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.
Art + Culture
Anyone who bemoans feminist discussions for being stuffy, crunchy, woolen affairs is not only looking for a swift punch to the nethers, they’re also dead wrong. A panel held last Thursday at the Brooklyn Museum challenged the Portlandia image of feminism and witnessed several women being their badass selves, see: Lydia Lunch’s impassioned spoken word about race riots and abuse, Narcissister’s short film in which she plays a topless Little Red Riding Hood who “rides” the Hunter, and Johanna Fateman’ trademark Valley Girl diction. Unlike that introductory Women’s Studies course you took as an undergrad, “I Will Resist With Every Inch And Every Breath: Punk Rock And Feminist Art” (named for the Bikini Kill song above) was pretty freaking rad.
You might remember a show space in Williamsburg called Dead Herring. It was around for six years — practically decades in DIY years — before it closed in 2013. “I knew it wouldn’t last forever,” Nicki Ishmael admitted. “It’s that whole DIY has-an-expiration-date thing.” But it’s a wonder Nicki can keep it together when reminiscing. DIY’s the only home she’s ever had in New York City. From the moment she arrived here Ishmael has been deeply involved in the underground music scene. “I immediately moved into a DIY space when I moved here back in 2006,” she recalled. So it’s only natural that Ishmael and others from Dead Herring refused to let their own closure, and dozens more around them, get them down.
A local cartoonist whose comics and illustrations appear regularly on Bushwick Daily has created a limited edition crayon to coincide with the release of his new book, Stranger Than Bushwick. Jeremy Nguyen says the delicately named “Gentrification White” was inspired by a punchline from one of his first comic strips.
Three years ago, Elvis B. and Kate Angell started a zine fest that was “more focused on all the cool feminist topics out there,” per Elvis B. “In the first year, we were just like, ‘Oh, I hope people come to our little zine fest!’ But we got a huge response. We had it at the Brooklyn Commons and it was completely packed and crazy.” This year’s festival has five nonhierarchical, all-volunteer co-organizers, and is focused on making “an atmosphere where everyone is accepted and can have a good time,” said one of the co-organizers, Emma Caterine.
When I first walked in to Torus Porta, it was difficult to understand exactly what was happening. After opening a door at the bottom of a staircase, all I could see were a number of sweaty, naked bodies covered in stickiness and powder. On the floor a human-centipede-like blob of people thrashed about. I thought maybe this was an illusion or some optical trick brought on by the kaleidoscopic glow of multiple projections, but even after a few minutes of adjusting I found I couldn’t distinguish between men, women, and blow-up dolls.
Jesse Malin talks about the East Village like a wayward old friend, something he’s definitely earned having seen the neighborhood shift and transform since the early ’80s when, as a 12-year-old kid, he fronted a hardcore band called Heart Attack. And you better believe what was maybe, probably the youngest band playing shows in the city at the time recorded a song titled “Toxic Lullaby.” Malin grew up in Queens, but would steal away from the burbs whenever he could to hang out at CBGB and other Lower East Side haunts. Though he tours regularly, and like most city veterans, laments the sterilization of his former haunts and the neighborhood as a whole, he still very much identifies downtown as home.
Walk into Bushwick’s SIGNAL Gallery and you might feel as if you’ve just stepped off a spaceship onto the surface of some distant moon. A thick cloud of fog dominates the room, and strangely its opacity seems to vacillate as you move across the room from painting to installation to sculpture. It can be disorienting but also sort of zen inducing, though the gallery cat doesn’t seem to be bothered one way or the other.
An exhibition curated by Bennet Schlesinger, Fissure: Fog, installed the cloud here at SIGNAL when it opened nearly two weeks ago at what’s become one of Brooklyn’s premiere galleries for emerging artists. Fissure features work by local artists including Nikholis Planck, Aidan Koch, Graham Hamilton, and Kayla Guthrie, among others. The works draw from a variety of mediums and artistic practices.
The Lower East Side of the 1970s was a gritty, perilous place. Gang violence, drugs and poverty peppered the streets and rubble-strewn lots, threatening the livelihood and lives of the many Latino families who called the area home. Not about to see their population ravaged by the disorder, a group of Puerto Rican activists, along with residents of the neighborhood, started a movement to combat the conditions and bolster the community. Loisaida, Inc. was formally established in 1978, the name coming from a Spanglish nickname for the Lower East Side coined by poet Bimbo Rivas.
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Woody Allen wannabes mingled with finance types in cowboy boots and a few fellas who looked like they could be Keith Richards’s little brothers last night at at the opening of “All | Together | Different,” an exhibition celebrating nearly 100 artists working on the Lower East Side.
“I recognize a lot of faces here from the East Village in the ’80s,” said John Lloyd, a painter who was not featured in the show. “It’s good to see so many old farts still looking quirky and funky. It’s a wonderful reminder of what was going on. We took it for granted and it disappeared, but it’s good to see that everyone is still around.” The camaraderie was palpable, like a high school reunion with just as much booze and half the awkwardness.
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For those who missed their chance to experience the mystical world of Nicolina Johnson via “13 Portals,” the Inaugural Monochromatic Costume Ball promises to bring the artist’s world of whimsy to the Lower Eastside Girls Club this Thursday. A dream for anyone who ever took “matchy-matchy” as a compliment, guests are invited to dress head to toe in the color of their choice for a night of waltzing and dining on monochromatic food and cocktails.
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Enter P339 Gallery’s nondescript storefront on Bedford Avenue and you’ll come face-to-face with what artist Shu Ohno says is a “futuristic Japanese soldier,” slinging a guitar. Step up to the self-portrait (the axe is a nod to Ohno’s days fronting a rock band in his hometown of Fukuoka, Japan) and you’ll see it’s entirely covered in tiny objects that were either found or purchased in his neighborhood of Park Slope. Some were found on the ground, left in a box of junk in front of someone’s house; others, like the toy soldiers and horses, were purchased for 99 cents per package.
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