Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Abi Gezunt! (Did Ye Get Healed?)

...was the watchword of the day (and should be everyday) last Friday Oct. 12th, a sensationally sunny morning when my buddy klezmeister violinist/film director/university prof/polymathic profuse-ter Yale Strom assembled about 90 or so well-known Jewish musicians from all over the world (nominally klezmer--but hey, as I don't quite fit that frame let us say Yale was a bit, uh, catholic in his selection process) to remake/remodel the famous 1958 Esquire b&w Art Kane photo "A Great Day in Harlem" which captures a group portrait of 57 COMmmmm-unists I mean NYC-based jazz musicians assembled on the stoop of a Harlem tenement (Art Kane actually was the daddy of former Gods and Monsters drummer Jonathan Kane--a fact hitherto unknown to me until me Jonathan and Oren Bloedow--G&M circa 1992--were traversing the Wisconsin dells with our Cassady-esque driver madman Calvin Aberle at the wheel when Jonathan casually remarked that, as good a photog as he was, he would never be the equal of his father...and putting one plus one together I asked "Is your dad Art Kane"? Yes indeed, and ye gods, a couple years later me, Jonathan, and my then bass player the fantastically inventive Jean Chaine played at a memorial service for sadly deceased Kane pere at Cooper Union...just about every NYC based art director was there to salute the genius of Art Kane--who actually had a novelty hit 45 as 'Lee Kane' on Capitol in 1951 with the immortal "Oh What a Face"...but that's another story)...

Yale's idea was to transmogrify/re-sanctify the photo tableau as "A Great Day on Eldridge Street"--and assembling at a very early hour indeed for bagels and whitefish and hummus and vot-not in the basement of the historic landmarked Eldridge Street Synagogue--another new yawk roadside attraction you absolutely must visit if you ever plan to motor (lower) east--wotta pahty, everyone there was There--Eldridge Street Synagogue's lovely Hanna Griff, Yiddish singer par excellence Elisabeth Schwartz, fetching Basya Schecter of Pharoah's Daughter, clarinet daemons supreme David Krakauer and Don Byron, trumpet man Paul Brody all the way from Berlin whom last I jammed with in Kazimierz, Krakow's old Jewish quarter, at the 2003 Krakow Jewish Culture Fest--a magnifique minyan of Jewish music champeens including Klezmatics Frank London, Matt Dariau, Lorin Sklamberg, & Alicia Svigals; Marty Ehrlich, Steve Bernstein, David Licht, Greg Wall, Michael Alpert, Matt Dariau, the incomparable Theodore Bikel--and my brother John Zorn, who had me rolling in the aisles and later out in the street with his anarchic/sardonic sensayuma (a rebel rouser of the spirit after my mein own heart, a tummler, a short order chef of amusement)...Leo Sorel from the Yiddish Forward snapped the photo which you can view here:

From the "Great Day on Eldridge Street" celebration--over 90 famed Jewish musicians gathered on the steps of the historic Eldridge Street Synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 10/12/07, Lower right front: Gary Lucas (in pink hat), to his left John Zorn, to his right David Krakauer; Directly behind them: "Great Day" organizer Yale Strom (in red shirt) and singer Elisabeth Schwartz (wearing a red flower); Also in photo: Frank London, Theodore Bikel, Don Byron etc.

