It is good to laugh, and there are allegedly real scientific statistics to back up such a claim. In fact, I just found something literally called the Laugher Online University, and you know what, I have a lot of questions about it. But why spend your time on weird websites when you can venture into the real world and get some actual laughter?
You’re in luck— Thursday night is LAWL(Ladies and Womyn Laughing), Arti Gollapudi’s comedy night showcasing women, trans, and gender non-conforming funny folk. Gollapudi is no stranger to curating spaces prioritizing these groups, as she is also a co-founder of the Comedy Cunt Collective. Tonight at LAWL, you can see jokes n’ silly stories by Sue Smith, Shannon Odell, and Wanjiko Eke. And if I’ve made you too curious about this University of Laughter, you can always just look it up on your phone in between acts or something. Keep Reading »
Behind These Prison Walls Opening Monday, May 22 at The Living Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. One night only.
This one-night-only exhibition will be showcasing the work of Lorenzo Steele Jr., a visual artist who formerly served as a corrections officer at Rikers Island. As we’ve outlined in the past, conditions at Rikers could be described as “dismal,” if you’re into understatements. This holds particularly true for its younger residents, as New York state still charges 16 and 17-year-olds as adults, one of only two states to do so. This will soon change due to the recent passing of the Raise the Age initiative; individuals under 17 will no longer be held in county jails as of October 2018 (18-year-olds, too, starting a year later) and the “majority” of defendants aged 16 and 17 will be dealt with in Family Court rather than tried as adults.
Lorenzo Steele Jr. knows this particular plight all-too well, as the majority of his photographic documentation (taken from 1987-1999) chronicles the grim conditions to which inmates at Rikers have been subjected. Specifically, his work zeroes in on the adolescent jail and its solitary confinement unit. These images will be displayed alongside found weapons and other prison-sourced artifacts. Even as we spend our days lamenting the state of politics and Russia and the world, it is important to remind ourselves that there are also local travesties still happening around us, and it wasn’t the new administration that put them there. Keep Reading »
People crowd into the rear area of a Bushwick bar. They’re hooting and hollering, throwing dollar bills into the air as a drag queen named Ruby Fox, with long hair and an outfit reminiscent of an underground fetish party, lip syncs and launches into a back handspring. Where a kitchen once sizzled, a DJ now spins. Nowadays, this is just an average Wednesday night at The Rosemont, a newer project from Trash Bar’s Aaron Pierce that initially opened in Bushwick last May. Rather than carrying on the wild spirit of Trash, The Rosemont was poised to be more mature, a jazz club slinging bespoke cocktails and small plates. But recently they brought on someone new, switching saxophones for death drops.
Hopeful as Pierce was for this new, classier direction, seven days a week of jazz didn’t prove entirely fruitful. Enter Troy Carson, previously known for opening Williamsburg gay bars Metropolitan and Sugarland and managing East Village spots Nowhere Bar and Phoenix, who now serves as The Rosemont’s general manager. Keep Reading »
Vulture Fest: Cat Power, Frankie Cosmos Saturday May 20, 7 pm at Webster Hall: $40 to $45
This one’s at the top of our list because, well, Cat Power.
Lucky for you, Vulture Festival managed to do the impossible and book a last-minute gig with the ever elusive, certifiably brilliant Chan Marshall– which is just kind of how things go with her. In case you have lost track: she hasn’t appeared on stage in five years.
It kinda goes without saying, but Marshall has had a stellar career releasing albums as Cat Power. Our sister site, Vulture, writes that “Marshall is still one of our most vital songwriters, and each time she gets onstage is a unique, unexpected, and moving experience.”
But, for a time at least, she was notorious for lashing out at the audience (often justifiably– sorry, not sorry), walking off in the middle of her set, and generally having what the music media machine love to characterize as “breakdowns.” Mind you, the term seems to be reserved especially for women artists when they get particularly emotional, or even just confrontational on stage. (I guess rock star dude bros can have “breakdowns” too, but they usually involve rehab, or perhaps a reality TV show that documents a clinical inability to remove one’s headscarf.) When musicians of the male variety have tizzies on stage we just call it “shredding” or “Kanye.”
Cat Power’s last official tour–to promote Sun, which dropped way back in 2012–was predictably bumpy. Still, if it was easy to frame the drama as a result of “instability” or as a sign of burnout, it was impossible to square her recorded music with such a narrative. Pitchfork pointed out that Sun– Cat Power’s first to “feature synthesizers, Auto-Tune, and Iggy Pop” released nearly two decades after her debut– was the work of an artist at her creative peak, and “[existed] completely and defiantly outside of any larger musical trends.” What’s more, it was Marshall’s mercurial sensibilities that made Sun so magnetic and addictive in the first place.
