No, Free Hugs is not the name of my ‘new band’. Neither is ‘The Todd Reynolds Situation’ or even ‘The Todd Reynolds String Quartet’. Nope, nothing official there, just monikers to identify some very joyous artistic collaborations of late with new and formidable artistic partners.
Free Hugs are, however, a serious issue and something we might benefit from a little more of. In these days of stump speeches, repeated endlessly and daily by both parties, each time with a little less meaning and impact, sounding sadly pedantic and passé with every flip of the channel past CNN or MSNBC, I’d like to offer up a little more of a personal connection. And perhaps it will symbiotically rock the vote.
So – I hereby declare Sunday’s New York Art Ensemble offering of Neil Rolnick’s music, including a premiere of Economic Engine in collaboration with Music From China, one of New York’s premiere purveyors of Chinese Traditional Music, a Free Hugs opportunity. Not only at The Flea Theater, but everywhere. Share them liberally and come down to see us play Neil’s music which was premiered in Beijing, but lives again here.
I’ll be conducting that premiere, with Victor Schultz and Ben Russell on violins, Nadia Sirota on viola, and Ha-Yang Kim on cello. Also featured on concert will be Neil’s Shadow Quartet, originally written for ETHEL in the old days. I’ll sit down in the chair for that one and play a little.
Please consider including us in your post-brunch plans. I promise you a fantastic concert – and a hug. Just ask… They’re free! (Details on the concert)