Erik Friedlander
Block Ice & Propane
Thursday, September 10th 8:30 P.M.
Winningstad Theatre (aka The Hollywood Squares)
By Eve Connell

Open spaces and open notes feature prominently in Erik Friedlander’s intimate performance, which I and my T:BA:09 compatriots were privy to last night. With a touching backdrop of family summer road trip photographs, (mostly) taken by his father, Lee Friedlander, and a similarly themed video selection created in collaboration with Bill Morrison, our evening together proved captivating.

The performance was indeed a family slide show, complete with tales of travels and moods, breakdowns and pivotal points in the journeys that the Friedlander family made over countless summers across the United States in their RV. Their home-on-wheels allowed them to suspend their real lives to become open to other worlds, other locations, other landscape pleasures (other than New York). What a treat for them. What a great way to grow up. What a fantastic way to explore, to expand, to see the land, to see people, to see themselves. Clearly, these adventures influenced the work of at least two Friedlander artists and their ability to share their views with outside observers in a compelling way is most masterful.
The photographs truly accompany the music – usually soft, soothing, mellow music – invoking nostalgia, longing, timelessness. And, since it’s not your usual family vacation slide show but Lee F’s artistic view of his surroundings and family, we are treated doubly to powerful images with sharp contrast, allowing simple scenes to take on new, beautiful meaning as they are punctuated with the memorable notes provided by his keenly aware son.
The younger Friedlander’s command of his carbon fiber cello allows him to push the limits of what one typically does with such strings. Friedlander shares his inspiration and personal anecdotes for pieces like Cold Chicken and Pressure Cooking, adding to our overall delight. Family stories from road trips of days gone by work in concert with music and visuals to engage us all, allowing us to deeply connect, and perhaps spark us to dream of our own open roads past, present, and future.
With the open road, possibility and wonder are the only options.