So why would we expect anything other than an emotional hurricane from Cat Power’s live performances? (Personally, I’m gonna stick this one in the ol’ virgin/slut file, along with all the other contradictory roles we expect women to fulfill simultaneously.)
Let’s be clear: Marshall is older and wiser now, and it’s been years since she has relied on her potent stage juice (Xanax, cigarettes, and “a minibar’s worth of Jack Daniel’s, Glenlivet and Crown Royal”) to get things going. But (while we hope to see a full set from her) we fully encourage her to let it all out– and if that means starting a fire and burning the whole stage down with her, then we trust that she knows what she’s doing.
(Flyer via Trans-Pecos/Facebook)
Weed, Bugg, RIPS, Silk Sign Friday May 12, 8 pm at Trans-Pecos: $8 in advance, $10 at the door
If you’re a cynical jerk like me, then you might also be immediately suspicious of a band named Weed(in town from Vancouver, BC)– like, if Urban Outfitters had the keys to the record label castle and were given full reign to manufacture some Frankenstein-like on-brand band, it would most certainly be called “Weed.” I can see it now, an album cover adorned with pizza slices, alien faces, ying-yangs, and of course pot leaves, all sloppy-like as if sketched by a fifth grader hopped up on Hi-Chew and Mountain-Dew Slurpees. This “band” would sound like an aughts-does-the-’90s version of Sum-41 and would play shows at the (now-defunct) rooftop restaurant at the UO “concept store” in Williamsburg. In short, total barf fest.
Thankfully, Weed are not at all as I feared them to be. Instead they embody ganja in its realest, unmarketable form– as skater fuel, spiritual inspiration, and the stuff you ingest to make you slow down and, like, wonder about the universe for a moment. Sonically, that translates as sorta shoegazey (but not in any serious sense) stoner rock with a whole lotta reverb.
(Flyer via Silent Barn/ Facebook)
Street Eaters, HVAC, Boys Online, Salty Tuesday May 9, 8 pm at The Silent Barn: $8
You know that rumor that’s been going around for a while now? Something about how “punk is dead.” Come to think of it, seems like this has kinda always been the case. Prepare to have your mind blown, but consider the possibility that maybe this debate has been on the table since the dawn of friggin’ time. Hear me out: clearly “punk”–as a state of mind–existed long before The Velvet Underground and The Stooges and all that, even since the dawn of time. Shakespeare was kind of a punk (in fact, he was waaaay ahead of the curve when he used the term way back in 1602). And Sappho, well she was about as punk as anyone could hope to be when she was writing poetry circa 570 BC.
Given that punk (ideally, anyway) is youthful, rebellious, and against the status-quo, it’s only natural that questions about its continuing relevance are about as common as punk manifestos. It’s hard to admit, but in a lot of ways– looking around the NYC scene especially– punk, when considering its most visible forms and “successful” bands (lol whatever that means), still suffers from hyper-masculine, misogynist tendencies. Yes, still. Which, needless to say, has not only gotten old, but has been old– like, forever.
You might think that’s sort of sad, since right now especially (given the awfully depressing circumstances of our most horrifying present) we should all be going to more punk shows. It is, if you’re going to the same old shows, headlined by the same old bands. But there’s an easy fix: support the bands that are not zombie relics of another era– bands that include women, queer and trans musicians, people of color, Muslims, Jews, everyone, everyone. If you even need reason, you will be rewarded not only with a fresh-feeling scene, but excellent sounds that remind you why you started listening to punk in the first place.
The war in Syria has gone on for so long that many of us here in the West have grown numb to it– which might sound callous, but it’s difficult to avoid mainly because the narrative has been dominated by chaotic battlefield reports and gruesome images of the violence inflicted by Assad on his own people, including children and civilians in general. The only way to avoid going completely insane over such horror is to keep a safe distance.
But this can’t go on forever– and slowly, we’re starting to receive dispatches that are more human: personal accounts by the people who have actually been there. Art is an especially useful way to reach people, and more importantly move them.
Enter OmarSouleyman, an unlikely rock star who “began his career as a prolific wedding singer” in Syria, “releasing nearly 500 live albums before civil war broke out” in 2011. His life, like many more, was upended in profound ways, but he continued making music even after leaving his home in Al-Jazira (a region in Syria’s northwest) for Turkey, which took on a whole new depth. Now, the West is listening to Souleyman, whose sounds and heartfelt lyrics give listeners no choice but to reckon with reality.
On To Syria, With Love, the album Omar will release on June 2, he sings: “It’s been six years I’ve been away, and I’m tired of looking for home and asking about my loved ones. My soul is wounded and it’s like having dust in my eyes. We are in exile, and our nights are long. Our homeland is our only comfort. Life caused us so much pain—our wounds are too many and every wound calls out, ‘We miss Al-Jazira.’”
