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Press Releases Walker Art Center Presents Exclusive US Engagement of Dirty Baby: Nels Cline/David Breskin/Ed Ruscha

“Cline’s most far-reaching work yet…hearing (him) get freaky with such a wide palette and such a sharp ensemble is a new shade of thrill.” —Rolling Stone

Minneapolis, November 8, 2012— Conceived by Wilco guitar wizard Nels Cline and poet/producer David Breskin, this gloriously unruly “trialogue” of music, poetry, and painting was inspired by iconic Los Angeles artist Ed Ruscha. Originally produced as a book/recording, DIRTY BABY was performed live only once; for this exclusive reprise, Cline—a linchpin of LA’s avant-garde music scene, similar to John Zorn in New York—assembles a roster of outstanding West Coast instrumentalists and improvisers. DIRTY BABY will be performed on Thursday, November 29, at 8 pm in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater. This absorbing multimedia work plays out in two distinct styles: orchestrated jazz and frenetic indie rock. Breskin’s ghazals—an ancient, Middle Eastern lyric poetry form usually set to music—are each paired with a large-scale projection of a painting from Ruscha’s Silhouettes or Cityscapes series, creating a striking, timelapse version of Western history with a later focus on the Iraq war. Cline’s ensemble includes Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto (electric piano, samples), Nels Cline Singers cohorts Scott Amendola (percussion, drums, electronics) and Devin Hoff (bass) along with Bill Barrett (harmonica), Jeremy Drake (guitars), Danny Frankel (percussion), Wayne Peet (organ), and Glenn Taylor (pedal steel). A Q and A with Cline, Ruscha, Breskin, and Walker performing arts senior curator Philip Bither follows the performance.

Combining breathtaking technique with an informed musical intelligence, the self-taught Cline displays a mastery of guitar expression that encompasses delicate lyricism, sonic abstractions, and skull-crunching flights of fancy, inspiring Jazz Times to call him “The World’s Most Dangerous Guitarist.” His recording and performing career - spanning jazz, rock, punk, and experimental - is well into its fourth decade, with over 130 recordings, including at least 30 for which he is leader. Born in Los Angeles in 1956, Cline has received many accolades including Rolling Stone anointing him as both one of 20 “new guitar gods” and one of the top 100 guitarists of all time.

Beyond Wilco, he leads The Nels Cline Singers (featuring Scott Amendola and bassist Trevor Dunn), Fig (a collaboration with Yuka Honda), and a new duo project with former child prodigy Julian Lage. Some of the musicians with whom he has performed and/or recorded include: Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Tim Berne, Jim Black, Yoko Ono, Alex Cline, Mike Watt, Carla Bozulich, Vinny Golia, Marc Ribot, Bill Frisell, Julius Hemphill, Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, Lydia Lunch and Thurston Moore.+

Ed Ruscha is an artist living in Los Angeles. A member of the American avant-garde for the last fifty years, his work has been the subject of myriad museum shows, including retrospectives organized as far back as 1982 by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and as recently as 2009 by the Hayward Gallery in London (which finishes at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in September 2010). He is the author of a seminal series of artist’s books of the 1960s and 1970s, and more recently, Leave Any Information At The Signal, a collection of his writings, interviews, bits and pages.

David Breskin is a writer and record producer. His books include works of poetry (Fresh Kills, Escape Velocity, and SUPERMODEL), journalism (Inner Views: Filmmakers in Conversation), fiction (The Real Life Diary of a Boomtown Girl) and collaborations with artists (RICHTER 858). In music, he has worked with leading-edge musicians such as Bill Frisell, John Zorn, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Joey Baron, Tim Berne and Bobby Previte. He lives in San Francisco.

Tickets to DIRTY BABY are $25 ($22 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.

Look Up and Drink Up!

Balcony Bar

Meet the artists, talk about the show, and enjoy a drink at happy hour prices, including specialty cocktails with Prairie Organic vodka. Located in the McGuire Theater, the Balcony Bar is open one hour before and after all evening performances.

Performing Arts Supporters

The Walker Art Center’s performing arts programs are made possible by generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the Doris Duke Performing Arts Fund, the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Producers’ Council

Performing Arts programs and commissions at the Walker are generously supported by members of the Producers’ Council: Russell Cowles; Sage Cowles; Nor Hall and Roger Hale; King’s Fountain/Barbara Watson Pillsbury and Henry Pillsbury; Emily Maltz; Dr. William W. and Nadine M. McGuire; Leni and David Moore, Jr.; Josine Peters; Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney; and Frances and Frank Wilkinson.

Nels Cline

Photo: Michael Weintraub