Weird science: 4 reasons to get excited for Cedar Block’s Sexy Results
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It’s not every day that a local group of artists, musicians, and video game designers attempts to answer the question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Of course, not every group is Cedar Block. The curatorial brainchild of Milwaukee’s Brent Gohde, Cedar Block has concocted some of the most unique multimedia happenings in recent memory. Dormant for a few years, the group strikes back Feb. 18 with its highly anticipated, Alverno Presents-commissioned Sexy Results: Cedar Block’s Dig For the Higgs, And How The Quest Was Won. Over the course of an evening at Turner Hall, Gohde and nearly a dozen local talents will stage a gonzo variety show centered on the search for the elusive, possibly nonexistent Higgs boson particle. Fun will be had, reputations will be made, and Nobel Prizes may or may not be won.
In the spirit of science, art, and barely controlled chaos, The A.V. Club takes a look at the history of Cedar Block, and gives you four reasons to get excited—really excited—about its dig for the Higgs.
Cedar Block made its name in the late ’00s with a series of events at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Each show invited local artists, filmmakers, and photographers to design new works in the spirit of nationally recognized artists. In 2007, it was Three Degrees Of Francis Bacon, and in 2009, it was Jan Lievens On A Jet Plane, an event that sadly paid little mind to the career of the late John Denver.
Saturday’s show at Turner Hall will continue the skewed mash-up vibe, and will feature new Higgs-inspired work from installation artist Ashley Morgan. The marriage of science and art is nothing new, but in the right hands (think Carl Sagan’s Cosmos or the work of Cedar Block patron saint Douglas Adams), it can be revelatory. Expect nothing less when Milwaukee’s finest apply their talents to a field that’s surprisingly not all that removed from their own.
No geeked-out variety show worth its weight in neutrinos would be complete without music. Cedar Block has long tapped into Milwaukee’s abundant natural resource of bands and musicians for its events, and the results have been exceptional. Dig around in your closet long enough and you might find old Cedar Block soundtrack CDs featuring music from Juniper Tar, IfIHadAHiFi, and Jonathan Burks, not to mention a smattering of local bands that have long shuffled off this mortal coil.
“Sexy Results” will be scored by the likes of Nicholas Sanborn, Lisa Gatewood, Lunaversol9, Jim Warchol, WMSE DJ Dori Zori, and Collections Of Colonies Of Bees’ guitarist Chris Rosenau. IfIHadAHiFi will also perform at the show, and will have an album of all-new, Higgs-digging material available for purchase.
Art and music may be swell for grandma and grandpa, but what about the Call Of Duty crowd? Happily, Cedar Block has never been wanting for electronic, interactive diversions. A photo booth for the 2007 Francis Bacon event—designed especially for the event by local group Bacon Interactive, natch—instantly transformed photographs of attendees into Francis Bacon-esque works of art. For Sexy Results, Bacon Interactive returns, as does video game developer Picobots (a.k.a. former Milwaukeean Michael Falk). Picobots will debut its newest creation, Ms. Particle-Man, a retro-style arcade game for Windows and the Xbox 360. The game may not have all the charms of a marathon session of Halo: Reach, but it will almost certainly feature more science and less foul-mouthed teenagers fragging you from a mile away.
Oh, and science
Cedar Block began its reign of wonky terror with a trio of “science fairs for grown-ups.” Each was more inspired and notorious than the last, with projects ranging from how construction on the Marquette Interchange affected booty calls (poorly), to whether or not using a Nintendo Power Pad could improve your SAT scores (it did). This Saturday, Gohde and company will come full circle with the Sexy Results show, a self-professed love letter to science and all its (non-“Weird Al”-related) mysteries. Will discoveries be made? Can the riddles of the universe be unlocked with the power of putting on a show? Why not?