NON:op's immersive platform for virtual performance
volume 1:6

Please Join Us
as we investigate alternative futures
through music, poetry, performance, and observation


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Give to NON:op this holiday season and we will donate half of your contribution to BLM!
As we say “good riddance” to 2020, and welcome 2021 with open arms, let us not forget that everything that happened, didn’t just happen overnight. While we practice gratitude for all that we have, let us remember those who do not. Stay vigilant, work together, look up and forward, strive to make change, let your voices be heard, and listen to other voices for a change. Now is not the time to rest, now is the time to participate!

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Support NON:op and our participatory programs this holiday season
and we will give half of your contribution to Black Lives Matter.
Participate in The Memory Project and join NON:op as we work
to make 2021 a better, more equitable year for all Americans.
Donate via FB and let us know what you are grateful for.
Donate to NON:op
table of contents

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Welcome to the November-December issue of NON:onLINE!
UNITY : the only way forward
by NON:op member Saba Ayman-Nolley
“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth” (Baha’u’llah).
We stand at the end of 2020 and reflect on this year’s pandemics Covid-19, racial oppression, political animosity, and economic isolation to name a few. 2020 has scarred us, both individually and collectively. How did we get here? And can we find our way to a better, higher ground? I can see only one way out of this epidemic – we must become united and stand together with all of our sisters and brothers. Working together, collectively, and for the good of one other, is an antidote strong enough to overcome this disease, whether it’s COVID-19, racism, political tribalism, or social and economic injustice. So long as anyone is left behind, any voice is not heard, we remain weak and cannot progress as a society and as a nation.
How might this unity look? What is a living example? I propose a closer look at NON:op and its activities over the last few months. While submerged in the woes of this historic moment of despair, NON:op created The Memory Project, pulling together artists and art-lovers to birth creative communities where all voices are equally welcome. Instead of looking inward, NON:op has looked outward to the future and invited others to join us in artmaking in order to create an alternative way of being. Here are two examples that illustrate NON:op’s inclusive and outward-looking approaches.
One of the best examples is the Blood Lines project. It started as two members of NON:op wanting to commemorate 1919 Red Summer in Chicago. They reached out to a church on the Southside of Chicago who brought in an Interfaith Community. As the events following last May’s public killing of George Floyd in the hands of the police unfolded, the Blood Lines project expanded to become a community of people giving voice to those that have been silenced. In this way, the SAY THEIR NAMES project was born. NON:op has assembled a team to research and chronicle the last 100 years of this endless injustice, inviting all persons worldwide to say the names and recognize the humanity of victims of law enforcement’s brutality against the Black American community. The result will be a web-based, interactive memorial to those whose voices have been silenced.
Another example of how we are rallying for unity is the decision NON:op made for Giving Tuesday 2020. NON:op decided to again connect beyond itself and the audiences and artists it serves and to give 50% of individual contributions made from Giving Tuesday to the end of the year directly to Black Lives Matter. We recognize that Black Lives Matter uses these funds for practical efforts beyond the scope of any arts organization. So far, we have raised $162 for Black Lives Matter. Please donate to support Chicago artists and Black Lives Matter.
Thank you for joining us and expanding our circle.

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To make a donation to NON:op Open Opera Works
(with 50% of your donation going to Black Lives Matter), visit the SUPPORT page on our website.
To find out more about our programs and how to participate,
please visit The Memory Project on our website.

[ PARTICIPATE ] The Gas Heart, Act I is ONLINE!

One would catch cold for one’s tick-tock.
Arlene Malinowski as Mouth in Tristan Tzara's The Gas Heart, Act I
If you’re anything like me, the constant flow of news, analysis, fake news, tweets, twerps, twips and Netflix can make the mind go apoplectic. What better antidote than ridiculousness? Just in time for holiday consumption, NON:op has a good dose of it for you! We proudly present Act I of Tristan Tzara’s The Gas Heart. Filled with non sequiturs, it is a perfect remedy for minds that overthink, brains that love analysis, and minds full of Great Thoughts. Plus, it’s just a little bit ridiculous. Who couldn’t use some of that right now?
This production of The Gas Heart is one phase of a multi-year NON:op project based on this classic of the anti-establishment trend known as Dadaism. Two years ago, we produced The Gas Heart as a live production with the audience joining in, using the text of the script projected onto the walls. Later, we asked all of the actors to record their parts – individually, using their own cameras, at home or wherever they wanted to. Note that this idea came to us long before the pandemic forced artists to recreate their art in a form that “fits” on the Internet. Long before “virtual choirs,” and bands putting together shows from each band member’s living room, NON:op began creating this new “home” video version.
But this video of Act I (Acts II and III will be released over the next few months) is not the final version. True to the nature of NON:op, the final, FINAL version will include “Tik Tok” / lip synch submissions of short segments from the play submitted by YOU, our audience. Check out the NON:op TikTok account (search for nonopera on TikTok) for six video clips from The Gas Heart that you (or your children) can lip synch and send to NON:op for possible inclusion in our Final, FINAL (we really mean it this time) version of each Act of Tristan Tzara's The Gas Heart—the “greatest three-act hoax of the century”!
But Yes!
And now, "open your mouth for the candy of the eye…" and enjoy ten minutes of ridiculousness!
Eye, Hal Cosentino
Mouth, Arlene Malinowski
Nose, Andy Slater
Ear, Michael Herzovi
Neck, KG Price
Eyebrow, Clare Brennan
Violin, Alexandria Hill
Cello, Lilianna Wosko
Clarinet, Natalie Szabo
Trombone, Chris Misch-Bloxdort
Percussion, Steve Butters
Christophe Preissing
Theo Economides
Christophe Preissing

