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Truth in pop culture via slide show

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Think all the new, alt music adventures are over now that the South By Southwest Music Festival is over?

Think again.

Grammy-winning alt classical ensemble Eighth Blackbird brings Austin its latest enterprise — "Slide," a concert-length music/theater work with a libretto by singer and Pulitzer-finalist Rinde Eckert and a score by composer Steve Mackey.

Both librettist and composer join Eighth Blackbird on stage for the stark, haunting chamber opera that probes our ability — or lack thereof —to discern truth in our image-soaked popular culture.

Eckert plays Renard, an aging psychologist who struggles to describe an experiment examining people's reactions to in- and out-of-focus slides. The experiment's results reveal that our decisions are based on unconscious habits and preconceived notions thus making it difficult for us to see clearly.

Mackey plays the guitar and assumes role of narrator in the minimally staged production that features video projections and slides.

Always harbingers of the new, the six members of Eighth Blackbird — who never sit still during their own concerts and instead move around the stage — also act as characters in "Slide." 8 p.m. Wednesday. McCullough Theatre, UT campus, 2350 Robert Dedman Drive. $28. 477-6060, .