VOOM opening

If you missed the opening of VOOM PORTRAITS Robert Wilson this weekend at the UIMA and CSPS, you missed a number of fascinating events. Here's a run down of what's been going on:

* Thursday afternoon, Robert Wilson did interviews with members of the press. Look for articles in ArtScene, the Des Moines Register, and the Christian Science Monitor, as well as broadcasts on KCRG TV-9 and KGAN CBS-2 (with Cary J. Haun, the Iowa Traveler). Articles have already appeared in the Gazette, the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the Daily Iowan, and on CorridorBuzz.com. Thanks also to Joe Jennison, executive director of the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance, for letting us guest blog on culturalcorridor.org, and for the shout out in last week's Corridor Business Journal.

* Thursday evening, Wilson performed at Mabie Theatre in the UI Theatre Building to a nearly full house of about 450 people. Though the performance was nearly two and a half hours long with a Q&A following, Wilson's stage presence kept the audience captivated. He began his performance by standing at the podium in silence for a long stretch of time, and later explained that as a performer, one must "make the audience come to you." It was truly a master class in stage presence, as well as a glimpse into Wilson's organizational methods for his artwork and theatrical direction. UITV taped the performance and will rebroadcast it, times TBD.

* Friday was another busy day at the Museum, with people in and out setting up for the opening event Friday night. That afternoon, a small crowd gathered for an intimate "Conversation" with Robert Wilson at CSPS in Cedar Rapids, and to see the four portraits on display (Robert Downey Jr., Lucinda Childs, Alan Cumming, and Byamba Ulambayar, the sumo wrestler). Mr. Wilson talked on stage with Legion Arts/CSPS Producing Director Mel Andringa, who worked with Wilson in the 1970s, and audience members were invited to ask questions.

* Nearly 500 people came to the Museum Friday evening for the VOOM PORTRAITS special opening event. At around 7:30, UI President Sally Mason introduced Mr. Wilson, who spoke briefly before the galleries opened at 8 p.m. The Museum bustled with activity as small groups gathered before each portrait, with a large group gathering to eat in the Sculpture Court beneath 11 Snow Owl portraits. It was a great evening -- Thanks to everyone who came out!

* Saturday the exhibition opened to the public, and nearly 300 people visited the Museum. About 200 more came on Sunday -- what a busy and exciting weekend! Many of those who visited Sunday heard Noah Khoshbin, Robert Wilson's producer and artistic collaborator, give a tour of the portraits and explain how they were made. A couple interesting facts I learned: The soundtrack for Marianne Faithfull's portraits sounds like a human choir of voices accompanied by crickets chirping, but in fact, the choir sound is produced by slowing the cricket chirps; The hunk of meat in Steve Buscemi's portraits is, in fact, a side of beef that they got from the butcher that day.

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