New Marieme Video For ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ is the Call to Arms We Need Right Now

 

 

 

In these intensely difficult times, we have sought genuine inspiration wherever we could find it; and one person in particular seems to never let us down. Indeed, Brooklyn-by-way-of-Senegal songstress Marieme has consistently raised her glorious voice in spine-chilling defiance of all those who would seek to use injustice as a weapon against the righteous and the vulnerable—most recently with her stirring cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” this past July.

Today she releases the accompanying video, and it is nothing short of a rallying cry—with images of Black men and women raising their fists in solidarity and power, and holding signs that read “The Fight Continues / Young Black Children Matter.” And in the midst of an election season already blatantly characterized by insidious voter suppression, it is precisely what is needed to remind everyone just how much is at stake—and also why there is a reason to hold out hope.

In fact, Sam Cooke’s original lyrics could not be more relevant to this moment in 2020:

 

“There been times that I thought I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gon’ come, oh yes it will”

 

Remember those words…and get out the vote.

 

Banksy’s Provocative (Of Course) ‘Show Me The Monet’ is Going on Sale at Sotheby’s

Banksy’s Show Me The Monet (2005), Photo by Michael Bowles/Getty Images for Sotheby’s.

 

 

The thing about Banksy subverting Monet’s very famous Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lillies, is that it’s a good reminder that the most exalted Impressionist painter was once himself making work that was an “affront” to the established art order. Indeed, proto-Impressionists Cézanne, Pissarro and Edouard Manet were literally banned from the Salon de Paris in 1863.

So one might find intriguing artistic subtext in a politically charged “street” artist whose work has become coveted by major collectors “desecrating” a historic painting that today represents the ultimate mainstreaming of a once radical art movement. The cheekily titled Show Me The Monet actually debuted fifteen years ago, as part of Banksy’s only second public show, titled Crude Oils: A Gallery of Re-mixed Masterpieces, Vandalism and Vermin. As to the latter, visitors to the Notting Hill gallery had to share the space with 164 live rats.

The work has just been put on view at Sotheby’s’ London gallery, and they’re quick to point out that no rodents will accompany the display. Still and all, Show Me The Monet seems remarkably prescient now, as the intervening decade-and-a-half has seen a staggering rise in water pollution levels, with UNESCO recently reporting that, “Despite improvements in some regions, water pollution is on the rise globally.” And while the tourist attraction of Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France remains as pristine as is surely needed to keep the visitors coming back, Banksy here depicts the idyll as being corrupted by discarded shopping carts and traffic cones—a metaphor for the fallout of rampant consumerist behaviors.

 

Banksy’s Show Me The Monet (2005), Photo by Michael Bowles/Getty Images for Sotheby’s.

 

“In one of his most important paintings,” observes Sotheby’s‘ European Head of Contemporary Art Alex Branczik, “Banksy has transformed the Impressionist master’s famous garden at Giverny into a modern-day fly-tipping spot. More canal than lily pond, he litters Monet’s composition with discarded shopping trollies and a fluorescent orange traffic cone. Ever prescient as a voice of protest and social dissent, here Banksy shines a light on society’s disregard for the environment in favor of the wasteful excesses of consumerism.”

The ironies extend to the prices that Banksy’s works now command, with his Devolved Parliament last year fetching £9.9 million (approximately $12.2 million). The estimate on Show Me the Monet is more in the £3-5 million range—though no one would be shocked if the live-streamed, October 21 auction finds it significantly topping that number.

“Long considered the apogée of Impressionism,” observes Helena Newman, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Department & Chairman of Sotheby’s Europe, “Monet’s instantly-recognizable portrayal of the Japanese Bridge at Giverny is the sort of work a serious collector will live in hope of acquiring. And here we see Banksy take ownership of that, by putting a tongue-in-cheek mark on what has been held up by generations as an icon of Western Art History.”

Which naturally begs the question, Will this work be similarly subverted a century from now?

 

Banksy’s Show Me The Monet (2005), photos by Michael Bowles/Getty Images for Sotheby’s.

Gagosian Launches Season II of ‘Artist Spotlight’ w/ New Works by Ed Ruscha

ED RUSCHA
RIOT BOX, 2020
Dry pigment and acrylic on paper
11 1/8 x 15 in
28.3 x 38.1 cm
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen. Courtesy Gagosian.

