Archive for the Music Category

Laurie Anderson, PIFF-Blessed/Chosen-Grateful

Posted in film, Music, queer with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by thebrooklynsocialite

In Joan Rivers new documentary, despite the over-arching theme of her heroic battle to maintain eroding celebrity, she talks a lot about being chosen. Yes, this works in contrast with the theme, because although as audience members we are asked to feel sorry for her because she is  aging, and has been  somewhat cast aside, the images that we are shown are of her affluence, her heightened privilege. She especially kills her bid for sympathy  when she on several occasions, publicly declares that she is “so chosen.” I think this is a reference to the Jewish concept of being the chosen ones, a concept that does not evade supremacist ideology and one of which, I am not a fan.

I had trouble with this  sentiment and i did not feel sorry for Joan, still I found her to be funny in an off way and I enjoyed the film. It was one of the few that I caught this year at the Provincetown International Film Festival. Kevin Smith was being honored as Director on the edge, so he was in attendance along with Tilda Swinton and the directing team behind the Celluloid Closet and several other queer history greats including Word is Out.

It was fun hearing Smith talk as I have long been a fan of his New Jersey cult classics. He produced a film, that also screened at the festival called Bear Nation. A film about the bear community among Gay men.  A great topic, but the film, however, was not a cinematic masterpiece.

Anyway, the thing which brought me to remember Joan Rivers comments on being chosen, were my thoughts at the beginning of this post and at the end of these two weeks about being blessed. Blesssed I’m afraid is as problematic a word as chosen in this context. I feel lucky at this moment, I’d say I feel blessed but that takes on a very similar religious tone to chosen and I’d rather leave all of that out of this.

What I mean to say is, I feel honored to have sat crouched down on the floor in the penthouse balcony of a very tall hotel next to Lou Reed and AM Holmes, Anthony (from he and the Johnsons) and  the esteemed photographer who took the below picture, at the foot of Laurie Anderson while she played us a song off her new album Homeland. Using her voice disguiser, she performed in the character of her drag alter ego. The whole scene was brilliant and I just sat there, in awed silence, not quite sure if i belonged. Belong or not, I was invited in.

Rather than walking out feeling chosen or blessed, I felt grateful and went home to Brooklyn.

Portrait (c) Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

DJ Spooky and…I moved

Posted in art, Music with tags , , , , , , on January 16, 2010 by thebrooklynsocialite

Well, friends I’ve been a little busy. I moved to Ft Greene, so it looks like the Brooklyn Socialite just got a little bit more central (and high-class). The transition was crazy, it involved movers and me breaking my little back, oh(!) it was exhausting, it’s taken a while to recover, but I think I’m getting there. I have still been voraciously consuming culture, that has not changed and there is much to be discussed. I really can’t imagine where to begin.

Hmmm, just before my blogging blackout, I saw DJ Spooky’s Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica at BAM (my new neighbor). Ah, it was so good, just my speed, with text and film projections, symphony live mixed-by Mr.Spooky and an interrogation of borders, neutrality and environmental preservation, the event was twisted good. He straight-up went to Antarctica and recorded the sounds of ice in preparation for this event.  I also learned that DJ Spooky aka That subliminal kid Paul D. Miller is a pretty legit working artist, am I the last to know?  I knew I was impressed when I saw him at Southpaw in like 2006 with Don Letts (that’s reggae god to you), he had some crazy projections going and a well-tailored set, but that was nothing compared with the BAM show. Here is a teaser of Spooky’s Antarctica project.

I have so much more to say but one thing at a time…

Jack Dorsey, J.VIEWZ, Jennifer Muller…

Posted in dance, Music, talk with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

On the cultural front, life has been unfolding quite beautifully, on the work/ housing front, I must emit a resounding, “Don’t Ask.” So lets accentuate the positive, starting with last Monday night. I went to my favorite niche Museum, yes, The Rubin. After some Indian Dahl soup in their cafe, I ventured downstairs to hear a very creative approach to the old fashioned interview. Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter was being essentially analyzed by the Jungian analyst, Harry Fogerty. Some pretty astounding things emerged from the exercise.

While, I live tweeted along, I found out that the young Dorsey, has quite an artistic/poetic brain. He spoke of his love for maps and pockets, as could be expected, but did so through the lens of Virginia Wolff, his favorite author, and by offering anecdotes about his mother (one of the first Twitter users) and his walking habit. Apparently, he makes a ritual of zigzagging across the city from one end to the other, so if your out walking after midnight under the starlight you might literally run into him. He also spoke a lot about the potential dangers of internet addiction, the crackberry and Twitter fiends. He recommends technology as a tool, to be used for good, and in moderation.

