Posted in music | pictures on November 2, 2007

Sufjan Stevens @ Brooklyn Academy of Music

What does a Hula Hoop have to do with a crowded urban expressway? Much like the automobile, the hoop relies on the basic laws of physics administrated by the simple machine of the wheel, the greatest of human inventions. Notably, there are no macroscopic wheels to be found in animals or plants. It is a purely human construction. And yet the wheel has come to symbolize spiritual transcendence, reincarnation, yin and yang, Chakra, the wheel of life, the calendar, the seasons, astrology, and divinity. We are contained by the rotations of the planets and moons around the sun; we are all cosmically connected by vast circular motions in the solar system. Is it no wonder, then, that this geometric phenomenon has been appropriated both for the modern convenience of the automobile and for the amusement proffered by a plastic toy? [Sufjan Stevens (PDF)]
Continued below....

Sufjan Stevens @ Brooklyn Academy of Music

Music and film by Sufjan Stevens
Cinematography Reuben Kleiner and Sufjan Stevens
Editors Malcolm Hearn, Reuben Kleiner, and Sufjan Stevens
Conductor Michael Atkinson
Audio engineer Christopher Colbert
Projectionist and video artist Deborah Johnson
Costume design Caroline McAlister
Lighting design and engineer Alban Sardzinski
Production manager Lisa Moran
Production stage manager Mary Susan Gregson
Sufjan Stevens @ Brooklyn Academy of Music
BAND
Casey Foubert electric guitar, bass, vocals
Yuuki Matthews electric bass, vocals
James McAlister drums and percussion
Sufjan Stevens piano, guitar, banjo, celesta
Shara Worden vocals, celesta, guitar
Sufjan Stevens @ Brooklyn Academy of Music
CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Corrina Albright viola
Tim Albright trombone
Pico Alt violin
Hideaki Aomori clarinet
Michael Atkinson horn
Kiku Enomoto violin
Mat Fields bass
Josh Frank trumpet
Alan Hampton bass
Marla Hansen viola
Jay Hassler clarinet
Maria Jeffers cello
Benjamin Lanz trombone
Olivier Manchon violin
Rob Moose violin
Sato Moughalian flute
Sufjan Stevens @ Brooklyn Academy of Music
Beth Meyers viola
Matt Moran percussion
Jane O’Hara cello
Suzy Perelman violin
Damian Primis bassoon
Theodore Primis horn
Jody Redhage cello
Kyle Resnick trumpet
Hiroko Taguchi violin
Arthur Sato oboe
Miranda Sielaff viola
Alex Sopp flute
Leigh Stuart cello
Naho Tsutsuo violin
Amie Weiss violin
Sufjan Stevens @ Brooklyn Academy of Music
HOOPERS
Elaine Tian
Lindsay Brickel
Anastasia-Dyan Pridlides
Stefan Pildes
Matthew Krueger
Sufjan Stevens @ Brooklyn Academy of Music

Sufjan Stevens performed the first of his three "BQE" shows at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last night (November 1st). Two more shows to go. Photos in this post by Lawrence Fung.

Sufjan & orchestra also previewed some of the material on WNYC.

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Comments (89)

pre ten tious

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 1:05 AM

any got a setlist?

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 1:17 AM

that word doesn't mean what you think it means

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 1:18 AM

from what i recall

* Seven Swans
* Concerning the UFO Sighting
* Black Hawk
* Detroit
* Jacksonville
* John Wayne Gacy Jr
* Casimir Pulaski
* Barn Owl
* Predatory Wasp
* Majesty Snowbird
* Chicago

Posted by tlo | November 2, 2007 1:26 AM

BQE was for the most part forgettable. The score was a pretty standard Sufjan affair with builds, orchestral flourishes, and intricate textures. What was ultimately distracting was the movie that the accompanied the score, which was chock full of trite images of super speed up film (like a prolonged version of Madonna's video for Ray of Light). The images were most provocative and effective when allowed to be more obtuse and abstract, where pattern and texture created an interesting ambiance that helped to accent the score. The really flat footed unsophisticated choice to use the amateurish hoola hoopers was completely perplexing. The purpose was to add further texture to the already florid score. Yet ultimately it served as a rather juvenile disservice to something that could have been elegant and sophisticated.

