Ghost Army

The Ghost Army was a United States Army tactical deception unit during World War II officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. The 1,100-man unit was given a unique mission within the U.S Army: to impersonate other U.S. Army units to deceive the enemy. From a few weeks after D-Day, when they landed in France, until the end of the war, they put on a "traveling road show" utilizing inflatable tanks, sound trucks, fake radio transmissions and pretence. They staged more than 20 battlefield deceptions, often operating very close to the front lines. Their story was kept secret for more than 40 years after the war, and elements of it remain classified. [wikipedia]

The embodied voice: Thea Musgrave and Kui Dong

Below are two very different yet fantastic examples of perfomative choral music, and each brings entirely different musical and cultural influences to their work.  Thea Musgrave and Kui Dong are two of my favorite coposers who work in the avant-garde and yet ancient tradition of giving their musical performers performative cues as part of their musical score.  In works such as those below, these composers treat the physical presentation of the music as inseperable from the score itself, yet they present their works in a composed music setting as opposed to a theatrical or otherwise traditionally performative setting — to great effect.

Kui Dong (董葵, born 1966, Beijing, China) is a Chinese-American composer, musician, and teacher. She is known for her music which has often incorporated traditional Chinese music into contemporary contexts, and is currently Professor of Music at Dartmouth College.

Thea Musgrave(b. 27 May 1928) is a Scottishcomposer of opera and classical music.  In 1970 she became Guest Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a position which confirmed her increasing involvement with the musical life of the United States, where she has lived since 1972. She has received the Koussevitsky Award (1974) as well as two Guggenheim Fellowships (1974/5 and 1982/3). From 1987 to 2002 she was Distinguished Professor at Queen’s College, City University of New York. She holds honorary degrees from Old Dominion University (Virginia), Glasgow University, Smith College and the New England Conservatoire in Boston. In 2002 she was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

A bit of Kantor, 20 years on


Tadeusz Kantor (6 April 1915 – 8 December 1990) was a Polish painter, assemblage artist, set designer and theatre director.  His work and his writing about his work is what first sparked a real interest in theater for me, as well as an understanding that there are no limits to the transformative power of live performance.

I want to state openly that
this need to create theater
and visual arts
that would be   d i f f e r e n t
from the reality of political terror and
of police vigilance
was grounded neither
in a moral obligation
to create
a   R e s i s t a n c e   M o v e m e n t ,
nor in feelings of   p a t r i o t i s m ,
nor in the   h e r o i s m   of the underground movement.
I do believe that this process of
creating a   d i f f e r e n t ,
o t h e r
reality whose freedom is not
bound by any laws of any system of life,
or the act itself, which is like a demiurge's act
or a dream
is the aim of art.
I keep stubbornly repeating this thought
because I am suspicious that
in the epoch of "the Springtime of the Masses,"
and of the fight for political and economic freedom,
this notion of
the biggest freedom
that is demanded by
a   r   t
will not be understood,
or will even be deemed unnecessary...
Freedom in art
is a gift neither from
the politicians
nor from the authorities.
Freedom exists inside us.
We have to fight for freedom
within ourselves,
in our most intimate interior,
in our solitude,
in our suffering.

— Tadeusz Kantor, 1990 (translated by Michal Kobialka)

Medical Choreography, part 1

The Epley maneuver:

The Brandt-Daroff maneuver:


Vertigo is a disorder of the middle ear, caused by small crystals that have colonized in a sensitive part of the inner ear. These crystals become displaced, causing the dizziness of vertigo. Usually a physician who specializes in dizziness and balance disorders will perform The Epley or Semont maneuver to help settle the displaced crystals. The Semont maneuver is a calculated and rapid moving exercise, performed only by a doctor in the safety of a doctor's office. Brandt-Daroff exercises are similar to the Epley maneuver, but they can be done at home. These exercises can benefit anyone with dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, lightheadedness or faintness. They are safe and easy to perform.