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Kid Congo’s Still Got the Power, the Pink Monkey Birds are Flying Our Way

Kid Congo Powers (Photo: Martina Fornace)

Kid Congo Powers (Photo: Martina Fornace)

If we had to pick one emoticon to describe Kid Congo Powers’ attitude about his own three decades-long career, we’d go with the shruggy guy (i.e.¯\_()_/¯). He’s surprisingly humble and when he speaks about the past, it’s with what we imagine was the same wide-eyed amazement he had way back when The Cramps asked him to come on board. By some estimations, Kid Congo’s been a part of at least 420 bands over his three decades-long career, including legendary acts like The Cramps, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and this writer’s personal favorite, The Gun Club, of which Powers was a founding member.

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An Artist Explains Why He’ll Turn Wikipedia Into a 7,473-Volume Print Edition

(photo: Rob Scher)

(photo: Rob Scher)

While you slept soundly last night, a computer sat in the corner of the Denny Gallery on the Lower East Side, silently uploading the entire contents of Wikipedia onto Lulu.com, a print-on-demand website. The process is estimated to take the next two weeks. Why, you ask? As a “poetic gesture towards the futility of the scale of big data,” reads the press statement from the exhibit “From Aaaaa! to ZZZap!”, a performance of the upload of Michael Mandiberg’s Print Wikipedia series. Understood another way, perhaps while passing the dutchie pon the left hand side: like, how big is the Internet, man?

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Heems On Rachel Dolezal, Getting Political, and How Hip-Hop Is Like an Ex-Girlfriend

Heems. (Photo Credit: Shivani Gupta).

Heems. (Photo Credit: Shivani Gupta).

We caught Himanshu Suri (known by his stage name, Heems) after his performance this weekend at Northside Festival. The rapper and visual artist from Queens, formerly of the group Das Rascist, will travel across North America for his Eat Pray Thug tour — the lineup for which was just announced. Among other things, he talked to us about “Damn, Girl,” a straight-faced song off the new album, and the choreography for the recently released video. He was open and friendly during our chat, though he would say only “no comment” when asked about the criticism he received for his use of the N-word during his talk in London, “The Policing of Brown Bodies Post 9/11.” Here’s what he said before that.

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Comedian Mehran Khaghani Extracts the Venom From Hate Mail in a New Monthly Show

mehranOver the millennia much attention has been paid to the concept of love (a second hand emotion? a stink?), while hate tends to sit, brooding in the corner. Apparently, the line between the two is thin. A wise master once noted, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Beyond this advice for mastering your emotions (and the force), is a call for empathy. Of course, how can one forget the more fatalist flipside: “haters gonna hate.”

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How Kate Bolick Got Off the Conveyor Belt and Embraced Spinsterism

(Photo: Willy Somma)

(Photo: Willy Somma)

In 2011, Kate Bolick touched off a heated debate with her confessional Atlantic article “All the Single Ladies,” which described her experience breaking up with her “loyal, kind” boyfriend of three years, assuming someone new would come along, only to find herself still unattached at 39 and dealing with the stigma and fears that come with singledom. Her first book, Spinster, tells the story of what happened when she embraced being single. It interweaves her personal life with historical context brought to life by five single ladies who were reveling in their independence long before Beyonce wrote the anthem.

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Here’s a Long Lost Mike Patton Interview, to Mark Faith No More’s Return

IMG_4299So, Faith No More’s comeback album Sol Invictus just debuted at #14 on the Billboard 200 – a hell of an accomplishment for a rock band these days, even if it isn’t quite enough for “album of the year” status (then again, FNM already has an Album of the Year). With the band set to play Madison Square Garden in August, I remembered that sometime around 1998-99, I interviewed frontman Mike Patton for a zine I was trying to put together for the old Knitting Factory, back when it was in Tribeca. The zine didn’t end up happening, so the conversation was never published, but I recently dug up the tape and gave it a listen.

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ABC No Rio Co-Founder Recalls a New Era of Hardcore in Exhibit and Screening

Freddy (Photo: Loizos Gatzaris‎)

Freddy Alva (Photo: Loizos Gatzaris‎)

Once upon a time there were things called subcultures, that managed to thrive despite promotion through “social channels” or sponsorships from energy drinks. Since 1980, 156 Rivington Street has been a subculture enclave for activists, artists, counter culturists, and assorted noisemakers, providing a non-profit space to exchange ideas and physically interact. It’s not secret that the hardcore punk scene was once a magnet for such individuals, so when the storied matinee shows at CBGB became too violent in the late-’80s, punk turned off the Bowery to Rivington Street to ABC No Rio.