 

 

Created in response to this year’s everything-changing pandemic, which forced a multitude of terrestrial businesses to amp up their online offerings, Gagosian’s Artist Spotlight series was a conspicuous success, featuring the likes of Dan Colen, Jenny Saville, even Damien Hirst. And inspired no doubt by said success (isolation, for some, has revealed new opportunities) the very high-profile gallery is this week unveiling “season two”—and although we can’t wait to step into a physical art space again much sooner than later, we are sort of hoping Artist Spotlight carries on long after that.

“During the first season of Spotlight we offered 14 works to the public, and sold 49,” reveals Alison McDonald, Gagosian’s Director of Publications, seemingly defying the laws of mathematics as we had been taught them. “So much interest was generated each week that we were able to invigorate a series of private sales as a result of the public presentation.”

 

ED RUSCHA
IRON CLAD, 2020
Dry pigment and acrylic on paper
11 1/4 x 15 in
28.6 x 38.1 cm
© Ed Ruscha. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen. Courtesy Gagosian.

For those who prefer to think in terms of sheer numbers, the Spotlight campaigns generated nearly seventeen million impressions on Instagram, and caused the readership of Gagosian’s online Quarterly magazine to increase by more than 50 percent.

And so it all kicks off again this week with the mighty Ed Ruscha. The accomplished, multi-disciplinary Nebraskan has been an art world fixture since his debut in the late ’50s, as an Abstract Expressionist who deftly moved on from any such limiting classification. Having mastered and exhibited works of photography, painting, printmaking and film, it’s no surprise that even at 82, he is fully embracing the possibilities of the virtual art experience.

Ruscha’s five new works for Artist Spotlight (digitally on view through 9/22) present engaging phrases—like Riot Box and Odd Ad—with text that is smudged as if scrolled by too quickly, a comment on our constant and often blurred online lives, no doubt. That he’s first showing them in a virtual environment must be some sort of metaphysical coming together of meta and irony.

 

ED RUSCHA
Artist Spotlight featured works on paper IRON CLAD, RIOT BOX, AT THAT, IT FITS, and ODD AD, all from 2020
Artwork © Ed Ruscha. Courtesy Gagosian.

 

Artist Liaison Leta Grzan explains, “The English language, which Ed has used in lieu of brushstrokes, products, etc., is as relevant today as it was in the 1960s. He continuously observes the world around him, and makes work that responds to it. He didn’t just pick an artistic lane and push it to its end, his lane is his own observations of the world, and art is his method of communication.”

Putting a period at the end of the dialogue around the new works, Lisa Turvey, editor of the catalogue raisonné of Ruscha’s works on paper, will also host on online conversation featuring herself, artist Adam McEwen, and Gagosian director Bob Monk, September 22 at 5pm EDT. To join the free event, register at zoom.us.

Image by Kate Simon. Courtesy Gagosian.

David Byrne Insists ‘We Are Not Divided’—and He Has a New Multimedia Project to Back it Up

 

 

 

David Byrne has never struck us as anything less than a prophet, one who has always been able to absorb from every corner of the zeitgeist, and return back something thoughtful, thought-provoking, and even generally hopeful, as well. He is, for all intents and purposes, the living embodiment of his own set of semi-utopian ideals.

So it was certainly no surprise when last September he launched a new media project, the blithely titled Reasons to be Cheerful, just as America had reached such a level of socio-political divisiveness as to provoke deadly serious talk of a second civil war. Trump’s impeachment hearings were set in motion a few months later, and immediately following, the world went into its pandemic enforced lockdown. Things were as bad as they could be, to put it bluntly—and it was as if Byrne had somehow known just what we would need to help us survive it.

 

 

Since that time, ReasonsToBeCheerful.world has been a place to go to remind ourselves that the world is full of people who want to make it better. Visit the site right now, and there are stories about solar farms, cooperative housing for people with disabilities, even a student-led movement to de-polarize college. And now RBC is taking on the toughest issue of all: the seething polarization of American society.

Indeed, the just announced and steadfastly titled We Are Not Divided will be a six week, multimedia journalistic journey described thusly:

“It has become conventional wisdom that we are hopelessly divided. But this narrative masks a larger truth: that we humans are incredibly skilled at overcoming division. We Are Not Divided is a collaborative multimedia journalism project dedicated to revealing that truth by telling the stories that show our capacity, and our deep desire, to bridge our divides.”

