Wide Awake in America

C. Michael Norton: When Paintings Awake
David&Schweitzer Contemporary, Brooklyn
April 14, 2017 - May 7, 2017

There was a time, over a century ago, when the idea of a purely abstract painting, one which referenced only the means of its creation, was a far-off goal, a seemingly unattainable dream. In the following decades this idea was tested, tried, worked, and re-worked until the project engendered many and various permutations. Post-modern, appropriational, deconstructed -- the list of approaches to this idea is legion; yet there endures some compulsion, some drive that seems hardwired, to create paintings of pure visuality. Just when we think we have come to the end of this story we find new characters waiting in the wings, new gladiators wanting into the arena. In C. Michael Norton’s current exhibit at David&Schweitzer Contemporary we see that this project still has viability. Indeed, Norton seems to open new fields of exploration. Read more »

Quote of the Week: Alan Holdsworth

"Don't let your hands dictate what you think you can do. Look at fingerboard charts and imagine your eyes dancing on the notes you want to play, and forget about whether your hands can do it or not. Just try it."

Allan Holdsworth (6 August 1946 – 15 April 2017), British guitarist and composer. He released twelve studio albums as a solo artist and played a variety of musical styles spanning a period of more than four decades, but is best known for his work in prog rock and jazz fusion. He was in the super group U.K. with Bill Bruford, Eddie Jobson and John Wetton as well as Soft Machine, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and The New Tony Williams Lifetime. An amazingly talented guitarist, his contributions to music will be missed. RIP, Mr. Holdsworth.

Transubstantial

Dona Nelson: Models Stand Close to the Paintings
Thomas Erben Gallery, NYC
Through May 6th, 2017

Dona Nelson is showing new paintings at Thomas Erben Gallery. There is no other artist in America that is a "modern painter" in so many different ways without losing her centre.

Trying to subvert its meaning seems to be part of the definition of what modern art is. There doesn't seem to be an accurate way to define an activity that is made up of a system or interelating systems that has occasional contradictions built into it, But art doesn't seem the worse for it. Modern painting in particular is like a series of interconnected temples where people are constantly entering and trying to knock down a load bearing pillar to see if it still stands or if it's now something else. It's quite often a sign that that particular approach is thriving. Read more »

Vinyl of the Week: Curse of Lono - Severed

I've been a wit bit tardy on my vinly reviews as of late, being so busy with my own music project, but this album Severed (Submarine Cat Records) is so worthwhile even with the wait. Curse of Lono (no, not the Hunter S. Thompson novel) have crafted some very compelling gothic Americana on their debut full-length slab o' vinyl. Hailing from the UK they have taken up where leader Felix Bechtolsheimer formerly of Hey Negrita left off. The video above for the song "Pick Up The Pieces" is just the tip of the iceberg, as they say. A tom-tom primal Bo Diddy groove monster of a song it is, but just one of ten nuggets, five on each side, 38 minutes tight. This is the way music was meant to be heard. Get up and flip the disc over. Repeat. The Curse of Lono has descended upon my turntable and infected my whole home. Welcome to the my nightmare. Where's Hunter when you need him cuz I need my home exorcised. x, Dusty

Quote Of The Week: Don Rickles

"Political correctness? In my humor, I never talk about politics. I was never much into all that."

Don Rickles (8 May 8 1926 - 6 April 2017) - American actor, comedian and master roast master. RIP, Don, you were one funny man.

Haming Up the Proceedings

How to Hamlet, or Hamleting Hamlet
Written by John Kurzynowski and Jon Riddleberger
Conceived and directed by John Kurzynowski
Presented by Theater Reconstruction Ensemble at HERE, NYC
March 30-April 14, 2017

The average person probably has at least a passing familiarity with William Shakespeare's Hamlet. But how is it different to know the Western canon's arguably most famous tragedy from the inside, so to speak? And can that shift in perspective, even if observed rather than experienced directly, allow the audience to see the play afresh, with different eyes? In John Kurzynowski and Jon Riddleberger's metatheatrical comedy How to Hamlet, or Hamleting Hamlet, created and performed by Theater Reconstruction Ensemble (TRE), a quartet of people (Nathaniel Basch-Gould, Sam Corbin, Joshua William Gelb, and Emily Marro) find themselves unexpectedly performing Hamlet (a problem, one would imagine, that most of us are glad not to encounter). TRE is a collective that seeks to "reconstruct both classical and canonical forms of theatricality through the playful development of works over time," and How to Hamlet uses a play centered on revenge, madness, and an existential crisis as the basis for unpredictable fun. To borrow from Troilus and Cressida, "this is, and is not," Hamlet. Read more »

Song of the Week: Talay - "Parents' House"

Sometimes you have to give musicians the benefit of the doubt. As a follow musician, I often wonder if I've been given the same courtesy when I've asked a friend to come to one of my gigs or listen to one of my albums. Friendships can cloud judgements, or not. Other musicians can way too critical of fellow musicians, or not. So the other day I was in 30th Street Guitars, one of my favorite guitar shops (repairs, new and used gear) in the world looking to test-drive a new reverb pedal (Moog MF Analog Trem). I was ushered into their sound-proof room by my friend Jimmy Archey and introduced to fellow musician Talay who was playing her guitar through a new amp. Jimmy asked the young rocker to demo my pedal while I dialed in the various settings. As is often the case with fellow musicians we started to chat about our music and gear. A few mintues later, she invited me to her gig later that evening which I could not make as I had a prior commitment. But she did tell me that she had just released a new single called "Parents' House."

