Thursday, July 29, 2010

Let's Get Funky: Super Fun Poetry & Music Party This Friday at Funkadelic Studios

Funkadelic Studios is a really cool rehearsal studio space--very conveniently located at 335 W. 35th St., 3rd Floor (btwn 8th & 9th). Poetry Party Phenom Susan Scutti has lined up a cool list of local bands, plus in between and with the bands, there's poetry! Featured poets include Jackie Sheeler, Mark Brunetti, Elijan, and Steve McNamara. If you show up with your words, you can read too!

It's a Party! It's Music! It's Poetry! It's Fun! Doors open 7. Poetry & Music starts 7:30. Runs till 11 or more! $5 at the door. BYOB.

And don't forget: Also on Friday: Son of a Pony poetry series at Cornelia St. Cafe. Doors open 5:45; show starts at 6. Featured reader is Clara Hsu. Host is the fierce poet whirlwind, Jackie Sheeler. $7 admission, includes free drink.

Monday, July 26, 2010

M.I.A. Promises Free Show on Return to NYC--Save Your Hard NYC Ticket Stubs!

NEW YORK—M.I.A. has acknowledged there were problems with the show on Saturday and puts the blame squarely on the sound team. She's canned the American sound techs and hired a new British team. See her Twitter updates here.
Most importantly, she has promised to do a FREE show on her return to NYC for anyone with either a Hard NYC ticket stub (see photo, above--click for enlarged version). If you don't have a ticket, she's promised free admission to anyone who will "do me a lil dance."
It's up to the NYC fans who really want to continue to support her, and who have defended her new album against undue harsh media criticism, as to whether this noble gesture will be enough.
No date as of yet—TRP will let you know when word is out. But according to her web site tour date list, she's in Europe through August 11, then doesn't have another show until October 9 in Austin. So maybe late August or September?
The trick is going to be convincing people that it will be worth it—those European shows better deliver big-time positive write-ups. And—it goes without saying—the free NYC M.I.A. show should be indoors, air-conditioned, and accessible by subway, not boat. How about Roseland, Hammerstein Ballroom, United Palace or even . . . the Garden?
If the problem really is the sound crew, let's have their name, so no other performer or audience ever gets stuck with them again.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review: M.I.A. on Governors Island Hard NYC Fizzles as Crowd Sizzles--July 24, 2010

