Unpack the Elephant! and other delights at the Olin Arts Center anniversary party


A family arts festival starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8 kicks off the 2011-12 celebration of the Olin Arts Center’s 25th anniversary.

Open to the public at no charge, the festival features the high-intensity New Vaudeville ensemble Two, jazz pianist Ahmad Hussan Muhammad and New York’s avant-garde marching band Asphalt Orchestra, which will lead tours of the building and perform in concert. The Bates College Museum of Art will be open.

Activities include face painting and balloon animals. Bates students will present visual art, music and dance. A barbecue lunch will be offered (free to the first 100 arrivals).

Asphalt performs in the Olin Concert Hall at 2 p.m. Admission is free, but tickets are required. For more information, to RSVP for the barbecue or to reserve concert tickets, please contact 207-786-6135 or olinarts@bates.edu.

Created in 2009 by the founders of the dynamic new-music organization Bang on a Can, Asphalt takes innovative music out of concert halls, rock clubs and jazz basements and into the streets.

The New York Times called Asphalt “part parade spectacle, part halftime show, and part cutting-edge contemporary music concert.” The group has all the components of a traditional marching band, but the sound and spectacle are anything but traditional.

With movement directed by acclaimed choreographers and apparel by designer Elizabeth Hope Clancy, Asphalt comprises players from genres as diverse as modern indie-classical, Eastern European band music and contemporary jazz.

At Bates, Asphalt presents its new stage show, Unpack the Elephant! The program features music by Frank Zappa, David Byrne and Annie Clark, Yoko Ono and Björk, as well as members of the ensemble.

Asphalt’s residency will include a “flash concert” at Bates on Oct. 6; presentations at the Falmouth school campus, and, through a partnership with L/A Arts, at the Lewiston and Auburn middle schools; and a First Friday Art Walk appearance in Portland on Oct. 7, presented in partnership with Portland Ovations.

Maine brothers Matthew Tardy and Jason Tardy, aka Two, perform at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Oct. 8. The Tardys offer relentless wit, live music, high-tech juggling, fire eating and feats of contortion.

A native of Cincinnati, Muhammad is a Bowdoin College graduate who has studied with Fred Hersch, Tony Malaby and Andy Milne. He is also a freestyle rapper.

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