A latter-day secular Martin Luther of sorts has nailed some incendiary, disputatio-ready claims to the door of the Whitney Museum of American Art—while posing, no less, as the institution of critique itself.
Indeed, certain individuals from the arts-related branches of Occupy Wall Street—employing, much like Martin Luther and his supporters, the swiftest communicative forms to date—sent around a very curious, very self-critical, a bit self-flattering, significantly OWS-endorsing and, of course, rather completely false press release yesterday.
Los Angeles synth artist Ramona Gonzalez had been a poster girl for modern lo-fi, at least up until now. Her Nite Jewel project has several notably hazy releases. She's a close associate of Ariel Pink, and married to his Haunted Graffiti collaborator Cole MGN. But the smooth pop found on this year's One Second of Love is changing that perception a bit. The record's title track is probably the best thing she's ever recorded, keeping her skewed electronic aesthetic, but making it sound more electrically in the moment. To properly capture the record's fuller sound, Gonzalez is touring the country for the first time with a full band, and ditching the prominent use of the backing tracks she's had to rely on for previous performances.
We talked with Gonzalez, Ahead of her headlining show at Bowery Ballroom tonight, about why she doesn't consider her sound "soft," the joy of collaborating creatively with a spouse, the pitfalls of modern home-recording, and the decision to stop including "all that weird shit" in her songs.
The L Magazine: In writing about your music or talking about your music, people often associate it with softness. You see the words “soft-light,” “soft-focus,” “soft-rock.” Is “softness” a concept that you are actively interested in?
Ramona Gonzalez: Softness? I’ve never actually heard that before.
Well, “soft-focus” is a description that's often used. I’ve read you, yourself talk about doing homages to “soft-rock.” I just wonder if softness is a thing you think about in making your music?
I don’t think so. I mean, I’ve always tried to not be soft in a way. To not be ultra-feminine in a soft way, as a person. So it’s never really been my goal. I mean I know soft rock has that word in it, but it also has “rock” in it, you know? It’s not like I’m making folk music, or girly fairy music. So I guess I don’t identify with it that much, and if it happens it’s sort of an accident.
With this latest record being sharper, for lack of a better word, than your other releases, is it you finally being able to achieve the sound that you’ve always wanted to do, or just a matter of drawing on different, distinct influences?
After continued press inquiry, including a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Jewish Daily Forward, Hynes's office released a statement today to the Forward to explain his continued withholding of information.
“The circumstances here are unique,” Assistant District Attorney Morgan Dennehy wrote in an April 16 letter to the Forward. “Because all of the requested defendant names relate to Hasidic men who are alleged to have committed sex crimes against Hasidic victims within a very tight-knit and insular Brooklyn community, there is a significant danger that the disclosure of the defendants’ names would lead members of that community to discern the identities of the victims.”
In fact, the insularity of these communities has been one of the challenges for law enforcement in prosecuting sex crimes within them, which is why, three years ago, the Kol Tzedek or "Voice of Justice" program was created. The goal of Kol Tzedek was to provide a way for victims of sex crimes to come forward without being ostracized by their communities, and to create networks between rabbis and law enforcement in a culturally-sensitive way. Hynes credits Kol Tzedek with the high number of arrests over the last there years, and cites concerns about compromising the program as another reason not to disclose suspect names:
Walmart has been jonesing to open a store within the five boroughs—most likely in Brooklyn—since at least April 2010. The company has the support of the mayor, who has "been a big supporter of the government not telling people where they can do business," but it has sworn enemies in labor unions and the city council.
Piecing together tweets from throughout and after the show, I can firmly say that the show was: “#amazing.” Another relevant Twitter update: “Skipping the ‘secret’ refused show at Acheron to go to sleep.” Good stuff there. According to setlist.fm, Refused’s set began with a cover of Earth Crisis’ “Firestorm,” followed by much of 1998 classic The Shape of Punk to Come, with “Rather Be Dead” and “Coup D'État,” both from 1996’s Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent, making appearances, too.
And now I hate myself even more. Here are some pictures, via Twitter:
Moore is accused of hitting an 18-year-old woman in the head with a hammer in Bed-Stuy after midnight on April 9, after which he forced her to perform oral sex on him in an alley near Monroe Street. The next attack occurred fewer than 12 hours later, when he allegedly used a hammer on a 22-year-old woman in Brownsville, who fought him off as he sought to assault her in the lobby of her apartment building, the Fort Greene Patch reports.
Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed data from 702 non-smoking pregnant women from low-income areas in North Manhattan and the South Bronx who wore a machine in a backpack for two days during their third trimester to measure the quality of surrounding air. Scientists found that the children of the women who had been exposed to high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (or PAHs) were nearly twice as likely to be obese by age 5 than the children of women exposed to lower levels, and 2.26 times as likely to be obese by age 7.
A thick crowd of circumstantially idling revelers packed so tightly into Front Room Gallery on Friday night for the opening of Cloud Nine, a large group exhibit curated by Larry Walczak, that the socio-spatial effect was one of generally endothermic stasis, perhaps a bit like a full jar of brine-bathed hearts of palm stalks under a heat lamp. That is of course not an uncommon outcome, so to speak, for an art opening, bit it was interesting given that the crammed throng had agglomerated for an exhibit devoted to "visual interpretations of the concept of 'ecstasy'." Had the room's contents gotten much closer to critical mass, the exhibit's theme might have been physically interpreted as well—to the imaginable detriment of the artwork. Perhaps I didn't stay long enough to witness such an explosive end to the festivities.
I didn't exactly expect to see such a smart, reasonable response in the mainstream press, though. The discourse around sex and sex work in the US can get pretty ugly, pretty fast. Remember Melissa Petro, the teacher fired for being open about her sex worker past? Anyway, so I was pleased and surprised to come across this ABC piece today. It has some great quotes from smart people, including Sienna Baskin from the Sex Workers Project:
“The [sewer overflows] are really not what’s contaminating the canal with chemicals,” the Department of Environmental Protection's Eileen Mahoney told the Daily News.
We'll keep work-shopping options. In the meantime...
St. Vincent - "Krokodil" & "Grot"
We've talked about this song twice in a week already, once in reference to a Coachella-stealing stage dive, and once in anticipation of its RSD release. Now that the 7"s have been sold out and the thing itself is online, it deserves one last mention, because it's one of the best singles we've heard all year. It's brutal, sure. The alternate spelling places its subject matter as being about the cheap, Russian crack-version of heroin that gives you human lizard scales with extended use. But you can almost hear Annie Clark smiling behind that megaphone filter as she thrashes into the chorus. The guitar tone here is a candied pop version of an industrial sound, recalling the sickly pinks and blues on the cover of Pretty Hate Machine. Destined to be a live favorite, greatest hit, what have you.
Andrew Hurst's always engaging, often absolutely arresting collage and assemblage artworks challenge one to define them, to place them in fitting contexts, to dimensionalize them—no matter how beside the point such definitions and categorizations might be. It is an exploratory challenge, at root. One of peering into layers until imagined peelings reveal deeper footings. It is also a largely rewarding venture. You are there, the strata are there, go to work.
The news follows last month's announcement that the park would be receiving a three-and-a-half foot deep swimming pool in July, funded by a deal over condo construction within the park's borders. As a result of that deal, the city obtained $750,000 for a much-wanted, temporary sports "bubble," but the project fell through last October when it couldn't find a developer to carry out the rest.
Finally a good break from hectic weekdays..
I would normally agree with the other comments on this board. Or I'd simply stop…