Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

Blues Masters Vol. 13: New York City Blues

January 17, 2008

nycblues1.jpg

While my listening tastes run heavily to the lowdown-dirty blues, I also have a certain appreciation for jazz. That’s basically what I found on Blues Masters, Vol. 13: New York City Blues, which, coupled with some back-to-back listening with old Chess recordings, brings into sharp focus the differences between Chicago and NYC blues. This might be blues, but it’s far on the jazz end of the blues spectrum. It’s all glitz and glam, cigarettes in holders and tuxedo-clad martinis rather than butts off the floor and drunken late-night barroom brawls — nice change of pace for me, y’know.

Highlights? The the wacky-witty clarinet and horn section of Ellington’s “Happy Go Lucky Local,” the easy groove of Lionel Hampton’s Hamp’s Boogie Woogie, Erskine Hawkins’ gorgeous horn-driven blues “John Henry” and the jazzy Johnny Hodges piece Castle Rock, not to mention the irresistible “Every Day” by Kansas City’s the Count Basie Orchestra with Joe Williams.

The influence of NYC on the development of jazz and show music, especially as opposed to rock, never seems clearer than in this collection. Listen to this alongside the Blues Masters series Memphis Blues or Postwar Chicago Blues, and I think you’ll get what I’m talking about: This is big, grand, sweeping orchestral blues of the type that, basically, rock would eschew for most of a couple decades.

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Blues Masters Vol. 13: New York City Blues

December 6, 2007

nycblues1.jpg

While my listening tastes run heavily to the lowdown-dirty blues, I also have a certain appreciation for jazz. That’s basically what I found on Blues Masters, Vol. 13: New York City Blues, which, coupled with some back-to-back listening with old Chess recordings, brings into sharp focus the differences between Chicago and NYC blues. This might be blues, but it’s far on the jazz end of the blues spectrum. It’s all glitz and glam, cigarettes in holders and tuxedo-clad martinis rather than butts off the floor and drunken late-night barroom brawls — nice change of pace for me, y’know.

Highlights? The the wacky-witty clarinet and horn section of Ellington’s “Happy Go Lucky Local,” the easy groove of Lionel Hampton’s Hamp’s Boogie Woogie, Erskine Hawkins’ gorgeous horn-driven blues “John Henry” and the jazzy Johnny Hodges piece Castle Rock, not to mention the irresistible “Every Day” by Kansas City’s the Count Basie Orchestra with Joe Williams.

The influence of NYC on the development of jazz and show music, especially as opposed to rock, never seems clearer than in this collection. Listen to this alongside the Blues Masters series Memphis Blues or Postwar Chicago Blues, and I think you’ll get what I’m talking about: This is big, grand, sweeping orchestral blues of the type that, basically, rock would eschew for most of a couple decades.

Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art Show, NYC

November 29, 2007

Surely you don’t require a tutorial in the sordid ways of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School? Having begun its corrupt debauchment of conurbations worldwide by sleazing up New York (kind of a gimme), this rampant rendezvous of ravishment has moved on to purvey its own sordid brand of pastel-smudged skullduggery in the artistic communities of more than two dozen cities. Essentially a burlesque-flavored artistic salon and life drawing session with enormous quantities of liquor and bizarre costumes inspired by anything from Marie Antoinette to Allan Quatermain to Jurassic Park, Dr. Sketchy’s has become a phenomenon, fueling artistic development in the developmental and, perhaps more importantly, encouraging them to fall down.

Read more at Eros Zine.

Lydia Lunch

October 30, 2007

Singer, multi-instrumentalist, visual artist and spoken word performer Lydia Lunch’s brand of oral fixation is not designed to get a reaction from her audiences… but tends to. “You know, I’m always accused of going for shock value,” says Lunch. “What could be more shocking than the real world?”

Lydia Lunch got her musical start in bicentennial New York as one of the early performers in what may or may not have been punk rock. There, she shrieked her way through a super-8 slasher movie of a slide-guitar nightmare called “Orphans” with her first band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, leaving a bellywound in ’70s punk that produces fresh scar tissue to this day. A subsequent band, “Eight Eyed Spy,” was a moonshine swamprock proto-gothabilly project described by at least one critic as “shooting hot loads of steaming musical spunk into the audience.”