After intermission, Sufjan came back and was accompanied by his orchestra where, as noted in the program, he played "the hits." This is were the night really came to life. The arrangements sounded baroque and majestic backed by the orchestra. The songs sounded like they were allowed to fully breath and come into their own, filling the beautiful opera house with magic and wonder. The visuals again were hit and miss, as is the case when using fractal based computer graphics, the ultimate risk is that they end up come off like a really fancy supersized screen saver. But when the visuals worked they really worked, climaxing in a sublime realization of "Majesty's Swan" where a radiating kaleidescope of flocks of hundreds of birds seemed to almost fly off the screen as swirling and sparkling lights filled the opera house. It was a perfectly sublime penultimate moment. A transcendent merging of image and sound that brought tears to my very eyes. Completely astounding, inspiring, and unforgettable.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 1:57 AM

I guess, to each his own, because I was totally floored by The BQE. I thought it was so good that it made the hits pale in comparison. The night, in all, was great. But the new stuff, especially.

Posted by BB | November 2, 2007 2:34 AM

The BQE was really fucking great and I wasn't even paying attention to the film for most of it. How could you, even?

The whole night was good.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 2:49 AM

I don't know if I'd call the BQE forgettable. I was actually surprised how impressed I was by the film. I kind of thought the extent to which the performance and the film seemed to align was impressive and at times beautiful? (this is hard to do, and hard to do well.) And the live hula hoopers might have been a questionable decision but on the film I thought they worked well as an abstract visual thing. I think he makes an okay case in the program notes, no?

Also there are SO many uses of that sped-up technique that aren't the Ray of Light video. Somehow I don't think Sufjan was biting...Madonna.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 8:26 AM

Last line of the night...
"I really hope you all feel like you got your money's worth".

Honestly, i've been a milliong shows in my life and i think this is the best one i've ever been to. Besides from the full 75 minute set he played in the second act, the actual BQE piece (50 minutes) was nothing short of amazing.

A true visionary. My opinion of him just jumped from a 9 to an 11.

Posted by BW | November 2, 2007 8:42 AM

Like the previous poster, I thought the hits paled in comparison to BQE (maybe because of over-familiarity with the hits), except for Majesty Snowbird which was ahmm majestic.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 9:06 AM

What time did it start?

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 9:13 AM

Joining the BQE fans group. I think the combination of score, movie and visuals was one of the best pieces of art i have ever witnessed. Not sure on whether the music would be able to stand by itself, but it remains in any case an incredible achievement.

The hits were fantastic, even though i must confess i was not crazy about the arrangement of Chicago, horns were drowning the strings in some sections and vice versa in other parts. Bummed he didn't play Illinoise, i have always been curious to see what instrument plays those distorted harp-like strums right at the beginning of part two.

Anyway, what an incredible show. get tickets, now.

Posted by AM | November 2, 2007 9:19 AM

im so excited to see majesty snowbird played again. i thought he said he wasnt going to play that again after his fall '06 tour was over?

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 9:28 AM

In response to the "What time did it start?" question...

It was scheduled to begin at 8pm. It actually began at around 8:10.
The BQE took 50 minute, bringing us all to 9pm.
15 minute intermission.
Then full set of what was labeled "Sufjan Plays the Hits" in the program went from about 9:15 to 10:30.

Posted by BW | November 2, 2007 9:34 AM

All in all I thought last night was pretty brilliant. The film definitely felt pretentious at times, and it most definitely got a bit boring at times. However, just when I was getting really fed up with the passing images of cars and mundane buildings - the hula hoopers came out. It was an ingenius way to keep me interested and entertained. And the film was definitely good. I wouldn't call it great or groundbreaking, but it was good and enjoyable. The BQE as subject matter is absurd to begin with, but he pulled it off.
And 'Sufjan plays the hits' (act 2) was totally worth waaay more than the $20 I paid for the ticket, so the film was gravy at that point. Like I said, all in all it was a brilliant night out.
And if nothing else, I learned that 'Sufjan' is pronounced Soo-fee-yahn. Three syllables, and no J sound whatsoever. Not sure how I never realized the correct pronunciation after all this time. So there ya go.

oh and Daft Punks mini-set in the elevator was fucking earth shattering.

