It's cutting-edge and it's techno, but it isn't scary

Once. Twice Festival is at three sites for three days

Scene: clubs, bars, nightlife

April 15, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

Baltimore's fourth annual Once.Twice Festival will showcase some of the world's most cutting-edge digital media artists and musicians.

But will the celebration of technologically based creations be too cerebral or disengaging for the local arts community?

Absolutely not, organizers say.

"These artists present dynamic kinds of live sets. They don't just sit behind their laptop and trigger their mouse," said festival spokesman Ben Parris of the scheduled techno and minimalist DJs, musicians and digital artists.

Co-organizer and founder Jason Urick agreed and said that although many of the featured performances could be labeled as avant-garde and experimental, they won't be "as scary as the terms make [them] sound to people."

The sessions (held at the Ottobar, the Supreme Imperial Music & Art Space and the Johns Hopkins University) will be "very easy to access for the audience," he said.

"When people come out to our events, they always enjoy what they see and have a good time," Parris added.

Both he and Urick hope that the festival's welcoming and open atmosphere will help to squash the negative stereotypes that surround electronic music and digital art -- including what they say are the popular notions that the genres are off-putting and cold.

Besides that, Parris said, the three-day happening is an entertaining way for Baltimoreans to explore and become informed about the goings-on in other international music and art circles.

"This festival represents an opportunity for Americans to get an idea of what's going on in the European Union. We want to present a really wide range of music and performance styles," he noted, citing German musician AGF and San Francisco-based sound engineer Christopher Willits as renowned artists who will "push the limits of genre instead of just reasserting what already exists."

In short, Urick quipped, "it's a really fun weekend."

Once.Twice

The following is LIVE's guide to the 2004 Once.Twice Festival.

Tonight

Avant hip-hop is the focus of tonight's session at the Ottobar.

Detroit artists Dabrye and Jimmy Edgar and Montreal's Ghislain Poirier will share the spotlight with local acts Nautical Almanac and Marc Lussier.

Doors open at 9 p.m. for this all-ages show. Tickets are $10.

The Ottobar is at 2549 N. Howard St. Call 410-662-0069 or visit www.theottobar.com.

Tomorrow

Artists from the Perlon music label, including Montreal's Akufen and Berlin's Dimbiman, will headline this show at the Supreme Imperial Music & Art Space. Matthew Dear (aka Jabberjaw), Someone Else, Miskate and Once.Twice co-organizer Ben Parris are also billed.

Doors open at 9 p.m. for this all-ages show. Tickets are $10.

The Supreme Imperial Music & Art Space is at 223 Pearl St. For more information, visit www.oncetwice sound.com.

Saturday

The Johns Hopkins University's Mattin Center for the Arts plays host to the last day of the Once.Twice Festival.

Starting at 1 p.m., Room 227 of the center's Morris W. Offit Building will screen short films and video work from international artists. At 8 p.m., the SDS Room of the Ross Jones Building has a series of live audio-video collaborations. Artists and musicians from San Francisco, Montreal, Berlin and Baltimore will present their works.

The Mattin Center for the Arts is on the campus of the Johns Hopkins University at 3400 N. Charles St. Visit www.oncetwicesound.com.

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