KM,PB and I went to the closing night of SS’s BQE project at BAM a couple years ago. At the after-party, we hung out with Sufjan a bit, noticed he had a tiny pen mark on the back of his off-white corduroy pants and drank too much. We were blown away by the entire production. Below an announcement and a clip, courtesy of my friends over at Asthmatic Kitty.
Back in October of 2007, Sufjan Stevens debuted The BQE—a visual and musical homage to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway—at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s (BAM) Howard Gilman Opera House in downtown Brooklyn. Originally commissioned by BAM for the Next Wave Festival, the BQE featured three simultaneous film projections, a 35-piece band and orchestra, and live hula hoopers for a 3-night run.
One week following the performances, Sufjan and his orchestra went into the studio to record the soundtrack, but afterwards, feeling disenfranchised by the magnitude of the universe, Sufjan decided to shelve the project. Until now. Two years later, Sufjan found inspiration to mix the music, edit the video and expand the project to include photographs, liner notes, a comic book, and a stereoscopic image reel—a multi-media package that attempts to render this much-loathed urban expressway into a conscionable work of art.
The release date is set for October 20, 2009. The double-disc album will include the original film on DVD, the original soundtrack on CD, a 40-page booklet (with photos and liner notes), and a stereoscopic image reel (aka View-Master®), created by illustrator Stephen Halker.
The limited edition vinyl is available as a double gatefold and includes the soundtrack on 180-gram vinyl, a large-scale 32-page booklet with liner notes and photographs, and a 40-page Hooper Heroes comic book.
And on October 24, 92YTribeca will host a release party for The BQE. This will include a showing of the film as well as a performance from string quartet Osso (playing selections from Run Rabbit Run), the recently-announced re-imagining of Sufjan’s Enjoy Your Rabbit. Roberto C. Lange (aka Helado Negro) will DJ. Tickets go on sale Thursday, July 23rd for $12 here (link will not work until Thursday).