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Guggenheim Presents New Concert Series: It Came from Brooklyn

NEW YORK, NY.- On August 14, the Guggenheim Museum launches It Came from Brooklyn, a new monthly concert series that will showcase Brooklyn’s emerging and established talents in the fields of music and literature as part of the museum’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. Conceived as a tribute to the recent Brooklyn renaissance and to serve the visual art scene’s appetite for interdisciplinary creative exchanges, each program will feature two live bands and readings by Brooklyn-based writers from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.

The second It Came from Brooklyn is scheduled for September 25.

Coproduced by author Sam Brumbaugh, the series will take place in the Guggenheim’s famed Frank Lloyd Wright–designed rotunda, continuing the recent tradition of acclaimed performances that have symbiotically activated the space: Marina Abramović’s Seven Easy Pieces (2005), Cai Guo-Qiang’s collaboration with the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (2008), and Meredith Monk’s Ascension Variations (2009).

With comedian Leo Allen serving as MC, the August 14 program kicks off with a special performance by the Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band, followed by opening band High Places and headlining band the Walkmen, while novelist Colson Whitehead reads selections from Walt Whitman between performances.

The Walkmen
The Walkmen is a rock band that formed in New York in 2000. In the late ‘90s, the members of the band constructed an analogue recording studio in an abandoned Nash Rambler factory in West Harlem, where they self-recorded their first album, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone. The band has released four albums of original material, including You and Me (2008), which still sounds as fresh as the day it was conceived. Three of the members now reside in Brooklyn, while two have moved to Philadelphia. The band has traveled extensively around the world in the last eight years, but has always called New York home. The Walkmen are currently in New York recording their fifth album, which is slated for release in early 2010.

High Places
High Places is an experimental musical duo that originated in Brooklyn and is known for its DIY, layered compositional style. Multi-instrumentalist Rob Barber and vocalist Mary Pearson met in 2006 while Mary was studying bassoon and Rob was teaching lithography and etching in New York. Recorded in the band’s Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment, High Places’ self-titled debut features their celebrated “exquisite corpse” style of songwriting and employs a wide array of instruments, from the 12-string guitar, banjo, shakers and rattles, bass, bells, and kalimba, to common household objects, like a plastic bag, mixing bowl, or wood block. Favoring an organic and contemplative sound, the band is particularly inventive in a live setting with ambient vocals, manipulated layered recordings, improvised loops, and percussion.

Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band
The Bedford-Stuyvesant-based youth marching band, the Brooklyn Steppers have thrilled audiences throughout the country for more than 15 years. The 120-piece band includes woodwinds, brass, percussion, dance, and flag and is comprised of students grades 5–12 from more than 40 Brooklyn schools. Considered one of the country’s most prestigious marching bands and renowned for their dynamic Southern Collegiate style, the Steppers are funded by the Brooklyn Music and Arts Program (BMAP) whose mission is to provide educational services to strengthen at-risk children’s academic capabilities, help build moral character, and musical and artistic ability. The Brooklyn Steppers marched in the 2009 Presidential Inauguration Parade in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2009.

Colson Whitehead
Colson Whitehead is the author of the novels The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, and Apex Hides the Hurt. He has also written a book of essays about his hometown, The Colossus of New York, and is a recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a MacArthur Fellowship. His new novel, Sag Harbor, was published this spring. Whitehead’s reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, such as the New York Times, the New Yorker, Harper’s, and Granta. A long-time resident of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, he penned the now infamous New York Times essay, “I Write in Brooklyn. Get Over It.,” about the booming Brooklyn literary scene.

Leo Allen
Leo Allen is a comedian, writer, actor, and filmmaker who has performed stand-up comedy on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Last Call with Carson Daly,” NBC’s “Late Friday,” and his own “Comedy Central Presents” half-hour stand-up special, as well as at many national and international comedy festivals. He has written for “Saturday Night Live” and MTV’s “Human Giant” while appearing as an actor in “Sex and the City,” “Ed,” David Wain’s “Wainy Days” web series and as a guest star on Comedy Central’s “Michael & Michael Have Issues”. With Eric Slovin he comprises the comedy team “Slovin & Allen”. Allen is also an advisory board member for 826NYC, a Brooklyn-based, nonprofit writing center for local students and part-owner of the Black Rabbit Bar in his favorite part of North Brooklyn–Greenpoint.

Guggenheim Museum | The Walkmen | Brooklyn | High Places | Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band | Leo Allen | Colson Whitehead |

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