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Jon Fine Talks Glory Days of Indie Rock as Recounted in Your Band Sucks

(Photo: Penguin Random House)

(Photo: Penguin Random House)

In a matter of a few years, Jon Fine, formerly of the band Bitch Magnet, went from an indie rock lifer cavorting from Williamsburg warehouse party to coke-soaked dive bar and barely making enough to make rock bottom rent on his train-side apartment to contributing on air to CNBC and writing columns for BusinessWeek. Clearly, those were different days– that same Williamsburg apartment would cost a small fortune to rent now and Fine suffers from permanent hearing loss, though he’s happily married and is the author of a new book Your Band Sucks. Fine’s memoir traces his rise to indie fame as the guitar player for Bitch Magnet to ultimately, what he calls, “the failed revolution.”

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“NYC Bitche$” Rapper Drops City Guide, Throwing “Ratchet” Party to Celebrate

Cover of Awkwafina's new book (Photo courtesy of Awkwafina)

Cover of Awkwafina’s new book (Photo courtesy of Awkwafina)

You probably remember Awkwafina best from “NYC Bitche$” in which the pint-sized Queens-native (no, she’s not from Flushing) raps, “Bitches be in Bushwick, they all live in Bushwick, they all love Bushwick, but I say fuck that shit,” and wreaks havoc on iPad-wielding bros by the Bedford stop. Her video wasn’t exactly a reaction to Catey Shaw’s notoriously tone-deaf North Brooklyn bubble video, “Brooklyn Girls” (“NYC Bitche$” was actually released before Shaw’s much-maligned video bombed) but it certainly stands as the opposition. But Awkwafina is seeking to further solidify her New York City street cred with a new project.

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Lydia Lunch Is Back in NYC to Spit Fire and Open Her New Solo Show

ephemera featured in Lunch's new exhibition (courtesy of Lydia Lunch)

ephemera featured in Lunch’s new exhibition (courtesy of Lydia Lunch)

A couple weeks back I was lucky enough to have lunch with Lydia Lunch, a legendary figure in the New York no wave scene and the hurricane-like force behind Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, queen of spoken word, and now a multi-faceted visual artist who remains inextricably tied to the downtown scene of the late 1970s and ’80s despite having left New York City in the dust a long time ago. Understandably, Lunch’s feelings about the city have changed somewhat over the years. “I hate fuckin’ New York,” she told me. “It’s dirty and you’re paying five times too much for every fuckin’ thing. I don’t understand how it can be so expensive and still suck in so many ways. The quality of the food, the subways– I’d rather walk. Rats, disgusting.”

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Former Teacher Confesses to Punking Her Students In New Sketch Show

I hate to say it, but I can sort of imagine Natasha Vaynblat, when she was Ms. Vaynblat, coming off at first as the teacher who could be walked all over. She’s nice, cute, and says things like “oh my gosh” with complete sincerity, but her unassuming nature belies her comic demeanor. During her four years as a teacher (she left the job in 2013, for comedy), Natasha loved to prank her students. In “United Federation of Teachers,” her first one-woman show at UCB Chelsea, the audience gets to see both her victories over troublemakers and her hilarious miscalculations, all of which remind me of the myriad reasons why I’ll never willingly put myself in charge of children. B+B spoke with her over the phone about her experiences and her new show.

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If NYC Is a Girl, Public Access TV’s John Eatherly’s Probably Feeling Hurt

Public Access TV (Photo courtesy of Terrible Records)

Public Access TV (Photo courtesy of Chad Moore)

John Eatherly has been doing the music thing for a while, having dropped out of high school at 17 to pursue music. “I’ve played in a lot of different bands over the years,” he explained. But Public Access TV seems to be his most focused effort to date. The band has just dropped their first proper release in the United States, Public Access EP on Terrible Records, and Eatherly’s not just songwriting, he’s also spotlighted as the lead vocals and guitars. The fact that Public Access TV really sees Eatherly coming into his own probably has something to do with the fact that he’s supremely close with all the other band members. In fact, three of four members (all except for the drummer) lived together in an East Village apartment. New York’s always been somewhat tough, Eatherly admits, but when their apartment burned down in the East Village fire last month, he realized things could always be harder.

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