Dogma Dance Off - Oct 21, Cherry St. Tavern

A Night of Bob (Stagner) w/ Kenito Murray, The Heroes Are Horses, Jon Brumit - Nov 11, Barking Legs Theater

Trevor Watts & Jamie Harris - Nov 15, Barking Legs Theater

History Funhouse: The Wayne-O-Rama Story - through Dec 31, 2023

Wayne-O-Rama is now closed! It was open from Nov. 19, 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017. Designed by Emmy-winning artist Wayne White, it's a funhouse of Chattanooga history for all ages. Wayne-O-Rama is sponsored by See Rock City, Inc. and presented by The Shaking Ray Levi Society at the Tenn Arts space, with generous support from the Benwood Foundation, the Footprint Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation and the McKenzie Foundation.

Founded in 1986, the Shaking Ray Levi Society is a volunteer-run, 501(c)(3) non-profit arts education organization.

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The mission of the Shaking Ray Levi Society is to nurture and support music, film, and performance art that is challenging, non-traditional, and falls outside the mainstream, in order to help nourish the cultural growth of Chattanooga.

This is done by sponsoring shows by artists recognized on a national and international level, supporting original work by area musicians and filmmakers, and engaging the community through workshops and educational outreach programs.

"Only in our country are our children not receiving the benefits of the dynamic energies taking place in our culture and in the heritage of our culture and so, the work of the Shaking Ray Levi Society in my opinion is very important because they are seeking to provide an alternative to the marketplace dynamics." - composer, saxophonist and MacArthur fellowship recipient Anthony Braxton (video)

"SRLS is a very sound organization that has made a strong contribution to Chattanooga over the years" - Dr. Thomas Wolf, WolfBrown

The Srls is a funded agency of Allied Arts.


Past Events: 2010

Man's On Control
Shaking Ray Levis

Friday, December 3, 2010, 8 PM
707 East Lake Drive, Decatur, GA, 30030

Reuniting for this retrospective CD release show, Man's On Control is a strikingly unconventional Atlanta band from the late '80s formed by Mitch Foy and Keith Lee which mixed rock instruments with tapes and effects to create loosely improvised, noisy, atmospheric soundscapes.  Also featured for this unique event is the "Ol' Timey Avant-Garde" of the Shaking Ray Levis, featuring Dennis Palmer and Bob Stagner.

Col. Bruce Hampton, Dennis Palmer, Davey Williams, Duane Trucks, Kevin Scott

Saturday, November 27, 2010, 9 PM
Five Spot
1123 Euclid Ave (in Little Five Points), Atlanta, GA, 30307


Prepare yourself for an incredible evening of improvised music featuring an unbelievable lineup assembled by the legendary Col. Bruce Hampton (from the Hampton Grease Band, Aquarium Rescue Unit, and Quark Alliance), with vocalist and Moog synthesizer wizard Dennis Palmer from the Shaking Ray Levis, the astounding guitarist and one of the three "founding fathers of American free improv guitar" Davey Williams, drummer Duane Trucks (who has backed Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi), and bassist Kevin Scott.

Faun Fables
David Daniell and Douglas McCombs (of Tortoise)

Saturday, October 23, 2010, 9 PM
Barking Legs Theater
1307 Dodds Ave, Chattanooga, TN, 37404
Two unforgettable acts for the price of one!

Faun Fables (on Drag City Records) is Dawn McCarthy's songtelling and vivid imagination come to life at a crossroads where ancient ballad, art song, physical theater, and rock music meet.  With partner and multi-instrumentalist Nils Frykdahl (co-founder of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), McCarthy makes " of near-frightening beauty, at times sweetly sad, other times heartrending and disquieting, rendered with an intensity akin to supernatural force" (Nashville Scene).

Guitarist David Daniell has built a reputation for being an evocative, nuanced player in the free improv group San Agustin and with his collaborations with notables such as Rhys Chatham, Thurston Moore, Loren Connors, and Christian Fennesz.  Douglas McCombs is a founding member of the eclectic outfit Tortoise and the longtime bassist for the critically acclaimed rock band Eleventh Dream Day.  Daniell and McCombs released their first collaborative album on Thrill Jockey Records in 2009, entitled
Sycamore, "...a delicate tapestry of spacious and ethereal guitar lines" (Thrill Jockey) and "...a fine addition to the canon of experimental guitar music." (The Line of Best Fit).

Abstractiony Jones featuring Dennis Palmer of the Shaking Ray Levis

Friday, October 1, 2010, 9 PM (doors at 8 PM)
Winder Binder Gallery & Book Store
40 Frazier Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37405
Free admission

Master improvisor and Moog "syn-the-sist" of the Shaking Ray Levis, Dennis Palmer, is a singular musician and vocalist whose work is influenced by his roots in the American South and currently the "lower channels" of cable TV.  For this performance, Palmer will improvise along with a one-hour original piece of video art created by Ernest Paik entitled Abstractiony Jones; this piece uses Palmer's artwork as source material, from his 2010 solo art show Portraiture: The Etheric, Astral and Apocalyptic, and it premiered at the Big Ears Festival earlier this year.

