Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paul Cary, Total Control, Thee Oh Sees - (Le) Poisson Rouge

Paul Cary and the Small Scaries

Total Conrtol

Thee Oh Sees

Doug McQueen, who made the night a real rager.

Paul Cary and the Small Scaries came to town on tour with Total Control and Thee Oh Sees, and I got to go see.

Paul Cary is responsible for creating one of my all-time favorite records ever, the self-titled “The Horrors” lp released on In The Red back in 2000. (You can download a FREE ,legit copy here.) I still remember the first time I ever saw that band play. I was on a road trip with friends and we were staying in Colorado Springs with an old buddy. It was snowing like crazy and we drove across town at minimum speed through the mush to see The Horrors play at a punk house. They were also from Iowa where we all went to school, and I’d hung out with all of them for years but somehow never heard their music. Those guys had driven literally all day through the blinding snow to play this show, had just arrived at like 11 pm, and when they finished setting up there were probably 11 people to play to. They absolutely destroyed the place. They sounded huge, everyone danced like maniacs, and they won my heart forever.

Anyway, I hadn’t seen Paul play in a long time and I was stoked when I walked by (Le) Poisson Rouge and saw his name on the sign. Having mismanaged my schedule on this Friday night I got to the venue just as the guys took the stage. The new songs are a little less frantic, but the same stripped-bare, propulsive, raw, trembling, rock-and-roll howl is there.  The band he’s built is perfect for him. John Crawford can do anything he wants to drums and Adam Penly on the organ adds a current of reverent southern smoothness. Anyway, these descriptions do nothing so please just listen.

Total Control were seriously awesome in a Fall, Gang of Four kind of way and I thought they played an awesome set.

Thee Oh Sees were also awesome, and I was impressed with how big they sounded. A real fun live band. About half way through the show I realized that the male singer /guitar player used to be in a band with some friends of mine, which I then filed under the “oh, neat” category in my brain.

About the same time I was realizing that, my best buddy Doug McQueen, back home in NYC for the first time in 6 months, was realizing that he was pretty much invincible. He also had to dance. Like a ritual of awakening, his dancing started to bring to life the dormant crowd around him. It was his semi-successful stage dive on-top-of /in-to the immobile throng that finally turned everyone loose. His persistence to enjoy hisself whipped up a maelstrom. He single handedly started the party. Sadly, the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long. He would exit slightly early with a black eye and a smile.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

M.O.B. Group Show - Bullet Space

It's made of band-aids.

Leo Fitzpatrick

Richard Kern
Chocolate by Martynka Wawrzyniak
Martynka Wawrzyniak and Richard Kern

Last-last Friday I went to Bullet Space on the Lower East Side to see the group show “Mob.” I had some friends in town and thier band was playing a show (more on that in a future post) and their set started at 7:30, so by the time I left work I had less than 30 minutes to scoot all the way across town and back. I really feel like I shortchanged myself and anyone who might actually look at these pictures because I was in such a rush, and furthermore I didn’t even write down who made what. The show was actually really great, in a cool place with a very cool history, and there were plenty of really interesting people in attendance, and I only spent like 15 minutes there. I totally blew it and I’m sorry.

I was very excited to see a projection of Martynka Wawrzyniak film “Chocolate” which made me an instant fan when I first saw it this past summer. As soon as I watched it I tracked her down on facebook so that I would be aware of her future endeavors. What I didn’t realize until months later was that she is married to Richard Kern, an amazing photographer and filmmaker of whom I’ve been a fan for years. Kern has shot everyone and his images have been pretty much everywhere and he continues to produce an astounding volume of work all the time. His early films included collaborations with Sonic Youth, the Butthole Surfers, David Wojnarowicz, Lydia Lunch, and Henry Rollins just to name a few. The often violent, often sexual subject matter lead a former girlfriend of mine to say that she “couldn’t be with someone who could sit through that.” Turned out she was right!

Anyway, It was crazy to get to meet him and he was insanely friendly and suffered through a lot of awkward stammering. He told me that he was responsible for shooting “Chocolate” as well as pouring the chocolate itself onto his wife, and that they had to shoot the whole film twice, which must have been brutal. He described a piece that Wawrzyniak is currently working on which sounds truly unique and exciting but that sort of defies explaination. I would have loved to talk to him much longer but due to my idiotic time constraints I (mercifully for him) cut the conversation short as I sprinted out of the gallery like a freak to catch a cab back across town.

If you have the chance, don’t miss this very cool show. The Bullet Space keeps odd hours, so perhaps contact them to see when they would be available. Info is below.

292 East 3rd StNew York, NY 10009
[view map]


Fri / Sat / Sun 1-6pm
or by appointment or chance

Monday, November 21, 2011

Miranda July - "It Chooses You" launch party

 A card by Joe Putterlik, who helped to inspire "It Chooses You."

 Mike Mills is back there.
"We are watching you"

On Thursday night Partners and Spade hosted a party in honor of the release of Miranda July’s new book It Chooses You. The book chronicles a period in 2009 when procrastinating work on a screenplay July "crisscrossed Los Angeles to meet a random selection of PennySaver sellers, glimpsing thirteen surprisingly moving and profoundly specific realities, along the way shaping her film, and herself, in unexpected ways."

The shop was filled with items that they had bought via classified ads, then repackaged to along with a snippet of an interview with the person selling it. Items on offer included ball-crawl balls, paint tubes, drum sets, posters, flags, scrabble letters, bikes, and old trophies to name but a few. I arrived about an hour after the event started and most everything was already spoken for. It’s amazing how transformative the touch of an artist can be, that literally everything in the store had sold out in a matter of an hour whereas most of the items on their own merits could linger on a junk shop shelf for years without notice.

Also on display were a collection of hand-made cards created by Joe Putterlik. Putterlik was an 81 year old retired housepainter that July met when she went to buy something from him via the Penny saver. He and his cards (many of which are dirty limericks written for his wife) were featured in July’s film The Future which was released last summer and helped to inspire the book. Joe passed away shortly after filming, and it was touching to see his sweet and silly cards presented here with such reverence.

Amy read It Chooses You and said it was great. I trust her endorsement, so check it out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

LA Vampires and the 100% Silk tour - Shea Stadium

Shea Stadium


 LA Vampires

 Magic Touch

Amanda and Britt are the force behind Not Not Fun, a record/cassette/book label from LA that has been putting out great records for a long time. In addition to running the label, they have a million different musical projects going on at any given time (including Pocahaunted, Robedoor, Vibes, and many more) and each individual group has a prolific output that makes most bands look like Terrence Malick. A while ago they even launched whole new label called 100% Silk to accommodate their growing interest in dance music and started pumping out 12”s.  These guys never fail to impress me and I am proud to call them friends.

Their current project, LA Vampires, is a dancible combination of ethereal pop vocals, keyboards, and tape loops with a vague undercurrent of menace woven throughout. It’s like a bed with black satin sheets surrounded by a hundred burning candles in the back of a battered van parked near a cosmetology school. Simply put, great!

They put together a short tour to showcase 100% Silk artists and last Wednesday night the LA Vampires took the stage at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn. In addition to being prolific, these guys are just incredible at details, nailing every aspect of packaging, presentation, and performance. For a ‘band’ that plays music mostly made up of electronics their stage presence was incredible. Amanda sang while dancing (barefoot) among the crowd and her wild, manic energy was infectious. The divide between band and audience melted quickly into an egalitarian dance party frenzy. There was frantic vouge-ing and spacstic flailing galore. Fun times!

I strongly encourage you to check out NNF, 100% Silk and thier many tendrils. You’re sure to find something you like.