Funeral Doom Spiritual

January 2017

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About the Show

New York Premiere / Multi-Media Concert
January 13 and 14 at 7 PM and 10 PM

Funeral Doom Spiritual: For Male Soprano, Piano, and Electronics is a song of mourning for what Antony Paul Farley calls “the motionless movement of death through slavery, segregation, and neo-segregation.” Drawing on themes of apocalypse, end times, and rapture found in Negro Spirituals, this new performance featuring M. Lamar and composed by Lamar and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix explores radical historical expressions and futuristic longings for destruction of the white supremacist world order. Taking place a century in the future, this new monodrama focuses on a protagonist forever “carrying carrying carrying” the coffins of the fallen and forever mourning. Evoking Negro Spirituals that call for the end times, what Lamar calls “Doom Spirituals,” this music-theatre work exhumes legacies of racial violence while longing for the forthcoming destruction of the white supremacy world. 

Composers: M. Lamar and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix
Librettists: M. Lamar and Tucker Culbertson
Voice and Piano: M. Lamar
Electronics: Hunter Hunt-Hendrix
Art Director: Sabin Michael Calvert
String Arrangements and Electronics: The James Ilgenfritz Ensemble
Costume Designer: Erik Bergrin

At National Sawdust

Co-presented with National Sawdust

Photo by Ian Douglas 

Show Run Time: 60 Minutes

Artist Bio

M. Lamar
M Lamar works across opera, metal, performance, video, sculpture, and installation to craft sprawling narratives of radical racial and sexual transformation and becomings. Mr. Lamar is a self-described Negrogothic Devil-worshipping free black man in the blues tradition. Lamar holds a BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute and attended the Yale School of Art, sculpture program, before dropping out to pursue music. Lamar’s work has been presented internationally, most recently at Merkin Concert Hall New York, The Lab San Francisco, The Great Hall at Cooper Union New York, PS1’s Greater New York, The international Performance Art Festival Copenhagen, Issue Project Room, Human Resources Los Angeles, Walter and McBean Galleries at the San Francisco Art Institute, Participant Inc., New York; New Museum, New York; Södra Teatern, Stockholm; Warehouse9, Copenhagen; WWDIS Fest, Gothenburg and Stockholm; The International Theater Festival, Donzdorf, Germany; Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York; Performance Space 122, New York; and African American Art & Culture Complex, San Francisco; among others. Mr. Lamar continues to study classical and bel canto technique with Ira Siff, and is a recipient of grants from Material Vodka, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation (2015), Harpo Foundation (2014-2015), and Franklin Furnace Fund (2013–14)

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix
Hunter Hunt-Hendrix is a composer-philosopher-poet known primarily as the author of the text “Transcendental Black Metal” and as the guitarist, songwriter, and conceptual architect of the band Liturgy. Drawing inspiration from romanticism, the internet, black metal, avant-garde classical music, rap, post-structuralist psychoanalysis, and the history of western philosophy and occultism, he has performed extensively in the US and Europe, including at the Pitchfork, Primavera and Unsound festivals and at art spaces including Almine Rech, Essex Street, Greene Naftali, Museum of Modern Art and Issue Project Room. His 2015 album The Ark Work has been widely recognized as polarizing and groundbreaking. He lives and works in New York.

Sabin Michael Calvert
Sabin Michael Calvert is a comic artist and long time collaborator of M. Lamar. He has been instrumental in the visual design and direction of M. Lamar's stage work as well as albums art and overall aesthetic. Calvert has help to mold Lamar's Negrogothic aesthetics drawing from underground black metal/punk/comic styles. Mr. Calvert has served as Art director for M. Lamar's staged productions of Negro Antichrist, Speculum Orum: Shackled to the Dead, Surveillance Punishment and The Black Psyche as well as Funeral Doom Spiritual.

Tucker Culbertson
With and for M. Lamar, Tucker Culbertson co-wrote the librettos for DESTRUCTION and Funeral Doom Spiritual, and collaborated on staging and story for Negro Antichrist and Surveillance Punishment and the Black Psyche. Tucker talks, writes, studies, teaches, directs and performs in a few incommensurable voices and spaces. He is a constitutional law professor at Syracuse University, where he's currently focusing on the twisted kinship among white supremacy, national security, and state sovereignty as rationalizations of ritual violence. His writings on queer equality, human animality, colorblind racisms, constitutional terrorism, and sexual predators’ proper liberties appear in academic journals, some blogs, and two anthologies of critical legal theory.

James Ilgenfritz
New York bassist/composer James Ilgenfritz leads the pan-stylistic experimental music group The Anagram Ensemble and co-leads Hypercolor (with Lukas Ligeti and Eyal Maoz). A Michigan native, James has lived in New York for over ten years. James has worked as a performer with Anthony Braxton, Pauline Oliveros, Roscoe Mitchell, Elliott Sharp, John Zorn, Ensemble Pamplemousse, The SEM Ensemble, The Either/Or Ensemble, and many other major figures in musical experimentation. In 2015, James presented a weeklong residency of his work at John Zorn’s venue The Stone, and released two CDs: The Ticket That Exploded (Con D’Or Records), his 2011 opera based on the novel by William S. Burroughs, and the self-titled debut by the trio Hypercolor on Tzadik Records. As New York City’s first Suzuki Bass teacher, Ilgenfritz teaches privately and at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. He is a graduate of University of Michigan & University of California San Diego. Ilgenfritz also runs the Infrequent Seams record label, which has released music by Philip White, Dan Blake, Devin Maxwell, and in 2016 will be releasing CDs featuring Elliott Sharp, Steve Buscemi, and Ilgenfritz’s second solo CD, featuring works commissioned from Elliott Sharp, Annie Gosfield, JG Thirlwell, and Miya Masaoka.




National Sawdust

80 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Show Press

Mr. Lamar plumbs the depth of all-American trauma with visionary verve
— Ken Johnson, The New York Times

Lamar is an intellectual powerhouse, but his work is informed by that thinking — not constrained by it. It is as emotional as it is thoughtful.
— Hugh Ryan, Out Magazine

A tactile, visual, and auditory explosion of important ideas that are usually left to society's margins.
— Jonathan Curiel, San Francisco Weekly