Bob Ostertag/Kronos Quartet.
All the Rage. Elektra Nonesuch. review by Liz Sizensky.
Whistles shrieked. An angry crowd shouted "We're here, we're queer, we're not going back!" San Francisco's State Building burned. When Gov. Wilson vetoed a gay and lesbian rights bill in October 1991, fury ignited swiftly. The fierce anger of that rioting crowd is the subject of Bob Ostertag's powerful "All the Rage" commissioned and performed by the Kronos Quartet.
Ostertag combines sounds he recorded at the riot, text written by poet/journalist Sara Miles and string quartet parts he composed for Kronos, and then digitally edits shattered glass, whistles, screams and chants so that they flow in musical patterns. Miles' text is poetic and economical, quickly sketching other anger-inciting aspects of gay and lesbian experience. Eric Gupton of Pomo Afro Homos reads the text in a clear, sure voice that seethes with outrage. The string quartet parts echo both riot sounds and text, sometimes in a straightforwardly, other times more abstractly. Kronos plays with precision and passion.
While Ostertag's piece draws from real life, it's not a documentary, but rather an emotional exploration of queer rage. The 16-minute CD single is dedicated to Kronos violist Hank Dutt's lover Kevin, who has AIDS. Proceeds benefit AmFAR.
Kronos Quartet "All the Rage" Nov. 19-21 at Center for the Arts, call 978-ARTS.