Category Archives: Music

Philadelphia music & musicians

Ragas

Utsav Lal, Jesse Sparhawk, HOUSE Gallery

UTSAV LAL & JESSE SPARHAWK

live at Fire Museum Presents

Indian Classical Ragas on the Piano


Philadelphia, PA, United States HOUSE GALLERY 1816

Young Steinway Artist and Yamaha Jazz Scholar, creative pianist /composer Utsav Lal, often known as the ‘Raga Pianist’ has set a precedent with his innovative handling of Indian Classical music .

Seating is limited and is on a first come basis. For more info: steven@museumfire.com 

HOUSE GALLERY 1816,  1816 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125 between Berks and Montgomery.

Transport: Closest septa stop is Berks St and you can cut across the school feed for a shortcut into Fishtown. Bus# 25 stops on Frankford Ave.

Raga Malkauns (Alap-Jod-Jhala) London – Utsav Lal (2018)

Ragapianist. Published on Jul 16, 2018, Live at St. Nicholas Church , Chiswick, London May 2018

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SLEEP

SLEEP + MUSIC, MikronesiaRecording in Manila, India in the foothills of the Himalayas. Michael McDermott

SLEEP + MUSIC

Event Horizon
Friday April 13, 8pm
Juan Garces, BEEP, Mikronesia w/ William Fields​
The Rotunda

“Hello everyone, I’m back from three months of traveling, listening, creating, sharing and exploring in Thailand, Myanmar and India. I’m excited to be back in Philadelphia for the month and looking forward to sharing lots of sounds with the world!” – Michael McDermott

First up, two events the weekend of April 13a solo concert and a day-long retreat / sleep concert!

Mikronesia will be playing a solo show at Event Horizon at the Rotunda. For this show Michael Mcermott will be joined by his old friend and artistic collaborator William Fields on real-time visuals. This show will feature a live presentation of Mikronesia’s Landscapes work. In this series he works with field recordings from environments and decontextualize them using “sonic photography” techniques to explore the intersection of inner and outer landscapes realized through memory, emotion, time and place. This show will feature recordings and sonic memories from ThailandMyanmar and India.

I can’t wait to experience these sounds on the nice sound system at the Rotunda and with Bill’s realtime visuals, it’s going to be something else! (Below is an image of Bill’s work, check out his website williamfields.com for more of his amazing AV work).

SLEEP + MUSIC, Mikronesia

Event Horizon

Friday April 13, 8pm
Juan Garces, BEEP, Mikronesia w/ William Fields​
The Rotunda4014 Walnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/189508868357704/

SLEEP + MUSIC, Mikronesia

Dream Yoga Retreat

April 14th – 15th

“The second event will be a day-long retreat of yoga, meditation, Deep Listening and an overnight sleep concert. This will be another event with a collaborator from my past with yoga/meditation teacher Michelle Stortz. Michelle and I worked together years ago when I provided music for some of her beautiful choreography. Currently Michelle and I both teach meditation at Springboard Sangha. In addition she does amazing work teaching yoga to people with cancer and as a Yoga Nidra (sleep yoga) teacher.

For this retreat, we’ll both be teaching and leading talks, classes and sessions throughout the day. Plus I’ll perform an overnight sleep concert at the retreat for people to practice lucid dreaming and listening (un)consciousness. If you’ve never experienced one of my overnight sleep concerts or my meditation / Deep Listening teaching, now is your chance! Also St. Raphaela Center is a beautiful space with lots of outdoor areas for walking and listening. The retreat cost includes the teaching, space, three meals and a place to sleep. Be sure to bring a sleeping bag and blanket for the overnight concert.” – Michael McDermott

Thank you to Michael McDermott, Mikronesia, for the content of this post.

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Food

How Food Moves: Edible LogisticsImage: Amber Art and Design, Corner Store Project

How Food Moves: Edible Logistics

Amber Art & Design / Ryan Griffis & Sarah Ross
Brian Holmes / Otabenga Jones & Associates / Cynthia Main
Claire PentecostPhilly Stake / Stephanie Rothenberg
Candice Smith with Freedom Arts / Kristen Neville Taylor

Daniel Tucker, Guest Curator, Graduate Program Director in Social and Studio Practices at Moore College of Art and Design
March 27 – May 27, 2017
Public Program and Reception: Thursday, March 30, 2017, 6:00 – 8:30pm
Our public program begins at 6:00 pm followed by the reception
Rowan University Art Gallery, 301 High Street West, First Floor, Glassboro, NJ 08028
Admission to the gallery and reception is free and open to the public.
The public program begins at 6:00 pm, led by guest curator Daniel Tucker in dialogue on art, geography, and agricultural planning with Professor Megan Bucknum Ferrigno from Rowan University’s School of Geography and Environment, and with exhibiting artists.

Artists explore the US food supply chain and its complex patterns of distribution in between the point of origin (the farm) and its point of consumption (the plate). The exhibition aims to highlight the work of contemporary artists grappling with the complexity of this movement through multi-media, research-based, and participatory practices that focus a lens on the social and industrial impacts of migrant workers, food justice movements, immigration, multiculturalism, and economic disparities. This project builds upon Tucker’s event series, Moving Units: Where Food & Economy Converge. A companion booklet, produced by Rowan University Art Gallery, serves to provide a general overview of US food supply chains. It includes descriptions of the artist contributions to the exhibition that relate to each step on the chain. Throughout this booklet you read about an approach to geographic education that values connecting with the world outside the classroom. The booklet was researched and written by Megan Bucknum Ferrigno, part-time faculty member of Rowan University’s Department of Geography, Planning and Sustainability. Additional contributions made by Dr. Chuck McGlynn, Dr. Jennifer Kitson and Makenzie Franco.

About the Artists and Projects

With Corner Store, Amber Art & Design – a team of Philadelphia-based artists that work on public art within marginalized communities that have little or no access to art – explores the contemporary sociological and psychological intersection between pan-ethnic Black and Asian communities in Philadelphia and how relationships are shaped based on which side of the counter we stand. (image top)

Illinois-based artists Ryan Griffis and Sarah Ross are represented by Between the Bottomlands and the World, a video (combining photographs, narrative writing, and moving images) exploring the rural Midwestern town of Beardstown, IL, a place of global exchange and international mobility, inscribed by post-NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) realities.

Brian Holmes, an art and cultural critic with a Ph.D. in Romance Languages has a long-standing interest in neoliberal globalization and a taste for on-the-ground intervention. His online atlas, Living Rivers, is devoted to the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds and shows these fluid ecosystems as they are inhabited by a multitude of creatures and radically altered by human enterprise.

Otabenga Jones & Associates, a Houston-based educational art organization, documents a collaborative art project and public health program addressing the ongoing crisis of obesity and its related risks with “The People’s Plate.” Inspired by the Black Panther Free Breakfast for School Children Program, this art project includes a public mural in Houston and programs to kick off a year-long commitment to health education.

Cynthia Main, a multidisciplinary artist from Missouri focuses on relating to the land as part of an integral view of a more sustainable society. She shares her hand-made buckets and barrels created using traditional techniques to readdress storage as one of the current dilemmas of localizing production.

Chicago’s Claire Pentecost uses photography to show how industrial agriculture is only partly about supplying food and how it is structured to meet the problem of expense and excess capital accumulation when considering the cost of complex machinery, brand name chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, and patented seeds.

How Food Moves: Edible Logistics

Philly Stake is a locally-sourced, recurring dinner that raises funds for creative and relevant community engaged projects that contributes to the well-being of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods through community arts, urban agriculture, social services, and activist work.

Stephanie Rothenberg’s Reversal of Fortune: The Garden of Virtual Kinship is a garden in the form of a global map that explores the question of what it means to be charitable through the click of a button and examines the cultural phenomena of online crowd-funded charity and how the flow of money impacts the project, positively and negatively.

How Food Moves: Edible LogisticsStephanie Rothenberg

Candice Smith runs Freedom Arts, an after school collaborative art program at Camden’s Freedom Prep Middle School, which is creating an installation responding to the idea that Camden is a “food desert” and examining the movement of food at their school and in their community.

Philadelphia-based Kristen Neville Taylor’s installation – a globe depicting routes of oranges and actual oranges outfitted with a QR code that links to music, articles, folk tales, and art – was inspired by a lyric from Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” (“and she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China”) which she associated with the market place and the movement of food but also romance and exotic foreign cultures.

Admission to the gallery and reception is free and open to the public. 
Free parking is now available in the parking garage on Mick Drive directly across from the gallery. For visitor information go to our website: www.rowan.edu/artgallery.

Thank you to Mary Salvante, Rowan University Art Gallery for the content of this post.

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DJ

DJ Robert Drake

DJ Robert Drake, Interview by Jimmi Shrode, 80’s New Wave Music

Robert Drake is synonymous with music in Philadelphia. When I met Robert in 1984, we were habitues of the Kennel Club, a now defunct New Wave/Punk Night Spot. The soundtrack of the Reagan era 80’s was New Wave/Post Punk music and we were steeped in it all. DJ Robert Drake is one of the most beloved radio and night club personalities in Philly. He started Sex Dwarf, a New Wave Dance Party following his 40th Birthday Party at Fluid Nightclub. Now in it’s 13th Year, Sex Dwarf is still going strong at Club Mousai at 1217 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. The second Friday of each month is a tribute to various influential New Wave Artists and music trends, such as the New Romantics, Synthpop and Electronic Music. You can listen to DJ Robert Drake on WXPN, Land of the Lost, all 80’s New Wave/Post Punk music, the Final Friday of the month from 7:00 – 11:00PM. Drake is also the co-host of Kids Cornera live, interactive radio show for children and host of Q’Zine; a look at Queer Culture and Arts at 11:30pm on Sunday nights. Read Robert’s blog at http://djrobertdrake.com/.

Who is DJ Robert Drake? Tell me about yourself.

“Born and raised in Philly, I carry my torch for Philly high and proud …. I love my hometown and always look for a chance to showcase it to new people. I’ve worked in radio for almost 30 years – all at one radio station (unheard of in this industry). I love music – but treasure my quiet time alone at home. I have a dog named Nomi – after my idol Klaus Nomi.”

What is your favorite part of being a Philly DJ?

“Being able to create a vibe and mood that will (hopefully) resonate with those attending the party – creating memories, friendships and even sparks of love by last call.”

Where’s your favorite place to play? Radio or clubs?

“While I love spinning for the masses – there’s something very personal about being on the radio. Even though I am reaching thousands of people at any second, I am talking to just one of them – and hopefully connecting with them as well.”

When did you decide to be a DJ?

“I stepped into the DJ mode back when I was hanging at a punk bar in Philly called The Love Club at Broad and South Streets … they had two scratchy Radio Shack turntables and I offered to play some of my LPs one happy hour … I was hooked! That had to be, wow – almost 27 years ago!”

Why do you prefer 80’s New Wave?

“As most people, it’s the soundtrack of my youth. But it’s also more – it’s inspired the current wave of pop music artists and so much of the 80s New Wave sounds like it could have been produced today … I love showcasing it!”

How would you advise aspiring DJ’s?

“As much as you might want to learn the best computer software programs – resist. Take time to learn the music itself. Don’t let the computer dictate what song should come next. Learn to read the crowd and be ready to make changes at any second. There’s no such thing as a playlist – so do NOT go into a gig with a plan. Just have fun!”

Written by Jimmi Shrode

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Star

David Bowie, Queer Star, Jimmi Schrode

Queer Star, David Bowie and Gender Anarchy

by Jimmi Shrode

At the age of 10, I had discovered David Bowie in the pages of 16 Magazine. The wholesome safe pop idols; David Cassidy, The Osmonds and The Jackson 5 were giving way to the Glam Rockers; Lou Reed, Alice Cooper and David Bowie. Bowie was the ring leader with a shocking vermillion rooster cut and tight satin pants. With shocking blue eyeshadow highlighting his mismatched eyes and lipstick, he lead the way for the Sexual Revolution by way of Gender Anarchy and Queerness.

As David Jones, young Bowie couldn’t get arrested with a string of forgettable Anthony Newley meets The Beatles songs that were too twee. Later he would don a maxi dress and sing folkish rock songs, some notice but not quite. The novelty of ‘Space Oddity‘ coincided with America’s Moon Landing brought minor fame, introducing us to Major Tom, an astronaut lost forever in the stars. It was Ziggy Stardust, a rock and roll messiah who came just in time for the end of the world to lead us to Mars, the world of Sexual Chaos. David had announced he was Gay despite being in a marriage with Angie Bowie and son Zowie (now filmmaker Duncan Jones). Bowie was launched into the stratosphere.

David Bowie, Queer Star, Jimmi Schrode

Bowie became godlike and seduced the teens of Britain and America. A clever ruse in an age where news traveled slowly. Bowie arrived on the shores of America with an entourage, claiming great status abroad in Europe. The record executives bought it all. Global success at last. Bowie’s androgyny smashed into the world of suburbia here in the USA and abroad. Queerness was on sale in a record shop near you. Boys dressed in make up and mom’s cast-offs, skinny jeans and experimented with each other leaving lipstick traces. Girls swooned for this Queer Elvis. Adults were dismayed. What was dirty and whispered about in secret was now wrapped up in Japanese Modernist Fashion and Kabuki via the LSD dreams of Timothy Leary, strutting under the spotlights for all the world to see.

Bowie rediscovered Lou Reed, Andy Warhol’s Superstar and leader of the Velvet Underground. The Velvet Underground had inspired Bowie when the Exploding Plastic Inevitable made it to the UK. The psychedelic multimedia show of music, lights and art inspired David Jones. Ever the avid student; he absorbed it and made it his own. His alchemy would extend into the music world and reinvent others as it had himself.

Iggy Pop, the sweaty, muscular singer with a proto-punk band The Stooges, was now clad in tight Lurex pants and had black eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. Bowie took Iggy into the studio and allegedly into his bedroom. Bowie’s aesthetic wiped off onto Lou Reed who now dressed in makeup and leather. Reed had taken a walk onto the Wild Side.

As he retired the glitter and paint in favor of Soul Boy clothes, the label of Queerness became an albatross. While good for breaking through indifference into Rock and Roll, rock was still a boy’s club. Even though some of them adopted Bowie’s fey ways, they were still hetero-normative. Bowie, addicted to cocaine and becoming increasingly paranoid retreated further away from Ziggy Stardust. With slicked back blonde hair, classic 30’s suits and a cigarette, he became the nihilistic Thin White Duke. Then Bowie made the famous Hitler Salute in Victoria Station, casting up shadows of fascism. It was apropos. Fascism had destroyed the Weimar Era Drag for the sturm und drang of masculinity.

David Bowie, Queer Star, Jimmi Schrode

As a chameleon, Bowie further reinvented himself and in the 1980’s had a renaissance into New Wave Music. Still, the shadow of homosexuality clung to him. Disavowing and ignoring it, yet, always present. Some Gay People felt betrayed that their idol who led them out of the closet had returned to the closet. It was a fearsome time when Reagan and Thatcher conservatism and AIDS ravaged Gay Liberation.

David Bowie always endured and was relevant in every decade nonetheless. The 90’s saw collaborations with Trent Reznor and Dr. Dre. In the Aughts; Bowie became the crooner he had been with his smash album Heathen. Then he dropped out of sight after a heart attack only to reemerge in time for his final curtain calls with his albums The Next Day and Blackstar. Blackstar saw the artist use his own impending death to craft his final statement, dying soon after.

David Bowie, Queer Star, Jimmi Schrode

To me and many others; Bowie’s act of Sexual Rebellion had forever changed us, bringing a deeper understanding of gender, sexuality and self-expression. Bowie’s image as Ziggy Stardust remains cemented in our psyche. Often copied and rebranded, a white faced Bowie with a bold red and blue lighting bolt in the center of his face crowned with orange hair is how we remember him most; the Queer Bowie. Our Queer Star.

Written by Jimmi Shrode

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