Just as we began to worry, rather dramatically, that New York had lost the last of its great geniuses, Glenn Branca, the uber influential modernist composer who at one point collaborated with David Bowie, has announced a rare live show. He’ll be leading the US premiere of The Third Ascension at The Kitchen on Feb. 23 and 24.
Arts & Culture
The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet
Tuesday, January 12 at 7:00 p.m. at The Strand, 828 Broadway
When 26-year-old computer prodigy Aaron Swartz committed suicide in 2013, the tech community was shocked. A founding developer of Reddit and the Creative Commons, Swartz was an important figure for those who supported open information online over an increasingly atomized and commercial internet model. In the aftermath of his death, Slate’s Justin Peters traces the history of the Internet free culture movement and examines Swartz’s legacy as a “data moralist.”
In the early 1970s, New York actor Tony Zanetta performed in underground theater in plays by Andy Warhol, Jackie Curtis and Wayne/Jayne County. His portrayal of Warhol in the play “Pork” would have him meet David Bowie in London. When Bowie visited New York in 1971, Zanetta guided him through the town’s nightlife. He soon became part of Bowie’s inner circle as tour manager of the Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs tours and helped run Bowie’s MainMan management organization. Zanetta had not seen Bowie in over 40 years when he learned of his death this week. Below, Zanetta recalls the exciting time when Bowie arrived in New York an unknown who would soon become a superstar.
You may have seen David Bowie’s list of 100 favorite books floating around today. But where did he go to buy them? In 2003, he told New York magazine that our own Strand Bookstore was one of his three favorite places in New York, along with Washington Square Park and Julian Schnabel’s house. (He was also known to sneak into movies at Angelika.)
Today, Whitney Hu, marketing director at Strand, polled some of the store’s longtime employees and told us that Bowie, who usually shopped incognito and alone, “managed to evade most of them” except for owner Fred Bass, who at 87 still works the buying desk. Bass told her that Bowie “always came in for the trendier, contemporary information and also made his way, a lot of the times, to the art section,” she said. But Bowie hadn’t been seen at Strand since the early 2000s. “If he’s been in recently — in the last four or five years — he kind of slipped by everyone,” Hu said.
By now you’re well aware that David Bowie has died, just days after his 69th birthday and the release of his 25th studio album. During the wee hours of January 10, it was announced that the beloved glam-rock icon who embraced androgyny and far-out, endlessly influential aesthetics “died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer.”
After finding fame in his hometown of London and absconding to the U.S. in 1974, Bowie moved amongst New York’s downtown crowd, popping up at places like Andy Warhol’s Factory and Max’s Kansas City, before relocating to Los Angeles. We consulted a number of publications — one of them yet to be published — that offered an eye into Bowie’s life in early-’70s NYC.
Yin Yangs, Sexy Neighbors, Citizen Blast Kane, World’s Greatest
Friday, Jan. 15, 8 pm at Shea Stadium: $10
The Yin Yangs were busy bees in 2015– what with dropping their new album (they premiered the track “21st century” on B+B over the summer), playing loads and loads of shows, and lending some of their members to the indie film They Read By Night (a veritable who’s-who of one particular sect of the Bushwick DIY scene). So if you haven’t had a chance to see their bass-driven guttural noise punk in person, here’s a wonderful opportunity.
East Village Radio has been playing David Bowie all day, thanks to a broadcast and rebroadcast of “The Lost Breakfast Show,” and the marathon continues now, at 2 p.m., with an all-Bowie version of “Cheap Shots with J. and Jay.” According to a Facebook post, they’ll “pay tribute to the best that ever did it by playing only Bowie and Bowie related jams.”
Kembra Pfahler’s archive was recently acquired by NYU, but that doesn’t mean the East Village firebrand is gathering dust in the halls of history. Tonight, the performance artist, future feminist, and frontwoman of shock-jock outfit The Vulptuous Horror of Karen Black will launch a weekly party at Jesse Malin’s subterranean hotspot, Berlin.
If there’s one stereotype about New Yorkers that Detroiters can generally agree on, it’s that we’re all a bunch of rich assholes. Of course, this is far from the truth. Many of us depend on $1 dumplings and stolen toilet paper more than we’d care to admit, but can you really blame them for thinking we’re a city of Monopoly men when something like this happens?
Luwayne Glass, better known by the stage name Dreamcrusher, and I decided it would be best to meet somewhere “grungy.” Even though such places are becoming increasingly hard to find near the Jefferson stop these days. After less than a year as a Bushwick resident, Glass already has a tape out with Firetalk (Hackers All Of Them Hackers), is playing close to “three shows a week” (“because I’m a fuckin’ idiot”) and is garnering some much-deserved attention in the process. In light of so much underground success, it’s hard to believe that Dreamcrusher is a noise act from (actual) Kansas that wound up here essentially by accident. “I’d never even been on the subway before,” Luwayne laughed.