Getting a haircut is never as simple as it sounds, especially in this city. You’re gonna need some help, unless you have one or more of the following: a) extremely liberal views on what counts as presentable b) a steady pair of hands, and c) tremendous flexibility á la the double-jointed faction of showtime kids. Good luck with that whole finding-a-stylist thing, by the way. If you’re searching within a two-mile radius of Greenpoint alone Yelp turns up 218 hair salons. On top of that, professional hair choppin’ is a fiercely competitive scene, and yet salons still manage to be painfully expensive and, in some cases, rather uncomfortable.
Art + Culture
Naomi Punk, PC Worship, Maria Chavez
Tuesday February 21, 7 pm to 11 pm at the Park Church Co-Op: $12
If this one’s news to you, throw down your laptop (yeah, like, on the ground), pick up your feet and hurry get a move on– this one starts, like, now.
Attraction numero uno is an Olympia-based band called Naomi Punk, returning from a bitty recording hiatus, presumably with an album in the works. And their name doth not betray– Punk’s stripped-down, dusty-beer-can styling tacks a refreshingly chill vibe over garage-rock tradition, which can often veer toward needless broey BS. In other words, these cats put some much-needed “punk” in garage punk.
Last time we spoke to JJ Brine, the man behind “the official art gallery of Satan,” he told us that Donald J. Trump was “pure poison.” That was in August, right after the Republican National Convention. JJ, the self-declared “Crown Prince of Hell,” refused to say much more about the GOP candidate, even though Brine had his own political agenda: He had just tabled a plan to bring Vector Gallery to Washington D.C. in order to “‘program” the presidential elections and cause “systemic shifts in the geopolitical configuration of power in the Middle East.”
Tuesday February 14, 8 pm at Trans-Pecos: $10 in advance/ $12 at the door
If you’re anything like me, you will be spending Valentine’s Day alone. But cheer up, flying solo is not such a terrible fate– just think about all the stupid flowers you won’t have to carry around in some silly bouquet or whatever, and all that dumb perfume you don’t have to spray all over your body just to smell like the mall. Unlike everyone else, you’re gonna spend your V Day being aggressively single, which means leaving your apartment, head held high, and rocking your natural scent with pride, because you’re going to need all the pheromones you can muster.
Long before Gordon Gekko’s bimbo cousin was inaugurated in January (no doubt aided by doing the best impression of Ronald Reagan he could muster), trend pieces had picked up a scent that hinted which way the wind was blowing. It had notes of burnt hair and overcooked mini vegetables on the nose, followed by white wine spritzer, and finished with a robust whiff of Misty Slim Lights and the lingering, chemically after-stank of cheap knockoff perfumes like “If you like Giorgio you’ll love PRIMO!” Then, the elections made it official: the ’80s are back, baby.
It might have smelled delicious, but the Decade of Greed wasn’t exactly a superbly excellent time for everyone involved. But for all the negi vibes–magnified in New York City by an extreme wealth gap– the ’80s produced some truly inspiring art, and the best of it came from a thriving, vibrant underground. During this time, graffiti reached its “golden age,” as a recent photography exhibition, Henry Chalfant: 1980, reminded us, and it wasn’t long before graf became a worldwide cultural phenomenon.
Wednesday February 8, 6:30 to 11 pm at Saint Vitus: $15
Given the heavy flow of benefit shows going on around town these days, it seems inevitable that a band called Netherlands would pick Planned Parenthood as their cause of choice. Proceeds aren’t going directly to Planned Parenthood, but instead will be funneled into a PAC known as PPNYC Votes, which supports candidates running for political office at the state level. But wait a sec, aren’t we doing pretty well when it comes to reproductive rights in New York state? Actually, not so much. As one of the show’s organizers explained on Facebook, there is still a majority in the State Senate “opposed to reproductive rights.” You, like me, probably assumed that these Biblical, stick-up-the-you-know-what holdups of complex, usually self-hating origin (I mean, Brad Patton, the shimmery blond and toothy-smiled gay porn star, made a really convincing Mike Pence) were reserved for rural representatives, the same guys (they are all guys, let’s be real) who wilt at the sight of a stray tampon string. Wrong-o again. Four of those PP-blockin’ pols are from our very own city.
When Quimby’s opened up a few weeks back just off the Metropolitan stop, Williamsburg gained another hip little bookstore in an area where it sometimes feels like culture is on the way out. Thankfully, Quimby’s is the real deal, even if it’s a revival of a Chicago institution first opened by Steven Svymbersky in the ’90s.