Posted by Jimbo | November 2, 2007 9:42 AM

BQE definitely ended at 8:45 (35 mins). Can't remember when the hits started/ended.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 9:43 AM

I'm. So. Excited.

For anyone who attended last night, what would you say is the best time for me to run onstage to propose to him?

Posted by TheNB | November 2, 2007 9:59 AM

I thought it was brilliant. Both the BQE and the hits were fantastic in their own right... I'm kinda shocked by all the haters posting early on. Maybe they were mad jealous of the hoola hop skillz? Let's be honest, who wasn't?

Posted by Anne! | November 2, 2007 10:11 AM

no katrina kerns?

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 10:19 AM

White pants after labor day ? come on Sufjan :) !!

Posted by Guy | November 2, 2007 10:22 AM

Oh, and btw the hula-hooping girl? hot.

Posted by AM | November 2, 2007 10:32 AM

The Hula Hoop vs. The BQE? Sufjan is cracking up and counting his money this morning...

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 10:32 AM

to answer the proposal ? last nights proposal was yelled out promptly after Jacksonville, so you should jump the gun and scream before he even begins Seven Swans. I would suggest holding off during the BQE performance.

Posted by Anne! | November 2, 2007 10:36 AM

The BQE was so special, I really loved the interplay between the hula hoops and the auto industry. He really took the time to work out a lot of things about Robert Moses' arguable vision and married them with a playful sort of detached fun that makes good art great. The hula hoopers backed by his usual orchestral vamping were mesmerizing and such an excellent choice. I could just see all the old BAM members trying to figure out what was going on with this Suf-Jan kid.

The Hits were great as well, and I loved the stories he told in between his songs. The Oboe camp was killer proving that he's not just a fantastic composer, lyricist and film maker, but a funny and all around great guy. Jesus.

I've never heard "Majesty Snowbird" before, is it just a live thing? That blew my mind, I'm surprised they didn't close with that and do an encore of the admittedly weak Chicago.

Posted by DP | November 2, 2007 10:42 AM

Oh yeah, and the hula hoop girls were hot. All three of them.

Posted by Jimbo | November 2, 2007 10:42 AM

i bet this was lame. rogue wave at bowery, however, was awesommmme.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 10:44 AM

the white jeans were hot too... labor day aside, it's always a good man pant. thank you man band for all your white jeans...

Posted by Anne! | November 2, 2007 10:44 AM

The BQE was so special, I really loved the interplay between the hula hoops and the auto industry. He really took the time to work out a lot of things about Robert Moses' arguable vision and married them with a playful sort of detached fun that makes good art great. The hula hoopers backed by his usual orchestral vamping were mesmerizing and such an excellent choice. I could just see all the old BAM members trying to figure out what was going on with this Suf-Jan kid.

The Hits were great as well, and I loved the stories he told in between his songs. The Oboe camp was killer proving that he's not just a fantastic composer, lyricist and film maker, but a funny and all around great guy. Jesus.

I've never heard "Majesty Snowbird" before, is it just a live thing? That blew my mind, I'm surprised they didn't close with that and do an encore of the admittedly weak Chicago.

Posted by DP | November 2, 2007 10:47 AM

BW said: "oh and Daft Punks mini-set in the elevator was fucking earth shattering."

what was this about?

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 10:58 AM

to respond to the post asking about the Daft Punk mini set... duh.
it's very literal. there was a miniature Daft Punk band hidden inside the BAM middle elevatorslast night complete with crazy light show and mini pyramid, etc. whoah.

