Apr 132016
 

CBBLanyard

Circuit Benders’ Ball is a biennial celebration of hardware hacking, free culture, art, and the creative spirit. I’ve been running the show since the festival’s inception in 2010. The three-day event at Fort Houston in 2014 was our biggest and best yet. We have a venue lined up for September 2016, and we’re preparing to send out calls for participants. There’s just one thing we need:

A new producer.

I’ve reached the unfortunate conclusion that with all the other things on my plate, most notably Modular Art Pods @ OZ, I won’t be able to devote the time necessary to put on CBB. I’d still like to pitch in, perhaps even finally perform at the fest, but I’m looking for someone else to take the reins. So, what would this involve?

The 2016 CBB producer would be responsible for:

  • Assembling the lineup of performers, visual artists, workshop teachers, and presenters.
  • Fundraising. Seeking money through sponsorships, funding drives, pre-sales, etc.
  • Building a team of volunteers to help with all aspects of the show.
  • Negotiating and fulfilling payment/travel expenses with the venue and artists.
  • Finding places for the touring artists to stay.
  • Promotion.

I won’t lie. The hardest part is the money. The organizing side of CBB has always been all-volunteer, from the producer to the visual art directors to the sound engineers to the ticket takers. After expenses, all of the funds have gone to the touring performers, although never as much as they deserve … and never enough to properly compensate the local performers. We’d love for that to change this year.

This would also mean that you, the incoming producer, would also be volunteering your time. You may be able to strategize ways to increase revenue and allow enough for a producer’s salary. If you can make that happen and still fairly compensate the performers, more power to you.

I would make myself available to answer any of your questions and help out in any way I can.  You would have free rein to run the festival as you see fit, except for the following core rules:

  • Performances must involve circuit bending, creative coding, instrument building, or modular rigs (especially if the modules are homemade or heavily-modded). In the past, we’ve also included music made with Gameboys because of the homebrew cartridges.
  • Producers must be committed to inclusivity. Producers should seek out a diverse lineup of performers that include women, people of color, people with disabilities, and people in the LGBT communities.
  • The Code of Conduct should reflect that spirit of inclusivity by fostering a safe environment for all guests.

The new producer will be chosen by me and group of past CBB staff. A producer that lives in or near Nashville, TN is heavily preferred. If selected, you will produce the 2016 edition, and if all goes well, you’ll have the option to produce future editions. Interested parties should e-mail me at tonyyoungblood@gmail.com.

Mar 082016
 

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Nashville composer, coder, oboist, new media artist, and Circuit Benders’ Ball alum Robbie Lynn Hunsinger will perform Friday, March 11 at 8 p.m. at the Centennial Black Box Theatre. The event is a part of Metro Parks’ experimental arts series Free Form Friday.

Hunsinger will be joined by award-winning double-bassist Missy Raines and Nashville Symphony English horn player Roger Wiesmeyer. Hunsinger will perform on oboe, saxophone, Irish whistles, and various electronic gear. Expect a guest appearance by the Arduino drummer (although this time it may switch from snare to cymbal).

Rumor has it that Hunsinger may be bringing a scaled-down version of her phenomenal Frist Museum interactive installation Blue-Yellow-Red. (Read about Blue-Yellow-Red in Make Magazine.)

Like all Free Form Fridays, this event is FREE. To learn more about Free Form Friday, check out my Nashville Arts interview with Mike Teaney.

Ebenezer Creek for Two English Horns, Bass & Interactive Video – Excerpt from Robbie Lynn Hunsinger on Vimeo.

“Blue-Yellow-Red” interview with Robbie Lynn Hunsinger from Robbie Lynn Hunsinger on Vimeo.

Duet for Arduino & Soprano Sax from Robbie Lynn Hunsinger on Vimeo.

Free Form Friday presents Robbie Lynn Hunsinger, Missy Raines, and Roger Wiesmeyer
Friday, March 11, 8 p.m., free show, all ages
@ Centennial Black Box Theater, 211 27th. Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37213

Mar 082016
 

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The Nashville Electronic Music & Synthesizer Group is a new meetup organized by Bill Vincent, Mike Hiegemann, and others. Basically, once a month we bring our favorite gear to SAE Nashville, talk about it, and play with it. The group has something very special planned for the next meeting on March 10th: a Skype Q&A with analog synthesizer pioneer Dave Smith.

Smith is the founder of Sequential Circuits and the inventor of the Prophet-5, which was, as his Wikipedia entry states, “the world’s first microprocessor-based musical instrument and also the first programmable polyphonic synth.” He’s a co-inventor of MIDI. While working at Korg, he led the team that produced the Wavestation synthesizer.

His company Dave Smith Instruments has released several successful products including the Prophet-6, the Tempest drum machine, and the OB-6.

So yeah. This is kind of a big deal.

If you’d like to attend, join the Nashville Electronic Music & Synthesizer Facebook group and RSVP here. Big thanks to Mike Hiegemann for organizing this event.

The general show & tell begins at 6 p.m. and the Dave Smith Q&A starts at 7.

While you’re whiling away the hours, listen to the Theatre Intangible episode Prong & Spittle featuring Bobobobobob on the Prophet-5.

Dave Smith Q&A presented by the Nashville Electronic Music & Synthesizer Group
Thursday, March 10th, 6 p.m., free show, all ages
@ SAE Nashville, 7 Music Cir N, Nashville, TN 37203

Mar 072016
 

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I’m ridiculously happy to discover that there’s a circuit bending workshop happening in Nashville on Sunday, March 13th at 2 p.m. Little Harpeth Brewing is hosting “Circuit Bending: Exactly What Your Mom Told You Not To Do As A Child.” The workshop is led by multimedia artist McLean Fahnestock and presented by Gallery Luperca.

If you want to attend the 3-hour event, order your tickets now. Space is limited, and they need time to know how many parts to order.

Here are the details from the event page.

Circuit bending is the creative, chance-based customization of the circuits within low voltage battery-operated toys and gadgets to create new musical or visual instruments and noise-makers. Bring an old, used toy that still works, open it up, and learn how to make it into your own sound machine.

This workshop will get you started. We will cover the basics of circuit exploration, soldering, and switches. The $25 class fee covers an assortment of parts for you to try. Basic tools will be provided but you are welcome to bring your own kit if you would like. Bring a toy or two and make sure you have batteries!

Circuit Bending: Exactly What Your Mom Told You Not To Do As A Child
Sunday, March 13th, 2 p.m., 3 hours, $25 in advance
@ Little Harpeth Brewing, 30 Oldham St, Nashville, TN 37213