Hahn Bin, ‘V’ Magazine’s New Mozart

Violinist Hahn Bin performed last night at the top of the Standard Hotel for a small soiree hosted by Visionaire editors Stephen Gan, Cecilia Dean, and James Kaliardos, as well as Director of MoMA PS1 Klaus Biesenbach. Bin, who performs at Carnegie Hall in March, was nominated the “New Mozart” by Biesenbach for V magazine’s Discovery Issue, in which the magazine features profiles of the “new and next” big talents in music, film, fashion, and art, all “nominated” by more established talents.

The 22-year-old Bin took to the floor in a black robe and bird mask. He wore a leather bracelet with long tassels and played with a bow that came equipped with an attachment that snapped back and forth as he played like the fall of a bullwhip. More surprising than his sartorial flourishes were his antics: He brought out a round pink box with a large letter “V” affixed to its lid and showed it to the audience and to Cecilia Dean, who sat with David Byrne; Out of the box, he pulled a pair of dark sunglasses, which he put on; He leaned back so the pianist could put the bow in his mouth; He got up on the piano, sat like a child, and there performed his finale.

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Bringing the Art of Bonsai to Brooklyn

“Bonsai, through aura and imagery and emotion, transmit some kind of flash or image of the natural environment,” said Julian Velasco, curator of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s bonsai collection. He pointed to a small juniper tree, Juniperus Chinensis ‘Torulosa,’ whose branches jutted out and hung over one edge of a clay planter. “For example, you have a bonsai here that’s designed to cascade down this pot. So this bonsai was grown to represent a mountainous area. The edge of a cliff. Snow falling on it.” It was 34 degrees, and we were huddled around Velasco, who talked gently in a putty colored sweater in the glass enclosed C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum of the BBG. The temperature is kept at just above freezing to mimic the climate of the mountains of Colorado.

Velasco was giving us a guided tour of Graceful Perseverance, a recently-opened exhibit that showcases an assortment of bonsai selected from a collection of nearly 400. For the opening celebration last Friday, called “Small Scale,” the BBG teamed up with Momo Sushi Shack to host an evening of haute Japanese dining and culture. Guests were presented with a guided 4-course meal, each course paired with high-end sake, broken by interludes of traditional Japanese dance and capped with a dance party DJ’d by Saiko Mikan, who spun Japanese ‘60s Group Sounds and ‘90s Shibuya-kei.

Some bonsai were leafy and resplendent with big flowers in bloom; others grew at jaunty angles; still others grew straight up, leafless, seemingly strangling a rock in a style that’s appropriately called “root-over-rock.” “Some of these trees are hundreds of years old,” said Velasco. “That one over there is 300 years old.” He pointed to a Pinus Parviflora in Raft Style with a broad canopy. The leaves gathered to form flat surfaces that, if it were dropped in a river, would probably float the plant to safety. “What makes them wonderful and amazing is that they truly believe they are in nature.”

Graceful Perseverance, which runs through May 1, is presented in conjunction with Carnegie Hall’s Japan NYC festival, running for three weeks in March and April. The BBG is the only Brooklyn venue participating in the festival, and the only horticultural venue. In addition, the C.V. Starr Bonsai Museum has the distinction of long being considered one of the best collections of bonsai on public display outside Japan. While this tour with Velasco was part of a celebration of the exhibit’s opening, tours happen regularly throughout the run of the exhibit. image

“All the techniques we do are studied very intensely. We never want to hurt the plant or make the plant uncomfortable,” said Velasco during the tour. He wanted to correct any false perceptions that he — or any bonsai master — was torturing the plants. While you may think the practice of bonsai is about control and domination, according to Velasco, it’s about striking a balance to create utmost harmony for the plant. The copper wiring is there temporarily to shape the tree — not for control, but to trick the tree into thinking it’s on a mountain or the edge of a precipice and thereby foster a sense of contentedness through horticultural delusion. “A lot of people have this idea of stunting or restricting their growth. It’s not about that…. It’s very important to create balance and harmony. Philosophically, yes. But also horticulturally…. The root system needs to be developed enough, the canopy needs to be developed enough. But also the tree has to be shaped in such a way that when the perfect balance of the roots and canopy is achieved then the tree believes that the root system is much much larger than it really is.”

