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Jonesing For Good Shows? Take Your Lady Pills

Lady Pills (Photo via PopGun Presents/ Facebook)

Lady Pills, Dead Stars, RIPS, Monograms
Wednesday March 15, 8 pm at Trans-Pecos: $10 

Another one of our own bit the dust– say it with me: RIP Shea Stadium. Now what? Get out there and keep supporting DIY venues across the city. And yes, that also goes for homegrown spots that just happen to be certified-legit, grown-up, and now pleasant after years of hard and risky work– never forget that these dudes are threatened by the looming, apparently totally arbitrary powers that be.

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Ghosts, Missed Connections, and More Must-See Art Shows

(flyer via The Living Gallery / Facebook)

Of Ghosts and Girls
Opening Tuesday March 14 at The Living Gallery, 6 pm to 10 pm. One night only.

This one-night-only exhibition (as is the norm for The Living Gallery) showcases the work of Üriel Shlüsh-Reyna, a Bushwick-based artist who creates paintings, drawings, and sculptures. She also appeared as a cast member in immersive show Houseworld in 2015, which took place in the various rooms of a Greenpoint church. Her work zeroes in on matters of mysticism, fantasy, and magic. Also, she draws and paints a lot of women, some busty, some doe-eyed, some even tied-up and split in two. Of Ghosts and Girls will show a mix of old and new works in various mediums. She also indicates on her website that she’s inspired by both sleep paralysis and ice cream, which if anything is an interesting combo. The opening reception will also feature musical performances by Mike Campbell, Ben Pagano, and Charles Mansfield. Keep Reading »

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Avril Lavigne’s Ghost, a Dirty Panties Musical, and More Performance Picks


(flyer via The Witness / Facebook)

The Witness
Thursday, March 9 at Superchief Gallery, 8 pm: $10

Tonight, witness this fine-tuned evening of powerhouse performance, live music, and installations from an array of artists working in movement, visual, and sound mediums. Curated by multidisciplinary gal Ariele Max (who will also be performing), the evening is comprised of hyper-sexual “inverted gospel” musician/performer Cole, choreographer and installation artist steeped in dystopian imagery Kathleen Dycaico, research and ritual-based artist Autumn Ahn, and musician/choreographer/etc Richard Kennedy.

It’ll cost you $10 to get in, but the price includes a full day of exploring Superchief Gallery, plus wine and the mysterious notion of “edible art.” Why touch the art when you can eat it? Keep Reading »

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Here’s How International Women’s Day Is Looking So Far

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

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.

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Drink Like a Detective at the Burlesque-Filled Launch of This New Noir Novel

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.”

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Stoner Punk, a Post-Twee World Order, and More Shows to See This Week

(Flyer via Alphaville)

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.

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Watch Anne Heche and Sandra Oh Brawl in a Bushwick Tire Yard, in Catfight

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.

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PC Worship Floods Your Ears With New Album, Buried Wish

PC Worship’s new album Buried Wish, out now from Northern Spy records (Image courtesy of Northern Spy).

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. 

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Performance Picks: Communal Reading for the ACLU, Space Travel Blues Cabaret, and More


(flyer by Phoebe Randall, via The Silent Barn)

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.

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Week in Shows: a Church for PC Worship, Psychedelic Orchestras, and More

(Flyer via AdHoc)

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.

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Art Openings: Augmented Reality Voyeurism, Tattoo Art N’ Meatballs, + More

(flyer via Slide To Expose / Facebook)

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 »

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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.