Sunday, June 24, 2007

Punk Rock Journal to be Released on Saturday, June 30th, 4-6 pm at Bowery Poetry Club

Three Rooms Press will celebrate the release of TWO new books on Saturday, June 30th, from 4-6 pm at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City!

Poet Kathi Georges reads work from her new book, Punk Rock Journal, a defiant exploration of the anarchic early 80s Los Angeles punk rock scene from an insider's perspective (Georges was editor/publisher of The Eye, a SoCal music zine that featured interviews and reviews with X, The Blasters, Nina Hagen, The Minutemen, Rank and File, Middle Class, Bauhaus, Gang of Four, The Fleshtones, The Red Hot Chile Peppers, Los Lobos, Top Jimmy and The Rhythm Pigs and many more).

In addition, Jackie Sheeler celebrates the release of her first TRP book, to[o] long, a hard-hitting collection of prose poems that delve into the intricacies of urban sex, love, loss and redemption. Both poets will read to the electronic/punk swirlings of The Bass Player from Hand Job, who will also accompany TRP poets Peter Carlaftes (Sheer Bardom, The Bar Essentials and The I Can'to Cantos) and Karen Hildebrand (One Foot Out the Door).

This show will be videotaped in hi-def and shown round the world, so be sure to be there to be a part of it all. Doors open 3:45. Show runs 4-6. Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery (btwn Houston & Bleecker, across street from CBGBs).


Friday, June 22, 2007

Make Music Day

We did our part to help the airwaves vibrate differently on "Make Music Day" yesterday. It was so much fun!

Three Room Pressers Peter Carlfates and Kathi Georges took trumpet and flute and joined Low Tones for All Occasions man Dave Hofstra (on Sousaphone!) for a 6-song set in the little Plaza at Prince Street and 6th Ave. Numbers include Jobim's Wave and One Note Samba, along with the out-of-season-but-still-pleasin' Autumn Leaves, and a flute/sousaphone duet on Summertime.

The trio was inadvertantly joined at odd moments by amplified drum beats from the hip hop performers that were setting up for the evening show. But even these beats somehow worked with the oddball trio.

Several people tapped their toes and smiled.

What more do you want?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's the most wonderful long day of the year

Tomorrow--June 21--is the longest day of the year, the start of summer, and the day that shadows are shortest!

As if this isn't exciting enough, it's also an amazing day of MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC in New York City, with the innaugural celebration of "Make Music New York." Here's the scoop:

"Since the first 'Fete de la Musique' was held in France in 1982, more than 340 cities around the world have joined the annual celebrations with their own 'Make Music' events...Rome, Barcelona, Toronto, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Sydney, Berlin, Portland????...and starting this year, all five boroughs of New York City."

Tomorrow, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., you can see and hear music all over New York, from Tuvan throat singers, string quartets, punk bands, salsa band, opera singers, and on and on... The "official" schedule is at

But what's even COOLER than the scheduled musicians is that ANYONE, in fact, EVERYONE is encouraged to participate by Making Music. According to event organizers, "We have been advised by the City that ACOUSTIC PERFORMANCES ON THE SIDEWALK DO NOT REQUIRE A PERMIT. If you don't use electricity, no one else has taken the spot, and you're not blocking pedestrians, you can just come out and play!"

You bet Three Room Press staffers will be out there in force! We'll hit the sidewalks of the West Village in the late afternoon, and our hope is that it will be an impromptu neighborhood symphony. If you're around West 4th Street and 7th Ave. tomorrow around 5, come check it out! Bring your axe! your voice! at the very least, your self! And join in!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Everybody needs friends

When you're hard at work on a new poem or novel, sometimes the walls just don't cut it. In the Three Rooms Press offices, we choose to always have a few friends around to hear new work, or offer constructive criticism. The toughest critic in the bunch is Ike, center. He hates everything. St. Anthony (rear), is always groovin' on the words and digs the flow of fresh ideas. Laurel (right), never has a bad thing to say. It's our latest fan--Harpo, left--that never lets you get away with anything. And these are just the big critics.

