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10/25/06 12:00am
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10/25/2006 12:00 AM |


Here’s how it works

In an attempt to prove once and for all that bands need to be far more careful when choosing their names, we’ve rummaged through the CMJ schedule and handpicked 10 bands we’ve never heard of, and, before actually listening to their music, given each a speculative review based solely on their chosen moniker. Continue reading to see if our judges, Mike Conklin and Emilie Luse, were on point.
 

Now let’s meet the contestants


CONTESTANT NUMBER 1
Their Name: Probably Vampires

Our Judges’ Reaction: Probably!? As if you couldn’t tell from the fangs and the pallid faces? A group of high school seniors  who wear capes, watch Troma films and are into the Cure, but were embarrassed about it the night before they had to file their band name for the CMJ festival entries. .
The Verdict: Dead wrong. These are approachable twenty-somethings who are so afraid to use four-letter words that their latest release is called Dang. Grand, harmonized power-pop in the New Pornographers tradition.


CONTESTANT NUMBER 2
Their Name: The Mall

Our Judges’ Reaction: Everyone’s favorite place to go to second base. This band is going to be awesome.
The Verdict: Their whimsical sputtering organ chords sound like Deerhoof, but the cockney Flogging Molly vocals put the whole sound off balance. Then you find out they’re from San Francisco and it hurts even more.


CONTESTANT NUMBER 3


Their Name: Child Abuse

Our Judges’ Reaction: Clearly, this is either a moronic metal band obsessed with Marilyn Manson-style shock-rock or an equally moronic post-everything instrumental band that…wait, nevermind. Honestly? We have no idea what this could possibly be all about.
The Verdict: So they do this fucked-up, mostly instrumental metal thing that is almost as frightening as the prospect of actual child abuse.


CONTESTANT NUMBER 4
Their Name: The Awkward Stage

Our Judges’ Reaction: These guys wear their lack of credentials on their sleeve. They’re humble about still being in their formative days as a band, but pretentious enough to try for a play on words, like the Decemberists with an inferiority complex.
The Verdict: Whoa, these guys aren’t joking about being awkward!  From the band site: “Youth crushed me. All I could do was play music and goof off to cope.” Although the xylophones were predictable, they’re more sincere than expected. Less literary, more falsetto, like the Shins or Kings of Convenience.


CONTESTANT NUMBER 5
Their Name:

Skeletons & The Girl Faced Boys
Our Judges’ Reaction: This is an easy one. Just think about it: Picture a sickeningly skinny lead singer, all adam’s apple and protruding ribs. Now picture four more of them and admire their perfectly applied mascara and naturally beautiful soft skin. This, people, can only be one thing: emo.
The Verdict: Wrong again. This will definitely appeal more to all the freak-folk kids: weird, lo-fi pop with electronic touches keeping things interesting.


CONTESTANT NUMBER 6
Their Name: Made Out of Babies

Our Judges’ Reaction: The band came up with this name after an anarcho (little ‘a’!) anti-racism, fascism, sexism, able-ism meeting at their local co-op/squat. They were eating dumpster-dived donuts with jelly filling and the one of them who wasn’t vegan asked what gelatin is made of. This is the answer.
The Verdict: Not entirely wrong, but they’re not political. Like a thick Alice in Chains jungle safari, with a screaming female lead singer.


CONTESTANT NUMBER 7
Their Name: Colour Revolt

Our Judges’ Reaction: We will bet you one million dollars that the people in this band are not from a country that typically employs the “ou” in words such as color or favorite. In fact, they’re probably from New Jersey and grew up taking the wrong side in the great Oasis vs. Blur feud of the mid-90s. (That would be the Oasis side.)
The Verdict: So they’re not from New Jersey, but they’re not exactly from the other side of the pond either (Mississippi). Nor are they the Brit-pop-loving tools we thought they’d be. In fact, their dreamy indie-pop is enjoyable—perfect for fans of the New Year.


