Help out New York’s premiere audio-visual techie art camp, IMAGE NODE!
Come for the badass glitchy music and stay because you are hypnotized
by the pretty blinky lights!!!
DJ Line up:
Jon Margulies, Hobotech
Willy Whompa, http://soundcloud.com/willywhompa
VJ Line up:
Housewives’ Guide To Anatomy
VJ Fuzzy Bastard
10pm-5am, $10 before midnight, $15 after
****All proceeds got to camp Image Node in our effort to blinkie out
NATMF: A quirky combination of indie rock songwriting with Gypsy Jazz. Think Tom Waits meets Django Reinhardt – with a full horn section, violin and vocal duets.8:00pm
BS: They play an eclectic mix influenced by New Orleans brass bands, jug music, southern gospel and hot jazz and feel at home at the Village Vanguard or playing on the street. The band features members New Orleans band the Loose Marbles and alumni of Stephane Wrembel’s Hot Club of NY. With Ben Polcer, Trumpet; Patrick Harison, Accordion; Jared Engel, Banjo; David Langlois, Washboard and Peter Ford, Washtub bass.
Game Play 2011 @ THE BRICK.
July 7 – 31, 2011
A Celebration of Video Game Performance Art
Now in its 3rd year, the video game performance festival continues in what Seth Schiesel of the New York Times called “the most ambitious effort I know of to fuse the techniques and live presentation of theater with the themes, structures and technology of interactive electronic entertainment.” See the media of stage and game collide in the most unexpected and surprising ways.
Game Play explores the collision of technology, theater, performance art, and video game culture by staging the collaborative work of performance and media artists across the digital spectrum.
Music in the Garden featuring So Percussion
Sunday, July 10, 2011 – 3:00pm
So Percussion (Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting) will join with Grey McMurray on guitar to perform work-in-progress excerpts from their next major theatrical work. A celebration of diversity, community, and collaboration, this project is an exploration of their outermost artistic boundaries, as well as a re-examination of comfort zones.
For more information about So Percussion, see www.sopercussion.com.
Music in the Garden is presented through partnership with Bang on a Can
Tickets & Info: http://www.axiscompany.org/mainstage.htm
Axis Company’s episodic play Hospital, about the interior life of a person in a terminal coma, is something of a signature for the company, which has produced a new installment of the drama nearly every year since 1997. Conceived, written and directed by Randy Sharp the show is a summer downtown phenomenon beloved for its balance of horror, humor, and weirdness. The company will present the 11th production in the series July 8 – August 20.
While most audience members return to see multiple, if not all four, parts of the summer’s production, each episode is a self-contained short play that can be seen in isolation. The brief premise film that begins each year’s production—depicting the event that brought on the coma—is shown at the beginning of each performance.
July 9 – August, 7, 2011.
Opening reception July 9, 2011; 7 – 10pm.
The Booklyn Art Gallery is pleased to present Hunter/Gatherer, featuring works by Evan Robarts, Jason Kachadourian, Jessica Williams, Jon Bocksel and Scott Meyers.
Hunter/Gatherer includes artists with the common practice of borrowing both aesthetic inspirations and found objects from their local surroundings. These artists accumulate visual, physical, and conceptual source material from everyday encounters and observations. They manipulate materials and appropriate techniques from discarded objects, sign-painting and murals, printed ephemera, and urban architecture. While each artist has their own unique approach to collecting and manipulating, their work evokes similar appreciations for the found and overlooked. With their work combined, Hunter/Gatherer creates a personal map of the city they share and the scenery they encounter. The viewer is confronted by these recognizable, yet often ignored images and encouraged to take a second look when walking down the street.
LA MACCHINA AMMAZZACATTIVI @ SPECTACLE
Sat, July 9: 5:00pm
Minor but pleasing Rossellini, set in a small town in Southern Italy thrown into a tizzy by the machinations of a mysterious old man. Saint or devil, he endows a camera with the power not merely to kill people, but to ferret out sources of wealth. Cue for a flurry of treachery and greed, all casually swept under the carpet in a final pirouette. The neo-realist techniques don’t always mix too comfortably with the fantasy, making it an Ealing comedy with an edifying bent.
