Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kofi Ghanaba Memerorial at the Jazz Gallery 6/21/09

My biggest problem with the Make Music New York! Festival is that it makes you wish you were in about a hundred places at once. When are they going to finally approve human cloning? Even though this year there were nearly 900 free outdoor performances all over New York City from sun up to sun down, its hard to soak in more than a few performances unless everything you want to see is centrally located, like the annual Punk Island where Governor's Island is transformed into a massive free outdoor punk rock music festival during Make Music New york! Or if you like hipster bands you can just crawl through Williamsburg and listen to all your skinny pants wearing favorites. However my tastes are pretty diverse and I find myself being torn in a hundred million directions and end up not seeing very much at all because I spend the entire day on the subway going from borough to borough. Also, without fail, every year everything I want to see is at the exact same time.

This year I got up too late to catch some of the earlier shows. I wanted to finally take the free ferry out to Governor's Island and pogo, skank and slam to some good old fashioned punk rock music. One of the many things I love about New York City is that its the birthplace of both punk rock and hip hop, two of my great loves.

Getting up late also meant I missed the Ukulele jam on the upper west side and the extremely bizarre all-saxophone tribute to Charlie Parker in which free jazz saxophonist Ras Moshe led an all-saxophone ensemble in front of Charlie Parker's old apartment in the East Village. What's bizarre about that you may ask? Each saxophonist played a different Charlie Parker tune all at once, free style.

So with time constraints I knew I had to pick well. As much as I wanted to see the all Accordion parade through Park Slope or the loud electro-rock stylings of Blanket Statementstein which features founding members of the world renowned Brooklyn-based afrobeat group Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, my choice was pretty clear- I had to see Living Jazz Legend Randy Weston in his tribute to African Jazz great Kofi Ghanaba.

I chose wisely. It was one of the best Jazz performances I've seen since moving to New York. "Kofi Ghanaba: a Memorial to the Divine Drummer" was co-produced by the Jazz Gallery and Jazzmobile as part of the Make Music New York! Festival and featured the Randy Weston African Rhythms Quintet with special guests Obo Addy and Kwaku Martin Obeng.

The Randy Weston African Rhythms Quintet featured Randy Weston on piano, Alex Blake on bass, T.K. Blue on sax, Benny Powell on trombone and Neil Clarke African percussion. With special guests Obo Addy on talking drum and Kwaku Martin Obeng on African percussion.

Legendary African Jazz musician Kofi Ghanaba was an influential drummer who was highly skilled in both drumset and traditional Ghanaian percussion. He came to be known by the honorary title of Odomankoma Kyrema, meaning the "Divine Drummer." First introduced to musical audiences as Guy Warren, Kofi Ghanaba was born in Ghana in 1923 and sadly passed away in December of 2008. Ghanaba is widely recognized as the first African musician to perform in the Amreican Jazz scene, working in Chicago and New York and playing with Jazz greats such as Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Max Roach and Lester Young. Kofi Ghanaba pioneered Afro-Jazz and emphasised the African origins of Jazz in his work.

Randy Weston was born in Brooklyn in 1926 and is a direct aesthetic descendant of Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk, with a unique style in his own right. Randy Weston has long investigated the ties between Africa and the U.S. in his music, making it his life's work to delve deep into African music filtered through a Jazz lens.

Joining Randy Weston and his African Rhythms Quintet was the special guest master drummer Obo Addy , descended from the same Ga ethnic group as Kofi Ghanaba. Born in 1936, Obo Addy was one of the first to fuse traditional African music with western pop creating the music known as worldbeat. Also joining Weston for this amazing tribute was Kwaku Martin Obeng, a native of Ghana and teacher of ceremonial songs, dances and traditional drumming at Brown University. Obeng's vision of Jazz as a diasporic language stretching from Africa to the New World is perfectly in keeping with Kofi Ghanaba's musical legacy.

"Kofi Ghanaba: a Memorial to the Divine Drummer" took place inside the Jazz Gallery at 290 Hudson St in SoHo. The Jazz gallery is a cultural center that highlights the significance and varied dimensions of African and Afro-Cuban music and their ongoing relationship to Jazz.

The performance was supposed to be outside in keeping with the Make Music New York! Festival's mission of providing free outdoor music in public spaces throughout the five boroughs. Sidewalks, streets, parks and community gardens. But unfortunately it was raining, so the memorial to Kofi Ghanaba was moved to inside Jazz Gallery's space. It was actually a really enjoyable way to watch Randy Weston African Rhythms, Obo Addy and Kwaku Martin Obeng perform. It was cozy. The lights were dimmed. There was Jazz themed artwork, photography and memorabilia hanging on the walls. It was so packed people were sitting on the floor. It felt really communal.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Not Another Freakin' Mermaid Parade Slideshow... Coney Island Mermaid Parade 2009

I know that everybody and their momma posts a slideshow of their pics of the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade in all its pastie-clad glory, so why should I be any different?

New York Loves a parade. We have three GLBT/Q Pride Parades in three separate boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens). We have several St. Patrick's Day Parades. We have three Puerto Rican Day Parades, with the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in Manhattan being not only the largest Puerto Rican parade in the nation, but also one of the largest outdoor events in the country. There's the Chinese New Year Parade in Manhattan's Chinatown and the Lunar New Year Festival and Parade in Flushing, Queens. In Brooklyn we have the West Indian Day Parade (aka the Labor Day Parade) which is modeled after the Carnivals of Trinidad, Tobago and other Caribbean Islands with a Carnival tradition.

There's parades based on religion, such as the Sikh Cultural Society Parade, the Muslim Day Parade, the Easter Parade, the Christian Youth Parade and the Hare Krishna Parade.

There's parades based on ethnicity and national origin, like the above mentioned Puerto Rican Day Parades and Brooklyn's West Indian Day Parade. There's also the Mexican Day Parade, Cuba Day Parade, Hispanic Day Parade, African-American Day Parade, Turkish-American Parade, Norweigian-American Parade, Dominican Day Parade, Haitian-American Day Parade, Phillipine Independence Day Parade, India Independence Day Parade and Pakistan Independence Day Parade, just to name a few. No disrespect to any group I may have left out.

Then there's the art parades, like the Soho Art Parade, the Village Halloween Parade which is the country's largest night parade and the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. The mulicultural New York Dance Parade feautures live bands and DJs and showcases everything from ballet to breakdancing, belly dancing to tango, and from salsa to swing.

