CITYWIDE


New music video by Mykki Blanco
May 14, 2012, 8:09 pm
Filed under: Film, Music

Since I had Mykki on Citywide earlier in this year in February she has not lost momentum in her drive to create daring work while maintaining the integrity that got her this far. Her commitment to making art that steadfastly represents her despite being beyond edgy shines through in her new music video directed by Mitch Moore. Not only does the video feature an extremely visceral and provocative track, it also pulls no punches in its explosive delivery. Check it out-

Keep it up Mykki. Great work Mitch.

Lucas Green

Advertisements


Into The Soldier’s Tale
April 19, 2012, 1:59 pm
Filed under: Dance, Music, New York City, Theater

Left to right: Niall Powderly, William Vaughn and Chuck Furlong

We’re often told that starting a business with your family is a dangerous thing. Work brings out the best in us, but the worst pokes its nasty head out just the same. So we turn to working with our friends whenever we can afford to, because the bonds between us aren’t as loaded, and it’s a logical step towards what should be guaranteed fun. It’s like a family without all the strings attached.

Niall Powderly, William Vaughn and Chuck Furlong, who met as freshmen at NYU, put that plan into action pretty early on in their friendship. Now that their NYU careers are ending, they are putting on a production of Igor Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du soldat, or The Soldier’s Tale, from May 3rd to 5th at Access Theater in Tribeca, as the 100 Proof Arts Collective.

Originally a Russian folk tale, The Soldier’s Tale they’re producing brings the narrative to the present and combines a seven-piece orchestra playing Stravinsky’s complex music, with acting of C.F. Ramuz’s text and dancing to tell the story of a soldier returning home from deployment in Afghanistan. The three of them have had to learn the ins and outs of how each other’s fields worked (Furlong is a musician, but Vaughn and Powderly are actors) but in the end, it seems they’ve managed to make it work.

The Soldier’s Tale will be performed May 3-5 each night at 8pm at Access Theater, located at 380 Broadway (2 blocks South of Canal) on the 4th Floor.For more on this production, visit 100 Proof’s website, 100ProofArts.weebly.com, where you will find information about tickets and all the other ways in which you can support the collective.



The Brodmann Areas- a new ballet from Norte Maar

Image

On our show, on our blog Citywide has frequently appreciated the way the North Brooklyn and Bushwick art scenes are coming together. We’ve painted a picture of individual artists scrapping together to instill bygone industrial regions with beauty and poetry. We’ve admired these communities for providing evidence of the heart and purpose emitting from a generation of artists that many have ascribed a bleak future to.

It’s a gross misestimation to believe that arts in New York and Brooklyn in particular have been “played out,” have been “sold out.” The individual artists that collaborate in collectives such as Norte Maar prove that there is a pool of ingenuity brewing in the streets, the lofts, the studios, the reclaimed spaces of Brooklyn. The fact that emerging artists with incredibly different backgrounds such as Paul D’agostino and Audra Wolowiec are working with experienced art producers and curators such as Jason Andrew and Julia Gleich (co-founders of Norte Maar) shows that Brooklyn– and Bushwick in particular– is a place for people with the hard-to-grasp questions of today to go and explore previously untouched concepts and perspectives.

These are all artists contributing work to The Brodmann Areas premiering April 12th at the Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, a new ballet produced by Jason Andrew and directed by Julia Gleich which pontificates on the sensory faculties of the human brain at the very same time that it produces the very stimuli in its audiences of the various mechanisms it represents via multiple art forms. It is an all-encompassing sensory experience based on the region of the cerebral cortex called the Brodmann Area, a structure closely correlated with vision, movement, language, and memory. The ballet is choreographed to both simulate and stimulate brain activity. Aspects of the performance also include video projection meant to hypnotize the spectator in correlation with the movement of the dancers. One portion of the performance asks the audience to focus on a point beside the stage and observe the activity of the performers in the periphery. At one point a dancer attempts to recite the number pi up to as much as 250 decimal points with movements corresponding to each particular digit. Music director Ryan Francis has put together a soundscape of cerebral music by Henri Dutilleux along with original music composed to correspond with the themes of the program.

Image

Dancers (L to R): Morgan McEwen, Jace Coronado, Abbey Roesner

It is a thoroughly thought-out and invested event of performance and spectatorship that poses questions as it proposes interpretations. Listen to the interview to hear the project’s directors and performers talk about the motivation for putting the ballet together, their own brain experiences in carrying it out, and their personal ideas on art and the human brain. It’s amazing.

[audio https://files.nyu.edu/ltg219/public/Brodmann%20Areas.mp3]

Lucas Green

The Brodmann Areas, A new ballet from Norte Maar-

produced by Jason Andrew
directed and choreographed by Julia K. Gleich
musical direction by Ryan Francis
décor and costumes by Tamara Gonzales
with collaborating artists:
Paul D’Agostino
Lawrence Swan
Denis Pelli
Audra Wolowiec
Margo Wolowiec
and others

danced by Dylan Crossman, Michelle Buckley, Jace Coronado, Morgan McEwen, and Abbey Roesner

Apr 12-15, 2012

Center for Performance Research
361 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn

Directions: L Train to Graham Avenue (3rd Stop in Brooklyn). Exit right out of turnstile, Left down Graham Avenue, Left on Jackson Street, Right on Manhattan Avenue



Genesis Breyer P. Orridge talks about Love

Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

A career in the creative arts sounds like paradise to most people. Very few of us alive today would say no to the life of a career rock star or bulletproof film actor. Lives which come free from accountability to any hierarchy or authority. At the very same time, just as few people would begrudge the gift of virtuosity in any art. Prodigious skill in and passion for a form of personal expression has the power to distill just about all exterior needs both social and physical. These are life-styles we dream of living because of the amount of freedom they entail. The person who is fluent in his craft and idolized for it seems to have the best of the world, unhampered by responsibility to anybody but himself.

Unfortunately, the likelihood of achieving either of these lifestyles is little to none and crossover between the two is so low as to be negligible. As such, modern society acculturates the individual to disregard the dream of true freedom by projecting images of truly free lifestyles only in the unattainable glory of the rich and the famous. Freedom becomes redefined on a baser level. The level at which freedom comes to be conceptualized with age is far far lower than the one presented at birth. It only takes a little bit of living to come to think that freedom is something that has to be earned rather than something everybody actually has all the time.

Personally, I know I am embittered in this paradigm. I would love to go about free-wheeling all over the place just as much as the best and worst of us, but a part of me feels certain that this is an unsustainable fantasy– that I must work for someone, and, so doing, earn the right to strategically fulfill my desires. If I were stopped on the street and asked what I could hope for that would improve my life in a realistic way, I (in my impending post-graduate ongoing fugue) would expound on the dream of getting a job doing something I love and that represents my soul like making movies or talking about them. Earning money making freelance videos or editorials appears the ideal lifestyle for me because I can keep afloat, have fun, and express myself in the way I am naturally inclined to.

This is an enormous problem for me and the rest of the world.

We all looks for ways to stay alive as long as possible while being the people we wish to be, performing the actions we wish to incite, producing the entities we wish to exist. And we fight for it in each our own way. The problem is that the fulfilling these drives, the catharsis of self-discovery and the true actualization of personal affixations gets confused with what we can produce and contribute to everyone else. For a lot of people, it is unsatisfying to act and behave naturally without the approval of others. For them it is almost impossible to achieve self-discovery and definitely impossible to achieve transcendence (either over the self or the system).

Consider then Genesis Breyer P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, PTV3, and the new documentary “The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye” (screening in New York now at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas). Genesis’s life is not contingent on opportunity or production, although (s)he is extremely prolific in a multitude of media. Rather, the life of Genesis is contingent on living and the confrontations life itself proposes such as identity, inspiration, experimentation, and (most powerfully) love.