The invitations kept coming in and Wednesday after a day of shots from my newly acquired doctor (!) I caught a performance of Jennifer Muller and the Works’ piece Bench. Based on the issues captured in Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, the performance is lyrical and symbolic. Thanks to a choreography-explained session by the formidable Ms. Muller, I now know that the 7 deadly sins are danced in stages throughout the performance, with 7 couples representing the possible roads to folly. The event took place in the Chelsea Museum above the Hudson River skyline. I almost felt far from Brooklyn.

On Friday night, I checked out J.VIEWZ. I don’t know what that stands for but, they are: an Israeli Jazz band, fused with Reggae, equipped with a record scratching, hip-hop stylz DJ and an amazing vocalist. We enjoyed the way they turned the Blue Note into a cross between an international beer hall and a Joanna Newsom concert. It was all very Barcelona. Check out their cover of  MJ’s Smooth Criminal below, and email some juicy and fascinating tidbit about something if you want to win a free download or old school hard copy of the album…

Culture Clash: Our City Dreams, Beirut, the Third Mind

Posted in art, film, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

I have been overwhelmingly silent lately on the blog front. It’s not that I haven’t been going out, I have. It is just that I have been overwhelmed by stimuli, potential topics, definite un-topics and when I’ve tried to sit down and review I found that the reasons were wrong.

So how about a fresh start in this fresh weather. Digest style: I want to give some shout outs to the culture I’ve been sampling lately.  I saw a great film, truly beautiful, at the Film Forum, called Our City Dreams. It tracks 5 female artists, through a year or so in their lives , recording each artists relationship with the city. The director, Chiara Clemente, profiles Kiki Smith, Swoon, Ghada Amer, Nancy Spero and Marina Abramovic. A jazz soundtrack supports the film and the cinematography is infectious, it reminded me of super 8, rainy, home video.  Although each artist is in a different stage of their life and career, all seem to be at a stage where they are receiving lots of props.  Swoon goes from street art to a show at Deitch to having work at MOMA, while Marina Abramovic has a major retrospective at the Guggenheim. Ghada Amer is probably the most interesting character to watch. As she hand stitches and weaves large canvases, she tells us that she was very depressed before she became an artist. It saved her life. Kiki Smith, the daughter of a successful artist also recalls that she started to work only in her late 20s after her father died. She couldn’t take herself seriously as an artist until then. Abramovic  details her fascinating performance art-making practices. They involve starvation, cold and self-injury.

A few days after the film,  I found myself at the Guggenheim myself for the opening of The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia. Go see it and tell me what you think! I am not so sure myself. I enjoyed seeing an annotated manuscript page from The Waste Land and some of Ginsberg’s old photos, not to mention a few beautiful Asia inspired paintings by American Artists. My friend however, thought that discussion around cultural appropriation was dangerously absent from the exhibition.

Well, speaking of un-apologetic cultural appropriation, it’s on to Beirut. I have to say that the concert at BAM on Friday night was not only beautiful, but it was also lovely, harmonic, poetic, inspiring. If I could have removed most of the shouting hipster audience from the scene it would have been even better, but hey the band themselves are hipster-esqe so not all Williamsburg-dwellers are bad. The crew of young guys, headed by a 22 year old Angel in plaid, are a band that sounds consistently like gypsy music to me, yet def. delves into brit-pop, french chanteuse  and Indigenous sounds that span multiple continents. I’m not a hater, and I won’t bag them for sounding like pretty Americans, who’ve spent some time camping in Bulgaria.  I love their music and have to take the culture clashing for what it is.

-Robyn. Brooklyn Socialite in residence again.

Fader/One Step Beyond Party-SM

Posted in Music, Party with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2009 by thebrooklynsocialite

By Shannon Mustipher

I like to get out every now and again to shake it and to pretend that I am still one of the ‘cool kids’.  The winter chill has been putting a serious cramp on my dance moves  however, as I have sadly been out only a handful of times since the holidays. I didn’t have to think too hard when I got an invite from DJ Bianca to hear her spin at  Fader’s Museum of  Natural History, One Step Beyond party. I decided that I HAD to be there! The fact that the venue was uptown, far away from my downtown haunts of choice didn’t dissuade me.  In fact, I was curious to see who else would show up to the event.

I was not disappointed:  there were yuppies, upper west siders in loubotins and designer garb, a smattering of arty hipsters in tight jeans and funky eyewear, a fierce – looking group of  lesbians, and adorably spindly gay boys who made sure to look cute, while busting out hot moves.  While the bulk of the crowd was very down to earth and non-pretentious, there was enough fabulousity to keep things interesting, without being obnoxious.   It wasn’t too crowded ( maybe the weather was a factor ?) There were just enough people to make it feel full and happening without inducing claustrophobia, a common hazard in Manahattan party spaces.    The Museum’s planets exhibition was an excellent setting for the event, lending the proceedings an aura of futuristic, space age coolness.  As I’d hoped, Bianca’s set was a nice mix of electronica, hip hop and danceable indie rock; there was a little something for everyone.  She did a good job of transitioning from one phase of her set to the next, giving party goers ample space to switch gears between dancing, people watching, and drink grabbing .  Bianca was followed by Todd Sweeney, who benefited from a loose and warmed up crowd, which broke out into pockets of wild and energetic dancing not long after he took to the tables.

