You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vampires in Soho

Want to know the key to writing best-selling fiction these days? Well, Melissa de la Cruz has found it. It's Gossip Girl and vampires, all under the same cover. (I'm not aware that Mr. Darcy appears anywhere in this book, but it wouldn't surprise me.)

Anyway, de la Cruz writes the YA series Blue Bloods, and the third installment is being launched tonight in Soho. It's a vampire-themed costume party. Photos (probably embarrassing ones) guaranteed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

This weeks Chikpiks: Featuring The Mazex2!

Photo via Nate Dorr via E4E1

Wednesday, September 30
You Are Here: A Maze
Death by Audio

How do you decide between your children? Well, you can't, and it's a little like deciding which night of You Are Here: A Maze to go to. Every night is different, and like it or not, you're going to be missing something whichever night you don't go. Luckily there are intrepid writers and photographers (like Nate, who has more beautiful photos where that came from) documenting it religiously. So far, I have not been one of them. But luckily, I've been struck with a stroke of brilliance (or as you might call it, e-mail) and have decided that Wednesday, Sept. 30th, will be the day. Not only will that night feature Emma Kupa of the UK-based, Camera Obscura-influenced indie-poppers Standard Fare (below) playing solo, but lovely, laid back, local lo-fi lady Nicole Schneit and Air Waves. Not to mention Nymph, Ava Luna, Eskalators, and Aldertone, all playing in one spontaneous, messy explosion of sound.

8 PM
All Ages


Mp3 - Standard Fare - Dancing

Friday, October 2

You Are Here: A Maze
Death by Audio

But (and this is where the 2x comes in) I decided that it's not enough, having waited for this last week, to take it in once and be done with it. No, the Maze of course lends itself, like the medieval carnivals in the mazelike streets and canals of Venice, to mysterious midnight rendezvous, exotic elixirs and one-time-only discoveries of dark and glittering secrets.

So I will also attend the noise-infused finale on Friday, Oct. 2, when Zs, Excepter, Mick Barr, DJ Rubin, Noveller (members of Parts & Labor) and Dome Theater will be present, with delicious beverages aplenty. And then it will be finished. And then I can sleep.

8 PM
All Ages


Mp3 - Excepter - Kill People

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The late show: Wavves and Ganglians at Market Hotel, 9/25/09

Ganglians, regarded as somewhat lo-fi pioneers among the current trend, if that's possible, proved the professionals of the night, if not in their stage persona, then at least in their more mature sound that drew on influences beyond the pop merry-go-round, like early '70s album rock and r&b, freeing them from the distortion-heavy lifelines others have used.

I hesitate to use such an obvious metaphor, but there was a moment last night when the hot, drunk, good-naturedly violent crowd that had swelled up around Nathan Williams just seemed to break and fall away backward, toward me, and it was awe-inspiring and sort of scary, like watching a killer wave at La Jolla in Williams' native San Diego crash down over you. Like even though his vocals were virtually inaudible throughout, his blog-happy lo-fi surf pop had gotten to the point where it had taken on a persona that's beyond even Williams' control, and one that the crowd embraced with a breathless, panting familiarity. His hit "So Bored" was the first song he played, and barely recognizable.

"Chill the fuck out!" he had screamed at everybody earlier, before having to have Todd Patrick lumber paternally onto the stage to scold the crowd, particularly the three drunk chicks who'd scrambled onstage and somehow unplugged Williams' mic in the process.

"If someone falls down, pick 'em up," he exorted. "Otherwise, people die."

Nobody died that I know of, although, as evidenced above, it was viciously difficult to get a decent photo of Williams when it was all I could do to keep my camera from being knocked out my hands and shattering under someone's combat boots.

Wipe out.

Mp3 - Wavves - Mickey Mouse (courtesy The Fader)

Updated: If you like your indie rock news sleazy, check out PopJew's account of Jared from The Black Lips beating up on Williams at Daddy's afterparty.

The early show: It's the acoustics, stupid

First, props to 303Grand in Williamsburg for being the cleanest, most well-lit, best-smelling DIY venue I've seen. And on top of that, FREE BEER. It's kind of amazing that it even exists.

Stephanie Carlin, despite being a dead ringer for a young Barbra Streisand (and I mean that in the best possible way, Stephanie), is hardly a diva. Her blues-infused voice is Janis Joplin reinvented for a more cynical age, with none of the angst or heartbreak missing. in fact, her self-deprecating stage patter is really quite charming.

Nick Howard
is an exceedingly pinup-friendly Brit with a butter-smooth singing voice, his tailored acoustic pop songsmithing playing circles around all those other stool-sitting coffee-shop poseurs you've seen around the city. James Blunt, the most famous subway stalker of all time, wherever he is right now, should probably take notice.

Mp3 - Nick Howard - A Better Man

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chicken soup for the ears

Tonight, for the recovering infirm (i.e. me) the prescription is this:

Involves free PBR with admission. Also BRM nepotism via promoter TJ Olson. Wish Voyles were still around.

Followed by this:

(Photo courtesy of NYCTaper)

====| FRIDAY 9/25 @ MARKET HOTEL |====

:::: Ganglians
:::::: Beach Fossils

1142 Myrtle Ave @ Bdwy | Bushwick, Bklyn
JMZ-Myrtle, L-Jefferson, G-Myrtle/Willoughby | 8pm | all ages | $10

But first, this:

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What's the deal? Same as it was last time, apparently

It seems that while I was off making a living, and then recovering from the trauma of making a living, the world has continued to spin without me.


But happily, I'm back to bring you the latest installment of What's the Deal?, your very own weekly Publisher's Lunch newsletter deal snark.

Here's the latest developments in the exciting and ever-changing world of publishing:

Publisher's Lunch says: Sarah Gray's WUTHERING BITES, a retelling of Wuthering Heights in which Heathcliff is a vampire, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, in a very nice deal, for publication in September 2010, by Evan Marshall at Evan Marshall Agency (World).

Publisher's Lunch says: Literary critic Bill Deresiewicz's EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LIFE I LEARNED BY READING JANE AUSTEN: One Man, Six Books and the Secrets of Life and Love, an exploration of what Jane Austen's books can teach us all about growing up, the importance of the little things, the blinding glitz of wealth and class, being a good person, finding true friends, and falling in love, to Ann Godoff at Penguin Press, by Elyse Cheney of Elyse Cheney Agency (NA).
Translation: Nicole Steen at Elyse Cheney Literary Associates

Indichik says: So...vampires and Jane Austen. Never mind.

Friday, September 18, 2009

John Hughes Night at Vol. 1 Brooklyn,Thursday 9/17

Some background: I was born the year Ferris Bueller came out. Thus, I was privileged enough to discover the John Hughes canon all over again around the time I thought I was the only one to ever discover it. So (By the way, I don't care what anyone says, the existence of Some Kind of Wonderful does NOT make up for Duckie and Andie not ending up together at the end of Pretty in Pink. But this does:

Okay, maybe not. But we tried (so did Hughes, for that matter, but that's another story). Anyway, I was delighted to be able to attend Vol. 1 Brooklyn's tribute to the late director, tragically relocated from its usual location at Bar Matchless, to the loft at Public Assembly. Some highlights:

The emcee - somebody want to help me out with his name? I sure appreciate his encouraging us to ponder the eternal question: Jake Ryan vs. Ferris Bueller vs. John Bender? Guess which one I picked? No really, guess. I promise it will be an amusing diversion for you. And me.

Jesse Sposato (Sadie Magazine) on how Hughes films ruined her love life.

Susie Hwang being adorable and a very talented accordionist and singer as well, especially working from the Hughes songbook: "If You Leave," "Danke Schoen." No Simple Minds, alas, but maybe next time.

Newly minted authoress Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing) who by the time I got there, was already having way more fun than I've had in weeks.

Chelsea Hodson, an classmate of mine in an undergrad English class, a long time ago in another life, writing from the perspectives of each of Hughes' main characters.

And of course, Jason Diamond of Vol. 1 itself, himself a native of Hughesville (aka North Shore of Chicago) who is the most self-deprecating talented guy I've ever met. Jason, write more fiction (And I'm not only saying that because he links to me a lot).
"When you grow up, your heart dies."

- Allison

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Uncle Remus redux on PopMatters

PopMatters, as of this morning, is featuring, on its front page, my essay on the historical implications of Disney's upcoming return to 2-D animation (which is originally what drew me into the topic, but the controversy surrounding the first black Disney princess was too juicy to ignore) . All I know is that those hours I wasted as kid popping in Disney VHS after Disney VHS have turned out to be good for something, sort of. So which is is it: pop-culture minutiae or trenchant commentary on the state of American race relations? OR BOTH? You decide.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Maze has begun

Yeah, so this has started. I won't go so far as to be arrogant and pick a night in which you Absolutely Must Go, because quite frankly, it'll probably be great regardless. I mean, it's a maze! At Death by Audio! I myself have not yet been, and it's mostly because I can't decide which night sounds best. But here are the promising possibilities yet to come:

:: WEDNESDAY - 9.16 ::

white suns | chaos majik
little big | buckets of bile | invisible circle


:: THURSDAY - 9.17 ::

grooms | videohippos | starring
pc worship | anamanaguchi | dome theater

:: FRIDAY - 9.18 ::

ty segall [goner records, mem sic alps] | the mantles [san francisco]
the holy experiment | bj rubin | worlddancearound | dome theater
w. delicious beverages


:: SATURDAY - 9.19 ::

hi red center | alexis gideon [portland, OR]
make a rising [philly] | shelley short [portland, OR] | ribbons
w. delicious beverages


:: SUNDAY - 9.20 ::

vaz | clan of the cave bear [cleveland]
necking | baby birds don’t drink milk [lawrence, KS]
w. delicious beverages


:: MONDAY - 9.21 ::

sam mickens & mike pride duo | jantar


:: TUESDAY - 9.22 ::

mike pride’s drummer’s corpse | hunter gatherer [philly]
aaron siegel | meredith arena

:: WEDNESDAY - 9.23 ::

shooting spires [mem parts & labor] | legs
graffiti monsters | crime novels | lord easy

:: THURSDAY - 9.24 ::

sam hilmer & arrington dionsyo duo | charlie looker
daniel carter quartet | total bolsheviks


:: FRIDAY - 9.25 ::

effi briest | electroputas | regattas
chuck bettis w. mario diaz de leon |
bj rubin | dome theater
w. delicious beverages


:: SATURDAY - 9.26 ::

sleepy doug shaw | hannah marcus & tianna kennedy
screaming females | cheap ventilators [bloomington, IN] | the weird fantasy band
w. delicious beverages


:: SUNDAY - 9.27 ::

symbol | laurel halo
the slowest runner in all the world | post abortion stress


:: MONDAY - 9.28 ::

telecult powers | syn toffs
bassoon | alterazioni video collective


:: TUESDAY - 9.29 ::

the coathangers [atlanta] | nervehunt [mems wavves, teeth mountain]
xray eyeballs [mems golden triangle] | swimmingcitiesoceanofblood


:: WEDNESDAY - 9.30 ::

nymph | emma kupa [UK]
ava luna
| aldertone | air waves


:: THURSDAY - 10.1 ::

crash diet crew | cntrl top [mem these are powers]
hotchacha [cleveland] | island’s eyelids | deborah karp & meredith arena


:: FRIDAY - 10.2 ::

Zs | excepter | mick barr
noveller [mem parts & labor] |
bj rubin | dome theater
w. delicious beverages

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nick Cave appears tonight at Barnes and Noble

Before I post the recap from last night's Rasputina show, I feel the need the call your attention to this event, which starts in less than an hour but sounds well worth dropping everything for. Dark and moody (and needless to say, multi-talented) songwriter Nick Cave will be on hand to read from and discuss his novel, The Death of Bunny Munro, which is just out. My views on artists/celebrities from other disciplines crossing over into fiction are well known, but Cave is a born storyteller and an established novelist (having published 1989's And the Ass Saw the Angel) and those familiar with his prose have told me that his gift for language and morbid humor is no less evident there. He'll hopefully be discussing that gift with Katherine Lanpher, a talented writer and media personality herself, and a family friend of mine from the Twin Cities, a long time ago in another life.

The event starts at 7 PM at Barnes and Noble Union Square,
33 East 17th Street.

Mp3 - Nick Cave - Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!

Old times at the new Knitting Factory: Rasputina, 9/14/09

Over time, I've come to the conclusion that the cello was probably my instrument. Not only because I enjoy its sound probably more than just about anything this side of the French horn intro on "God Only Knows," but because several mercifully brief childhood attempts at the flute and clarinet, I realized that my lung capacity is that of an asthmatic gerbil and should never have even bothered with the woodwinds. Why I overlooked the strings completely and went straight to piano and guitar (whose practice I've enjoyed without particularly excelling) and thus missing that tiny window at ages 9-12 where you can actually take up an instrument and have a chance of being great at it someday, I'll never know, but I should probably just make it easy and blame my parents.

Which brings me to the fact that Melora Creager of Rasputina must have had parents who wholeheartedly supported her choice to play the cello, being that she later went on to play on recordings by Nirvana and form Rasputina itself, who did indeed play an all-request show Sunday night at the shiny new Knitting Factory, at which I got to spend an hour or more enjoying the rich, dark sound of what for me, alas, will always be the Cello that Could Have Been.

My fuller, less self-indulgent review of the show can be found at Beyond Race.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Trying to do 5 things at once is not actually as fun as it sounds

I've been laid up for the two and a half days with an actual 48-hour-virus (or to make it more interesting, let's call it the 48-hour swine flu) and am now tragically, bitterly behind on absolutely everything, including Fashion Week (for which I'll be writing dispatches over on ChiChi212, look for updates later), Chikpiks, reviews, the Brooklyn Book Festival, and pretty much all things related to this blog . On the bright side I'm completely caught up on the first two seasons of Lockup: Raw. (Next big smash for XBox = Prison Riot: The Video Game.)

So, Thing One: The Brooklyn Book Festival is already half-over as I write this post, but because I'm clever and innovative and make lemonade and all that, I've decided to make this a If You Do One Thing At the Brooklyn Book Of course it just so happens to be an event that takes place at the very end of the day, but anyway:

Photo courtesy Miriam Berkley

If You Do One Thing At the Brooklyn Book Festival...make it Inside Music. From the Chicago avant garde to audiophile zealots to the New Weird America, three writers from across the musical spectrum explore how the world of music is connected to everything else: politics, ethnicity, technology, topography and culture. Featuring George E. Lewis (A Power Stronger Than Itself), Greg Milner (Perfecting Sound Forever), Peter Terzian (editor, Heavy Rotation) Moderated by Sukhdev Sandhu (Night Haunts). 5 pm, North Stage, Borough Hall Plaza.

Greg Milner's (pictured above) book, Perfecting Sound Forever, is presented as a "history of recorded music" from Thomas Edison to the Mp3. I am not by any means an audiophile (has anyone ever actually met a female audiophile?) but I am certainly intrigued at Milner's theory that Californication is the worst-sounding record of '90s. (Considering it happens to be one of the first albums I ever bought. Oh, god, I'm a fraud). Anyway, to the BBF to find out why!


And if you happen to have time to do one more thing at the Festival (this is cheating I know), stop by the SLC Lumina booth in Borough Hall Plaza, to pick up deep discounts on the utterly fantastic and engrossing 2009 issue, for which I served as fiction co-editor, and meet some friendly, fresh-faced Bronxville literary gals from this year's staff (and maybe a guy, but the odds aren't good).

Speaking of the perfecting of sound, it brings me to Thing Two...tonight! Rasputina! Three cello virtuosos in metal bustiers plan an all-request show! At my formerly-least-favorite NYC venue (see top right) which may finally redeem itself by moving to Brooklyn! (But it's too late to make requests. Sorry. I missed the deadline, too, if that makes you feel any better).

Rasputina plays with The Shondes tonight at 7 pm at The Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue, BROOKLYN). $15.

Mp3 - Rasputina - Wicked Dickie
(via eashfa)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Knight School, Dream Diary and Fluffy Lumbers @ Bruar Falls, 9/7/09

Although my continuing obsession with arriving everywhere fashionably late (not to mention that I decided to walk, for some reason) I of course missed the Labor Day burgers personally grilled with love by Mike Balla, I thankfully didn't manage to miss any of the bands.

Knight School is an enthusiastic bunch with a pogo-stick tempo surfacing every once in a while, and the occasional practiced boy/girl harmony adding welcome texture. I caught a Flaming Lips-type vibe at a couple of moments.

Dream Diary, especially, was a pleasant surprise, their hooks standing out as a cut above most of the lo-fi bands distorting their hearts out these days. Fans of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart should take note.

Mp3 - Knight School - Pregnant Again