CONTESTANT NUMBER 8
Their Name: Supastition

Our Judges’ Reaction: This could go one of two ways. A co-worker suggested that perhaps we’re dealing with a Stevie Wonder/Rick James kind of thing, which would be awesome, obviously. We think it’s more likely, though, that the misspelling is indicative of a late-90s nu-metal thing, which is considerably less awesome. We’re thinking five-string bass, lots of screaming and a double-bass drum pedal.
The Verdict: How did we not see this coming? Like all the great misspellers before him, Supastition is actually a rapper. And a talented one at that, specializing in the innocent boasting from the genre’s early days. Sample lyric: “She know my sex will last longer than Rachael Ray meals.”


CONTESTANT NUMBER 9
Their Name: International Playboys

Our Judges’ Reaction: Now that every shitty band on the planet cites the Smiths and Morrissey as its biggest influence, we’re gonna go ahead and assume these folks named themselves after Moz’s brilliant ‘The Last of the Famous International Playboys’. The sound? Emo/pop-punk nonsense, but the kind where the sickeningly skinny, dark-haired singer has an embarrassingly over-developed flare for the dramatic.
The Verdict: So we were wrong, but it’s not like we would have missed out on much. They’re one of those “hard-drinkin’” classic rock bands who make a bigger deal about their “crazy” stage presence than their actual songs.


CONTESTANT NUMBER 10
Their Name: About

Our Judges’ Reaction: Finally. This band is at the outer limits of irony, the completely banal. The most “user-friendly-tech” sounding name possible. It’s like calling a band AskJeeves  or Excel. This has got to be a noise outfit that combines the bleeps, the creeps and the sweeps from the Space Balls radar-tech guy with feedback, heavy drums, and bad Casio tones.
The Verdict: They do use electronics, but not in a way that is obtrusive to melody. They sound like the Rapture enhanced by break-core with a great big nod to traditional punk rock.

10/25/06 12:00am
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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31
Go see…
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings at Hammerstein Ballroom

You’ll have four other nights to go see every single silly indie-rock band you can think of, so set aside this one night to be regaled by the electrifying soul singer Sharon Jones, whose live show has garnered rave reviews across the board. You might want to show up late, though: there’s no reason you should have to sit through Medeski, Martin & Wood.

If you can’t get in to that show, go see:
The Muggabears at Club Midway

One of the most promising bands in New York City got stuck on an otherwise shitty bill, which is disappointing, but the time you spend waiting for the Muggabears to play will be well worth it. They’re a perfect cross between Pavement and Sonic Youth: noisy and complex, but with a consistent respect for melody.

And if you can’t even get in there, try this:
Suzanne Vega at Blue Note

What do you want from us? Opening night is typically a slow one, and this year more so than ever. But there are worse ways to spend a Tuesday night than sitting at the Blue Note yelling and screaming about how badly you want to hear ‘Luka’, no?

Avoid at all costs!
There’s a lot of stuff you should avoid, but we’re gonna go ahead and say you’ll want to stay far away from the Tia Carrera show, who we’re told isn’t the girl from Wayne’s World. We don’t know about you guys, but we’re not gonna chance it.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1
Go see…
Tapes N’ Tapes, Cold War Kids and Dr. Dog

We’re not entirely sure we stand by any of these bands, with the exception of Dr. Dog, whose fuzzed-out, sun-shiney Americana is straight-up irresistible, but the fact is this: Lots of folks are writing about the other two, so all the cool kids will be there. You are a cool kid, aren’t you?

If you can’t get in to that show, go see:
Swearing at Motorists and Patrick Walsh at Fontana’s

CMJ’s promoting Swearing at Motorists as one of the bigger shows this year, which is surprising, as we thought we were the only people in the entire world who like the rowdy duo’s heavy, Ohio-bred indie rock. Show up early for Patrick Walsh (formerly of Varistor).

And if you can’t even get in there, try this:
Steve Earle, Laura Cantrell and Allison Moorer at Southpaw

As opposed to option numero uno for tonight, this show will be attended by exactly zero cool kids, which could be exactly what you’re looking for, because, holy shit, those people are fucking exhausting. Instead, you’ll be surrounded by beer-drunk, bearded alt-country fans, who are always fun. Sort of.

