This weekend at On the Boards, German composer/spectacle maker Heiner Goebbels will present his Songs of Wars I Have Seen, based on Gertrude Stein's memoir about being an American expatriate during WWII. I know next to nothing about Goebbels, but video clips of his other performances are deeply, magnetically odd and dreamy.

From The Stifter's Dinge at Lincoln Center, a composition for zero performers, two stagehands, a wall of pianos, water pools, and text from Burroughs, Levi-Strauss, and Malcolm X:

(Read the NYT review—"I can understand the wariness of the public-relations department"—here)

From I Went to the House but Did Not Enter:

From Stein's Wars I Have Seen:

It often makes me know that as a cousin of mine once said about money, money is always there but the pockets change; it is not in the same pockets after a change, and that is all there is to say about money.

It is funny that men who are supposed to be scientific cannot get themselves to realize the basic principle of physics, that action and reaction are equal and opposite, that when you persecute people you always rouse them to be strong and stronger.

A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.

From OtB's "beginner's guide" to Goebbels:

1. He was a member of an 80s avant rock band called Cassiber.

2. In his early composing career he frequently collaborated with Heiner Müller, who has been referred to as the most important 20th century playwright after Brecht. It’s likely from Müller that Goebbels began to pick up his expertise in shaping the stage.

3. When Heiner composes, his works frequently end up looking more like plays or art installations. See his website for images and clips from past productions.

4. He rarely makes it over the US. The Baltimore Sun caught a performance of his in the east coast and said of his work that it’s “the sort of music we need to stir things up once in a while, the sort of music we’ve been sorely missing.”

5. Throughout his 30-year career, he’s won prestigious awards from 10+ countries and been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards.

And in case you don't think Songs of Wars I Have Seen could get any odder... it's being conducted by Anu Tali, a 29-year-old Estonian twin:


I don't know what's going to happen, but I'll be there.

For tickets, see here.