Frequency Arts Hosts Roughhousing, Eleanor Epstein And Jack Wright Nov. 4

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Frequency Arts and the Shaking Ray Levi Society will present a three-part evening on Saturday, Nov. 4, with Roughhousing, Eleanor Epstein and Jack Wright.  The event will be held at 8 p.m. at Frequency Arts, 1804 E. Main St.  Tickets are $8-$10 at the door. 

This "diverse and provocative evening" features three parts.  First will be an improvised music set from Roughhousing (sax, double bass, electric guitar).  Then will follow performance art from Eleanor Epstein.  The evening will end with a talk and discussion about art, music and performance from Jack Wright. 

Review for the performers: 

Roughhousing is the right word for what this group does. At first you might think this is pure dissonance, even hostility, until you realize it’s all synchronized close listening to each other from years of playing together. The three musicians—Zach Darrup, Evan Lipson and Jack Wright—have all been residents of the Spring Garden Music House in Philadelphia, and Jack and Evan have been playing for over 10 years together, most recently in Wrest with percussionist Ben Bennett. 

Described 25 years ago as an “undergrounder by design,” Jack Wright is a veteran saxophone improviser based mainly in Philadelphia. In 1979, after an academic career teaching history at Temple University and activist politics, he returned to the instrument of his youth and began to tour extensively, exclusively playing free improvisation. Now at 74 he is still the “Johnny Appleseed of Free Improvisation,” as guitarist Davey Williams called him back in the ‘80s, and he continues to inspire players outside music-school careerdom, playing sessions with visiting and resident players old and new. He’s said to have the widest vocabulary of any, an expert at leaping pitches, punchy, precise timing, sharp and intrusive multiphonics, surprising gaps of silence, and obscene animalistic sounds. Wright’s new book about free playing and the socio-political situation of musical freedom is entitled The Free Musics. 

Zach Darrup is an improvising guitarist currently living in Philadelphia. During his early teenage years in the rural coal region of Pennsylvania, a strange boy appeared like an angel, carrying a large CD booklet of wild musics of all sorts. This chance meeting at a pizza shop, plus tumultuous relationships with his home turf, school teachers, and other agents of law and rule enforcement led Zach to drop out and skip town, devoting himself to following music wherever it would take him—somewhere else. His techniques are informed by the musical possibilities of film language, jovial mockery and mimicry of plants, animals, and audience members, thoughtful room listening, word play, colors, and culinary experiments. 

Evan Lipson (b. 1981) has operated as a musician since adolescence—intuitively seeking the liminal realms in which intellect and instinct, history and myth, and creative and destructive force intersect. Drawn towards aberrant perspectives at an early age, his formative experiences were primarily rooted in extreme and often discordant forms of rock, metal, free improvisation, modernist composition, jazz, oddball pop, soundtracks, noise, and electronic music. Lipson most frequently tours with Roughhousing. He is also active with Who’s Your Daddy? featuring dancer Cilla Vee/Claire Elizabeth Barratt and guitarist Davey Williams. Lipson has composed music for several films, as well as a recent collaboration with Duplex Planet-creator David Greenberger, Tyson Rogers, and Bob Stagner of the Shaking Ray Levis. He also may or may not have some degree of affiliation with an organization known as Meinschaft. Past units include Normal Love, Satanized, Wrest, Dynamite Club, Hisswig, and the Weasel Walter Trio. Lipson has toured throughout North America, as well as Taiwan and Japan. His music has been released on a number of imprints including Skin Graft, Ugexplode, High Two, and Public Eyesore. 

Eleanor Epstein works in the realms of performance art, jewelry art, photography and filmmaking. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Epstein has exhibited in New York City and Providence, RI, and her pieces have been featured in film and in print in the interactive 3-D art book White Rabbit. By using unconventional means like those found in surrealistic art, she is inspired to find beauty within ugliness. Her works are the result of investigating the popular theory that looks are deceiving in order to debunk the tension between perfection and control, with the belief that only by releasing this pursuit for the ideal can one expose their real self. 

The evening concludes with a talk and discussion from Jack Wright about the state of contemporary art and music. In his words: “Visual artists have been frustrated with the gallery system for some time and entering live performance. Improvisation has been expanded into instrument building, where all kinds of materials are collaged and activated sonically, with or without electronics. Music has become the arena for non-musicians, untrained on traditional instruments, and arousing curiosity from audiences. Also, I’d discuss what it means to be an artist, the usual term for those exclusively focused on visual art but since Modernism there have been many who start out as musicians of one instrument, then expand to other instruments, and also delve deeply into other art forms, such as painting, performance art, and poetry. The musicians most likely to do this over the past 30 years have been improvisers.”

For more information visit the Facebook event page or the artists' pages at:

Jack Wright:
Evan Lipson:
Eleanor Epstein:
Frequency Arts:

Eleanor Epstein
Eleanor Epstein

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