Avoid at all costs!
Ben Lee and Rooney at Irving Plaza

Ok, let us get this straight… we know Lee is the Ben that dated Claire Daines, and we know that we don’t really care for him. But Rooney….is that the band Max Fisher plays drums in, and who wrote the theme song for The O.C.? Or is it the band that merely appeared on The O.C.? Either way, you know what (not) to do.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2
Go see…
Silversun Pickups at Pianos

Hard-driving fuzz rock and a girl playing bass — really, it’s no wonder these guys have been collecting “early Smashing Pumpkins” comparisons left and right. And as far as we know, their frontman’s not a nutty megalomaniac.

If you can’t get in to that show, go see:
Aloha at Europa

Polyvinyl’s unsung heroes just put out their best album yet, despite the fact that they’ve been rocking their indie-prog post-whatever sound for years. Now you can see that new stuff live, complete with a shitload of marimba.

And if you can’t even get in there, try this:
The Photo Atlas at The Annex

Call it a guilty pleasure because these guys might end up on the soundsystem at Hot Topic in a few months, but they’re way more At the Drive-In than Fall Out Boy. Not that we don’t dig ‘Dance Dance’ from time to time.

Avoid at all costs!

We don’t have anything against the Shins, and they’re playing with Sub Pop’s newest noteworthy signees, Loney Dear and Oxford Collapse. Not to mention the Thermals, whose new single has been blowing everything else out of the water. You’re just never getting in, is all

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3
Go see…
Albert Hammond Jr. and Tokyo Police Club at Mercury Lounge

Not only will the audience here feature many of the same cool kids from the Tapes ‘n Tapes show I told you to go to, but it will likely feature famous cool kids out to see their big-haired guitarist friend from the Strokes playing selections from his new solo record. Also: Tokyo Police Club’s excitable post-punk that is worth catching.


If you can’t get in to that show, go see:
The Black Hollies and Chris Mills at Cake Shop

This is going to be a fun one: The Hollies packing a tiny venue with all sorts of sweaty folks looking to dance. Plus alt-country-cum-chamber-pop songwriter Chris Mills, who will be performing with Sally Timms. Get there early for newcomers Health, whose forthcoming debut record is full of all sorts of 90s indie-rock goodness.


And if you can’t even get in there, try this:
Richard Buckner at the Knitting Factory

If by this point you’ve been turned away from two places, you’ll already be pretty bummed, right? So we suggest going to see the perpetual-downer genius Richard Buckner over at the Merge Showcase. And who knows? Maybe Superchunk will play. 


Avoid at all costs:!
The Jade Tree Showcase at NorthSix

Say what you will about that Micah P. Hinson guy everyone seems to like, but as far as we’re concerned he (along with the Pedro The Lion guy) isn’t enough to save the once great Jade Tree from what they’ve become: a backward-looking hardcore/punk label that brings nothing new to the table.


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4
Go see…
The Fall at Hiro Ballroom

There’s always one or two weird legends on the CMJ schedule, and this year’s selection is an impressive one. Go watch Mark E. Smith as he proves once again that all your favorite bands were right to rip him off — everyone from Sonic Youth and Pavement to all the new hype-machine products, even if they aren’t aware of it.


If you can’t get in to that show, go see:
Foundry Field Recordings at Crash Mansion

Now that Grandaddy’s called it quits, and you’re left in need of a new blippy, fuzzed-out pop band to love, it’s the perfect time to embrace the addictive sounds of this Missouri band that throws in enough strange instrumentation to keep things interesting.


And if you can’t even get in there, try this:
De Novo Dahl at Arlene’s Grocery

I know, I know. I don’t really want to set foot inside Arlene’s either, but all is forgiven during CMJ. These guys played our party last year, and they killed. Upbeat, guitar- and keyboard-driven pop songs played by people in these weird yellow and red striped Victorian swimsuits.


Avoid at all costs!
Chris Conley at the Knitting Factory

Chris Conley is the lead singer for the shitty, has-been New Jersey emo band Saves The Day; we assume he’s even more precious and unbearable in a solo setting. And anyway, if you want to hang out with teenagers, there’s always the mall.