As you recall, this year's TRP motto is "Flourish. And Grow." In order to do that, you have to face the arena of professional and private opinion. Since most of our work is non-mainstream, it's a relief to know that before our work reaches the public, it's already faced the toughest critics in the universe. Which means it's hot.

Which means, our show at the Bowery Poetry Club on June 30th (4-6pm) will be packed. Admission is free with advance reservation. To reserve seats, email us at

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Booker T. & the MGs: Groovin' in NYC

When Booker T. & the MGs took the outdoor stage at Rockefeller Park in downtown Manhattan Wednesday (in a FREE concert), storm clouds lurked low, threatening to unleash a major downpour at any moment. You talk about magic? Baby--those clouds did not dare allow a drop of rain to fall. Maybe they were just there for the show. Smart clouds.

In an era where reunion acts rarely feature more than one member of the original band, it was a genuine joy to see Booker T. Jones himself on the Hammond B-3, Steve Cropper slicing those classic riffs on guitar, Donald "Duck" Dunn keeping the groove flowing on bass. (The only non-original member--at times, painfully clear--was Letterman show's drummer Anton Fig.) Considering the MGs' first track came out in 1962, these bad boys have been taking it to the bridge for a long time, and they know how to play together.

The set started cooking with the MGs' instrumental rendition of Summertime--a tune truly at odds with the inclement weather. Hip Hug Her got this reporter into a dancing frenzy that wouldn't quit, especially when the first notes of Green Onions hit. Next up: a searing take on Hang 'Em High, that had the drummer working to keep track of the seamless rhythm changes that the MGs have handled for almost 50 years. The build up of this song is almost classical in nature; when you get to those last high chords of Booker T. you feel like you're seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time.

However, the true high point of the show was the classic BT&TMGs hit Time is Tight. Thinking about their treatment now still brings tears to my eyes. They started out so slowly, sadly, beautiful. It was pure poetry. Time is tight; there's not much left. In the way they played the tune, you could feel all the loss of friends and moments gone by. And just as you were about to give it all up, there's a pause, then the familiar bass line comes in at the speed you remember all these years, and you think, "Well, at least there's still this moment and man, it is special." Moments like that are rare in pop concerts. It was fantastic. To take it out, the band swirled into a--get this, no lie!--Deerhoof-like groove. And then it was done.

Well, not quite. After a short break, the MGs came back--this time with the new Queen of Soul--Miz Sharon Jones, who was obviously excited to be on stage with her childhood idols. With Jones, the MGs swung through an all-Otis Redding set including Midnight Hour, (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay, I've Been Lovin' You Too Long (to Stop Now), and Knock on Wood. The MGs, Redding's former backup band, flowed with Jones especially well on Dock of the Bay (cowritten by Cropper), which started slow and low, then built through a three modulation crescendo to soul-stirring heights, easing off with an audience-participatory "whistle" to end the tune. When she launched into Lovin' You Too Long, taking time out with each member in the band to "feel their love," she brought down the house.

(Brief aside: If you haven't yet caught Sharon Jones in concert--do yourself a favor and go see her! She's a virtual dynamo live, and, with her regular back-up band, The Dap Kings, she got even the most jaded New York music critics dancing (yes, dancing!) at last year's South-by-Southwest festival in Austin.)

(Brief aside 2: It always amazes me how people react at free outdoor concerts. It used to be the yuppie wine and cheese crowd that came, set up their blankets and paid not attention to the show at all. Now it's the yuppie wine and cheese and toddler crowd. They come, they pay no attention to the show at all, and--WORSE--they teach their kids not to pay any attention, either! Imagine what going to a show will be like when these kids grow up! I mean, I saw mommies turning their little ones away from the stage, during the show, so they could talk on a cell phone together. I was dancing to Booker T. and the MGs and people were staring like I was way out of line! If you can't dance to these guys--who can you dance too??? And, excuse me, but to the woman who was doing the New York Times crossword puzzle DURING the show--What were you thinking?? Lady--Time IS Tight!! There are important moments in your life to pay attention to--and the Times will be there when you get home.

Enough ranting. Let everyone live their life, be cool, chill out, etc. etc. Bullshit! Maybe if people paid more attention, Otis Redding would still be alive today! I do what I can to bring awareness, including to myself. So there. So long.

