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2000 Tour: Press Release

for immediate release
ensemble on third Texas tour
performances to benefit art in Israel and Palestine


ensemble members:

  Thom the World Poet, Bobby Corbell and John Snyder (Austin-based)
  Rod Stryker (San Antonio-based)
  Jon Matis, Joseph Zitt and Tom Bickley (Washington D.C.-based)
  Fran Carris and Tim Wood (Dallas-based)
  Nancy Beckman (San Francisco-based)


performances: San Antonio (12/28), Temple (12/29), Austin (12/30)


With the offbeat name "?/," (Q slash C if you prefer), an all-star lineup and a repertoire that mixes a wide range of elements including music, performance poetry, chants, comedy and improvisation, the group is nothing if not unconventional. The group's third Texas tour from December 28-30 includes performances in Austin, San Antonio and Temple (see end of press release for details on each performance).

Performances by the group draw strong praise from both critics and audiences. Audience praise of last year's tour included "dynamic (and) energizing" (Morrie Green). The Austin American Statesman featured the Austin performance in their Best of the Rest section. The Downtown Music Gallery described one of the albums by members of the ensemble as "...bizarre and challenging...". The Washington Review noted "the result falls outside the traditional concert - it is vocal theater, a celebration of the voice as a direct line to all the apparitions and emotions that make up experience...sentence fragments, repeated syllables, seductive hisses, whispers are the language of populations, ancient and familiar."

The performances will also benefit the Palestinian and Israeli arts. Instead of charging admission, the members of the group --in what they are calling Bagism-- will circulate during performance among members of the audience to collect donations for both Palestinian and Israeli arts.

The title of the tour, "IMPROVISING PEACES/PLAYING TOGETHER", comes from the image of people, both in crisis abroad and in our own divisive society, working and playing in peace. The interactions in the movement and music suggest models and metaphors for people coming together in art and in life.

The group's mouth filling name (a question mark, a slash and a comma) is a reference to the membership of the ensemble. Three of the group's members --Fran Carris, Tim Wood and Joseph Zitt-- were core members of the Dallas performance ensemble "Question Authority, the". A number of the other members --Tom Bickley and Joseph Zitt-- are members of the Washington D.C.-based Comma. The name is also a reference to the group's irreverent sense of humor and fun.

The ensemble works with their own material and that of other composers including John Cage and Pauline Oliveros. Their repertory includes newly composed musical works, performance poetry, chant from various early traditions, and group improvisations. Techniques include many extended uses of the voice as well as electro-acoustic environment. Technically, the performers form "an ensemble specializing in music that involves improvisation and mindfulness practices." In practice that means performances that are a fun, unpredictable and eye-opening mixing of different musical styles, poetry and dance in improvised collaboration.

The ensemble's current all-star lineup combines members of a number of ensembles, many with extensive performance lists and CDs to their credit. Other members include Austinites Thom the World Poet (multiple international tours), Bobby Corbell (Comma and Friends) and John Snyder (Empty Words), Washington D.C.-based Jon Matis (formerly of Gray Code and Austin band Tiktok), Rod Stryker (Sun Poets Society) and San Francisco-based shakuhachi player Nancy Beckman.

You can find out more and hear recordings of "?/," on their website at http://www.datawranglers.com/QslashC/.


Dates and Locations

Dec. 28   San Antonio
          Barnes and Noble Bookstore
          321 N.W. Loop 410, Suite 104 
          San Pedro Crossing Shopping Center, 
            across from North Star Mall
          (210) 342-0008 
Dec. 29   Temple
          Zoe's Coffee Cafe
          1701 W Ave M
          (254) 791-5282 
Dec. 30   Austin
          Ruta Maya
          Corner 4th and Lavaca
          (512) 472-9637


Tour Contacts:

General Joseph Zitt jzitt@metatronpress.com
cell: 703-864-4036
alt: 202-543-4563
Tim Wood editorial@artsdfw.com
Austin Thom the World Poet worldpoet@rocketmail.com
San Antonio Rod Stryker sunpoets@hotmail.com
Temple Morrie Greene demeter1@hotmail.com

Webpage: http://www.datawranglers.com/QslashC
Webpage (Press Center): http://www.datawranglers.com/QslashC/2000/press