10/25/06 12:00am

In the past few years, Portland, Oregon’s the Decemberists have, on the strength of their interminably weird, but consistently catchy and addictive folk-pop, become the toast of the indie rock world. And now that they’ve signed to a major label (Capitol Records) to release The Crane Wife, they’re only growing more popular, playing one of the biggest shows at this year’s CMJ. Interestingly, their music has gotten even weirder. Frontman Colin Meloy took some time to chat with us before heading out on tour.

The L Magazine: I know you guys have played CMJ a bunch of times in the past, but I wanted to talk to you about the fact that yours is being billed as one of the biggest shows there this year. How have your experiences with CMJ changed over the years?
Colin Meloy: I actually had no idea that it was a CMJ show. I think we just happened to be playing at the same time, and they set aside something like 50 passes for CMJ pass-holders. I hope that people don’t get the idea that it’s open to anyone at CMJ because I think it’s already sold out. I think CMJ just kind of took it over for some reason. Not that we don’t love CMJ, but I just had no idea that it was happening. And I hope that it’s not misleading to people who want to come to the shows, and then get all the way across town and realize they can’t get in.

The L: What were your previous experiences like at CMJ?
CM: We played the first time at a Kill Rock Stars showcase at some place in Brooklyn, and then we played a show at the Bowery. And it’s always kind of a jumble-fuck. That’s what all those festivals are like. I don’t want to bad mouth CMJ because I think it’s great, and it’s a great opportunity for people to get out there and have people from the college industry check them out. But I think it’s just another one of those jumble-fucks ­— showcase festivals where bands don’t get paid shit.

The L: There seems to be a recurring theme in a lot of the press you’ve received for the new record, even in a review we published here at The L — that there’s no sign whatsoever of you guys making a conscious effort to dumb things down for your first major label release, and that, in fact, it’s probably your most challenging record to date. Was this something you thought about, or did you try to keep it out of your head as much as possible?
CM: Yeah, definitely. It wasn’t a decision that we took lightly. It required a lot of thought. It was probably a year and a half worth of consideration before we finally decided to sign.

The L: More so than the business aspect, I was wondering if it affected your writing process at all.
CM: Oh, right… Yes and no. This is the record we would have done regardless. I don’t think the label had any influence at all. If anything, we’d been wanting to be more confident and more assured of our voice, just to dispel any thoughts that we might be deliberately trying to make something more accessible in order to appeal to a mainstream audience, even though that, I think, is a little shallow. We just wanted to make sure we put out a confident record so that people knew we were still doing these records on our own terms.

The L: It’s interesting, actually. You’re right that it’s sort of presumptuous and almost insulting and condescending to assume that it’s something that would have crossed your mind. It’s almost as if people are acting like they’re surprised that you didn’t go out and make a very different kind of record.
CM: I guess, considering the track record of what it is to have your major label debut. I mean, it’s probably more practical to make a really accessible record, and that’s probably the smartest thing to do: to make a radio hit and rest on your laurels for the rest of your days, even if you get critically despised. But I don’t think that’s anything a) we were comfortable doing, and b) I don’t think it’s anything we were able to do. I don’t think I’m much of a radio hit writer. So I just kind of write the songs I write and that’s it.

The L: Going back to what you started talking about before, I did want to talk to you about the business aspect of the record deal. We’ve traditionally heard so much about people warning against the major label thing, but it’s something that’s happening with a bit more frequency now. Do you think anything has changed over the years? Were bands just doing stupid things and getting fucked by labels, or have the times changed so that people at labels are different? Are bands just being a bit smarter in the decision making process and asking for the proper amount of freedom?
CM: Well, there are still tons of bands who are getting fucked over and making bad decisions. And I do think that Steve Albini’s essay is still really important. [If you’re not familiar with the essay, Google “The Problem With Music” – Ed.] Mostly, I think if you’re a brand new band, and maybe you have a single or something, and all of a sudden you get all this major label interest — I do think in that situation it’s a much better idea to sign to an indie label, because you have no one in your corner. You don’t have a fan base to potentially use as leverage, essentially. I think when we signed, we were kind of untouchable because we did have a fanbase, and we could continue to do this; it wasn’t like we needed Capitol Records in order to continue. It was something we could have done ourselves, and I think Capitol recognized that. And that’s one of the main reasons they wanted to be involved. They would have stopped us if we had made a record full of fart noises, but I think any indie label would have taken issue with that.

