The next time someone tells you that one of your ideas is impossible, just think of this bit of advice from the ultimate iconoclast John Cage: “If someone says ‘can’t,’ that shows you what to do.” The American experimental composer, who died in 1992, had a profound influence not only on music, but on just about every facet of art. For the past 17 years, the Danspace Project has celebrated his life and work with their John Cage Birthday Event. This year, they will focus on Cage’s famous collaboration with the late choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was Cage’s partner until his death. The evening will include a screening of Elliot Caplan’s documentary Cage/Cunningham, which traces the history of their collaboration through tour footage, archival interviews, and their associations with key figures in art, literature, dance, and music. After the film, a pianist will perform Cage’s controversial piece “4’33”,” four minutes and 33 seconds of beautiful silence.

Sat., Sept. 5, 7:30 p.m., 2009