Lunch went on to collaborate with a list of musicians that reads like the guest list for Alfred Jarry’s dinner party in Hell: J.G. Thirlwell, Sonic Youth, Rowland S. Howard, Michael Gira, Einstürzende Neubauten, Nick Cave, Steven Severin, the Birthday Party and Robert Quine, just for starters. An improbable marriage of avant-garde and hard rock led to the irresistible Shotgun Wedding with Howard; A ’90s project with Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and drummer Sadie Mae, with whom Lunch toured Europe, set to music the most fucked-up psychosexual hypermacho themes from the Southern Gothic-Redneck Noir novels of literary author Harry Crews, and produced quite possibly the most disturbing rock and roll song ever recorded (“The Gospel Singer”).

Other vocal works of Lunch’s have been slightly less punchfuck and lots more skullfuck, for my money her best work being a subtle blend of death-jazz, avant-rock and hardboiled noir in which Lunch comes across as a well-armed sex kitten with Eros drooling in her cleavage and Thanatos racking the slide on her Automag.

She’s also appeared in a number of underground films, including early Richard Kern works in the “cinema of transgression” movement, perhaps most notably including “Fingered” — where she participated quite famously in, as Wikipedia politely puts it, “unsimulated sex acts.”

As her spoken word performances developed and broadened through the ’80s and ’90s, it would be an understatement to say Lunch often invited controversy — a 1990 appearance on the cover of the granddaddy of lesbian sex mags, On Our Backs, provoked some pretty energetic letters to the editor, and during a film festival in Berlin a group of self-declared feminists broke in to the projector room and attempted to burn the print of “Fingered.” (They ended up torching the wrong film.)

But the controversy was just getting started — with the publication of 1997’s Paradoxia: A Predator’s Diary, in which Lunch explored the themes of sexual predation in a memoir that might be considered unsavory and in fact proved a bit much for North American publishers — though it appeared in the UK ten years ago, it’s only now being published in the US. As the country took a turn to the right, Lunch, who had moved every few years for most of her life, became increasingly dissatisfied with life in the US; in 2005, she left North America for Spain. She’s returning in November for a tour of the States under the Hangover Hotel banner.

We talked with Lydia by phone as she got ready to hit the road for the Land of the Free.

Read More at Eros Zine.

James St. James

October 30, 2007

For those in the New York club scene of the late ’80s and early ’90s, James St. James was one of the most outrageous fixtures of the scene and the leader of a substantial cadre of club kids. For the rest of us, he shot to fame with the publication of his 1999 memoir Disco Bloodbath: A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland, the story of the Michael Alig-Angel Melendez murder that was adapted into the film Party Monster. More recently, he wrote Freakshow, a young-adult novel about Billy, a Florida high school kid who just wants to be Prom Queen (and who doesn’t?).

A former columnist for Out Magazine who is currently working in Hollywood for the film company that released Party Monster, St. James is heading to San Francisco soon to serve as a celebrity judge (or is that celebutante judge/jury/executioner?) on the legendary Miss Trannyshack Pageant. We at Eros Zine traded emails with the famously erudite St. James recently about his writing, his experiences in the club scene, and the upcoming pageant.

Read More at Eros Zine.

Modified Eros

October 30, 2007

Curated by writer, director, actress and model Audacia Ray, Modified Eros is “a photographic celebration of bodies modified with tattooing, piercing, corsetry, and scarification.” Featuring the photography of Bella Vendetta, Patrick Reardon, Brian Mackey, and many others, the show will run through January 18 and is being held at “non-traditional art venue, BDSM play space, and organizer of the Black and Blue Ball” Arena Studios.

Read more at Eros Zine.

Miss Vera’s Amazing Grace (New York Event)

September 18, 2007

 “Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls once again takes the lead in education with its offer of Amazing Grace: How to Walk, Sit & Pose in High Heels, a class for all women. By the phrase, all women, academy founder, Veronica Vera means women who’ve lived in that gender all of their lives, as well as transwomen, those who were raised as men but who transition to female, whether for a day or for a lifetime.”

“For years non-trans women or ‘genetic girls,’ to use a popular term, have been clamoring to attend the same classes as the crossdressers and other transgendered adults who come to my Academy…especially the high heel class,” says Miss Vera. “We all want to get rid of the clomp in our clip, and a bent kneed ‘spider walk’ is not attractive.”

Read more at Eros Zine.

New York Burlesque Festival

August 24, 2007

The New York Burlesque Festival is a quartet of tassel-twirling days in the currently-reigning North American capital of the art of the bump-n-grind. With the vibrant burlesque community in New York ranging from fine-art takes on the saucy skills to the outrageous vaudeville pop-culture parodies of Pinchbottom and beyond, there’s no better place to celebrate the art form than in the good ol’ Big Apple.

Read the rest on Eros Zine.