The L: Do you think you’ve seen anything change because of how much attention people are paying to things like blogs and online marketing tools.
CM: Well yeah, it’s certainly given a lot of power to the music-snob world. All of a sudden rock snobs are more in power than ever, and I think it has a profound influence on the way the industry runs. They see a single person’s opinion and if he happens to be in a position of blog power, he’s somebody you have to cater to, whereas they probably wouldn’t have thought twice about that person five years ago.

The L: Where did the well-documented prog influences come from on the new album? Was it something that came out more when you had more time in the studio?
CM: Yeah. All the songs were written from my perspective, being influenced by bands like Pentangle, but once I’d hand them off to Jenny Conlee, who has a really strong background in prog, like Jethro Tull and ELP, she kind of ran with it, and as a consequence, you have more traditional prog elements.

The L: How long were you guys in the studio for the new record?
CM: About two and a half months.

The L: I know that you recently became a father for the first time, and I wanted to know if it’s changed the way you’ve thought about being in a band and following this line of work as opposed to another that might be more stable, and, not to mention, keep you at home a bit more.
CM: This band is actually remarkably stable as far as a career goes. I guess it’s not the same as working for a mutual fund or something like that, but that’s the nature of rock and roll. But also, it was something Carson [girlfriend] and I had been intent on, the fact that I was going to be on the road a lot definitely played into the decision-making process. And I think part of me is just excited to have him grow up in this environment. We spend a lot of time with profoundly creatively people who are doing exactly the thing they want to do in life, and that’s a pretty powerful role model for kids.

The L: Do you think you’ll be taking the whole family out on tour?
CM: Definitely. Once he gets a little bit older and isn’t as susceptible to weird sleep schedules and colds and the like. I don’t think a bus is a very healthy place for a baby. But as soon as he gets a little bit older, I think it would be an awesome place for him to be.
(The Decemberists play Hammerstein Ballroom on November 3.)

09/27/06 12:00am
09/27/2006 12:00 AM |

I’m sure you’ve had out-of-town visitors say “New York is so expensive. I don’t know how you can afford to live here.” Little do they know that we all have our way of making ends meet, whether it’s buying knock-off hand bags, borrowing your neighbor’s internet connection or eating small dishes at upscale joints. These are just some examples of the sacrifices we make in order to live in the land of opportunity and enjoy it to the best of our ability. Here are a few places throughout the city that are enticing, tasty and won’t cut into your rent money.     

09/27/06 12:00am

Sometimes, pumpkin-spice margarita-tinis, green apple zima slushees, or  flaming shots of Jäger just don’t cut it.  Maybe you want to avoid getting carded.  Maybe you don’t want diabetes and cirrhosis. Or maybe you just don’t get off on sugar like you used to.  Whatever the reason, it’s time to have a real drink. The kind where you can taste the alcohol.  The kind your grandfather gave you a sip of, teaching you that it’s possible to choke and vomit at the same time.  Try a few of these expertly-crafted classics and you’ll learn why people drink them.  The other reason people drink them?  They’re fucking delicious.

Old Fashioned  at Passerby, 436 W 15th St.
Some Wednesday night, venture to this dark Chelsea block and enter the first unmarked black glass door you see. You might think the pulsating disco floor and art industry clientele don’t bode well, but one look at the enormous steel juicer perched on the George Nakashima bar will set you straight. Wednesday is when owner Toby Cecchini tends bar solo and atones for inventing the now-omnipresent Cosmopolitan by mixing, quite simply, the best drinks on earth. It won’t be quick, but it will be worth it. What sets his Old Fashioned apart? Anyone can use the best bourbon, but Toby makes his own Maraschino cherries, muddles them expertly with citrus and uses two types of bitters. And he uses the espresso machine’s steam spout to make fresh simple syrup for every drink. But what’s the secret ingredient? It’s love damnit.

Aviation  at Angel’s Share, 8 Stuyvesant St.