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One would catch cold for one’s tick-tock.
In this time of political depravity, you are invited to submit TikTok videos for our Gas Heart video production. We will post six videos—two per act—on TikTok (search for nonopera), on our website, and on YouTube.
Consider submitting a video an act of resistance, a political statement, your American duty!

[ NEW ] in the American Biography Archive

Who's That/Summer 2020 by Margaret Chase
First performed for the Brooklyn Book Festival 2020, videography by Doug Cala
As to the poem, it literally demanded to be filmed... after the death of George Floyd and the accumulated rage, pain, anxiety, activism building up before that terrible murder and then after, a kind of horrid numbness came over me at times, when I felt disembodied... reality and realities became fungible and yet the sadness and sick feeling were always the undertone.
It had to do with being 66 and seeing the same racist machinery, bigotry, violence, surging up again and again in this country... the structural racism that so many deny... the deepest sickness our country has, and has failed to face and remedy.
When I was at the 2017 Women's March in DC, there was an old, I mean really old lady there with some of her friends and her sign read "I can't believe I'm still protesting the same shit!"
And the poem started when I got out of bed one morning and there were tears coming out of my eyes... and yet I felt nothing... This is so unlike me, I realized something inside was on the brink.... and thus, the poem worked itself through my mind and body. — Margaret

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Our American Biography is useful knowledge for the future history we are making now.
An open, digital archive, American Biography is intended to grow as an ongoing, living, collection of personal histories, stories, and memories—as writings, images, videos, sound, or any combination—a place to hold individual, specific, personally-remembered experiences.
American Biography is dedicated to gathering diverse experiences with America, by people living in America, visiting America, or who are experiencing America from outside America. We are beginning the project with histories focused on experiences of missing voices—of sounds we can no longer hear.
Continue reading to find out more about American Biography and how you can participate.

[ UPDATE ] Blood Lines

We have a complete set of Blood Lines readings!
AND, we are still accepting videos for the online installation!

Complete Set of Blood Lines Video Readings is Online!
Thank you to all of the contributors to Blood Lines. We have received a total of 47 videos and we now have a complete set of readings of all 38 persons killed in the 1919 Chicago race riot. All of them are available for viewing on the Blood Lines Individual Video Readings page. Some of the names have more than one reading. And thanks to your generosity we have raised $60 in honorariums that will be donated to Black Lives Matter.
WE ARE NOT DONE! Our larger goal is to collect 100 or more video readings to allow viewers to have a personal experience of the online installation. Please keep recording and sending videos to us until we have multiple readings for each name. Participate HERE—and get paid! Or donate your honorarium to NON:op or to Black Lives Matter. In our next (January) issue of NON:onLINE we will announce the first full interactive online installation with video by Ilse Miller and Theo Economides with sound by Christophe Preissing. In the following months, as additional videos are submitted, we will announce updates to the interactive installation.
For more information, please visit the Blood Lines – SAY THEIR NAMES project page on our website.

[ COLLABORATE ] L's GA : Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

A Broken Contract, Empty Words, and an Unrealized Rebirth by Kameron Locke

Kameron Locke as the gas-masked politico in a clip from his response to L’s GA
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty…,” Abraham Lincoln famously began his brief speech to a crowd in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. Was it all wishful thinking, or were his stirring words meant to conjure the rebirth of a nation that was created through violence, theft, and enslavement? Although Lincoln's opinion on the freedom and equality of Black Americans had evolved by 1863, the proposition, “that all men are created equal”, remains an illusion. Today, as politicians revive Lincoln’s legacy in an attempt to inflate their own self-image, and our leaders, states, and individuals strive to safeguard and enshrine a neo-Confederacy of the twenty-first century, it is clear that his words have fallen on deaf ears. In all earnest, has America grasped what equality for all, this allusive ideal, truly means? Lincoln voiced a hopeful promise, yet, as Salvatore Martirano’s L’s GA suggests, this verbal contract, though inspirational, is empty words left unfulfilled.

