January 8, 2013 Contact: Rory Trainor 414-382-6151
For Immediate Release
Alverno Presents – Beautiful Dreamer: The Foster Project
Milwaukee – Alverno Presents welcomes a collective of formidable musicians and storytellers to reinvent and reinterpret the Stephen Foster songbook at the Pitman Theatre on Saturday, February 2nd at 8:00 p.m. An Alverno Presents commission, The Foster Project is a unique musical performance curated and led by Ryan Schleicher and backed by Milwaukee’s own, Juniper Tar. The Foster Project artists include Jon Langford (Mekons, The Waco Brothers), Robbie Fulks, Christopher Porterfield (Field Report), Bethany Thomas, and a community choir of individual voices from Milwaukee’s diverse music scene. Single tickets are $15. Season subscriptions are still available at a discount off single ticket prices when purchasing three (or more) events. Tickets may be purchased through the Alverno Presents Box Office at 414-382-6044 or on-line athttp://alvernopresents.alverno.edu
Artist bios, video clips and links to artist’s web sites are available at http://alvernopresents.alverno.edu/pages/shows/Beautiful-Dreamer.aspx. Artist jpegs may be downloaded at http://alvernopresents.alverno.edu/pages/media.aspx; photos for Foster Project should be credited @ Kat Schleicher 2012.
Begin with this idea – that Stephen Foster represents the beginnings of American Popular Culture, in all of its glory and paradox. Stephen Foster (1826–1864) was America’s first great songwriter and the first to earn his living solely through his music. He composed some 200 songs and invented popular music as we recognize it to this day, yet he died at age thirty-seven, a forgotten and nearly penniless alcoholic on the Bowery.
The American popular song in all of its genres and variations finds it source in Foster. The Foster Project examines this legacy with a generationally and racially diverse company of artists to interpret, re-imagine and respond to Stephen Foster’s rich and complex legacy. Curated and led by Ryan Schleicher (bassist and vocalist for Juniper Tar), the Foster Project begins with a six week residency at Alverno’s Pitman Theatre where Milwaukee-based artists will meet with their peers from around the country to explore the Foster songbook and create new work in response to such essential songs as “Oh Susannah”, “Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair”, “Beautiful Dreamer” and with over 400 recordings by artists as varied as Emmylou Harris, Yo-Yo Ma, Johnny Cash, Renee Fleming and Mavis Staples, the iconic “Hard Times Come Again No More”. The residency culminates with a public performance on February 2, 2013 at Alverno’s Pitman Theatre.
Ryan Schleicher, Curator & Lead Artist: Milwaukee-based musician and promoter Ryan Schleicher curates and leads The Foster Project. With Muzzle of Bees Productions, he has promoted numerous shows in Milwaukee, including the first local appearances of Megafaun, Sharon Van Etten, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes. He has produced three editions of WMSE’s Radio Summer Camp, a city-wide festival of contemporary rock, jazz, hip hop and electronica that culminate in the all-day Backyard BBQ music festival at Cathedral Square. Schleicher is a multi-instrumentalist, writer and arranger, most notably with Juniper Tar.
Juniper Tar is a rock and roll band from Milwaukee, formed in 2005. The band originally started with Jason Mohr (vocals, guitar), Ryan Schleicher (bass, vocals), Aaron Schleicher (vocals, guitar, keys) and Tuc Krueger (drums). Chris DeMay joined the group in 2008, adding piano, guitar and organ. Ryan and Aaron Schleicher’s vocal harmonies are said to, “howl and scrape up next to each other, like excited shouts of exaltation when a long lost friend walks in the door and you immediately pick up where you left off” (Steve Hyden, junipertar.com). Their style has been described as “rock and roll with a little roots sweetness.” *Jason Mohr will not be part of the Foster Project house band.
Jon Langford is a Welsh-born musician and artist who is presently based in Chicago. Langford was a founding member of the punk band The Mekons and since the mid-1980s he has been one of the leaders in incorporating folk and country music into punk rock. He has released a number of solo recordings as well as recordings with other bands outside of The Mekons, most notably the Waco Brothers, which he co-founded after moving to Chicago in the early 1990s. He is involved with the Chicago-based independent record label Bloodshot.
Langford is also a prolific and respected visual artist best known for his striking portraits of country music icons including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.
Blueprint (aka Printmatic) is a Columbus, OH based producer and emcee now releasing music via hip-hop indie powerhouse label Rhymesayers Entertainment and over a four year span proved to be one of the most prolific artists around by releasing two solo EP’s (Blueprint Who & Blueprint vs Funkadelic), two instrumental albums (Sign Language & Chamber Music), two Greenhouse EPs (Electric Purgatory Part One & Two), and his his genre-defying sophomore album Adventures in Counter-Culture in 2011.
Originally a member of DeYarmond Edison, an Eau Claire band comprised of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and members of Megafaun, Christopher Porterfield has gone on to critical acclaim with Milwaukee-based indie folk band Field Report. The band’s self-titled debut album was released by Partisan Records and Field Report has toured with Emmylou Harris, Counting Crows and Aimee Mann.
Robbie Fulks is an alternative country artist originally from Pennsylvania, but who is a longtime resident of Chicago, IL. He has released 11 albums over a career spanning more than 20 years. Fulks is known for his disdain of mainstream modern country and the country music industry, as exemplified by his scorching rebuke of Nashville titled, “Fuck This Town.” His live performances feature improvised rearrangements of his original songs, off-the-cuff musical humor, and covers of songs by Michael Jackson and Cher among others.
Betty is a long-time staple of the Milwaukee music and design scenes, most recognizable as the songwriter and lead vocalist for power pop group Testa Rosa.
Bethany is an accomplished singer and actress. Chicago Theater Beat wrote of Bethany’s performance in Porgy & Bess, “Bethany Thomas as the pious Serena steals the show with her wickedly expressive singing style. She shreds right through the heart of ‘My Man’s Gone Now.’”
Sponsors include Pepsi, Wisconsin Arts Board, Hotel Metro, Milwaukee Arts Board, Transfer/VIA
Media Sponsors are 88nine, WMSE, WUWM, Lightburn, and The Onion/A.V. Club
Alverno Presents, the performing arts series of Alverno College, is celebrating its 53rd year. The series has innovated beyond our history as the longest running, continuous arts presenter in the city, to our niche of presenting contemporary dance, world music and jazz and an array of performance events. Alverno Presents shares the school’s mission by ensuring broad access to and participation in learning, experiencing and developing the arts for the learning community of Alverno, and our community as a whole. For more information on Alverno Presents, special projects, media reviews and more, visit alvernopresents.alverno.edu, contact Alverno Presents Assistant Director at 414-382-6151, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Rev. 20130119 09:00 – Admin.)