by Kat Georges

NEW YORK—After enduring hours of sizzling heat in the rave-like atmosphere of the Hard NYC festival on Governors Island on Saturday, even hardcore MIA fans were scrambling for the first boat back to the city by the fifth song of an abysmal set that left concert goers puzzled, upset and even full of pity for what was once one of the brightest stars in world pop music.
MIA was the headliner and big draw for the nine-hour event on a humid day when temperatures soared into the high 90s. But her reputation as an engaging live performer may now be damaged beyond repair.
Fans were shocked and let down by the Sri Lanka-born performer's muddled, unentertaining show. It could have been so much more. Last week, during a slot on David Letterman, MIA performed a chilling live version of her recent driving controversial single and video, "Born Free." But last night, by the fifth song, nearly a third of the crowd proved just how free they were by walking out of the show without regret.
No regret, because Hard NYC wasn't a total waste of time, due to engaging beat-driven sets by top caliber international acts including DJs Skream and Benga, and MC Alpha (from London), quirky, hard-edged, NYC-based guitar-vocal duo Sleigh Bells, and a powerful, in-your-face, anti-PC bludgeoning by South African MC duo Die Antwoord.
In fact it may have been the strength of Die Antwoord's set, falling right before MIA, that made her look so weak by comparison. But MIA and crew seemed to need no help undermining every aspect of their set.
What should have a stunning opening number, "Steppin' Out," one of the most intense tracks on the latest CD, MΛYΛ, instead fell completely flat—against all odds. Before the song started, three figures clad in gold head-to-toe garments moved into place on the left side of the stage. Then, one-by-one: ten ninjas in black hooded suits entered; each marked with a vertical florescent stripe lit intensely by a flood of black lights; each carrying a black automatic machine gun. Whoa. The song's opening chain saw-like sounds blared, as though something big was about to begin. And then?
The sound stopped abruptly, and a chubbie roadie dashed across the stage—for what? A misplaced 1/4" male jack? A couple of double A batteries? Hard to believe this was the opening number of a show that the fans there really wanted to embrace, despite the almost universal critical disapproval of MIA's latest release. She was supposed to get it right. In fact, had she nailed it, the crowd would have been hers for the rest of the night.
Instead, when the sound started up again, it wasn't from the beginning of the song. Rather, it started about—oh, say—20 bars in, give or take a few. Who cares? It's only 20,000 people expecting to be entertained. And—this is the real shocker: MIA's own microphone wasn't audible! For the entire song! It's not like she plays an instrument and can cover up with some nifty noodling on a drum machine. She is the lead vocalist! And you couldn't hear her! Instead, you heard a prerecorded "music-minus-one" version of the record, with her cheerleader-like back up vocalist shrilly piping counterpoint "Yeahs" "MIAs" and "Rub-a-dubs." But no MIA! And she just kept going. How about switch mics? Stop the show for a minute? Nah . . . Just pretend it's working and maybe the audience will, too.
Her mic was still out for song two: "Bucky Done Gun" from the 2005 release "Arular." And by then the ninjas and others had left the stage, so it was just two women bouncing around in front of lights and projections, and only one of them could be heard, atop a muddy sound mix.
By song three, they were turning laser lights on the audience, and MIAs mic started making some noise. "Lovalot" came next, and little had improved. MIA kept going into the night. And the crowd started heading en masse for the boat home: exhausted and sorely disappointed.
Admittedly, the show and sound improved later, and hit a peak during a thunderstorm version of "World Town" from the exciting MIA's 2007 release Kala.
Capetown's Die Antwoord was the absolute highlight of the show, playing a thrilling 8-song set that proved an outdoor venue can be intimate in the right hands. Afrikaaner MCs Ninja and Yolandi Vi$$er, with DJ HiTek, brought the house down with high intensity, trashy and offensive rapping in Afrikaans and English. They've just been signed to MIA's label, Interscope Records, and should be getting a well-deserved big push in the coming year.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kat Georges & Peter Carlaftes Featured at Huntington Poetry Series this Friday, July 16

This Friday, New York poets Peter Carlaftes & Kat Georges, along with Cliff Bliender, rock out in Huntington at the hottest series on the LIRR line. The series is organized by poet George Wallace (currently on tour in Oklahoma support of his Three Rooms Press release Poppin' Johnny.) Host for this event will be L.I. poet Barbara Reiher Meyers.

PETER CARLAFTES is a New York-based comic author, screenwriter, playwright, actor, poet, and director. He is the author of 12 plays, including a noir treatment of Knut Hamsun’s Hunger, and the celebrity rehab center spoof, Spin-Dry. He has appeared in numerous Off-Broadway productions, including his comic solo performance piece, Lenny Bruce: Dead & Well. His critically-acclaimed humor book, A Year on Facebook, was issued by Three Rooms Press in January 2010. In June of 2010, Three Rooms Press published DrunkYard Dog, an extensive collection of his poetry, as well as Triumph for Rent (3 Plays). In addition, he has published seven chapbooks, including The Bar Essentials, Nightclub Confidential and Sheer Bardom.

KAT GEORGES’ poetry appears in The American Bible Of Outlaw Poetry (Thunders Mouth Press). She co-edited The Verdict Is In, an anthology about the L.A. Rodney King Riots, (Manic D Press). She has three collections of her own poetry, Punk Rock Journal, Maiden Claiming and Slow Dance at 120 Beats a Minute (all Three Rooms Press). In New York, she has directed numerous Off-Broadway plays, including Jack Kerouac: Catholic, Memo from Allen Ginsberg and Twitter Theater, all written by award-winning playwright Larry Myers. Currently she edits Maintenant, an annual journal of Contemporary Dada Poetry, and serves as poetry editor for Tribes art and literary journal. In addition, she co-hosts a weekly poetry reading series at Cornelia Street Café in New York, where she has hosted such notable poets as Mark Strand, Anne Waldman, Paul Violi and many more. She is founder of Three Rooms Press and serves as editor-in-chief and creative director.

Friday, July 11, 8 pm

The Poetry Cafe at Huntington Historical Society Barn

welcomes poets, Kat Georges, Peter Carlaftes and Cliff Bleidner

hosted by Barb Reiher-Meyers at

HHS Conklin Barn

Corner High St/Rte 110, Huntington
(Route 110 and High Street, two blocks south of Main Street)

$5.00 donation appreciated

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Peter Carlaftes & Kat Georges Fueled to Feature at NYC Reading Sun., July 11-6pm at Prairie Fire

Catch the hottest poetry in NYC this Sunday, 7/11, 6pm as Peter Carlaftes & Kat Georges burn at Peter Chelnik's renowned Prairie Fire Jazz Poetry Series.

Georges and Carlaftes are known coast-to-coast for their fiery readings, and this Sunday is sure to build that reputation. Carlaftes has just released his red-hot poetry collection "DrunkYard Dog" recounting wild tales from both sides of the bar (He's also had two other books published THIS YEAR, including "A Year on Facebook" (humor) and "Triumph for Rent" (3 Plays). Seeing Carlaftes read is like catching the ghosts of Bukowski, Bogie, and Baudelaire all rolled into one. Georges is the author of "Punk Rock Journal" and "Slow Dance at 120 Beats a Minute" and brings a sultry, yet adrenaline-powered edge to all her live performances reminiscent of a smoothie made from equal parts of Garbo, Girlschool and Gaga.

Also featured at the event will be Shana Yadid (vocals) and Danny Hartig (guitar). The monthly series is hosted by poet and neo-beatnik Peter Chelnik. Prairie Fire takes place at AMERICAN THEATRE OF ACTORS, 314 W. 54th St. (bet. 8th & 9th Aves.), in the Beckman Theater on the 2nd Floor. Admission: $5. Doors open at 5:30. Arrive early to sign up for the open mic.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lady Gaga at Madison Square Garden, New York--Review

Kat Georges

Lady Gaga's opening night on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden was a landmark event for the most talented force in pop music of today. Gaga supplied a powerhouse performance with a 2-hour, 19-song set which she seemed as much in awe of presenting as those who watched were of her.

Gaga has come a long way in the past year of almost non-stop touring. Her live vocal chops are on fire and she has assumed unfettered, total command of the pacing and glitter of the show: her music now encompasses more than just straight-out dance tunes; indeed her scope, shown by a huge variety of musical styles is growing increasingly impressive.

The show covered all songs off her last disc, The Fame Monster, and eight of 13 songs on her 2008 hit album, The Fame. It also featured three additional songs including "Glitter and Grease," "Vanity," and "You and I," plus impressive "interludes" with music and short wondrous b/w films and visual effects. With 10 crazy costume changes, and a set that brought Gaga and her 10 dancers, 3 backup singers and 7-piece band to dizzying heights, the show had the floor of the Garden (all General Admission) jamming non-stop, and kept patrons in the surrounding seats on their feet throughout.

Remarkably, for a show that focused so much on dance hits, Gaga interspersed musical booty-shaking with dramatic pauses marked solely by the sound of her breathing and the audience hanging onto what her next word would be. And she had plenty to say, dedicating the show to the people of New York City, and remarking that she had sat in the nosebleed seats as a kid to see such stars as Madonna, Cher, The Rolling Stones, and Kiss. She truly seemed ecstatic to find herself on the same stage as these idols, and such enthusiasm is refreshing in a world where musical stars seem to be blessed with little talent and a huge sense of entitlement.