“… anticipates with remarkable prescience the conceits of Godard and others about photography in the 60’s” — Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
DAY IN PICTURES
is saxophonist and clarinetist Matt Bauder’’s latest band. Downbeat Magazine described the recent debut album as “modern jazz of a half-century past, with an instrumetal line-up and compositions that echoes classic efforts from Prestige, Columbia and Blue Note catalogs with nary a whiff of condescencion or dabbling.” With Matt Bauder – Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet; Justin Walter – Trumpet; Kris Davis – Piano; Jason Ajemian – Bass and Chad Taylor – Drums.
July 9th, 2011, 5pm
376 9th St
Brooklyn, NY 11215
A ^ Odyssey! In which our heroes are buffeted by storms on the high seas of Kings County, lured by the sweet siren singers of East Williamsburg and menaced by Mayor Mike’s minotaurs, landing in a sweet loft space in Greenpoint on our way home. (READ MORE)
Valerie Kuehne/April Elizabeth Pierce.
New Compositions for poet and cellist.
Ken Silverman is bringing in a couple of poets, he tells me.
Brooklyn County Fair Summerfest DAY 2011 at Urban Meadow
Saturday, July 9
Show starts at 12:00
This seasonal festival is back with all new acts celebrating Brooklyn’s diverse country music scene. Whether you like country, bluegrass, Americana, cow-punk, or rockabilly, this is the scene for you!
SummerFest at Urban Meadow
12:00 – Dirt Floor Revue
12:30 – Mini Max Band
1:00 – Kamara Thomas
1:30 – Big Slyde
2:00 – The Newton Gang
2:30 – The Whiskey Boys
3:00 – I’ll Be John Brown
3:30 – Maynard and The Musties
4:00 – Jack Grace Band
4:30 – Ramblin’ Andy and The See Ya Laters
5:00 – Trailer Radio
5:30 – The Dustbusters
6:00 – Hans Chew
Sponsored by Sixpoint Craft Ales, Jalopy Theatre, BrooklynCountry.com
THEATER: Frazer Hines: The Time Traveling Scot
We are very excited to announce that the next Who York Event will feature one of the Doctor’s most popular companions: Mr. Frazer Hines!!!
Who York is delighted to welcome Frazer to New York City, to perform his one man show – “The Time Traveling Scot”. There will also be a short Q&A, hosted by Ken Deep, from Doctor Who Podshock,, an autograph session (see details below) and possibly a surprise or two – as I hope you have come to expect from our previous SOLD OUT Who York events!!!
We have room for around 100 people in total, and seating will be first come first served in this small theatre. Mingling will still be possible in the lounge at the theatre, and in the auditorium itself before and after the show, making this a more intimate event than most conventions you may have attended.
THE MEDICINE BAG @Maccarone Gallery.
Ken Vandermark, Steve Swell, Sean Conly and Chad Taylor @ THE STONE.
Los Lobos with Hello Seahorse! and Zigmat @ CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! @ Prospect Park Bandshell
BabySkinGlove’s Butoh Auction @Culture Fix.
E.S.P. TV at Silvershed @Sat. July 9, 8pm-12am
KAL SPELLETICH: Where’s My Jetpack?! @Jack Hanley.
Ted Leo + the Pharmacists, w/ Screaming Females! @Seaport Music Fest.
BOOGALOO W/SPANGLISH FLY @NUBLU.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK!
Excited to announce this one. Pablo Malaurie’s voice is of the angels, and he’s come all the way from Argentina to play for you. It’s going to be beautiful, and glorious, and fun. Pablo has been widely praised for his fusion style (South American and Japanese in some cases), opened for Devandra Banhart and recently was a part of Catalin Mitulescu’s film “Loverboy.” He’s making the rounds in NY for the next couple days and we’re really pleased to have him.
Come help support not only our effort to see Volume II of The 22 Magazine in PRINT but also witness the brainchild of Valerie Kuehne, i.e. Supercoda @ Cafe Orwell, the gorgeous spectacle that goes on nearly every night (when does Valerie sleep?!?) and allows you to witness sounds that are otherworldly and stunning. Now, please watch/listen to the gorgeous song below.
