the Holocaust. This was the train to take people to their horrific dooms. The song was bone chilling and simply marvelous.

Another poem/song that resonated with me dealt with notion of the world being a stage. The singers painted a portrait of a house so vividly I felt like I could move between the rooms in my mind’s eye. At one point, there was the incredibly apt line, “The door is a proscenium.” For me this resonated strongly in general and with this series. This line suggests that everything is a stage; the most private is public. For me, this entire project is taking the private, dreams, and turning it into something strongly public. There is a strong commitment to presenting art in public spaces. I love that there have been multiple performances of these works at very different locations of the city: the Green Mill in Upton, the Cultural Center in the Loop, and the Hyde Park Art Center in Hyde Park.

Choir

The Choir and their masks

If you want to learn more about the project, here is the website of City Alive with Dreams.

I am so looking forward to the many other public performances from this series later this summer. I’ll keep you all informed of the schedule of events.

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