Correction: The original version of this post was revised to correct the release date of “To Syria, With Love.”
This past Monday, notable noodle purveyors Chuko Ramen began serving dinner in their Bushwick location at 144 Evergreen Avenue. Now, North Brooklynites will no longer have to make their way to Prospect Heights to enjoy a bowl of Chuko’s flavor-packed veggie miso ramen or their celebrated kale salad. Keep Reading »
“Comedy shows” sounds a lot like “comedy shoes.” What are comedy shoes? Maybe they’re big ol’ clown shoes, or super squeaky slippers, but it doesn’t matter what you think they are. The dynamic duo of Edy Modica and Eliza Hurwitz have declared their comedic footwear of choice to be roller skates, proclaiming (and skating) this loud and clear in their monthly show on wheels, ROFL. Bet you never knew that age-old internet acronym was actually referring to roller skates.
This month, a fine bunch of funny folk will be rolling in to tell jokes and make merry, including Marcia Belsky, Dan Licata, Jaboukie Young-White, Charles Gould, and Aparna Nancherla. I once tried to perform as a character wearing roller skates and when I tried to stand in one place for a duration of time I slowly and endlessly rolled forward and did not know how to stop. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.
Hank Wood & the Hammer Heads, La Misma, Mommy, Conspiracy, Shimmer, Fur Helmet Friday May 5, 8 pm at Saint Vitus: $15
This lineup reads like a who’s-doo of Toxic State records. Arriving straight from the “institutional abyss” is Mommy. Then you have the Portuguese spittlin’ piss punks ofLa Misma, and scene stalwarts likeFur Helmet and Conspiracy. I mean, Saint Vitus has been called “one of the best-booked bars in New York”– even so, you’re rarely gonna find so many excellent punk/hardcore bands in one place outside of a funeral or, like, a festival (shudder).
Screaming Females, Future Punx, Snakeskin Thursday April 27, 8 pm at Brooklyn Bazaar: $15
There’s never not a good time to see Bushwick’s own sci-fi synth-punk sensations, Future Punx, in action, but this particular show has a lineup that’s especially motivating– the headliners Screaming Femalesare almost guaranteed to get your friends off the ashy bean bag. It’s definitely been a while since these DIY vets released a new album (2015’s Rose Mountain was their last) but in the grand scheme of things, they’re doing pretty dang ok. (I mean, Rose Mountain was universally beloved for one, and as long as the Females aren’t moving into early retirement right after one last go at the ol’ stinky-foot tour route, I’m willing to guess that they are (still) in it for the long haul.
Actually (in my book, anyway) it’s much more reassuring to see a band touring outside of the music industrial complex’s oppressive and ultimately really just kind of boring and predictable record-promote-release-tour model– it’s indication that said band might be motivated by things other than career/success/ladies/money/401Ks. Though you need only see the Females live to know that they’re passionate about what they do.
(Flyer via Babycastles)
Meat Market: Vas Deferens, Coatie Pop, Nandi Loaf, Pity Laugh, Little Pain Friday April 28, 8 pm to 11 pm at Pfizer (630 Flushing Avenue):$5 to $10, suggested donation
Ok, so the number one reason to get to Meat Market this weekend is that the title will automatically put everyone in a really gelatinous, tubular sort of mood– in short, loose. Which, duh, means great dancing. Secondly, the Pzifer building– if you’ve never been– is a massive, labyrinthian chip off the ol’ drug-manufacturing block, replete with medical, pill-pressing relics of yore, yes, but also the kind of double-wide elevators, expansive factory-sized corridors, and wide open spaces that come with the post-industrial territory. All of which make this a perfectly awesome place to throw a weird dance party.
Oh, yeah, the music (brought to you by the Babycastles crew), should be sufficiently out-there as well. For one, there’s Coatie Pop, who is a regular Mother Teresa. mean, I can only assume she’s charitable and worthy of sainthood because she dresses up like a nun and lights a bunch of mass candles for her performances. (Seriously, though, it’s cool looking.)
Even if you’re like me and otherwise haven’t really heard of anyone on this lineup, you can trust it’s gonna be sufficiently freaky since the show is happening in conjunction with E /\/ C O U/\/ T E R S, a performance-based art show curated by Vera Petukhova with some fabulous contributing artists including Angelina Dreem.
Laser Background, Operator Music Band, Norwegian Arms, Railings Friday April 28, 8 pm at Trans-Pecos: $10
Andy Molholt recently dropped a new album under the guise of his psych-pop project Laser Background, andit’s called Dark Nuclear Bogs, which to be honest is kind of perfect for our uncertain, heavily-armed present. If you’re pretty sure that SALT I and SALT II is the kind of stuff you load into novelty porcelain shakers, then all I have to say is, wow we are doomed.