Velasco, who tends to all the bonsai’s needs, first developed an interest in the miniature plants as a wildlife and landscape photographer. “Always,” he said about his photography, “the goal is not just taking a picture of the natural environment, it’s about trying to capture the essence of that environment. So when I first saw bonsai, I instantly fell in love, because no matter how twisted or cascading or oddly shaped the trees were, everything I love about photography I saw in bonsai…. It’s not just me trying to capture the essence of the bonsai in a photo. Now I have a partner. It’s me and the bonsai trying to show this sort of environment.

We are seeing a sort of graceful perseverance: these trees represent versions of themselves that grow in the mountains, rugged areas where there’s lots of snow and wind. That harshness is what creates these odd shapes. So I chose for this exhibit trees that are representing trees shaped by their environment and the environment they represent is a Colorado type… high mountains, a lot of snow. So I thought, bring the Rocky Mountains to Brooklyn. It’s like bonsai have many novels worth of information, and it’s up to us to let bonsai tell the story.”

Before we started pairing shaved lotus root with Suijin sake and preserved kumquats with Yuzu, before dancers balanced fans on their toes in the Five Fan Dance, before we learned that a dry sake is not like a dry wine but simply means “less fragrant,” and before we learned there were Japanese dignitaries in the pavilion, Velasco delivered the opening remarks. A large bonsai several hundred years old was hauled carefully onto the table like an aging relative while Velasco talked respectfully, and at length, about the plants, calling them at times “essence in a pot” and “all of nature in a tray.” The bonsai had no leaves and its tangle of roots rested like a big veiny heart on a shallow dish. A bunch of colored paper lanterns were gathered above Velaso’s head.

“One day as I’m watering,” said Velasco to the crowd, “I might get an image from the plant and think about that with the plant and decide whether it’s the future that the tree wants to go in.”

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Freaks Through the Looking Glass: Tamaryn Performs at PS1’s Saturday Sessions

Just as Fashion Week winds down, goth pop duo Tamaryn play MoMA PS1 this Saturday for a show that will rival any production under the tents for total sensual immersion. Known for its diverse multimedia programming, MoMA PS1’s events series, Saturday Sessions, rolls into its fourth session with Tamaryn, whose reverb-laden sound will float and eddy through every corner of the museum’s cavernous galleries. The event, hosted by designer Lauren Devine and editor Patrik Sandberg, will also feature the theatrics of Mirror Mirror and the visual effects of multi-media collaborative Thunder Horse Video.

“Performance is a fundamental part of Saturday Sessions,” say Curatorial Assistants Eliza Ryan and Matthew Evans, who co-organized Saturday Sessions. “And we hope to create experiences that are different and unique for each event. Collaboration between artists, and often audience participation, are crucial to the afternoon’s structure.” So far, events have included live music shows with multi-media components, like Open Circuit, a performance by a harpist and an avant-turntablist who, while playing in adjacent galleries, were visible only via monitors stacked in short towers. As visitors walked beneath an architecture of surveillance (audio sensors strung up on a web of wires) their movements triggered audio sensors creating “original cumulative sound” or a noisy drone that crescendoed as the space got crowded. Some people waved their hands in front of sensors or watched the monitors. One man closed his eyes in the middle of the room and stood still.

For another Saturday Session, writer and editor Brandon Stosuy hosted a discussion between artist Adam Helms and curator Klaus Kertess, after which Nate Young and John Olson of post-industrialist noise band Wolf Eyes performed their project, Stare Case. Another Saturday offered tea with “blood splattered” cookies served before projections of images of war and baptism.