photo by Leo Sorel, conceived and curated by Yale Strom | Click to enlarge

That night Caroline and I went up to 175th Street for a great night in Harlem at the United Palace Theater, the opulent and many-splendoured capacious former Loew's art deco movie palace very well preserved indeed from the 20's replete with several balconies and restored church organ, where two of my alltime favorite vocalists were holding forth: the legendary Bobby "Blue" Bland, and Van Morrison. His Regal Majesty Mr. Bland opened in seemingly slightly reduced circumstances/health, was led onto and off the stage by a retainer, and sadly sang seated--but he managed to hit some beautiful heights still with his supple honey-suckle voice still commanding attention over classic Joe Scott-arranged gems like "That's The Way Love Is" and "Cry Cry Cry"--he even produced a patented squall or two--the mainly white audience mainly chatted throughout, oblivious to the soul picnic set before them, but fuckit, whaddya expect these days--I consistently place Bobby's 1961 album "Two Steps from the Blues" on my Top 10 Desert Island Discs list (and am eternally grateful to Mr. C for turning me on to this masterpiece)--big thumbs up to Van the Man for selecting Bobby to open for him (and for bringing it all back home to Harlem--Steve Paul told me Van summoned him up there as his guest last time he was in town... Steve used to feature the young Van regularly at his legendary Scene club in the 60's during the Bert Berns produced "Blowing Your Mind!" era)...after Bobby finished there was a slight intermission and then Van came out and stoned everybody as usual, incredible pipes still, immaculate band (anybody know who the pedal steel/slide guy was?--fantastic player), Van rocked the house and them some (Them shared a bill with Beefheart at the Avalon Ballroom in '66, and Don told me that he enjoyed hanging with Van, who asked him how Don had learned to blow blues harmonica so well: "Van, you just drive down the road, roll down the window, and hang your hand holding your harp out in the wind--and you'll hear the free-est, blues-iest harp playing ever...")...Caroline and I were in ecstasy during the show, we love Van Morrison, I've taken cassettes/cds of both Van and Bobby Bland on the road with me for years-- so this was a dream concert for us...on the way out down the United Palace stairs I noticed signs festooning the lobby with some religious bromides/apothegms affixed, as indeed, this deco joint has been Reverend Ike's home base for years (yes, the very same, shall we say, controversial practitioner of "Thinkonomics", and the "Blessing of the Cadillacs" )--Best sign read: "It is better to be Nice then to be Right" (good one)..."Send in your blessings, and You, too, can learn the Secrets of how You can become--a Lucky So-and-So!"...

Up to Woodstock next day as Caroline had 2 films she'd cast on view at the Woodstock Film Festival: the Wim Wenders-produced "The House is Burning" (directed by new German cinema badboy Holger Ernst--screening of this film at Cannes much lauded by Peter Bogdanovich)... and Sol Tryon's "The Living Wake" (got a fantastic review in Variety)..and we stayed with old friend BBD&O producer Peter Feldman and his inamorata the lovely Lisa, graphic designer extraordinaire (Peter is genuinely a lucky so-and-so) at his cool house deep in the Mt. Tremper woods ...drove down to Rosendale to its funky old theater (very Last Picture Show) and was quite proud of Caroline's work for "House is Burning" (didn't see the other film unfortunately), an excellent film on the order of Larry Clark's "Kids", about a dysfunctional blue-collar Jersey family and their wayward son about to be shipped off to Iraq--expertly cast and acted on a Cassavete's level of realife, mix of actors and young non-professionals...Sunday morning Peter and I ran into Mr. Woodstock. Michael Lang, quite by accident in the local Mt.Tremper supermarket, who told me how much he'd dug Gods and Monsters' set at the Bearsville Theater the week before (yes!)...

We got back into the city late Sunday afternoon and then Sunday night I raced uptown and it was another descent into the Yale-strom as the Strom-ster, who'd been leading klezmer parades and events all over NYC and environs over the weekend since the "Great Day on Eldridge Street" photo shoot, finished with a gala Jewish music show at Symphony Space up on Broadway, which we were scheduled to play...Ernie Brooks looked like a no-show but at the 11th hour arrived just in the nick having motored his way from Long Island City in a record coupla minutes and me, Jason, Billy and him hit the boards to deliver my song "Jedwabne", which got a surprisingly (to me anyway, as it/we sounded like nothing else on the 3 hour plus bill that night) loud and positive reception from the crowd...wish I'd brought some cds to sell as alot of folks were looking to sample our wares afterwards :-( ...I especially enjoyed Theodore Bikel's set, what a consummate showman! Still going strong at 83 (we should all be so fortunate...abi gezunt!)

Monday night old friends Ruth and Steve Hendel were feted at the Chelsea Pier Lighthouse by a celebrity-studded crowd for their generous support of the New Group and New York theater in general (hot director Scott Elliot described them in his keynote address as "the Medicis of Larchmont", following some howlers from Ethan Hawke)...Tony Kushner and Wally Shawn were in the house, Ernie Brooks too with lovely wife Delphine, Richard Lorber from Koch/Lorber who just released Godard's "La Chinoise" to theaters (and which I'd just seen coincidentally seen that afternoon at Film Forum--great film, heavily referenced in Bertolucci's "The Dreamers"), also producer Stewart Rekant, for whose Showtime film "Trust Me" (about a summer camp for Christian, Jewish and Muslims) I'd provided music for a couple years ago--nice folks abounding, good food too, which we had to walk off snaking down the west side through Heinekenplein/ Gansevoort Hotel-land...