Last but not least, there's the D.I.Y. nature and street theatrics of the more chaotic, unpermitted events like the monthly Critical Mass bike rides where bicyclists take over the streets promoting eco-friendly transportation alternatives and celebrating bike culture, the NYC Zombie Crawl and NYC ZombieCon where massive hordes of zombies terrorize innocent onlookers, the NYC SantaCon in December where hundreds of drunken Santas take to the streets spreading joy and the annual No Pants Subway Ride where hundreds of New Yorkers ride the subway without their pants, also spreading joy.

The Mermaid Parade is definitely one of my favorite New York City parades, tied for first place with the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. Like the Halloween Parade, the Mermaid Parade is an art parade that's free and open to the public to participate in. The majority of those marching in both parades make their own costumes and floats, and exemplify the creativity and free spirit of the New York that pirates like Billionaire Bloomberg are trying to sell off to the highest bidder.

Founded in 1983 by Coney Island USA, the not-for-profit arts organization that also produces the Coney Island Circus Sideshow, the Mermaid Parade pays homage to Coney Island's forgotten Mardi Gras which lasted from 1903 to 1954.

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is a celebration of the sea and the sand and of all things Coney Island. You'll see participants dressed as scantily-clad mermaids and mermen, sea creatures, pirates and the occasional lighthouse. You'll see tattooed freaks and weirdos, drag kings and queens, burlesque performers and every manner of artistic self-expression.

Every year the Mermaid Parade features a different celebrity Neptune King and Mermaid Queen, who rule over the proceedings. In the past local celebs like David Byrne, Queen Latifa and Moby have graced the parade with their royal presence. This year I was pretty freakin' excited because the Neptune King was none other than Mr. Harvey Kietel. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a good picture of Mr. Kietel because that part of the parade sped past us. I also didn't realize that part of the duties of the King and Queen is assisting in the opening of the beach for the summer swimming season by cutting through ribbons representing the seasons, and tossing fruit into the Atlantic to appease the Sea Gods. I didn't go down to the beach for this part of the festivities. I probably could have met Harvey Kietel and asked him if he wanted to go get tacos.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Brooklyn Pride Slideshow

Brooklyn Pride was pretty chill. It was extremely small comapared to the annual Manhattan Pride Parade, but then again, everything is small compared to the Manhattan Pride Parade. But Brooklyn Pride had more of the feel of a block party. Which, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing. What was really cool about it was that it was almost completely lacking all the corporate sponsorship and rampant mindless consumerism. I think the only corporate booths I saw at the street festival were Starbucks and Ikea (who both suck), and there were absolutely no corporate floats, which was such a relief. Very few politicians too. Borough President Marty Markowitz was there, sporting rainbow beads and a christmas tree light covered float, but Marty shows up at everything Brooklyn, and as he says "If you don't live in Brooklyn, you should move to Brooklyn."

Brooklyn Pride is in its 13th year.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stonewall Was a Riot! NYC GLBT Pride Events 2009

Ok, Pride month is well underway. This year I totally missed Queens Pride yet again. They just have theirs so damn early in the month. Next year I'm going to have to check it out.

I keep forgetting that New York celebrates Pride all month long! It shouldn't be a surprise considering Pride started in New York City. Pride Day commemorates the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City's Greenwich Village 40 years ago.

The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations sparked by a police raid (which were routine at the time) that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village. It was just one raid too many. The largely poor, working class, Black and Latino queers and trannies in the Village, many of whom were hustlers and homeless queer youth, fought back against the brutally homophobic police with bricks, bottles, barricades and burning garbage. This spontaneous uprising against state sponsored repression, which lasted several days, led to the modern Gay Rights/Queer Liberation movement in the US and around the world.

Today GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall Riots. Unfortunately Gays and Lesbians have become a "marketing demographic" and Pride is for sale to the highest bidder. Worse yet, the concerns of the transgender community are pushed to the back burner and assimilationist Gays and Lesbians are often embarrassed by all the "freaks and deviants" who "make Gays look bad." The crossdressers, the transvestites, the transsexuals, the leatherfags, the butch dykes, the bdsm/kink community, the hustlers and the homeless queer youth. Those in the community that are most at risk for job and housing discrimination, gaybashing and other hate crimes. You know, the types of people who 40 years ago had enough of all the hatred and oppression and fought back, thus sparking the rebellion that led to the modern Gay Rights movement in the first place.

Let's never forget why we celebrate.

Here's a schedule I've compiled of some of the coolest, and queerest Pride events for the month of June. Enjoy. And remember to play safe...

Brooklyn Pride

Saturday June 13th 2009
Prospect Park at Bartel-Pritchard Circle
15th Street and Prospect Park West

Multicultural Festival
11:00 am – 6:00 pm

Night Pride Parade
7:30 pm Kick Off

NYC Pride (Manhattan)
NYC Herritage of Pride

The Rally
Saturday June 20th 2009

2:00 – 6:00 pm
42nd St. and 6th Ave. at Bryant Park

Sunday June 28th 2009
11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Hudson St. between Abingdon Sq. and West 14th St.

The March
Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Starts at Noon
5th Avenue and 52nd St. to Christopher and Greenwich St.

Other Pride Events...

That's My Jam!
Bed-Stuy/Brooklyn Queer Pride!
Saturday June 13, 2009

$5 before midnight, $10 after midnight
Sputnik Bar
262 Taaffe Place
TWO FLOORS OF DANCING, $3 Vodka Specials. DJ Helen Harris, DJ Tikka Masala and DJ Designer Imposter, New Wave Karaoke with Bobby Service and Black Waterfall. Intimate, monthly mixed queer party.

Get Laid Queer Dance Party
BK Pride Edition

Saturday june 13, 2009
9:30 pm door. $10 cover.
Southpaw Brooklyn
125 5th Ave, Park Slope
Please donate books, media, zines, and more to a literary grassroots collective! WRITTEN W(HER)D is an upcoming Brooklyn-based lending library and book collective for womyn, girls, & LGBTQ people/youth of color. As part of the collective, WRITTEN W(HER)D will develop initiatives fostering literacy among LGBTQ incarcerated youth.

