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BOHEMIAN SOCIETY & MARS FESTIVAL

Posted on 12 April 2017

In downtown Los Angeles, a new music and immersive arts festival is sprouting up.

The inaugural Music and Arts ReSound, better known by its acronym M.A.R.S., brings more than 35 local, East Coast and international contemporary artists to Art Share L.A. and Angel City Brewery for 10 days of ticketed and free performances from Friday through April 23.

“I always wanted to do a festival like they do in Europe that collaborates arts with contemporary music,” says Wen Liu, the festival founder and artistic director. “Luckily, I met some people in L.A. who helped me shape the concept.”

 

 

Headliners include the L.A.-based Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, New York-based International Contemporary Ensemble, newly-formed M.A.R.S. Collective and San Diego-based Ensemble Pamplemousse.

“We’re quite different from some of the other ensembles playing at M.A.R.S.,” says Natacha Diels, a Pamplemousse composer and performer, adding her avant-garde collective mostly plays small underground venues. “We’re a really small organization.”

While other ensembles make CDs, Ensemble Pamplemousse — whose lineup includes Dave Broome on keyboards and slide whistles, Andrew Greenwald on drums, Bryan Jacobs on electronics, Jessie Marino on cello and Diels on flute and slide whistles — has just released a video album of five short music films called “... This is the Uplifting Part.”

 

 

The album is offered as a video release on Vimeo.com and BandCamp.com where it’s also available on USB stick.

According to the 3 1/2-star review on All About Jazz, Karl Ackermann writes the album is “strictly for those who appreciate experimental music with dense layers of complexity presented in a performance setting.”

Live, Ensemble Pamplemousse doesn’t wait for applause between its compositions.

“We’re not into that model,” says Diels, whose group closes the festival at 2 p.m. April 23 with a ticketed performance at the Angel City Brewery. “We try to present all of the pieces as part of the greater concert program so they all flow into each other. We come up with transitions between the pieces so they feel like a continuous event.”

 

 

Sometimes the transitions are musical, lights or short compositions unto themselves.

When there isn’t a concert, Arts Week takes over with free music, installations and activities all curated by the art critic Shana Nys Dambrot.

Events include artist Amy Kaps’ “mini-immersive” black and white Striped World, performing artist Victor Wilde’s collaboration with video artist Jesse Gilberton a “live virtual reality experience” projected into the environment that can be seen without the use of goggles, and the premiere of Wilde and filmmaker/inventor Joe Rubinstein’s avant garde fashion film, “Miscreants,” produced in partnership with M.A.R.S.

 

 

Throughout the two spaces, there will also be music performances, video art, fashion and more.

“It’s a combination of very analog and very retro with very futuristic and next-level technology,” Dambrot says, adding that it’s done on a relatively small footprint because the events all take place in two venues “there’s no chance of missing anything or being overwhelmed.

“It’s really on a human scale, and that’s what I love about it,” she says. “It’s a little bit homemade in unusual spaces.

Organizers of M.A.R.S. want to move the festival to other cities.

 

 

But for now, L.A. is the focus.

As Liu puts it, “We’re trying to do something that I believe will bring humanity to the next level.”

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