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Sufjan Stevens Presents The BQE


07/22/2009
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(Sacks) Sufjan Stevens premiered The BQE, a film and musical suite exploring New York City's infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival in November 2007.

The critically applauded performance featured 36 performers including a band, a wind and brass ensemble, string players, a horn section, projected film footage of the expressway and five hula hoopers. On October 20, Asthmatic Kitty Records will release The BQE (also available via Rough Trade in the UK, P-Vine in Japan, Spunk in Australia).

The comprehensive package features the CD soundtrack, the DVD of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway film footage, a 40-page booklet with extensive liner notes & photographs and an accompanying stereoscopic 3-D Viewmaster® reel. Furthermore, Asthmatic Kitty will release a limited edition double gatefold vinyl edition of The BQE on 180-gram vinyl with a large-scale 32-page booklet including liner notes, photographs and a black and white version of a 40-page BQE-themed Hooper Heroes comic book.

On October 24, 92YTribeca will host the premiere screening of The BQE DVD with an introduction by Stevens. At the screening, the Osso Quartet will perform selections from Run Rabbit Run. Tickets for this event go on sale July 23 via http://www.92y.org/92yTribeca/default.asp.

The concept behind The BQE is based largely on the history of New York's Brooklyn-Queens Expressway—12.7 miles of urban roadway built between 1939 and1964 by master urban planner Robert Moses. The Viewmaster®, unveiled at the 1939 NYC World's Fair (the World's Fair being part of the motivation for the construction of the BQE, funneling New Yorkers to and from Flushing, Queens), was intended to promote 3-D panoramic illusions of the American landscape and serve as advertising for various tourist destinations and motivation for American drivers. The Hooper Heroes comic book, written by Stevens and drawn, colored and inked by collaborator Stephen Halker, follows three extra-terrestrial superhero sisters who use hula-hoops to combat "the Messiah of Civic Projects," Captain Moses.

Sufjan Stevens has released seven studio recordings since 2000 including Michigan and Illinois, the first two entries in an epic series of 50 recordings each based on a different U.S. state; a 5-EP Christmas box set; and Enjoy Your Rabbit, an instrumental electronic song cycle based on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Run Rabbit Run, a recording of Enjoy Your Rabbit rearranged for the Osso String Quartet, is due October 6 via Asthmatic Kitty. Stevens has also collaborated with fellow indie pop acts Danielson Famile, Rosie Thomas, Denison Witmer, My Brightest Diamond and many others.



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