For Ryan and Evans, Saturday Sessions is an opportunity to invite outside hosts, “whether they are curators, artists, musicians, or architects—to program an afternoon that engages our visitors in a different way than our exhibitions.” For this weekend’s performance, hosts Lauren Devine and Patrik Sandberg enlisted Tamaryn, Mirror Mirror, and Thunder Horse Video to co-produce the event, a first-time collaboration between these artists. Thunder Horse has worked on show-stopping cinematic effects for recent Gatekeeper and Salem productions; Mirror Mirror are known for their collaborations with dancers, costume designers, and video artists that implicate ritual and psychological space. image

Tamaryn, which released its first full length album in the fall, is comprised of the vocalist Tamaryn and guitarist/producer Rex John Shelverton. Asked how she liked the idea of performing in a museum, Tamaryn said, “It’s more about who comes to see a band in a museum. It is interesting to try and use the medium of a rock band to push boundaries a little. I mean I could just play the same old clubs like every other touring band does, or I can try and create a little magic.”

In an effort to build that magic, Tamaryn has been working together with Thunder Horse Video to create the installation that will accompany her performance. “The blueprints of their ideas seem ambitious and lovely,” she said. “I know they will use a little of my images I tour with and it’s going to be a totally immersive experience… just how we like it.” While Tamaryn goes on tour with the Raveonettes in March, this experience will present something more unique. “When you are touring, you are met with all these obstacles, like terrible sounding clubs and in-your-face videos of your performances that get put on the internet or multimedia interviews that magnify you in your most boring state. It just kills all the mystery. I hate it. As a new band you are forced to succumb to the scrutiny and at times it is just really depressing.”

Tamaryn grew up in New Zealand and has moved around since then — ultimately to the West Coast to work on Tamaryn — but she still has a fondness for New York. “There is no doubt New York really is the greatest city ever. My heart hurts just thinking about it.” Some of her favorite spots in the city? “TONIC R.I.P…. Heard Lou Reed’s club is a bit nice. Never been though. Veselka and Hezekia Walker’s Love Fellowship.”

One of her headlining shows last year in New York—a special CMJ showcase that featured all women-fronted bands along with Light Asylum and Frankie Rose and the Outs—was shut down three songs into Tamaryn’s performance. “I think it was over capacity,” Tamaryn said. “Too many babes up in there! That was the most beautiful crowd of people I’d ever seen. The show was promising to be legendary and not just in the way that there was a ton of press there that went nuts after it got shut down. All the bands were fronted by wonderful women and I’d have rather given the people what they came for.”

This time around, she’s playing in a space that will most likely keep its number suitable for appreciation by all interested parties. Indeed, MoMA PS1 might be the perfect send-off before her tour. “I am super inspired to play a place like PS1 where you can totally re-imagine the entire space. I want to think about a rock show like a spectacle, a beautiful experience that is for each audience member alone. Not just a bunch of people spending 20 dollars to be packed into a vulgar mass and forgotten about. I mean, its cool if you need a place to take a girl on a Friday night or somewhere to collect observations for your blog or whatever but I’d rather have this be for the freaks who wanna escape through the looking glass just for a bit.”

Philip-Lorca diCorcia Debuts ‘Eleven’ for NYFW

Yesterday evening, the first day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, New York gallery David Zwirner hosted an opening for Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s exhibit ELEVEN. The exhibit showcases eleven fashion narratives that diCorcia published in W Magazine over as many years, beginning with a shoot in Los Angeles in 1997, and ending in Cairo circa 2008. Dennis Freedman, the creative director for W at the time, traveled with him for the production of the shoots, and edited the book ELEVEN, which has just been released. This exhibit marks diCorcia’s first show in New York, of exclusively his fashion editorial photography. But unlike most fashion stories, clothing is not pre-eminent in diCorcia’s photographs. Rather, the clothing becomes a humble participant in service of a larger, elemental narrative, one that embraces ambitious ideas that are expected from great works of art.

There’s a tension between your appreciation of the photographs as fine art, and the awareness that they were produced in the normal course of commerce within the fashion industry. Thus, the status of the photographs as fine art, or as fashion product, is in constant tension. DiCorcia’s dialogue throughout the press preview for the exhibit reflected an awareness of this tension, and a nostalgia for a time when the fashion industry was able to embrace artful narrative photography without clouding its purity, by having the narrative bow so completely to advertorial concerns. This project flowed from the “end of an opportunity” diCorcia noted, lamenting the impending decline of the type of editorial work shown in this exhibit. “In short, there’s always Armani,” he said, meaning most fashion shoots will have to include some article of clothing designed by Armani, because Armani is the biggest advertiser. The heavy hitters always have the most representation. “Ralph Lauren is second. Calvin Klein’s up there.”

He walked over to a photograph that had three drag queens in the window in drab, stewardess-type outfits, and a man seated out front in a bathing suit or underwear. “Guaranteed not to have any credits,” he said, pointing out that the subjects were wearing their own clothes. “Because that’s all they wear.” Nonetheless, a designer did end up taking credit for the bathing suit worn by the subject, a male prostitute.

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The one time he didn’t have to worry about that was in the shoot with Marc Jacobs, because of the artwork that was included from Jacobs’ own personal collection. He pointed across the room. “Everyone knows he has a big one,” he said. “I mean a big collection.” He walked across the room to a photograph of Marc Jacobs seated on a bed with someone in it. “I think at that time, he was extremely proud of the new look.” He was referring to the time when Marc Jacobs started working out, lost weight, and got a tan.

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DiCorcia has been renowned for his reinvention of street photography and the concept of the “decisive moment” in the manner championed by Henri Cartier-Bresson in the early 20th century. One can see that at play here, with photographs of prostitutes in Havana, the actress Isabelle Huppert playing herself, or a family at lunch, with the World Trade Center looming beyond the window. He explores the balance between the posed artificial nature of fashion photography, and the candid nature of snapshots.

His photographs are sometimes composites of many shots, which may explain the feeling that they’ve been heavily overworked. For one image of Thai kick boxers, he said he overlapped portions of one frame with portions of another. Maybe one image had a “perfect kick,” whereas in another, a boxer wasn’t elevated off the ground. Despite admitting to his combining the photographs, he noted that “people take for granted that everything is manipulated…. There was a time where people actually believed what they saw.”

For diCorcia, the process of creating a narrative begins with the creation of a story, a concept that everyone in the shoot will take part in, and that will inform their idea of how they’re supposed to behave and dress, whether they’re models or actors. He says it almost never has to do with choosing clothing. When photographing Isabelle Huppert, he said Club de Change (wife-swapping clubs) were popular in Paris and asked if they should do a story on that. Huppert said it was too obvious. But he was able to capture her personality.

“His overall concept is really cliché,” said Dennis Freedman, who walked in late wearing an orange scarf. He was discussing the process of developing the story with diCorcia. But then he said through the way diCorcia expresses it, the clichés become elemental. “But I was very nervous every time he talked about what he wanted to do.”

“Doesn’t bode well for my future,” said diCorcia, laughing.

Speak Easy, A New Brooklyn Speaker Series, Celebrates Doing It Yourself

From pizzerias to cupcake shops, local honey makers to music venues, Brooklyn is filled with businesses that serve their local community, all while keeping their quality up and their carbon footprint down. So it was only a matter of time before someone tapped the minds and personalities behind these businesses. Speak Easy (the name gamely references another New York trend), a new monthly series out of Veronica People’s Club, kicks off February 15, and will spotlight a different subject each month, highlighting the connection between entrepreneurship and the arts that its organizer, Cara Cannella, feels is too often overlooked – or underplayed. The Haslegrave brothers, the women of Ovenly, and musician Nathan Larson (Shudder to Think, A Camp) are some of the subjects Cannella has lined up.

“I think Brooklynites are really loyal to, and supportive of local businesses, especially those driven by a DIY or collaborative ethic,” says Cannella.“For the most part, we’re seeking authentic experiences and connections—at the farmer’s market, the Brooklyn Flea, the local butcher shop, etc.—rather than anonymous transactions, and we like to share what we know through word of mouth. The borough’s strong neighborhood and community ties, cultural diversity, creative energy, and relative affordability result in fertile ground for startups.”

