THRILLING WONDER STORIES # 3

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[Image: From “Animal Superpowers” by Chris Woebken and Kenichi Okada; Woebken will be speaking at Thrilling Wonder Stories 3 at Studio-X NYC]

This Friday afternoon, Lindsay Cuff & I will be speaking at Thrilling Wonder Stories, a free 2-day event exploring the interdepedence between architecture and narrative from a variety of perspectives (architecture, cinema, sound design, comics, etc) as well as examining science and science fiction’s spatial impact on design. Emphasis on stories, emphasis on wonder. It happens simultaneously in London and New York.

Lindsay & I will discuss our experience in Nettle, creating a speculative soundtrack for an unmade remake of The Shining, set in a luxury hotel in Dubai…

Here in NYC, Thrilling Wonder Stories goes down at Studio-X, with a mind-expanding lineup brought together by new Studio directors Geoff Manaugh & Nicola Twilley. I mean, what other event could have Nettle talk on the same day as a historian of the iconic Apollo Spacesuit, novelist Hari Kunzru, and architect Bjarke Ingels?

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Thrilling Wonder Stories is free and open to the public, but space is limited, so please register in advance.

MUDD UP BOOK CLUBB: NYC EDITION – SAMUEL DELANY

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The Mudd Up Book Clubb marches to Manhattan with a tender, challenging work by one of the most important authors around: Samuel R. Delany’s Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. The book takes Delany’s 30+ years in the porn theaters and gay bars of Times Sq. on the eve of its mid-1990s Disneyification as a grounding point for an extended examination of public space, interclass contact, polymorphous intimate pleasures, the regulation of bodies and behavior, and lots more. Sex & urbanism in Delany’s hands — you can’t go wrong!

The humanity that animates his intelligence is inspiring, as is the deft ease with which Delany flows from frank, considered anecdotes about former lovers & friends to more sociologically-minded writing. Times Square Red, Times Square Blue is built from two long essays, which are themselves quite different: the longer one more personal, the 2nd one more theoretical — it includes a powerful section on contact vs networking that is more relevant now than ever, and uses a two-column layout to play with marginality in a direct way and further shake things up.

This is the Clubb’s first nonfiction selection (not to mention our first selection by a black author), and it will give you a lot to think about. The New York Public Library stocks a handful of copies, including a nonlending one up at the Schomburg. The Manhattan location for this Clubb edition is secret, but suffice to say it’s awesome and will be familiar to those who’ve seen Delany doc The Polymath. The tentative date is November 15th 13th. If you are interested, please join the mailing list.

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If you only know Delany from his sci-fi or fantasy, then you are in for a real treat! If you don’t know Delany at all, then perhaps short story collection Aye, and Gomorrah or its earlier incarnation, Driftglass, is a good place to start – “The Star Pit” is one of those rare stories that haunts me to no end. (I wouldn’t recommend starting with Dhalgren, only because I know a handful of people who couldn’t get into it and then didn’t investigate Delany any further.)

But Samuel R. Delany’s work has many, many entrances…

OK. Let’s keep those pages turning! For more online reading about this selection, Steve Shaviro wrote an excellent review of Times Square Red, Times Square Blue — indeed, all Steve’s Delany writings are great.

Stay muddy.

NO COLORS ANYMORE

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Gil Scott-Heron – Paint It Black

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Fennesz – Paint It Black

GOOGLE RUPTURE GOOGLE TALKS

Asaf-Hanuka

[sketch by Asaf Hanuka]

On Monday, May 16th, I will participate in a panel discussion at Google’s NYC office. Topic?

You guessed it: thee Musick Industrie.

The other panelists are: Justin Kalifowitz (President of Downtown Music Publishing, Founder of Songtrust)
Sam Valenti (Founder of Ghostly Interntaional)
Dermot McCormack (Executive Vice President of Digital Media for the MTV Networks Music & Logo Group)
Anthony Volodkin (Founder of Hype Machine)

The talk organizer, Jacky Tran, will moderate.

It’s not open to the public –but I’m allowed to bring a small posse, and our discussion will viewable online as part of their GoogleTalks series.

So if you are interested and available next Monday (things begin around noon), email me or leave a comment below (with your email), I’ll get in touch if there’s space.

And remember: secret google cheat codes are real – but don’t bother Googling it.

HARLEM IS NOWHERE


I just finished a new hour-long mixtape, made with writer Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts and inspired by the sounds of Harlem. The project is the second edition of the Cities Mixtape series by Milan-based DOMUS, a magazine focusing on design, architecture and urbanism. This mix is titled “Harlem Is Nowhere”, after Sharifa’s new book which, in turn, borrows the phrase from a 1948 essay by Ralph Ellison. You can stream or download the mix here, and read our write-up, which begins:

Once, a group of tourists were asked what came to mind when they heard the word “Harlem”: some said “music” and the others said “riots.” The connection between the two is a story for another time. This Harlem mixtape is born of our own free associations: For Rupture, Francophone songs sold by scowling Africans along 116th, or old soul and R&B memories being hawked alongside the now-thing bootlegs across 125th; for Sharifa, church sounds tumbling onto the streets and distorted strains of jazz heard from a boombox carted around by a wandering neighbor.

LLEGO LA NAVIDAD: VILLANCICOS, ASALTOS Y AGUINALDOS

You can’t mess with Christmas traditions that start at 160BPM and rise. Dominican merengues navideños are a holiday force!

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Los Rosario – Esto Ta’ Bueno

Any holiday song which concludes with sirens & calls for the Fire Dept. is a ‘success.’