Bronx Pride
Saturday June 20, 11:00 am-8:00 pm
Barretto Point Park

Folsom Street East Pride Day
Sunday, June 21, 2-8pm
28th St. between 10th and 11th Aves.
Folsom Street East is New York’s premiere s/m-leather-fetish themed street festival. Folsom Street East is the largest outdoor event of its kind east of the Mississippi and attracts nearly 10,000 visitors. The street will once again be lined with some 50 community groups and vendors that appeal to the LGBT and the kink communities and mobs of leatherclad musclehunks. A one-stop shop for leather gear, porn, and toys.

Stonewall: The Revolution
June 22-28, 2009
Chair & the Maiden
19 Christopher St. (just east of the Stonewall Inn)
Iconic photographs of the Gay Pride Rebellion, March & Parade 1969-2008 by Suzanne Poli celebrating Stonewall’s 40th Anniversary and the evolution of the 21st Century Civil Rights Movement.

Snapshot's Pride Kick-Off Party!
Tuesday June 23, 2009

$5 cover starts at 10 doors at 9.
Located at The Delancey
at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge (btwn Clinton & Attorney)
*snapshot* is a weekly mixed queer party in the city featuring art, music, film, photography, performance + exposure. *snapshot* attracts the most diverse crowd from all boroughs and gender-identities. *snapshot* throws sexy, dirty, crazy parties soundtracked by some of the best dj's among us. Be sure to pick up a flier for their PROUD AS FUCK party to get a discount admission!

SAGE Presents:
40th Anniversary Reunion Gay Liberation Front (GLF)
June 25, 2009, 6:00 pm
LGBT Community Center
208 West 13th St
A panel and 40 year reunion reception for the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) which was founded in Manhattan in 1969, directly following the Stonewall riots will be presented by SAGE. The panel will feature several speakers from a variety of perspectives who were active participants in GLF.

FIERCE Presents
Outdoor Screening of Paris Is Burning!
June 25 2009, 8:30pm FREE
Pier 46 on the Hudson River Park
FIERCE is a membership-based organization for LGBTQ youth of color between the ages of 13-24. FIERCE will be screening Paris Is Burning, a documentary that focuses on the ballroom community. This screening marks the first ever LGBTQ programming on the pier which is a victory for FIERCE's Safe Space Saves Lives Campaign! Organizations such as FIERCE and other LGBTQ specific groups will be tabling at this event. All are welcome!

Switch N' Play
June 25 2009, 9:00 pm $10
Burlesque at the Beach at Sideshows at the Seashore
at the corner of Surf Avenue & West 12th Street
in the heart of the Coney Island amusement park.
Switch N' PlaySwitch N' Play (SNP) is a Brooklyn-born, New York-based drag alliance committed to entertaining its audiences with an eclectic repertoire of dance and theatrical numbers. Queer in every sense of the word, SNP spans the gender spectrum in life and on stage.

TransJustice of the Audre Lorde Project's
Friday June 26th 2009
Rally 3:00 pm, March 4:00 pm
Gather at Union Square West between 14th Street and 15th Street
(West Side of Union Square Park)
Marching to Sheridan Square/Christopher Park
(Across the Street from the Stonewall Inn)
Audre Lorde project
On June 26, 2009, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color and allies will take to the streets of NYC once again and demand justice to let the world know, that on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall, the rebellion is not over and we will continue fighting for justice, raising our voices until we are heard.

Dyke Rock Benefit Show
Friday, June 26, 2009

Doors at 8:00 pm. $5-10
Silent Barn
915 Wyckoff Avenue, Ridgewood
L to Halsey or M to Myrtle/Wyckoff
Carnal Knowledge, your favorite local all-girl political hardcore band reunites. Also: Zombie Dogs, The Diamond Sea, Ina Ina!, and Brilliant Colors.

NYC Dyke March
Saturday June 27, 2009
Step Off 5:00 pm Sharp!
Bryant Park
West 42nd St and 6th Ave.
The Dyke March is for women only. Supporters can cheer them on from the sidelines.
"The Dyke March is a protest march, not a parade -- we don't ask for a permit, because we have the right to protest. As lesbians, we recognize that we must organize amongst ourselves to fight for our rights, our safety, and for visibility. Thousands of dykes take over the streets every year in celebration of lesbians and to protest against ongoing discrimination, harassment, and anti-lesbian violence in schools, on the job, in our families, and on the streets."

Post Dyke March Spectacular at Ginger’s
Saturday June 27, 2009

8:00 pm. $5-10
Ginger’s Bar
363 5th Avenue, Park Slope
F to 4th Avenue, R to 9th Street
Party for your right to fight! Chrissy P spins the shiz to make you dance hard. Tasty shots for the girls and $3.50 pints of Guinness all night.

Bluestockings Queer Pride Showcase
Sunday June 28th, 2009 7:00 pm
$5-10 Suggested Donation
Bluestockings Bookstore, Fair-Trade Cafe and Activist Center
Lower East Side of Manhattan
172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington
It’s Queer Pride in New York, and tonight we’ve got some of New York’s most innovative, provocative, and powerful LGBTQ authors and spoken word artists. It’s 40-years after Stonewall, but pride and struggle are still with us! Reading and performing tonight are Kelli Dunham, Kestryl Cael, Felecia Luna Lemus, Taueret Manu, Sassafras Lowrey and Kay Barrett.

Snapshot's Proud as Fuck Party!
Sunday June 28, 2009
Doors at 6pm (till 4am)

Two for One drinks from 6-9pm
$15/$10 with Flyer
Located at The Delancey
at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge (btwn Clinton & Attorney)
*snapshot* is a weekly mixed queer party in the city featuring art, music, film, photography, performance + exposure. *snapshot* attracts the most diverse crowd from all boroughs and gender-identities. 6 DJ's handpicked from around the world all night long featuring DJ SVETA, DJ LAUREN FLAX, DJ ROZE ROYCE, DJ NOA D, DJ TEASE, final surprise DJ TBA.

HOT! Festival
July 2 - August 25, 2007
Dixon Place
This summer festival has been happening every July since 1991, and it includes full length and shorter works in performance, music, theater, dance, literature, poetry, spoken word, puppetry, burlesque, drag, and circus.

Snapshot's Pride Hangover Party!
Tuesday June 30, 2009
$5 Cover at 10:00 pm Doors at 9:00 pm.