Cannella’s interest can be traced back to a post-college internship at Inc. magazine, where she interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs and where she continued to work on and off for ten years as a reporter. “Over the years, I’ve talked to hundreds of entrepreneurs, interviewing them, and I just find the whole process of creating something out of nothing and putting your whole heart and soul into it to be fascinating. And I think basically that’s what artists have to do too.”

Cannella counts among her friends many of Brooklyn’s small business owners and owes her luck with the series to the generosity of her friends, many of whom she’s made writing about small businesses and food, and not least among them Heather, of Veronica People’s Club. “I feel so lucky to have this space as a home base for Speak Easy. The owners are really supportive and community-driven, and their hosting of the series came about organically. One day, I was there hanging out with Heather (one of three owners, along with Dre and Stevie; Heather also owns Heathers Bar in the East Village), thinking out loud about wanting to do the series, and she generously offered the space. They’re all curious, passionate and open-minded, and their staff and crowd reflect that. The bar’s open design—along with rotating DJs, Sunday Suppers, projected movie screenings, and the relaxed garden out back—all contribute to a welcoming and creative vibe, which is exactly what I want for the series. During the day, they serve Inteligentsia coffee and locally made Ovenly pastries; with that and wi-fi, it’s also a great place to do work.”

Pictured top: Cara Cannella. image The Haselgrove brothers.

On April 5th, the Speak Easy will present “How to Bring a Restaurant to Life” in two parts. Part I will feature Oliver and Evan Haslegrave, the two brothers behind the design team hOmE, who are known for their use of recycled and repurposed material in the creation of spaces like the Manhattan Inn and other venues. “Oliver used to be a fiction editor for one of the big houses,” says Cannella.“Their company is called hOmE, which is the acronym of their four siblings. Their family is sickeningly close. Their sister now works with them. They all have a tattoo too that says hOmE, including their mom.”

It will also feature Paul Giannone, of woodfire pizza restaurant Paulie Gee’s (designed and built by hOmE), and Agatha and Erin of Ovenly, “who bake out of Paulie’s kitchen and create ice cream toppings for the restaurant. Agatha and I grew up together, and she and Erin met at Four Burners, a food-focused book club I started three years ago.”

So that’s going to be part I. The other part will Sean Dimin of Sea2Table,—which partners with fishermen from sustainable wild fisheries to deliver their catch overnight, creating a direct connection with chefs—and Jacques Gautier, chef and owner of Palo Santo, a Latin American-influenced restaurant that sources fish from Sea2Table and vegetables and herbs from its own rooftop garden. Gautier also “raises bunnies on his roof” that he cooks and serves to friends.

For June, Speak Easy will present musician and author Nathan Larson, of Shudder to Think. “He has a novel coming out called the Dewey Decimal System, which is set inside the New York Public Library, which I’m so excited about. “[Larson] scores a lot of movies. He scored Boys Don’t Cry. He’s married to the lead singer [Nina Persson] from the Cardigans. I’m a big fan of the Cardigans.”

For future guests, Cannella hopes to feature Brooklyn Brewery founder Steve Hindy, “since he was one of the pioneers of the recent local small business boom,” the founders of Etsy, and Lisa Price who started out mixing oils and fragrances as a hobby and now runs Carol’s Daughter, a multi-million dollar all-natural beauty company. Cannella will also feature “less conventional business owners,” like subway buskers, food truck vendors, and farmers who sell at local Greenmarkets.

As for how Cannella managed to swing Colm Toibin for the first guest? She met him ten years in Newport Rhode Island to write a profile on him. “We spent the whole day together—did the Cliff Walk; went to a used bookstore where we found some of Colm’s books; went to a lobster dinner. He was imagining, ‘Do people think we’re father and daughter? That you’re my mistress?’ It all felt a little surreal. I played his Minnie Temple,” she says.She recently heard Toibin speak at the NYPL series. “He closed with Sylvia Plath’s Daddy from memory. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.”