But wait a minute, isn’t there already a specialty book store on the block? Yeah, there most definitely is: Desert Island, probably the best comic bookstore in the city, and maybe one of the most glorious shops dedicated solely to graphic novels and arty comics.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that, since sometime late last week, almost everywhere you turn, people are in a rather dour mood. Could it be that nothing feels quite so exciting after watching a limousine burst into flames? Is it all downhill from here? True, Inauguration Day was pretty insane for a lot of people, and as good-quality club drugs have taught us, even the most gorgeously wild highs will inevitably come crashing down.
From what I understand, civic engagement is somewhat different than partying all night, but then again, getting back on the protest pony is just as taxing as snapping out of a hangover stupor– in both cases, technology makes things easier, but also harder. Why not just retweet some sick “Down with Prez Cheeto” slogan? Or if you’re really not in any hurry, there’s always Shia LaBeouf’s anti-Trump livestream— just be sure to get there sometime within the next four years.
But perhaps techy slacktivism really grinds your gears. Maybe you’re convinced that you have more to contribute than turning your body into an object of Monsieur LaBeouf’s amusement, but let’s be real, acting like a Shepard Fairey mural will just get you into trouble. (See, even Shia LaBeouf is not immune.) So how does one avoid either doing too little or going too far, both of which have equally great potential for compounding our current nightmare exponentially forever and ever? City Reliquary is here to help with a new series that promises to make you feel less ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about democratic citizenry.
As if you were’t titillated enough by “Livin’ Wavy”, the Sexy Neighbors single we dropped back in December, the Bushwick-centric band is back for more with another boom-worthy single off their new EP, LIHC (out January 31 on Kings Highway Records). “Flickering,” which we’re premiering here, offers something of a departure from the “post-grunge” stylings running through the former and hints toward a new direction, thanks in part to a fresh lineup.
Scully, B Boys, Decorum, NOIA, The Christian Peslak Band, Milk Dick
Friday January 27, 8 pm at Alphaville: $12
The Trump opposition movement continues with more benefit shows extending well beyond Day 1, including this Friday-night gathering in support of Planned Parenthood. Tunes will be provided by Scully, a dream pop/cloud rock trio by way of Oakland (née The Splinters) still drifting on the bleary vibes running through their most recent release, No Sense.
Also newgaze from Decorum, and the music of NOIA (aka Barcelonian musician Gisela Fulla-Silvestre), which, if you can imagine such a lovely thing, is the sonic equivalent of knee-buckling onto a stack of 50 body pillows. And two just-announced acts– Milk Dick (foot-stompin’/milk-and-cookies-style garage punk, a la The Black Lips) and a “special secret band” B Boys (think: Goo-era Sonic Youth) have been tacked on to the lineup too.
In a vacuum, The Catcher in the Rye is a pretty straightforward story– not a whole lot happens. But if you’re at all familiar with American culture, you’re probably well aware that it has taken on an enormously prolific life of its own. Probably you read the book for school as a teen, or even a tween if you grew up here, and you might have noticed that it has a somewhat polarizing effect. If you identified with the book’s hero, a 17-year-old kid named Holden Caulfield, anyone else who shared this affinity was an OK person too. But plenty of people just don’t get Holden’s misanthropic cynicism, and it’s weird, but there seems to be a built-in emotional trigger point here for those who do: clearly the haters must be “phonies” then, too. As time goes on, and teenage angst either subsides or turns into something else, like, playing in a black metal band or four-martini lunch hours, Holden’s frustration with the world’s many, many disappointments seems more like kid stuff. And most people realize that, OK not everyone is such a phony after all. But not everyone lets go of Holden so easily.
Thursday January 19, 8 pm at The Gateway:$5 in advance/ $8 at the door
Well, there’s a super compressor of shows happening this week between now and, as The Gateway calls it “the inevitable.” And we can’t think of a better way to keep your spirits up and get the ol’ body machine moving than a Retail show. You’ve probably seen retail, since they’re one of the hardest working bands in Brooklyn, a borough full of musicians who churn out records, shows and, in Retail’s case, self-replication by way of march, at a grind-till-death pace.
The question is whether that has been in the form of a sticker stuck to a dive bar bathroom door, or at an actual show— but if you know, then you know. If you don’t, you gotta go. The band’s new record Dead cranks it up by nearly every measure, with face-blasting screams that have the kind of sharpness shaped only by scar tissue. It’s majorly fast, unadulterated hardcore. In other words, total catharsis.