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 >
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