Posted by Anne! | November 2, 2007 11:08 AM

anon @10:58: the daft punk thing is a completely overused unfunny joke that started when daft punk played brooklyn in august.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 11:12 AM

Last night was amazing, but can I ask a question? Why do you think there were no black people in the symphony/band at all? Or not that I could see from the mezzanine anyway. It seemed so strange to me as a Brooklyninte to see such a lack of diversity.

Posted by Rachael | November 2, 2007 11:36 AM

Anyone spot Br. Danielson hanging in the back fliming the entirety? I thought THAT was cool.

All in all, while the piece was most definitely book Sufjan, it was still pretty freaking amazing.

The piece was a good combo of Reich-esque arpeggi runs, Appalachian Spring Pop-ability and A Day In The Life crescendo/glissando.... everything you need to be thoroughly over dramatic about the most disgusting and traffic laden road in Brooklyn. I was suitably impressed that he could keep away from songs built around a vocal melody/theme.

When he played his stuff it reminded me why I love his compositions. There's so much sh*t going on throughout the songs that with every listen you find something new to follow... it was easier last night being that he changed up most if not ALL his songs. Highlight for me was Majesty effing Snowbird... The Wasp of the Palisades story and the fact that he called himself Suf-Jan.

I would do this three nights in a row and think I definitely got my money's worth.

Posted by jason | November 2, 2007 11:37 AM

man oh man... what a night... Ive come over from the UK to run in the marathon and the Sufjan gig was an added extra..

BQE was so special.. the hits were great.. but the main piece really blew my mind.

Anyone know if there will be a proper release of the music and/or film?

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 11:52 AM

Sufjan Stevens doesn't care about black people!

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 11:55 AM

Hey Rachael,
This was a commissioned piece. Usually, but not always, with commissioned pieces the hired guns are chosen by the people who paid the commissioning fee...in this case BAM. The "band" was Sufjan's touring band, but i think pretty much everybody else were studio musicians chosen by the board committee of the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Plus, i was in the front, and one of the chicks in the orchestra was black. And a whole bunch of them were Asian. So...problem solved?

Posted by anonymous | November 2, 2007 11:56 AM

sufjan mentioned on wnyc that he definitely wants to record the bqe, and possibly release a dvd.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 12:04 PM

Thanks Anonymous,
I was just wondering about the lack of diversity; not judging; sort of wondering what the scoop was, and just wanting to throw it out there (the lack of diversity) as an observation. I definitely noticed that there were asians in the orchestra.

Posted by Rachael | November 2, 2007 12:16 PM

Sufjan may be brilliant -- and some of his previous work certainly suggests that he is -- but last night was was a missed opportunity to showcase that brilliance. The BQE was a mess. While there were moments of raw beauty (I'm thinking specifically of the opening and the first time that he turns to the celesta) these were repeatedly scuttled by over-orchestrated, overwrought, triple-forte orchestral shouting. every 5 minutes or so, there was another orchestral climax so that, by the end, I saw people rolling their eyes and sighing. Forgive me, but I don't think these were sighs of pleasure.

A previous comment read:

"...the hula hoopers came out. It was an ingenious way to keep me interested and entertained."

If Sufjan had done his job well, there is no conceivable reason why he should have needed 5 hula-hoopers to keep the audience interested. The fact that these guys were there was an admission of someone's insecurity about the strength of the piece on its own.

Yes, I read the program. Yes, I know the hula-hoops are supposed to represent something bigger. But I just don't buy it. For this audience member, it was a painfully telling confirmation that what i was hearing really was a mess.

Where was the story here? It was a 50 minute ode to the BQE, an expressway that traverses one of the most varied and diverse populations in the United States, if not the world. Where were they? Where was Queens? Where were the neighborhoods? The cultures? Or even, if the commission forbade Sufjan from looking at the people beneath the expressway, where was the pollution? Is an ode to the BQE really just about automobiles and on-ramps?

What rubbed salt in this for me was that Sufjan opted for the credits to read more or less as follows:

THE BQE

by ME.

WRITTEN

by ME.