If such dark pronouncements for the future make you restless, then perhaps you’d prefer to think about the (tiny) possibility of a Utopian outcome for our difficult species. We’ve got just the sound for that– but first we have a few questions: If you’re either a) completely unsatisfied with the breadth of Kraftwerk’s extensive catalogue or b) convinced that Kraftwerk is a new kind of vitamin B- and taurine-fortified processed cheese product from Kraft (“It Runs! It Jumps! The Only Thing It Doesn’t Do Is Melt!”) thenOperator Music Band is for you.
(Flyer via Facebook)
TechnoFeminism Saturday April 29, 10 pm to 4 am at OMG Pizza: free before midnight
Apparently you really can throw a rave at a pizza joint. Who knew? As long as you can stomach the smell of food whilst dancing/candy flipping, and are not prone to terrifying, mastication-induced hallucinations when you’re high as hell on water, then we fully encourage your attendance.
As you might have deduced from the name, TechnoFeminism boasts a “female” (in any way that might be expressed)-centric lineup, which is actually saying a lot for the hyper-masculine, DJ Man Man world of techno and electronic music. I mean, when was the last time that you went to a rave/dance party/what-have-you that was all, or even mostly, headlined by women, female-identifying musicians, and/ or even outspoken feminists? Yeah, we thought so.
If short n’ sweet shows are your preferred method of entertainment, this could be quite the change of pace. The Obie-winning company Target Margin Theater will be commemorating their 25th anniversary of making work by taking on Eugene O’Neill’s 1931 work Mourning Becomes Electra, and they’re doing it in a big, big way. Or rather, a long, long way. The production runs around six hours long, but don’t expect to sit for that entire time. Mourning Becomes Electra is technically a play cycle, consisting of three plays that serve as a modern retelling of Greek tragedy The Oresteia, turned into a Freudian family melodrama set at the end of the Civil War. So, the company is dividing Abrons’s Playhouse into different sections, guiding audiences between different portions of the performance space as the play cycle progresses.
If you’re still hesitant about committing to this behemoth endeavor, know that it also includes two intermissions and “a light meal.” Everyone loves a nice meal.
Mind Portals Opening Thursday, April 27 at Babycastles, 8 pm: $10-15 sliding scale. On view through May 12.
Babycastles has done a pretty good job framing itself as the place to be when it comes to wacky tech-driven art and indie games. This Thursday’s opening will be no exception, as they will be unveiling a host of new video games, VR experiences, and multimedia installations. You can “follow an aries goat on an herb walk” (whatever that means, I’m intrigued) in Young Ascension Hypnosis’s VR video, relax and kick back in Avalon’s sound and flower installation “The Garden,” and find yourself in a flurry of disembodied hands and techno music through Palgal’s cleverly named video game “Palmystery.”
If this opening wasn’t internet-centric enough, net artist Molly Soda will be DJ-ing for the night as well, in addition to sets by Good DJ with High Speed Music, Neo Edo, and A Pigeon Is Born. Keep Reading »
Sasha Velour’s Nightgowns Thursday, April 20 at National Sawdust, 8:30 pm doors, 10 pm show: $18 advance, $22 doors
If you live in Brooklyn and are watching this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, there’s probably a pretty good chance you’re only a degree or two of separation from some of the queens competing. One of these hometown heroes is Sasha Velour, who has continued to host the unique drag variety show Nightgowns on a regular basis. The show is typically at Bizarre Bushwick, but is making the move to dear old Williamsburg and its funky, classy music hall National Sawdust.
Given that they’re moving to a bigger, swankier space, the lineup is pretty big too. You can see shows after fabulous show from Francesca, Hystée Lauder, Kandy Muse, Olive d’Nightlife, Pearl Harbor, Severely Mame, Scarlet Envy, Untitled Queen, and Vigor Mortis. And hey, it’s 4/20, so there’ll probably be some sort of relevant performance themes going on. Keep Reading »
Wolf Eyes, Eartheater, Twig Harper Saturday April 22, 8 pm at Brooklyn Bazaar: $13
Wow, what a whirlwind couple of years these must have been for Wolf Eyes– and this #blessed bestowance is well deserved for the band, which started out making noise, then moved toward not-noise-at-all noise that really was noise, until they transcended noise altogether. The comeuppance has meant, among other things, a new record label to call their own, a music festival in their honor (Trip Metal Fest will be back this year for a second go-round), a stream of sold-out shows in places that are just slightly above the underground and well beyond the borders of Metro Detroit, and now Undertow, a new album hot on the pup paws of 2015’s I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces.