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  • The last couple of weeks have been have been a bit of a new chapter in the AFP Young Adult Music Enrichment Program. In addition to our normal regimen of band coaching, vocal exercises and singing work, and getting into some jazz chart analysis; the fellas ventured out with me for the first times to check out some live music. They came to my solo acoustic set at the AFP hosted Déjà vu show at the NoOSPHERE Art Space on the Lower East Side and to see my band, Bad Faces play at a loft party in Bushwick, plus, AFP Executive Director Frank Jackson took Jason, Alex, and me to Harlem’s Apollo Theater to a fantastic show by Brooklyn’s TV On The Radio!

    TVOTR at the ApolloWe had a few nice sessions since my last entry, and Statik Vision is sounding better and tighter than ever, with the new songs gelling and settling into themselves. We have mostly been working on locking in tempos and the timing of transitions. We’ve also been working with the vocals to find the best placement of the lyrics. Interestingly, the sound of the band is evolving to be more stylistically broad, while at the same time crystallizing into it’s own unique thing. It was a refreshing change last week to have T-10 guitarist Wesley Payano show up to do some shredding as well.

    We also continued our journey down the rabbit hole of jazz theory as Alex and I pursued an in depth analysis of the chord chart for “At Last”, defining the function of each chord and identifying key changes in the song form. We have a lot more work to do on this stuff, but it was good to break the seal and start to get down to the inner workings of the chord voices in the progression.

    As I said earlier; it was a pleasure to have the guys come to the Déjà vu art show for my acoustic set and to see Jeremy Dannenman work his solo tenor sax magic. It was, also, an honor and a pleasure to have them come to a party in Bushwick to see my band, Bad Faces perform live. We usually play in 21 and over venues so it was a rare treat for me to have them there, and made the performance more meaningful for the band as well.

    Lastly, we got to go to the Apollo Theater! Frank let me know the day of the show that he had gotten better seats for us to see TV On The Radio, and wanted to know if any of the students wanted to come and use the pair of extra tickets he had bought earlier. I texted the boys, and fortunately Jason and Alex were able to meet up with us and check out the concert. I thought it was a great show, and although I was only able to talk to Jason and Alex for a few minutes after the show, they seemed to have a good time despite some serious performance envy!

  • The Bowery Electric played host to APF’s Homegrown show with Animal Talk, VHS Collection, Cheap Satori and goodbyemotel this past Wednesday night. The show celebrated the recent release of goodbyemotel’s new album iF, which came out earlier that week, and was the band’s first gig post-album release. The record took two years to finish, but the wait was well worth it for the band returned to the stage with great new songs and as strong of a performance as ever.


    Animal Talk

    Boston’s Animal Talk opened the night with indie pop that you can’t help, but dance to. Songs like “Mama Was A Teenage Rocker” and “Tie Me Up” had the audience shuffling along right from the start. There’s something truly infectious about their combination of pervasive drums and soft vocals that keep you bopping along. “Dirty Feelings,” which opened their set, showcased vocalist/guitarist Steven Kilgore’s impressive range. He floated up to the high notes in “Monster” with ease. The band’s original work was a lot of fun to jam along to, but perhaps the unexpected highlight of Animal Talk’s set was their cover of “Poison.” It was a welcome surprise that drummer Greg Faucher gave away as soon as he began those telltale opening bars on the drum machine. Kilgore again rose to the occassion, singing the Bell Biv DeVoe classic with no difficulty.

    Cheap Satori took the stage next to deliver PJ Harvey-esque piano-driven indie rock. It was a step down in energy when compared to Animal Talk, but the band showed potential at a different speed. At one point during their set keyboardist Graham Corrigan and vocalist Katie Dranoff paired off to play the first song they had written as a band, leaving the other band members Daniel Halasz, Zachary Gould and Zachary Romano to greet the small army of friends/family that awaited them in the audience.



    The main act, goodbyemotel, came next. A healthy crowd had gathered, which included vocalist Gustaf Sjodin Enstrom’s family from Sweden. Bassist Tom Marks and the rest of the band had to quiet the crowd and did so somewhat successfully. Marks laughed at the instinctive “shhhh!” that quickly spread through the audience, adding, “Don’t you just love a good shush?” before launching into the iF opening track “Hurricane.” The first thing you notice about the song and much of the album is the drums. Paul Amorese’s imaginative and booming drum lines are easily one of the best parts of a goodbyemotel show. Another notable part was David Schmidt’s twinkling piano in “Set It Off” off of the band’s EP People. It was the only track they included off of their old release. Mainly and understandably the band played off of iF, including songs like “The Fall” and “Please Rewind.” They then played the second unexpected cover of the night and seamlessly bled the final measures of “Bending Shadows” into Radiohead’s “No Surprises.”


    VHS Collection

    The show ended with electronic indie rockers VHS Collection. Inevitably some of the crowd had filtered out by that point in the night, but vocalist/guitarist James Bohannon, guitarist Conor Cook, keyboardist Nils Vanderlip and drummer Adam Benha played on. It was another short set, but Bohannon sang with raspy vigor, gripping the mic with all his might. They opened with rhyme-heavy, unexpectedly catchy “Lean On Your Friends.” The band will be playing another show at Drom on December 12th, which will be well worth attending if their Bowery Electric appearance is any indication of the quality of their live show.


    -Zoe Marquedant

  • Chris Ofili has been producing paintings for the past two decades that have managed to captivate and bewilder audiences. A member of the Young British Artists– a group of British artists who began exhibiting together in 1988, Ofili managed to distinguish himself from the rest early on.  In “Chris Ofili: Night and Day” which on display at the New Museum through January 25 many works spanning his illustrious career are on display. The exhibition was organized by Massimiliano Gioni, the New Museum’s artistic director, its curator, Gary Carrion-Murayari; and assistant curator Margot Norton.

    Ofili was Born in 1968, to Nigerian parents. At age eleven, he and his  family moved back to Nigeria. Ofili went onto attend the Chelsea School of Art where he received his BFA in 1991 and then the Royal Academy of Art in 1993. It was these early experiences with living abroad and his art training, which would play an influence in the work he would create. In 2003, he was the recipient of the prestigious Turner Prize and also represented the United Kingdom in the Venice Biennale the same year. Much of Ofili’s work deals with issues surrounding race, class and gender which is evident in the work featured in “Night and Day.”


    The exhibition spans three floors of the New Museum’s space and explores six distinct bodies of work that Oifli produced over the last twenty years. When you first enter the galley space, you are confronted by over seventy small framed paintings. These works entitled, Afromuses (Couples) consists of twenty-six diptychs done in water color and pencil of various couples in different poses and outfits. Another series of them, Untitled (Afromuses) features sixty four parts and is done of various men, women and children. These small paintings were produced from 1995 to 2005 and were typically done in one sitting. The portraits cover almost an entire gallery wall and the sheer number of them is overwhelming.




    Within another room on the same floor there are several paintings from the 1990s would come to define Ofili’s distinctive style— textured, painted canvases which use several kings of materials including elephant dung, resin, paint and glitter. During this time, Ofili was drawing from a variety of sociocultural sources ranging from religious iconography to Blaxploitation films. Many of these earlier paintings are shown sitting against the wall on top of small, intricate, vessel like objects which becomes part of the work. One such painting is The Holy Virgin Mary, which was part of the traveling exhibition Sensation. This painting sparked debate in 2000, while on display at the Brooklyn Museum prompting then mayor Rudy Giuliani to describe the work as “sick.” The Holy Virgin Mary was also defaced during that exhibition as well. There is also another series of paintings from the early 2000s which are also featured on this floor. These specific images use a black, red and green pallet which is in direct reference to Marcus Garvey’s pan African movement. Despite the limited color palette, they are vibrant and full of life.


