Memorial Tribute to Musician and Graffiti Artist Ana Bender This Weekend

Late-night romps can be cruel after you have done in it for decades. Today’s sunlight is lashing me awake and I haven’t the strength to wash the evening out of my hair. Hotel Chantelle was absolutely off the hook last night, with Sam Valentine, Michael Tee, Miss Guy, and Michael Cavadias and a slew of others whipping the crowd into a frenzy. I think the weather had something to do with it as well. The early spring brings flowers early and confusion into club circles. When it’s nice, the places are packed, but when the weather returns to form and a cold rain requires clothes that have been packed away till next year, the hordes stay home. This Sunday, the two-hour premier of Mad Men will hurt Sunday club ambitions.

After memorial tributes in San Francisco and Seattle for Ana Dyson aka ANA BENDER aka AYBEE, NYC gets its turn. White posters pasted on walls that hipsters pass announced the memorial, which will start at 7pm MARCH 25 at Legion, 790 Metropolitan Avenue. It’s a free show. The posters were produced by Ana’s friend Katsu. This comes from the 12ozProphet website:
4/26/1987 – 2/2/2012
Ana Dyson aka ANA BENDER aka AYBEE
Was an influential musician and graffiti artist from Seattle that lived in NYC and SF.
She was known for her raw and pure punk/folk music style as well as her graffiti tags “AYBEE”.
AYBEE was a close friend of the BTM graffiti crew both on the west and east coasts.
She lived in New York City for a time.
She lived in SF for a time.
A free event is happening this Sunday."
There will be performances by JAPANTHER, Soft Dov, Brohammer, and Dead Reich and DJs Maxwell 57, NineLives, The Cat, Grace of Spades, Ella, and Chloe.
Tonight I will attend a very special affair that is hush hush, super duper, uber secret and I have sworn to only speak of it come Monday. It’s one of these "show up on a corner late-night and you will be led to it’" events.
Twenty years ago I would have thought I was being whacked. I can’t offer you more today; my body is upset at my brain for the insults of last night. My brain needs to turn itself off for a couple of hours. It asks for your forgiveness. I got the usual, "Don’t you ever sleep?" from the waitstaff at Kellogg’s Diner at 6am. They had seen me for breakfast 20 hours earlier. I replied with my usual: "I’ll get all the sleep I need in 20 or 30 years." I realized over my eggs that I started saying that 15 years ago.  

Promoter Carlos Valpeoz on the Rock & Roll Circus & Japanther

Promoter Carlos Valpeoz has booked Brooklyn DIY shows for the likes of the So So Glos and Japanther, whose band members, like Valpeoz himself, went to Pratt. On Monday night at the Rock & Roll Circus at Lincoln Center, Japanther played an unforgettable show – whatever your opinion of the security situation. Valpeoz was in the audience. Here, he shares his thoughts on the Rock & Roll Circus and the Japanther big tent debacle.

How was it seeing Japanther and the So So Glos at Lincoln Center compared with seeing them at smaller DIY venues in Brooklyn? It was a great night! I had no specific expectations going into the show. I have been going to Lincoln Center for years with my family and it was a fantastic experience watching my friends perform in such an ambitious production.

How did you like the circus tents as a venue for a rock show? The venue was unbelievable. The lights, sound, and location were all surreal. To see so many of my friends in a neighborhood so far from the norm was amazing. No matter what happened at the end of the show, I am totally ecstatic about the free entry and intent.

How did the rock n roll circus strike you as a concept for a show? Do you think it worked? The idea was grand, although it was confronted by poor planning and anticipation. Fans dislike barriers. Every band was all about engaging the crowd, as they are used to playing on floors of dirty warehouses with minimal security. It could have worked seamlessly, but there was not enough planning and dialogue between the bands and the staff.

Did you come to see any bands in particular? I came to see Japanther, So So Glos, and The Pharmacy. Three of my favorite bands right now.

What was your favorite part of the show? My friends and watching the So So Glos bring everyone up to the front. That is how the entire show should have gone.

