It’s International Women’s Day. As expected, restaurants and other businesses around town are participating in the #ADayWithoutaWoman strike. Even the Statue of Liberty took last night off in solidarity. To find out how you can join in, see our roundup of today’s events. We’ll have more coverage later; in the meantime, here’s what’s happening on social media.
It’d be impossible for Bradley Spinelli to top the suicide-themed set that Questlove did for his debut novel, Killing Williamsburg, but the B+B contributor’s latest book launch should come close. Thursday’s party for The Painted Gun, a noir mystery published by Brooklyn’s own Akashic Books, will feature a raft of burlesque stars as well as tacos from ever-expanding Dos Toros.
It makes sense that the West Coast-inspired burrito joint is on food duty: The Painted Gun is set in the Williamsburg-based author’s former hometown of San Francisco, in the late ’90s– you know, when Yahoo! stock was booming. Its hard-bitten, hard-drinking hero is David “Itchy” Crane, a journalist-turned-PI on the hunt for the mysterious Ashley, a missing artist who has a creepy talent for painting scenes straight out of Crane’s sad-sack life. (If you want to make like Itchy during the party, suck down a half dozen Jamesons.) Don’t take it from me, since I’m his editor– Publishers Weekly says Spinelli is “definitely a talent to watch,” and his latest “deftly segues from one genre to another—from hard-boiled noir to paranoid thriller, puzzle mystery (with each and every riddle logically explained), spy caper, and ultimately to something evocative of Bogart and Bacall.”
Eames Armstrong, The New York Review of Cocksucking, Scant, Brandon Lopez, Lacanthrope, Sapphogeist
Monday March 6, 8 pm at Alphaville: $10
Is life even real anymore? Well, considering that we, fine people of this once and forever great city, now have a band named The New York Review of Cocksucking to call our very own, it’s hard to believe that reality right now is indeed real. How could it be? Especially when the official soundtrack to our lives, at least for a moment– jazzily improvised by none other than the duo Michael Foster and Richard Kamerman (who have done the right thing in choosing a moniker that sounds like a James Franco-produced lit mag)– is a truly alien form of avant-garde freakwave. Lend your ears to their looping tape noise (disintegration incarnate) and saxophone sounds easily mistook for the pleasure wales of fornicating dolphins, and discover that the finite world is overrated.
When Onur Tukel unveiled Abbie Singer/Songwriter at the Brooklyn Film Festival, we noted that he’d premiered three features in two years, which pretty much made him the Woody Allen of Brooklyn. The comparison remains apt with Catfight, a metaphysical dark comedy that’s a distinctly Woodyesque meditation on karma and creativity. It opens today at Cinema Village 12th Street.
Phrases like “hard to pin down” and “defies easy categorization” get thrown around way too much, but PC Worship truly has a chameleonic presence. Northern Spy, which last week put out the band’s new album Buried Wish, describes it as a “dedication to categorical ambiguity.” Their free-flowing ways consist of improvisational live sets, an ever-rotating cast of musicians, homemade instruments (like frontman Justin Frye’s “Shitar”), and a hazy sort of eclecticism that brings tape loops, sludge rock, and free jazz together with so-called “Eastern” rhythms and avant-Americana.
This Is How You Talk To People
Wednesday, February 22 at The Silent Barn, 7 pm: $5
Tonight, Bushwick mainstay The Silent Barn will welcome a “communal reading” of a play by Rachel Davies, who has written for outlets such as Rookie, Complex, Nylon, and The Le Sigh. This Is How You Talk To People is Davies’s first play, and chronicles a variety of women from a talk show host to a student who are collectively trying to navigate shifting friendships and relationships. The reading will be done communally in “an attempt to make the performance more accessible,” and profits from the evening will be donated to the ACLU.
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.
Slide To Expose
Opening Thursday February 23 at Babycastles, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through March 9.
This “collaborative augmented reality installation” is created by Molly Soda, Nicole Ruggiero, and an augmented reality app called Refrakt. If you’re confused about what augmented reality is, recall Pokemon Go. Two creators known for their “net art” collaborating with a literal app sounds like a match made in heaven. And it seems to be: Slide To Expose plays on themes of digital intimacy and privacy, but does so by asking viewers to scan objects in the gallery to reveal hidden pieces of a life online, like emails or text messages.
On the one hand, art all about online expression and how technology affects our lives can seem like old hat. On the other hand, if you’re getting another chance to take a peek into how an individual person expresses themselves online specifically, you’re going to be getting a unique and different experience every time. Plus, you’re doing so through scanning stuff. When any object could contain a secret, why not give it a whirl? Keep Reading »
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.