Darcy James Argue, music
Isaac Butler, writer and director
Peter Nigrini, film design
Produced by Beth Morrison Projects
Composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue arrives in Berkeley with his Secret Society, an 18-piece big band from New York, for a performance of video, text, and music exploring the American fascination with conspiracy theories. Taking his title from a 2009 book by Kathryn Olmsted (Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11), Argue has created a multimovement suite packed with plots and paranoia. Argue’s eclectic music combines traditional jazz with postwar serialism, Latin rhythms, film noir orchestrations, and rock sonorities, deploying a mix of distinctly American musical styles to explore everything from the Red Scare to the surveillance state, mind control to fake moon landings, FBI schemes to alien sightings.
This performance is part of Cal Performances’ 2020–21 Illuminations: Fact or Fiction series.