Located at The Delancey
at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge (btwn Clinton & Attorney)
*snapshot* is a weekly mixed queer party in the city featuring art, music, film, photography, performance + exposure. *snapshot* attracts the most diverse crowd from all boroughs and gender-identities. with DJ Mary Mac. 3 floors with live performances in the basement and an amazing all-year round, heated, beautiful roofdeck.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Full "Egg Rolls and Egg Creams" Slideshow

I got some really cool shots of the inside of the Historic Eldridge Street Synagogue during the Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival. The festival was sponsored by the Eldridge Street Museum and celebrated both Jewish and Chinese American culture in New York City. After the Festival I took the rest of the afternoon to walk around Chinatown and take pictures. Got some nice shots of outdoor markets, storefronts and the Manhattan Bridge. Unfortunately the batteries in my camera died right when I discovered a huge scateboarding competition in a small park underneath the Manhattan Bridge. It was mostly kids of color (Black, Latino and Asian) and the park was full inside and outside of the fence. Loudspeakers were blaring Hip Hop music and nearly everyone had a board in their hands. Would have made some great photos, but oh well.

Egg Rolls and Egg Creams 6/7/09

The Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival took place on Sunday June 7th 2009 on Eldridge Street where Chinatown meets the old Jewish Lower East Side.

I almost didn't make it to the festival because I was up all night the night before and I had to upload photos and video to my computer so I could delete them off the camera. I had filled up the memory card with photos and video from the Brooklyn Museum of Art's monthly free party Saturday night.

I got to the festival just in time to see the tail end of Chinese Opera performers acting out the story of the Monkey King, take a tour of the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue, listen to Klezmer music and watch a game of mahjongg.

The Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival also included lion dancing (which I unfortunately missed), Yiddish and Chinese lessons, Scribal art and Chinese calligraphy, tea ceramonies, hands on Challa making demonstrations and kosher egg rolls and egg creams for sale. To say the festival was a "unique slice of New York City life" is probably an understatement. It's this kind of cross-cultural event that makes New York City what it is.

The event was sponsored by the Eldridge Street Museum, which is located in the recently renovated and restored Eldridge Steet Synagogue (12 Eldridge Street between Canal and Division). The Eldridge Street Synagogoue is home to the Congregation Kahal Adath Jeshurun, which has met continuously for Sabbath and holiday services since the building first opened more than a century ago.

Between 1880 and 1924, two and a half million Eastern European Jews came to the United States. Close to 85 percent of them came to New York City, and approximately 75 percent of those settled on the Lower East Side.

Built in 1887 for the tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants already settled on the Lower East Side, as well as the hundreds of thousands who would arrive in the coming decades, New York’s first great East European synagogue "expressed the hope that the immigrants’ religion and culture would flourish on American soil." Before the construction of the Eldridge Street Synagogue Eastern European Jews met in rented halls, converted storefronts, renovated churches and other makeshift locations.

By the 1920s the congregation had dispersed far beyond the Lower East Side and immigration quotas stemmed the tide of new arrivals. In the 1950's the congregation could no longer afford the costly repairs and maintanience and started to meet in the street-level chapel rather than the sanctuary. By the 70's and 80's the synagogue had fallen in to such a grave state of disrepair that investigations showed that emergency stabilization was needed and if no work were done the building would collapse.

Public interest in the synagogue’s fate grew, and by 1986 the Eldridge Street Project was formed. The Eldridge Street Project conducted emergency repairs, secured National Historic Landmark designation for the building and raised over 15 million dollars over a 20 year period for the extensive renovations. The Eldridge Street Synagogue is now one of the last remaining built by the Eastern European immigrants who made the Lower East Side the world’s largest Jewish city in the early 1900's.

Along with guided tours of the Synagogue, the Eldridge Street Museum features new exhibits and programs, such as the Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Festival, the American Jewish Immigrant Experience in Song and Walking Tours of Sacred Sites on the Lower East Side (synagogues, churches and temples encompassing 200 years of religious life in New York City).

One of the many highlights of the day: I bought an Emma Goldman finger puppet from the Eldgridge Street Museum's Gift Shop for my girlfriend Liberte who is organizing Starbucks at Union Square East, right next to Union Square Park where Emma Goldman gave many of her historical speeches. The tag on the puppet even went into great detail of Emma Goldman's anarchism, stating that she was an "outspoken anarchist, feminist and advocate for birth control" who "struggled for the anarchist cause her whole life." It goes on to talk about her being deported back to Russian, becoming disillusioned with the Russian Revolution and later settling in the UK.

I'm always surprised at how many public murals depict Emma Goldman in the New York, even ones sponsored by the City such as the mosaics in the Chrostopher Street 1 station. It's like playing Where's Waldo with my favorite free-thinking, free-loving Jewish anarchist revolutionary.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Brooklyn Museum's First Saturdays

Every first Saturday of the month The Brooklyn Museum of Art throws a huge FREE party for all of New York, and I gotta tell ya, it is a party. There's cash bars on multiple levels serving Brooklyn Lager and plastic cups of wine. There's usually live music on different floors competing with DJs. And people dance. I mean, this is Brooklyn we're talking about. The dance floor is packed whether there's a live salsa band or a DJ spinnin old school jams. When my brother was in town he flipped when he saw how crazy people went when the DJ closed out the night by playing "No Sleep Til Brooklyn." You know, I think the Beasties lied to me, I moved to Brooklyn and I still don't get any sleep.

"First Saturdays" are sponsored by one of those huge union-busting "big box" stores, you know the kind that are destroying everything that is unique about New York, putting small mom and pops, bodegas and other independent businesses out of business and turning the City landscape into one big strip mall that could be Anywhere, USA. Indianapolis. Minneapolis. Chicago. Terre Haute. But at least they are giving something back by throwing us the craziest f***ing party you'll ever see in an art museum.

If you haven't been you should really go. I'm serious, they are fun, and it seems like everyone in Brooklyn and their momma shows up.

The theme this time around was Islamic art and culture.

Sufi-inspired Soul Jazz band Brooklyn Qawwali Party rocked the first floor pavilion with their funky tribute to the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, aka "The Emperor of Qawwali." Pakastani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who came from a long line of Qawwali performers (dating back 600 years), was responsible for blending modern sounds with the ancient art of Qawwali, the devotional music of the Sufis (a mystical tradition within Islam). The Brooklyn Qawwali Party plays mainly instrumental versions of his Qawwalis on conventional Jazz instruments rather than traditional instruments associated with Qawwali.