Be prepared to wait for a seat at this open secret, hidden behind a door in a bustling Japanese restaurant, so you can try the Martini’s infinitely more interesting cousin. Frankly, it even has a better name: the Aviation. Another bracing classic, this perfect intro to gin has been largely forgotten. The bartenders at Angel’s Share are working on changing this, with the loving obsessive ways of a sushi chef. Gin, maraschino liqueur, and fresh lemon juice, shaken hard, strained. Appropriate for the bar’s Asian-Victorian sensibilities, it’s a perfect yin/yang drink: fruity and earthy, sweet and sour, funky and refined. Classic yet forgotten. Rediscovered perfection.

Manhattan at Little Branch, 20 Seventh Ave.
Sick of the cloak and dagger routine at Milk & Honey? Now you can get the same wondrous drinks from the same obsessive owners made with the same gargantuan ice cubes. And Little Branch even has a listed phone number. The first drink any budding alcoholic, I mean, “cocktail enthusiast” should try is this, the most classic of New York libations, named after the concrete island beneath your feet. Ask for American rye whiskey (bourbon is for soft-lipped Southerners and Canadian whiskey is for, well, Canadians), Formula Antica vermouth, and three dashes of bitters. It’ll be stirred briskly (shaking would make it cloudy) with those huge, slow-melting ice cubes, strained into a cocktail glass, and garnished with a cherry. The first sip should be bracing, like a January wind funneled through the Midtown tunnel.  The icy punch/caress of a Manhattan lets you know you’re alive. Savor it. And for God’s sake, this is supposed to be fun. So eat the cherry.

Ramos Fizz at Pegu Club, 77 W Houston St.

Bartending legend Audrey Saunders taught her handlebar-mustached protégées more than just the signature cocktail menu at her downtown Rangood-inspired temple of booze. They’ll make anything you know to ask for, including the Ramos Fizz, one of the most annoying drinks on the planet to make correctly. This amalgamation of gin, lemon, cream, egg white, sugar, and orange flower water should be shaken longer than one person’s arms can handle, so when it was a pre-prohibition craze, it was passed from bartender to bartender. And that’s exactly what they do at the Pegu Club. If any part of the recipe is off, it’s like drinking a liquefied omelet out of your grandmother’s purse. Made right it’s a complex yet ethereal cloud, an alcoholic Orange Julius of the Gods. And with all that protein, fat, and gin, it has been the cause of, and solution to, all of my biggest hangovers.

09/27/06 12:00am

The Spotted Pig • 314 W 11th St.
The gastropub originated in England as the answer for boozers with a taste for something more refined than a pork pie or a ploughman’s lunch. In New York, the Spotted Pig is the preeminent destination for the diner whose serious palette matches his serious drinking habit. Celebrities, chefs, and celebrity-chefs all make their way to this cozy tavern in the West Village for a taste of head chef April Bloomfield’s upscale pub grub.

The L: You walked into the spotted pig just over a year ago with absolutely zero restaurant experience. Did you know what you were getting into?
Peter Cho: Not a clue. I was inspired to be a cook after reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, so that’s all I knew about what it was like to work in a kitchen in New York. I had no idea that I was walking into one of the busiest, most popular restaurants in the city.

The L: How did you get the job?
PC: I walked in, talked to the owner about getting a job in the kitchen and then talked to the chef (April) who told me to come in the next day with a few things and make her a dish. I freaked out, since I was just a recreational home cook. She must’ve thought it was ok, because she asked me to stay for the rest of the night. After dicing a huge pile of onions, which I had never really done before, she told me I could start full-time the next day.

The L: The chef asked you to make her a dish? What did you cook for her?
PC: A whole branzini (it’s a type of sea bass) with sautéed baby squash and arugula salad.

The L: Do you still get yelled at in the kitchen?
PC: Not really. I get stern warnings like, “That’s the last fish you’re going to overcook tonight.” Still as effective.

The L: How did things change when the Spotted Pig was awarded a Michelin Star?
PC: More chefs and people in the industry come in to eat. Especially since the kitchen’s open until 2am.

