pop culture, pittsburgh, and potpouri

Monday, April 14, 2008

Here Are Two Words You Don't Ever Hear In The Same Sentence.

OUTKAST, BALLET. Yes OutKast and Ballet. Big Boi of OutKast has collaborated with the Atlanta Ballet to create the performance called "Big". Atlanta Ballet's artistic director, John McFall approached Antwan "Big Boi" Patton at a fundraising event and proposed a collaboration between the two. Big Boi said he had a split-second of uncertainty about a ballet project, but was intrigued by the prospect and quickly immersed himself in the work. Big Boi worked with the choreographer of the Atlanta Ballet Lauri Stallings. 

Stallings said the show is a dream marriage of artistic aesthetics that has been a long time coming -- and in this duality of differences, anything goes. Audience members will be pulled on stage. Dancers will weave their way through the audience. Big Boi and a live band will perform some of his greatest hip-hop collaborations, but the greatest collaborating may be the pairing created by Stallings and Big Boi when Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata" is intertwined with "Morris Brown," a cut from OutKast's "Idlewild" soundtrack. Those contrasts -- "physical but sublime, beautiful but ugly, loud but soft," in Stallings' words -- are exactly the feelings this fusion ballet is intended to evoke, both artists said. Big Boi hopes to hype the crowd by debuting his newest single, "Sir Lucious Leftfoot Saves the Day," as the last song of the night. Stallings and Big Boi hope the show, which has received growing buzz in the ballet and hip-hop communities, will help bring together a hip-hop crowd that may not have ever chosen to go to a ballet and a classical crowd that might never have heard songs like "Bombs Over Baghdad." 

One thing that Stallings has said when asked about Big Boi's music that I take a particular liking to was, ""For me [Big Boi's music] sounds like Shostakovich, Stravinsky a little ... just today's Stravinsky." This pretty much sums up why OutKast (In this case Big Boi alone) is without a doubt one of the most ground breaking musical acts in history. They have consistently broken new ground in hip-hop, and have come up with sounds and musical communications that are incredibly ahead of their time, but at the same time accessible to the main stream. Big Boi not only challenges the traditional aesthetics of music, but reinvents what music is and how we understand it. In truth, this collaboration does not surprise me at all, because it was the next logical step in the crazy mad scientist mind of Big Boi. The play opens on Thursday. Lets hope that it is a success so that entertainment mash-ups like this will continue. (Although I have to say that I am some what worried because Idlewild was the only OutKast endeavour that I can say I was disappointed in).

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