Time stands still at a concert of John Cage's music, and it seemed to do so again at the final event in the Los Angeles Festival's John Cage Celebration on Saturday night in the Embassy Theatre. The clock continued to tick, of course, but the feeling of stasis remained.
"Instant Retrospective" might have been the title of this event, instead of "MUSICIRCUS (Sound Collage)," because many of the 90 live or recorded performances that made up the concert had been part of the six Cage concerts given in the last week.
Where the audience--apparently fewer than 200 perceivers, it seemed--ended and the performers began, was unclear. Because of the apparently anarchic nature of the agenda--the audience was given a detailed breakdown of a three-hour schedule upon entering the comfortable hall--a lot of comings and goings occurred during the event. Onstage participants moved into the hall; offstage performers changed positions; watchers left their seats, wandered about, visited the foyer, returned.
Among the participants, one noted the Toronto-based percussion ensemble, Nexus; poet M. C. Richards (reading her own words); the Repercussion Unit; pianists Grete Sultan, Brian Pezzone, Gaylord Mowrey; trombonist Miles Anderson; singer Joan La Barbara; the Twentieth Century Players from CalArts, conducted by Stephen Mosko; conch-player Nicholas England. Cage himself was there, too, sitting quietly near center stage, reading almost inaudibly into a microphone.