This Friday evening at 7pm, Henry Mills and Stephen Fleg (aka DJ Fleg) will deliver their stirring performance Helicopters & Vultures with a special guest appearance by poet Tala Rehmeh. This is a free event. This event has gotten a good deal of buzz around town. Check out this recent article about this eclectic performance piece in the Gazette.
Can you describe your performance Helicopters & Vultures? I understand it’s an ensemble performance and you also employ different creative forms.
Henry Mills: Helicopters and Vultures is the culmination of the last six years of my exploration of poetry and performance, and Stephen Fleg's exploration of DJing, piano and production. It’s not quite a play, a poetry reading, or a concert. It’s somewhere between those forms. I take what I like best from each form and each element complements the other.
Stephen Fleg: Helicopters and Vultures is a poetry and music performance where the music intertwines with the poetry, with the overall goal of taking readers inside the world the poems create.
All forms of art are the same thing, each containing a foundation through which creativity can be channeled for the purpose of expression. Each individual form appeals to a certain sense. By combining art forms, we are, in essence, combining senses. Thus, the result, this show strives to emulate the human experience through appeal to the different senses. The goal is not only to project our combination of arts onto others, but to infuse it into others so that it becomes just as much a part of the audience as it is a part of the poet’s. Having worked on this show with Henry for sometime, I feel that our performance has transcended either poetry or music and I often get chills during our rehearsals. I know the audience will leave our show with the same feeling.
After you came up with the idea for Helicopters and Vultures, what came next? How did it evolve into this fascinating performance?
Henry Mills: Although as a whole it is not a narrative it does have the “lets go on a journey” quality. I explore the tradition of survival in the bloodline of both my El Salvadorian as well as my Jewish side. In both cases, there is a history of displacement and rebellion.One of the things I discovered in reaching into both sides of my family lineage is the universality of struggle and love.
Stephen Fleg: The music behind the poetry is created using a piano, electronic samplers, turntables and a synthesizer. As a musician and producer I had all of these devices at my disposal and as we went through the process of creating these music-poem pieces, I tried different methods and different instruments to achieve the feeling of that particular poem. Some are simple and use only the piano, others have nothing at all and still others are multifaceted, using sampling machines, and the Moog synthesizer at the same time.
What if anything would you like for your audience to take away from your work?
Henry Mills: I hope people walk away haunted by the same ghosts that haunt me.
Stephen Fleg: I would like the audience to come to our show and be transported to our world for 45 minutes and then return to their own, taking with them, not just notes or words, but the understanding of the other lives explored in this process. It is through this type of understanding that we as people can transform our sympathy into empathy in relations to those around us, ultimately making the world more peaceful place.
A free performance of Helicopters and Vultures will take place at The Writer's Center on Friday, June 12th at 7pm.