It remains to be seen whether the nightmare becomes a reality and Donald Trump is elected president on Nov. 8, but this much is certain: Creative Time’s next project, Doomocracy, is coming to the Brooklyn Army Terminal next month, just in time for Halloween. The “house of political horror” has now been fully funded on Kickstarter, with 390 backers pledging more than $85,000.
Bruce Springsteen fans lined up outside the Union Square Barnes & Noble earlier today for a chance to meet The Boss and score a signed copy of his new memoir, Born to Run. The event was scheduled to begin at noon, but a photo from Bruce Springsteen’s Twitter account showed that a sizeable crowd had already gathered before 10am. No surprise given that tickets for the meet-and-greet were going for $1,500.
Wednesday, September 28 at Throne Watches, 8 pm: FREE.
The future may not be looking very great for the country/society as a whole, but it’s looking okay for the four hosts of this recurring comedy show: Mary Houlihan recently went viral for her hilarious and biting interview with Martin Shkreli, “space prince” Julio Torres was recently hired as an SNL writer, Sam Taggart was named one of Brooklyn’s funniest people, and Joe Rumrill‘s face is currently comedian Tig Notaro‘s Twitter avatar. While they’re all certainly busy with all this and more, they still find time to gather in this Williamsburg watch store and host a comedy show.
If you’ve seen the 2013 documentary The Punk Singer, you know Kathleen Hanna was stuck out at sea for a long time when she was creatively paralyzed and overwhelmed by the day-to-day challenges of Lyme disease. One of the harshest consequences of her illness was profound fatigue, something that severely limited her capacity to write or perform music. At times, she found it difficult to even speak.
Lucky for us– oh, and for Hanna too– she’s doing much better these days, so much so that even though her band The Julie Ruin, like, just released their new album, Hanna is making an appearance this week at a speaker store in Soho, of all places, called Sonos.
It’s all happening Friday September 30 (11 am at 101 Greene Street), as part of a live podcast organized by the good people at The Talkhouse, which encourages artists, musicians, and all kinds of successful creatives to write about the recent work of another artist. The writer– in this case, Meredith Graves of the Brooklyn punk band Perfect Pussy– and subject (Hanna) are then brought together for a back-and-forth conversation. When the recording happens live, there’s also a portion devoted to moderated discussion with audience participation. (If you can’t make it to Sonos, but don’t wanna miss a beat, don’t fret– the podcast taping will be streamed on Facebook Live, y’all.)
So what does Meredith Graves know about Kathleen Hanna and Riot Grrrl anyway? Well, the former hasn’t beat off any Lyme-diseased ticks that we know of, and she hasn’t started any feminist activism/music movements, yet. (Although some people have predicted that Graves is bound to lead something of a sort soon enough.) But Graves definitely shares an ideological tendency or twenty with Hanna, particularly in her belief that using her music, writings, and other work as a vehicle for conveying politically potent ideas is an essential part of the art-making process–without it, the artwork lacks meaning.
In a 2014 interview with NME, Graves ranted about how lame it is to see artists, particularly those with access to a larger audience, squander the opportunity to say something meaningful. “That to me is like a singularly offensive act, to have space and you do nothing with it,” she said. “That complacency is the reason that I’m never, ever, ever going to shut up.”
One of the freakiest things about Lyme is its tendency to ebb and flow. So even if it seems that Hanna has beat out the disease, there’s still a looming threat. Artists (cool ones at least) are pretty good at transfiguring negative energy into creative productivity, so it could very well be that Hanna’s appreciation for getting a second chance at a Lyme-free life and a lingering fear of its return has turned out to be a wellspring for artistic energy.
The shittiest, stinkiest life-shits have a certain way of making even the everyday dog-sweat smell sweet– you know?
As Hanna recalled in a recent interview. “I was like, ‘It’s like I’m dead already.’ Then I started archiving my work. I was sick and I thought I was dying and started planning for my own death.”
By 2010, even her archive was already in place–at the age of 32, which might otherwise be considered morbidly premature, Hanna’s zines, old photos, handwritten letters and slapdash diary entries were already organized, catalogued, and filed away in the Riot Grrrl Archives (part of the Fales Library at NYU).
Eventually, Hanna found a way to work through the pain– as she told Pitchfork last year, she started out by experimenting with screenwriting and comedy– anything to take the edge off– and eventually fought her way back to music: “One of the reasons I went back to music even though I was extremely ill was because I started to forget who I was aside from being sick. And when I’m performing, or even lecturing, it’s like I’m myself again”
This connectivity to her creative self by way of performance probably stems from Hanna’s Riot Grrrl days when she unabashedly subjected herself to very public (or at least in view of her fellow Riot Grrrls) probes by way of zines and Bikini Kill shows. Time and again, she demonstrated a real commitment to acknowledging and grappling with her own hangups and shortcomings. (Truly, she was a proto-master of the pre-internet overshare.)
Maybe the most important byproduct of her realness was that Hanna became a role model– a woman who was revolutionary, punk, and definitely super cool, but she wasn’t some removed, manufactured rock star by any means. By fearlessly embodying contradictions and loudly proclaiming herself as the proud owner of messy realness, Hanna demonstrated that anyone could create meaningful art and music and that you only had to care in order to make a difference. The spirit of DIY spread like wildfire.