She left and I didn't give it much thought until I pulled out her card this AM and decided that I should check out her latest tune given that I liked her energy and attitude. I very much wanted to see how her music measured up to her personality. Well, I was blown away. Melodic, punchy, poppy and memorable rock 'n' roll, all ingredients that scream "keeper" in my ever-expanding world of music accumulation. If you dig Weezer, Fountains of Wayne and Semisonic, you will def need it. But Talay's music is deserving of a much wider audience and if your smart you'll download it today. You owe it to yourself, your playlist and Talay. - Dusty Wright

Caterwauling Towards The Light - Dusty Wright

Dusty Wright's new album Caterwauling Towards the Light is now available for digital purchase from Bandcamp (below) or from AmazonCDbabyiTunes, plus other digital sites. It is also number one Americana album on Billboard charts.

You can order an autographed CD from him direct; Paypal $12 to: puffdusty@gmail.com

And check his website -- DustyWright.com -- for upcoming shows and performances. Click on this FACEBOOK link to access more info and press.

peace, CC

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Spring Is Nearly Here

Taegyu Lim: Blurry Scene
Gallery d’Arte, NY
March 1st-15th, 2017

The exhibition “Blurry Scene” presents atmospheric landscape works where wild pristine nature is shrouded in falling snow and low misty clouds hover over the horizon, establishing a sense of silence and solitude. While Lim’s touch with ink on paper is steeped in the tradition of the Asian masters, his art is linked as well to the landscape tradition of Western artists whose longing to be one with nature strikes a cord with Lim’s vision. In many cultures, mountains are said to represent the spiritual forces that inhabit the landscape where earth and heaven are believed to merge. Cézanne’s preeminent connection with the iconic Mont Sainte-Victoire parallels Lim’s attraction to the vertical sweep of the mountain in his snowy vista (“Dong River,” oriental ink mounted on rice paper with sealed white porcelain powder, 2016) that dwarfs a small figure by its majestic towering tiers. Read more »

LeAnn Rimes In Concert

LeAnn Rimes
Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, NY
March 17, 2017

LeAnn Rimes performed last Friday night at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, a beautifully (and recently) renovated former movie palace and Broadway style theater. At 1100 seats it is a warm an intimate venue. Read more »

The Old Soft Shoe Shuffle

FRED
Written by Christopher Ford and Dakota Rose
Directed by Dakota Rose
Presented by On the Rocks Theatre Company at Dixon Place, NYC
March 17-April 1, 2017

Dixon Place is a reliable venue for offbeat theater. If you're looking for, say, an earnest examination of twentysomethings trying to make it in the city, then it's probably best to look elsewhere. If, however, you're in the mood for sci-fi puppets or dance-filled reimaginings of Carroll's Wonderland, then Dixon Place has you covered. The latest of these unconventional offerings is FRED, a buoyant new comedy by Christopher Ford and Dakota Rose, creators of the recent The White Stag Quadrilogy. Read more »

Roll Over, Chuck Berry! RIP...

When I was seven-years old I had a Kool-Aid stand and with my profits bought my very first album -- The Beatles' Second Album. I remember walking the several blocks to the Acme store and praying that they still had a copy in the album rack. They did. I couldn't wait to get home and play it on my portable record player. I carefully placed the needle on the very first track on side one of that magnificent album and... my life would forever be devoted to music in some shape or form. On that beloved album, the very first track was my favorite song -- "Roll Over Beethoven" -- by one Mr. Chuck Berry. At the time, I had no idea who wrote the song nor much cared. It was all about The Beatles. But as almost everyone knows, Chuck Berry wrote and recorded it years earlier. And it would take me several years and thousands of hours of listening to rock music later to understand how important Chuck Berry was to the genre. In fact, I would better understand his place in music history from the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead. And it would be decades later until I actually would meet him in person. But what a meeting. Read more »

François Ozon on Frantz, Sex and Death, and Hitchcock’s Rebecca

“Awards are like hemorrhoids. Sooner or later every asshole gets one,” François Ozon, one of France's most prolific director/screenwriters, has noted.

With Frantz, his pacifistic, feminist, and slightly homoerotic chronicling of a post-World War I love affair of sorts opening Stateside this week, he can say that with a smile. After all, this feature has already garnered eleven Cécar nominations, including one for best film, and a dozen more from various international film festivals. Read more »

Treading On Borrowed Time

Kyle
Written by Hollis James, Directed by Emily Owens
Presented by Hot Tramp Productions at UNDER St. Marks, NYC
March 11-25, 2017

Kyle is the first play from Hot Tramp Productions, which promises "darkly comic" shows as part of its mission to create "pre-apocalyptic theatre for a post-Bowie world." Written by Queens native Hollis James, Kyle mines comedy from the depths of addiction and marks an impressive debut both for James as a playwright and for his and director Emily Owens' newly-founded production company. Read more »

Hard Times

Julian Schnabel: New Plate Paintings
Pace Gallery, NY
Feb 24th - Mar 25th, 2017

I'm not going to write a bad review of Julian Schnabel's show of roses painted on smashed plates up at Pace Gallery. I don't believe it matters what I think of them. The parameters that embraced what was good and rebuffed what was bad are mostly no longer in place. The people who will buy these paintings for $900,000 are as far from me as the people who built the pyramids were from those inside them. Read more »

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