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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Freak Flag Flying: A Color Guard Concert Series

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Photography by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images.

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David Byrne has always danced to the beat of a different drum—or drum corps. Over a decade ago, the ever-eccentric former Talking Heads singer brought the Bay Area’s anarchic Extra Action Marching Band on tour after the tattooed libertines crashed a literary event where he was reading. Byrne’s latest collaboration, Contemporary Color, tackles a more family-friendly phenomenon: color guards. What many Americans know as the dazzling flag-flying halftime performances at high school football games, Byrne deems a kind of overlooked folk art. The concert series, in Toronto and New York, will pair 10 top color guard teams with a bizarre, if irresistible, lineup including pop divas Nelly Furtado, Kelis, and St. Vincent, classical composer Nico Muhly, and This American Life producer Ira Glass. From June 22 to 23 at Air Canada Centre, in Toronto, and June 27 to 28 at Barclays Center, in Brooklyn; contemporarycolor.com.

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