Hurricanes can be . . .motivational

In spite of (or partly because of) a Cat 4 hurricane 80 miles away, I finished a little Bohlen-Pierce project (synth in PureData, academic paper, and three compositional etudes):
I’ve found writing and producing music—or writing about it—helps distract me momentarily from impending disaster (or not). We really dodged a bullet here, south of Ft. Lauderdale.
So until next time, I leave you with the microtones of Bohlen-Pierce ringing in your ears!

MEME™—the reboot

meme_2015_white]OK, so it’s been two years since you’ve heard anything about meme™, my little experimental media ensemble project.

The reason is, of course, my multimedia opera project MelanchoLalaland™, which received its premiere in Miami Beach almost two months ago. It was a big project, and it consumed all the oxygen around it!

meme™ is being re-branded as MEME™—MTEn Experimental Media Ensemble—named after the MFA program at FAU I teach in, and which provides me with an opportunity to explore that interesting intersection between digital media and live performance.

So, MEME™ will be performing this Thursday, November 12, 2015, at the Schmidt Gallery Public Space on the Boca Raton campus of Florida Atlantic University, between 6:30pm and 8:30pm, the opening of the tenth Faculty Biennial. (Facebook Event Page).


Our Place + Time for Fall

takeAway_frontOK, yes, it’s been a while since we’ve posted.

We now have a place and time for the fall premiere of our transmedia opera, MelanchoLalaland™:

•  Miami Beach Cinematheque

•  3pm-4:30 — Sunday matinee in Miami Beach – what could be more delightful?

•  Sunday, September 13, 2015

And for those of you familiar with the venue, you know it to be an intimate space for (mostly) independent cinema, and it is. We are giving a concert performance, with live vocalists against the splendid video background our cherished venue will provide. There are only 75 seats, and each audience member will receive a special edition of “DUH IMMOOTABLE TROOTHZ” print.

We shall have more announcements soon—please check out our spankin’

We Did it! MelanchoLalaland™’s First Public Sneak Peek!

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Having had a few days to chill, I’m now posting this first evidence of our performance of MelanchoLalaland™: Scenes from a Transmedia Opera at Miami Light Box in conjunction with FilmGate Interactive Conference (bottom of page).

The evening began with a performance of Pioneer Winter’s A Proper Marriage, danced by the choreographer and performed/sung by Santo Martin Cordero.

Then, the evening began with My Little Talk, where I mostly explained what a transmedia opera is, why on Earth we’d want to make one, and technical details. This set a scholarly tone for the performance, but it also allowed me to indulge in a little geekyness (as in, all that Latin in the libretto, and not even Latin you can dance to!).

Next, two of the main characters of the opera, Booster (Santo) and Tess (Vanessa Rose Rivera) reflect for a moment on Booster’s hallucinatory visions.

Following this, the first big scene in the first act of the opera, “Team Melancuria™”, depicts a video conference between Booster, Tess, and the new CEO of Melancuria, the ever mercurial Kenny Longtin (voiced and acted by some rank amateur with at least a redemptive notion of self-deprecation, and a fluffy grey kitty!). The tables are turned on Booster, as Kenny announces Tess will be taking over as team leader.

Booster’s tumult is next recounted in a dance, Darkness is Also Of My Nature (Tenebre autem naturea mea sunt), which had the working title, The Dance of the Brain Chemicals.

Dance was followed by a sneak preview of the film Casual (Sex) Friday, where a frantic survivor of an office shooting—”Carol Burkel”— hides in a closet and desperately tries to remember who could possibly be the shooter. The voice-over of Carol is sung in full mezzo soprano by Katharine Goeldner.

After C(S)F, the cast took their bows, echoed by Kinect-activated sound essays in the closing credits.

Complete Flickr slideshow of stills here; stay tuned for video documentation!

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Thanks, as always, to Diliana Alexander and the staff at, tech help at Miami Light Project, Mike Lue for technical assistance, Katie Weigman and Danielle Kipnis for their dance, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters Advisory Board of Florida Atlantic University, the Robert and Inez Bailyn Foundation, the Avid Corporation, and the State of Florida Department of State, Bureau of Cultural Affairs, for their generous support on this project!

MelanchoLalaland™ opening title

Film-Gate to Present Selections from Opera

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We’ve been invited to perform a portion of my opera MelanchoLalaland™ at South Florida’s only interactive and immersive storytelling festival – Filmgate 2015 (February 1-8, 2015).  If you would like to experience our first efforts at realizing our transmedia opera, as well as a program of local dance peformances/screenings, and interactive demonstrations/seminars you can purchase tickets on Filmgate’s website  –

For presentation of scenes from MelanchoLalaland™:

  • Date: Tuesday, February 3
  • Location: Miami Light Box, 404 NW 26th St., Miami
  • Times:  7pm cocktail
  • 7:30pm – 9pm performance/screenings
  • free with FilmGate passes
  • $5 for students in advance, student ids will be checked
  • $12 in advance, IFCM members, Miami Light Box members
  • $15 at the door

Filmgate Interactive is an annual fusion event of leading international creators, thinkers, and practitioners from across the fields of film, tv, interactive, online, mobile, gaming, publishing and live events. Filmgate interactive presents the latest ideas and innovations of modern storytelling, audience engagement, and business practices. MelanchoLalaland™ is a transmedia opera composed and directed by Joey Bargsten, in collaboration with librettist/producer/lead choreographer Thea Zimmer. The project is made possible by the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters Advisory Board (FAU), the Bailyn Foundation, and the Avid Corporation. Most recently Bargsten received an Individual Artists Fellowship from the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs in the Interdisciplinary Art category.

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And just in case you missed our latest teaser/trailer, here it is: