Steve's Favorite Rock/Pop/Folk/R&B/Electronic Albums of 2016

This is where I'm supposed to summarize the past year, find some overaching theme or thread running through my choices, spot trends, or something along those lines. Instead it's just another mea culpa for my continuing and accelerating estrangement from mainstream pop music. Don't mind me, I'm just a grumpy old fart. But these twenty new albums made me less grumpy. Read more »

R.I.P. GREG TROOPER

I'm certain many of you don't know that the New Jersey-born, Brooklyn-based Greg Trooper passed away yesterday after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, two days after his 61st birthday. Greg was one of those effortless singer-songwriters who other singer-songwriters cherished. And other well-known singer-songwriters actually covered his material, including Steve Earle ("Little Sister"), Billy Bragg ("Everywhere"), Vince Gill ("We Won't Dance"), etc. Never a huge star or mainstream name, his music resonated with us because he was so damn good at his craft, and he wrote amazing tunes. I once told a fellow musician that if I ever wrote and recorded a song as good as "Muhammad Ali (The Meaning of Christmas)," I would have reached the pinnacle of my craft. His voice was soothing, his delivery even, his lyrics vivid and inviting; he had it all. And, he would better himself time and time again; 13 albums of memorable music. Just a few years ago, he wrote another song I would have given my eyeteeth for -- "They Call Me Hank". RIP, Mr. Trooper. I believe your songs will resonate long after the embers of all of us have faded into the ether.

We won't dance no more
We won't shine out on the floor
We won't sway the band won't play
We won't dance...

Retake: Restaging Love with a Hustler

One can only hope director Nick Corporon's shorts (I've seen two) and his feature debut, Retake, are not autobiographical. All of his male characters are semi-despondent romantics. They find true love, lose true love, or are confronted by a world ready to quash them if they don't assume heteronormative stances or watch Vin Diesel films . Read more »

Gentrified!

Transcend
Written and performed by Kilusan Bautista
Transmedia direction by Wi-Moto Nyoka
Presented by FRIGID New York @ Horse Trade at UNDER St. Mark's, NYC
January 9-February 6, 2017

It seems fitting that in order to get to and from Transcend, a meditation by Kilusan Bautista on his experiences with gentrification and what he identifies as America's housing war on the poor, we walked down a St. Mark's Street scrubbed almost entirely of its grimy counter-cultural past and reborn as a corridor of gleaming ramen restaurants and Mac repair shops. Having debuted this past August at the New York Fringe Festival, Transcend has returned to New York after a run in California's Bay Area, another, perhaps even worse, hotbed of skyrocketing housing costs. Bautista's one-man show, his second, is an eclectic mix of narrative, spoken word, dance, and multimedia elements that focuses on his own experience of temporary homelessness as an exemplar of systemic inequalities. Read more »

Quote of the Week: Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain (30 November 1835 - 21 April 1910), American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer.

Caterwauling Towards The Light - Dusty Wright

My new album Caterwauling Towards the Light was released today and is now available for digital purchase from Bandcamp (above) or from: AmazonCDbabyiTunes, plus other digital sites.

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

My official CD release gig is Thursday, 1/12 from 8-9pm at Parkside Lounge, 317 E. Houston Street, NYC. Tell your New York-area friends to attend.

peace, Dusty

Review in No Depression.

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My Year In Vinyl, 2016

Happy New Year! It's been a tumultuous year for me and for many of us of a certain age. I lost a brother. The world lost a slew of pop culture -- Carrie Fisher, Alan Richman, Craig Sager, John Glenn -- and music icons -- Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, et al. One comfort for me was music and my rediscovery of vinyl. The warm, comforting sound of analog became my daily meditative fix. Quite literarily. Seeking out vinyl "nuggets" became a quest to help me deal with my own pain and depression. Chasing down albums that I owned thirty years, abadonded at the advent of those shiny new things called compact discs. Restorative analog power reigned o'er me. One of my chief caveats: I would not purchase anything on vinyl that I already owned on compact disc. Well, that rule didn't last long as I found comfort in such ancient vinyl relics as The Who's Quadrophenia, Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsies, Neil Young's After the Goldrush, Joni Mitchell's Hissing of Summer Lawns, The Beatles' Yesterday and Today, and plenty more. Read more »

Quote of the Week: Carrie Fisher

"Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

Carrie Frances Fisher (21 October 1956 - 27 December 2016), American actress, writer, producer, and humorist. She was the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds. Fisher was best known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars film series. RIP, Miss Fisher, and may the force with you!

GLAM

Consumer culture sucks the content out of every subculture it touches. All except Glam, which returns every ten years or so altered by time but with its central message of theatricalized otherness unchanged. Glam pop and fashion were in all the magazines both for teenyboppers and young mums. It was commercial, not very musically challenging, and seemed to have arrived already fully absorbed. But British glam (glam of the '70s as opposed to American glam of the '80s, otherwise known as "hair metal") was highly critical of the counterculture. Read more »

Merry Chrispmas, Mr. Crisp

quentin-crisp

England is viewed by the wider world as a nation of eccentrics. This is considered a genetic characteristic, and something to be celebrated. Like most assumptions, the truth lies somewhat wide of the remark. Quentin Crisp, one such "National Treasure," is now rightly revered as one, but his journey from pariah nuisance to that of sage-like venerability was a long and winding affair. He migrated to New York, remaining vital till the end, an amalgam of defiance and disappointment worn as wit.

Some considered him a latter-day Oscar Wilde, a comparison he didn't much value, remarking that he'd known many who'd been sent to prison for crimes of the flesh like Wilde's, without being broken or penning such bad verse. Read more »

A Fine Line

A Fine Line
Art 100 New York                           
December 8 - February 6, 2017

"A Fine Line," the inaugural exhibition for the newly launched Gallery 100 New York, presents an amalgamation of the varied but related works of four international artists, who use straightforward natural materials with telling effect. The show curated by gallery director Michelle Loh, features Wang Huangsheng, Oliver Catté, Mahmoud Hamadani, and Alan Sonfist. An express emphasis on paper unites the installation; there is an aura of purity emanating from the white paper of the drawings on view that permeates the space. Color plays an important tandem role; hues glitter in conjunction with the brown cardboard works, and in the nature-based leaf piece entitled "Leaves Frozen in Time: Spring." The abstract drawings explore the essential delicacy of paper as it comingles with ink flowing irregularly over the surfaces, while the creative potential and durability of cardboard come sharply into focus in cityscapes that radiate urban exuberance. Traditional underpinnings resound through the exhibition; the use of ink, which is made from tree bark, is a medium used for millennia in Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. Read more »

Christmas (Is Coming Down) - Dusty Wright

dusty-xmas-coverHere's my holiday single, "Christmas (is Coming Down)," featuring Kenny Margolis (Cracker), Dan Levine (They Might Be Giants), David Ogilvy, Ms. Laura Fay Lewis, and artwork by Shiloh Jenz.

This pop rock ditty, and all of my music, can be purchased from CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes, and other digital music outlets.

And check out my most recent single -- "FLY" -- on Bandcamp featuring vocalist Queen Esther.

It's the perfect stocking stuffer for your digital player.

Happy Christmas!

peace, Dusty

For The Love of Annie

For Annie
Written by Beth Hyland
Directed by Emma Miller
Presented by The Hearth
at Lucid Body House, NYC
December 9, 2016-January 15, 2017

Margaret Atwood famously wrote that men fear that women will laugh at them, while women fear that men will kill them. For Annie, the new play by Beth Hyland, is presented as a campus outreach event put on by members of the Beta Tau Alpha sorority at SUNY Onondaga in memory of their murdered sister, Annie Lambert, a victim of male-on-female domestic violence. Directed by Emma Miller, For Annie is the inaugural production of The Hearth, a company whose mission is to "nurture and celebrate female-identifying artists" and "develop plays that represent the complex and vast spectrum of womanhood." Annie's story ultimately concludes at an all-too-common point on that spectrum.  Read more »

Tea Time!

Wonder/Through the Looking-Glass Houses
Choreography by Arrie Fae Bronson-Davidson 
Presented by Kinetic Architecture Dance Theatre at Dixon Place, NYC
December 2-17, 2016

Lewis Carroll's novels Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There are mainstays of popular culture, having been reinvented in just about every medium imaginable. With Wonder/Through the Looking-Glass Houses, Arrie Fae Bronson-Davidson and KineticArchitecture Dance Theatre add a new, all-female vision of Alice to that lineage. This reimagining is as much the White Rabbit's story as Alice's, and when we meet the Rabbit (Arrie Fae Bronson-Davidson)--who is, of course, running late -- during an opening dance scored by David Bowie's "Time," she is something of a vixen with glittering ruby lipstick and nary a waistcoat nor a pocket watch in sight. In a bit of departure from the original novels, this Rabbit pauses occasionally for selfies with the audience, but soon we are off down the rabbit hole with Alice and back on familiar Wonderland terrain. Read more »

Gators!

Alligator
Written by Hilary Bettis
Directed by Elena Araoz
Presented by New Georges and The Sol Project
at A.R.T./New York Theatres, NYC
November 27-December 18, 2016

In a note in the program for Alligator, the world-premiere play opening New Georges' 25th season, Hilary Bettis describes writing it in "a fever dream of alcohol, death, violence, and poverty." Alligator, the first of a planned series of collaborations by The Sol Project with off-Broadway companies to produce new plays by Latinx playwrights, carries the audience into a similar space, embracing chaos in order to map the "pain and destruction," as Bettis's note puts it, caused by the unplanned, unpredictable intersections of people's lives. Against the backdrop of the Florida Everglades in 1999, Alligator's characters struggle, compellingly if often unsuccessfully, within and against this chaos for self-realization and human connection. Read more »

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