In this week's RFT Summer Guide, we highlighted some of many outdoor concert series taking place around town in the next few months. One of the more intriguing events is the Post Performances, a monthly marriage of art and music to be held at the Old Post Office Plaza (North Ninth and Locust Streets).
The series is curated by James and Brea McAnally, the directors of the Luminary Center for the Arts near Tower Grove Park. James was kind enough to answer a few questions about the Post Performances, the first of which takes place this Saturday, May 22, at 7 p.m. with local bands Theodore and Spelling Bee and visual artist BJ Vogt.
What is the thought behind the Post Performances? The Post Performances are free, outdoor concerts at the Old Post Office Plaza pairing local musicians and artists to create a series of one-off collaborative events. The goal of the series is to create a platform for experimentation between the art and music cultures locally, as well as give audiences an opportunity to view the work in a different light. We think it will bring about new projects and different ways to look at being an artist or musician and the possibilities one has to do something unique. The concept began as soon as I saw the Old Post Office Plaza, which is a rare instance of incredible contemporary design dropped into Downtown St. Louis. It is such a stunning location architecturally that I felt like we had to do something there.
How is this different from the Elevator Music Series that you put on at the Luminary? It is an extension of the Elevator Music Series, in that we are attempting to raise the concept of a concert to a more artful event capable of bringing about new interactions, expectations and experiences. In a practical sense, the Post Performances are different in that they focus solely on local artists and musicians, whereas the EMS is more about bringing in bands or styles we feel are under-represented locally. So [these shows] necessarily features bands from outside the area. We were fortunate to receive support from Downtown NOW! and Commerce Bank to be able to actually pay bands and artists to create something unique, while allowing it to be free, all-ages and open to the public. Unfortunately, we can't do free events very often, so this feels like a gift we're able to offer.
What does having the visual art component add to the live music aspect? Anytime you combine two dissimilar things, you are going to arrive at something new. This kind of cross-pollination is necessary to the creative process if you want to continue to innovate. As an audience member, the artwork may give more insight into the music, or the music may open up an interest in contemporary art, but regardless of your opinion of it, the interaction between the two will create something new. Obviously, we are more interested in presenting music as an art form than as entertainment, so think that there should be a natural interaction between the art and music worlds.
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