vacance, puces et…we’re back!

13 09 2010

To celebrate the new year, the end of summer, strikes in France or as the kids say, “whatever,” I took the day off and made a trek way uptown to the Whitney Museum.  Prime reason was to see the Christian Marclay exhibition and then walk back downtown to see some friends.  Well Christian’s show was nice, The Lee Friedlander exhibit shot from inside his car was terrific, and the Charles Burchfield paintings were a revelation.  Not someone I would have gone out of my way to see.  Glad I did.

Marclay’s galleries are a lot like the ARChive’s basement –rows and rows of audio–related bibelots and bilia, suggesting meaning through juxtaposition.  One nice assemblage was a rack of clothing with musical imagery + themes.  That’s a good lead-in for last weekend’s finds at an upstate flea.

Who knew Canada was the home of the Twist?  Beyond the French Twist, there’s a big CAN C&W line dance fascination with the Honky Tonk Twist, and you can practice the chorégraphe via the 600 plus videos on that u-tubby thing.

The real deal weekendwise was the Wal-feld 5000!  This children’s 78 rpm player has a Bakelite resonator/pick-up/needle holder (UK Made) on a tin tonearm, and a brightly lithographed tin body, covered with fairy tale and children’s story imagery.  I see a lot of early playback devices, and seldom are they in such perfect shape.

Wal-feld Co. Inc. was in Lynbrook, NY, and manufactured a wide range of audio related gotta-haves, including musical dolls and wooden juke boxes.  No date on my machine, but it only cost a buck to return for repairs.  Online legal notices indicate Wal-feld went bankrupt in 1965.

Another “O Canada’ flea-find was this Nov 2, 1974 George Harrison / Ravi Shankar concert program for a benefit at the Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia, to aid the Appalachian Regional Hospitals.  Nice artists pics, good graphics and a fine glossary of all things India, musically.

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Alternative China in New York

2 11 2009

For MORE than just this week Columbia’s Arts Initiative, with minimal help from ARC, brings the latest Beijing music scene to your very doorstep.  Organized by the Chinese record label Maybe Mars and the rock club D-22, it’s THE CHINESE UNDERGROUND INVASION TOUR, featuring Carsick Cars, PK-14, White and Xiao He.

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Anti-Cantopop, this group of performers work outside government-controlled media channels, with a sound building off of New York’s No Wave of the late 70s and EU Industrial.  Add to this the PR blub; “The Beijing musicians have nonetheless reconfigured this urban western vocabulary to fit with Beijing opera’s traditional delight with textural experimentation and China’s centuries-long history of infatuation with shimmering melodic structures.  With the sound of broken-down machines cranking out lovely pop songs, the unique sound emerging from China’s music underground illuminates the new social void, aggressively questioning the moral and social basis of the fragile modernity on which it subsists.”  What more could you want?

This series of shows feature the best and brightest:
Carsick Cars is China’s premier underground band.  They’ve played with Sonic Youth on tour, and their 2nd CD was produced by Wharton Tiers.  Their song “Zhong nan hai” has become an anthem for this new Chinese counterculture.  Talk about diverse appeal, Kanye West posted one of the band’s videos to his blog while the Wall Street Journal offered praise!

White is the leading experimental band in China, minimal and mechanical, the latest CD produced by Blixa Bargeld of Einsturzende Neubaten.

Xiao He is described as a surreal folkie, drawing critical acclaim from recent shows in Europe, with a “progressively eclectic sound that draws upon traditional instrumentation and vocal arrangements looped within his live performances.”

P.K. 14 was called by Time Magazine one of five top bands in Asia and one of the most influential bands on the burgeoning Beijing scene.soundkapital_event

Accompanying the live shows is a not-to-be-missed gallery exhibition and book release for Sound Kapital, a remarkable photographic overview of the bands and fans by photographer Matt Neiderhauser.  It’s at the Powerhouse Arena, 37 Main St. @ Water, Brooklyn, 718-666-3049, running from Oct 28 – Nov 29.  Opening reception Thursday, Nov 5, from 7-9, with a pile of music afterward.  I’ll be there, so come by and say hello…

Here’s the short list of Confirmed local shows:
Weds 11/4 – Manhattan  – VON  – Xiao He & Shouwang (from Carsick Cars)
Thurs 11/5  – Brooklyn, NYC  – powerHouse Arena  – Xiao He, Carsick Cars & P.K. 14
Fri  11/6  – Brooklyn, NYC  @  Glasslands  – These Are Powers, Soft Circle, Carsick Cars, P.K.14 & Xiao He
Sat  11/7  – Manhattan  @  SANTOS Party House  – P.K.14 , Carsick Cars, Antimagic, BJ Rubin, Knyfe Hyts
Sun  11/8  – Manhattan  @  Columbia University  – Xiao He
Fri  11/20  – Manhattan  @  Ding Dong Lounge  – Octagon, Carsick Cars, P.K.14 & Xiao He
Sat  11/21  – Williamsburg  @  Secret Project Robot  – Carsick Cars, P.K.14, Xiao He,  Aa, Knyfe Hyts 81 & others…
Sun  11/22  – Manhattan  @  PERFORMA’s Grande Finale  – Shouwang, Xiao He, and many others…

Get the whole schedule and any changes here.

And as music could never happen without devotion AND finance Columbia’s Alumni Arts League will present a Sunday brunch with alumni Michael Pettis and Charles Saliba to discuss current events in China, from financial markets to rock and roll, over a private brunch with an intimate group of fellow Columbians and Asian Cultural Council guests.

Charles and Michael are the force behind the D-22 club and the Maybe Mars record label, the folks behind this current tour.  It’s Sunday afternoon on Sun, Nov. 8, and alums can get details by calling 212.851.1879.








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