One Step Beyond is a fun place to go with 10 of your closest friends.  The venue and the music offer something of interest for everyone, and plenty of room for you and your gang to set up camp in your own private corner of the cosmos and party like you’re the only ones in a  tricked out space age fantasy of your own making.  One Step Beyond will no doubt become a regular stop on many a party – goer’s circuit.

Slate Honey, Novice Theorey

Posted in Mr Slate Honey, Music, People of Color, queer with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

By Slate Honey

My favorite musical experiences are ones that feel like lucid dreaming.  The one-person band Novice Theory has quickly found a choice spot on my list of vision-inspiring.  I sink into self-reflective hallucinations somewhere in the curves of songwriter Geo’s grandiose melodic piano-playing, pulled deeper in by his heartbreakingly sharp, lyrical narratives.  I saw Novice Theory live for the first time at Joe’s Pub last night.

This morning, I woke up to flashes of dreams still fresh on my mind.  In one, I braided my miraculously-grown long curls.  In another, my mother and I had a love-affair breakdown in a restaurant in Chinatown.  Lying in bed, two lines from a Kate Bush cover performed the night before looped in my head.  I hummed it over and over again on my walk to work.  I couldn’t kick the tune all day… but I didn’t really want to.

I often lose touch with my own tenderness in dealing with complicated questions of identity.  It’s easier for me to turn to political and overly-intellectual language to make sense of the daily experiences of gender-queer and racially-othered bodies in this wide world.  Novice Theory takes on these questions on an emotionally bare level.  Sometimes pounding and other times caressing the keys of a grand piano, Geo works out so much in his music.  He labors through intensity and honesty with a crafted precision.  Novice Theory mixes together classical and folk tones, a tender darkness, cutting humor and an entrancing theatrical sound.  Experiences most difficult to process somehow become easy to listen to in the candid and lavish storytelling–or maybe just graspable, simply distilled to rich and vivid imagery.

Agent Angie gets Techy at El Guincho

Posted in Music, Party with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

I headed to (Le) Poisson Rouge the other night to see El Guincho, aka Pablo Díaz-Reixa an electro-pop artist based in Barcelona. I arrived very early. I must admit a few things that threaten to undermine my status as a “socialite” dear readers. The first thing is that I don’t know if I am capable of attending these late night shows anymore. I really enjoy going to (Le) Poisson Rouge, but most of their shows start barely before midnight. When you work full time during the day, is going to a show that starts at 11:30 feasible? Not really.

Finally, Lemonade, the opener started, whose weird electronic mix of pops, blips, pings, and buzzes accompanied by occasional vocals provided the best electro-dance music I’ve heard in a long while. Everyone was gyrating to the music and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Later, when I listened to it again on myspace I felt more ambivalent. This type of music is better in person.

El Guincho drew an impressive crowd, (Le) Poisson Rouge was packed, but I wasn’t so impressed by him. A part of me wondered what all the fuss was about. His enthusiasm and personality were wonderful to watch, but the music didn’t win me over.

Therefore, I will go back to discussing my experience as a bad socialite that night at (Le) Poisson Rouge. I arrived early because I didn’t want to bother going back uptown after work. I thought it started at ten (I have a terrible habit of confusing the “doors” time and the actual time the show is set to begin). Arriving early did afford me the opportunity of observing the people around me. There was a dj, a pretty decent dj at that, but everyone was standing around looking bored (including myself). I kept thinking, ‘aren’t we supposed to be dancing? Someone dance with me.’ I was alone for most of the show and kept trying to push myself to strike up conversations with strangers who were also alone, but never did. I looked around at everyone clicking away on their BlackBerrys and iPhones and regretted that technology has driven a wedge between us. Who knows if I would have worked up the courage to do it even if the BlackBerrys weren’t present, but it’s a little harder to do when someone is preoccupied texting or twittering or what have you.

I feel I have a love/hate relationship with technology. In this instance, before I made a point to put away my iPhone in order to stop discouraging others from being friendly, I caught up on some reading. I read a wonderful article by Roger Ebert about the struggles in the journalism world of late. I was grateful that my iPhone allowed me to be productive and escape the boredom of being alone. However, it also made me feel very cowardly for using it (partly) to avoid being social. It made me wonder if depending on technology since my first year of college, when I first started to develop my social skills in an adult world and develop relationships independent of family, crippled me socially in the long run. And, what does this tell us about individuals growing up in front of screens? Imagine having a facebook profile in middle school. Any thoughts dear readers?

-by Angie Venezia