Why do you think they shut down the event during Japanther when people were in the ring during the performance by the So So Glos? They didn’t shut down the event. Japanther stopped playing knowing that the staff were getting way too hostile. Security took it upon themselves to make the entire atmosphere violent. They were making it personal and there was no hierarchy among the staff. All they had to do was make an announcement. Instead, they decided to use force to calm the situation down, which obviously never works.

Punks Be Not Proud: The Rock & Roll Circus

“This is a rock ‘n’ roll circus,” yelled Ian Vanek of punk band Japanther, taking a pause from wilding out on the drums, “not a security guard fucking circus.” Fans of Japanther were surging toward the musicians. Behind the band was a banner that said “Japanther,” and further beyond that a long serpentine slide and a large sign in lights that said “Big Apple” after the circus in whose tent the band was now performing. People were out of their seats, climbing to the front and over the short divide, pressing on as they would at any Japanther show. Who could blame them? But as this was Lincoln Center, home of the Metropolitan Opera and The New York Philharmonic, the crowd was broken up, steadily and repeatedly, by the guards.

Maybe it was the clown hoisted onto the shoulders of screaming fans that got the guards riled up. People looked around nervously. Some started to chant, “All we are saying, is let the band play.” Maggie Lee of Vice, Carlos Valpeoz of Bikes in the Kitchen, and his girlfriend, designer Sarah Bergenheim, were some of the fans in the ring. Japanther — the last and most anticipated act of the night — had only played three songs when their set was abruptly called off. The energy in the ring felt dangerous at times, if only because of the hostility between the guards and concert-goers. Earlier in the night, the So So Glos invited moshers into the ring with no fall-out. And both Pharmacy and The Electric Tickle Machine performed without a hitch. Then again, this was Japanther. There’s a reason they were the last act. By some accounts, the night got even crazier.


Blending circuses and rock concerts to heighten and complement the eccentricity of each is a tradition that dates back at least to the Rolling Stones, who did a rock ‘n’ roll circus in ‘68. Last night, the tents were peopled with stilt-walkers, evil clowns and tattoo-artists inking the arms of party-goers outside the theater. There was ice cream by Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream Truck, “Mick Jagger” cocktails (“Belvedere vodka and soda”) in the VIP Lounge, and circus performers doing back flips in the break room. A night like no other in the city.


Tonight is another chance to see rock n roll in a big circus tent, this time alongside a performance by the Big Apple Circus. For now, here are a more pictures from the first night.

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Music for Clowns: Rock & Roll Circus Tonight

Being a huge fan of both carnies and rock music, it almost feels as though I cooked up the Rock & Roll Circus in my own hazy, Peppermint booze-flooded head. Put on by the enduring Big Apple Circus, Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and featuring performances by the likes of Japanther, Ariel Pink, and Amazing Baby, the two-day event, held at the 40,000 square foot Lincoln Center (like fashion week for rockers!) is not only a reality, it’s also FREE. Well, at least half of the musical extravaganza is free: Tonight, the circus will be open for public exploration. Venture into the ridiculous circus tent, which includes bars sponsored by Belvedere as well as shows by Japanther, The Pharmacy, Voxhaul Broadcast, The So So Glos, and the Electric Tickle Machine. I haven’t received confirmation yet regarding swag bags, but with sponsors like Jet Blue and Pop Chips, and photo opportunities from Impossible Projects (of Polaroid fame), I’m guessing there will be opportunities galore. The event was produced in order to draw attention to the progressive music community, and tomorrow’s lineup – sadly not gratis, though well worth the price – is nearly as good as the food vendors.

Although former headliner Ok Go had to cancel last minute, I have to say their replacement is an even better choice. Ariel Pink will take over headlining duties tomorrow night, alongside Amazing Baby, Saint Motel, Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Aska. However wonderful the musical performances may be, the fact that the famed Big Apple Circus will be performing is the cherry on top. Contortionists, balancing acts, jugglers, and acrobats will fill the ring, performing to Ariel Pink’s “Round and Round.”

Other reasons to go: Van Leeuwen’s Ice Cream Truck, Mexicue, and Asia Dog will fend off munchies after local fave, Six Point Brewery, creates them.

Date: Monday, January 3rd/Tuesday January 4th. Time: 7PM, shows at 8PM. Price: Monday – Free/Tuesday $25 for Mezzanine, $30 for Ringside