Sufjan Stevens’s The BQE out October 20th

In November of 2007, Sufjan Stevens premiered The BQE, a film and musical suite exploring New York City’s infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. The critically applauded performance featured 36 performers including a band, a wind and brass ensemble, string players, a horn section, projected film footage of the expressway and five hula hoopers. On October 20, Asthmatic Kitty Records will release The BQE (also available via Rough Trade in the UK, P-Vine in Japan, Spunk in Australia). The release will be a package that features the CD soundtrack, the DVD of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway film footage, a 40-page booklet with extensive liner notes & photographs and an accompanying stereoscopic 3-D Viewmaster reel. The label will also release a limited edition double gatefold vinyl edition of The BQE on 180-gram vinyl with a large-scale 32-page booklet including liner notes, photographs and a black and white version of a 40-page BQE-themed Hooper Heroes comic book. You can watch a video tribute of it here. Four days later, 92YTribeca will host the premiere screening of The BQE DVD with an introduction by Stevens. Also at the screening, the Osso Quartet will perform selections from Run Rabbit Run. Tickets go on sale July 23rd here.

The concept behind The BQE is based largely on the history of New York’s Brooklyn-Queens Expressway—12.7 miles of urban roadway built between 1939 and1964 by master urban planner Robert Moses. The Viewmaster®, unveiled at the 1939 NYC World’s Fair (the World’s Fair being part of the motivation for the construction of the BQE, funneling New Yorkers to and from Flushing, Queens), was intended to promote 3-D panoramic illusions of the American landscape and serve as advertising for various tourist destinations and motivation for American drivers. The Hooper Heroes comic book, written by Stevens and drawn, colored and inked by collaborator Stephen Halker, follows three extra-terrestrial superhero sisters who use hula-hoops to combat “the Messiah of Civic Projects,” Captain Moses.

Credit: Press Release

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