Lady Bird, Don't Fly Away!

For those of you who've navigated the slippery slope of micro-managing, or trying to micro-manage a teenage girl's life, Lady Bird will thoroughly resonate with you. If you haven't, maybe not so much, even if you've raised teenagers in your household, especially for any mother who wanted more for her daughter than her own life. For me, it resonated on many levels -- from my memories of Catholic school to awkward hormonal expressions to trying to fit in when you don't feel like you fit in with anyone. Or the pressure of applying for college -- the cost, the admittance to top tier schools, the distance... oh, the humanity of it all. This film deals with all of that existential angst when your brain is trying to make sense of your adulthood looming in the near horizon. Read more »

Album of the Week: Warren Malone - The Great Big Bubblegum Heartbreak

The life of a singer/songwriter is littered with heartbreak, pain, joy, piss & shit, and... well, life! For the Manchester-bred, NYC-based Warren Malone, life is an enormous canvas, a canvas he paints with deftness and combustible energy -- from his gentle brush strokes to brash colors and muted grays and everything in between. Ten songs that encompass his life and loves. "You Get What You Paid For / I've got a broken heart..." sings Malone; straight ahead, tightly woven in an evocatively simple arrangement with help from two of his favorite New York collaborators -- Brandon Wilde and Lenny Monachello. They represent a small but unified group of mighty professionals who have kept the art of songwriting very much alive. Armed with acoustic guitars and amazing songs, Mr. Malone, along with them, continue to spread their joy of songwriting.  Read more »

Quote of the Week: Charles M. Schulz

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."

Charles M Schulz ( 26 Nov. 1922 - 12 Feb. 2000) - American cartoonist, creator of Peanuts.

Fly On, Dutchman!

{Flying} Dutchman Written by Amiri Baraka
Directed by Christopher-Rashee Stevenson
Presented by Theatre of War at The Tank, NYC
February 9-25, 2018

The 1964 play Dutchman was born from the pen of the prolific, impassioned, and often controversial Amiri Baraka, who died in 2014 after a nearly 50-year career as a playwright, poet, essayist, and activist. When Baraka wrote the play, he was still known as LeRoi Jones, but he would later change his name, hardening his commitment to revolutionary black nationalism. The 1970s would see his politics shift again, this time to Marxism, and he made forays into academia beginning in the 1980s and continued to publish new work right up until his death. Dutchman won an Obie award the year that it premiered, at New York City's Cherry Lane Theatre, and Theatre of War has revived this militant classic at the relocated and expanded The Tank, which serves emerging artists. This version incorporates some text from Jean Genet's Les Nègres, clownerie (The Blacks: A Clown Show), the 1,408-performance NYC run of which from 1961-1964 overlapped with Dutchman's original run, and which also deals with racial identity and anger in blunt, provocative terms. The result, re-christened {Flying} Dutchman, is a taut 45-minute explosion of a play. Read more »

Semiotexting and Snorealism on Instagram

Like many people who like to look at art and write about it, I don’t have time to go to galleries, I work too much. But I do find time to look at paintings on Instagram. This is my take on the work that I see there. It's never going to be the same as experiencing it live, my read is bound to be limited. This is a skim, a study of tendencies if you like. Read more »

Quote of the Week: John Barlow

"Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds."

John Perry Barlow (3 October 1947 - 7 February 2018) - American poet and essayist, a cattle rancher, and a cyber-libertarian political activist who was associated with both the Democratic and Republican parties. He was also a lyricist for the Grateful Dead via Bob Weir and a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Freedom of the Press Foundation. He was Fellow Emeritus at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, where he had maintained an affiliation since 1998. The above tune -- "The Music Never Stopped" -- was co-written by Mr. Weir for The Dead and appeared on their album Blues For Allah (1975). He passed away in his sleep at the age of 70. RIP, Mr. Barlow.

