created and composed by ELLIOT SHARP | text by JACK WOMACK
direction by TEA ALAGIC
World-premiere at The Kitchen, February 2012, in a BMP production
ABOUT THE WORK
The Binibon was a cafe and 24-hour hangout on 2nd Avenue at 5th Street in the East Village, a nexus for artists, musicians, neighborhood characters and bohemians true and faux. It was a place in which composer Elliot Sharp spent many an hour drinking bottomless cups of terrible coffee during 1979-81, meeting people, reading, hatching projects, observing, listening. Typical guests at the Binibon might include various No Wavers and Lounge Lizards; bebopper Jimmy Lovelace and free-jazz gypsy Don Cherry; Jean-Michel Basquiat; William Burroughs; Quentin Crisp; Kid Creole, Coatamundi, and Coconuts; Johnny Thunders; Keith Haring; Allen Ginsberg; Liquid Liquid; avant-garde filmmakers, actors and directors famous and non-. Elliot was friendly with the all of the staff at Binibon and the events that unfolded affected him greatly. Jack Henry Abbott was a talented writer, as well as an imprisoned killer who became the protege of author Norman Mailer who helped sponsor his release into a halfway house on 3rd Street. He was well-known in the neighborhood and in the local press. Elliot was in the Binibon that summer night in 1981 after a gig and left just as Abbott was entering with his entourage and found out about the murder a few hours later. This tragic event shocked the community and came at a time of transformation in the neighborhood, its culture, its daily life, its real-estate, and its future. Soon after, Elliot began thinking about how he might tell the story of this event. His music-theatre work Binibon is the result of over 20 years of memory and reflection. The song “Irreversibility” was written that summer shortly after the murder. It seemed appropriate to include it within Binibon as it well reflected the mood of the ’hood at that time.
Binibon was supported by the Foundation for Contemporary Art and the American Music Center.
ABOUT THE COMPOSER
Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Elliott Sharp has been a central figure in the experimental music scene in New York City for over thirty years and currently leads four ensemble projects: Carbon, Orchestra Carbon, Tectonics, and Terraplane. He has pioneered techniques of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction and has collaborated with a diverse range of artists, including Ensemble Modern, Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, the Radio-Symphony of Frankfurt, koto virtuoso Michiyo Yagi, pop singer Debbie Harry, computer artist Perry Hoberman, blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Pops Staples, jazz greats Jack deJohnette and Sonny Sharrock, and Bachir Attar, leader of the Master Musicians of Jahjouka from Morocco. Sharp's work has been featured at festivals worldwide, including the 2008 New Music Stockholm festival, the 2007 Hessischer Rundfunk Klangbiennale, and the 2003 and 2006 Venice Biennales. He has composed for video artist Nam June Paik and for filmmakers Toni Dove, Jonathan Berman, and Illppo Pohjola. His sci-fi opera for teenage performers, "About Us" was commissioned by the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and premiered in July 2010. Sharp's work is the subject of a documentary film, "Doing The Don't" by Bert Shapiro.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jack Womack is the author of six interrelated novels set in the near future, and one set in 1990s Moscow, Let's Put the Future Behind Us. He is best known for Random Acts of Senseless Violence and the Philip K. Dick Award- winning Elvissey.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Tea Alagić is an internationally acclaimed multilingual theater director and artist. An established New York director with acclaimed Off-Broadway, regional and international productions, she holds a BFA in acting from Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, and an MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama where she received the Julian Milton Kaufman Prize in Directing.
Recent productions include "A Light Design" by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at the Baryshnikov Art Center and "Petty Harbour" by Martyna Majok at the Yale Carlotta Festival.
"…a compelling hybrid of new music and East Village nostalgia."
Time Out New York