Friday, July 9, 2010

Stardate Log: 080710 Firenzied countdown to launch

Keith Ferrone introduces Stefano Maurizi

Dr Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi and Marga Nativo

Yesterday hosted a conferenza stampa - not a gathering of philatelists as the foolhardy minus their Frommers might surmise, but a press conference.

It was held at the top of the broad and well-trodden staircase that leads from the Bargello's courtyard to its higher galleries of goodies.

To get there, you had to pass through 9/11 homeland-type screening equipment, though the easeful friendliness of the Bargello's welcome cancels out any sense of being in imminent danger. Its OK now - the gallows are gone. And other terror does seem miles away, as you open up to its sunny blend of arches and statuary .

If you lean gingerly over the wide naked stone parapet, the courtyard below is swarming in its now reinvented erection-of-scaffold-prior-to-big-events mode.

At the front table of the Press Conference was Dr. Beatrice Strozzi, Director of the Bargello Museum, Marga Nativo, co-Director of the Florence Dance Company, and Naamleela Free Jones, pianist and daughter of Artist Adi Da Samraj. Discussions were led by Keith Ferrone, Marga's other half and co-Director of the Florence dance Company. Stefano Maurizi, the principle pianist for spoke briefly about the artistic importance of, spanning many different artistic realms, Art, literature, Music, and Dance.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Precinct to Paradise - a heavenly host

From the next room drifts the electronic tinkly and flutey childlike charm of Pankow’s sound track to Paradiso. I can’t see the video screen where Diane is working on further integration of dance, music and Adi Da Samraj’s Image-Art, but my hair stands on end as I re-feel that night of the ante prima under the stars of Palazzuolo in a mountain cleft in the Alto Mugello of Tuscany‘s top right hand corner.

Though I hardly ever go to art galleries or concerts, through the dry heat of late Florentine afternoon this waft of melody has instantly dropped me into the simple contemplative space inhabited by all true art.

Magic broken now as the Duomo clanks out the hour when tourists must head home and the faithful to prayer. A cathedral is another art form that may be conducive to Transcendence.

But why should you come here? To breathe and live in its full magnificence inside the Bargello’s ancient stone heart and to feel more of the Divine in this extraordinary conjunction of art forms. The glowering, towering prison, grim near-neighbour to the faded candy of the Duomo, is being transformed by its own art collections and the perfomance art it hosts every summer. Atonement? May well be.

It feels like centuries of inflicted pain are being lightened and washed to happy by the annual visitation of Adi Da Samraj and Keith Ferrone’s Florence Dance. A Fijian and an Italian - both from New York.

Patterns have a habit of patterning. It was another Italian from near Florence who ‘discovered’ New York in the first place - nearly 500 years ago. Is it time for New York to return the favor?