Byrne explains, “This series is hopeful at a time when that is in short supply. I realize the title might come as a shock. Not divided? Are you kidding me? What world are you living in?”

 

 

But don’t mistake him for some misty-eyed liberal just wanting to metaphorically throw his arms around the world. Rather, he is enlisting serious editorial clout, with the likes of The Guardian, The Marshall Project, The Tyee, Next City, Freakonomics, and Solutions Journalism Network all making contributions. Notably, We Are Not Divided will also include a weeklong video interview series, Bridging Divides, hosted by storyteller and artist Scott Shigeoka.

With a noxious campaign season leading up to the American presidential election in November, and bitter battles playing out across the country over the wearing of masks and the distribution of impending vaccines, we are surely in need of something uplifting as a counter…yet with the gravitas to make it truly effective.

“I am more than a little aware of what’s happening,” insists Byrne, “but the truth is there is evidence that we can find ways to come together—I have to believe that or I would sink into despair. Luckily, there are people and initiatives out there that we can look to for inspiration, and boy do we need it.”

We Are Not Divided debuts today, and continues on until November 2.

 

New Janelle Monáe Single ‘Turntables’ Wants to Spark a Revolution at the Polls

 

 

 

The heartbreaking yet genuinely inspirational new documentary All In: The Fight For Democracy tells the often shocking story of the history of blatantly racist voter suppression in America, via Stacey Abrams’ 2018 run for the Georgia Governorship (it’s not a secret that the election was literally stolen away from her). It sets it all up in a particularly chilling way for the already-in-motion efforts to suppress the black vote leading up to the presidential election in November—possibly the most crucial in America’s entire history.

And these days, where there’s smoke, you can probably find return fire from the endlessly awesome and fiercely fearless Janelle Monáe. The confrontational songstress, in fact, recorded a new single for the doc, tellingly titled “Turntables.” It’s not, as one might guess, about spinning vinyl. Rather, it’s a rallying cry to storm the polls and once and for all turn the tables on an increasingly fascist regime, one that will seemingly stop at nothing to stay in power.

But as Ms. Monae makes clear, they’re going to have to go through her first.

 

“I keep my hands dirty, my mind clean
Got a new agenda with a new dream, uh
I’m kickin’ out the old regime
Liberation, elevation, education
America, you a lie
But the whole world ’bout to testify
I said, the wholе world ’bout to testify
And the tables ’bout to
T-t-tablеs ’bout to turn”

 

Obviously, our money is on Janelle.

 

007 First Look: Rami Malek is a Formidable Sociopath in the Upcoming ‘No Time To Die’

B25_25403_RC
Safin (Rami Malek) in
NO TIME TO DIE
an EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios film
Credit: Nicola Dove
© 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Whether anyone else has caught it yet, there’s a conspicuous irony to releasing a film called No Time To Die during an exceedingly fatal global pandemic. But if there was a particularly pressing exigency to again hearing the words, “Bond…James Bond,” it is precisely now—because we very much need to see someone up on the screen who we know could take COVID-19 and beat it to a decisively bloody pulp, before dramatically throwing it to its demise from some or other bridge in Moscow, Bratislava, wherever. And, of course, also look smashing in a tux.

But 007 will be violently busy with yet another Cold War-ish, enigmatic/technocratic sociopath in the upcoming 25th installment of the Bond film franchise. And said villain, Safin, is as ruthless as they come; indeed, producer Barbara Broccoli has described him as, “a nasty piece of work,” and “the one who really gets under Bond’s skin.” That he will be played by Rami Malek seems perfectly reasonable, as he so effortlessly made the leap from anxiety-plagued, existential anti-hero (Mr. Robot‘s Elliot Anderson) to possible greatest rock star of all time Freddie Mercury (in Bohemian Rhapsody) without missing a believability beat.

 

 

Safin is an anarchist (why do they always get such a bad rap?) and former SPECTRE assassin, who says spine-chilling things to Bond like, “We both eradicate people to make the world a better place. I just want it to be a little…tidier.” (A good Bond villain always hates untidiness.)

Thankfully, MGM has just released a teaser, in which Malek attempts to explicate Safin in ways that do sort of fit the historical evil genius profile.

“What I wanted from Safin,” he reveals, “was to make him unsettling…thinking of himself as being heroic.”