While she reveres renowned and established discussion series like Live from the NYPL, Cannella admits her series is inherently different, though she aims to create a similarly exciting atmosphere. “First and foremost, I want the series to be fun. I want people to come together and share stimulating ideas, but for it not to feel formal. I really wanted to generate community—people in a room, connecting. Like the experience of hearing Colm recite “Daddy” the other night—chills up everyone’s spines. And that doesn’t happen when you watch a video.”

Ian Svenonius Appointed Director of Bruise Cruise

Bruise Cruise Festival, the first-ever indie rock cruise, is now officially sold out. The festival also recently announced that musician Ian Svenonius will serve as Cruise Director, overseeing the festivities and making sure all cruisers’ needs are met. Svenonius, whose band Nation of Ulysses was an influential part of the early D.C. punk scene, will bring his antics to the floating theater of destruction, but also no doubt function as a kind of elder statesman for the cabinet of stellar musicians lined up to entertain, including the Black Lips, Vivian Girls, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, Surfer Blood, DJ Jonathan Toubin, and more.

The cruise kicks off with a party in Miami Febrary 24 to give partiers a chance to get acquainted with their seafaring indie rock cohorts (roughly 400 twenty-and-thirty-somethings) and departs the next day for Nassau, where another concert will be held. In addition to the musical line-up, we hear a fashion line inspired by the cruise is being produced. All manner of history will be going down on this boat, and we will be dutifully reporting all the while. (We just hope the boat doesn’t go down with it.) But don’t take it from us. Hear it from the Turbo Fruits:

Bruise Cruise – Turbo Fruits from BRUISE CRUISE FEST on Vimeo.

Let the Dark Ones Eat Cake: Pendu Disco Turns One

On January 27, 2011, Pendu Disco – aka Horror Scores for the Dance Floor – will celebrate its first anniversary with some decidedly dark musical performances by Houston’s //TENSE// and GHXST, DJ sets by DJ Harrison, and plenty of cake. The raucous concert series burst onto the scene this time last year at Glasslands Gallery, with unforgettable performances by Salem and Gatekeeper, two bands that came to define the hip-hop/goth/industrial genre known as Witch House. Michael Stipe and Terence Koh were in the crowd, so too The New York Times. Initially started by Todd Pendu (not to be confused with underground promoter Todd P) and DJ Harrison, the series is now firmly under the umbrella of PENDU NYC, an arts organization that’s produced a gallery show for underground filmmaker Nick Zedd, the musical debut of porn starlet Sasha Grey, and annual musical showcase the NY Eye & Ear Festival, upcoming in May 2011.

Pendu Disco has become known as a place to discover new bands, even for show promoters. Recently, the concert series developed a Manhattan offshoot, Pendu Acid Disco at Home Sweet Home, and it will be making its West Coast debut in Los Angeles on February 12, presenting live performances by Chelsea Wolfe, The Present Moment, King Dude, and a DJ set by Robert Disaro of Disaro Records, a Houston label at the center of Witch House movement that also put out albums by Salem, oOoOO, and White Ring. Todd Pendu’s sights are already set on Beijing and Paris.

Here, he talks to BlackBook about his seminal disco, Salem, and Witch House – the phrase that defined a movement.

How did the idea for Pendu Disco come about? The idea for Pendu Disco began in October 2009. I had booked a show at Glasslands in Brooklyn with Indian Jewelry, Living Days, and Led Er Est, and asked Harrison to DJ for me last minute. Harrison came in with just an iPhone to DJ with, but all the tracks he had to play were total floorkillers. The bands were amazing and people danced throughout the night. When it was all over, we started talking about the notion of starting a weekly dance party with myself booking the shows and Harrison as the resident DJ. We especially wanted to promote the darker styles of dance music that we saw around us. I had met John [Holland] from Salem earlier that summer and we had already talked about doing shows together, so once the idea for a weekly was approved by Glasslands, it only made sense to contact Salem and have them play our first event. Gatekeeper, who were Chicago residents at the time, were the second band we contacted, and we found out they were already going to be in Brooklyn in January, so it worked out perfectly to have them play as well. The show could not have been better received. It was Michael Stipe’s birthday, and he came out with an entourage that included Terence Koh. I now like to think of January 5, 2010 as “I/V/X – The day NYC went dark.”