The L: You’re used to cooking for movie stars and musicians, but last week the Pig hosted Gourmet Magazine’s restaurant issue party. What was it like preparing food for culinary royalty like Ruth Reichl, Mario Batali, and Gray Kunz?
PC: The party was really to honor our chef, April, so we were all excited for her.  As far as celebrities go, the kitchen and front of the house have gotten used to it. But we (the kitchen) still get pretty edgy when big-time chefs come in.

The L: Where do you eat when you’re not working?
PC: Being Korean I get my fix at Kun Jip in K-town. When I’m with my girlfriend, I love getting sushi at Sakura in Park Slope. And about 3-4 times a week I get tacos after my shift at a truck on the corner of 14th Street and Eighth Avenue called Taco El Idolo. They have the best tacos in Manhattan and they’re open ‘til six in the morning.

09/27/06 12:00am

SHOWS TO SEE RIGHT NOW
In Ecotopia
International Center of Photography (ICP)

39 international photographers depict the natural world and all its terrifying 21st-century manifestations. Through January 7th.
1114 Sixth Ave, Midtown.
Harris Lieberman
Artist-on-the-rise Aaron Young exhibits past antics and newer gimmicks in his multimedia show. Through October 14th.
89 Van Dam St, West Village.
Cezanne to Picassso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Included in Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard’s legendary collection is a newly reassembled triptych from his 1896-97 Van Gogh retrospective. Through January 7th.
1000 Fifth Ave, Upper East Side.
Corpus
Gagosian Gallery

YBA bad boy Damien Hirst is known for his shocking sculptures, but this is a collection of over 200 of his drawings.  Through October 28th.
980 Madison Ave, Upper East Side.
My America
Hasted Hunt

White House press corps member Christopher Morris presents photos of the secret service, cheerleaders and soldiers. Through October 7th.
529 W 20th St, Chelsea.
View Ten: Remember Who You Are
Mary Boone Gallery

A group show addressing the grotesque with such up-and-comers as Sean Bluechel and Mika Rottenberg. Through September 30th.
745 Fifth Ave, Upper East Side.
Invisible Geographies: New Sound Art from Germany
The Kitchen

Four German sound artists present their complementary aural offerings. Through October 14th.
512 W 19th St, Chelsea.
Denial is a River
Sculpture Center

This group show features multidisciplinary works by such heavy-hitters as Jean-Luc Godard and Vito Acconci . Through November 18th.
44-19 Purves St, Long Island City.
Everybody Dance Now
EFA Gallery

YouTube clips are cheek-by-jowl with videos by Michael Smith and others in this boogie-focused show.  Through  October 22nd.
323 W 39th St, Midtown.

FREE IN MANHATTAN: OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Carbon and Silver
UBS Art Gallery

See the somewhat controversially touched-up Walker Evans show.  Through November 17th.
1285 Sixth Ave, Midtown.
Robert Towne
Lever House

Lever House boasts Sarah Morris’ massive abstract painting. Through December 3rd.
390 Park Ave, Midtown.
Sarah Sze’s Corner Plot
Central Park’s Doris C. Freedman Plaza

Sze’s fascinating installation rises out of the ground. 
Through October 22nd.
59th St, at Fifth Ave, Midtown.
Ninth Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibit
The Horticultural Society of NY

Intricate drawings will please flora buffs.
Through November 17th.
148 W 37th St, 13th Floor, Midtown.
Garden of the Accused
Thomas Paine Park

Frolic among Dennis Oppenheim’s synthetic plants and rocks. Through November 8th.
Worth, Pearl and Centre Sts, Tribeca.



SHOWS TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS FALL
Lisa Luskavage
David Zwirner, Zwirner and Wirth

Work by this luscious-lady painter will be split between Zwirner and Wirth uptown  and the expanded David Zwirner in Chelsea. October 18th through November 18th.
32 E 69th St, Upper East Side.
525 W 19th St, Chelsea.
Lucio Fontana: Venice/NY
The Guggenheim Museum

This exhibit features two of the Argentine artist’s 1961 series: his Venice paintings and his New York metals. October 10th through January 21st.
1071 Fifth Ave, Upper East Side.
Tropicália: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture
The Bronx Museum

Having undergone a $19 million expansion and instituted a new director, the Bronx re-opens with an exhibition highlighting 1960s art in Brazil. October 7th through January 28th.
1040 Grand Concourse, at 165th St, The Bronx.
Kiki Smith Retrospective
The Whitney Museum

Smith looks back on 25 years’ worth of art-making. November 16th through February 11th.

