One for all and all for one. Joining forces. Teamwork. Whatever you call it, collaboration is a recurring theme of ArtNight this Friday.
Aside from numerous partnerships between art organizations and venues, Pasadena’s citywide celebration of art in its sundry forms will also be the occasion for diverse ensembles to reach across genres in performances both expressive and experimental. Some, like Crown City Symphony (returning to the Central Library), are veterans of this twice-yearly event. Several others are performing for the first time at ArtNight, which is coordinated by the City of Pasadena’s Cultural Affairs Division. Stationed near varied art exhibits, musicians will perform 30- to 45-minute sets at least once each hour between 6 and 10 p.m.
The Foster, Rowan & Hoffman-Beechko Trio — comprised of vocalist Jennifer Foster, guitarist Julian Hoffman-Beechko and cellist Ro Rowan — will incorporate some of Foster’s poetry and topical issues into their performance. Petite in stature but robust in tone, Foster brings Broadway-style panache to bear whether interpreting rock or melodic musical or pop ballads. Expect an eclectic, emotionally involving presentation.
Sister Mantos, who routinely emphasize the visual onstage, will bring their danceable bilingual pop to Pasadena City College’s Boone Art Gallery. Colorfully garbed and weirdly compelling, they put the art in performance art with a disco twist.
Argentinean-born guitarist and double bassist Federico Llach’s “Perishable Music” installation at Pasadena Museum of California Art promises to be one of the more high-concept stops on the ArtNight route. Founder and leader of the Now Hear Ensemble in Santa Barbara, Llach’s cerebral compositions are informed by his classical and jazz background and interest in electronic sound creation. “Perishable Music,” which premiered six years ago, addresses questions regarding music’s substance and meaning with continual music — three hours’ worth — supplied by a steady rotation of performers, as well as the shredding of physical musical scores. It’s a thought-provoking demonstration of the multidimensionality of not just music, but all art. The Now Hear Ensemble’s players also promise an “interactive” performance beforehand in the museum’s Kenny Scharf Kosmic Krylon Garage.
Makoto Taiko Drum Ensemble will return to the Shumei Arts Council to perform traditional taiko compositions from Japan. As an organization, the community-focused Makoto is committed to educating the public about Taiko’s spiritual message of peace as well as its musical heritage. For audiences, especially newcomers, what’s most impressive is the theatricality of the drumming group’s outsized drums and costumes, and the ceremonial, sometimes hypnotic quality of the drumming itself.
Elsewhere, Side Street Projects will host Raga Essence’s structured improvisation of north Indian classical music with singer/harmonium player Dayita Datta at City Hall. Local jazz quintet Chet Happens will reach into the Great American Songbook for material at the ArtWorks Teen Center, while bell-toned chanteuse Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys will stylishly resurrect obscure jazz, ragtime and novelty pop gems from the 1920s at the Armory Center for the Arts.
As usual, a free shuttle will convey art lovers to the 19 official venues hosting exhibits and performances across the Crown City throughout the night. The food trucks that have become as popular as the artworks on display will also be conveniently stationed near several shuttle stops; according to organizers, they will donate 10 percent of their proceeds to future ArtNights.
ArtNight takes place 6-10 p.m. Friday, March 9, at venues across Pasadena: Armory Center for the Arts, ArtCenter College of Design’s Williamson Gallery, artWorks Teen Center, Boston Court Performing Arts Center, City of Pasadena City Hall’s Side Street Projects, Jackie Robinson Community Center, Kidspace Museum, Lineage Performing Arts Center, Pasadena Central Library, Pasadena City College, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena Museum of History, Shumei Arts Council, and USC Pacific Asia Museum. Free and open to the public. Maps will be available at ArtNight venues. Visit artnightpasadena.org for addresses, details, and a full listing of exhibits, performers, and shuttle info.