"[Dennis Palmer] remains, no contest, the world's most colorfully inventive synthesizer player." - Creative Loafing
"Palmer makes his instrument speak in tongues.  This is digital glossolalia, spoken in syllables one can almost touch, bright, tactile timbres that rattle around the ear like hailstones in a rain gutter." - Keyboard Magazine

Bob Dorough (Schoolhouse Rock!) at Kid's Day

Saturday, September 25, 2010 (10 AM - 4 PM)
Coolidge Park (Chattanooga north shore)
Free admission

Composer, pianist, and vocalist Bob Dorough is a highly respected figure in the jazz world, influencing Mose Allison and having worked with Miles Davis, Blossom Dearie, and other legends, but his best known creations are the memorable songs he wrote for the Saturday morning children's television series Schoolhouse Rock!, including "Conjunction Junction" and "Three Is a Magic Number."  Dorough will perform a free concert at the annual Kid's Day event, featuring some of the most beloved Schoolhouse Rock! songs that have been treasured by both children and adults for decades.  This is a rare event that is not to be missed!  Co-sponsored by the City of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Parent Magazine, WDEF News 12, the Shaking Ray Levi Society, and others.

the improvisor 30th Anniversary Festival

August 1-28, 2010
Various locations - complete schedule is here.

the improvisor is celebrating 30 years of being "the international journal of free improvisation" with dozens of performances throughout the month of August in locations across the nation.

The Shaking Ray Levis will deliver their "Ol' Timey Avant-Garde" with the legendary Col. Bruce Hampton  (Hampton Grease Band, Aquarium Rescue Unit) and bassist extraordinaire Evan Lipson at the "Dixie Fried - Old School Southern Weirdness" show at Bottletree  (3719 3rd Ave South, Birmingham, AL) on Friday, August 13.

Chattanoogans shouldn't miss the local festival show on Saturday, August 7 at Barking Legs Theater (1307 Dodds Ave.), featuring eleven improvising musicians and dancers including LaDonna Smith, Andrea Centazzo, Chris Cochrane, Gino Robair, Killick, Ann Law, and Shaking Ray Levi Society co-founder Terry Fugate.

Tatsuya Nakatani
Saturday, July 3, 2010, 8 PM, $10
Folk School of Chattanooga
250 Forest Ave, Chattanooga, TN, 37405

Tatsuya Nakatani (from Osaka, Japan) utilizes a drum set, bowed gongs, cymbals, singing bowls, metal objects, bells, and various sticks and bows to create intense, organic music that defies category or genre.  His solo concerts are based in jazz and improvised music, yet retain the sense of space and beauty found in traditional Japanese folk music.

In 2009, he performed in 80 cities in 7 countries and collaborated with 163 artists worldwide. In the past 10 years he has released over 50 recordings on CD.  The list of musicians with whom he has collaborated includes notables such as Ken Vandermark, Marc Ribot, Peter Brotzmann, Joelle Leandre, Phil Minton, Eugene Chadbourne, Catherine Jauniaux, Mark Dresser, and many others.

His performance on July 3rd promises to be a beautifully explosive sonic celebration for the holiday weekend. After the show, watch the fireworks (9:30 PM) from the Folk School, with one of the best views in town!

“Breathtaking” (Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery)
“A master of percussive dynamics” (Derek Taylor, One Final Note Magazine)
Tatsuya Nakatani is a methodical musician concerned with the development of an idea in time. His beginnings are arresting; his endings are satisfying. The right duration and variety of events are fully charged with a visceral intensity that can captivate a true listener.” (Eric Zinman, the improvisor)

Who-Fest [10]
Saturday and Sunday, May 29 and 30, 2010, 10 AM - 6 PM
Free Admission
Renaissance Park on Chattanooga's north shore
Chattanooga, TN

WHO-FEST is the area's best-known folk arts festival, and for the third year, the Shaking Ray Levi Society curates the music for WHO-FEST, picking a fun and diverse lineup for all ages.  As always, admission is free!

