The Front Row, 08/15/2006

Daniel Johnston
Earlier this summer, the adventurous Houston theater company, Infernal Bridegroom Productions, made national waves with the world premiere of Speeding Motorcycle, its original rock-opera based on the songs of, Texas-based cult singer-songwriter, Daniel Johnston. Speeding Motorcycle was such a hit that I-B-P has brought it back for twelve more performances ... We spoke today with the show's compiler-director, Infernal Bridegroom's founder, Jason Nodler. . .

IBP's Speeding MotorcycleDaniel Johnston is a Texas-based pop singer-songwriter and visual artist who has been a major cult figure on the Austin music scene and with the rock-and-roll underground nationally since the early Eighties, when he first started recording a series of home-made, lo-fi cassettes of his autobiographical tunes about unrequited love, existential angst, heaven and hell, and life and death. Houston's Infernal Bridegroom Productions has created a musical-theater piece a rock opera, if you will based on Daniel Johnston's songs … building on the themes that weave throughout them: the on-going autobiographical narrative of his experiences and his feelings … characters from Daniel Johnston's real life, his imagination and pop culture … his science-fiction and supernatural flights of fancy … and his existential, mental and emotional struggles. I-B-P Artistic Director Anthony Barilla made the first contacts with Daniel Johnston and began to shape the piece, but it was the company's founder and original artistic director, Jason Nodler, who was called back to Houston to put the piece into final form and to direct it. The finished product, titled Speeding Motorcycle after one of Daniel Johnston's songs, premiered at Infernal Bridegroom back at the end of May. The show's four-week run was a complete sell-out, and the New York Times even sent a reviewer to Houston to see and write up the show. Tickets were so hard to come by, in fact, that I-B-P has brought Speeding Motorcycle back for a reprise run of twelve performances, weekends through September 2nd.  Adapter/Director Jason Nodler and Infernal Bridegroom's Associate Artistic Director, Troy Schulze, who has a featured role in the show, talked about it with KUHF's Bob Stevenson. Audio here.  

Da Camera of HoustonDa Camera of Houston is the city's major producer of chamber music concerts, both classical and jazz. It was founded in 1987 by world-class violinist Sergiu Luca, a faculty member at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. Under the leadership of its Artistic Director of a dozen years now, pianist Sarah Rothenberg, Da Camera presents thematically-programmed concerts, some of them played by ensembles that Ms. Rothenberg has put together herself, others performed by established groups of national and international renown. Sarah Duck Loudermilk, Executive Director of Da Camera of Houston, spoke with KUHF's Dean Dalton about the society's nineteenth season, titled "Living Music History," and about the organization's involvement in the upcoming Theatre District Open House; Da Camera is one of the groups that will actually be presenting live performances during that event. Audio here.