Bushwick

No Comments

Cookie Tongue Is a ‘Freaky Folky Family’ Band With a Touch of Witchiness

(image courtesy of Cookie Tongue)

(image courtesy of Cookie Tongue)

A ghostly woman covered in white moves slowly, shaking. A man with long hair wails and plucks a guitar. A harmonium drones. Puppets emerge to the tunes of a flute and the beat of a drum, and a whimsical world is created that feels like a fairytale set to song, sometimes melancholy and sometimes full of life.

This is just a typical performance from the Brooklyn band Cookie Tongue, a “freaky folky family” currently in the throes of raising funds to record their latest album, Orphan Arms.

Cookie Tongue sprang from the brain of musician and visual artist Omer Gal in 2011. Upon their East Coast rebirth about a year ago, the band is now additionally comprised of Jacquelyn Marie Shannon, Chris Carlone, Brandon Perdomo, and Liza Pavlovna. Similar to Omer, all the other members also make their own art, from Butoh dance and theater to textile art and videography.

“My first band was with an ex-girlfriend in Israel. She was really into theater and fantastical worlds,” explains Omer. “When I moved to San Francisco, I moved alone, so that mixed with being in a new place created new songs. I was doing my MFA, there was a bunch of other artists there. Through jamming with them, I started writing songs that I felt were good enough to call Cookie Tongue.”

He adds that the first Cookie Tongue included yet another ex-girlfriend, who was the group’s violinist. “I can’t play music with someone who isn’t family,” he explains.

Upon his move to New York, Omer left the woman and the former iteration of the group behind yet again, but had already met his next partner in art and life.

“I met Omer at a Cookie Tongue show in San Francisco,” said Jacquelyn. “I went to a couple of shows and [it was] a super blown-away, I can’t believe this exists kind of thing. I just remember how transportive it was. I felt like I was in a book or another world.”

Omer and Jacquelyn (image courtesy of Cookie Tongue)

Omer and Jacquelyn (image courtesy of Cookie Tongue)

Jacquelyn, who initially joined the band as a Butoh dancer and now also plays an assortment of instruments, moved to New York from San Francisco around the time Omer did to study Butoh under the instructor Vangeline. There, she met Chris Carlone and Brandon Perdomo, other core members of the band.

Omer met the band’s newest member Liza on the street selling what he calls “Shithead shirts,” hand-painted t-shirts he makes bearing grotesque (yet somehow endearing) faces. These shirts are also available as rewards for donating to the band’s Kickstarter.

The uniquely fantastical nature of Cookie Tongue allows the members, especially Omer, to bring more than just interesting instruments and surreal sounds to the project. The focus is never just on music, but creating an entire world through their performances, whether this be through puppets, storytelling, dance, animation, or something else entirely.

Omer Gal's art and some of the rewards available on their Kickstarter (image courtesy of Cookie Tongue)

Omer Gal’s art and some of the rewards available on their Kickstarter (image courtesy of Cookie Tongue)

“When I thought the music wasn’t good enough in the beginning, I added the art to it to make it feel like even though I’m not completely sure about this, I have the art, which I know is good,” Omer explains.

“We were talking about the theatrics of our shows, but how does that translate to an album? And so that’s one of the fun challenges, how we capture that theatrical experience in a soundscape,” adds Jacquelyn. “This is what we look like, this is what we feel like, and the challenge of translating that into sound. There’s a lot going on besides the music.”

Orphan Arms isn’t Cookie Tongue’s first album– that was 2014’s Biotic Rituals, a selection of songs sporting similar vibes but more indie-rock peppiness. But that was recorded with the San Francisco iteration, and they are starting fresh. Well, maybe not so fresh, per se.

“I think this album is gonna be a little more, sort of soggy dust. Gravelly, brownish, grayish texture,” Omer says when I inquire about it. “Grainy. And kind of a little bit desaturated.”

Omer and Jacquelyn explain that the “witchiness” of their surrounding community (they consider Bushwick’s Tarot Society a “home base”) has also impacted the band’s sound and image.

“I think what we’re seeing especially right now is this kind of renaissance in the idea of magic,” says Jacquelyn. “Looking for magic, looking to a fairy tale and figuring out what that means to us.”

As many bands do, they’re using Kickstarter to raise funds for their album, with a reach goal of $5,000 to record the songs and press them onto vinyl. They saw the video pitch element of crowdfunding as an opportunity to make what is essentially a short film that manifests the spirit of Cookie Tongue, feeling more like a piece of art than the familiar “here’s why you should donate” spiel.

And even that’s a bit different. Omer and Jacquelyn talk at length to me about the importance of family and community, whether in the band or beyond. Cookie Tongue’s previous iterations were more casual, Omer says, but this one truly feels like a family. He recounts seeing Devendra Banhart play a show in Tel Aviv and being affected by the band, how each member got to be in the spotlight and even the audience was invited to be a part of it.

“When I saw them walk out of the club I thought, I want a band like that,” he recalls. “I want a band that’s like a family.”

“We are really into knowing who wants to be a part of the community,” says Jacquelyn. “It’s not just donate because it’s a good thing to do, but because we want you to be part of this thing that we’re building.”

Cookie Tongue will be having a fundraiser dinner and performance at a secret location this Sunday, February 19. Find out more by contacting them through their Facebook page. Their Kickstarter concludes on February 22.

No Comments

No More Black Targets, Gazoo To The Moon, and More Art To See This Week

(image via Superchief Gallery / Facebook)

(image via Superchief Gallery / Facebook)

Gazoo To The Moon: Next Dimension
Opening Friday February 17 at Superchief Gallery, 6 pm to 10 pm. 

Street artist Gazoo To the Moon is seemingly everywhere; even if you don’t think you’ve heard of him, it’s more than likely he’s caught your eye. If you’ve walked down the street and seen the phrase “To the moon” followed by a sweeping arrow, that’s him. Lately, he’s branched out from his signature phrase and has begun constructing elaborate line designs in neon colors, perfect for tripping out under a blacklight. Gazoo’s work has been recently showcased in a show co-presented by Mountain Dew, popular party series BangOn, and in installations for Refinery29 and Turnstyle at the Columbus Circle subway station. This time, he’s taking over Superchief Gallery’s location in Greenpoint bar Tender Trap. Grab a drink, and go galactic.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Gig Alert: V-Day Hand Massages, ‘Devil Worshipping Blues’ in a Church, and More

(Flyer by Kerry Santullo via Facebook)

(Flyer by Kerry Santullo via Facebook)

Mary Lattimore, Rosali, Energy Star, DJ Nina
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.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Inside LUST, a Sensual Party With Human Candelabras… and ‘Consent Guardians’

"Interactive human candelabra” hot wax sculpture. (Photo: Mindy Affriol)

“Interactive human candelabra” hot wax sculpture. (Photo: Mindy Affriol)

A woman whispers, “Can I lick the kiwi off your breast?”

Sarah-Elizabeth, a young model, nods enthusiastically and sighs in pleasure as her dinner guest mouths the green fruit and coats the side of her nipple with mint sauce.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Week in Shows: Netherlands of Brooklyn, ‘Nihilist Queer Revolt,’ and More

(Flyer via Saint Vitus)

(Flyer via Saint Vitus)

Party to Protect Your Parts: A Planned Parenthood Benefit
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.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Art This Week: Colorful Constructions, Lovin’ on Planned Parenthood, and More

Denise Treizman, Gripped, 2016. Glazed ceramic, PVC pipe scrap, ink, spray paint, resin, pom-pom and bungee cord, 7 x 4 x 2 inches (image via SOHO20 Gallery)

Denise Treizman, Gripped, 2016. Glazed ceramic, PVC pipe scrap, ink, spray paint, resin, pom-pom and bungee cord, 7 x 4 x 2 inches (image via SOHO20 Gallery)

Part Is No Object
Opening Friday February 10 at SOHO20 Gallery, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through March 12. 

