Darcy James Argue's Secret Society; Real Enemies (Cal Performances at Home)

Presented by Cal Performances

Program: Celebrated composer and bandleader Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society is a Grammy-nominated, 18-piece big band of New York’s best and brightest improvisers. For Cal Performances at Home, Argue, librettist Isaac Butler, and film director Peter Nigrini have gone back into the recording studio with the musicians to create an immersive made-for-video adaptation of Argue’s acclaimed Real Enemies—a multimedia work mixing visuals, text, and music to explore 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, “a work of furious ambition that feels deeply in tune with our present moment” (The New York Times). Argue’s eclectic music combines traditional jazz with postwar serialism, Latin rhythms, film noir orchestrations, and rock sonorities, deploying a clever mix of distinctly American musical styles to explore everything from the Red Scare to the surveillance state, mind control to fake moon landings, and FBI schemes to alien sightings. The premiere is Oct. 21, but the film will be available on demand at the Cal Performances' website. This performance is part of the Illuminations: Fact or Fiction series.

Price Range:
$15 for a single viewer, $30 for two viewers, and $60 per household viewing. $5 tickets are available for UC Berkeley students.


Darcy James Argue music
Isaac Butler writer and director
Peter Nigrini film design
Produced by Beth Morrison Projects