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June 2017

Support Karikatura's Kickstarter for "Ghost Light"

KarikaturaTrombonist Dan Lehner, who has written some of our best jazz coverage over the years, is a member of local roots pop band Karikatura, which describes itself as "cumbia meets hip-hop, reggae meets klezmer, and indie-rock meets merengue." Over the years, the band has graduated from gigs in subway stations, to shows in Haiti, to a European tour this summer sponsored by the U.S. State Department. They're currently in the process of producing their second album, "Ghost Light" and have started an all-or-nothing Kickstarter to help pay for it. With less than a week to go, they're now more than halfway to their goal, but could use some help. Check out their music on Bandcamp, then throw them support here if you can. 

 


Fresh Squeezed Opera Presents "Scopes" and "Prix-Fixe"

by Steven Pisano

20170616-DSC00185(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

You have to admire the courage of a composer of one-act operas. They probably have a better chance of winning Powerball or pitching for the Yankees than they have of staging a commercial run. Thank goodness, then, for the many small opera companies that have stepped in to produce these small-sized works.

Fresh Squeezed Opera is a small, but ambitious Nyc-based company founded in 2013 by Jillian Flexner, Maggie Rascoe, and Lee Braun. This past week at the IATI Theater, they put on two one-acts: "Scopes" by Spencer Snyder and George Gaffney, and "Prix-Fixe" by Kevin Wilt and Caitlin Vincent.

"Scopes," directed by Victoria Benson and conducted by Dean Buck, is about the famous 1925 trial we all read about in history class, with criminal attorney Clarence Darrow (Sean Patrick Jernigan) facing down orator and politician William Jennings Bryan (Joshua Miller) about whether it was legal to teach children about evolution in a state where the Bible was presented as literal truth. The reporting on the trial by journalist H.L Mencken (Melanie Leinbach) was a national sensation. The whole spectacle had the sensationalistic flavor of tabloid TV, despite the fact that TV hadn't yet been invented.

Continue reading "Fresh Squeezed Opera Presents "Scopes" and "Prix-Fixe"" »


"Three Way," a Trio of One-Act Operas about Sex and Love, at BAM

by Steven Pisano

"Three Way" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

After an American premiere at Nashville Opera earlier this year, the provocative trio of one-act operas, Three Way, with music by Robert Paterson and libretto by David Cote, has come to the Fishman Space at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this week, presented by American Opera Projects and featuring the American Modern Ensemble conducted by Dean Williamson.

In "The Companion," a single woman, Maya (Danielle Pastin), grows bored with her android companion, Joe (Samuel Levine), who she leases as her lover. Joe can make love all night and is ever so attentive to her every need, complimenting her, cooking her favorite food. What more could any woman want? Well, Maya wants love. But for that, Joe's software must be updated, so call in the tech guy (Wes Mason). The results turn out to be not exactly what Maya had in mind.

Continue reading ""Three Way," a Trio of One-Act Operas about Sex and Love, at BAM" »


Northside Festival Opens in McCarren Park with Kamasi Washington and Dirty Projectors

by Steven Pisano

20170608-SP1_4191(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

The 9th annual Northside Festival, running through this Sunday, June 11, offers an eclectic mix of symposiums on technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, advertising, government, video, and other topics. If you are looking to connect with other like-minded people in myriad creative disciplines, Northside definitely has something for you.

Of course, there is an equally wide range of music, which kicked off at McCarren Park on Thursday night with Jay Som, Kamasi Washington, and Dirty Projectors. The audience in the park was smaller than last year's opener when Brian Wilson brought his Pet Sounds tour through the borough. But that was a special one-off.

Kamasi Washington's continuously inventive and forceful music is already on a level that brings to mind John Coltrane or Wynton Marsalis. His tenor sax doesn't have the unique signature that many other jazz greats have had, whereby you can hear a short phrase and know right away who's playing. But then, the most notable aspect of Kamasi Washington's music is that he eschews the soloist limelight.

Continue reading "Northside Festival Opens in McCarren Park with Kamasi Washington and Dirty Projectors" »