KPFA Radio presents:
Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and The Inner Life of Artists
Hosted by Richard Friedman
Thursday, July 26, 2012 – 7:30 pm
The Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley
$12 advance tickets: brownpapertickets.com :: 800-838-3006
or Pegasus Books (3 locations), Marcus Books, Mrs. Dalloway’s, Moe’s Books,
Walden Pond, DIESEL, A Bookstore, and Modern Times ($15 door)
John Cage, one of the greatest American composers of the twentieth century, created a new music that defies simple explanation. Many writers have grappled with that music - in which Cage used notes chosen by chance, randomly tuned radios, and even pure silence - trying to understand what it means rather than where it comes from. Where the Heart Beats reveals in an unprecedented way exactly what empowered Cage to compose his unique music, and how he inspired so many of the tremendous artistic transformations of mid-century America.
Kay Larson’s biography of John Cage is the first to address the phenomenal importance of Zen Buddhism to the composer’s life, and to the artistic avant-garde of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Zen’s power of transforming Cage’s troubled mind, by showing him his own enlightened nature (also the nature of all living things) liberated Cage from an acute personal crisis that threatened his life, his music, and his relationship with his life partner, Merce Cunningham. Caught in a society that rejected his music, his politics, and his sexual orientation, Cage was transformed by Zen from being an overlooked musician into one of the most energetic figures shaping the contemporary avant garde. Larson portrays many of the individuals Cage influenced, such as Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Jasper
Johns, Morton Feldman and Leo Castelli, all of whom revolutionized their own respective disciplines. Simultaneously, she shows the prodigious blossoming of Zen in the very heart of American culture.
Where the Heart Beats - a ground-breaking biography and fresh cultural history – Is
the work of an acclaimed art critic. Following a substantial stretch as associate editor at ARTnews and art critic for the Village Voice, Kay Larson was art critic for New York Magazine for 14 years, and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. In 1994 she entered Zen practice at a Buddhist monastery in upstate New York.
Richard Friedman, former new music producer at KPFA, is now doing a weekly program on KALW called MUSIC FROM OTHER MINDS. He interviewed John Cage a number of times in the 1970s for KPFA. Richard is also a director of Other Minds, the annual new music festival in San Francisco.