Filmed

by ME (and some other guy)

MUSIC

by ME


Seriously? Is this necessary? You are not performing in the back of a bar. You are in at the BAM Opera House. I'm sure it was meant to be a little campy but I think poster #2 had it right: Pretentious.


The second half of the show was definitely the better of the two. It was great to hear his arrangements handled by a rehearsed chamber orchestra. They were lush, powerful and beautiful. I just wish that the huge video screen hadn't been competing for my attention. This was particularly true during Casimir Pulaski Day (the moon bouncing on the beach). What's the point? How does it do anything but distract from the song? The couple seated next to me left after this song -- I knew something was wrong when the moon video came on and the guy groaned "oh my god..." and started wearily rubbing his eyes.

The Seven Swans video was a complete contrast. Very beautiful and understated though I still think that a smaller projection would have been sufficient.

The other highlight was John Wayne Gacy. The reversal of roles for the piano and guitar was intriguing, but it was the quiet coda after the end of the song that truly shone.

I still really like Sufjan Stevens. He is incredibly gifted and his music, at its best, is groundbreaking. Last night, however, could have been so much more than it was. I applaud his effort, but I hope he starts looking critically at his past work and brings those lessons to his future endeavors.


Posted by thom | November 2, 2007 12:23 PM

Despite having written a well thought out comment, someone will call Thom a hater.

Sufjan is a sacred cow. God forbid you should doubt him.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 12:35 PM

oh thom

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 12:36 PM

so glad i sold my tix...

hula hoopers?!?!

cmon

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 12:38 PM

oh no. another case of subjective views and taste...


OH NOES. ME SO SCARED. ME LIKEY YOU NO LIKEY.


Our children will never wed.


:P

Posted by jason | November 2, 2007 12:41 PM

Let's not overlook the two male hoopers [plus SS himself], who were pretty hot themselves.

Great show!

Posted by handyguy | November 2, 2007 12:49 PM

Ughh this thread is like a battle for the most pretentious reviews of the BQE ever! especially the person who started talking about the "Reich-esque arpeggi runs." Ok, point taken, Sufjan rules.
I'm sure it was a really good show, probably even better than the set he played at Lincoln Center, but seriously!

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 12:58 PM

It's important to pick everything apart... it's all about labeling things as derivative doodz. I'm hooked on derivative!

Posted by jason | November 2, 2007 1:18 PM

i wasn't at the show last night, but my buddy was. still waiting to hear his thoughts.

as the first poster mused, i agree that SS is a bit pretentious in general, which is why ive never been able to get into his music. but the BQE seemed like a pretty interesting idea, although based on a lot of the reviews ive read it seems like its more of the same, if not even more grandiose and ostentatious.

different strokes for different folks, right?

ps- Daft Punk was the concert experience of a liftetime, the high water mark of audio/visual stimulation that every other show in human history past/present/future will be judged against.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 1:45 PM

i would have liked to have seen this, but I can't stop hating his smug ass smile.

come out of the closet already
jesus

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 1:46 PM

"ps- Daft Punk was the concert experience of a liftetime, the high water mark of audio/visual stimulation that every other show in human history past/present/future will be judged against."

You need to get out more.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 1:50 PM

su-fee-yang vs. da-ft puunk?

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 2:19 PM

Second half was definitely better than the first. The score was great, the film was visually interesting but uninspiring. Aside from the few shots of architecture and key BQE icons, it could have been any highway. I would have liked the hula hoopers more if the choreography had been tighter. It looked like they rehearsed 5 minutes before they got onstage. The oboe camp story was hilarious.

The "hits" were amazing. I saw SS at Revenge of the Bookeaters last year where he only played a few songs, but it was incredible to hear him wiwth the full orchestra. It's worth it to get tickets if you haven't already.

Posted by jm | November 2, 2007 2:23 PM

God, I detest this man.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 2:38 PM

I thought it was a great night. I enjoyed BQE thoroughly, and of course, the hits were wonderful. He played at the keyboard with a guitarist accompanying him, an unusually beautiful and sensative version of John Wayne Gacy. About my only complaint was about the mix -the sound man was pumping too much sound at times to the point of distortion.