The free tickets for the screening of "I Love Hip Hop in Morocco" went fast (all 340 of them). I would have loved to have seen that. The documentary on the first Hop Hop concert in Morocco would probably make a good double feature with "Slingshot Hip Hop", which is about Palestinian Hip Hop, and features my favorite bilingual Arabic/English Hip Hop emcees, DAM (Da Arabian MCs). In fact I wish the BK Museum got DAM to play the event, that would've been the shit. But I have no complaints, the BMoA throws a hell of a party every month and it doesn't cost a thing.

From 9:00 pm til 11:00 pm DJs Fabian Alsultany and DJ Pepe spun Arabic dance music in the parking lot of the museum and it was so packed people were spilling out into the grass and up the hill. At one point some of the kids from the breakdancing crew that were performing earlier out in front of the museum climbed up on top of a really tall truck and started dancing on top of it. The crowd went nuts. It was so cool. There were some belly dancers winding through the crowd, full on belly dancing costumes. They had the moves.

The vibe was all kinds of Brooklyn. Everyone just dancing, having a good time. People of all races, gender expressions, sexualities, class backgrounds, religions. It was so cool seeing so many Heredi Orthodox Jews chillin at an event celebrating Islamic culture. But that's what Brooklyn is all about to me. Yeah, I know there's all the different tensions, and the old saying goes that "Brooklyn has people from every country on the face of the planet, and none of them can get along" but there are spaces like the Brooklyn Museum First Saturday Parties, the African Dance Festival, Atlantic Antic and Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park where people do all come together to party, to play, and to celebrate our shared human-ness.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Upcoming Events: Free Outdoor Concerts in Prospect Park and Central Park

Summer in New York City also means you get to watch some the world's best musicians perform in the city parks and other public spaces for absolutely FREE. Over the past few years I've seen Isaac Hayes, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Neville Brothers, Me'Shell NdgeOcello and many more of my favorite artists all for free! If you live in New York you should really take advantage of the many cultural and artistic events The City has to offer, especially during these tough economic times. What better way to spend an evening?

Celebrate Brooklyn 2009
Prospect Park Bandshell
June through August

Celebrate Brooklyn is one of New York City's longest running, free, outdoor performing arts festivals. Launched in 1979 as a catalyst for a Brooklyn performing arts scene and to bring people back into Prospect Park after years of neglect, Celebrate Brooklyn has been an anchor in the park's revitalization and has become one of the city's foremost summer cultural attractions. All Celebrate Brooklyn events are free, but they do ask for a $3 donation at the gate.

Some highlights this year include:

Monday, June 8 (Opening Night)
8:00pm/gates 6:30pm
David Byrne
“The Music of David Byrne and Brian Eno”

Thursday, June 25
7:00pm/gates 6:00pm
Femi Kuti & Positive Force
Melvin Gibbs’ Elevated Entity

Saturday, July 11
4:00pm/gates 3:00pm
They Might Be Giants (For Kids)!

Saturday, July 18
2-9pm/gates 1:30pm
African Festival:
King Sunny Ade
Mandingo Ambassadors
Abena Koomson
Sing Sing
Yasser Darwish

Friday, July 24American Express Roots Music Series
7:30pm/gates 6:30pm
Buckwheat Zydeco
The Holmes Brothers

For more info and complete schedule:

Summer Stage at Central Park
Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

Central Park SummerStage, a program of City Parks Foundation, presents performances of outstanding artistic quality, free of charge, to serve the diverse communities of New York City. Central Park SummerStage is located at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Enter the park at 69th Street and 5th Avenue on the east side or at 72nd Street and Central Park West on the west side.

Some highlights this year include:

Sunday, July 05
3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Oumou Sangare
Les Nubians


Saturday, July 18
3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Chester French
Little Dragon
Benji B

Sunday, July 19
3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Alpha Blondy & The Solar System
Lee "Scratch" Perry & Dubblestandart
Subatomic Sound System

Friday, July 24
7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Bettye LaVette
Budos Band
(badass Brooklyn afro-soul)
Rhythm Revue with Felix Hernandez

For more info and complete schedule:


Also check out the River to River Festival for film, art and music in city parks and public spaces throughout Manhattan all summer long!

Egg Rolls and Egg Creams

This Sunday!!!
June 7th 12-4 pm.
2009 Egg Rolls & Egg Creams Festival
The Museum at Eldridge Street

Come to Egg Rolls & Egg Creams the best block party in downtown – right where Chinatown and the Lower East Side meet. Celebrate the rich cultural traditions of the Jewish and Chinese communities. Klezmer music and Chinese opera, scribal art and calligraphy, Yiddish and Chinese lessons, folk arts and hands-on activities, tours of the Eldridge Street Synagogue and, of course, kosher egg rolls and egg creams!

Located within the 1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue, the Museum at Eldridge Street presents the history & culture of the great wave of Jewish immigrants to the Lower East Side. Nearly lost over time, this landmark has been restored to its original grandeur.

What's an Egg Cream?
New York Egg Cream History
New York Egg Cream Primer
Egg Cream Wikipedia


double jeff's Vegan New York Egg Cream Recipe:

1/2 cup cold soy milk*
1 cup cold New York seltzer**
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup***

(Egg Creams are extremely easy to veganize, as they contain neither eggs nor cream. You merely substitute soy milk for whole milk.)

*Use Regular (plain or vanilla) soy milk. Do not use light soy milk, it will not froth up correctly.

**It's best to use real New York seltzer water (Plain Ole Seltzer, Mayim Chaim) because most mainstream sodas are not fizzy enough.

***In New York use
Bosco (unfortunately Fox's U-Bet contains dry milk powder). If you don't live in New York City and can't find Bosco then get Hershey's in a can (it's thicker than the syrup that comes in a plastic bottle).

Now you're ready to make a vegan Egg Cream!

Pour about an inch of cold soy milk into a tall pre-chilled soda glass. Add seltzer to within 1 inch of the top of the glass. Stir vigorously with a long spoon until it becomes frothy with a good head of foam. Gently pour 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup into the glass. Briskly stir with a long spoon at the bottom of the glass where the chocolate is. You should wind up with a perfect vegan version of the classic New York Egg Cream. It should be dark brown at the bottom with about an inch of white foam on top.

