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Friday, January 16, 2015

In Context: Round-Up

Sufjan Stevens' Round-Up comes to the BAM Harvey Theater from Jan 20—25. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of articles, interviews, and videos related to the production. Once you've seen it, help us keep the conversation going by telling us what you thought below.

Program Notes

Round-Up (PDF)


Origins of the Pendleton Round-Up (BAM blog)
A look at the history behind the century-old rodeo that inspired Round-Up.

Alex and Aaron Craig talk rodeos and Sufjan (BAM blog)
The Round-Up filmmakers explain how an intended five-minute short evolved into a full-length film with a live score.

Pendleton Round-Up
Founded in 1910, the rodeo featured in Round Up continues to thrive—Westward Ho parade, Happy Canyon Night Show, and all.

Sufjan Stevens (Pitchfork)
Stevens riffs on Michael Jackson videos, the movie Tron, schizophrenic outsider artist Royal Robertson, and making noise.

History Lives at the Pendleton Round-Up" (
How popular is the Pendleton Round Up? The rodeo's arena seats 17,000—more than the entire town's population.

Queens of the West (Matter)
What it takes to be a rodeo queen—Pendleton royalty included.

Look & Listen

Pendleton Round-Up: The Wild West Way (
How to attract people to a tiny Oregon town in 1910? Start a rodeo.

Yarn/Wire Performs George Crumb (YouTube)
The new music ensemble featured in Round Up performs part of Crumb's "Music for a Summer Evening."

Live on Soundcheck: "Pleasure Principle," Sufjan Stevens (YouTube)
Stevens is joined by Bryce Dessner and others for a live performance on WNYC.

Historical Photos of the Pendleton Round-Up (
Experience bucking broncs of old in these images. 

Now your turn...

So how did you enjoy the show? Likes? Dislikes? Surprises? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below.


  1. I think I speak for everyone in my section when I say WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THE HULA HOOPING GIRLS?

  2. And why were they all Japanese?

  3. The hula hooping girls were originally in his first BAM comission, entitled BQE ( Their inclusion in this piece was pointless and clumsy, an ironically artless attempt to push the film away from the land of documentary and into the realm of art film. They existed both literally and figuratively outside of and away from the rodeo, but to no end -- no contrast or juxtaposition achieved. The scene in which they were explicitly eroticized -- laying down, half-lidded eyes, red lips parted -- was particularly out of place and sophmoric.

    I liked the film a lot, but they had a lot of work still to do in the edit.


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