Most downtown Doc Marten stompers probably connote the name Richard Hell with his former bands—Television, the Heartbreakers, Richard Hell and the Voidoids—but for the last 30 years he’s mostly been writing. Hell essentially retired from music after 1984’s compilation album R.I.P., with the exception of 1992’s Dim Stars experiment with Thurston Moore et al., and he told us, “People have lots of reasons for going back on the road. It’s not tempted me for a long time.” Instead, he’s produced a stack of books, including the well-received autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, and the collection of poetry, prose, and essays (and lovingly-produced penis drawings) Hot and Cold. Hell’s latest is a collection of his nonfiction writings, Massive Pissed Love: Nonfiction 2001-2014. We caught up with Hell (see bottom for info about upcoming local appearances) to talk about the new book, analog versus ebooks, and people stealing his haircut.
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Brooklyn-based publishing house Akashic Books has done their not-for-children viral children’s book Go the F*ck to Sleep one better: a specifically-for-children book that parents might want to read a hundred times over: What is Punk?. Written by Trampoline House founder Eric Morse in classically Suessical iambic, the book is lusciously illustrated with photographs of Play-Doh recreations of all mommy’s and daddy’s favorite punk heroes: the Ramones, Iggy and the Stooges—and Debbie Harry, David Byrne, David Johansen, Tom Verlaine, and Lou Reed all standing in front of CBGBs.
Calamity Chang, once a fixture at the old Galapagos with the Beatles Burlesque show she produced, rarely performs in Brooklyn these days. But she makes an exception for the New York Burlesque Festival, which will inundate the city with glitter this weekend for the 13th year in a row. “As for Brooklyn,” she told us, “well, let’s just say that burlesque died when the hipsters moved into Williamsburg. They are too sexually repressed to appreciate sexuality and too cool to appreciate camp.”
While New Yorkers can be blind to events in other cities, there are many reasons to sympathize with San Franciscans in Joshua Mohr’s new novel All This Life. Specifically, gentrification (the Mission is finally going the way of Williamsburg, in case you didn’t notice), addiction to tech, and a yearning for societal interaction that social media merely imitates.
On a Southwest flight to Las Vegas, I sat next to a spunky, petite woman from Baltimore who now lives in Brooklyn. Her small stature belies her strength—I’ve watched her do handstands and seen her lift a man heavier than her while wearing kitten heels. Trixie Little was on her way to compete—for the fifth time, much like Diana Nyad—for the title of Miss Exotic World, the queen of burlesque crowned annually at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender.
Last week I spent four days in Austin chasing some of the up-and-coming artists who identified “New York” and “Brooklyn” as their hometown. Or did you think one goes to South by Southwest to check out all those Nashville bands?
Questlove — seriously — needs no introduction, not any more. In what was probably for him a typical weekend, he bounced down to SXSW and appeared on a food panel with Austin’s superstar chef Paul Qui, played a DJ set at Qui’s dinner party (followed by D’Angelo set), and promoted the film 808, about the legendary drum machine, in which he appears.
In tracking down the band The Adventures of the Silver Spaceman (TAOTSS), whom I’d seen play at a Papercut Press event and who were playing at SXSW, I was confused by the ephemera on the internet which alternately claimed that the bandleader Zach Ellis also played in Brooklyn band Haybaby, also playing three different showcases at SXSW on their tour with Whiskey Bitches.
The Damned are widely credited—and widely take the credit—for being the first punk rock band from the U.K. to cross the pond: first punk rock band to release a U.S. single (“New Rose” in 1976), first to release an album (Damned Damned Damned in ’76), and first to tour the U.S.
What do you do when the drummer of your band suffers an injury and has to drop out? If you’re lucky enough to be Sharkmuffin, you just wait for the ex-drummer from Hole to call you out of the blue and offer to step in.
The She Shreds showcases at SXSW (March 17-20) have a reputation of being (as we used to say in Texas) knock-down drag-outs—shows you get to for the first band and stay until the last. That’s a sterling rep at South-by, with its zillion bands, impromptu venues, and frenetic/eclectic lineups. We’re excited to see how it goes down this year, culminating on March 20 with She Shreds in partnership with Tom Tom.