Enjoy immediately. Don't let it go warm or flat.

Friday, June 5, 2009


(Picture taken from Brooklyn Bridge Park's Movies With a View web page.)

OK, summer's coming up and that means there's a whole lotta FREE stuff going on in The City! There's the free concerts in Central Park and Prospect Park and the River to River Festival. There's the Make Music New York! Festival which I've already blogged about. There's all the parades and block parties and street fairs and the beaches and pools, and there's the FREE outdoor movie festivals!

As someone who loves movies who is also really broke (I've been out of work for waaaaay too long), I can't tell you how excited I am about all the upcoming outdoor movie festivals that happen every year in New York City. I know you can just rents these, or Netflix them, but there's something so much cooler about seeing a movie in a large crowd. Especially in a large crowd of New Yorkers out under the night sky.

One of my favorite outdoor movie festivals has already started, Habana Outpost's Outdoor Movie Series. Habana Outpost is a badass eco-cafe in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood that screens classic and cult classic movies in their fabulous courtyard from May to October. This year the Outpost kicked it off right with the Brooklyn themed cult classic, The Warriors. Their line up this year is amazing as always (with Star Wars, Jaws, Batman, Do The Right Thing, Scarface and Child's Play to name a few). I'm also excited about Dog Day Afternoon at Bryant Park, Taking of Pelham 123 on the Elevated Acre, Evil Dead 2 at McCarren Park, Raising Arizona at Brooklyn Bridge Park, both Iron Man and The Dark Knight on the Hudson, Shaft in Central Park and the Purple Rain Sing-Along in Prospect Park.

Overall, It's going to be a great summer for outdoor movies. Below I compiled the complete schedules for some of the bigger outdoor movie festivals. They are all completely FREE. Some let you bring in outside food, others have food and drinks for sale. Believe it or not, this list is not complete. There's tons of smaller parks and gardens in the five boroughs who are also screening free movies.

Oh, and I highlighted some "must sees" in

Habana Outpost Brooklyn's Outdoor Movie Series
Every Sunday in the courtyard of Habana Outpost (757 Fulton Street at S. Portland Ave in Fort Greene, Brooklyn). Movies start at 8 pm. Come early if you want a seat. No Outside food or drink. They have Six Point Ale on tap for $2.50.

Sunday, June 7... Way of the Dragon
Sunday, June 14... Salsa
Sunday, June 21... Saturday Night Fever
Sunday, June 28... Do The Right Thing
Sunday, July 5... Jaws
Sunday, July 12.. Scarface
Sunday, July 19... Drunken Master
Sunday, July 26... Friday
Sunday, August 2... Beat Street
Sunday, August 9... Star Wars
Sunday, August 16... School Daze
Sunday, August 23... Purple Rain
Sunday, August 30... See No Evil, Hear No Evil
Sunday, September 6... Moonwalker
Sunday, September 13... The Pest
Sunday, September 20... Kings of New York
Sunday, September 27... City of God
Sunday, October 4... Flash Gordon
Sunday, October 11... The Untouchables
Sunday, October 18... Batman
Sunday, October 25... Chucky: Child’s Play

Bryant Park Film Festival

Monday, June 15... The Sting
Monday, June 22... Breaking Away
June 29... Gold Diggers of 1933
Monday, July 6... Dog Day Afternoon
(New York in the 70's, Al Pacino robs a bank to pay for his lover's sex change.)
Monday, July 13... How Green Was My Valley
Monday, July 20... Harold and Maude
Monday, July 27... The Defiant Ones
Monday, August 3... Kramer vs. Kramer
Monday, August 10... The Magnificent Seven
Monday, August 17... Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Films on the Green; Washington Square Park
Films on the Green goes Green. For its second year running, the popular free outdoor French film festival will feature movies about the environment and the beauty of the natural world. Films begin at sundown.

Friday, June 12... March of the Penguins
Friday, June 19... Microcosmos

(a spectacular look into the tiny world of insects.)
Friday, June 26... The Big Blue

Summer Screen; McCarren Park

This year SummerScreen will take place at the ball fields at McCarren Park on the corner of Bedford and North 12. Films begin at dusk. Come early to get a seat. No outside food or drink.

Wednesday, July 8... Reality Bites
Wednesday, July 15... Evil Dead 2
Wednesday, July 22... 24 Hour Party People
Wednesday, July 29... Wild at Heart
Wednesday, August 5... Fame
Wednesday, August 12... Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Movies With A View; Brooklyn Bridge Park
Movies With A View returns for its 10th Anniversary Season. Come down to the park to enjoy an eclectic line-up of films and breathtaking views of the NYC waterfront and the Brooklyn Bridge. DJs from
Brooklyn Radio kick off the evening, spinning tunes as the sun sets, while RICE sells delicious dinners onsite. Complimentary bike valet provided by the fine folks at Transportation Alternatives.

Thursday, July 9... Raising Arizona
Thursday, July 16... The Maltese Falcon
Thursday, July 23... Paper Moon
Thursday, July 30... To Catch A Thief

Thursday, August 6... The Return Of The Pink Panther
Thursday, August 13... Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid
Thursday, August 20... Catch Me If You Can

Thursday, August 27... Edward Scissorhands

River Flicks; Hudson River Park

Movies begin at sundown (about 8-8:30 p.m.) Free popcorn is available, beverages and other snacks are available for purchase. There is a limited amount of seating available.

For Adults (Pier 54):
(Theme: "I Know What You Saw Last Summer")
Wednesday, July 8... Iron Man
Wednesday, July 15... Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Wednesday, July 22: The Dark Knight
Wednesday, July 29... Hancock
Wednesday, August 5... Tropic Thunder
Wednesday, August 12... Sex and the City
Wednesday, August 19... Pineapple Express

For Kids (Pier 46):
Friday, July 10... The Wizard of Oz
Friday, July 17... Kung Fu Panda
Friday, July 24... Ghostbusters
Friday, July 31... Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Friday, August 7... Muppet Movie
Friday, August 14... Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Friday, August 21... Curious George

Special: FIERCE Presents Paris is Burning (Pier 54)
Thursday, June 25... Paris is Burning
(In 2005, FIERCE launched the Safe Space Saves Lives Campaign to ensure the needs of LGBT youth of color were not forgotten in the wake of the development of the Christopher Street Pier. As apart of FIERCE's Safe Space Saves Lives Campaign FIERCE was able to win a victory and get the Hudson River Park Trust to screen Paris Is Burning on the pier. 8:30 pm.)