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NON:op is commissioning new (re)compositions in response to L's GA : Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Sal Martirano's 1967 multimedia anti-war composition based on Lincoln's renowned speech. To find out more and apply for a NON:op commission, visit the L’s GA Participate page. Applications are being taken on an ongoing basis. Please contact non [at] nonopera [dot] org for more information.
a single frame from Ronald Nameth's three-film composite for Martirano's L’s GA


This February will be our third HEAR BELOW: Listening to Chicago Underground soundwalk. Due to the pandemic and social distancing requirements we are making some changes to HEAR BELOW. Instead of a single guided soundwalk with a group of soundwalkers exploring the underground sounds of Chicago, My Pedway Soundwalk invites participants to create their own personal soundwalk and to share their experiences with us in audio, video, still images, and text. In addition, the soundwalk will take place over two weeks in February or March to be determined based on Illinois’ and Chicago’s COVID-19 guidelines.
Every person who uses Chicago’s Pedway System—whether student, tourist, hourly worker, commuter, and at different times and days of the week—has a different experience and perspective on navigation, priority, timing, etc. My Pedway Soundwalk encourages each person to construct their own soundwalk and to share their walk, in audio, video, still images, text.
NON:op and our partner, Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology will provide the tools and infrastructure for creating your soundwalk and hosting your documentation including pedway maps, suggested routes, points of sonic interest, photos, advice, historical background of the pedway, as well as a platform for uploading audio, video, still images, and text.
HEAR BELOW: My Pedway Sound is co-produced by NON:op and the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology. Additional details will be released in our January issue of NON:onLINE. Or visit our HEAR BELOW page for more information.


Place is the Space: A Response to Aural Neighborhoods by Allen Moore
Place: a particular position or point in space.
     1. a portion of space available or designated for or being used by someone
     2. put in a particular position
Space: the unlimited or incalculably great three-dimensional realm or expanse in which all material objects are located, and all events occur.
     1. the portion or extent of this in a given instance; extent or room in three dimensions
     2. to fix the space or spaces of; divide into spaces
What exactly defines a place? How does one come to “know” a space? Is it growing up in a particular neighborhood, knowing it block by block? Is it simply spending time within that space, absorbing, researching, wandering? So many assumptions often made by people adjacent to a place. Why not experience “place and space” together?

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Aural Neighborhoods was NON:op's 2020 partnership with Open House Chicago. A comparative listening event, it featured sound trails and points of interest in Chicago's Auburn Gresham neighborhood and Southeast Evanston.
Aural Neighborhoods is adapted for social distancing with self-guided outdoor soundwalks in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood and southeast Evanston. These communities were selected because they are approximately the same distance from Chicago’s loop, and they include sonic points of interest that roughly mirror each other in geography and content. The OHC2020 app includes clearly marked sound trails, and information and brief recordings to learn more about the unique sound markers in each neighborhood.
To find out more about Aural Neighborhoods and to listen to audio clips and the
complete soundwalks visit the Aural Neighborhoods webpage.
Auburn Gresham Sound Trail
Photo by Stephen J. Serio
Southeast Evanston Sound Trail
image courtesy of the city of Evanston


Thank you to the Robert H. and Terri L. Cohn Family Foundation!
Thank you!For the second year in a row, NON:op Open Opera Works has received significant support from the Robert H. and Terri L. Cohn Family Foundation. We thank them for their generous donation during these difficult times. Because of funders like the Cohn Family Foundation, NON:op can continue to produce engaging, participatory, online experiences that expand the meaning of arts and humanities and provide opportunities for all persons to participate in the arts.

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Part Time Opportunity
Web Developer/Designer – NON:op is seeking a Web Developer/Designer to take our website to the next level, by working with our Social Media assistant to integrate Social Media and email platforms with our NON:onLINE immersive platform. Qualifications: proficiency in video hosting, live streaming, online interactivity, Zoom; demonstrated organization skills, ability to manage multiple projects, a willingness to take direction; and the technical ability to create a website that supports NON:op’s vision and goals. Please contact non [at] nonopera [dot] org.

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Board and Artist Opportunities
Do you support NON:op's mission? Do you enjoy immersive performances that are fun AND intellectually challenging? Want to become more involved? Join our board and artist team as we build a more diverse and nimble organization to respond to these critical times. Please contact Christophe at non [at] nonopera [dot] org for more information.

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SUPPORT NON:op by purchasing HPSCHD@50 merch!

Also available are Musicircus T-Shirts, John Cage CDs, HPSCHD@50 buttons, and souvenir programs. Click here to order and support NON:op and its artists.
We wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.
Thank you for taking care of each other by staying indoors and practicing social distancing.
Christophe, Ann, Bill, Theo, Joshua, Saba, and the rest of NON:op's Artists and Board of Directors
Please donate this holiday season and help us support NON:op's artists and mission.
50% of your gift will be donated to Black Lives Matter.
All donations are tax deductible according to federal guidelines. Thank you.  
Copyright © 2020 NON:op Open Opera Works, All rights reserved.