Had a great gig at CMJ at the Knit albeit a tad on the late-side (1:30am is not my idea of a salubrious starting point), lovely Patricia Boushel from Pop Montreal was there, in fact the whole crew from PM (D Seligman and co.) had driven down for the festival; also my guy Neil West the head of Itunes UK/Apple London; Ben Scheur and his bandmates from the cool band Escapist Papers; also my old friend Professor Hugh Foley in from Oklahoma for the festivities who so helpfully doubled as my roadie for the evening, probably one of the few roadies on the planet with a Ph.D-- he and Jason Candler had a fond reunion as both of 'em used to DJ on the infamous New Afternoon Show (along with Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy) on WNYU FM where I first made my NYC solo radio debut in '86-' night Noisettes Shingai Dan and Jamie played a terrific set as part of the Afro-Punk themed fete at the new Fillmore New York (s'funny, looks EXACTLY like the old Irving Plaza--how could that be??) ...and then went down to the Knit to catch a furious noise-core set from Montreal darlings AIDS Wolf featuring Andre from Pop Montreal on guitar and Seriepop silk-screen designers Yanick on drums and the fabulous Chloe on lead vocals (they produced my "Sounds of the Surreal" poster on display in the preceding blog), band generated a furious insectival drone of extreme noise, howling feedback, pummeling drums, manic and precisely splattered/detuned/re-jiggered guitars, big Beefheart fans to a man and a woman they did themselves proud... missed the Ruins unfortunately but hung with Tetsuya Yoshida their incredible drummer afterwards and discussed the Japanese new music scene outside the Knit it was raining intermittently but the 2:30am vibe was serene and friendly and...and...

and don't you dare miss John Leland's great new book "Why Kerouac Matters--The Lessons of 'On the Road' (They're Not What You Think)" from Viking Press, an appropriate publishing house if ever there wuz for this trenchant examination of the classic Kerouac bildungsroman...



PS Another Pop Quiz: First one to contact me at with the correct answer wins a copy of Seriepop's full color silk-screened poster from my recent "Sounds of the Surreal" performance at Pop Montreal:

The famous 6 note repetitive opening motif of Bernard Herrmann's classic "Vertigo" theme (covered on my first album "Skeleton at the Feast" as part of my "Hitchcocked" medley, soon to be reissued digitally) derives from which famous 19th century classical composition? (Hint: an opera).


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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Gaggle of Gig-gles

--yeah I know I'm late, I'm late (check out Stan Getz's amazing track 'o the same name from his fantastic 1960 "Focus" album for yet another take on the White Rabbit mythos, courtesy genius jazz arranger Eddie Sauter) but there has been such an overspill of work lately plus the messy busyness of living/reality principle impinging that I haven't had a chance to be here Now for y'all lately...

But first things first and yes we have a winner from the last pop quiz, 'twas graphic artiste extraordinaire Nulsh a/k/a Neil Hood up in the far-flung Scottish highlands, first to fling the bling and correctly identify the magnificent Bo Diddley (a/k/a Ellis McDaniels) as the guitarist on Little Walter's "Roller Coaster"--so Nulsh will be sent per his request a copy of my disc "The Universe of Absence" featuring enchanting me and Dutch lute meister Jozef Van Wissem exploring the land writer/editor emeritus pal Ed Ward was a close second, his entry coming all the way from byoootiful Berlin where he resides now and writes a fascinating blog called "Berlin Bites", check him out at

Speaking of Diddleydiddleydiddleydiddley Daddy, seek out The Animals' seminal track "The Story of Bo Diddley" for a gentle and funny pisstake on the Newcastle blues scene circa '64, courtesy of the fabulous Eric Burdon, blessed with one of the most iconic burrs in rock who seemingly dropped down the rabbit hole after producing an extraordinary body of work--hey what about his blinding "Love Is" double elpee of 1969, sporting an electric rave-up on "River Deep Mountain High" to rival you know who's, his crack New Animals band including great underrated UK keyboard monarch Zoot Money, the twin lead guitar attack of John Weider and Danny McCullough--check out their left-right psych-blues binary demolition of "As the Years Go Passing By"--and original Animals drummer Barry Jenkins bringing it all back home...not to mention Eric B midwifing the birth of Pachuco jazz/blues funkers War into the world a few years later with their incomparable "Spill the Wine" single).

Two nights ago played quite the satisfying set at the Gershwin Hotel on E. 27th St. with my friend guitarist Scott Goldman just in from LA, acoustic solos and duo improvs, Scott sounded brilliant with his effects laden custom 12 string tuned way way down low and me on my National steel, my old friend James Truman who I hadn't seen in quite some time was in the house looking great with a lovely female companion, plus a lot of other faces old and new (my man Mike Edison for one) were seen digging the scene in the oak-paneled back room of the Gershwin, which is heavy on the old Algonquin Club vibe...Nina Hagen did a brilliant set there awhile ago in the format of a talk-show hostess interviewing a languid, supine, be-dreadlocked Ari-Up from The Slits, lots of good non-mainstream artists walking the walk pass through these portals week after week on Tuesday nights at 8pm, courtesy of hip curators Neke Carson and Michael Weiner, you should really go have a looksee...

Had quite the gaggle of gigs over the last week, lessee, started with our BAM Cafe show on Friday with Gods and Monsters--we were at the Brooklyn Academy of Music to salute the 25th anniversary of the Next Wave Festival, under whose auspices my live soundtrack project for "The Golem" was commissioned back in 1989, a project which I've subsequently taken on the road all over the world (next month to Australia, to open the annual Festival of Jewish Cinema in both Melbourne and Sydney)...Jerry Harrison came in from the coast for this one, to join Ernie, Billy, Jason, Joey and me for a protracted and enjoyable blow at one of the best spots for cutting-edge cultural events in America--BAM/Next Wave major domo Joe Melillo was there front and center digging the proceedings, as was arts-are-trump ace bbq'er Don Palmer and his lady...

Mention should be made here of Don's culinary abilities as he served up a mean panoply of grilled saucisson in his Brooklyn brownstone backyard last July to a whole bunch of hungry folks-including Joe's Pub mover and shaker Bill Bragin, the actual one and only legendary Bunky of Bunky and Jake fame (the first, maybe the only, integrated 60's folk duo--please correct me here if I'm wrong here!), harmolodic funkateers Melvin Gibbs and David Gilmore , writin' guy/NPR'ster Mitch Myers plus jazz pundits Rafi Zabor, Lee Jeske, Howard Mandel and Bill Milkowski, radiant artsong chanteuse Nora York... Bob Marley chronicleer Vivien Goldman made a late afternoon pop-in dolled-up Pearly-Queen stylee, lots and lots of folks came out that sunny afternoon for mucho munchin', space'n, max'n and relax'n, on the corner stylee...mmm mmmm good were Brooklyn's own Best brand hotdogs (up there with Hebrew National hot diggitys taste-wise)--also on backyard griddle display were juicy Andouille spicy porkers, Italian sweet and hot fennel-flecked beauties, and chicken and apple and leek and cheese variants on yr basic some actual alligator sausage--very Johnny Horton (ex-Valentino Bobby Womack once contemplated releasing his own brand of bbq hot sauce in cahoots with r&b music biz hustler Sparky Martin under the moniker "Bobby-Q Sauce"--s'true)...

Don's Brooklyn brownstone triggers herein an appreciative segue/rave about the re-release of Hal Ashby's 1970 film "The Landlord" showing recently at Film Forum, a droll black comedy about a wealthy son of privilege (Beau Bridges) and his fumbling but well-meaning attempt to get down with the denizens of a Brooklyn ghetto brownstone as their putative landlord was in turns audacious, touching, hilarious, and shocking...special added treat: a funk-driven Al Kooper score with The Staples Singers among other guests on the soundtrack (Al is a friend and another one of the great ones who should be a lot better known by the younger generation of today)...they just don't make 'em like this anymore, kids, with satiric Terry Southern-ish "Twirling at Ole Miss"/epater les bourgeoisie esprit throughout on the touchy subjects of gentrification, miscegenation, upward/downward mobility, and race relations in general (a big hot button issue then as now)--reminiscent at times of the acid-laced tone of another underrated black humor film classic, George Axelrod's "Lord Love a Duck", also a soupcon of schtick swiped from Robert Downey Sr.'s "Putney Swope"...Lee Grant was simply incredible as the rich-bitch Westchester matronly lady who liquid-lunches/puffs the puff with the iconic Pearl Bailey, both of 'em getting thoroughly wrecked in the, rococco cameos from Robert Klein, Susan Anspach, and Lou Gossett Jr. amaze/hold yr attention throughout--definitely worth seeking out this unsung diamond in the mud at a theater near you (now when is the Criterion DVD release scheduled for?)...

Another good-un worthy of your attention is the recent reissue of Bert I. Gordon's (BIG-get it?) seminal "Village of the Giants" on a double-sided DVD with "Attack of the Puppet People" (not so good)--"Giants", in a beautiful color print, sports the laconic, mush -mouthed Beau Bridges essaying what is surely his first cinematic foray in this ultra-likable teenage acid rock sci-fi trash hokum, a weird admixture of beach party jiggle films (Toni Basil's in this one, way before someone slipped her a Mickey) and early LSD mystique exploitation fare that pre-dates Roger Corman's "The Trip" by a couple years, much more entertaining too, very very loosely based on H.G. Wells' "Food of the Gods", with a knockout cast that includes singer/actor Johnny Crawford of both "The Rifleman" and "Cindy's Birthday" fame (in a Woody Allen-ish move, guy now leads a trad jazz orchestra, was also a vocalist with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks some years ago, they played at George Bush's inaugural ball in 1989 together--true!)...also features Disney perennial/Shaggy Dogster Tommy Kirk, the aforementioned Beau, and a very very young"Ronny" Howard as Genius, the kid who mixes up the medicine that causes a weird plague of gigantism to sprout in the sleepy SoCal suburbs...

Best thing about it though is the score by Jack Nitszche, legendary Wall of Sound engineer/arranger and also producer/composer/recording artiste in his own right (his "The Lonely Surfer" was a national chart hit, inspiring Kim Fowley's UK answer record "The Rise of the Brighton Surf"), whose instrumental and arrangement touches to the Rolling Stones mid-60's LA recordings produced by Andrew Loog Oldham are peerless (for more info on Jack check out, you'll find there an audio clip of the partial backing track to "Satisfaction", where you can hear just how crucial Jack's largely invisible-to-the-naked ear contribution on the issued track served to glue the whole thing together)...(True Confession: I asked Jack to produce half of Gods and Monsters' projected first album in 1991 while I was officially signed to Columbia--'tis true--and he happily agreed...and told me my songs were "beautiful" (yes)--Chris and Tina were slated to produce the other half of the album...before a change of A&R guys forced the whole project to go south...a long story, which I'll save for another time)...anywho "Village of the Giants" sports a magnificent Nitzschean soundtrack (his first) featuring a tough Rumble-esque main title theme also known as "The Last Race" (an actual released single du jour) with a picked detuned lead guitar (or 6-string bass)--anyone out there know what instrument it is exactly, and who plays it? (Andrew thinks it was Billy Strange)...answers, please, to

Poster for "Sounds of the Surreal" and "Monsters from the Id" at Pop Montreal

Poster by Seripop | Click to enlarge

Reason I'm citing this now is, I use the trailer clip from this particular film (like I said, a good one, with cameo appearances from The Beau Brummels--also the great Freddie "Boom Boom" Cannon) in my "Monsters of the Id" project which made its Canadian debut up at Pop Montreal on Sunday night--and which received a rave review from Juan Rodriguez in the Montreal Gazette, check my homepage... Spirit 'o Nitzsche definitely in the air that night (Jack claimed to be a descendant of Wagner--certainly, there is a Wagnerian grandiosity about much of his music and titanic productions)--and quite anarcho-anachro-synchronistically (s'guy's a landfill spectre), Quentin Tarantino appropriates Nitzsche's "Last Race" theme as the main title music for his recent "Grindhouse" auto de fe "Death Proof"...Music Too Tough to Die! (Ace has a fantastic new compilation out now, volume two of Jack Nitzsche rarities, entitled "Hard Workin' Man", title song sung by Don Van Vliet a/k/a Captain Beefheart, taken from the soundtrack of Paul Schrader's great "Blue Collar" film...written and produced by Jack)...

