• Real Enemies
  • Real Enemies
  • Real Enemies
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Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Real Enemies

Darcy James Argue, music
Isaac Butler, writer and director
Peter Nigrini, video designer
Produced by Beth Morrison Projects

Celebrated composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society is a Grammy-nominated, 18-piece big band of New York’s best and brightest improvisers. For Cal Performances at Home, Argue—in collaboration with co-creators Isaac Butler (writer/director) and Peter Nigrini (video designer)—has gone back into the recording studio with Secret Society to create a made-for-film adaptation of Real Enemies—a big band jazz-theater work mixing multi-channel video, text, and music to explore conspiracy theories in the American psyche and the nature of belief. 

Featuring a visual experience that draws on real FBI files, news broadcasts, and a century of popular culture, Argue, Butler, and Nigrini have created a multi-movement journey packed with plots and paranoia, “a work of furious ambition that feels deeply in tune with our present moment” (The New York Times). Taking the title from Kathryn Olmsted’s 2009 book, Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11, Argue’s eclectic music combines traditional jazz with postwar serialism, Latin rhythms, film noir orchestrations, and rock sonorities, deploying a clever mix of distinctly American musical styles to explore everything from the Red Scare to the surveillance state, mind control to fake moon landings, FBI schemes to alien sightings.

Please note: this performance contains strong language.

An Illuminations: Fact or Fiction event >

Stream Premiered

Oct 21, 2020, 7pm
Video no longer available.

Have a Question? Check out our Cal Performances at Home FAQs.

Cal Performances at Home Pricing

General Public
The pricing for individual Cal Performances at Home performances is on the honor system and is based on the number of people watching the performance.


  • Free for Subscribers and Donors $225+


  • One person viewing the performance


  • Two people viewing the performance


  • Four or more people viewing the performance


  • Average price you would have paid to see this live*

* “Rock Star” is, well, above and beyond! You’re a true believer, a superhero in our book.


Program Notes

View Program Notes: Web PDF

Beyond The Stage

Major support for Beyond the Stage is provided by Bank of America.

Bank of America

Stream Premiered

Oct 21, 2020, 7pm
Video no longer available.

Have a Question? Check out our Cal Performances at Home FAQs.

At Home Events

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