Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This week's cool shows: Moving Island, the Save Our Arts Benefit and more!

This weekend's theme is big concerts to assist worthy educational causes. First up is the two-day Buoyancy Benefit for Moving Island, a new Raleigh-based educational facility. The above poster doesn't say so, but Mac McCaughan and Phil Cook and His Feat will be Saturday's mystery artist. This is going to be a great weekend of music, plus the proceeds will help a good cause, so check it out. Adam Crane of Moving Island also answered five questions for me.

1. The press release states that Moving Island "is a Raleigh-based performance and education facility focused on emerging arts, empowering technology, and the business of living." That's a wide-ranging set of ideals. How do they all fit together in one space?

It's more of a methodology, or a state of mind, than a set of ideals. All the people involved in Moving Island value the DIY mentality. Technology is integrated into every part of our lives now -- work, play, art -- and being able to understand and master it puts one in control of that technology, instead of the other way around. By the same token, sustainable living practices and being able to improve your quality of life with your own hands, whether it's learning to cook for yourself or install a solar panel, are equally vital to our vision. We believe the three spheres of art, tech, and daily life all benefit from empowering the "end user" with the skills and courage to improve their own lives and those around them.

On a practical level, we will be offering classes and workshops led by a wide swath of local talent. The diversity of subject material reflects the distinct mixture of interests that converge in Raleigh and the Triangle. Backyard horticulture, home recording/sequencing/mastering and introductory robotics are just a few examples of tentative classes in our future schedule. You won't learn to play guitar at Moving Island, but you may learn how to make your own effects pedal.

2. How did the idea for Moving Island come about, and how long has this been in the process?

I like to think that a place like Moving Island is something that we've always wanted to have available to us, but in the past we were content waiting around for it to materialize on its own. When Chris Riddle and I found the building that is now Moving Island, we were instantly struck by its potential. The two of us are at a unique point in our lives where we have the opportunity to take on a project like this one, so we jumped on it with as much momentum and enthusiasm as possible. That was about three months ago.

3. What is the audience for this space? Will it be kids, adults, professionals, beginners -- or a mixture of all of the above?

Moving Island would like to be as inclusive as possible. Several of our initial instructors have expressed interest in working with children specifically, but I would say most of our events and courses are "age-agnostic." Our courses will be designed with their specific difficulty levels in mind, on a graduated scale from beginner to advanced. Since there are more beginners out there, the scale will be tilted in that direction. On the other hand, one of our priorities is bridging the gap between professionals and amateurs. The workshops target that aspect of the project by collecting people from around the community with a certain interest and presenting a specific goal to bring them together.

4. What will have to happen for you to feel like Moving Island is a success?

As with any new non-profit, survival is our key metric of success. Motivating the community to participate in and support the project will be an ongoing process. Right now we are measuring our expectations in terms of the first year. By this time next year we would like to become a regular location for events like First Friday along with our neighbors at the Ruby Red. Providing a home for regular meetings of some local groups that currently bounce around the Triangle is also tied in to that goal. Having a solid portfolio of feedback from our classes and workshops that we can compile into a publication for next year's Benefit will probably be my favorite accomplishment.

5. You've already told us that Mac is your mystery guest. Any other surprises??

Yes. Phil Cook of Megafaun will be performing as Phil Cook & His Feat on Saturday. We also hope to have some interesting installations around the stage made by some Moving Island members. Keep an eye out!

Also this weekend, the 3rd Annual Save Our Arts Benefit for Central Park School for Children will take place Friday at Motorco. This show will feature performances by student bands from CPSFC, The Wigg Report, The Beast, Midtown Dickens, Sacrificial Poets, The Old Ceremony and a closing performance from some special guests Megafaun. So if you missed Megafaun last weekend at Kings, here are two chances to see either the band or a related band, and support an educational entity in the process.

Finally, the best non-benefit-related show is definitely Best Coast, who put on an amazing, packed and sweaty show at Tir na Nog during Hopscotch. They're at Cat's Cradle on Saturday.

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