Safin’s delusions of grandeur will arrive on the big screen when No Time to Die is released into theaters this November 20…the perfect kick off, surely, to what will no doubt be a pandemic plagued holiday season.

 

B25_39456_RC2
James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Paloma (Ana de Armas) in
NO TIME TO DIE
an EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios film
Credit: Nicola Dove
© 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
B25_25594_R
James Bond (Daniel Craig) prepares to shoot in
NO TIME TO DIE
an EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios film
Credit: Nicola Dove
© 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Interview: Amanda Palmer + Rhiannon Giddens Cover ‘It’s a Fire’ Into a Poignant Pandemic Hymn

 

 

As we struggle through the great unknown of a coronavirus crisis lethally exacerbated by the villainous leadership of these United States (45 literally just admitted he purposely downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19, leading to 190,000 deaths), if there is a single voice of sanity, lucidity and defiance that we would turn to, it is that of one Amanda Palmer. Never anything less than unflinching in her assessment of humanity’s bottomless well of inhumanity—and indomitable in standing by her words—the fiery songstress has taken on all manner of controversial matters with both an intelligence and fearlessness that are nothing short of exigent right now, as we watch the West slide into a whole new sort of chaotic uncertainty.

At last she is back…and this time she’s brought help, in the form of Rhiannon Giddens, whom she met not long ago through mutual friend and composer Sxip Shirey. Giddens is one half of the unimaginably brilliant nouveau bluegrass/blues act Carolina Chocolate Drops, with whom she sings, plays the fiddle, and plucks dazzlingly away at her banjo. While it may seem odd that she would find kinship with Palmer’s socio-political glam-cabaret, the two share a perch of iconoclasm that binds them together in steadfast indifference to trend-chasing and crass mercenary concerns.

 

 

No surprise, their collaborative cover of the Portishead classic “It’s a Fire” is the song that we have desperately needed to bring us some manner of visceral solace as the modern world crashes down around us. Who could have imagined that 26 years after its release, it would become so startlingly relevant? But with its poignant lyrical refrain of “I can’t breathe through this mask” striking a whole new emotional chord in this, the year of corona, it has achieved exactly that.

We connected with Amanda and Rhiannon from their respective quarantine locations, each halfway around the world from the other, to discuss how it came about, and what it all ultimately means.

 

 

 


How did you both first connect?

AP: We met a few years ago, through experimental composer and all-round bon vivant Sxip Shirey, who’d worked and toured with both of us. He’s the sort of connector who really curates who he connects, and his raves about Rhiannon and her musicianship were through the roof. That’s how I found her music, and then when she released the Our Native Daughters album and I heard “Mama’s Cryin’ Long,” I became a bone-chilled, life-long bone fide fan. Not just anyone can pull off a song like that.
RG: I’d been hearing about Amanda for a few years, as we have a common friend in Sxip Shirey.


Is there a strong musical and/or ideological kinship?

AP: Oh lord, yes. Rhiannon really understands music beyond the commercial world, the profit world, the chart world. She’s the kind of artist who’s more shaman than performer. I have noticed, over time, that there are really two kinds of artists: ego-artists, and connector-artists. She falls squarely into the latter camp. Our genres of songwriting and singing are incredibly different, but the core is the same. She wants to dig into an emotional truth with her song, she gets that music has power, deep power.
RG: I think we share many commonalities about how we look at entrepreneurship and going your own road; in this business making your own way is not the easiest thing in the world, but for some folks like us it’s the only option.


“It’s a Fire” contains the lyric “I can’t breathe through this mask.” Other than that, was there any more “ethereal” impetus for choosing to cover this song right now?

AP: Yes. To me the key lyric is “Breathe on, sister…breathe on.” This moment in time is so incredibly fucked up—for me personally, and across the globe. I know so many people now who feel like they are losing hope, drowning, and losing the plot. There’s something about putting that line out there, sung between two women, that captures the whole point. We are learning how desperately we need each other, as sisters, as women, as support. We always knew this, deep inside, but we are getting a harsh lesson right now in just how interconnected we have to be, especially women and mothers. Help is not on the fucking way. We’re making our own help.

 

 

Where were each of you when you did the long distance recording?

