For He Who Does Not Rock, We Salute You!

Me The People: The Trump America Musical
Triad Theater, NYC
June 24th through....

If you hate Trump like I hate Trump and you have the urge to smash your TV to smithereens every time you see his orange headed smirk, or hurl your phone into the river every time you read one of his tweets - DON'T DO IT!!!!!!! Go see Me The People instead!!!! Me The People is a laugh-out-loud-funny satirical revue at the Triad Theater on the Upper West Side and I guarantee it will turn your Trump loathing howls of presidential pain that have you hiding under the covers into Trump loathing howls of cathartic laughter that will have you rolling in the aisles. Four supremely talented cast members and one hard-working pianist skewer everything from shredding the Constitution (literally) to the Supremes to Russian Spies to Mar-a-Lago to Melania to Korea to Putin to chocolate cake to climate change to the prospect of post-impeachment president Mike Pence vowing to fix you if you're gay. Read more »

Watch Out For That Lava Flow!

The Floor is Lava
Written by Alex Riad
Directed by Jessica O'Hara Baker
Presented by The Farm Theater at Flamboyán Theater, NYC
June 15-July 8, 2017

The Floor is Lava, the new play from Washington Heights playwright and screenwriter Alex Riad, is part of the 2017 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, a socially- and environmentally-conscious festival whose productions choose non-profit organizations to benefit. The Floor is Lava benefits Girls Who Code, an organization that is dedicated to closing the vast gender gap in the technology industry and that currently serves 40,000 girls nationwide.

The Floor is Lava (debuting, coincidentally, at the same time that the children's game for which it is named has become the most recent social media "challenge") takes place in the basement of Tom (Ian Poake), one of those seemingly ubiquitous young white males with a billion-dollar app startup at an incredibly young age and a Mark Zuckerberg-inspired fashion sense. Read more »

Video of the Week: Melanie De Biasio - "No Reply"

Some artists transcend description, best they are not compartmentalized into a specific genre of music. Miss Melanie De Biasio is a Belgian artist that incorporates jazz, classical, nufolk, even electronica into her musically rich vocabulary to create her truly unique and atmospheric sound; not unlike Sigur Ros or Bjork or Joni Mitchell's jazz-informed work in the late '80s. This song was released on her 2014 album No Reply, an album I just got turned on to by my dear friend Michael Naso. This version of the song features strings and was recorded in a cathedral in Brussels. The arrangement is fantastic and it features a wonderful Gregorian contralto co-vocal by Romain Dayez. In fact, as much as I like this string-driven version of the title track, her song "The Flow" from that album is even better. It's got a killer groove. Think '70s era Gil Scott-Heron. And if that wasn't enough to take in, her new effort Lilies drops on October 6th. Check out her new single "Gold Junkies" -- one of the tracks from that album -- here. Take a deep breath and enjoy her wonderful music. I suspect the rest of America will be catching up with this extremely talented artist very soon.

The Girl With A Thorn In Her Side

Lynn Castle Rose Colored Corner Light (Light In The Attic)

Coming across visually as a prototype Nancy Sinatra about to enter The Valley Of The Dolls, Lynn Castle in the 1960s was an entrancing and beguiling entity. Her debut album finally appears a few years shy of her turning eighty, and it is a tremendous affair, an index of splendid and unrealized possibilities, as stark as it is haunting.  Read more »

The Incomparable Rose Hartman: I Shot Andy Warhol... David Bowie... and Bianca Jagger on a Horse

If Andy were still strutting about nowadays, he might just tweak his "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes" to "in the future, everyone will be starring in her own documentary or reality TV series."

The latest beneficiary of such a crowd-funded, ego-boosting journey into her past travails is the prickly “Tasmanian Devil of Photography,” octogenarian Rose Hartman. You who are of a certain age, especially those of you with fashionista leanings, will recall this salty soul's snapshots or at least those who were apprehended by her lens: Kate Moss, Steve Rubell, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Truman Capote, Lenny Kravitz, and Linda Evangelista. Her candid images were mostly taken at society functions, discos, and fashion shows. Read more »

Tender & The Fury

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Beacon Theatre, NYC
June 15, 2017

Much is being written that Nick Cave's current tour of Skeleton Tree may be his best yet. Seeing Mr. Cave and The Bad Seeds' performance last night at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, I would agree. Playing every song from that album except "Rings of Saturn" plus another eleven classic songs (set list here) from his catalog, it was a show that will be difficult to rival by any touring act this year or quite possibly until Mr. Cave decides to tour again. Quite remarkable given that he's a few months shy of his 60th year on Earth. Read more »

The Urgency of Indecent Art: Paula Vogel on Love, Creation and Injustice

Paula Vogel’s “Indecent” is many things: an idiosyncratic mix of music, memory and theater magic; a female take on an infamous male intellectual; a Holocaust parable that manages to surprise; a lesbian love story both lyrical and consumed with lust; a provocative piece of found history that holds up an eerie mirror to our times. The Pulitzer-winning playwright, author of more than a dozen distinctive works, has been talking to countless audiences about her first show to land on Broadway human -- separately discovered the same censored story. Vogel spoke with me a few days before the Tonys, which she planned to attend as a Best Play nominee.

Is it strange to be where you are now? Are you surprised to be on Broadway?

I find it just a continuation of what I’ve been doing. It’s like going from Rhode Island to Texas -- the roads are the same, and the people are lovely, just everything’s a slightly larger scale. Read more »

Re-Animate Me!

