“I need to get into awomen’s prison. I need to get into another men’s prison. Maybe I can get into two women’s prisons, or three more men’s prisons,” Fury Young said, punching his open hand with his fist emphatically. “I don’t know, but I want to try and at least get into one more of each.”
I realized the Bushwick-based prison reform activist wasn’t really directing this statement toward me– instead he was drilling himself about what remains left of his enormously ambitious passion project. For years, Young has been at work on Die Jim Crow– an effort that, so far, has taken him to a State Prison in Ohio and to neighborhoods in New York City and Philadelphia with particularly high incarceration rates. Along the way, he has recorded and collaborated with musicians who, at one time or another, have spent time behind bars or are currently locked up. “It’s the first anti-prison album recorded in prison,” he explained.
DTF Presents: Mandatory Seminar Continues weekly through June 2 at The Annoyance Theater, 367 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg. 9pm. Tickets are $10. More info here.
Have you ever been a part of an office wellness seminar? I personally have not, but they sound truly absurd. Get a taste of one too outrageous for words tonight and next week in the hallowed halls of The Annoyance, where The Dingleberry Theater Foundation tries their very best to stage their own wellness seminar featuring a cast of characters who don’t seem at all suited for that sort of workplace, much less any workplace. Will there be meditative breathing exercises and miniature bottles of water or will there only be disaster? Only one way to find out.
When I first locked eyes with The Teen Age, I wrote that once the band’s music “gets stuck in your head, you’re screwed.” And truly, the Brooklyn band’s concoction of vibey, stoned doo-wop, cut with surf-rock and steeped in pop, hasn’t left my innards since. Theirs is the kind of pop music that seeps into your bones, made up of individual ditties that, after your first dose, can cause foot spasms and whistle symphonies for months on end.
Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin Tuesday May 24, 8 pm at the Marlin Room, Webster Hall: $25
Goblin– the late ’70s Italian band best known for their amazingly spooky soundtracks, written for the Italian art-house horror master, Dario Argento– really needs no introduction. However, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin might call for some explaining.
(Glenn Branca’s Symphonies – Red Bull Music Academy Festival New York 2016)
There are few things in this world that make you feel more like a corporate lackey than sipping a free cocktail spiked with piss-colored (and flavored) energy drink at a show put on by said energy drink’s uber-branded festival that you didn’t pay for either. Ok, so maybe when it comes to the Marxist-guilt department, writing a glowing review about the aforementioned caffeine company’s spectacular music event tops one shameless night (ok, two) spent gobbling down all those freebies. But the real and honest-to-god truth is that Red Bull Music Academy is responsible for some truly killer (and sometimes truly rare) music happenings all over the world– Glenn Branca’s Symphonies, held at the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, were no exception.
School’s out for summer, but don’t plan on leaving the playground just yet. At MoMA’s PS1 in Long Island City, sunny daze means things are just getting started. The annual sweaty summer experimental music series (it’s been going strong for 19 years now!) is on its way back to PS1’s courtyard, arriving Saturday June 11 with a sick lineup to keep your weekends filled with the sweet sounds of electronic music, punctuated by threads of rap, indie and more.
The great giver of free things, House of Vans, has announced they’re teaming up with Rooftop Films (the latter just dropped their 20th-anniversary summer programming) for two undeniably sick events happening next week. The super group of summertime chill times are calling the almost back-to-back affairs “cinematic music events,” and for the low, low price of $0 you too can see two music-centric documentaries followed by performances from Danny Brown, The Casualties, and more. It’s all happening at House of Vans. Read on for more deets.
As the cliché goes, a talented artist can make their work look easy. Most successful works of art, then– anything from albums to paintings and photographs– belie the huge amount of effort and skill that went into their creation. This might stem from the idea that showing too much of the maker’s hand demystifies the process, and therefore risks ruining the magic of art. That distance is especially important when it comes to music– for most genres anyway, maintaining a separation between the audience and the performer, both physical and psychologically, is an essential part of the experience.
Songwriter Dru Cutler lives with five other artists in a loft that’s pretty much the epitome of DIY Bushwick. With its soaring industrial ceilings, comfy armchairs and requisite hipster decorations (vintage posters, hanging plants, etc.), Unit J seems to fit the platonic ideal of millennial living spaces, combining creative pursuits, lifestyle and the search for buzz. Over the past three years, the loft off of the Wilson Avenue stop has evolved from a co-living space for artists trying to make ends meet to an under-the-radar performance venue. Now Cutler and his fellow musician roommates are taking it a step further, launching their own record label to represent other artists they’re excited about.
Diamanda Galas: Death Will Come and Will Have Your Eyes Thursday May 12 and Saturday May 14 at Red Bull Music Academy at 258 W 118th Street
Believe me when I tell you that this one is worth the trip uptown. The Red Bull Music Academy Festival is back, and as usual their title isn’t the only thing that’s a bit of a mouth full. They always seem to be asking a lot of their guests, most of whom probably don’t wanna take some class on the anatomy of so-and-so and would just like to please hear some dang music. If you count among the purists, here’s at least one show on the month-long list of festival happenings (through May 22) that qualifies as required listening.
On May 20, the 50,000-square-foot Knockdown Center will become the site of a bold new experiment in live performance. Authority Figure, directed by performance/dance/sound artists Monica Mirabile and Sarah Kinlaw, is an immersive and participatory experience exploring themes of surveillance, authority, and obedience. Appropriately vast in scale, it features over 150 performers (including a child and a pregnant woman), and has been created with six choreographers, seven installation artists, and six musicians, including local faves Pictureplane, SOPHIE, and Hot Sugar.
Honey, The Men, Foster Care, JJ Doll Friday May 6, 8 pm at Alphaville: $8 in advance/ $10 at the door
The season of leisure is (sorta, almost) upon us, but before you can pull out your pastel polos and Adidas flip flops n’ white socks (predicting that a health-goths-in-hot-weather with ’80s Beverly Hills golf club vibe will dominate Riis Park Beach Bazaar this summer), you gotta ease into that seasonable mindset of giving very few fucks. Without the zen attitude, you’re just another banker boy who spills mustard on his Comme des Garcons tennis shoes and makes his French bulldog Daisy pay the consequences. In my opinion, the best way to avoid wanton animal abuse is to eliminate all possible stress factors– that means lining up your go-to tunes for the summer far in advance so that when it comes to making an all-day playlist on the fly, you’ll be ready to go.