THE 4TH WARD AFRO-KLEZMER ORCHESTRA is an original Atlanta musical entity: a nine piece jazz orchestra playing original compositions and arrangements that combine West African influenced rhythms with Eastern European Klezmer melodies.  (5/29, 3-5 PM)

SWEET GEORGIA SOUND is a 20-member ensemble that has played in the Chattanooga area since 1994, featuring a variety of toe-tapping ballroom dance music that includes classic and modern big band, swing, Latin, and waltz tunes.  (5/30, 3-4 PM)

MATT EVANS & CHRISTIE BURNS are co-founders of Chattanooga’s first folk music school, THE FOLK SCHOOL OF CHATTANOOGA, formed to serve a large and growing community of musicians, with a focus on regional and local music traditions.  (11-noon on 5/29, 1-2:30 PM on 5/30)

CHARLES ALLISON is one of the most prominent musical figures in Chattanooga as the front man for the alt-folk-experimental group LAND CAMERA and the owner and engineer of Spanner Sound studio.  At Who-Fest [10], Charles Allison will present a songwriter showcase, introducing some of Chattanooga’s best ready-to-be-discovered talent.  (5/29, 1:30 - 2:30 PM)

The Electro-Acoustic Cupcake Festival III
Monday, March 29, 2010, 7:30, $10 (admission includes gourmet cupcake)
Theatre Mercado
1214 McCallie Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37404

The Electro-Acoustic Cupcake Festival is back for its third year, featuring an incredible gathering of international improvisers: vocal chameleon Shelley Hirsch (NYC), Henry Cow co-founder Tim Hodgkinson (London) on lap steel and clarinet, Thomas Lehn on analog synth (Germany), iconoclastic bassist Evan Lipson (TN/Philly), the Ol' Timey Avant-Garde of the Shaking Ray Levis (TN), and the incomparable percussionist Roger Turner (London).  Opening the show will be a lesson in gnome mythology, given by the River of the Pink Lady and Strawberry Pork Chop.

“One of the most exciting improv groups in the world” - The Wire, on Konk Pack (featuring
Hodgkinson, Lehn, and Turner)

Shelley Hirsch and the Shaking Ray Levis at the Big Ears Festival
Sunday, March 28, 2010, 5 PM, $15
Big Ears Annex
125 East Jackson Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37915

For the second year, the Shaking Ray Levis will play at the Big Ears Festival, and this time, special guest vocalist Shelley Hirsch will be joining them for a multi-media performance featuring original video art based on the portraiture of Shaking Ray Levis member Dennis Palmer.  The show will also feature performances by Ben Frost and Tim Hecker.

Shelley Hirsch is one of the most acclaimed and celebrated avant-garde vocalists today, known for her fiercely unconventional singing techniques, intriguing and compelling storytelling, fascinating improvisations, and unforgettable stage performances. The NYC-based singer and composer has released recordings on John Zorn’s Tzadik label and has collaborated with a “Who’s Who” list of contemporary artists, including Derek Bailey, Elliott Sharp, Ikue Mori, Marc Ribot, Christian Marclay, and Fred Frith, to name a few. Festival passes may be ordered here, and tickets for this individual show may be ordered here.

The Tiptons Sax Quartet & Drums
Thursday, February 4, 2010, 7:30 PM, $10
Barking Legs Theater
1307 Dodds Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37404

The Tiptons are an internationally acclaimed all-woman sax quartet with percussion, based in Seattle, with an incredible repertoire that includes New Orleans jump groove, funk, punk, Eastern European, klezmer and much more. They have a reputation for completely blowing away audiences with some of the wildest sounds ever to come out of a sax quartet, not to mention their spirited singing in various languages, featuring extended vocal techniques. Their unforgettable, playful concerts feature high-energy interaction between members and songs that draw from soulful music from around the world.  The group features Jessica Lurie and Amy Denio, original members and the lead composers of the internationally renowned Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet (BTMSQ), with Sue Orfield (tenor sax), Tina Richerson (baritone sax), and Lee Fresari (drums).

" such band that has really moved me recently is this band from Seattle, The Tiptons Sax Quartet...their playing is fierce, implacable, but also wonderfully suggestive, melodic." - RICK MOODY, novelist (The Ice Storm)

Portraiture by Dennis Palmer: the
Etheric, Astral, and Apocalyptic

Artist reception: Friday, January 22, 2010, 5:30-9:00 PM, free
Tanner-Hill Gallery
3069 S. Broad St., Ste 3
Chattanooga, TN 37408

Dennis Palmer, one-half of the Shaking Ray Levis perfoming duo, is also a critically acclaimed visual artist who has exhibited in galleries in London and Los Angeles and designed album art for Britain's Incus Records and other music projects.  A new collection of his paintings and silk-screened prints will be presented at Tanner-Hill Gallery, starting on Jan. 22 with the artist reception, from 5:30 to 9 PM. The exhibition will continue through February 26.

Times-Free Press article excerpt:
"Inspired by the art of Reverend Howard Finster, Basil Wolverton, Dr. Seuss books and Walt Disney artists Alice and Martin Provensen, Mr. Palmer creates colorful portraits of imagined creatures, spiritual entities and monsters. However, he dwells on each character's humorous nature instead of his or her dark side."

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