Bluebirds ft. “Make Believe” (2013) SculptureCenter, Queens, New York City
The tripartite musical work, Bluebirds ft. ‘Make Believe’, adapts the lyrically opposing melodies of two
popular Hollywood films produced during the Depression Era that each rhapsodize class difference: ‘We’re in the Money’ (Gold Diggers of 1933, 1933) and ‘Hallelujah, I’m a Bum!’ (Hallelujah I’m a Bum, 1933). Sung live by performers whose remote voices are carried on handheld transceivers, the staging unlooses the pathos and mirth of these narrativistic industry standards through chaotically undirected canine movement. The musical dialogue is transformed by the performative agency, attitude, and attention-span of the animal-actors, who themselves reflect the rarefied character and breeding of New York City pet owners. An original song written and performed by Brooklyn-native Nettie Smith comprises the work’s final segment; concluding on a note of contemporary optimism that endorses the power of imagination and personal expression even despite financial hardship.