PS- This show will be also be one of the first opportunities to be part of The 22’s Artist’s Open Forum. Have a question, concern, or problem as an artist? This is where we can help. We’ll be passing out signup sheets allowing you to let us know what is concerning you as artists, writers, and musicians and will address those concerns in our next meeting or on the blog. More info about what this all about at the show.
FIGMENT is a forum for the creation and display of participatory and interactive art by emerging artists across disciplines. FIGMENT began in July 2007 as a free, one-day participatory arts event on Governors Island in New York Harbor with over 2,600 participants. Since then, FIGMENT has grown significantly each year—in number of projects, duration, participants, volunteers, fundraising capability, exhibitions, locations, overall level of commitment and participation, and public support. (READ MORE.)
FULL LISTING OF EVENTS.
Arts For Art, Inc. presents the 16th annual Vision Festival, New York City’s premier multidisciplinary celebration of innovative jazz music, dance, poetry, and art, held for its third year at the Abrons. Critics have described it as “arguably the most important free-jazz fest in the U.S.” (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader), and stated that “avant-garde jazz culture has no better colloquy in this country than the Vision Festival” (Nate Chinen, The New York Times).
Each year, the Vision Festival honors the achievements of one living artist who has greatly influenced the world around them and paved the way for other innovators to move forward. On Wednesday, June 8, Arts For Art and The Vision Festival will celebrate a Lifetime of Achievement by Peter Brotzmann. This great improviser was one of the first practitioners of the Free Jazz movement in Europe. Brotzmann has programmed his own evening in such a way that it would reflect his ongoing pursuit of musical innovation. This 70-year-old artist is not interested in looking back — only in looking forward and being as creative as possible in the present.
Ryan Feeney & Ryan MacDonald@ FOUNTAIN.
June 4th – 25th
Saturday June 4th
7 – 10pm
Ryan Feeney’s ‘Obscene Sunsets’ series of photographs explore the power and authority that image cultures have over our sense of reality while Ryan Macdonald’s ‘Pale in Compairison’ body of work explores how the phenomenology of nostalgia and narrative can disrupt our sense of stability in a normal world.
Opening Reception 6-9PM Friday June 3 Featuring demonstrations and a live performance by exhibiting artists.
Why does a minor chord sound sad? Is there a formula for the perfect hit? Whistling, dancing, finger-snapping, and toe-tapping—what makes us do it? Find out when music and science join forces in an interactive bazaar of beats, sounds, and rhythm in the exhibition BIORHYTHM, created by the Science Gallery and presented at Eyebeam as part of the World Science Festival. Learn what drives sound manipulation and discover how different types of music evoke different emotions. Trace the power of an impactful pop hook in a song, measuring the way our brains and bodies react, down to the responses in our fingertips.
Included works: Binaural Head; Sonic Bed; Klangkapsel; Something for the Girl Who Has Everything; Optofonica Capsule; Theremin Inspector V2; Music, Emotion, Empathy; Heart ‘N’ Beat; Reactable; Contacts; Hear, Hear; Traffic; Instrumen; Body Snatcher; Chains of Emotion. (READ MORE.)
Clifton Benevento is proud to present the New York solo debut of Los Angeles based visual and performance artist Wu Tsang, featuring video, collage and site-specific installation.
Central to the exhibition is DAMELO TODO (Give Me Everything), 2010, a hybrid narrative-documentary installation incorporating elements of Tsang’s lived experience organizing WILDNESS, a party/performance night for two years at the Los Angeles bar Silver Platter. The film depicts a fictional protagonist, Teódulo Mejía, a 15 year-old Salvadorian civil war refugee arriving to Los Angeles in 1985, who discovers community support among trans women at the bar. Based on a short story written by Raquel Gutierrez, and adapted to screen by Tsang, DAMELO TODO fictionalizes a larger narrative about the collaboration and tenuous coalition between the Silver Platter and the young artists of WILDNESS. (READ MORE.)