Gary plays his original score to Rene Clair's "Entr'acte" (1924) as part of his "Sounds of the Surreal" project, the Portugeuse Assocation (an old synagogue), Montreal, Canada, 10/7/07

Gary improvises to Bert I. Gordon's "Village of the Giants" (1965) as part of his "Monsters from the Id" project at Pop Montreal

photos by Pierre Richardson | Click to enlarge

Gary improvises to Fernand Leger's "Ballet Mecanique" (1924) as part of his "Sounds of the Surreal" project at Pop Montreal

Gary plays to Ladislaw Starewicz's 1912 animated film "The Cameraman's Revenge" as part of his "Sounds of the Surreal" project at Pop Montreal

photos by Valerie | Click to enlarge

Out on the town a couple weeks ago Caroline and I partook of the big-hearted post-modern smorgasbord "The Other Here" served up hot by our friends the great choreographer Annie-B Parson, her partner actor/director Paul Lazar, and their Big Dance Theater company, which was on display for a couple weeks at Dance Theater Workshop over on W. 19th Street. A convergence of Okinawan pop music, modern dance, Japanese texts, quirky songs, actual pep-talks taken from tapes of a US sales convention, beautiful imagistic sets and shimmering imagery, cutting edge lighting and special effects, it was an absolutely brilliant and engaging entertainment and thought-provoking philosophical treatise/assemblage that in the best of all possible worlds should be running eternally on Broadway right now (at least as long as "The Fantasticks")...Molly Hickock and company were superb throughout, Annie and Paul gave everyone there both a splendid good time and a good poke in both the eyes and ears, special mention should be made of a fabulous portable wooden box/aquarium with (apparently) a flat screen tv inside projecting/ illuminating a fish swimming round and round that grew and grew, a la "The Host" (great Korean horror flick from last year that Paul actually starred in)--or the Loch Ness Monster from the fabulous George Pal's 60's fantasy classic "The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao", which began as a goldfish and then doubled its size every few seconds to the sound of skirling Scottish bagpipes (hoot mon, Bozo!)...

Pop Montreal was fun fun fun! Got hooked up on arrival with a superb smoked meat sandwich on rye, a Dr. Brown's black cherry soda, and fries from Schwartz's courtesy Dan the Man Seligman and Aaron and Josh and Andre from the Pop Montreal staff right before my midnight show at the Portuguese Association (appropriately enough, an old synagogue)--yeah! Deli par excellence, on a par with Katz's or Cantor's, maybe they're related :-)

In a mystic feverish fog, one part delirium no-sleepum (pace Robin Williamson), 2 parts in-the-moment inspiration, I played my heart out to a very very vocally supportive crowd, which included lovely Chloe and her partner Yannick from Seriepop, the Montreal design team who created a gorgeous silk-screen poster for my show which you can see on my website gigs calendar in a link on the October 7th entry, and she gifted me with a few extras which I am going to use as prizes for my next pop quiz, so stay tuned--hung with Prof. Sandy Pearlman and the radiant Rose sisters Vanya and Carina over the best bagels and cream cheese in the known universe next morning (from Le Bagel du Hebraique Heroique... or something like that) at the Social Club in Mile's End the morning after, did an interview with Vanya's roommate that afternoon, then celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with a fantastic meal at my pal Candace's house, joining Haji, Dan, jammed with soulful singer/songwriter Jesse Jackson and a fantastic Portuguese acoustic guitarist Norberto Lobo. before I toddled back to the hotel, flying back to NYC to play the gig with Scott in NYC the next night...great festival, I heard Patti Smith tore the house down for her show...and my pal the legendary filmmaker Albert Maysles ("Gimme Shelter", "Grey Gardens" and a host of other groundbreaking documentaries) was feted and given a Master Class the night before I arrived at the same joint, I last saw Al up in his Harlem offices a couple weeks ago where we kibitzed about some of his current work (films for both Rufus Wainwright and Sean Lennon) and about "Lalee's Kin", the documentary he'd shot for HBO and received a Sundance award for, and which I'd scored...special thanks to Patrica Boushel from the National Film Board of Canada who gifted me with a complete box set of the works of pioneering Canadian animator Norman McLaren on DVD...I love Montreal!

