At what point does something stop being beautiful once it becomes functional? Can something you use every day be made into art? Does art need to hang in a gallery to be recognized? And, perhaps the biggest question of all, how much can sheep really contribute to the fine arts?
B + B Q + A
Since first gaining internet stardom as a precocious metal trio, Brooklyn’s Unlocking the Truth has gone through seemingly every loop on the rollercoaster ride of fame. They’ve gone from playing for change outside the subway to booking major festivals; they’ve recorded and now re-recorded their debut album; and, most of all, they’ve dealt with miles upon miles of corporate red tape.
Now, after months of delays, the band’s first full-length album, Chaos, is finally coming out this Friday through indie music distributor Tunecore. (Watch the video for “Take Control” below.) Plus, Breaking a Monster, the documentary by Luke Meyer that we caught at SXSW, is set to premiere later this month. (There’ll be a preview screening at Museum of the Moving Image on June 21, followed by a performance by the band.) More →
Later on tonight, you might be brushing your teeth and instead of that familiar googly-eyed likeness staring back at you (everyone has that problem, right?) you’ll see nothing less than an animal abuser, or perhaps even a slave owner if you choose to be really honest with yourself. Your French bulldog Greg will suddenly seem like a sullen prisoner in that skin-tight raincoat you force him to wear on the reg, even when it’s a cloudless, sweltering 90-degree July day and he’s emitting piercing, parrot-like screams as he struggles to escape. And those Bob Evans sausage griddles you chased with a tall glass of heavy whipping cream for dinner? Well, your Wienerwurst Wednesday tradition might seem, suddenly, very disgusting.
Elliot Crown is an actor who likes the political, an activist who loves creativity. Mash that together and you get one of New York’s only political puppeteers. His puppets have been widely covered, but people rarely see the man behind the mask. Aside from his political theater, Crown also works “about 14 jobs, like all actors in New York” and appeared in the movie Isn’t It Delicious. Crown, who has been “45 for quiet a while,” shares his East Village apartment with many of the papier mâché masks he created – like the Donald Trump with $-eyes or Hillary Clinton’s Pinocchio nose.
There are maybe more comedians in New York City than anywhere else. And while material can vary a lot, stand-ups tend to have similar backstories, or at least in what they feel like dishing. But Elsa Waithe is a comedian like not many others. Sure, she’s a transplant from Virginia who said she “dropped everything” and moved here to “follow my dream.” She’s also of the opinion that “comedy quite literally saved my life”– another common story. But instead of squeezing her way into the big clubs, Elsa is carving out a place for under-represented comics, something she considers part of her work as a civil rights activist.
Olek is the prolific crochet artist known best for disrupting public spaces by swathing dull stone, concrete, and brick with enormous, sometimes intricate yarn hoods. While she’s spent the last 15 years living in Brooklyn, her reach as an international artist seems to be expanding ever outward from the city where she started her art career.
I was sitting in the Olive Tree Cafe, upstairs from the Comedy Cellar, flipping through Judah Friedlander’s new book. Largely single-panel cartoons, the book’s drawings run the gamut between The Far Side and The New Yorker, offering plenty of belly laughs and a few head scratchers. My favorites include one captioned, “Then one night, the dishes did Jeffrey,” a dark mass-jumper routine about a “building’s semi-annual suicide race,” and a sketch of where to meet women in Manhattan: yoga studios and $50 cupcake shops.
Most downtown Doc Marten stompers probably connote the name Richard Hell with his former bands—Television, the Heartbreakers, Richard Hell and the Voidoids—but for the last 30 years he’s mostly been writing. Hell essentially retired from music after 1984’s compilation album R.I.P., with the exception of 1992’s Dim Stars experiment with Thurston Moore et al., and he told us, “People have lots of reasons for going back on the road. It’s not tempted me for a long time.” Instead, he’s produced a stack of books, including the well-received autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp, and the collection of poetry, prose, and essays (and lovingly-produced penis drawings) Hot and Cold. Hell’s latest is a collection of his nonfiction writings, Massive Pissed Love: Nonfiction 2001-2014. We caught up with Hell (see bottom for info about upcoming local appearances) to talk about the new book, analog versus ebooks, and people stealing his haircut.
With a simple blue sundress and patriotically-colored eye glitter, 25-year-old Isabella Bustamante practically looks like she could be a teen herself. That’s not to say she’s immature, rather quite the opposite. She is the sole founder and director of Teen Art Salon, a new “arts platform that supports, develops, and promotes adolescent artists across North America.” Barely a few months old, Teen Art Salon’s main feature is its open studio space in Long Island City. Shared with a yoga studio that Bustamante’s mother operates, it is free for teens to use.