Blood, Sweat and Tears: the Work of Art and Tragedy @NUTUREART
Jun 03, 2011 – Jun 24, 2011
June 3, 2011 7 – 9 PM
Curated by Project: Curate! and Krista Saunders
Featured artists: Delaney DelPonti, Bianca Dorsey, Jae Y Lee, Rebecca (Marks) Leopold, Steven Ketchum, Graham McNamara, Bridget Parris, Boris Rasin and Judy Richardson
Blood, Sweat, and Tears: the Work of Art and Tragedy endeavors to examine 21st century tragedy, disaster and renewal. The exhibition is an attempt to connect with contemporary artists who are also passionate about this theme. Nine artists were selected whose work explores a particular contemporary disaster, personal tragedy, or the rigor of cultivating new beginnings. As young adults who have come of age in the burgeoning 21st century, the curators of this exhibition are themselves well-versed in tragedy, disaster and renewal firsthand (as New York City dwellers) and from a distance. (READ MORE.)
Peter Acheson, Hector Arce-Espasas, Maria Barbo, Genesis Belanger, Chris Bertholf, Erik den Breejen, Maria Calandra, Joy Curtis, Karen Dana, N. Dash, Carol Diamond,Ryan Franklin, Tamara Gonzales, Erica Greenwald, Xico Greenwald, EJ Hauser, Michael Hilsman, Rolf Jacobsen, Michael Kenney, Osamu Kobayashi, Jonah Koppel, Ben La Rocco, Elisa Lendvay, JJ Manford, Sarah Louden, Mike Olin, Craig Olson, Linnea Paskow, Alta Price, Nathlie Provosty, Christopher Rivera, Aaron Sinift, Elisa Soliven, Kol Solthon, Thomas Spoerndle, Deirdre Swords, Katherine Young
The art world experienced a caesura in the 1960s when the paradigm of the artist, working in solitary fashion, was taken apart by the advent of collaborative art. Through collaboration, the definition of what art was, and how it could be produced, shifted. No longer was the cult of the artist, producing a singular vision understood to be the only viable artistic model. Instead, this now re-evaluated model began to generate questions about authenticity, authorship,audience and methodology. Such collaborative projects as those executed by Gilbert and George, Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen, Jeanne Claude and Christo, and Marina Abramovic and Ulay were instrumental in the development of such major evolutions in conceptual art as Body Art, Systems Art, Earth Art, and Performance Art.
The artists in Temporary Antumbra Zone have come together, collaborating through the lenses of painting, photography, video, and mixed media sculpture to promote collaboration as an invaluable mode of artistic production.
The Solo Exhibition of Harim Song “Fearfully and Wonderfully”@BAG
June 1- June 6, 2011
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 4, 6:00-9:00pm
Ordinary Obsession (with narration) from Harim Song on Vimeo.
Alina Simone, Spencer Tunick “Abe’s Penny May Issue Celebration” curated by Chantal Chadwick, Lara Hodulick at End of Century
Chinatown/LES: 175 Rivington street, 7:30-10pm
SUPER CODA @ CAFE ORWELL.
SUPPORT SUPER CODA SOUNDPROOFING ON KICK STARTER!!
If you haven’t heard, this Weekend is Bushwick Open Studios. Bushwick waxes full of openings, events, and public art.
The Super Coda makes no exception:
Friday, 6/3. 7-10: Gabrielle Muller, Cafe Orwell’s new Art Director, will be presenting her first show, “Brooklyn Loves Philly”, featuring artists and musicians from both cities. Including:
Joanna Quigley, Kat Moran, Ryann Casey, Amelia Runyan, Paul DeMuro, Mary Price, Bobby Heinemann, Bobby Gonzales, Liz Thamm, Brendon Stuart, Gabrielle Muller, Austin Saylor Jackson, Hilary Price, Matt DeFillipo, Crystal Stokowski. Plus an outdoor installation by Oliver Warden, “Untitled Box”
The Art will be on display at the Cafe through July.
Saturday, 6/4. 9-midnight. The Super Coda presents Jazz that is all over the place and from all over the place. Featuring:
Kirk Knuffke – http://www.kirkknuffke.com/
Otra Gente (Luis Ianes/Carlo Costa/Ivan Barenboim)
Steven Ruel – http://www.purevolume.com/steveruel
The Booklyn Art Gallery is pleased to present MASTER OF REALITY, a group exhibition featuring works by Milano Chow, Cynthia Daignault, Gary Kachadourian, and STO.