Gaga was able to provide numerous intimate moments, especially during her solo piano versions of "Speechless" and her new as-yet-unreleased rock ballad "You and I." During "Speechless," she mentioned that the song was written for her father, and that he was actually present at the show. While the lyrics stemmed from a disillusionment with his drinking, she acknowledged, "Out of all the drunk men in my life, Dad--you're my favorite." A compliment, sort of . . .

Throughout the show, Gaga reaffirmed her mantra of "You can do anything you want," and "Don't let anybody hold you back--you're free!" Trite as it may sound in the retelling, when you hear it said by this orangey-blonde-wigged woman, flat on her back, clad in metallic lingerie and stilettos, her hands and chest covered in fake blood, and the word "FUCK" fingerpainted on her upper arm, surrounded by 10 gorgeous dancers--you'd swear it was true.

At Tuesday's show, Gaga delivered an especially powerful version of the soulful "Fame Monster" song "Teeth"--accompanied by a wondrous introduction, in which Gaga concluded, "I am the most delusional bitch on the earth." As a delusional idealist myself, I couldn't be happier.

Here's the set list from Tuesday's show:

Dance in the Dark

Glitter & Grease

Just Dance

Beautiful Dirty Rich


The Fame

Love Game

Boys Boys Boys

Money Honey



You and I

So Happy I Could Die




Poker Face


Bad Romance

If you can get to the Garden in the next two days, do it. Who knows how long this ride will last? It's worth everything to catch it while it's real.



If you have GA East tickets, you better arrive EARLY (by 4:30, the latest) and plan to wait outside until 7 when they open the doors. Don't be disappointed but you won't be right next to the stage. The only people next to the stage are VIP ticket holders and GA West tickets. The GA East area is divided by a metal barrier. If you're in the front, you'll be about 15-20 feet from the end of the ramp, but if you're not in the very front, you might not be able to see very well, because the very front of GA East section is about 6 inches higher than the rest of the section, due to a support for the metal barrier. I was in the front and it was great! But if you can afford VIP, you can get right next to the stage and ramp.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Time Jumpers at Midsummers Night Swing, Lincoln Center, 7/1/10

What a hoot at Lincoln Center Thursday night where the Nashville-based western swing band The Time Jumpers held court to a crowd of about 400. New Yorkers are not known for their Texas two-step skills, but that almost made it an even more fun event, with everyone trying some kind of dance to this marvelous band, which filled the night sky with the sounds of Bob Wills, Milton Brown, Gene Autry and swing arrangements of standards like "All of Me" and "Route 66."
If you wanted to dance on the huge "dance floor" in front of the band, you had to pay $17, and get a ticket, then a hand stamp. I asked a genial fellow if he'd rub his hand stamp off on my hand to get me access and lightly and politely said, "No." Oh, well. The biggest problem was the band played two full sets to a half-empty dance floor, while meanwhile, behind a screened in sound booth at the back of the dance floor, a SECOND, FREE dance floor was packed with rockin' swingers bungling through the two-step in free form fashion--and having a ball.
A bit about The Time Jumpers--who were screwed by not being able to see the 300 adoring fans surrounding the $17 dance floor: This band is the be-all, end-all of modern Texas Swing. They count in their number THREE fiddle players (masters, one and all); stand up base, two guitars, mandolin (Vince Gill), three wonderful singers, and the top-ranked Academy of Country Music pedal steel player, Mr. Paul Franklin. They're Nashville's top session musicians, and they play the Grand Ole' Opry every week, and various members have sat in for studio sessions with such luminaries as Slim Whitman, Carrie Underwood, Barbara Streisand and Megadeth. Their gigs at the Opry draw such notable fans as Robert Plant, Jimmy Buffet, Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Robben Ford, Ronnie Milsap, and list goes on and on.
Every song at the MNS show was fun--especially loved the yodeling in the second set, and the Bob Wills sprinkled throughout. But the Lincoln Center should consider a policy of allowing ALL people onto the dancefloor after a certain time (say, 9:30 pm) so that the band can get the respect they deserve from adoring fans who just can't afford $17 for a ticket.
Go, Time Jumpers!