Summer on the Hudson: Movies Under the Stars
Pack a picnic, bring a friend and settle in for a night of premier Hollywood movies. This year’s theme is Nieuw York/New York--films that span the centuries--in honor of the Henry Hudson Quadricentennial. Riverside Pak South, Pier 1 in Manhattan. 8:30 pm.

Wednesday, July 15... Wall Street
Wednesday, July 22... Dinner at Eight
Wednesday, July 29... The Out-of-Towners
Wednesday, August 5... Drums Along the Mohawk
Wednesday, August 12... Sweet Smell of Success

Outdoor Cinema at Socrates Sculpture Park

Come to Socrates Sculpture Park and celebrate the cultural diversity of Queens. Sample regional cuisine, picnic on the grass, enjoy performances by local musicians and dancers and see international films on a large-format screen - all set against the spectacular backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. Performances begin at 7 pm, films begin at sunset.

Wednesday, July 15... The Betrayal (Laos/Thailand) 2008
(Extraordinary personal documentary about a family's journey from wartorn Laos to the streets of New York.)
Wednesday, July 22... Contempt (France) 1963
(French New-Wave master Godard creates his most lavish and thoroughly enjoyable movie, an audacious meditation on modern moviemaking, literature, and marriage.)
Wednesday, July 29... Lou Reed's Berlin (U.S.) 2007
(Lou Reed's ambitious song cycle about a couple's drug and violence-filled downward spiral was turned into a live concert experience.)
Wednesday, August 5... Waltz With Bashir (Israel) 2008
(Dreamlike and personal, this unique and affecting animated feature looks at war through the memories of soldiers who fought as young men.)
Wednesday, August 12... Tulpan (Kazakhstan) 2008
(Set in the wide-open steppes of Kazakhstan, the film follows the adventures of a young dreamer who tries to win the hand of his alluring neighbor, the only eligible bachelorette for miles.)
Wednesday, August 19... Gomorrah (Italy) 2008
(This gripping based-on-fact drama about the Italian crime underworld is both riveting and realistic.)

River to River Fest: Movies on the Elevated Acre
Located at 55 Water Street (between Old Slip and Broad Streets), the Elevated Acre offers breath-taking views of the East River, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, South Street Seaport and Brooklyn Heights. Films start at 8 pm.

Monday, July 6... The Seven Year Itch
Monday, July 13... The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)
(Four armed men hijack a New York City subway train and hold its passengers for ransom.)
Monday, July 20... West Side Story
Monday, July 27... Sweet Smell of Success

Central Park Film Festival
Movies begin at 8 p.m. at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, August 18... Shaft (1971)
Wednesday, August 19... Ocean's 11
Thursday, August 20... Sex & The City
Friday, August 21... Twilight
Saturday, August 22... Viewer's Choice
Men in Black, Goldfinger
or Desperately Seeking Susan
(Visit to vote between July 15 and August 15.)

Celebrate Brooklyn; Prospect Park Bandshell
Music & Movies on NYC’s largest outdoor screen. 7:30 pm, gates open at 6:30 pm.

Saturday, June 20... La Nave de los Monstruos (The Monster's Ship) with live score by Ethel and Gutbucket
(The nation’s premier rock-infused, postclassical string quartet, Ethel teams up with the wild art-rock group Gutbucket to perform a new original score to 1959's Mexican science fiction classic.)
Thursday, August 6... Purple Rain Sing-A-Long with Escort
(To celebrate the 25th anniversary of "one of history’s greatest pop albums" and the film it inspired, Celebrate Brooklyn invites you to don something lacey and ruffled and come get your Prince on.)

Video I took during one of the most memorable scenes of the cult classic film The Warriors being shown in the courtyard of the eco-cafe Habana Outpost. You can hear people laughing, saying the lines with the movie and clinking beer bottles together like the film's antagonist, Luther (leader of the Rogues).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Eye Heart New York on Manhattan Times Blog Watch

"eye heart new york" was recently featured on The Manhattan Times Neighborhood Blog Watch.

The Manhattan Times is a free bilingual community paper that covers news and cultural events relating to Northern Manhattan (Inwood and Washington Heights). The paper serves as the "primary bridge between the diverse language, ethnic, and religious communities of Northern Manhattan."

Concidering Washington Heights was the first place I lived when I moved to New York, it felt really good to be noticed by The Manhattan Times. It makes me so mad when you open up a map of New York City and all it shows is Manhattan below 110th Street. Any real New Yorker knows that the fun starts at about 125th Street. Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood all have a lot to offer in the way of arts and culture, music and history. As well as unique independant businesses, beautiful parks and public spaces.

Check out the "eye heart new york" blurb here:
Manhattan Times Neighborhood Blog Watch.

Upcoming Event: Make Music New York! FREE Outdoor City-Wide Festival June 21st

While I'm at it, I should take this time to plug the 3rd annual Make Music New York! FREE outdoor city-wide (all five borroughs) music festival!!!!

Make Music New York is back for a third year for a whole day of free concerts in public spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

On Sunday, June 21st. from 11 in the morning until 10 at night, musicians of all ages and musical persuasions — from hip hop to opera, Latin jazz to punk rock — will perform on streets, sidewalks, stoops, plazas, cemeteries, parks and gardens.

Mark your calendars, ask for the day off from work (no, demand the day off) or just plan to call out sick, because trust me, you don't want to miss this festival. Last year I listened to some truly amazing Jazz music from Harlem to Chinatown and back again.

The only problem with the festival is that it will make you wish you were in about a hundred places at once. Then again, that's how I feel almost every day living in New York City.

Highlights of this year's festival include:

Mass Appeal
This year, Make Music New York's Mass Appeal unleashes the power of massed single instruments, all over NYC. Imagine a parade of accordian players through the streets of Brooklyn. A bagpipe parade through the streets of Staten Island. A participatory hand percussion walk through SOHO turning cast iron buildings into resonant gong instruments. Dozens of celloists in Central Park. Electronic musicians performing on short-circuited devices (children's toys, keyboards, drum machines, etc.) in Astor Place. Clarinets in Stuyvestent Square Park, an all-flute orchstra in Riverside Park, a mass of french horns in Central Park and saxaphones in Thompkins Square Park. What about dozens of glockenspiels in the East Meadow of Central Park? Or a sing-along to the music of Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum in downtown Brooklyn? And if only Tiny Tim were still alive to witness the ukulele jam in Richard Tucker Square. Check out the above link for even more Mass Appeal madness!