More comments and pix (by me) at:

http://hardtoport.blogspot.com

Posted by Jim Kelly | November 2, 2007 2:40 PM

I thought it was a great night. I enjoyed BQE thoroughly, and of course, the hits were wonderful. He played at the keyboard with a guitarist accompanying him, an unusually beautiful and sensative version of John Wayne Gacy. About my only complaint was about the mix -the sound man was pumping too much sound at times to the point of distortion.

More comments and pix (by me) at:

http://hardtoport.blogspot.com

Posted by Jim Kelly | November 2, 2007 2:40 PM

""ps- Daft Punk was the concert experience of a liftetime, the high water mark of audio/visual stimulation that every other show in human history past/present/future will be judged against."

You need to get out more."

Actually I would agree with this statement, not even Underworld can stimulate the mind and body as much as Daft Punk does with their sonic collages and visual effects. And yes I'm serious. It will be hard to beat a glowing pyramid.
Go see Daft Punk 1:50 pm - I heard they're on at 8:30.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 2:42 PM

Why isn't Sufjan Stevens black? I mean, he's an okay songwriter and all that, but don't you think it might be a good idea for him to be black?

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 2:51 PM

i still want to eat the donut girl's asshole and then drink chocolate milk out it

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 3:01 PM

correct me if i'm wrong, but orchestral music in general seems to be a predominantly white and asian affair? there was also a lack of diversity in the video projections as well.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 3:08 PM

i bet it was a real hipster jack ass fest. yum

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 3:19 PM

After tonights show Sufjan will be performing the on the rooftop of the BQE. Daft Punk will be remixing it live.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 3:29 PM

who is sufjan stevens? and i dont mean that in a dorm room philosophy kind of way. i mean, who is this guy? why is he always talked about on this blog? granted i just moved here from 7 years in sf but i never heard of him. occassionally there is a song posted and i listen to it and.. that only confuses me more.. i am Clearly missing something.. but what.. i do not know.
serious.

Posted by pd | November 2, 2007 3:33 PM

Dear Rachael - as i made very clear in my incredibly insightful article a few weeks back, the reason there were no black people in sufjan's orchestra last night is because there are no black people in indie rock whatsoever. i thought we covered that already

and if you've got a problem with classically trained white musicians, then get out of Brooklyn kid!

XO,

SFJ

Posted by sasha frere "basketball" Jones | November 2, 2007 3:33 PM

was jesus there?

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 3:42 PM

some of the people who post here are fucking cretins.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 3:50 PM

I see plenty of blipsters in williamsburg

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 3:55 PM

pd, go out and buy (or download, whatever) illinois, Greetings From Michigan: The Great Lake State, and seven swans.

Take this home and put them on in your room alone. lie down on your back on your bed. relax and dont feel forced to listen for anything. just take it in. repeat if desired.

seeing him live also helps, but start with the albums.

if youre not seeing what the rest of us are seeing, that okay. post back here, and if you arent satisfied i will buy back those albums from you.

Posted by guy a bear | November 2, 2007 4:04 PM

jesus is everywhere

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 4:06 PM

jesus is in fact reading this right now

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 4:44 PM

Guys, please keep me out of this.

Posted by Jesus | November 2, 2007 4:53 PM

SFJ, i read your article, and didn't find it insightful at all. there are people of all backgrounds involved in indie music, and they are making music that draws from a diversity of traditions. and your claim that indie rock has nothing to offer because it's not based on african or african-american forms, is not only wrong but also on the verge of being intolerant. if you just don't like indie rock, fine. but your article strives to justify your personal, subjective opinion in the most convoluted and ridiculous way possible.

Posted by Anonymous | November 2, 2007 5:31 PM

It was 30 minutes too long and waaay too repetitive. I love Sufjan, but his stuff sounds all the same. Also, the hula hoop dancer cheapened the whole show.

