In less than two weeks, Rainbow Hugs and Kisses: a Doomsday Celebration, the final closing ceremony/bye-bye art show at Secret Project Robot, will open as a “greatest hits” celebration of the last five years at their current space, 389 Melrose Street in Bushwick. Rachel Nelson, who co-directs the long-running DIY art and music venue with her partner Erik Zajaceskowski are moving on to their fourth (to be determined) location since the couple started an underground party place in Williamsburg known as Mighty Robot way, way back in 1998.
In anticipation of this joyous funeral dirge, first off, don’t cry no tears– the owners assured B+B recently that SPR will return. “We’re not giving up,” Nelson said, and, according to the death notice, they’re simply searching for a new space “farther out in Brooklyn.” Secondly, there’s some amazing just-announced stuff happening between now and the final countdown. SPR hasn’t released any specifics about this Doomsday rally, but we’ll keep you updated. For now, here’s what we’ve got– ready your engines, boys n girls, it’s gonna be a fast ride straight to the coffin.
Katiee’s Out All Night Record Release Show
Friday July 1, 7 pm to midnight: $10
You may know Katie Eastburn (aka Katiee) as the searing vocal force of Young People, the minimal, hallucinatory folk-rock-avant-garde-what-is-this outfit that’s been on something of an extended band-cation since 2007.
As of late, she’s back in the business of recording again (and Young People have a show scheduled at the Good Room later in July) but this time she’s set out to make “new music for movement.” It’s an interesting evolution from her heart-shredding songs of yore, when the only kind of appropriate physical response was to hunch over, arms crossed, head down, ensuring no one can steal glances at your tears. This time around, it’s an “ecstatic” engagement Katiee’s calling for with her “functional body music” that packs Out All Night full of bliss, which dropped today on Selfish Agenda.
The tracks alternate between searching, buzzing afterglow jams and seductive, nighttime dance beats. Far from the experimental unpredictability of Young People, Katiee is urging us to sing right along with her. There’s even a track called “Atlantic City,” if that paints any sort of picture of the transformation she’s undergone as an artist. And yet, her voice is still very much recognizable as Katie Eastburn, it’s just Katie Eastburn in party mode.
Katiee will be joined by Alice Cohen‘s super fun disco-dripping pop, which makes it a great night to wear those bellbottoms you’ve been afraid to pull outta your closet since that night someone spilled phrostie on them and left an awful Red #40 stain on the left butt pocket (don’t worry, there’s no sign of a psycho juice return anytime soon– the kids who were selling em are probably off to college in the Midwest by now).
The two openers will function to warm you up to the aforementioned post-peak sounds– Dan Friel‘s frenetic, danceable noise pop will boost your RPM if it doesn’t make your head explode Cronenberg-style altogether, and Invisible Circle‘s tracks will satisfy your worship fetish with their special ability to invoke sacred vibes (they do so with a tabla, what sounds like a funeral-tuned organ, and extended vocal roars sans actual words).
Secret Project also promises a backyard BBQ with ZAXNAX (we couldn’t find anything about them, but we assume they’re super chill) and Tarot Society fortune tellers at the ready. Don’t forget to tip your reader and your bartender.
Germany, 1933 and Strange Fire
July 8, 9, and 10, 8 pm to midnight: $10 per day.
If it’s weirder stuff than music shows you’re looking for, search no further than this underground theater fest and summertime BBQ hang happening the weekend after 4th of July. Let’s face it, you’re gonna need some serious cognitive repairs up there in the old brain bag after shotgunning all those Bud Lite Limearitas (your party trick) and fire-eating sparklers till your teeth turn black (what sets you apart). And these two productions are just the ticket.
The first, Germany, 1933, is brought to you by Saints of an Unnamed Country, an experimental theater company captained by Cameron Stuart and Lily Chambers, both resident weirdos at Bohemian Grove, the super-fun Bushwick basement show space. There’s not too much info about the production, but what’s out there is certainly intriguing. We know that music will be provided by the noise/ avant-garde punk group Sewer Gators, and the troupe describes Germany, 1933 as thus:
“Our heroine, a chatbot NSA datasnitch that lives in a dreambubble, recalls in stored hexamemory her education in chatting, including her love of fascist politicking gleaned at a virtual Pizza Party.”
For context, 1933 was the year that Nazism broke: Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany and the Reichstag subsequently went up in flames– images of its crispy skeleton and the surrounding rubble and smoke drifts were symbolic of where the country was headed. Just prior to Hitler’s rise to power, the country was in the midst of economic turmoil, but also a sexual revolution and an artistic explosion that transformed Weimar Berlin into the partiest party city there’s ever been.
It sounds like the play’s heroine has a weird thing against the fascist grip that strangled the life out of vibrant Berlin and turned it into an atrocity exhibition. Huh. Does she see herself as Julian Assange’s progeny by becoming a “datasnitch” to reveal the government’s spy game, assuming that it’s all part of a mission to consolidate a fascist security state? There’s only one cool way to find out.
Another production, Strange Fire, is from the good people at Psychic Readings Company, another underground theater collective. They’ve been around since 1999 and describe their mission as advancing “a higher histrionics through exaggerated examples of life and death” and, most importantly, staging “ephemeral” live performances that combat “our increasingly recorded and played-back reality.” Hear, hear.
Strange Fire, directed by the playwright Ric Royer, centers on the very strange case of a charismatic preacher, Rodney Howard-Browne, and a twisted sermon he delivered in West Virginia in 1993. “Brown whipped thousands of people who were in attendance into a frenzy through a sermon that consisted mostly of laughter and glossolalia,” writes Royer. “Thirteen people died.”
Royer calls the incident “infamous” but we couldn’t find any reliable sources that confirm it. Still, we’ll take it. Strange Fire is a sort of re-staging of the sermon and Royer promises that it’ll invoke the same “ecstatic trance” experienced by the lucky few at the original. Something tell us this one’s gonna be awesome– there are few things scarier in this world than religious fanatics and pretenders. Perfect stuff for end times, no?