Douglas Ewart's Crepuscule | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Douglas Ewart's Crepuscule

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For the annual happening he calls Crepuscule, AACM reedist, composer, and fabulist Douglas Ewart combines a dizzying array of elements into a jazz-centric hybrid of harvest festival and Renaissance Faire: to recommend it, I suspect, I only have to describe it. To create this free-floating gestalt of creative activity, which wends its way through a park to celebrate the coming of autumn, Ewart enlists more than 50 artists--musicians, painters, poets, sculptors, puppeteers, belly dancers, practitioners of tai chi and capoeira--and, in a less formal sense, the audience. The performers spend most of the afternoon coalescing into transitory combinations Ewart calls "pods"--blending, say, music with juggling, or dance with poetry. The lack of a central stage encourages visitors to wander around to check out the different pods, and in so doing they become a vital interactive component of the show; in fact audience members are welcome to bring their own instruments, poems, and even paintbrushes. Ewart's brightly painted percussion instruments, which he's been building since the 70s from found objects like crutches, oars, and Frisbees, will add eye candy to this feast, as will the handiwork of students he's taught at instrument-making workshops in various Chicago parks over the past month. This is the fifth annual Chicago Crepuscule (Ewart also does this regularly in Philadelphia and in his current home of Minneapolis) and as befits its name, it will close at twilight, after all the performers gather for a grand finale. Sunday 3, 3 PM, Washington Park, 5700 S. Payne, 312-427-1676. Free. All-ages.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Jackson.

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