MASTER OF REALITY includes drawings, paintings, sculpture and prints that alter our perceptions of commonplace scenery, find fodder in the mundane, and draw our attention to the handling rather than the objects themselves. The featured artists create an alternate dimension of familiar objects, carefully mimicking reality so that it is recognizable, yet altering it enough to uniquely capture their own way of seeing. (READ MORE.)
BURLESQUE AT THE BEACH!
PRINCESS PAT PRESENTS: SHOW GIRLS
FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 10PM, $15 IN ADVANCE OR AT THE DOOR (READ MORE.)
CONEY ISLAND FILM SOCIETY!
PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE
SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 8:30PM, $6 IN ADVANCE OR AT THE
DOOR (READ MORE.)
Happy BOS ’11: June 3-5, 2011 — it’s our 5th birthday!
We’re creating an open and inclusive event that benefits the neighborhood by sharing artistic projects and encouraging community interaction and dialogue. BOS brings the neighborhood’s thousands of artists and performers out into the streets and in view of each other, other community residents, and the general public. (READ MORE AND SEE FULL SCHEDULE.)
June 2 – July 1, 2011
The influence of comics on our culture continues to grow. From the pop fantasias of Hollywood blockbusters to the rawness and refinement of intimate memoirs—and everything in between—it’s impossible to deny the wide appeal of comics’ words and images. The theater, of course, is no less immune to its spell. This summer, The Brick will invite one of history’s newest art forms to meet one of its oldest—and, through collaborations between visual and dramatic artists, the form and content of comics will collide with the content and form of theater to create strange new hybrids across both media. (READ MORE.)
MUSICIRCUS : ROULETTE BROOKLYN
Sat Jun 4 – 1:00 PM
Although not officially open until Fall 2011, ROULETTE BROOKLYN will open its doors this June for a two day John Cage MUSICIRCUS as part of the Atlantic Avenue Art Walk!
A carnival of all things experimental, the Roulette Brooklyn MUSICIRCUS brings a cornucopia of musicians, dancers, video artists, and performance artists from all corners of New York City’s artistic community together for a celebration of chaos and and the harmonies of simultaneity. (READ MORE.)
Performances @ The Cocktail Party (a postmodern feminist art show) @ ABC NO RIO Friday, June 3 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Honoring Bill Dixon @ RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART
3rdEye(Sol)ation group show
Swimming Cities presents: BORDERTOWN
THROUGH THE WARP AT REGINA REX OPENING RECEPTION SAT. JUNE 4, 2011
Cirque des Batardes @LE POISSON ROUGE
Yve Laris Cohen+Bryan Zanisnik @ABRONS ARTS CENTER
The Village Gate’s “Old Fashioned Piano Party” @LE POISSON ROUGE
Fuse Works: Alarums and Excursions @ THE FRONT ROOM GALLERY
INTERSTATE PROJECTS PRESENTS VIDEOS ON THE FRONT
MUSEUM OF (UN) NATURAL HISTORY featuring new works by KIM HOLLEMAN
DEAR JAPAN AT ART CONNECT GALLERY
Reframing David Bowie as an Artist Working in Performance
COMING UP NEXT WEEK!
This past Friday, I paid a visit to Deborah Simon who has an upcoming show at NY Studio Gallery‘s LZ Project Space opening this Friday, May 20th. Deborah has been a painter and sculptor for several years now and will be part of the Sculpture Space residency in Utica, this coming October and November. She has worked at the Bronx Zoo building habitats and “intellectual toys” for the animals, and her work reflects the understanding of the dual nature of man-made versus natural environments and the drawbacks and necessity of both. Her sculpture’s present a strange encounter and cause the viewer to approach the animal in an unusual and raw manner, suggesting a reevaluation of the nature of human and animal interaction.
We truly appreciate her taking the time to talk about her work and upcoming show.
The 22 Magazine: You worked at the Bronx Zoo correct? Can you tell us a little about what you did there?
Deborah Simon: Sure, I did some design work. It was everything from giving exhibits face lifts to mural work, to sometimes just flat out designing and building exhibits. [I also built] intellectual toys for the animals. With that you have to make everything look natural. So [you have to make a] tiger toy that looks [for example] like a rotten piece of wood. It was one of those oddball weird request situations, keepers would come and say we need hummingbird feeders made out of XY and Z and we’d have to figure how to make them look natural.