Return to Punk Island
For the second year in a row, Governor's Island will be transformed into Punk Island. Over 70 bands (including punk legends Reagan Youth, Blanks 77 and Electric Frankenstein) will appear on 12 stages scattered around the island, as free ferries transport revelers from the tip of Lower Manhattan to Governors Island every half hour beginning at 10am. Just like the rest of Make Music New York, all performances are outdoors and completely free. Punk Island begins at 10am and ends at 5pm sharp. Ferries leave every 30 minutes from the Battery Maritime Terminal, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan.

"Orbits" at the Guggenheim
In the only indoor performance during the Make Music New York! Festival, 80 trombones, organ, and sopranino take over the ramps of the Guggenheim Museum for a New York premiere of composer Henry Brant's piece "Orbits." Henry Brant was a pioneer of acoustic spatial music, often employing instrumental groups of a single timbre. Audiences gather in the rotunda below, with conductor Neely Bruce and a large contingent of the trombone community above. Performances at 730pm and 830pm.

Blues to Africa
Legendary jazz pianist Randy Weston performs in honor of the late Ghanaian drummer Kofi Ghanaba, part of a day-long block party presented by the Jazz Gallery and Jazzmobile, in SoHo. With percussionists Obo Addy, Kwaku Martin Obeng, and others. 2-7pm.

Folklore Urbana at the Brooklyn Museum
Led by Colombian pianist, composer, and arranger Pablo Mayor, Folklore Urbano has redefined modern Colombian music, setting new heights in both world music & Latin jazz. This high-energy, wildly fun ensemble harnesses the danceable swing of traditional Colombian rhythms while seducing the listener with the subtleties of jazz orchestration & harmony. Outside the Brooklyn Museum, 4pm.

Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra
The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO) was founded in 2002 by artistic director Arturo O'Farrill to perform compositions of masters such as Machito, Tito Puente, Chico O'Farrill, Astor Piazzola, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascual, and others, and to keep this culturally rich tradition alive by continuing to commission new works within the genre. Noon to 6pm at the Symphony Space Block Party, West 95th St and Broadway.

Upcoming Event: NYC Musical Saw Festival July 18, 2009

I just want to start with the fact that I love the musical saw, I find it hauntingly beautiful, And I say this without any sense of irony. I love a lot of obscure, off-beat and under appreciated musical instruments, and I appreciate many different forms of music. Anyone who knows me, knows my tastes are eclectic.

With that in mind, I was so excited to be contacted by Natalia Paruz, aka "The Saw Lady" to see if I'd write about the upcoming New York City Musical Saw Festival. Natalia Paruz is not only a talented musician, but she's a New York institution. Anyone who takes mass transit in New York City knows about The Saw Lady.

What many New Yorkers may not know is that the Saw Lady is world renown for her singing saw. She plays the musical saw in movie soundtracks, TV commercials and with orchestras all over the world. She has played both Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden. She has made many New York City "Best Of Lists" including Time Out New York and The Village Voice. Natalia also organizes the annual New York City Musical Saw Festival in Queens.

This year's Festival takes place at Trinity Church, 31-18 37th Street in Astoria, Queens on Saturday, July 18th at 2pm. Admission: $10

The 7th annual New York City Musical Saw Festival will present the musical saw as an ensemble instrument in contemporary, jazz, pop, world-music/new-age music, with participation of a string quartet, soprano singer, percussion, bass and a handbell choir.

The Festival will feature the world premier of 5 new compositions for the musical saw by composers Scott R. Munson and Eyal Bat, commissioned for the Musical Saw Festival, a musical saw art exhibit, and solos by saw players from around the world.

This year's "Chorus of the Saws" is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the "Largest Musical Saw Ensemble". The current world record is currently held by Poland with 27 musical saw players playing together.

For More info on the NYC Musical Saw Festival:

For More info on Natalia Paruz, aka "The Saw Lady":

Monday, June 1, 2009

One More For the Road: Poison Pen on Dollar Van Demos.

"This is Dollar Van Demos. Get in the van, get out the van."

I think I've said it before, but Dollar Van Demos seems to embody what's truly special about New York City, and more specifically the borrough of Brooklyn. In New York anywhere can be a party- on the bus, on the train, in the bodegas, on the streets or in the back of a dollar van. In the City you make your fun where ever you feel like. Sure, Dollar Van Demos is about promoting artists (an important service for the NYC musical community), but still, what a trip it must be for someone who's not expecting it. They're just trying to go to work or run some errand, going from point A to point B, and then it's like oh shit, here's this dope-ass singer doing their thing. That's what I love about New York, no matter where you go or what you're doing, there's always some kind of surprise waiting around the corner. It's not always a good surprise, but a surprise none the less. In the case of DVD, I would chalk that up as a much welcome surprise.

This is "Brooklyn Party" by Bed-Stuy's Poison Pen. And the song will get into your brain.

DVD Strikes Again: Raye 6 Dollar Van Demo...

Thank you Vlad and Dollar Van Demos for introducing me to the music of Raye 6...

Raye 6 - "Chocolate Mahogany Poppy"

Raye 6 is a bad-ass sexually liberated feminst singer/songwriter in the vein of prince. She seemingly effortlessly floats from R&B, funk, soul and rock. But you know its gotta take a lot of work to make something so hard look so easy. Her music is all real, she talks boldly about her life and who she is as a person. She talks about being raised by a single mother, about being homeless and living in her car, she urges women to take control of their lives and their existance. She's just overall an amazing woman with an amazing voice. And if her youtubes and livestreams are any indication, her live shows are theatrical and sexually charged. She performs with equally talented musicians, creating a psychedelic and soulfull sound.

So check her out. Raye 6's next show is at the Bowery Poetry Club this Thursday, June 4th at 10:00 PM. $10 at the door.

The show is part of the Bowery Poetry Club's ongoing Writers Block Party, "comprised of dynamic show opening performances by hand picked emerging artists, followed by the Writers Block Poetry Collective, topped off with the WILDEST after party imaginable."

For more info on Raye 6 check out her homepages:
raye 6 on myspace
Raye 6 on livestream