Can Somebody Please Start a Riot?

In the early 20th century, Futurism was sexy — motorcars! Cement mixers! Buildings taller than 20 stories! Advances in technology were easy to wrap your head around, in contrast to today, where it takes diligent study to even understand the terms. And Marcel Duchamp’s Futurist-inspired Nude Descending a Staircase is very cool, not to mention Carlo Carrà’s Funeral of the Anarchist Galli, which portrays the ideals of dynamism, progress, and energy using dizzying color and diagonals. This month, the program "Metal + Machine + Manifesto = Futurism's First 100 Years" offers a nostalgic look back — which the founders would surely denounce in a manifesto, if death hadn’t been such a critic — with a string of events throughout the city. They include a lecture by literary critic Marjorie Perloff on Oct. 15, a siren-serenaded banquet with beef ice-cream cones and avocado cocktails from F. T. Marinetti's Futurist Cookbook on Oct. 17 (both at SFMOMA), and a night of Futurist short plays and films on Oct. 18 at Brava Theater Center. Oct. 16's event at YBCA tackles Futurism’s auditory contributions to history, which, no surprise, were totally cacophonic. “Music for 16 Futurist Noise Intoners” features original scores by Luigi Russolo and Paolo Buzzi and new ones by Mike Patton, Blixa Bargeld, and Carla Kihlstedt, among others; the music arrives via Russolo’s hand-cranked “noise intoners,” which produce buzzes, blasts, and general racket. Given that futurism championed energy, movement, youth — and the destruction of libraries, museums, and schools — expect this survey to be anything but staid.
Oct. 14-18, 2009

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