Distinction & extinction

T.G. Vanini and Julie Parisi of The Princes of Serendip.

Mathematicians, as everyone knows, are a species distinct from the rest of us, some of them with admirable hair styles. Laurence Kirby, a mathematician at CUNY’s Baruch College is even more distinct than that and has occasion to pose successfully as the distinguished musician T.G. Vanini.

As Vanini, Professor Kirby has graced the lime-lighted stage surveillance tapes which have documented public performances of such eccentric musical groups as The Fighting MacKenzies, One Sky Family, The Junkyard Angels, Spatter the Mud and, most pertinently on this occasion, The Princes of Serendip. The occasion in question is a free admission performance by the later group at The Colony to celebrate the new CD release of “An Evening With the Serendip Orchestra” at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, and the CD in question is an extraordinary blending of synthesized and organic sound visions which will not be performed on the occasion in question, giving way to other songs from the Serendip repertoire.


Just as there are reasons the promoters of potato chips use the slogan “Snack like you mean it” instead of “Pig out,” there are solid reasons why the contents of the new album will not be played live. First of all, numerous contributors to the CD, including monkeys, geese, elephants, frogs, macaws, wolves and other critters of nature are not stage trained and, lest a restraining order be brought by those responsible for the cleanliness of the performance area, the animals were not invited to the show. Secondly, the bones of the work were preserved for over 15 years on an old Atari computer and redressed and painstakingly embellished for CD elaboration. The fascinating results, however, do not readily lend themselves to live performance. For that, you’ll need the CD and something to play it on, just as you cannot hear the spontaneous music of singing plants without the software and midi-instruments which allow us to listen to the musically changing electrical potentials of the life process of plants. But you knew that, right?