The 22: How did you get into that kind of work? Did you study design in school or elsewhere?
DS: No, I’ve got a fine arts background. [I studied at] San Francisco Art Institute, which prepares you for nothing but making conceptual art. I just happened to have a realistic bent to what I do, which was thoroughly discouraged but…
I started working as a muralist and then the zoo had an ad in the paper. I replied to it and got hired. It’s one of those jobs where the guy who runs the department is fantastic, and he just expects that you need a lot of on the job training. You need to be able to weld, you need to be able to fiberglass, you need to be able to do some basic carpentry. There are just so many skills that no one person is going to have them all. They do invest in teaching you quite a bit [so], I learned a lot, and it all goes back into what I do.
The 22: In regards to your artists statement, which talks a little about the animal confronting the viewer in an unrestricted environment, did working at the zoo conflict with ideas of how animals should be treated in any way?
DS: I think it’s a conflict a lot of the people who work at the zoo have, because everyone who works there more or less loves animals. We all have multiple animals, we are deeply concerned about animal welfare. Some of the holding areas are very old and not that great. Some of the animals are permanently on medications because [there is] not the best ventilation but, on the other hand, you can’t just let them go. [I believe] Finland ran into this problem. They decided it was cruel and inhumane to keep this baboon exhibit. They decided it was inhumane to keep more tropical animals in Finland, but they couldn’t get rid of them because they breed really well and every zoo has a ton of them. So, they were going to euthanize them but the public had a fit and they had to keep them. So, now they have these unhappy baboons; animals that are obviously not doing well, but there are no other options for them. [I think] a lot of the people [that work at the zoo] go through this. [They think] these animals didn’t ask for this, they didn’t want to become ambassadors of their species, but on the other hand sometimes when your standing and watching the public watch these animals and they suddenly make this connection to the human traits of the animals you really hope it does something. They are suddenly more aware of them and, you think, I hope this means that it will translate into something, maybe [that wouldn’t be there] if they hadn’t seen it. Then again, zoo animals they don’t behave like wild animals, they have three meals a day, they sleep all day. [In the end] it’s a lot of mixed emotions.
The 22: A lot of your animals actually are puppets or look a lot like traditional marionettes. Stylistically how did you decide this was how you were going to build?
DS: It’s weird because I have this totally anal goal to be as accurate as humanly possibly, but I’m always reminding myself it’s art, not taxidermy. I was living in India for a while and India is a very sculpture oriented place. I had been painting for years and years at that point, and maybe it was just being around so much sculpture. I was home in the states and one day I just thought, what would happen if I make sculpted animals with fake fur? The hyena was the first one. I found [the hyena’s fur] in the bargain bin and I thought, this looks just like spotted hyena fur, no wonder it’s on sale. I brought back Sculpy and fur and whatever else I thought I wouldn’t be able to get in India, and just started working. I was originally thinking of porcelain dolls-[with] the hard heads and the soft body. I was thinking more along the lines of what would it be like to make these things so they look like creeped out porcelain dolls, but they actually ended up a little but more like [weird] taxidermy.
The 22: They seem to have this really human quality, a very aggressive straight on gaze…
DS:I feel even though animals are a really popular subject right now, it’s always animal as metaphor or animal as parable. They play the role of an odalisque and they don’t confront the viewer. They are a stand in for history, they’re a stand in for human behavior, but they are never just themselves, and when they are themselves it’s more kitschy animal art. I want it to be as if you were walking into their space. It’s kind of that feeling when you out in the woods or hiking, or even in Central Park [where] it tends to be a bird of prey, a hawk or something, and you have that instant where they look at you, and you look at them, and you have no idea what’s going to go on. Especially if it’s big enough to hurt you. Then it’s this totally different interaction than the zoo or anything else. Your walking into their space, and they are psychologically dominating it. The sculptures themselves are going to be hung so your going to have to walk around them. They force you to move around them instead of being on the walls or giving a pathway.
The 22: Can you tell me a little about Coyote Pursue’s puppet project?
DS: It was a pretty amazing experience. Collaborating was new to me but Matt Reeck is a good friend and amazing to work with. We shored up each others strengths and weaknesses really well. I would never have been able to direct something like that. I think in the future I may do more puppetry but do it so it’s video.