    The third floor features paintings that were produced during Ofili’s 2005 move from London to Trinidad which pushed his work into a new direction. This transition allowed for the development of his “Blue Riders” series. The name comes from “from the early twentieth-century artist group that sought spirituality by connecting visual art with music.” Ofili has gone on to develop this work and within “Night and Day” there are nine paintings which are being featured together for the first time in “architectural space which was designed by the artist.” These works are mostly composed in blue colors which seek to illicit “the blue light of twilight and the soulfulness of blues music.”

    Ofili’s most recent pieces feature complex landscapes, characters from folklore and seem reminiscent of artists Henri Matisse and Paul Gauguin. The exhibition also includes work from the “Metamorphosis” series. Taking it’s name from a poem with the same title by “Ovid which illustrated the ancient Roman author’s stories of gods and humans, including the tale of the goddess Diana and the hunter Actaeon.” It is both the complex subject matter of his work and the lush imagery that Ofili produces which makes this exhibition one that is not to be missed.

    “Chris Ofili: Night and Day” is on display at the New Museum until January 25th.

    –Anni Irish

  • Were you at this past weekend’s Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival? If not, you missed borough-load of great parties, soundtracked by scores of brilliant artists and DJs. One of the best was the Rinsed closing party, held in a Bushwick warehouse space and featuring guest sets from the inimitable Detroit producer Omar-S, the always-worth-catching Chrissy and the Basement Floor label’s Turtle Bugg. In case you’re not familiar with Rinsed, the soiree has featured iconic artists and DJs along the lines of Inner City, MK, MJ Cole, Juan Atkins and Todd Edwards; stars of slightly more recent vintage like Jackmaster, Jacques Greene, Ejeca, Ben Pearce and Chris Malinchak; local players like Juan MacLean, Justin Strauss, Morgan Geist, Populette and Aurora Halal; and a list of outliers that includes Actress, NGUZUNGUZU, Ital, Sepalcure and Jaw Jam. Oh, and a bunch of other people, too—not bad for a shindig that, when it debuted four years ago, hosted about a hundred people in the loft space above Public Assembly. Nowadays, resident spinners Dan Wender and Blacky II, along with Rinsed’s indispensable “visual aesthetician” A.Pop, are among those running the show in Kings County. We asked the core gang, Brooklynites all, what they loved about their home borough, and here are their wide-ranging replies.


    Some things I love about BK:

    That you can find cappuccino Lays chips in Bushwick, the best slice of your life in Midwood, 24-hour amazing tacos in Sunset Park, or blue ribbon/grass fed/farm-to-fork in Park Slope. Making fun of the people that refer to and debate about “farm-to-fork” in earnest.

    Snow-covered Coney Island.







    Any summer/spring/fall day in Fort Greene park.

    The ability to be a totally “normal” human wandering around the new Times Square of Brooklyn (North 6th Street), and then chill in some weird storage unit turned temporary performance space/art gallery.

    Hearing a beautiful opera or concert at BAM, and then blasting house and techno on one of the world’s best sound systems at Output.

    Not spending my entire rent money at Output and catching Bossa Nova Social Club’s  happy hour instead.

    Not waking up the day after a night a Bossa.

    That things like Trip House, Danger Boat, and Market Hotel were able to exist.

    That one of my first memories of going out in Brooklyn was having to evacuate Studio B mid-Digitalism set because a fire broke out.

    That things like the Waterfront Barge Museum exist.

    That my friends range from architects, DJs, artists, producers, anthropologists, scientists, etc.

    “Wing night” with said friends.

    That we all at least secretively love those maps of BK neighborhood stereotypes, make fun of the other stereotypes that aren’t you, but know that in the end we are all the best and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    Blacky II

    Proximity: Just about any musically related thing I ever want to do is less than a 10-minute bike ride from my apartment. If I want to pick up a new piece of gear or go to the club or buy a record or go to the studio, it’s all right here.