Denise Treizman’s colorful sculptural creations are refreshingly playful, uplifting and childlike. This solo show of her work is opening in SOHO20 Gallery’s modest +/- Project Space, a space highlighting “ephemeral” or site-specific work. For Treizman, site-specific is everywhere, as her “constructions” are made of essentially anything that crosses her path, from pom-pom puffballs to PVC pipe. She collects these “fragments,” whether they be bits and pieces found on the side of the road or broken remains of a studio project, and then puts the mismatched pieces together to create something entirely new. There will be two other openings this weekend at SOHO20 Gallery, one of paintings by Nana Olivas and one showcasing work by the gallery’s three 2016 Residency Lab artists.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Grate Show of Support as Yemeni Bodega Owners Strike Across NYC

(Photo: Jamieson Baker/Instagram)

(Photo: Jamieson Baker/Instagram)

By now you’ve seen the photos of the crowd of Yemeni business owners and supporters massed at Brooklyn Borough Hall to protest President Trump’s travel ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. You’ve seen the signs of “BODEGA CATS GRAB BACK.” While all that went down, New Yorkers were leaving messages of solidarity on shuttered businesses.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

How Two Bushwick Movies Are Doing at Sundance

Last week, two films set in Bushwick premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Here’s the early word.

Jessica Williams as The Incredible Jessica James

The Incredible Jessica James
Directed by Jim Strouse (New York, I Love You), this is a meandering profile on youth starring Jessica Williams. Jessica is a struggling playwright living in Bushwick who is between relationships and attempting to get a play off the ground. She meets Boone, played by Chris O’Dowd, and after an awkward first date the two slowly fall for each other. Critics seem to agree that Jessica Williams single-handedly carried this movie, which has already been purchased by Netflix.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

Pixies Playing New Williamsburg Venue; Best Mac and Cheeses

Hugh A. Reid, proprietor of the eponymous Greenpoint funeral home, died last week at age 89. [Greenpointers]

Portland-based pizzeria Sizzle Pie will start serving up slices and puns (ex: “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon”) Monday at their new Williamsburg outpost. [Gothamist]

Kimchi Grill, specializing in Korean-Mexican fusion, will open its third Brooklyn location this summer in Bushwick. [Bushwick Daily] Keep Reading »

No Comments

Performance Picks: Chatbots Gone Rogue, Snowed-in Radio Plays, Psychedelic Burlesque

THURSDAY

(flyer via Bordello / Facebook)

(flyer via Bordello / Facebook)

Bordello: Psychedelic
Thursday, January 26 at Bizarre Bushwick, 10 pm: $10 suggested donation 

Sinister and sultry variety show Bordello, hosted by Madame Vivien V, features a slew of out-there performers who will brighten up your night with acts of drag, dance, performance art, fire, and more. On the lineup this time is B-boy and boylesque dancer Eckszooberante and drag performer Chris of Hur, along with performer Amber Von Toxn and Heather, who appears to proudly carry the title of “The Worst.” This iteration of the show, which has been billed as “punk rock meets burlesque meets performance art,” has a psychedelic bent to it, so who knows what sensorial adventures your eyes will be asked to behold. Let the aptly-named DJ Penny Lane spin you into color-crazed oblivion, fix your eyes to the stage, and trip out.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

‘Flickering’ is Sexy Neighbors’ Ballad of Chemical Dependency

"Flickering" (Album art courtesy of Sexy Neighbors)

“Flickering” (Album art courtesy of Sexy Neighbors)

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.

Keep Reading »

No Comments

L Train Repairs Running Late; Greenpoint’s Fireplace Bars

Yesterday Josie “Fresh” Tavera, 26, pleaded guilty to running his family’s Williamsburg-based heroin ring. His associate Jason Collazo also submitted a guilty plea. [DNA Info]

In the midst of labor contract negotiations, B&H Photo announced that they will close their Bushwick and Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouses, relocating their employees to New Jersey. [Hyperallergic]

The MTA and Department of Transportation will host February and March meetings in the East Village, Williamsburg and Bushwick to discuss travel alternatives with L train riders who will be inconvenienced during the 2019 shutdown. [Gothamist] Said L train repairs are reportedly over budget and behind schedule. [DNA Info] Keep Reading »