Song of the Week: Eli Paperboy Reed - "Cut Ya Down"

The raw, visceral garage gospel by the dynamic and soulful Eli Paperboy Reed is on full display on his latest single "Cut Ya Down" from his latest album My Way Home (Yep Roc) and if you can't find sanctity in these grooves then you ain't breathin'! Can I get a witness?

Lesbian Lives Matter in Summertime

Quite early on in Catherine Corsini's embraceable French import Summertime, a group of young Parisian women run through the streets, laughing aloud while pinching male asses. Viva, Simone de Beauvoir! The buttocks-ravished men are both startled and outraged. How dare they be made into sexual objects. One gent even starts attacking a lass, but to her rescue comes farm-girl/tractor-driver/physically strapping Delphine (Izïa Higelin). Read more »

What Font Is This?

Helvetica
Written by Will Coleman
Directed by Brock Harris Hill
Presented by Rising Sun Performance Company
Planet Connections, NYC
June 19-July 9, 2016

While avoiding mingling with guests during a crowded party in Will Coleman’s Helvetica, presented in its world premiere by the Rising Sun Performance Company (who were responsible for the excellent recent production of Sprucehaven B), protagonist Helvetica Burke quotes T.S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrock: "I should have been a pair of ragged claws / Scuttling across the floors of silent seas." Helvetica herself is a writer, of children’s books, and her invocation of Eliot’s famously self-doubting narrator highlights her own cynical side, the side that sees existence as inherently meaningless and stories as a way to help alleviate this condition. She also, however, has a tenaciously persistent sense of childlike wonder and possibility, even if that side sometimes goes unacknowledged for stretches of time. Helvetica, benefitting the New York Public Library as part of the socially- and ecologically-conscious Planet Connections Festivity, explores the interplay between these two sides and how they interact with the stories that we choose to tell ourselves and others. Read more »

From Dusk Till Dawn: D.J. Cotrona Is TV's New George Clooney

Logo has declared D.J. Cotrona one the "hottest men of horror TV," not that far behind The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus. His video clips have made top tumblr posts, and he's included on one fan's Secret Celebrity Crush page right above Marlon Brando. What's more, you can observe Cotrona doing some heavy lifting on ONTD (Oh No They Didn't), and literally hundreds of other sites are still salivating over his bare-chested shots from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, his second film with Channing Tatum. The first: Dear John. Read more »

Quote of the Week: Elie Wiesel

"No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them."

Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel KBE (30 September 1928 - 2 July 2016), Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor.

Vinyl of the Week: Three New Pieces of Summer Vinyl!

So this summer I've fallen back in love with vinyl, thanks in part to CC editor Steve Holtje giving me a satchel of essential albums this past winter, thus forcing me to buy a new turntable. It seems like only yesterday when vinyl ruled my world -- when Tower Records was part of my weekly Saturday routine, when vinyl was both King and Queen, and when analog music was so much easier on the ears and a much more enjoyable listening experience. (And one had to actually participate in said experience by flipping the album over after one side was finished playing.) Now I get to replace most of the vinyl I sold or gave away with either 180 gram, remastered versions or pristine used copies found in thrift shops or on the numerous Facebook vinyl user groups I've recently joined. Please indulge me as I "wax" poetic about three new items I recently added to my collection:

Robert Kidney - Jagleg (Exit Stencil)

This record was a long time coming, but well worth the wait; a solo outing by the brilliant band leader Robert Kidney of the equally brilliant NE Ohio juggernaut blues outfit 15-60-75 aka The Numbers Band, now in their 46th year of playing and recording. This glorious effort was recorded live with only two edits by Tony Maimone at Studio G in Brooklyn. It's like you're sitting in the same room with Robert and his acoustic guitar, ingesting his anguished angle on life. Raw and visceral, emotional and deeply satisfying, this is an album only a man who has lived the blues could produce. If you loved the American Recordings by Johnny Cash, then you must purchase this gem as well. Read more »

The BFG: Spielberg’s Ode to Cannibalism, Gas Emission, and Roald Dahl

When The New Yorker's critic Pauline Kael was reviewing the screen adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's The Fox, she insisted: "If you are going to see a movie based on a book you think is worth reading, read the book first. You can never read the book with the same imaginative responsiveness to the author once you have seen the movie." Read more »

Paul Rudd Learns The Fundamentals of Caring

"How would you wipe my ass?" is not a question asked at every job interview, but it is in the Netflix adaptation of Jonathan Evison's enthusiastically praised 2012 novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caring.

The Boston Globe critic, in fact, raved that the book reminded him of "Little Miss Sunshine meets Rain Man." The New York Times insisted the work was "infused with a sad rage that makes good comedy great," and the LA Weekly added that here was "a literary version of a good grunge song." Read more »

Quote of the Week: Bernie Worrell

"I talk by playing, not by words."

