While binging on the new season of I’m Dying up Here, catching up on The Deuce, or even streaming A Futile and Stupid Gesture, it’s pretty easy to conclude that the ‘70s were awesome and now, “everything is the worst” (©Liz Lemon). In the ‘70s, a zine could matter, people read comics that weren’t also billion-dollar movies, and it was still kind of rebel to listen to The Ramones. And smoke weed. John Holmstrom, founder of legendary Punk magazine, is bringing all of that back—ok, maybe not The Ramones—by dropping a new zine.
Posts by Bradley Spinelli:
It’s hard to imagine now how groundbreaking Radiohead’s Kid A was. I’d seen Radiohead in a small Dallas club when “Creep” was hot, and ran to see them all-grows-up at MSG in 2001—but equally jaw-dropping was the opening act, Kid Koala. For music dorks-slash-turntable geeks, Kid Koala executed skillz that were technically mindblowing, while playing actual music that was swoonable for audience members who weren’t hawk-watching the camera trained on his decks.
“I was the best friend of several superstars,” Danny Fields told the crowd at Spoonbill Studio yesterday, explaining how he went on to sign Iggy and the Stooges, manage the Ramones, and become one of the godfathers of punk.
Fields is a wonderful, weaving raconteur, with wandering recollections of a time when being in the right place and meeting the right people was all there was to it. Set up with prompts by Sacha Lecca, deputy photo editor at Rolling Stone, Fields started at the “beginning,” which meant hanging around the San Remo on Bleecker and falling into Andy Warhol’s orbit. His role was “kinda shadowy,” a witness to it all. “Suddenly some of us were very rich, very famous.” The Velvet Underground, Edward Albee.
The New York Burlesque Festival blows into town this weekend for the amazing 15th year in a row. Did festival producers and co-founders Angie Pontani and Jen Gapay ever think it would survive this long? “I don’t think I ever even thought about it!” says Pontani. “In the beginning we were lucky to go year to year. Looking back, I can’t believe it’s been 15 years and how much burlesque has grown and changed. It’s been an amazing evolution to have a front row seat to.” Gapay adds, “I remember joking with Angie about the festival’s 20th Anniversary during the fourth or fifth year, and I don’t think either of us were expecting the scene to last this long, but I’m sure glad it has!”
Watching New York nightlife, it’s always wonderful when a performer you admire and enjoy goes from scrappy potential to screaming success. Lady Rizo, an inspiring singer and hilarious re-contextualizer, appears back at Joe’s Pub this week with victory in her step to celebrate the release of her new album, Indigo, which at first spin runs the gamut from Broadway tunes to Kurt Weill to neo-soul to a noir soundtrack.
The Red Room above KGB— the former black box that you were probably dragged to by college friends doing DIY theater in the early aughts— has become a swanky, prohibition-themed bar. Every bit as tuxedo as the KGB is shirtsleeves, it boasts warm lighting and art deco details, with a tiny stage and a copper bathtub. “The Green Fairy” event showcases a monthly absinthe tasting paired with era-appropriate entertainment: August’s episode features live piano by Chris Johnson, absinthe history by Kellfire Bray, and Nelson Lugo on the Victrola during breaks. Ticket prices drop for those in “vintage, evening wear, unmentionables or intimate attire,” encouraging you to help create the ambiance.
Even on Memorial Day weekend, when half the city seemed to be out of town, Gramercy Theatre drew a boisterous crowd to see Honor Among Thieves supporting Ten Ton Mojo. The scene was something out of a different New York era, with denim, leather, and tattoos more than well-represented, dudes throwing devil horns, and a whole lot of yelling. Honor Among Thieves has a decidedly old-school sound, straight-ahead rock and roll, what could be called pre-grunge or post-grunge and particularly appealed to the ’80s metalheads in the crowd. If the “Brooklyn Sound”—wall-of-reverb, loud-QUIET-loud, introspective grunginess—has become so ubiquitous in the past few years as to become the landscape, a band with the balls to un-ironically throw up a slamming cover of a Stone Temple Pilots song stands out.