AP: Rhiannon was at home in Ireland and I was here in New Zealand, where I still am. I recorded my piano and vocal track up in Auckland in a beautiful room, Neil Finn’s Roundhead recording studio, and it was one of those redletter days I’ll never forget. I’d gotten a phone call early in the morning about a really terrible family tragedy. I could barely function and I started feeling physically sick, and I thought about calling in and canceling the session. Lucy Lawless, who I’d just met, offered to drive me there, because she saw how shocked I looked. She pulled the car over so I could throw up in a cafe on the way to the studio. But the minute my hands were on the piano, I felt okay again. It was like magic, playing that music. I got to sing the song for Lucy, to her, to thank her. It was an unbelievable moment, one that you couldn’t have scripted any better. The universe provided me an emergency sister right when I needed one. Lucy barely knew me, but she held me like her own flesh and blood that day. That’s sisterhood. That’s what the song’s about.

As an extrovert, Amanda, did you find it particularly interesting covering an introvert song?

AP: That’s a great question. I don’t really believe in introversion and extroversion. I think that we’re all a weird, four-dimensional combo of both. Someone like Beth Gibbons, from Portishead….she may be shy and not very public, but she has something to perform, to say, to express. Many writers and singers may not be the gregarious, super-social types, but we still all crave the same thing: connection. How we get access to that connection changes from moment to moment, but at the end of the day, we all want it, crave it, need it. That’s why we do this.

 
What do you want to say about this pandemic, considering your ever unflinching view of humanity and its behaviors?

RG: What is there to say other than it’s been awful to watch the utter uncaring behavior from the top down in the American government. The man we must call ‘President’ has made it very clear that the lower-income, often black and brown people, in addition to the older generation, that this thing is disproportionately affecting don’t matter to him, won’t matter to him, and can die for all he cares. It makes me rage- and grief-filled for the senseless loss.
AP: What do I want to say about this pandemic? Are you serious? I love you. I want to say that I don’t think we know what’s hit us. I think we won’t know what’s totally hit us, financially, emotionally, practically….for a long while. It feels like the train has just gone off the tracks and the dishes are falling, slow-motion, off the dining car table, and haven’t crashed yet. It feels like the whole world is so desperate to keep on pretending things are normal when they aren’t, that we are living in a hilarious collective delusion every day. It feels like the end of the world, or the beginning, depending whether you’ve had your coffee and a good wank or not.

 

First New Trailer: ‘Parasite’ Director Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Memories of Murder’ is Getting a Re-Release

 

 

 

When Parasite won the Best Picture Oscar in February of 2020, it hit on more zeitgeist points than anything should ever be allowed to.

To wit, the immediate backlash regarding a foreign film taking the top prize went a long way to further explaining how Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has been so “successful”; it also incisively tapped into the rising tide of global class warfare; and, well, it deftly captured the new sort of contemporary, technofied anxiety that has characterized life in this 21st Century, and has only been exceedingly accelerated during this still carrying on pandemic.

What it also did was make Best Director Oscar winner Bong Joon Ho a very hot commodity in the film world. And as happens when someone suddenly becomes so very famous, a reassessment of his pre-fame work has been decisively put into action.

 

 

And so we get the re-release of his exalted 2003 crime thriller Memories of Murder, a digital remastering of which will be in theaters for a two-nights-only engagement, October 19 and 20. It was his second effort, and his first of four starring Song Kang-ho. The Hollywood Reporter has called it “An international cult classic.”

It’s built around a not unfamiliar trope: two small town, seemingly inauspicious detectives are on the trail of a series of rapes and murders, which may or may not be the work of a single culprit. What distinguishes the film from the typical American crime drama, is that the latter usually follows a fairly linear path from murder through investigation to satisfying resolution. But Bong chooses to make it about the detectives themselves, and how the machinations, stresses and disappointments of the process take their toll personally, and psychologically, despite the generally held belief that such a job requires training in emotional detachment.

There’s also a cockeyed quality to their own self-belief. Detective Park claims, “There’s a reason I survive as a detective. I may know nothing else, but my eyes can read people.” Yet regardless of how germane that is made to seem at first, nothing in the film actually bears it out.

 

 

The cinematography, indeed the entire aesthetic of the film, is more gothic than noir, with surely accidental nods to the likes of David Fincher and David Lynch. Darkness and shadows are practically featured characters.