Between the BAM Cafe gig on Friday and Pop Montreal Sunday night I managed to sandwich in an epic road trip up to Woodstock, Bearsville precisely, where my man Fred Perry, cultural catalyzer/energizer (the guy who psychedelicized the Greater New York era in 1967 by bringing copies of the--at the time--English import only versions of "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" and "Are You Experienced?" up to WNEW's Scott Muni, who played them extensively) had organized a Gods and Monsters gala at the Bearsville Theater, right across the road from Bearsville Studios where I produced Peter Gordon's "Innocent" album (the occasion of my first meeting the late great genius Arthur Russell. who drove down from Maine for the mix of "That Hat" and made the very astute observation that his music sounded slower when apprehended in the hall outside the closed door of the control room...also a long-haired gone to grey Albert Grossman sporting a purple tie-dyed t-shirt, who strode into Studio A one day during our session in 1985 and remarked that this was the first time he had ever heard a 12-tone row played in his studio)...after a radio interview and acoustic performance on WDST who'd been plugging the show for weeks, and an excellent set from our Mighty Quinn label mates Hello Dali (super nice guys, very helpful and generous, plus they played like demons) we had a terrific gig with the full crew of Jerry, Ernie, Billy, Jason and Joey before a nicely full house boasting luminaries Michael Lang, the cherubic curly-haired imp/resario responsible for the original Woodstock Festival; Steven Saporta from the Invasion Group and his lovely wife; world music maven and Roswell Rudd's main squeeze Verna Gillis; percussionist extraordinaire Jerry Marotta who I'd last seen playing with Peter Gabriel and Tony Levin; legendary luthiers Joe Viellette and s Harvey Citron, plus Harvey's galpal my old friend Janet Perr, who was looking great--Janet is a brilliant award-winning graphic designer and illustrator with a new book out soon, "Yiddish for Dogs" on Hyperion (don't be a shmendrick, buy a copy!--the perfect gift for Hanukkah); Peter Feldman, ace BBD&O producer with immaculate musical taste buds; the great Levon Helm's manager Barbara O'Brian; stellar recording artists John Berenzy and Traci Bonham--legendary Led Zep drummer Bonzo's daughter--and her hubby, who writes for Rolling Stone; Mighty Quinn mainman Jerry Roche looking splendiferous in full Woodstock regalia, and many other local excellent gig, the guys sounded fantastic, we got a wonderful audience buzz back, and I'm still getting email from new fans raving about our show...

Next up, an appearance with my guys at Symphony Space this Sunday for my pal Yale Strom's "A Great Day on Eldridge Street" project/festival which brings to gather many many international klezmer and Jewish music stars (including Theodore Bikel and Zalman Mlotek) for a photo shoot based on Art Kane's famous "A Great Day in Harlem" photo of the cream of NYC-based jazz musicians circa 1958) (Art Kane's son Jonathan Kane was my mainstay drummer in Gods and Monsters for many years, bless him...and also a series of concerts around the city, edning at Symphony Space...and then we're performing at the CMJ Festival this Thursday night at the Knitting Factory around 1am--I do hope to see you there!

Lastly, as an alternative holiday gift option, you could do no better (well, maybe) than giving bottles of Zappa-flavored beer sporting Frank Zappa's magnificent mug-ly uggh (fat Frank on a hard roll--gag me with a spoonerism!) from the sleeve of his "Absolutely Free" album, emblazoned with the epithet "Kill Ugly Radio" (hear hear!)--a beer recently issued by a California microbrewery to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of said seminal album; they've already done a "Freak Out!" anniversary edition, and coming soon, a 40th anniversary salute to the Mothers' classic "We're Only In It For the Money" album (you're the Other people too!)--details here (I've already purchased several as gifts for discerning friends) (could be You...)




Blogger c.deluxx said...

hey gary , it's chloe.
it was great , great , great to meet you! the set on sunday was inspiring , i hope to see you in new york next week . andre tells me you wanna come to our show.


10/12/2007 11:39 AM  
Blogger pierre richardson said...

Glad you made use of the photos!


11/07/2007 10:44 PM  

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