Posted by BB | November 3, 2007 11:03 AM

From the standpoint of someone that grew up a block from the BQE I was moved by this show. It conveyed every emotion and gave me the chills. The devastation of neighborhoods- the frustation of automobiles! and the release of driving your car fast when the occasion presents itself. I was a little disappointed in the hula hoopers chosen. Rather, I would have liked a glimpse into the beautiful people of these neighborhoods. brilliant!

Posted by Anonymous | November 3, 2007 1:24 PM

Did anyone sit in the box seats (on the side)? I called a couple weeks ago and all they had left were box seats for $20 and thats what I picked up for tonight. I was told it was partial view but they didn't tell me how partial it was. All I know is that they are box seats on the mezz level

Posted by Anonymous | November 3, 2007 3:56 PM

i sat between two couples in their mid-60s. one couple thought sufjan was very cute but too loud, and the other couple thought "suff john" was funny because they read that he had a label called asthmatic kitty.

Posted by Anonymous | November 3, 2007 4:17 PM

It was awesome...saw it last night :)
P.S. anyone know where to get that really funny thing he wrote about the toilet paper dolls? hehe

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2007 2:50 PM

It was awesome...saw it last night :)
P.S. anyone know where to get that really funny thing he wrote about the toilet paper dolls? hehe

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2007 2:50 PM

It was awesome...saw it last night :)
P.S. anyone know where to get that really funny thing he wrote about the toilet paper dolls? hehe

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2007 2:50 PM

It was awesome...saw it last night :)
P.S. anyone know where to get that really funny thing he wrote about the toilet paper dolls? hehe

Posted by Anonymous | November 4, 2007 2:51 PM

sufjan was nothing short of amazing.
does anyone know if the toilet paper dolls story is posted online???

Posted by emma | November 4, 2007 3:11 PM

I was glad to see this--I was invited last minute--I think it's a really good freshman attempt at orchestral composing on this scale. Sufjan is a precious friend, and he's just about the most humble guy you could ever know. It makes me happy to see someone like him on stage, knowing that this doesn't have any bearing on his ego like it could. The whole "Written by ME" thing, rest assured, is tongue-in-cheek. I'm also glad that he's branching out into other areas besides the 10-song CD blah blah blah. Good for him; he'll be making a living in 20 years unlike a lot of indie stars. He also did a forward in a new fiction anthology recently, though I can't remember the title. Anyway, keep looking forward. Not everything someone does it the magnum opus. We're all human, and as such, we get a chance to work out the kinks. Thanks, Sufjan.

Posted by vesper | November 4, 2007 10:56 PM

Anyone have the setlist for the Saturday show?

Posted by Greg | November 4, 2007 11:47 PM

great comment, vesper.

sufjan is so often criticized for being ambitious or pretentious, but i think the truth is that he is very original and creative, and he's not afraid to try out big ideas. why hate on the hula hoops? it was a good metaphor and as another person posted here, "classic sufjan." the whole evening still had the artistic but also homemade spectacle that has always marked sufjan performances. his work is very moving.

Posted by Anonymous | November 5, 2007 2:15 PM

guy a bear-

i'll give it a shot later this week and let you know how it goes..

Posted by pd | November 5, 2007 4:42 PM

pd, ill check back in to see what you think

Posted by guy a bear | November 5, 2007 5:53 PM

the orchestra wasn't chosen by BAM. A few of the string and wind players were the usuals, who played on Illinois and toured with sufjan in the past. these players contracted the additional ones.

Posted by LJ | November 6, 2007 9:29 PM

The fiction anthology Sufjan wrote a forward to the Dave Eggers/bay area HS students annual "Best American Non-Required Reading."

Posted by alex | December 26, 2007 1:53 PM

I love all these comments. Haha.

Posted by cscs | January 14, 2008 8:55 PM

You're insane. Seeing the BQE and Sufjan live was one of the best experiences of my LIFE.
The whole show was AMAZING.
I cried...the whole time :)

Posted by J. D. | June 5, 2008 11:59 AM

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