A year later and its still going strong. Has it changed at all since it first started? The only thing that’s changed is that we moved the party to a monthly format and changed venues. We want to keep people’s attention by not becoming stagnant or repetitive. Not playing the same day of the week or exactly the same time each month, keeping it fresh and new always. image

You brought in some great acts early on, like Salem and Gatekeeper. Did you have any idea those bands would blow up the way they have? Honestly, I had an idea that these bands would go big, and I wanted to help encourage that. In my mind, these bands are the future of the dancefloor and part of Pendu Disco’s mission is to help foster a kind of alternative club music scene to form.

What can we expect from Pendu Disco in the new year? Are there any particular bands you’re looking forward to seeing perform, or kinds of music that you feel will be popular in the coming months? All kinds of surprises are in store for Pendu Disco and I like to keep it that way. ‘Keep everyone guessing’ is a motto of mine. I am really excited to have //TENSE// perform here for the One Year Anniversary. They really are an incredible band to see live. Pummeling high-energy dance music rooted in Industrial EBM. I have GHXST opening the show — they are a band to look out for. I have Streetwalker, who are members of White Car, coming from Chicago in March, and they will be playing with Gatekeeper and Innergaze — I’m very psyched about that show as well.

I know you recently started an acid house dance party in Manhattan. How is that different from the original Pendu Disco? Pendu Acid Disco is a branching-out of the Pendu Disco idea. I really feel that Tekno and Rave is on the rise. I threw a smaller version of a rave last year and this summer plan to put on a much larger one. I’m really into revving the spirit of Acid House that Psychic TV propagated in the mid-80’s. Rave style before it turned into a commercial mess diluted by backpacks, vapor rub, and glowsticks. I’m into the psychedelic experience and the ecstatic experience and I feel that Tekno is a great way to get into those states of being. The DJ’s I have spinning, such as Shawn NoEQ of Led Er Est and Matthew Radune, are digging in the crates of late 80’s and early 90’s Tekno, and are really bringing out music that most people have never heard but can instantly enjoy and dance to. It’s not about the retro aspect of the music — it’s about fostering an idea that can translate into newer music. Bands such as Blondes here in NYC are making Tekno completely relevant for today and the future.

Will Pendu Disco LA have a particular feel to it that’s different from its Brooklyn and Manhattan counterparts? My goal in bringing Pendu Disco to LA — as well as anywhere else it may go — is to bring the general Pendu vibe and style to each venue it inhabits. It’s not so easy to describe that style precisely. It’s just a kind of feeling and atmosphere. Lots of fog and strobes, for sure.

In a piece your wrote for Pendu Magazine, you seemed to have some beef with the term Witch House as it’s used to describe the kind of music that you’ve featured at Pendu Disco. But there’s certainly a “dark” mood that the bands you’ve featured seem to foster, like Gatekeeper, Laurel Halo, and Wolf Eyes. Will Pendu Disco continue to feature similarly dark sounding music? Or is that part of a specific moment in time? Yes, I think that Witch House is a confusing term that means very little. It may be helpful once in a while, and help people find certain music now and then, but ultimately I think it’s useless. The way I see it is that the 90’s were about Alternative Rock Music and the 2010’s are about Alternative Club Music. The sounds coming from the dance bands I tend to promote do fall on the darker side as far as mood and atmosphere, and that’s something that I don’t see changing very much. I’ve always been into darker music. It’s just part of me and I can’t help but reflect that in my choices in the bands I bring. But that darkness somehow brings a smile to my face. Ultimately I like seeing people having fun and dancing. I’m throwing a disco, after all.

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Is the Identity of Banksy for Sale on eBay?

