by carl wilson

My Weekend & Open-Source Cobra!


After a busy three-legged stool of a sort-of long weekend, I'm back. Went to see Lee Scratch Perry on the waterfront on Monday night along with, it seemed, every single other citizen of Toronto between 20 and 50. Now that he's in his 70s, Perry's rantings sometimes seem a little bit less like mystic communiques and more like the distracted brain-emissions of your grandma, but he commanded the stage and the crowd (and the smoke machine that seemed to be stowed inside his hat) and his young band (he told us it was new, and seemed to imply the players were Canadian, but it was difficult to be sure) summoned up the Black Ark vibe nicely - though after about 40 minutes, I hit what I call the "reggae wall," aka the limit of how long someone who doesn't use THC (allergic) can listen to the same rhythm and relatively similar melodies, standing on pavement out in the sun, without starting to nod off.

Also hit up the latest in the clandestine Extermination Music Night series, which this time was held in a disused office tower and was intended to be part art show as well as concert. But most of the intended action was cut short by the unusually swift arrival and harsh attitude of the police, some of whom were slow to realize that what they were busting was pretty much the most geeky, mild-mannered bunch of art-nerd criminals imaginable. Hearing the newish local band Brides defiantly playing their set up in the tower while the rest of us were sitting in the grass getting ID'd by the cops will certainly be a music memory for '08. In the end nobody was in serious trouble, and you can't blame the cops for shutting down an event founded on breaking into somewhat dangerous, beautifully derelict places (the lead cop got into amusingly befuddled arguments with audience members, like, "You can't call it art - it's trespassing!" as if being illegal and being art were somehow mutually exclusive terms). It was just disappointing not to see more of the art and performances - in the final moments we were rushing from floor to floor to see the sights like tourists who realized they hadn't yet looked at the Mona Lisa, just as their bus was about to leave.

Finally, please direct your attention to this page, where you can learn about an exciting upcoming set of classes, taught by Misha Glouberman (of Trampoline Hall, Room 101 Games, and Nuit Blanche 2007's "Terrible Noises for Beautiful People" fame), in which you can learn to "play" John Zorn's crazy-quilt game/composition Cobra - an opportunity to growl, howl, spit and buzz with a bunch of other people while pointing at your nose, taking your hat on and off and forming guerrilla squads. And, along the way, drop some inhibitions, meet new people and learn something about the art of improvisation. Plus, you get to become part of an underground society, as Zorn originally intended the rules of Cobra to be kept secret. If all that intrigues you (or scares you in a good way), go read that page, or just drop a line to You won't regret it - Misha is a gifted and amusing teacher, and I know that the people who took his last Cobra class (he also teaches other classes in vocal and physical improv) were thrilled with the results. Prices and scheduling are still up in the air (probably eight classes, once a week), but they'll start soon, so act fast.

Via Toronto | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, July 02 at 5:02 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (0)




Zoilus by Carl Wilson