Director Marie Losier with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

By most standards, breaking boundaries and experimenting entails a person inducing a new creation, product, or idea which may or may not illuminate new ontological possibilities. Genesis in this respect accomplished much in the realms of music, video, and performance, but (s)he also conducted a major experiment exploring what it is just to be a human being and what it is to love another. This is manifested in the mutual devotion of  Genesis and Lady Jaye who each felt so strongly for one another that they both underwent surgery to be more alike.

These two people weren’t trying to create something new for the rest of the world to try and appreciate. That would be a participation in a feedback system which places an intrinsic barrier on a person’s freedom. Rather, these two people were trying to be something new in order to fulfill their love for one another. They weren’t performing an experiment on the capacity of the human being to produce, they were performing an experiment on the capacity of the human being to fully exist.

Lady Jaye Breyer died in 2007, but Genesis Breyer P-Orridge continues living with the part of Lady Jaye (s)he had absorbed before Lady Jaye passed away. Both as individuals accomplished a great deal of art in their life time, but their greatest achievement is their love which no one else in this world will share, but which nonetheless makes the world a much better place. This is what needs to be talked about.

The film's director, Marie Losier, with an "amazon woman" accepting the Teddy Award for best documentary film

A new movie was recently released about the love of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Lady Jaye. It is called The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye and it is currently playing at Chelsea Clearview Cinemas in

New York City as well as many other places around the world. The film features interviews and archival footage of PTV3, Genesis, Lady Jaye, and their experiences touring and performing along the globe. The style and composition of the film itself is in line with the aesthetic and ideology embodied by this love story making its occasional moments of incoherency worthy of appreciation.Here is the interview I conducted with the director of the film, Marie Losier (a remarkable and ingenuitive film artist herself), as well as Genesis Breyer P-Orridge in person. Listen and hear us discuss how it was making this film in such dramatic and personal times along with an emotional first-hand account by Genesis of the stories (s)he experienced in the span of time the film covers. God it’s beautiful.

This is the interview-

[audio https://files.nyu.edu/ltg219/public/Genesis%20and%20Marie%20edited.mp3]

If you don’t feel like listening to the interview, listen to this song by Psychic TV. You’ll like it-

This is the trailer-

Lucas Green



Mykki Blanco: Cosmic Angel
February 21, 2012, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Film, Music, New York City, Opinion | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This is a great video of Citywide guest Mykki Blanco produced by Glasnost NYC and shot by Jake Moore. Check it out!



An Interview With Mykki Blanco Who Thrives on States of Change

Underground art in the little town of New York City has a natural propensity to become mainstream art for the big old World. There are two very important reasons for this. The first lies in the intrinsic material make-up of the city. Anyone who lives and works in this city has almost immediate access to the majority of what man-kind can make or could ever make. In this way the city itself is a canvas as well as a bottomless trove of resources and materials. The city harmonizes beautifully with artists because almost any landscape, any tool, any surface, and (most importantly) any person can be found here. This is the second reason. Though I am reluctant to bring humanity down to the mathematical model we can apply to the physical world, it might help in this sense. In addition to every combination of artificial creations, New York City also houses nearly every permutation of the nature of individual human beings that has existed to this point and whose constant interaction perpetually produces new interests and new goals for the individual. Here we find all the billions of combinations of interests, levels of ambition, ethnicity, gender, will, identification, and pure brilliance. There are countless other factors into the emotional/physical/intellectual composition of a human being and most of them haven’t been placed together thus far. But people have a strong proclivity for detecting corresponding elements in others and it is this tendency which leads to the greatest work, expression, and fulfillment. It is what motivates us to know people and also to know about the world. This is why New York City is one of the greatest places to produce art today; because these things happen. Any person with an idea they want to see manifested, if they have enough will, can go to New York City and find nearly everything they need to make it happen and nearly all the people who will dig it enough to help.

Of course it’s important to stress the “nearly” because there is a third reason that people either like to hide or to forget. One way or another it tends to get obscured. Inspiration. New York has a lot of it, but only because the city attracts it. It is the most essential cause for any artistic environment that has ever developed. It cannot be quantified, predicted, or contrived. It can only be harnessed.

This week, Citywide featured Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. (aka Mykki Blanco). Mykki is a person who creates art taking full advantage of what I just said makes New York City a great place for artists. Mykki possesses the faculties to channel inspiration in a very pure way and then express it with fervor. In the interview, Mykki tells me about growing up knowing who he was and that he was different from others and not caring. He’s had the very unique opportunity for most of his life to be honest with his family and peers and therefore be honest with others in his artistic expression.

At this point I should be describing Mykki’s body of work, but,as he brings up in the interview, it’s not something you can define as a body because it takes extremely varied forms. In fact, I’m not even sure if I should be using male or female pronouns to refer to Mykki since he performs dressed either as a man or a woman. That’s sort of the idea though. I can’t think even of a reason to assign a title to Mykki’s gender, which for most people is a basic factor of identity. Similarly, you can’t say that Mykki is a writer, rapper, singer, visual artist, poet, stylist, or actor. He’s all of those and especially a performer.

Mykki became known after publishing a book of poetry under the name of Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. entitled From the Silence of Marcel Duchamp to the Noise of Boys. He also performs his/her poetry and raps under the name of Mykki Blanco. His work takes many more forms and is continuing to grow in the arenas of music and video.

This is what I mean about him taking advantage of New York City’s resources. It’s very hard to take part in so many different forms of expression, but the city facilitates it for those who are motivated. It’s inspiration that makes it possible though. Mykki is also lucky to be working a community of people who get it.

The interview has him talking about his development as in artist, entering the New York art world and observing it’s changes, and the experiences of producing art in New York. It’s really good!

This is a sample of Mykki’s rapping:

But you should also listen to the interview-

[audio https://files.nyu.edu/ltg219/public/Mykki%20Blanco.mp3]

Lucas Green



The (R)evolution of Immortal Technique
September 15, 2011, 5:14 pm
Filed under: Film, Music | Tags: ,

I tried to get Immortal Technique to come on this show in the past when he was one of the few figures in pop culture still insisting on bringing the earthquake in Haiti to the public’sattention. Immortal Technique centers his life around delivering a message. Whether it is to a group of orphans in Afghanistan, the audience of Rock the Bells, or a girl that needs help during the Q&A session after the screening of his new movie, Immortal Technique will immediately make the effort to address that person or group of people with direct dialogue.

He also has his own story. Tech came into the studio to discuss a new documentary film that follows him over a course of six years rising to the rap artist he became, traveling the world performing and then traveling the world to make a change. Also with him was the director of the film, Cary Stuart, and the editor, Eli Middleton. Their interaction makes it plain to see that this film is a collaboration based on love and respect. Stuart began his film as simple concert footage of his friend who also happened to be rising up as a notable figure in the rap community. Stuart noticed along the way that he was beginning to capture a transformation and his lens witnesses Immortal Technique gradually recognizing his role as an advocate for justice.

The (R)evolution of Immortal Technique is an entertaining and inspirational film. Much like the recent hip-hop documentary Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, some of (R)evolution‘s best moments draw from the rawness of the perspective. The camera gets close to its subject who never backs away.  We are able to get a small glimpse into what drives the artist with such force. We go on to watch Immortal Technique act on this drive until he reaches his destination, which often takes him to the places he started from as a stronger person.

The dvd is not out. Keep your eye out for screenings and check in at Viper Records to find out how you can watch this movie.

Here’s the interview-

[audio https://files.nyu.edu/ltg219/public/Immortal%20Technique%20INTERNET.mp3]

Afterward, he signed my cast:

Immortal Technique signing my cast

 

photos by Eli Middleton

Lucas Green