It’s worthwhile to point out here that Americans are so confident in their universal crime solving ability, that for twelve seasons (of Murder She Wrote) we allowed that even a meddling old biddy with a book contract could catch the criminal week after week. But the proof that Bong’s detectives in Memories of Murder are pretty much in over their heads is summed up by this definitive exchange:

“How can a detective be such a bad fighter?,” sneers one. The reply: “How can a detective have such a bad eye for criminals?”

How indeed.

 

 

BlackBook Premiere: New Papi Shiitake Video For ‘Enjoy The View’ Deals w/ More Serious Pandemic Matters

 

 

The artistic fallout from the coronavirus crisis seems to genuinely be upon us right now, as we’ve recently debuted new tracks/videos that have to do with isolation (Golden Aquarians’ “High Enough”) and PPE (iDKHOW’s “Leave Me Alone”). But the video for Papi Shiitake‘s “Enjoy the View”—which BlackBook also premieres here—confronts an even more serious aspect of the crisis.

The new project by Best Behavior frontman Alex Gruenburg (along with co-writer/musical-conspirator Ryan Sieloff), Papi Shiitake’s new single is cool, alt-surf-rock, with artful, tremolo’d guitars, and a languid, hip-hop beat. But the accompanying clip shows Young Tuxx—who is actually Gruenberg, in alter ego mode—and his muppet pal Lil Tuxx (everyone should have a muppet pal during quarantine), dealing with scaring up enough money to pay the rent—though it’s all handled with a sly sense of humor. To wit, a fake newspaper headline blares, Happiness For All! Global Warming Reversed. Hunger Eliminated.

 

 

It shines a light on the plight so many are facing right now, as potential eviction numbers mount, due to the high joblessness rate. No one, from the states to the federal government, seems to have a workable plan to deal with it.

Gruenburg himself has been isolated in Brooklyn since the lockdown went into effect in March, but has also been busy playing chef and running Toki Toki, a vegan Korean barbecue stand at Bushwick’s beloved Tradesman bar. And regarding more serious matters, the Papi Shiitake track “Born As Lovers” appeared on a recent Rough Trade Black Lives Matter benefit compilation.

He gave us the lowdown on the lead up to “Enjoy The View.”

Where have you been and what have you been doing during quarantine?

I’ve been in my Brooklyn apartment for most of quarantine, I started living alone right before the pandemic hit. In a strange way the isolation has been extremely liberating, and that’s where most of the content for our upcoming EP Quarantine Dream comes from.

Is there a significance to the name Papi Shiitake?

I was actually on a trip to Colombia, staying with a family that grew shiitake mushrooms in the mountains outside of Bogota. The name Papi Shiitake came to me and it seemed perfect for this project. People love to say it.

Is it a long term project? Will there be a full album?

Most definitely. The project kind of came out of nowhere, but we’ve already recorded multiple records’ worth of material. We’re hoping to put out our first full length early next year.

Why did you create the alter ego Young Tuxx? What part of you does he represent?

Young Tuxx was born in the ice bath. I did a session with Wim Hof, who can withstand incredibly cold temperatures with the aid of a breathing technique. He had us submerge in these ice pools and when I emerged I felt a new spirit within myself. My heart became a diamond formed under pressure and I became Young Tuxx.

 

 

What is Lil Tuxx like?

Lil Tuxx is honestly one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. People love to see him on the street and hang out with him. We both like to have a good time, which is probably why we get along so well. After the shoot I really missed him. Hope he comes back for a live show.

The video is about trying to come up with the money to make the rent. Do you think we’re not talking enough about how many people face eviction as a result of the pandemic?

Absolutely. People were barely making rent before the pandemic in NYC. Not everybody has the luxury of leaving the city for the suburbs. If we want to save New York City we need to start with the people of New York City. The same applies to the rest of the country.

What is your assessment of the way this country has handled the coronavirus crisis?

It’s a huge bummer, isn’t it? Really thought the US would band together more to fight this. Look how Europe and Asia are handling it. They will definitely be having live shows before us. I’m jealous.

Give us a quick encapsulation of Toki Toki.

I love to cook and I absolutely love Korean BBQ. I’m not vegan, but I realized that I’ve never had any good vegan Korean BBQ. So I came up with a recipe for vegan bulgogi and people started to really love it. Toki Toki is being served at Tradesman, one of my favorite bars in Brooklyn. Stop by and have some onigiri!