Bernie Worrell (19 April 1944 - 24 June 2016), American keyboardist and composer best known as a founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic and for his work with Talking Heads.

Song of the Week: Dusty Wright - "Fly"

I got inspired to write and record an uplifthing song about depression and religious intolerance. "Fly" is based on the emotional hardships of a religiously repressed woman from New York City who took her own life last summer. Her tormentors would not afford her the comfort of acceptance and she couldn't fly free of the repression. Tragically, she could only find one way out. We all know depression hurts, let's reach out to those in need of support. Please feel free to share it with your loved ones. Artwork by French artist Frederic Leduc. Thanks to Martin John Butler for playing bass, co-engineering and mixing the track. The amazing Sammy Merendino played the drums and singer/songwriter Queen Esther provided the hook vocal. peace, Dusty

Smile When The World Is Blue

The Golden Smile
Written by Yaakov Bressler
Directed by Joey Stamp
Planet Connections, NYC
June 16-July 3, 2016

The Planet Connections Festivity is "New York's premiere socially-conscious arts festival," dedicated to inspiring community outreach and social change and to operating eco-friendly productions. One of the full-length plays in the 2016 Festivity is playwright and researcher at Columbia University Medical Center Yaakov Bressler’s comedy The Golden Smile, which follows seven patients in a mental care facility in the 1950s as they attempt to create their own play. Read more »

Currents In Photography

Currents In Photography comprises five adventurous artists in a thematic exhibition that explores the boundaries of photography; what a camera can do, or perhaps what the word photography even means. How far can one step outside of the box and still be in it? I needed to ask if Kaethe Kauffman's work was part of the exhibition, thoroughly confused as to whether it was a photograph at all. The work looks like collaged charcoal drawing on paper. Turns out charcoal drawing is employed along with several other techniques, photographed and reproduced by an inkjet printer, then worked back into again. The resulting mystical images are neither directly figurative nor abstract. Those leaning more towards abstraction still appear to be some thing -- perhaps visions experienced by the meditating figure pictured in the other works. His or her corporeal form is seated Buddha style surrounded by a shattered aura that bursts into monochromatic fragmentation. Paired with Ms. Kauffman in the placement of artworks, Bert G.F. Shankman's close up shots of flowers are plainly photographs, yet they strive toward ethereal, other worldly exotica -- like a shamanistic vision. Can art be both subtle and bold? It seems so. Read more »

Joe Walsh's Best Serious Songs

I recently posted a Joe Walsh song on my Facebook wall and the reaction was mixed. One commenter wrote, "Walsh always struck me as the real-life Spicoli, and that was about as seriously as I could take him." This is a common misconception about Walsh.

Walsh has had a music career of over five decades.  There are many, many people who know of him mostly as a member of the Eagles (since 1975) who had a hit in 1978 with a funny song, "Life's Been Good." Yet Walsh was a music biz veteran of eleven years’ standing when Hotel California was released in 1976; he would not have been recruited into the Eagles if he had not already established himself as such a distinctive guitarist that he could instantly give them the rock cred they so desired. Already on his resume were the killer riffs of "Rocky Mountain Way," "Turn to Stone," "Walk Away," and "Funk #49." The latter two came with the James Gang, an Ohio band that gathered an international following after so impressing the Who while opening for them in Pittsburgh that they were invited to open for the Who for a whole tour. Read more »

Jane Eaton Hamilton's Genderqueer Weekend

"I just wanted to write a silly little romance," says Jane Eaton Hamilton on the phone from Canada, about her new novel, Weekend. Hamilton accomplished that, if you consider a riveting, frank, nuanced exploration of adult sexuality and love silly or minor. A tale of two couples -- all female, but not all identifying as such -- whose relationships come into focus over an intense few days, the novel sends new lovers to an island owned by someone with whom each has a tricky history -- at which point their host's own happy life begins revealing troubling undercurrents. Weekend wears its gender, racial, and economic politics lightly. Yet the intelligence of Hamilton's observations and the spare beauty of her language elevate highly specific dynamics into a work that crosses all boundaries.

After having amassed a body of incisive essays, nine books of award-winning short stories and poetry, and a memoir about having children with a man who turned out to be a pedophile rapist, the Canada native is starting a new chapter of sorts with Weekend. "I actually quit writing in 2003 because of lousy reception," she says. "And then my marriage broke up in 2011 unexpectedly." She decided to give writing another shot. "Although I mourn the work I didn't write during those years, I came back to it so invigorated and refreshed that it's like an entirely different career." Read more »

Video of the Week: Anna Rose - "Start A War"

One of my favorite NYC-based singer/songwriters is up to more master strokes with the release of this thoughtful and moody ballad.-- "Start A War" -- from her six song EP Strays in the Cut (Noble Steed Music). I could not help but think of the Wilson sisters from Heart as being some sort of sideways inspiration. Well played, Ms. Anna Rose, well played.

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