Riot Grrrl, but Kathleen Hanna and her band Bikini Kill especially, spawned and have since inspired countless artists since the movement’s inception in the early ’90s– including stylistically similar punk bands, equally sassy acts like Penis, and, of course, Meredith Graves’ band Perfect Pussy. The cultural practices of Riot Grrrl live on as well– for starters, there are events like the NYC Feminist Zine Fest, and the whole Brooklyn DIY community to think about.
Over the last few years, however, Hanna has gradually made her comeback, at her own pace and on her own term. Her return to the stage was pretty much official by summer 2015, when she started regularly touring, performing, and recording again with The Julie Ruin.
The interviews have picked up too. Now, Hanna makes regular appearances in the current cultural conversation as a living, breathing artist instead of being referred to solely as a historical icon. With events like the Talkhouse podcast, Hanna is helping to connect the dots between the Riot Grrrl movement of the ’90s and the activism being carried out by a new generation of feminist artists– they’re women, trans, queer, people of color, and all of the above. There are some major breaks with older ways of feminist thinking but it’s important to know more about the roots of that evolution which grew at least partially out of Riot Grrrl.
It’s also essential to record, track, and understand the trajectory of countercultural movements led by women and other marginalized groups, because often their stories become skewed by sensationalist retellings and misunderstandings. And maybe through a consistent, shared telling and retelling of women’s histories there can be greater solidarity– and in a world where Gloria Steinem dismisses young feminists as blind, boy crazy Bernie followers, there’s a lot we can learn by hearing it straight from Kathleen Hanna.
When John Mulaney and Nick Kroll told Marc Maron who they wanted for “Oh, Hello on Broadway,” they mentioned that Alan Alda, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump’s doctor were on their wish list. After all, they’re rich man’s versions of Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, the creepy, crusty Upper West Side roommates who rose to fame as characters on Kroll Show. Last night at the Lyceum Theatre, Donald’s doc failed to show up, but there were plenty of Trump jokes when Katie Couric made a surprise appearance.
Near the corner of Graham Avenue and Ten Eyck Street yesterday afternoon, a driver was critically hurt after suffering a seizure and hitting a B57 bus with his SUV. Three others also sustained injuries. [DNA Info]
Yesterday, the members of three local couples—including a landlord with properties in Williamsburg and Bushwick, Shlomo Kubitshuk—were arrested for allegedly cheating the government out of $1.3 million in benefits since 2001. [DNA Info]
In case you were living under a rock or underneath the bridge, Nirvana’s seminal album Nevermind turned 25 on Saturday, an event that was marked by everything from a cover night at Sunnyvale to a recreation of the album cover featuring its now 25-year-old baby. There’s not much left to say about the album that led pretty much every suburban kid to buy a guitar and smash his entire Columbia House cassette collection with it, but there’s plenty left to be said about Smart Studios, the Madison, Wisconsin facilities where an early version of the record was recorded. Luckily, a new documentary is coming along to fix that. The Smart Studios Story, directed by Wendy Schneider, will screen at St. Vitus on Nov. 13.
“You know, after a while, wearing that rubber gorilla mask is really hard,” said Donna Kaz. She was describing one of the stranger realities of her double life. For the last 20 years, Kaz has worked as an artist/playwright deftly navigating the New York City theater world– this was the serious, successful woman I met at a coffee shop in Midtown last week. But for the rest of it, she’s donned a gorilla mask, deterred neither by sweat nor fear of suffocation. (Hell, even furries, the most diehard animal-suit lovers, agree that wearing such restrictive headgear can be punishing.)
The disguise has helped hide her identity, but it’s also served as a way for Kaz and an influential group of women artists known as the Guerrilla Girls, a “secret society” of activists, to assume new ones.
Opening Tuesday September 27 at The Untitled Space, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through October 8.
No less than 21 female artists will descend upon Tribeca art gallery The Untitled Space this Tuesday for the show “Self-Reflection.” Their art spans multiple genres, but all pieces will focus on some form of self-portrait, using the artists’s own bodies as a tool for creation. These self-portraits aren’t the typical depiction of oneself; some are even constructed through wool tapestry weaving. Rather than being potrayed by others, where objectification and the pesky male gaze can run rampant, these women will take their bodies into their own hands (in some cases, literally) to construct a self that feels authentic to them, however that might manifest. Some photograph themselves, some use images of their own nude form for painting references– either way, it’s all them.
Holiday Mountain, Coaches
Wednesday September 28, 8 pm at Berlin: $8 in advance, $10 at the door
Even when they’re jamming an oversized banana down your throat, you might find it sorta hard to swallow Holiday Mountain‘s product. It’s almost as if that great, mushy mass they’re thrusting toward you isn’t edible at all, but something meant to linger in your cheek like a big chunk of chewing tobacco– mmm, actually let’s just go with Big League Chew, coz even though I’ve railed snuff a couple of times in my life, I’m really not sure of the mechanics of actual dip.
In addition, former assistant principal William Abreu was convicted of raping a 17-year-old girl who who had graduated and was working in the office of his Williamsburg high school in 2009. [DNA Info]