September 9, 2015
ETHEL'S Documerica
Friday, October 2, 2015 | 7:30pm
Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans
Directed by Steve Cosson
The Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (CAC) announces ETHEL’s Documerica will be performed at the CAC Friday, October 2 at 7:30pm. This multi-media interweaving of music and life was inspired by Documerica—the landmark visual and musical snapshot of America in the tumultuous 1970’s that was commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The original project assembled by the agency amassed the work of more than 15,000 photographers nationally in order to document America’s life, culture, and landscape. ETHEL’s Documerica presentation utilizes more than 3,000 images from this vintage collection that is currently housed in the National Archive. To compose their distinctive iteration of Documerica, ETHEL enlisted the composer Mary Ellen Childs, Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer Ulysses Owens Jr., Chickasaw Nation’s Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, and James Kimo Williams, to create a work that seamlessly fuses contemporary composition with striking projections by artist Deborah Johnson.
Paired with ETHEL’s original works, the commissioned music demonstrates a range of American styles, genres, and techniques—blues, jazz, Native American traditional, bluegrass, and old-time string band—as images and sound work in tandem to explore Americans’ connection to their environment and the residual effects of their lives therein.
In addition to the regular performance on October 2, ETHEL will also offer a short pop-up performance at the CAC during Art For Arts' Sake | DOWNTOWN on October 3.
ETHEL is a progressive string quartet whose aim is to create connection and community through profound musical experience. The quartet is comprised of Corin Lee, Violin; Kip Jones, Violin; Ralph Farris, Viola; and Dorothy Lawson, Cello. Find out more at:
Throughout the program the music is in constant dialogue with the projections in an arc that is by turns urban, rural, pastoral, and gritty. Extrapolated from the archive’s images are stunning references to strip mining, political protest, car culture, pollution, unemployment, inflation, fashion trends, recreational pastimes, natural beauty, and urban decline, bringing an era fraught with social upheaval into dialogue with the present.
Advance Tickets: $35 General Admission | $25 CAC Members
Day of Show: $40 General Admission | $30 CAC Members
Buy Online: | Buy at CAC Box Office: 504.528.3800

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