For the current Style/Music issue of the New Museum’s New City Reader newspaper (Daniel Perlin & I co-edited the Music section), I asked one of the smartest music writers around, Carolina Gonzalez (she literally wrote the book on the latino life in NYC!) to guide us through Nuyorican traditions of villancicos, asaltos, and aguinaldos. The results can be picked up at The New Museum, seen on display at a few spots around Manhattan, and downloaded here as a handy PDF.

I’ll post more about our Style/Music issue soon, as it is jam-packed with goodness spanning Luc Sante to DiS magazine! Until then, another holiday merengue stomper to ensure yr Christmas party gets crunk:

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Toros Band – Llego La Navidad

Here’s a screenshot excerpt from Carolina’s article in the newspaper’s PDF version:

asaltos-aguinaldos

NEW MUSE LAST NEWS

Depending on how you hold it, the New City Reader is either a a temporary newspaper that will be published from October 6, 2010 to January 9, 2011 as part of the Last Newspaper exhibition at the New Museum, or a performance-based editorial residency which happens inside the museum.

I’m guest-editing part of the MUSIC/STYLE section. I have assembled a World-Class Crew of Contributors & am super excited to escort their brilliance into print. The NCR editorial team will meet inside the New Museum today around 6pm. You are welcome to come heckle us, suggest things, share tea + cookies + a mate gourd. (entrance is free after 7pm today)

Past editions of New City Reader can be viewed here, and you can grab the current issue at the museum itself. Follow NCR on Twitter, although Twitter hates wikileaks and censors trending topics in yet another weird devolution of transparency (so much for algorithmic populism). So. Where were we? Shopping for electronics on Canal St? Close. We were on Bowery. Inside a museum round the corner from the flophouse.

New City Reader: Public space, urban space, information space, wrapped up with the finger-smudging timeliness of an experimental weekly.

ART FIGHT: OPENS THIS THURSDAY

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[Rocio Rodriguez Salceda – untitled 2010, courtesy of Caption Gallery]

Spanish artist and general superstar Rocio Rodriguez Salceda has her debut solo show in New York City, opening this Thursday at Caption Gallery in DUMBO.

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The show contains photographs and an animation. The photographs inhabit a provocative space between psychological portraiture, fashion, and creepyland. Powerful! “Though Rodríguez Salceda ultimately blacks out the individual faces of her models, a gesture that lends them both anonymity and universality, all of the women that she picks as subjects are close friends, often artists or performers themselves. Taking stereotypical ideas of femininity as her jumping off point, Rodríguez Salceda proposes a psychological alter ego for each model…”

Join us at the opening this Thursday! It’s open gallery night across DUMBO and in the building at Water St., so there’s much to see.

Caption Gallery is pleased to present Art Fight,
an exhibition of new work by Rocío Rodríguez Salceda.

September 30th- October 21st
Opening Reception October 7th, 6:00-8:00pm

Caption Gallery. 55 Washington St., suite 802, Brooklyn NY.

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[Rocio Rodriguez Salceda – untitled 2010, courtesy of Caption Gallery]

NEW CITY READER

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[New City Reader, first edition!]

The New City Reader is an experimental newspaper “on architecture, public space and the city”, headed by Joseph Grima and Kazys Varnelis/Netlab, and published weekly as part of the New Museum’s Last Newspaper exhibition. Each issue will be devoted to a single theme (Obituaries, Real Estate, Science, etc). As Kazys explains: “These sections will be available free at the New Museum and—in emulation of a practice common in the nineteenth-century American city and still popular in parts of the world today—will be posted in public throughout the city for collective reading.”

I’m pleased to say that I’ll be guest editing the MUSIC section in December, along with Daniel Perlin. Today’s inaugural section is, appropriately, City, and it looks back on the 1977 NYC blackout via the frame of “Connections: Cities, Complexity, and Collapse.”

As a performative cherry on the cake, the New City Reader’s editorial office will be set up in the New Museum itself (4th floor gallery I believe), so museum visitors can come heckle chat with us…

OMEGA EL FUERTE

The great thing about Omega fandom is that it requires no explanation. Either you haven’t heard of him (in which case, read the Omega profile I wrote for The Fader last summer) or you have, and his bad-assness is utterly self-evident. It’s simple: this former reggaeton choreographer is “El Fuerte”, one of the best musicians around in any genre right now, period, the undisputed dark king of Dominican merengue urbano / mambo. Plus he’s kinda scary – we’re not fooled just because he dropped the “y su Mambo Violento” from his name. (When you find an Omega fan, ask ’em about Rita Indiana — they’ll have an opinion on her too.)

Omega El Fuerte plays twice this weekend in NYC – as I tweeted: “all NYC’s latin ‘cosmopolatino’ websites that *didnt* mention OMEGA’s gigs here this weekend: #FAIL” (gracias a Carolina for the head’s up). Although it’s always nice to be reminded that much of the craziest stuff happening on this planet is primarily offline, lazy journos & surfers miss out.

Ears a la calle… If you live in New York City and don’t have your ears to the street, then you won’t have noticed the strong strange Puerto Rican proto-reggaeton Playero revival emanating out of Dominican cars… That sentence might not make any sense, but it sounds exactly like this new Omega track bumping in a style that was popular in PR like 15 years back:

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Omega – Tirense To

GIF from last night’s show:

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and an excerpt from my Fader profile on Antonio Peter De La Rosa Aka Omega:

His street-viral swagger means that folks at every point in the food chain—from Dominican TV producers to dudes in Washington Heights who cobble together concert recordings—figure they can make a buck by tapping into El Fuerte’s power. “We get a lot of fans buying flights to Santo Domingo just to see us perform,” he says via phone from the Dominican Republic. Visa and deportation problems have kept international Omega appearances scarce… [issue 62 PDF]