The 22: Is there a difference between building the puppets versus building the sculptures? Is that something you had to learn?
DS: Yes. St. Ann’s puppet lab is a nine month program so they are a huge resource, but it took me forever just to figure how to walk them. It took me two months just to build one, to actually physically construct it so that it moved properly. Once I got the basic structure it took me weeks to figure out how to string it, and that’s one of the times the lab was great. I brought them in and said I don’t know what to do, and one of the guys [showed me], and it was done. It was wonderful.
The 22: The piece itself was about a world where humans are gone, and coyotes are the only ones left right?
DS: [Matt Reeck] is a wonderful poet and he gave me a book of his poetry and asked me to illustrate it. At the time I was just feeling like, I don’t want to paint anything, and I don’t want to sketch.
[But] I was thinking [the poetry] would be perfect to do a puppet show with, and so we said what the hell, we’ll write a puppet lab. We threw it together in two weeks, and we were really surprised we got in. Originally we had taken three of his poems, more short prose really, and the one we both had a very clear vision-that was the same vision-was [the coyote] one. We started building and time started ticking by, and we realized the other two we’re never going to make it, and that we wouldn’t have time [to perform more than one]. You only got twenty minutes tops to perform. So, we decided just to focus on the coyotes, and it was really based on his writing, and [the idea of] not using the animals as parables but to be really Darwinian about it. What would a coyote really be doing if they were wandering around in this world with nothing really left. We were thinking of it as The Road but with coyotes.
The 22: Did you do a cover for The Beastie Boys [Intergalatic]?
DS: I had actually done the paintings and they ended up on the cover. The paintings were actually in the small works show at NYU and Mike D’s wife bought them. So, she came over to my studio and she’s chatting and we’re having this very nice conversation, and she keeps talking about her husband’s band and so I’m thinking….ok, band whatever and being polite, I ask oh what band is your husband in? And she’s says, The Beastie Boys, and at that point I’m immediately intimidated. So about six months later, they called to see if it was ok with me if they used it as an album cover and I just thought….ooook, twist my arm. It was just this little freak thing, they were just these little freak paintings, that I wasn’t planning to do as a body of work or anything.
The 22: What about the memento mori series paintings? Can you talk a little about what this series means to you and why you decided to do it?
DS: I think in that series I’d been reading a lot about evolution. I was thinking about how death influences life. I was thinking about a Darwinian perspective, you have these animals with these constant pressures, and it’s survival of the fittest but also thinking about viewing what human’s do in the world [destruction and pollution] as unnatural, but it is natural because we are part of the world and this is part of what we do. Animals routinely destroy their environments, but they don’t do it in the same numbers that we do. Elephants constantly trash environments and have to move on, but there are so few of them, they aren’t ruining Africa or Asia-we sort of beat them to it. I guess I was thinking about that simple pressure and interaction, and how some of your stiffest competition is from your species. You know species always have more children than your going to need. You really only need a one to one replacement and chances are that’s all your going to get if your lucky.
I met up with Eugénie Alquezar (the singer/keyboardist) and Peter Kryznowek (the guitarist) of the Parlor Snakes last week at a Parisian bar in the 11th quarter, and they are very much the embodiment of rock and roll music. Peter with his cool rockabilly swagger and Eugénie with her stylish and energetic demeanor, it’s difficult to find this certain purity of rock and roll today without the adulterated elements of Macbooks, alligator sweaters, or the ironic pair of glasses. No slamming the indie circuit, but it’s refreshing to see, well, rock and roll once again. After seeing the Parlor Snakes play live, I was convinced that I was back in the heyday of New York City rock music (where Peter lived and was heavily influenced by). On the other hand, labeling the Parlor Snakes retro-rock, nostalgic for the drugged-out days of Lou Reed, Jim Carroll or the Cramps would be a grave mistake. They bring their own twist of space-out and shoe-gaze as much as any young band today – mixing both high-energy with calm-down beer time. A perfect combination for cellar-dweller rockers thirsty for the times of CBGB’s but also ready for some fresh sounds as well.
The 22 Magazine: First of all I’d like to thank you for this interview with The 22 Magazine.
The Parlor Snakes: Thank you for inviting us.