    Variety: So many interesting musicians and artists to collaborate with and draw inspiration from. There’s so much diversity it never feels stale or monotonous. Even physically, you can do the polished-club things or the grimy-warehouse thing and everywhere in between,

    Freedom: We’re lucky enough to live in an extremely accepting and nourishing community that embraces and supports difference. It’s really nice to see people expressing themselves without feeling they need to guard or filter their ideas. Shit has definitely been getting weird again, in the best way possible.

    History: Brooklyn has such a musically rich history spanning all kinds of genres, but was especially integral in the early days of modern club music. Just take Kenny Dope for instance, The Bucketheads’ “The Bomb”!? Come on.







    Community: I kind of touched on this in the freedom bit, but people are overall really supportive of what we’ve been doing the last few years, and it wouldn’t be possible without them. I don’t think most people realize how important and encouraging their support truly is.

    Quality: we’ve got access to all the best stuff here, and an incredible hometown roster.

    Anonymity: While there is a tightly knit community, Brooklyn is so big it’s relatively easy to disappear in the crowd (literally and figuratively) should you feel like it. People need to do that sometimes.

    Spontaneity: There’s such an abundance of amazing people and events, you often find yourself hanging out at unexpected places with unexpected people experiencing new things you hadn’t planned on.

    Motivation: There are a lot of talented people to compete with in Brooklyn, you really need to constantly be developing and sharpening your skills to set yourself apart.

    Distraction: If you’re ever music-ed out, there are a million non-musical ways to unwind.

    Dan Wender

    While I’ll always have love for Manhattan, Brooklyn has become a drug and when I leave for too long I get withdrawals. I moved here from the city four years ago, and I’ve never looked back. There’s desperation, a hunger, everyone needs to get their project off the ground or they’re going to die. That’s really helped inspire me to work and sleep as little as possible. The stability of the Manhattan work-leisure model doesn’t harbor the creative pressure you feel in Brooklyn. It’s nice to go outside and see people wheatpasting Richard Simmons brain posters on the street and know they’re inspired and taking shit into their own hands.

    Some of my favorite things:

    Bay Ridge Halal Truck, 86th St and 5th Ave
    Blacky and our buddy Nick showed me this place. It’s like 53rd and 6th but Nick claims it’s “more real”. He’s kind of right. If you happened to have a friend with a car and it’s five in the morning and you need all-out nourishment, this is the spot for those in the know. Expect a line.

    Here Comes the Sunz, rotates between Ft Greene Park, St Nicholas Park and Culyer Gore Park
    I almost fear giving this one away but it’s probably the most incredible house-music experience that exists in Brooklyn, please use in moderation. A few Saturdays a summer (you can find out date and location by checking out their Facebook Page) Brooklyn Sunz take over select parks for an afternoon of soulful house music. They bring in an incredible sound system and there is absolutely no pretentiousness (or booze, so flask it). Best way to experience house music in it’s original form.

    Savino’s Quality Pasta, Conselyea St and Manhattan Ave
    Old school pasta store. You go in and tell them what kind of pasta you want and they cut it right there for you. A pound costs about three bucks, which is cheap enough to never buy Barilla again.







    Sal’s Barbershop: 305 Graham Ave (note: this isn’t actually called “Sal’s Barbershop.”
    If you want a barber with a waistcoat and an ironic waxed handlebar mustache this is the wrong place for you. Sal isn’t a revolutionary, he’s a Sicilian immigrant who’s been cutting hair for 30 years. He’s also a wedding DJ and singer on the weekends. He’ll sing to you while he’s shampooing your hair, which is more than your girlfriend will do. A cut costs fifteen bucks.

    Shit Factory Nature Walk, Paidge Ave & Provost St
    I had ridden my bike past this for years and always thought it was a strange idea. Recently Blacky took me there IRL and I gotta say, it’s the most bizarre place in Brooklyn. For whatever reason, in order to build the Newtown Creek Wastewater Facility, they had to install a Nature Walk for the community. There are all sorts of exotic flora like “wild ginger” complete with placards with their Latin names. It’s truly unique, and surprisingly unshitty.