Sunday, October 23, 2011

Port Jefferson Scarecrows Learning Hard Lessons

Looks like some of the Port Jefferson scarecrows spent a little too much time at Billy's Saloon this weekend...

Monday, October 17, 2011

The 2011 Hamptons Film Festival

This year's Hamptons Film Festival was as eclectic and interesting as ever with a host of different documentary and narrative films in theaters scattered throughout the Hamptons. In addition to the films they hosted a number of talks with: David Bailey, Harry Bellafonte, Rufus Wainwright, Matthew Broderick who had a strange incident when an audience member started pleading for help because she was being spied on after taking on the Catholic Church, and Susan Sarandon caused a stir of her own at the festival when she referred to the pope as a Nazi on stage. The festival also included an installation on Georgica beach created by land artist Jim Denevan. I had a number of my students volunteering at the festival but managed to see a pair of terrific film "My Week With Marilyn" which was hauntingly beautiful with a amazing performance by Michelle Williams and the terrific "The Rum Diary" based on Hunter S. Thomson's early adventures in Puerto Rico with Johnny Depp again playing the lead.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Creators Project in DUMBO 10.15.2011

DUMBO was packed Saturday for this year's Creators Project which featured a huge array of art, film, music, and food all free of cost courtesy of Intel and VICE magazine. There were a number of highlights such as performances by Four Tet and Florence and the Machine under the Manhattan Bridge archway and Atlas Sound's show in the refitted Tobacco Warehouse under the Brooklyn Bridge which also housed the amazing LED light art installation "Origin" created by the UK's United Visual Artists’ collective.

The "Life On Mars Revisited" piece by David Bowie, Mick Rock, and Barney Clay was also impressive with it's immersion in sound and visuals as well as art pieces such as "Six-Fourty by Four-Eighty" by Zigelbaum + Coelho which gave a voice to individual pixels and the "The Global Photomontage" which projects images from everyone at the festival who tags their images in Instagram making for a truly participatory artwork.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jackson Browne @ Westbury Music Fair 10.12.2011

The audience had a self-appointed elevated presence at Jackson Browne's solo acoustic benefit performance at the Westbury Music Fair on Wednesday night shouting out numberous marriage proposals and birthday wishes between the calls for songs in every moment of potential silence. Browne who took the stage framed by a keyboard and just under 20 guitars realized early that he may have opened up Pandora's Box when he mentioned an earlier performance at the Music Fair in which someone shouted out an obsure song request that he played which eventually helped lead him in the direction of the new format sans setlist.

The mellow, sentimental sound did not pair well with the abrasive shouting but didn't spoil the night as Browne played two sets of songs ranging from lesser known gems like the recent "Off Of Wonderland" and the seldom played "Sing My Songs To Me" to his mainstream hits such as "Running On Empty". "The Pretender" and "Doctor My Eyes". One of the unfortunate consequences of all the crosstalk was that it cutback on Jackson's storytelling inbetween songs but he did manage to tell an amazing story leading up to my personal favorite "These Days" about playing a show with Tim Buckley early on in his career and ending up at a wild party in Stony Brook. He said "everywhere I went people just kept looking at me and I was like- what? and for a while I was thinking, well, I guess they never seen anybody from California" but then realized everyone was on acid. He closed out the show with a short encore featuring the aptly timed Little Steven song "I Am A Patriot".

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Panda Bear @ Webster Hall 10.1.2011

Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox of Animal Collective) performed at Webster Hall last night to a packed house and while his layered electronic sound paired with echoed, harmonic vocals often brings to mind The Beach Boy's Brian Wilson, as a performer the effect was much more akin to Pink Floyd especially with the visuals projected on stage which were created along with director Danny Perez.

It was one of the rare shows which was more of an experience than a performance with its repetitive, trance rhythms and hallucinogenic images and I'd argue that the best place to enjoy it might've been toward the back of the house as opposed to the front. Overall, the hour-long set felt more like a acid, indie, hipster, new-age church than a rock show as the young NYU audience soaked in the sound sprinkled with a few older music aficionados such as former Talking Heads simger and artist David Byrne. The show closed with a short encore which included the crowd favorites such as "Comfy in Nativa" and "Bros" followed by a funky visual of repeated, distorted faces as the sound lingered and the stage fell dark.