An eBay seller using the name Jaybuysthings is currently auctioning off “the identity of Banksy.” The real name of the elusive street artist will be mailed to the lucky winner on a piece of paper. While bidding began on January 12, 2011, the lot already has over $1,000,000 riding on the line. We don’t have much information concerning exactly how the seller came to possess the identity of Banksy — he allegedly matched up the prices of his sold pieces to “corresponding tax records” — which leads us to wonder if this is yet another Banksy hoax. UPDATE. Since this morning, when we first posted about the sensation and/or scam, the original post has been taken down and several mock posts have sprouted up in its place. Below are some details and an up-to-the-minute time line of the transactions.

● The auction was previously started and ended by eBay because nothing “tangible” was being sold. Now Jaybuysthings has written the identity on a tangible scrap of paper and is selling that. ● Jaybuysthings claims he got the identity of Banksy by “matching up the prices of his sold pieces to corresponding tax records.” He states, “I will reveal no more details.” ● Jaybuysthings has a total of 7 bidders who have made, collectively, 38 bids. The second highest bidder, known as “w***g (1),” bid $999,999.00 and has been outbid by the highest bidder, “-***a (682).” (While we don’t yet know precisely what the high bid is, it’s definitely over $1,000,000.00). ● The last two bids by the highest bidder, “-***a (682),” were $666,666.00 and $888,888.00. ● The first bid by “-***a (682)” was $300,000.00. ● The item went on sale 7:22:22 Pacific Standard Time with a starting price of $3000 and a “Buy it Now” price of $25,000.00. At 9:57:37 PST, the first bid was made for $3100.00. In other words, for two and a half hours, someone could have bought the lot for $25,000.00 (the “Buy it Now” option disappears once the first bid is placed). ● Jaybuysthings has a blue star, which is the second lowest rank on eBay’s “12- star system,” the last of which is a silver shooting star. That means that Jaybuysthings has only had between 50 and 99 ratings for transactions he’s been involved in on eBay, relatively inexperienced as far as eBay users go, though with a rating of 94, he has almost earned a turquoise star. ● The highest bidder, “-***a (682),” has a purple star, two ranks above Jaybuysthings, which means “-***a (682)” has been rated between 500 and 999 times. “-***a (682)” is a more experienced eBay user than Jaybuysthings. ● The second highest bidder, “w***g (1)” has had one transaction for which s/he has been given feedback. S/he has no stars. ● The Third highest bidder has had no feedback at all. This account could have been set up for the sole purpose of bidding in this auction. Because of the privacy settings, information about when the account was set up is not available. ● An eBay bidder known here as “y***n (53)” made a bid in the amount of $350,000.00 and then retracted it in 2 minutes and 25 seconds claiming “Entered Wrong Amount.” No further bid in any other amount was made by “y***n (53).” Like Jaybuysthings, “y***n (53)” also has a blue star. ● Jaybuysthings gives “100% assurance” that this is “most certainly” the full name of the street artist known as Banksy.” Apart from the word of Jaybuysthings as pledged on eBay, and the use of superlatives like “most” in the phrase “most certainly,” Jaybuysthings gives no evidence that he has the identity of the street artist known as Banksy. ● Jaybuysthings has been a member of eBay since August 22, 2000. ● There is 1 day 7 hours and 7 minutes left as of the time of this post. ● At 10:49 pm on January 17, 2011, Jaybuysthings posted the address of a Gmail account set up for questions concerning this auction. That email address is TheIdentityofBanksy@gmail.com. ● Feedback Jaybuysthings has received by others from whom he has bought or sold things: “Great great buyer. AAAAAAA+++++++,pls give us the same,” “quick and painless,” and “Many thanks from Taiwan!!!” ● This item is in Brooklyn, New York Update 1: The listing is mysteriously removed. Update 2: Someone else begins selling The Banksy identity at “a FRACTION of the cost.” Update 3: There are now several auctions for the identity of Banksy. Update 4: There have been 4 bids on one of the new posts, the high bid currently being $4.45.

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.