Friday, August 21, 2009

Classical Underground Vs. The Philistines

IN my decade and a half writing about artists and cultural figures, i never met anyone as passionate, committed and outright insane for art as alexey steele, a soviet born painter who runs a monthly "classical underground" series in his artists loft. (here's my piece.)

but at first, i thought the whole thing might be a joke -- that alexey, who comes on a little bit like borat (check this out) might be putting me on. "i am overloaded!!" he shouted when i came to see him in an elaborate loft not far from LAX one night. he was wearing a fedora, reeking of sweat, and holding a hammer which he gestured with widly as he made points about art, malevich, the marketplace, and within a minute or two, the power grid was overloaded too: the fan and all the lights in his loft suddenly shut off.

a few minutes later, power restored, he runs off to get us some glasses and a bottle of the excellent angel city beer. cue broken glass. "sonofabitch!" i hear from the next room.

besides some fascinating (and overheated) conversations, alexey also showed me one of the most memorable classical concerts i've ever seen -- a chamber music show that included the first bach cello suite and a prokofiev piano sonata, in a casual warehouse space with near-perfect acoustics. my only hope is that the exposure my times piece brings does not change what alexey and his co-conspirators have labored to offer.

Photo credit: HighArtForever

6 comments:

Amanda said...

sounds like a fascinating experience and guy. loved the article but can imagine the Sept concert is going to be pretty crowded!

Scott Timberg said...

yeah, i just hope it keeps its spirit with the new attention...

test said...

Are the concerts by invitation only?I would love to attend one. Could you please suggest how I could get to watch the concert?

alkanian said...

I like how you classified Brahms and Stravinsky as "lesser-known" composers. Would you please clarify that for the other performers' integrity sake.

Scott Timberg said...

the lesser known composers were marlos nobre, alfredo piatti and david popper. no room in the story to list everything performed, tho it was all glorious.

Al T said...

Great article - and I like your observations in your blog too!
One correction - it is not a fedora - it is a gambler hat!