Photo: Otis Redding with Booker T. and The MGs (l to r Al Jackson, Otis Redding, Donald Dunn, and Steve Cropper). Courtesy of

Monday, June 11, 2007

Big City, Big Week. Mostly Free!

This is one of those special weeks in Manhattan in which amazing things are going on almost every night, mostly for free! Here are just a few things that Three Rooms Press staffers will be checking out:

Monday, June 11, 8 p.m. Shakespeare in the Park: Romeo and Juliet, FREE Watch Shakespeare's best known play under the stars, absolutely free! Pick up your free Shakespeare in the Park tickets on the day of the performance beginning at 1pm at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park or from 1 to 3pm at The Public Theater Box Office, 425 Lafayette Street. This performance was just added, so you've got a good shot a tickets. Next performance is Thursday. No show on the Fourth of July. Runs through July 8. For more info: click here.

Tuesday, June 12, 6-9 p.m. Museum Mile, FREE
Annual event in which Fifth Avenue from 82nd to 105th streets is closed off to automobiles, so that everyone can fill the street and party in the name of art. Street performers include more than just jugglers and stilt walkers--there's internationally renowned chalk drawing artists, live model drawing class for children 8-12, bands at every corner, and face painting. Plue free admission to nine museums including the Guggenheim, the Met and the National Academy museums. Tough to beat, at any price!
For more info, click here.
Wednesday, June 13, 7 p.m. Booker T. & The MGs, with Guest Vocalist Sharon Jones, FREE
Head to Rockefeller Park EARLY to get good position for the group that made the "Memphis Sound" with such classics as Green Onions, Hip Hug Her and Time Is Tight. Plus the incredible Sharon Jones (she of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings semi-fame). Sharon's a Brooklyn girl, who has been generating some long-overdue press in the past year, with one of the most soulful voices to emerge in years. Refreshing! Rockefeller Park is at the corner of River Terrace and Warren Streets. Lots of other events all summer. More info: click here.

Thursday, June 14, 8-9:30 pm An Evening Celebrating
the Life and Art of Poet, Painter & Raconteur--Jack Micheline, $7
Bowery Poetry Club
Okay, it's not FREE, but worth checking out anyway. For the unitiated, Jack Micheline, who died in San Francisco in 1998, was the true voice of the Beat Generation, a man whose warmth and humor filled his poems and life. He was the kind of guy who would hug a fat lady on a bus, who would spend his last dime at the race track and win, who hung out with Charles Bukowski and Langston Hughes, and whose first book was favorably reviewed by Dorothy Parker. He never hit the Big Times in the way that Ginsburg or Kerouac did, but, man--did he swing! The evening features a documentary on Micheline, plus an open mic to share poetry, prose and anecdotes. More info: click here.

Earlier on Thursday, you can catch some art plus FREE GOOD FOOD (read: Dinner!) at an art opening for John Stascak at Spaghetti Western, from 6-10. 59 Reade St. (just west of Broadway).

Friday, June 15th, 2007
You're on your own!

Photo: Jack Micheline, from the Beat Museum website

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Annie Darmon: Chanteuse Extraordinaire

While in Paris recently, Three Room Press staffers were floored by the exquisitely beautfiul 5-octave voice of ethereal singer/guitarist Annie Darmon. And, in this age of irony and cynicism, it is unbelievably refreshing to experience something so heartfelt and soulful as Ms. Darmon's performance.

If you've ever heard the voice of Yma Sumac--the mysterious "Inca princess" whose 1954 disc "Mambo" still enthralls--you'll have some idea of the range and style of Ms. Darmon's voice. Her treatment of traditional Ladino songs, from "Adio querida" to "Avre tu puerta" is spine tingling. But when she cuts loose in Yiddish on "Elimelekh" and--like a wild woman--slides her voice madly up a 4-octave glissando, you wonder: Why has France been keeping this woman a secret? Her only U.S. performances to date have been in Phoenix (!!) and at two private parties in Los Angeles (one of which was attended by Bill Clinton's brother). The mystery is why she has never performed for the people of New York City, who would definitely greet her with open arms on her arrival, and give her the key to the city if they ever let her leave. Recently, Ms. Darmon set up a myspace site ( which features 4 songs from her CD Aux Sources Du Kaddish [Ravel] II, which is not yet available in the U.S. Take a listen, and let us know what you think.

My brother says all New Yorkers exaggerate, but in the case of Annie Darmon, no one--not even a New Yorker--can say enough about her talent. We're hoping to help her get some dates in New York for early 2008. If you know of any venues that would be interested in making a name for themselves as the site of the NYC premiere performance of Annie Darmon, please send a comment immediately! She's absolutely wonderful.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Kathi Georges at Cornelia Street Cafe, Friday, June 8, 6-8 pm

The big day is here: The official book release party for Kathi Georges' Slow Dance at 120 Beats A Minute (2007, Three Rooms Press) on Friday, June 8, 6-8 pm, at the Pink Pony West reading series at Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street, between West 4th Street and Bleecker Street, in Greenwich Village).

We recently spoke with Georges about the show. Here's some of her comments.

"Ever since I was a little girl, growing up in Southern California, I wanted to be a writer or a musician. By high school, my dream was to write poetry, publish books and--someday--read my own work in a small cafe in Greenwich Village. My reading at Cornelia Street Cafe on Friday is a dream come true.

"It's funny how you can forget your dreams as you become wrapped up in the day-to-day stress and strain of the world. You grow up, you get a job, get married, and everything around you seems to make you lose faith in yourself, in your dreams. Time passes. One day you wake up and you're 60. Scratching your head and asking yourself, 'What happened?' Of course, you may still be a 'success' but on whose terms?

"There is no easy way to measure 'success' if the path you follow isn't a proven road. What is success for a poet anyway? To become a professor at a major university? To be translated into more languages than anyone else? To translate other poets? These are certainly all keys to success, but they take away from what is to me the most important success of any poet: to write poetry.

"My reading on Friday will be focused on the new book, and will also feature a little solo jazz flute. By the time I'm done, I hope every heart there will be dancing!"

Three Rooms Press will be there en masse. Dancing? You betcha! We'll be tearing the place up.

Hope to see you dancing too.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Kythera: In Search of Beauty

Aphrodite, goddess of spiritual and creative fertility, spread her grace upon Three Rooms Press staffers during our recent run-in with her on the Greek island of Kythera.

According to legend, Greek god Cronus castrated his father, Uranus, and cast the severed genetials into the sea. They floated on the surface of the waters around Kythera, producing a white foam out of which Aphrodite rose. The rock you see just off the coast is the remains of the egg from which the mighty Aphrodite emerged.

"Okay, fine!" you say. "Enough of the Greek mythology. What does it have to do with the reality?" Well, my fine friends. The reality is this: Kythera is the most beautiful, unexploited place on the planet. Imagine: Pristine beaches with nobody on them. Ancient ruins, scattered between white stucco homes in beautiful villages. People as sweet as honey (of which, Kythera is known to produce the best on Earth). Just south of the Peloponnese peninsula, the island is as close to paradise as you get on this planet. Do you remember what silence sounds like? It's here. Quieter than the desert.

And caves, along the coast and hidden in valleys and gorges (which are gorgeous). There is one major highway (major meaning it has 2 lanes). Several other roads are "paved." Many more are dirt roads that are usually passable. They all lead somewhere as poetically inspiring as you can dream possible.

On Kythera, your idea of the ideal of beauty is enlarged. You become engaged in a dialogue with beauty and feel as if you're talking to your best friend. You think differently, your world slows down to allow your thoughts to linger, each having a beauty of its own.

Poets live here. Artists too. Of course, there's a few rascals in the mix to take care of the tourists. But even they have their imaginative qualities. The island is full of enough modern facilities to make it comfortable for those of us spoiled by the conveniences of modern life. It all works. "Flourish! And grow!" is the Three Rooms Press motto of the year; "Follow Your Art" is the Kytherean motto. What more do you want? As the year hits its midpoint, creativity is emerging as easily as the goddess Aphrodite emerged from that foam.