Cicada Mania

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June 4, 2013

David Rothenberg, John Cooley and the New York Times

It isn’t often that cicada celebrities show up on your Mother’s lawn, but when you have a healthy supply of easily catchable singing M. septendecim, and a cicada website, these things happen.

Last Saturday I met up with cicada researcher John Cooley, Japanese cicada researcher Jim Yoshimura, and musician and professor David Rothenberg at Roosevelt Park in Edison NJ. They were looking for male cicadas to perform with David at a World Science Festival event in the Bronx later that night. New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell was also there to interview David and John, and artist Asher Jay was there to lend David support.

The cicadas in the park weren’t performing well enough, so I directed them to my Mom’s place in Metuchen.

The Metuchen location yielded many screaming cicadas. David collaborated with the cicadas on the spot with his Ani-Moog iPad app, and a clarinet. John Cooley dropped some cicada science for Stephen Farrell’s video camera as well. My Mom served refreshments. Once enough cicadas were collected, the cicada celebrities departed — before leaving David left my Mom an autographed book and CD. Very cool!

Here is the result of the visit: a video article on the New York Times website:


John Cooley being interviewed by the New York Times in Metuchen with David Rothenberg in the foreground

A beautiful day for enjoying the song of cicadas in the suburbs of New Jersey.

More from David Rothenberg:

David Rothenberg plays Animoog on iPad live with cicadas:

More about David Rothenberg:

Man composes music with cicadas (news story with a video).

Cicada Mania: A 17-Year Benchmark on PBS (BTW, nice name for a TV PBS):

More from John Cooley:

BBC’s The Code:

Here’s a photo of David Rothenberg’s book Bug Music: How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise:

Bug Music How Insects Gave Us Rhythm and Noise by David Rothenberg

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