‘City Wears a Slouch Hat’ Broadcast
On Saturday, October 29, 2022, host Andrea Murray presented at a very special episode of Club Mod, featuring the recent live performance of John Cage and Kenneth Patchen‘s 1942 radio play The City Wears a Slouch Hat, performed by some of your favorite All Classical Portland hosts as part of 45th Parallel Universe‘s Radio Happening event. This episode of Club Mod also featured interviews with All Classical Portland Artist in Residence María García, and Ron Blessinger, 45th’s Interim Executive Director.
45th Parallel Universe‘s The Gemini Project performed The City Wears a Slouch Hat at The Old Madeleine Church in early October 2022. Louanne Moldovan directed the cast of All Classical Portland radio hosts Warren Black, Robert McBride, Suzanne Nance, Brandi Parisi, John Pitman, and Sarah Zwinklis.
Radio Happening, a concert event featuring several works by John Cage, explored the powerful role that radio has played in advancing artistic risk taking, innovation, and sharing classical music with wider audiences.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The City Wears a Slouch Hat was composed in 1942 by John Cage in just under a week, after his original vision for the radio drama was deemed impossible to produce. Initially calling for only the use of “sound effects” as instruments, the original score is thought to be lost.
Instead Cage wrote, assembled, and rehearsed a more modest take in just four days, using tin cans, gongs, alarm bells, foghorns, and other unconventional instruments. This version premiered on the radio in Chicago on May 31, 1942, with a script by Kenneth Patchen.
Slouch Hat tells the tale of a man called “The Voice” who wanders around an imaginary big city, encountering surreal circumstances and mysterious characters. The premiere broadcast received mixed reviews, and as a result Cage’s follow-up projects were cancelled. Today, the work, Cage, and Patchen are now considered pioneers of the American avant garde movement, and are credited with encouraging experimentation in music, technology, radio, and instrumentation.
- Warren Black
- Robert McBride
- Suzanne Nance
- Brandi Parisi
- John Pitman
- Sarah Zwinklis
45th Parallel Universe’s The Gemini Project is a collective that stems from two percussive brothers from other mothers. The mission of The Project is to periodically expand to include performing artists from around the world in order to push the boundaries of performance in the Pacific Northwest.
THE GEMINI PROJECT
- Jon Greeney
- Sergio Carreno
- Michael Roberts
A celebrated performer and music educator, María García is an enthusiastic proponent of classical works by women and composers of color. As the station’s 2022 Artist in Residence, she is using the opportunity to educate and inspire listeners to explore beyond the traditional canon of the genre.
45th Parallel Universe is a collective of musicians who come together to celebrate great chamber music with intimate artistic experiences. Since 2009, the organization has happily demolished distinctions between old and new chamber music, bluegrass and jazz, fiddle and folk. By bringing fragmented audiences together, 45th Parallel Universe reflects Portland’s surging creative communities in fresh and imaginative ways.
Learn more at 45thparallelpdx.org.