945 Madison Ave, Upper East Side.


John Currin
Gagosian Gallery Uptown

This artist’s sexually explicit caricatures will inevitably induce rubbernecking. November 9th through December 22nd.

980 Madison Ave, Upper East Side.


Alex Katz Paints Ada
1957-2005
The Jewish Museum

See half a century’s worth of portraits of the artist’s wife. October 27th through March 18th.

1109 Fifth Ave, Upper East Side
.

Tavares Strachan
Pierogi Gallery

In July, Strachan shipped a piece of Alaskan ice to the primary school he attended in Nassau, Bahamas. While the gallery was unable to salvage that piece of his oeuvre, many others will be on display here. October 13th through November 13th.

177 N 9th St, Brooklyn.



LOOKING BACK: HISTORY OF ART, RELIGION AND POLITICS
Domenico Tiepolo
(1727–1804)  A New Testament
The Frick Collection

Including 60 of the 313 large ink drawings composed by the pious artist, this is the largest New Testament cycle produced by a single person. October 24th through January 7th.

1 E 70th St, Upper East Side.


Least Wanted: A Century of American Mugshots
Steven Kasher Gallery

200 people put their best faces forward in a survey of mugshots. Through October 28th.

51 W 23rd St, Chelsea.


Frederick Church, Winslow Homer and Thomas Moran: Tourism and the American Landscape
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

This show tracks the rise of the bucolic American vacation, spearheaded by the pioneering painters in the 19th century. Through October 22nd.
2 E 91st St, Upper East Side.

Neo-Con
Apexart

Six contemporary artists take on recent art history with re-enactments of conceptual pieces by such trendsetters as John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha. Through October 14th.

291 Church St, Tribeca.


Common Destinations: Selections Fall 2006
The Drawing Center

Twelve artists selected from the Viewing Program explore geopolitics past, present and future. Through October 28th.

35 Wooster St, Soho.


ART TO ACCIDENTALLY COME UPON (IF YOU’RE LUCKY)
Jens Haaning

As part of Creative Time’s Who Cares series, Danish artist Haaning will be postering the city with clichéd jokes in Arabic script (and no English translations). For more info, go to creativetime.org.
October through November.

Mark Jenkins

The convincing life-size figures that this Wooster Collective member “embeds” in compromising positions (like upside down in a garbage can) might surprise Brooklyn pedestrians. (If you can’t find one in the city, check out YouTube’s videos of his work.)

Ellis Gallagher

Chalk shadow-outlines in Carroll Gardens and other Brooklyn neighborhoods appear and disappear  overnight.

Five Points Art Collective

The graffiti murals on this street-art collective’s building in Long Island City are an eye-opening splash of color as you ride by on the 7 train.

Gretchen Vitamas

Artist Vitamas wears Subwear — an outfit that perfectly matches the oranges, yellows and greys of the NYC subway. On the F train between Delancey and 14th St. Thursdays 7-9pm and Sundays 3-5pm. (for more info, go to artinoddplaces.org) Through October 1st.


ART, BUT NOT JUST FOR ART’S SAKE
For relaxing: Mustang: The Last Tibetan Kingdom, photos by Don Gurewitz at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art (catch a meditation session while you’re there) Through November 22nd.

For checking your teeth:
Anish Kapoor’s 23-ton circular stainless steel sculpture, Sky Mirror, at Rockefeller Center.    
Through October 27th.

For eating:
Swirled or stacked concoctions in a glass at mad-scientist dessert chef Will Goldberg’s Room4Dessert. 17 Cleveland Pl, Soho.

For advertising:
The Fuse TV’s news zipper, which snakes down the facade of 11 Penn Plaza. Seventh Ave. between 32nd and 33rd Sts and across the sidewalk.

For wearing:
Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo’s Soho t-shirt gallery, with tops made by high-profile artists like Nobuyoshi Araki and Yayoi Kusama, launching in early November. 546 Broadway, Soho.