The 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows
SVA Theater, NYC

I became an animation fan -- a true aficionado -- early in life. It had little or nothing to do with children's shows on television (Hanna-Barbera, Speed Racer, Gigantor, et al), though I watched and liked most of them. Rather, it was probably when I first saw Fantasia (likely mid-1960s), and then The Jungle Book (1967) and (of course!) The Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968). By that time, I was actively looking for good (or great) animation. I was not a fan of Disney (though I have a sentimental fondness for The Aristocats (1970)), and anime feature films did not become widely known in the U.S. until the 1980s.

Borderline

Counterpoints to the Narrative
Lichtundfire Gallery, NYC
May 31 - June 30, 2017
The exhibition is jointly organized through Lichtundfire and Katharine Carter & Associates, D. Dominick Lombardi, Curator.

The concept of walls and borders has been tossed around with such frequency of late, and with such politically charged implications, it seems almost anticlimactic that artists would address this notion within a primarily aesthetic context. Counterpoints to the Narrative curated by D. Dominick Lombardi, features a group of artists exploring ideas that are simple, yet provocative, visuals of this complex subject matter. Sparky Campanella, Mark Sharp, and Martin Weinstein, two painters, one photographer, whose work, seen in combination is much more than a contrast in method and style; rather, it is a meditation on visuality and viewership. These artists are creating work that explores some of the ideas Rudolf Arnheim has put forth regarding the contrast between "seeing into" a work of art, and "seeing as." Read more »

Caterwauling Towards The Light - Dusty Wright

Album is still getting amazing press. New reviews on Paste.com and Sound&Track.com.

Dusty Wright's new album Caterwauling Towards the Light is 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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A Summer Breeze...

Ting Lui: A Breeze Comes From ‘Meng Bana Xi’ 
Paris Koh Fine Arts, NY
May 16 - 26, 2017

The exhibition, A Breeze Comes from ‘Meng Bana Xi,' displays recent oil on canvas works whose quirkiness and individuality are rare in an era of globalization, when standardized ideas take on a generic identity that reveals few personal hints about the artist who creates them. The twenty-four paintings on view provide a glimpse of purity undiluted by outside contemporary influences. Ting works in a small isolated village in South China, near the Myanmar (Burmese) border, separate from the hip and the trendy burgeoning yet government “guided” art centers of Shanghai and Beijing. These works are rife with messages and feelings that seem on the brink of exploding. Her demonstrative approach, which harks to the era when both the German Expressionists and Edvard Munch gave voice to their dark feelings of foreboding and anxiety, is viewed by local Chinese authorities with suspicion. Ting fails to follow the official lines whose boundaries determine acceptable styles and content for contemporary art in China. Read more »

Something Strange Going On...

Long Strange Trip (Amazon Video)

I was stoked have scored a ticket for the limited-run (one week) theatrical screening of the new Grateful Dead documentary at IFC Cinema in the West Village. A four-hour love fest for Deadheads young and old, and more importantly for those music fans and the curious who just never got "it" and what it means to be a Deadhead. Expertly handled by director Amir Bar-Lev, there is so much to mine here that I can't imagine how much was left on the cutting room floor. (Props to executive producer Martin Scorsese, too.) Jerry's Frankenstein story frames the movie in a way that initially seems odd but by the end of the film makes perfect sense. After all, like the Monster, the band was "assembled" by the various parts (members, friends, fans, staff) that comprised it. Messy, joyous entropy in action; seemingly random, but actually spiritually connected on a very profound and metaphysically level. This could have easily been a 6 - 8 hour mini-series. Heck, I could have watched another hour just on the various keyboard players that brought their craft to the Dead. Or how the band would curate their set lists from show to show, never repeating a set list while on tour. But these are minor quibbles. This is a must-see film. Read more »

Some Feminist HERstory

Lou
Written by Haley Rice
Directed by Kate Moore Heaney
Presented by Theatre 4the People at The Paradise Factory, NYC
May 19-June 3, 2017

Quickly: how many of you have heard of Sigmund Freud? Now, how many of you have heard of Lou Salomé? It might surprise many audience members to see Salomé using Freud’s own psychoanalytic techniques on him late in Haley Rice’s new play Lou, but that is part of the point. Directed with an all-female cast by Kate Moore Heaney, Lou operates, to a large degree, in the genre of feminist reclamation, bringing attention to significant women unfairly elided by history. Much like The Other Mozart, which stopped in New York last fall to shine its spotlight on Wolfgang’s talented sister, Maria Anna, Rice’s play focuses on an exceptional woman lost over time in the shadows of the famous men with whom she lived and worked. Read more »

All Tomorrow's Karaokes

John Cale
Liverpool Sound City, UK
Friday 26th May 2017

Fifty years on and it is time to remember one of the most innovative albums ever impressed onto wax. A delicious dark and jagged confection of nihilism and sulky sophistication unlike it's Liverpudlian counterpart Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, also now fifty, but which was sunny, funny and a bit vaudeville. Both represent a pair of wildly different bookends. The Velvet Underground and Nico was then a monumental, commercial flop, whilst the Beatles album sold in the millions. With half a century under its belt of shiny studded leather, the Velvets album now has an arc of influence that continues to reach into the hearts of those who wish to create a positive noise. Read more »

Dead On, In Spite of Everything

Dead Ringer
By Charles Borkuis (Blazevox Books, 2017)

The idea of the doppleganger, identity theft and mix up of characters has always played a big part in literature since early on. The piece that initially always comes to mind is Dostoyevsky's "The Double." Read more »

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