It seems that as the days get longer, the month goes by faster. Where did June go? I started the month off with the free, outdoor 3 Farms Festival at East River Park. East River Park was a favorite haunt in my youth (a few years ago, when I lived downtown). I used to just go and sit by the water and watch the old Hispanic men fish for dinner. How did they live so long, eating that vile East River fish? Nietzsche was right, I guess, and Darwin. Anyway, there was a dilapidated lovely old band shell down there, covered with weeds and ivy and graffiti, and if the light was right, misty and grey, it looked positively haunted. Or at least British. Sadly, the band shell was replaced with a new fancy modern one, but, not sadly, the city is allowing outdoor concerts to be put on there. The 3 farms festival was named after the three farms that used to make up the lower east side. I know one belong to Peter Stuyvesant, I can’t remember who owned the other two, even though we were told constantly by the host of the festival (the guy who hosts the Punk Rock Karaoke at Arlene Grocery, whose name escapes me). A bunch of bands played, but sadly I missed Lesion, who I’m sure was the best of the bunch. It must have been weird to see Essen, Germany’s most famous satanic rockers belting out ditties like “My Clone’s Boner” during the daylight hours. I hope they didn’t get sunburned. But we stayed through the entire fest, long enough to see headliners Flux Information Systems, who have gone from being a traditional band with real instruments to being an electro-pop band. The electro-pop is so popular with the kiddies these days, as was evident by the large contingent of ugly yet fashionable people in their late teens and early 20s. They were making themselves intentionally ugly, by the way, so I’m sure they won’t be insulted if I call them such. Bad haircuts and facial hair abounded, and some of them are so skinny I don’t know how they stand up. Flux was entertaining in a funny if derivative early 80s white boy hip hop way. The whole scene reminded me of my high school days, going to PS1 and pretending to be a hipster (and yes, PS1 will be having a summer festival every Saturday beginning in July and going through August. It’s always fun, full of drunk hipsters, loud dance music, and usually some water-related thing in which to hang. I liked the first year, a few summers ago, when they had the outdoor sauna and the baby pools, but last year’s mist area was pretty cool too, literally). I’m feeling like I should dye my hair manic panic pink like I did back in the 80s, and break out the antique dresses hiding in the back of my closet.
I’d heard that Megan and Mason of Blinder had barricaded themselves in a cave in North Carolina and were whiling away the hours recording bird twitterings. At least I think t heard that. And I thought to myself, are they becoming Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, the band that Roger Miller started after Mission of Burma? But no, they too, under their new guise of The Method and Result, were brushing up on their electro-pop. Now Mason plays, along with upright bass, a power Mac sequestered in a red wagon. Megan still gets to sing and play guitar. The duo made their NYC debut this June at Luxx. You can hear some mp3s of TMAR at http://www.methodandresult.com/
Yet more electro-pop was found at the Downtown bar in mid-June with the Radio Shock/Radio Shack record release party. We got there early and got to see The Organ Donors from Baltimore, an intense and funny noise-core band. Their two lead “singers” hung out in the audience and screamed and danced and flailed, the drummer had a minor nervous breakdown, and the keyboard player set up a huge heavy keyboard that he never used. I love this sort of thing. Let’s call it conceptual mayhem. The club got remarkably crowded for the headliners. Suddenly, people who look like they read Time Out New York are going to electro-pop shows. Am I going to run into my mother at one of these shows? That might be embarrassing. Radio Shack is an interesting quirky band, doing songs sort of in a later Human League style, but with subversive messages. They sing about TV news and anti-depressants, they come out dressed in clean-room suits… they’re cute. They gotta drop the Pointer Sisters cover from their set, though. Anyway, after the Banana Republic crew showed up I was sort of anxious to get out and we left before Radio Shock came on for his set. I tend to get agitated listening in on these brain dead conversations between these folks, but I can’t stop myself. My favorite snippet was of this chick chatting up this very drunk boy. The Mets and Yankees were playing each other that night, and she said something about how it ain’t over until Keith Hernandez gets up at bat and the guy, who is so drunk he’s swaying, says to her, “So, you like baseball?” Sometimes I wonder how these people can live, being so dumb.
Almost the opposite of all this electro-pop madness was Big Mike’s Big Show at Collective:Unconscious. Big Mike, a writer and a photographer, had a very low-tech boom box blasting out Ramones songs as we all filed in to hear his stories of messy sex and people dying. Mike whipped out his Polaroid as I entered and took a photo of my cleavage. Janet Rosen opened the show, reading a story about a guy with a boot fetish so severe he made her wear her salt-encrusted snow boots while they fucked, and then Big Mike read some amazing stories about growing up in the Bronx, testicles, pedophiles, pot, cancer, and sex sex and more sex. Not only is Big Mike big, but also he’s got a big voice and his prose is remarkably descriptive, making for a passionately voluptuous experience. And sometimes he can get quite tender. The story about Mrs. Lee, the woman dying of cancer, is a real heart breaker, as is the story of the teenager who tries to kill her self with Tylenol and spends her days in the hospital watching Scooby Doo.
Hula, besides being the tallest band on average that I’ve ever seen, and besides playing every other Monday at BQE (Meecker and N 6th, G or L to Lorimer), are sweet and low down. I was reminded of my repeated listenings to “17 Seconds” as a teen, me sprawled out on my pink and silver chenille bedspread, with the Cure’s echo-y melancholy covering me like mist. Late Mondays at BQE is a perfect place to see Hula—besides it being free, and liberally air-conditioned, they have moderately priced beer and keep the lights low. It’s perfect for Hula’s sweet and sour lullabies. Hula’s short sultry pop rock is reminiscent of the Velvets, but not bogged down by childish simplicity. The battling intricate guitar conversations between Jesse and Chad take care of that. Chad’s echo-y stratocaster dances like starlight on waves.
I did some non-music related things this month also—I went to the trivia nights at both Pete’s Candy Store (Wednesday nights, Lorimer St in Williamsburg) and Rocky Sullivan’s (Thursday nights, 2nd Av and 28th St). Our small but smart team didn’t win, but at Rocky’s both Noah Tarnow and I scored free drinks by answering bonus questions (mine was who wrote The Joy of Sex. As if I wouldn’t know it was Alex Comfort!). Both nights are crowded and very competitive, but fun, and, of course, air-conditioned. Pete’s serves sandwiches, and Rocky’s lets you bring in your own food, so you can get to either place early and grab a table for you and your trivia-luvvin’ pals.
June is the month for weddings, but you’ll have to wait until the next issue of the Waste to see the photos of the wedding of the century (already!) of Chunk and Chove. Chunk is half-skunk/half-chicken, Chove is half-chicken/half-dove, both are actually people dressed in weird costumes and are part of the ongoing performance art soap opera of Chengwin (who is half-chicken/half-penguin). If this sounds confusing, that’s because it is. You can read more about this at chengwin.com
Jon Konrath’s epic adventure Rumored to Exist is out and available at amazon.com and iuniverse. Rumored is a surreal, non-linear, tender story about a boy, some sheep, explosives, Godzilla, and death metal. It’s got love, sex, death, fast-food, and high-tech gadgetry. This is not a self-help book, nor should you purchase it for those with compromised immune systems or pacemakers. You can read more about it at rumored.com/rumored Rumored is an instant classic of experimental fiction (with an emphasis on the mental). I've been waiting for years for this book!