Vanity Fair VI: Hannah Kallenbach + Bradley Rubenstein

Hannah Kallenbach is a Brooklyn-based performance artist whose primary interest is in female grossness and exploring ways to reclaim the fetishization of her own body. She recently staged “Re:” at Vital Joint in Brooklyn, and "2 girls 1 hotdog" premiered at The Glove as part of The Exponential Festival. Hannah is associate directing the Shakespeare in the Square's food-fight-inspired production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream touring at the end of March through April. Read more »

Dusty Wright - "Weather This Storm"

For survivors everywhere... here's the video collaboration of visual artist Ashley G. Garner with Dusty Wright. The song was produced by d. Bindi, mixed by David Lee, and mastered by Alan Douches for West West Side Music. Recorded by Gio Loria at Black Volt Studio, LA & Straus Park Studio, NYC. Co-vocals by Jay StolarRead more »

Quote of the Week: Langston Hughes

"Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly."

Langston Hughes (1 February 1902 - 22 May 1967) American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz poetry.

Stoking The Fire!

The Fire This Time: Season 9: 10-Minute Play Festival
Directed by Candis C. Jones
Presented by FRIGID New York and Horse Trade Theater at the Kraine Theater, NYC
January 15-28, 2018

The consistently excellent The Fire This Time Festival, which features new plays from artists of African descent, is in its ninth season. Among its schedule of readings and performances, the 10-Minute Play Festival is a consistent highlight, and this year's is no exception. Showcasing the work of six playwrights and directed by Candis C. Jones, the festival, performed by a skillful cast to an enthusiastic packed house on the night that we attended, engages a range of topics and tones that nonetheless echo and resonate with one another, creating a whole that is intriguing, affecting, and entertaining right through the curtain call. Read more »

Mark E Smith Remembered

Mark E Smith and The Fall lived on the outskirts of alternative rock and pop music for over forty years.

I saw them once in '85. They played the Hammersmith Palais. I went with my brother Phil who was a big fan from the start. The place wasn’t packed but the core was positioned around the band, close. Many of them taping the show. I had this sense of the stage being low and we were really in on the vibe. Which was heavy, carrying a low-level threat of aggression. It felt like cheap grindy speed. Read more »

Good Evening, Mr. Ross

Steve Ross
I Remember Him Well: The Songs of Alan Jay Lerner
Birdland Jazz Club, NYC
Monday, January 22, 2018

Lerner who?

Getting serious for a moment, this is the fact around which we will orbit: What really constitutes American culture? Literature and architecture and painting -- yes, certainly. But what particularly animates our hearts is song -- and, in particular, the living energy of the American musical theater. In that buoyant realm, there’s no greater literate master than lyricist and writer Alan Jay Lerner (1918-1986). The open-and-shut-case evidence for this assertion is his CV: On A Clear Day, Brigadoon, Gigi, Paint Your Wagon, An American In Paris (story and screen play), Camelot, and -- most famously, My Fair Lady.

Watching our black and white TV, as a child I noticed my parents (and the studio audience) were delighted by a singer I’d never heard of. I could not understand the big to-do about him. Yes, he was pleasant-enough looking, but no Robert Goulet (a handsome icon of the day). Read more »

On The Contrary

Mark E Smith 5th March 1957-24th January 2018

A mercurial maverick, Mark E Smith's was a survivor of the early punk movement whose creative output spanned four uninterrupted decades, thirty two studio albums and sixty six former band members. A true contrarian who orchestrated chaos, he rightly deserves the description of unique. Sometimes majestic, often a shambles, his performances could never be guaranteed or predicted. He hired and fired musicians like a malevolent monarch, and in the process created some of the most inspired and challenging music of any era. He defied definition, was as cantankerous as hell, but unlike Shane McGowan, alcohol didn't cease his output. When John Peel died the BBC invited Smith into the studio to speak of his former stalwart, the only coherent utterance was that he and Peel had never been friends, and the interview quickly had the plug pulled on it as Smith's ingestion of whatever he could lay his hands on had mutated him into a leering, bug-eyed goblin. Tortured and torturous he was a constantly uneasy presence. Read more »

A Woman's Wisdom... Lyla June

Lyla June is Taos, New Mexico-based singer/songwriter who lives her life according to "the path of service." Besides being a musician, she's also a poet, anthropologist, educator, community organizer and public speaker. She is of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) Native American lineages. CultureCatch sat with her recently. Here's that interview: Read more »

Quote of the Week: Martin Scorsese

martin_scorsese.jpg"Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame... ...and what's out."

Martin Scorsese

(17 November 1942) - A critically acclaimed, award-winning NYC-based director.

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